Kickstarter for Open-Source Projects?

The Web site is an interesting place. Basically, it's a site that allows people to invest in various projects, giving people real money to develop an idea. Those ideas vary from film-making to programming video games, but the concept is the same regardless of the project.

What is the motivation for investing in someone's idea? That's the beauty; it depends on the project. Maybe it's an M.C. Frontalot album you want to see created, so you give money to the project so the album is produced. Perhaps it's a video game you'd really like to play, so you give money to the developer to make the game. Perhaps the developer gives a copy of the game to all investors. Perhaps not. There are no rules, just collaboration.

Recently, we've seen open-source projects use Kickstarter, and it seems like a great idea. If you see a program idea you like, send money, and if the creators reach their goals, they'll create the programs. Because it's open source, the benefit is obvious: you get to use the program when it's complete.

Granted, it's not a perfect system. It certainly would be possible to abuse it. It seems that actually funding open-source developers is a good idea though. Perhaps this method of funding is a fad, or maybe it's the start of something great—paying developers to develop free software. If it works, it seems like everyone wins.


Shawn is Associate Editor here at Linux Journal, and has been around Linux since the beginning. He has a passion for open source, and he loves to teach. He also drinks too much coffee, which often shows in his writing.


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openphoto & kickstarter

andrew2093's picture

Hi. My first funding contribution to open source development via kickstarter was for OpenPhoto. The lead developer's approach is to have the community build it and later use this base to create 1or more commercial applications. This of course can also be done by anyone in the community. Mozilla accepted them into the WebFWD incubator. Looks promising! -


John Knight's picture

For sure, I remember dreaming up ideas like this myself years ago (ideas that I always hoped someone else would take up instead of lazy old me). For instance, back in the day I would've loved some way to speed up NTFS support (though things are now pretty decent on that front). Kernel support for certain features is something I'd certainly fund.

John Knight is the New Projects columnist for Linux Journal.

there is also

indiegogo's picture

there is also
little off, sorry
with one floss project that i now

I reckon someone should

optics's picture

I reckon someone should spinoff a kickstarter for open source projects. kickstarter whilst a good idea is cluttered with a lot of non open source projects.


Janos2x's picture

Thanks for this, I might very well try to use it to get funding for my coding project ideas.

I wonder if you know it looks like exactly the same idea.