Load-Bearing Internet People

I just finished giving a talk – by remote video – at South East Linux Fest, about the Load-Bearing Internet Person problem.

An LBIP is a person who maintains the software for a critical Internet service or library, and has to do it without organizational support or a budget backing him up.

That second part is key. Some maintainers for critical software operate from a niche at a university or a government agency that supports their effort. There might be a few who are independently wealthy. Those people aren’t LBIPs, because the kind of load I’m talking about isn’t technical challenge. It’s the stress of knowing that you are it and you are alone, the world out there has no idea what a crapstorm it would be if you failed at your self-imposed duty, and goddammit why doesn’t anybody care?

LBIPs happen because some of the most critical services can’t be monetized. How do you put a meter on DNS? Or time synchronization? Or having a set of ubiquitous and reliable crypto libraries? Where there’s no profit stream, markets are not going to directly solve this problem.

I know at least two LBIPs whose health has broken under that strain – Dave Taht and Harlan Stenn. Me, I’m still generally healthy, but my recent medical issues have re-focused my mind on the LBIP problem.

I spent seven years trying to solve this problem by founding an organization to collect funds from sponsors and distribute them to LBIPs. That was the Internet Civil Engineering Institute. It shut down late last month because, as it turns out, recruiting people who are both willing and entirely competent to run an organization like that is really difficult. I failed at it.

(I’ve designed and founded two nonprofits that survived my departure and are still on mission, one 17 years on and the other 26 years on. I’m actually good at that game, but ICEI failed anyway. Possibly someone smarter or more streetwise than me could have made ICEI work, but given my previous track record of success I don’t think that would be a smart bet.)

What I said at SELF was this: centralized attacks on the LBIP problem have failed, so we need a decentralized, distributed one. Services like Patreon, recurring PayPal remittences, and SubscribeStar give us the technology to do that. What we need to add is consciousness about the problem and some social engineering.

Here’s the challenge I put to the audience there: If you have a good paying job, earmark $30 a month – the equivalent of a moderately-priced restaurant meal. Identify three LBIPs. Remit them $10 a month.

Then go to every gainfully employed programmer you know and explain to them why they should do the same thing, and also further spread the word.

The fanout is important. One of the failure modes we want to avoid is for all that support to go to a handful of highly visible hackers like, er, me. There are lots of LBIPs working in obscurity; we need to solve this problem at scale, not just for a few prominent figures.

The SELF audience liked this idea – and then somebody raised the question I should have expected: “How can we know who to fund?”

Sorely tempted as I was to say “There’s always me…”, I didn’t. That would have been a humorous answer of the funny-because-it’s-true kind, but the discovery problem is a serious one. Several other questioners chewed on various possibilities. I ended up saying I would try to jump-start a discovery process on my blog by collecting a list of LBIPs.

That’s not going to be a solution that scales well, though. We’ll have to feel our way to a better one; I have some ideas which I’ll develop in future posts.

I do have a name for the effort – thought it up a few minutes ago. Loadsharers. We need to work out how to be effective loadsharers.

For now, my comments are open. Please check in if you (a) want to take the loadsharer pledge – $30 in 2019 dollars to one, two, or three LBIPs every month (ideally three), or (b) have an LBIP to recommend.

I will curate a list of LBIPs I think are worthy. I should not be the only person doing this. Eventually we’ll set up a recommender system and a way for LBIPs to declare funding goals. Mumble web of trust? Something like that should be doable.

Please do not wander off into trying to design a better mediation/discovery system in this comment thread (yeah, I know my audience). Save that for my post on that topic, coming soon.

As final and obvious point: yes, I think I’m a worthy LBIP, go ahead and do that $10 thing at me, initially. (Note to self: create a “Loadsharers” tier.) But I have a relatively low monthly figure that I consider “enough”; above that, I’d really rather the money went to other people.

So don’t be surprised if, a few weeks down the road, you get a patron notice from me saying “Enough! Roll a D6 and if it comes up 5 or 6, drop me and go fund someone else.”

/me wanders off to think about scalable, low-overhead recommendation systems…

121 thoughts on “Load-Bearing Internet People

  1. Will your talk be on YouTube (or elsewhere) ? And if so would it be possible to include the link in this post?

    • >Will your talk be on YouTube (or elsewhere) ? And if so would it be possible to include the link in this post?

