Since the project website receives a lot of traffic, he could run ads, but finds them intrusive.
Blaine started accepting donations for Gulp, but was wary of taking that money before an explicit process was established. He didn’t feel comfortable charging for his engineering time while other people were contributing for free.
Most of Gulp’s donations come from individuals. “Individual developers should not have to pay for open source,” Blaine said. “The companies that benefit from the software should. I’m grateful for everyone’s support, but it’s not fair.”
A better solution for supporting open source
Blaine’s solution was to use the donation money to make progress on neglected tasks–like completely rewriting the Gulp documentation.
“People are using them,” Blaine said. “The traffic is amazing. [But we only launched] two out of five sections, and we’re searching for more funding. We are still waiting for someone to reach out.”
Blaine has been searching for a better way to entice companies to sponsor open source projects. When he heard about Tidelift, he felt it was the perfect solution.
“Companies don’t want to give you money without a contract ensuring they’re getting something good in return,” Blaine said. “We need someone to handle agreements between the parties. Tidelift provides that.”
Lots of work and little pay
A few years ago, Blaine was a full-time software consultant. Since working on Gulp, he’s provided feedback and guidance to many developers and projects for free–but that’s no longer sustainable.
Gulp is Blaine’s primary gig, but he doesn’t earn a salary for his work, so he’s mostly living off savings. A few weeks ago, he launched Official Gulp Consulting, as a way for the Gulp team to find financial sustainability.
“I’m in a position where I can quickly identify issues with companies’ build processes, and fix things in much less time,” Blaine said. “I’m also able to consult on what open source software will help and improve build quality.”
If you’re interested in supporting Blaine’s work on Gulp while also getting security, maintenance, and licensing assurances for Gulp and other open source projects you already use, check out the Tidelift Subscription.