GitHub, one of the largest respositories for hosting open source software, has added the ability to financially support developers through recurring monthly payments.
The feature is called GitHub Sponsors, and works similar to funding platforms like Patreon. This allows you to sponsor the work of developers and content creators by paying them a monthly donation.
Open source software is essential in pushing technology forward. However, creating open source code isn’t exactly lucrative, so some developers have already turned to other funding platforms to raise money for their work. But by integrating this option right into GitHub, it makes it a lot more easy for them.
It will be interesting to see how the Sponsors initiative turns out. As a software developer myself, I see this as a value add designed to help contributors get the resources they need, but mainly recognize them for their work to make open source better for everyone.
Developers will be able to highlight a “Sponsor” button in their GitHub profiles and repositories. If you want to sponsor an interesting project, you will have to sign up for a GitHub account. Users who are sponsoring other devs will have a “Sponsoring” icon in their profiles.
GitHub is also making it easy for developers to highlight popular funding models including Open Collective, Community Bridge, Tidelift, Ko-fi, and Patreon; and custom links to alternative funding models by adding a simple configuration file to their repositories.
The feature is currently in beta, and is likely to remain that way for some time as it seeks feedback from developers who opt in to the program.
“GitHub Sponsors is launching small and simple, but our mission is vast: to expand the opportunities to participate in and build on open source,” the company explained in a blog post. “We’re here to serve the developer community, and we’re eagerly listening for your input about what else you’d like to see in GitHub Sponsors.”
You have to note that not all developers will have access to this feature right away. If you are interested in the sponsorship program, you should sign up for the beta waitlist.
To sweeten the deal further, the Microsoft-owned company is promising to waive all transaction fees for sponsors, and it’s covering payment costs for the first year.
To incentivize open source developers to use the new service, it’ll be matching sponsorship payments up to $5,000 per developer in the first year.
The move also comes at a time when Microsoft is having a Nadellaissance by embracing cloud computing and has continued its push into the open source world, turning it into the world’s most valuable company.