      SELF is still going on. I’ll probably get a link to the recording after the conference and post it.

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  3. While this would be undoubtedly helpful to aforementioned LBIPs, I think you skimmed past the lack of corporate support too quickly. Discoverability is a problem. Allocation and distribution of funds is another problem. In addition to those you’ve acknowledged, your post indicates that you’ve resigned yourself to the idea that funds should come from some kind individuals, where the services they use rely on infrastructure maintained by these LBIPs, rather than corporate entities whose business relies on that same infrastructure. Corporate control and pressure is certainly something to be avoided, but that should be preventable.

    Crowdfunding has become rather popular, but I’m not sure this falls under a regular crowdfunding initiative because the main (secondary to the LBIPs themselves) beneficiaries aren’t the ones paying. You’d be cultivating a group of people just like the LBIPs, then indirectly taking responsibility for infrastructure out of a sense of responsibility rather than being personally invested — financially, emotionally, or otherwise. Unless we’re talking about this as a part of a larger grassroots culture shift, an initiative like this may also have the unintended consequence of decreasing the importance that corporate entities attribute to giving back.

    • This could be the beginning, though, of the standardization for LBIP sponsorship.

      Much like businesses know how much to pay for a 30 second TV ad, or a full page magazine ad, this can be the way we learn how much to give back and what kind and magnitude of value the business gets.

      The concern for perverse incentives is real; it’s important to not let that stop us from improving a bad situation into an imperfect, yet better, one.

      • >The concern for perverse incentives is real; it’s important to not let that stop us from improving a bad situation into an imperfect, yet better, one.

        My thinking exactly.

    • BwackNinja, please stop hacking the metalevel. That’s for next post.

      This thread is for identifying load-sharers and LBIPs.

    • How about using the “named sponsor” system so popular in sporting events?

      Imagine using the “Bulova Network Time Protocol Daemon” or the “Garmin GPS Daemon”.

        • Here’s three million dollars set aside in a trust fund set to pay out over 30 years. Please name it the Timex NTPd.

          That would be over 100k a year.

  4. I just had to delete a political rant by tz.

    I agreed with most of it, but it would have ratholed this thread.

    Would everyone else please not do that?

    • I was going to point to TZ as an area that needs support. I don’t believe that Paul Eggert is directly funded, and as a result a current key structure of the time system is only reliable for dates from 1970. My own financial position ( created by another political rant ;) ) means attempts I’ve made to plug the gap have like the ICEI ended in failure. A fully populated tzdist data source needs to be started by someone and that SHOULD perhaps be sponsored by a commercial operation rather than a new LBIP ?

      • >I was going to point to TZ as an area that needs support.

        My first reaction was “Oh hell yeah.” Paul Eggert is freaking ubiquitous in unglamorous but essential stuff like this. However, it looks like he has a professorship, probably tenured, at UCLA. He’s safe.

        >Oh yes, don’t forget Patrick Volkerding (Slackware maintainer).

        Not as high priority as Paul Eggert would be if he were in need. Yes, Slackware was very important and pioneering but there wouldn’t be a lot of breakage if it went poof. While I’d love to see Volkerding get subsidized by a grateful community and agree he deserves it, there are probably more urgent cases.

        Linus is way well taken care of.

        Theo de Raadt, possibly very high on the list because security, but I’d want to know how much support structure he already has.

        Rich Felker: Possible, but I don’t know how load-bearing musl is. What would break if it went away?

  5. Well, there’s Linus, but he seems well taken care of.

    Maybe Theo de Raadt?

    Rich Felker (maintainer of musl)?

      • I just want to say that I met Patrick a couple times at X-Day, and he’s a very nice guy. Very slackful and kind.

    • Theo also does good work on IXP infrastructure. This discussion has focused on software, but there’s also hardware and infrastructure. The DNS root operators are being more and more pressured into bogus “professionalism” by a few politically-motivated folks, and the vast majority of IXPs are not-for-profit volunteer operations, and we wouldn’t get very far if we didn’t have any bandwidth to talk over.

