Dries Buytaert

How governments can help sustain Open Source

Yesterday I wrote about why software funded with tax dollars should be Open Source. Based on the feedback in email and social media, lots of people seem to agree.

Today, I want to highlight how this could be a game changer for Open Source sustainability.

Using Drupal as an example, let's do some quick math. Imagine if:

  • 1,000 government agencies around the world (federal, state, or local) spend an average of $300,000 a year on their Drupal sites.
  • 5% of that investment results in Open Source contributions.

Even if these numbers are conservative, it would lead to $15 million in annual contributions to Drupal: 1,000 x $300,000 x 0.05 = $15,000,000. That could be 150 full-time contributors each year.

In other words, requiring public code in government could be Open Source's best funding mechanism.

— Dries Buytaert

Dries Buytaert is an Open Source advocate and technology executive. More than 10,000 people are subscribed to his blog. Sign up to have new posts emailed to you or subscribe using RSS.

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