Concept and ideas
To improve the quality of Buildroot, we would like to have a paid developer working on maintenance related aspects. To get funding for this, we would ask users of buildroot (companies) to sponsor the project. This would be a monthly amount (or they can choose for yearly as well) paid to the Buildroot Association.
With the money, the Association hires a developer.
To be sustainable, we need to have budget for hiring someone at least 1 day/week. So that means at least 35K/year, but preferably a bit more. Although I expect it to grow a bit once it's more known that this exists. We should organise this as a pledge, i.e. sponsoring companies don't pay anything until we reach the minimum goal. In the end though, we can also work with just a few thousand euros - we just lower the goals to fixing one specific issue rather than doing security work. So we don't really need to have a goal and work with pledges.
We will define a starting date. At that point, we evaluate how much money we have and decide on what will be done with it.
We'll create the usual bronze, silver, gold, platinum categories. There will be no difference in benefits other than having the platinum members on top of the sponsor page. They also get a subscription to the sponsor mailing list.
There will be a monthly report of the work done. This is sent ot the sponsor mailing list.
Sponsorship is assumed to be recurrent. Every year, we send an invoice "automatically". There's a bit of admin involved, but the person who gets paid can do at least part of that.
Things the developer can work on
- Maintain the LTS branch.
- Extend LTS to two or three years (possibly with two parallel LTS branches).
- Choice between LTS kernels in the LTS branch (i.e. BR2_LINUX_KERNEL_LATEST_VERSION_5_4, BR2_LINUX_KERNEL_LATEST_VERSION_5_15; you can update Buildroot and automatically get the latest stable kernel rather than having to update that separately).
- Monitor a number of critical packages for CVEs or bugfixes
- Monitor autobuilder results of a number of critical packages
- Monitor runtime tests and fix them
- Runtime/boot tests on actual hardware
- Improve documentation
To select from the above list, we could give the sponsors a vote, depending on the amount they sponsor. In the end we decided against this option. Instead, we will make a high level description of what the developer will work on and regularly report the actual work. Sponsors can informally say what they want to be done but in the end the decision lies with us.
Currently we have a hard time talking to our users - many (commercial) users are not on the mailing list. We should probably add a presence to LinkedIn and post things there - this sponsorship thing, obviously, but also releases, Buildroot talks, .... Note that even *Debian* has a LinkedIn page!
We should create a "flyer" explaining the sponsorship and why it's beneficial for a customer to invest in it. Text is being developed on https://semestriel.framapad.org/p/buidroot-sponsorship-9wj2?lang=en
Bram and Martin, the salespersons of Mind, are willing to spend effort on contacting companies directly to try to convince them to invest in the sponsoring. For that, they need a list of companies and contact persons. We have a few from previous (open) Buildroot sponsorships, or who we know from the mailing list (though the latter probably don't need to be addressed directly by them). Mind also has about 20 (ex) customers they know are using Buildroot. Other people should also pass on potential sponsors to them. Note that there is some concern about the neutrality of the salesperson contacting potential sponsors. Bootlin, e.g., would not be willing to give up their list of customers to Mind.
In order to retain the sponsors, there should be communication to them. For example, Debian has this monthly report.
We need a "crowdfunding platform" (in the general sense) to keep track of the sponsors, to update the pledge and other information, and to inform sponsors of the progress we achieved.
- Fully manual
- Send mail to buildroot-association, or set up a webform (framaform?)
- Someone puts the info in a spreadsheet or something
- Progress updates on the website and posted on LinkedIn
open source crowdfunding platform(only one project has seen a commit in the last 5 years) Goteo crowdfunding platform
- Use commercial platform. Search for "alternative to kickstarter" for options
The platform should be optimized for companies, so:
- VAT numbers
- multiple people can manage the pledge
- should be possible to be anonymous
A crowdfunding platform is however more for single-shot contributions. We really want it to be recurring. The only real advantage of the platform is that you can see the progress.
- Finish the concept
- Set up LinkedIn
- Discuss it with the community
- Announce on all channels
- Give list of potential sponsors to Bram and Martin
- Rake in the money!