  6. Ok, I’m already on your Bronze supporters tier, but I’m willing to try this loadsharer thing, too. :) Greetings from Belarus, by the way. And thanks for all your hard work.

    • >Ok, I’m already on your Bronze supporters tier, but I’m willing to try this loadsharer thing, too. :)

      The first! Thank you Liudmila. Let’s hope you set an example for others.

      For those of you already in my Bronze $20 tier: thank you, this isn’t all about me, please try to pick a $10 support target once I post the first curated list of LBIPs.

      Eventually you may want to choose either to continue supporting me at $20 while paying out $10 and $10 to others – because you want to specifically support my work – or drop me to $10. I’m OK with either outcome, requesting only that if you choose the second you hold off until my current spate of medical bills is over.

      • >if you choose the second you hold off until my current spate of medical bills is over.

        Perspective: Jeremy Banks reports that the book raffle at SELF raised about $500.

        I have recent experience from my head bump that a single diagnostic MRI will eat that.

    • >Having recently bumped my pledge to Eric, I’ll sign up for the Loadsharers pledge.

      “If two people walk in singin’ ‘Alice’s Restaurant’…”

        • >You’re a good friend, but I’m not kissing you.

          Heh. But I’m not #1, the estimable Liudmila is. And, well, while not all Belorussian women are smoking hot, the odds are in her favor.

          (Liudmilla: The joke is about a song called “Alice’s Restaurant” an anti-war satire from the late 1960s that, though now rather dated, is still fondly remembered for its wry and deadpan humor. Many American radio stations traditionally play it several times on our Thanksgiving Day holiday.)

          • And the line Eric used was followed by “they’ll think they’re both faggots and won’t take either of them!”. Referred to the draft for the Vietnam War.

          • >Not even the “european” style where you just sort of kiss the air around their face?

            Trying to imagine Jay doing that is making me hurt from laughing so hard.

  7. Having learned from this thread that I’ve been a load-sharer since before Eric invented a word for it, I pledge to remain one.

    • >Having learned from this thread that I’ve been a load-sharer since before Eric invented a word for it, I pledge to remain one.

      On my to-do list: Find somebody to design a web badge.

      • The web-badge is an excellent idea. You could also give out awards to corporations who do really well at either paying load sharers, teaching the skills load-sharers need, or advocating for load-sharers.

      • Idea for what the badge should look like: Atlas holding the word on his shoulders, but the “world” in question is a sphere covered in dots connected by line segments symbolizing the Internet. This conveys the load of supporting the technology that runs the net.

        • >Idea for what the badge should look like: Atlas holding the word on his shoulders, but the “world” in question is a sphere covered in dots connected by line segments symbolizing the Internet. This conveys the load of supporting the technology that runs the net.

          Works for me. Do you know anyone who can compose this?

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  9. I’ll be a loadsharer. I’m fortunate to have a good life because of the work the LBIP do. Thanks for working on the discovery problem.

  10. Prior to his passing I’d have argued Mark Crispin qualified, as IMAP is pretty critical, even if many people found interacting with its maintainer to be a source of friction. But he left us in 2012 and mail continues to work, so his case might be worth studying to distinguish internet persons who actually bear a critical load from those upon whom infrastructure doesn’t really depend.

    • This sounds like Crispin, whatever his faults, succeeded in building soemthing that could carry the load without a person behind it. How much else is out there that that can be said for?

  11. Periodically I *have* worked so hard to defuse a crisis or meet a deadline, that I’ve had to take weeks or months off to recover. Recently, after coping with the combined stress of dealing with both the cablelabs L4S controversy (covered in LWN) and trying to gain support for adding 420 million new addresses to the internet (talk here: https://netdevconf.org/0x13/session.html?talk-ipv4-unicast-expansions ), I did just take a few months off from the internet to recharge my batteries, rethink, and replan (including swearing to myself that I’ll never work that hard on something again!)

    I only got back to work on the latter project again last week, with the first, small patch to netdev. There’s dozens more left and a ton of testing left to do.

