Many people have been watching Gittip, wondering if it will grow to have a significant impact on the open source ecosystem. Here is an interesting calculation I punched into my phone this morning:
$1933.14 x 52 = $100,523.28
Gittip is now distributing over $100,000 per year! This is an important milestone.
In case you are unfamiliar with Gittip, it is a unique take on crowdfunding open source projects. If you want to support someone in their work on an open source project, you can register for a Gittip account. You decide how much you want to “tip” the recipient each week, and then make a deposit. Gittip withdraws the tip amount from your balance each week, and distributes it to the recipient of your choosing. The minimum tip is $0.25, and the maximum you can tip any one person is $24. Gittip’s goal is to offer predictable, sustainable, long-term support to the leaders of important open source and public service projects.
The overall funding level on Gittip has been rising slowly but steadily. $100,000 in annual distributions is an important milestone, because we are one step closer to seeing people earn their entire living through Gittip donations. Right now the highest-tipped person is receiving $188.23 per week, which translates to $9,787.96 annually. The tenth highest-tipped person is receiving $34.13 per week, or $1,774.76 annually. We are still a long way from seeing any one person receive $100k per year through Gittip, but the overall platform achieving that level of participation is a good sign.
When we start to see people earning a living wage through Gittip, we will have a new patronage system on our hands. Many people would consider a salary of $100,000 pretty luxurious, but when you consider taking out taxes and health insurance, we are talking about a moderate developer’s salary. The kind of open source leaders who will earn this level of support through donations are certainly capable of earning a higher salary than this in the tech world. This level of salary would mean that at least 4,000 people are supporting your work. This broad support base would give the recipient a tremendous level of freedom in what projects they choose to focus on.
I loved Gittip the moment I saw it, and I hoped from the beginning to see steady growth in the project. I am very happy to see this milestone come and go, and I look forward to the next significant milestone. Now, back to working on my first Gittip-worthy open source project!