    I’m sad about icei. I had had high hopes it could help “hold up the sky” in some form or another. Eric’s new concept here has sparked thoughts of dozens of other LBIPs I know doing really essential work on behalf of us all, that’s really difficult to explain, that could really use support, and what’s now a 2+ page email in draft, listing a few of those and some new ideas…

    but I looked up from writing that just now, and… I have to admit that my costs both financial and physical, in trying to make the internet better, have been totally overwhelming of late, and I could use a bit of help. My https://www.patreon.com/dtaht and https://www.gofundme.com/manage/savewifi barely cover the cost of the bufferbloat.net test servers in the cloud.

    I also take paypal to my email address.

    And there’s work going on in both the SCE and unicast expansions projects that could use a few more volunteers to help out.

      • >Typo on your Patreon page: ”and required eany releases of code”

        Can’t find that. Can you be more specific about the location?

        • It’s not on your page, it’s on Taht’s:

          Fixing wifi was harder and more tedious than fixing bufferbloat was in the first place, and required eany releases of code (built around the openwrt codebase) and much testing before the fixes could be used by everybody.

  12. > I’ve designed and founded two nonprofits that survived my departure and are still on mission, one 17 years on and the other 26 years on.

    OSI must be one of them, but I can’t come up with the other.

  13. You have my $30 – all I need are three worthy recipients (Dave Taht can be the first). Actually, I’d pay more than $30 to cover processor fees but Patreon is far from clear about what these are. I’ll start simple for now.

    • >You have my $30 – all I need are three worthy recipients (Dave Taht can be the first).

      I’m going to recommend that you join my feed and Dave’s until we can generate you a third candidate. I don’t think that will take long; if we haven’t identified half a dozen worthy LBIPs by the middle of next week I’ll be surprised. It may take longer for them to payment-enable themselves.

      Once you join my Patreon feed I’ll be able to find your contributor page and add it to the honor roll. The reason it has to happen in that order is that their search box can only see creators, not patrons – I literally won’t be able to find you until you make yourself visible to me that way.

  14. I’ll be a loadsharer.

    I guess advisers will evolve to play a role in promoting LBIPs: in thinking of recruiting others to also share the load, the kind of thing an agent or marketing, or salesperson does is what comes to mind. As no org is set in place, everyone will be able to better explain what some subset of people are up to — “You got GPS on your phone because of this guy’s work”, “Internet’s not grinding to a halt because of this guy’s work”.
    Baby steps, I guess; eager to see how this works out.

    • Now that I think about it, an adviser’s role will likely also include helping LBIP be more… attractive to funds. Be it by helping them make their work and impact more transparent and understandable, or encouraging them to set up the more adequate remittance services.

      This is bound to be interesting, specially if advisers manage to find a good way to fund themselves.

      • >This is bound to be interesting, specially if advisers manage to find a good way to fund themselves.

        Ahh. You didn’t notice the hook I built in. To watch an adviser’s notifications, you have to join their feed. So that’s at least $1 per month from everybody who thinks an adviser is worth watching.

        • Did not notice that bit. So Advisers will need to self promote as well as promote the people they’re looking out for.

          My gut tells me this may need redesigning in the future — but that’s not a thread for this post, I guess, and it’s far too early, both in runtime and in brain capacity I’ve dedicated to this.

          :^) I’ll try and lend my eyes to this and comment in the appropriate post.

  15. Has anyone considered doing dependency analysis to identify more loadbearers? Figureo out which llibraries or packages or etc are 1) ‘everywhere’ and 2) underfunded

    • >Has anyone considered doing dependency analysis to identify more loadbearers? Figureo out which llibraries or packages or etc are 1) ‘everywhere’ and 2) underfunded

      This kind of domain knowledge is what qualifies advisers to be advisers. I don’t think discovering these facts can be automated.

      • A page full of loadbearers and what they do would actually be a good idea for three reasons:

        1.) Not everyone has the domain knowledge to be an adviser, but may want to help anyway. Seeing what is out there would increase the likelihood of finding something a casual observer cares about and would pay for.

        2.) It would be a great resource for someone who wants to become a new generation of loadbearer. Studying these projects and understanding *why* they are so important could be the subject of a CS course in any credible university.

        3.) It would give someone something to “share” along social media lines to get a larger set of eyes on it.

        [ Update ]: just read the next post… NM

        • >A page full of loadbearers and what they do would actually be a good idea for three reasons:

          Each adviser is expected to put up such a page. Mine is already up; expect Dave Taht’s soon.

          • One of the ideas we kicked around (for the more centralized model in the icei era) was a filter of “authors of code that runs as root”).

            https://web.archive.org/web/20180714144832/http://snapon.lab.bufferbloat.net/~d/runsasroot.org

            As to your point 2…

            I don’t think anybody really would want the job of being a loadbearer. Reach for the sky, yes, hold it up, no. “So, kid… how’d you like the job of keeping civilization running? If you do your job right, no-one will care, and if you do it wrong, hordes of people will come at you with pitchforks and torches ablaze. Experience required is maximal, pay is minimal. Waddaya say?”

            I’ve written “chicken soup for engineers” stuff like this ( http://www.taht.net/~mtaht/uncle_bills_helicopter.html ) to keep myself and others going, and eric’s http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=4196 touched me deeply.

            Recently I wrote an uplifting talk about how the last two flights of spaceshipone changed the future, that I hope to give somewhere soon. It just poured out of me, good catharsis, in half a day. You gotta celebrate your successes…

            I do think a set of courses on how to cope with the side effects of your work would help (me!!!). Feynman took 10+ years to reconcile himself with building the Bomb, and his answers don’t (always) work for me. Anyone in a medical practice knows that MRIs are better than x-rays for detecting breast cancer sooner, and we let thousands of women die because that test costs too much. And so it goes.

            • >I don’t think anybody really would want the job of being a loadbearer.

              And yet you, and those like you, exist. People like you and Eric are rare, but there will be more who are capable and who feel compelled to do so (even if begrudgingly).

              And this LBIP project/page that is starting could well be their focal point. “If you build it, they will come.” (couldn’t resist)

              • >And yet you, and those like you, exist.

                We do. There’s a kind of “Here I stand, I can do no other” about us, and “compelled” is apt – we’re compelled by the need to solve the largest problems we can get a grasp on.

      • > I don’t think discovering these facts can be automated.

        Perhaps not purely, but I think producing something of a zeroth-order list of candidates worth looking at further is something non-advisers could help with, automated or not.

        From an initial look at the “system” set of a gentoo box of mine, I spot zlib, which I recognize as not only underpinning other libraries on my computer, but also as running on a commonplace credit card reader, probably underpinning other libraries on said card reader. If it’s running on a credit card machine, I think that might be sufficiently ‘everywhere’ to potentially qualify for this effort.

        I kind of wish I knew how to make the self-checkout stations at my local grocery chain crash on demand so I could browse said card reader’s “open source disclosure” again and find what other packages its using. But, the grocery staff would justifiably get cross with me were I to do that.

        • Re-reading my comment, I realize my rambling failed to make my point clear; I think the authors of zlib, Jean-loup Gailly and Mark Adler should be considered.

          A bug in zlib breaking credit card readers the world over might not be immediately threatening to life and limb, but it would certainly be disruptive. And I suspect that if zlib has made it into credit card readers, it has may well have made it into systems where its failure *would* be dangerous to life and limb.

          • >Re-reading my comment, I realize my rambling failed to make my point clear; I think the authors of zlib, Jean-loup Gailly and Mark Adler

            Doesn’t look to me like they need donations. Gailly seems to have had quite a thriving career in industry. Adler is a scientist at JPL. The zlib page has no donate button.

            The technical merit is there, but I suspect they’d both say money should go to hackers in more need.

            • Would it be worthwhile to contact them anyway, anticipating the rejection, so one could ask whom they thought might be likely candidates?

              • >Would it be worthwhile to contact them anyway, anticipating the rejection, so one could ask whom they thought might be likely candidates?

                On my to-do list, but not high priority.

      • > >Figureo out which llibraries or packages or etc are 1) ‘everywhere’ and 2) underfunded

        > I don’t think discovering these facts can be automated.

        I suspect that you can make a really good start for #1 by doing a few simple things:

        * Most distributions have some sort of automated tool for determining what packages are installed.
        * Most packaging systems have a dependency list.
        * Most open source libraries and programs have some sort of publicly available repository. From that determine the number of committers and the % of commits they make. If more than X committers are over N percentage of commits, that load is “shared”.

        Use that to generate a heat map.

        Probably more work than it’s worth though.

  16. Jesse Smith, who has stepped up to maintain sysvinit in the original maintainers’ absence (or neglect). In this post-systemd era, maybe this is not as vital a task as it used to be, but he’s doing it when apparently no one else would.

  17. I gave 20 to Dave Taht and 10 to you (since he doesn’t seem to have as many patrons). I look forward to the way we can communicate about this easier in the future as well! :) as you can imagine I asked about this at SELF. Some type of slack, mastodon, matrix, etc…whatever has a low barrier to entry for people, so more people can join in and be aware would be awesome! Left me know if I can help at all!

    • >I gave 20 to Dave Taht and 10 to you (since he doesn’t seem to have as many patrons).

      Sound thinking. Who are you on Patreon? I want to add you to the Roll of Honor.

      >I look forward to the way we can communicate about this easier in the future as well!

      Starting an IRC channel is on my to-do list.

        • >Alex Rodriguez

          I see your $10, thanks. When you allocate your other $20 let me know and I’ll add you to the Roll of Honor.

        • You expect ESR to use closed source software?

          Slack is designed and built around the notion of corporate communication.

          F*k slack and f*k the “cool kids” that use it.

        • Slack is just IRC with a pretty client and a funded searchable archive. That’s IT. That’s all it is. Yet the company is worth billions. Clearly there is a lot of value for a searchable IRC archive. Somebody could take the wind out of Slack’s sails by creating a paid searchable archive for arbitrary IRC channels. Oh, and create a pretty client, but that’s easy. Make IRC archived and searchable and people will revive the use of IRC.

  18. I’d love to be a Loadsharer, but I’m not going anywhere near Patreon.

    This made me realize an argument for a centralized solution: I’d trust a project like this, led or at least overseen by ESR, to distribute contributions as they see fit. Essentially the “charity org in the middle” model.

    That would save ignorant me from having to figure out (guess) who I should support and how I can do so. Otherwise I’d likely end up donating along inefficient lines (in terms of need). And that’s If I’m able to overcome the initial momentum requirement at all.

    • >This made me realize an argument for a centralized solution: I’d trust a project like this, led or at least overseen by ESR, to distribute contributions as they see fit. Essentially the “charity org in the middle” model.

      How would this be functionally different from watching my Patreon feed and allocating your Loadsharer bucks as I suggest? That way you keep control of your money at every point. No org in the middle and none of the associated failure modes.

  19. Well worth the investment. I’m surprised something like this hasn’t been put together before now.

    I take the pledge proudly and with honour.

    (And this has also reminded me that my personal page is woefully out of date, so I should probably use this as an excuse to dust off my online presence a little.)

    • Giving update to this for completeness sake, giving $20/mo to esr and $10/mo to Dave Taht, with an eye to changing this based on need as time goes on. It’s quite likely I’ll increase the amount I pay per month, but I’ll start here and see how things go as the list of LBIPs expands :)

      • >Giving update to this for completeness sake,

        You are the 11th person to be added to the Roll of Honor of early loadsharers.

  20. Also taking the pledge.
    In addition to you, Eric, i started giving to Dave Täht and Simon Kelley as well, just for the simple reason that they are the only two people with links on your page and I’m not knowledgable enough to find better targets on my own.

    I’m open to other suggestions, too. I might take my pledge to you down a notch and spread out more, once this endeavor – and you, personally and quite literally – are up and running (again). ;)

    While creating my Patreon page https://www.patreon.com/seriouslych, i realized that Patreon is grabbing 5% or maybe of your income.
    Is a recurring PayPal donation better for you, then?

    • >i realized that Patreon is grabbing 5% or maybe of your income.
      Is a recurring PayPal donation better for you, then?

      Yikes. I guess it is. I’m “esr@thyrsus.com” there.

  21. Oh, what lovely news.

    Cathy tells me the Feds yanked our ACA subsidy because we can’t document our (absence of) income.

    They’re passing us off to Medicaid.

    I’m not sure the doctors treating my ankle problem will take Medicaid. Many won’t because of the payment caps.

    That’s another hole below the waterline in my finances.

    Now I have to get the Patreon up to around $5K a month before it will cover expenses.

  22. I guess this is a good time to de-lurk to add to the general chorus of support for the idea. I’m another one of your Bronze supporters (https://www.patreon.com/user/creators?u=10030891) and I’m adding $10 to Dave and Simon, again as the only other current links on the loadsharers page.

    I think the advisor/sponsor model is probably the only way to go right now to build up the network of trust in both directions. I know that I would be basically wandering around blind if I had to look for people to support or people to trust to identify people to support.

  23. Not sure whether I count as a Loadsharer, but now that I’ve added Dave Täht, here’s my monthly programming-related Patreon payroll: $10 to Eric S. Raymond. $10 to Dave Täht. $8 to Øyvind Kolås for GIMP work. $5 to Matrix.org for open, secure, decentralized communication. $4 to Jorge Aparicio for work getting Rust usable on embedded systems.

    GIMP is obviously an application, and Jorge and Matrix are more aspirational than load-bearing. Are those strictly separate from LBIP and being a Loadsharer? Or is there room for some of the Loadsharers pledge going to potentially-future LBIPs?

    • Update: I just added $10/month via Paypal to SPI for OpenWRT, so I guess I’m a loadsharer regardless

      • >Update: I just added $10/month via Paypal to SPI for OpenWRT, so I guess I’m a loadsharer regardless

        You are, and I have added you to the Roll of Honor of early Loadsharers.

    • >GIMP is obviously an application, and Jorge and Matrix are more aspirational than load-bearing. Are those strictly separate from LBIP and being a Loadsharer? Or is there room for some of the Loadsharers pledge going to potentially-future LBIPs?

      The criterion I like to use is “something important breaks if this person’s software sprouts a crash bug”. I don’t think GIMP really qualifies. On the other hand, the Rust work and Matrix are clearly aimed at being upgrades to critical infrastructure and their devs have the LBIP problem with getting potential funders to grasp how important that is.

      So I’d say funding those is Loadsharer-appropriate, though not yet as important as funding for devs doing work that is already critical.

      Thanks for bring up that issue, it was of some importance that I think it through. It might show up in a future blog post

    • >I would like to take the Loadsharer pledge. I have pledged $20 to you and $10 to David Taht.

      Thanks, you have been added to the Roll of Honor and the credits list for my projects.

  24. I also subscribed for $10/month to Dave Täht’s Patreon, which with $20/month to yours, completes the sum of my Loadsharer pledge for now.

    I’d be glad to add Patrick Volkerding to the list, too, since his book with Slackware CD was the thing that really taught me my first Linux skills.

    • >I also subscribed for $10/month to Dave Täht’s Patreon, which with $20/month to yours, completes the sum of my Loadsharer pledge for now.

      You were the first person on the Roll of Honor.

  25. I am a contributor to your Patreon, and don’t wish to alter how I have it set up there. So, for the moment I am participating in your load-sharing stand-up (this is a fine idea and an interesting initial execution of it) by maintaining my pledge to you, and pledging $20 to Mr. Täht and to Mr. Volkerding. No doubt I will evolve this as your program and candidate list evolves.

    Likely this belongs in the meta-analysis post, or perhaps a different one on evolving Mr. Raymond’s system, but:

    I do wish to register to this group that I dislike Patreon’s 5% cut of Creator’s earnings, though I understand it principle (I would argue for a lower rate). I am not a Creator there though so perhaps I have no locus standi in the matter. Of more import, at the moment I am deeply suspicious of their willingness to engage in the current social-censorship games, rights of free-enterprise notwithstanding. For now, I am still waiting to see where they ultimately land with it.

    • >I do wish to register to this group that I dislike Patreon’s 5% cut of Creator’s earnings, though I understand it principle (I would argue for a lower rate).

      SubscribeStar’s rate may be lower; you might want to look. I have an account there.

  26. >But that doesn’t have the nice side-effect of the added social visibility.

    Which is a real consideration here.

    Anybody who has ever raised money for a charity has come nose-to-nose with the fact that charitable giving is often a social performance or status gesture.

    If you don’t tune your campaign in accordance with that reality, you’re failing the people you’re trying to help.

  27. I did not say this in my previous comment, but I will make it so, publicly, here;

    I commit to the Load-sharer’s pledge.

  28. If I wanted to share this on Linked-In, where would be the best place to point people to?

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