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Funding Solus Development

May 29, 2021 in News and Infrastructure
2021 05 Funding Solus Development

After much anticipation, in this blog post we announce the availability of community funding opportunities.

Background

We have been on a multi-year endeavor to build and curate a unique and modern desktop experience for home computing platforms. Solus encompasses a multitude of initiatives, such as:

  • Brisk Menu: A modern menu for the MATE Desktop.
  • Budgie: A distribution agnostic, feature-rich desktop environment designed to keep out of the users way. This has been developed across several years and we continue to actively work on our Budgie 10 series while pursuing the next generation of our desktop environment.
  • Optimized Gaming Experience leveraging our custom Steam runtime environment and Linux Steam Integration project, responsible for intercepting library requests by games and serving optimized alternatives.
  • Package Repositories built and managed by our open-source toolchain: Packaging (ypkg, solbuild), Management (Software Center, eopkg, upcoming sol), Distribution (ferryd), Configuration (usysconf, qol-assist).

As many in our community are aware, this has been done almost exclusively on a volunteer basis, with no full-time Solus developers for close to three years now. When we did accept financial contributions, this was done through our Patreon, which we closed down after changes in leadership in late 2018 and our belief that future funding should be done through a responsible fiscal and/or project host. Since then, primary development has been done by Bryan and myself, with us being the primary financial backers for the project as well.

For some time now, Bryan and I have been considering various avenues on accepting funding as a project that enables us to not hold the burden for various tax matters, which is complicated by Bryan’s current status as well as my situation living abroad, in addition to providing transparency and equality among “shareholders” (leadership). Independently, I have launched my own Patreon to facilitate my goals to pursue full-time open source desktop application development, however not only do I want to broaden horizons to Solus in an official capacity, but both Bryan and I understand the necessity for both of us to be able to work on Solus full-time to achieve the goals we set, and in a timely manner.

We have been working to find a neutral host for Solus that satisfies our requirements for a fiscal host to relieve various tax and administrative burdens, providing a pathway towards growth and longevity for the project, and enabling us to focus more on development and taking care of the needs of our users. After considering / exploring many options ranging from various third-party hosts, establishing a 501(c)3 in the United States to a kommandiittiyhtiö (limited partnership) in Finland, some form of split model, a German GmbH, etc. we have come to the conclusion that the Open Collective platform (with Open Source Collective as the fiscal host) represents the best fit for our international team and project.

Open Collective

Solus is now proudly available on Open Collective and accepting donations. These donations will be initially used to offset virtual and physical infrastructure / hardware, ranging from datacenter co-location to providing repository mirrors and hardware upgrades for faster builds. Beyond this initial goal, we will use this funding to:

  1. Enable part-time and eventually full-time development by one or more developers (e.g. myself and Bryan).
  2. Subsidize or pay in full necessary hardware for the Solus team and active contributors.
  3. Provide opportunities to finance specific approved works, such as various features, fixes, or rewrites that the Team would want to be done in a timely manner, by individuals in the our community that are well-known for high-quality contributions. These opportunities would be provided on a case-by-case basis with direct communication and engagement between all the Team and individual.

If you are interested in supporting Solus or development of one or more of our projects, we encourage you to become a financial contributor today. We are working to provide additional incentives to backers, with some of the early tier perks being detailed below (as well as on our Open Collective page).

Please keep in mind that we are actively working on the tooling to facilitate some of the perks, we will strive to provide them as quickly as possible. Details on the first weekly snapshot ISO(s) will be rolled out to Beta Testers and Crew on June 4th, 2021.

Tiers

Backers

Amount: $1+ USD

Release Testers

Amount: $3+ USD

Perks:

  • Early access to news / updates (timeframe will vary depending on the post)
  • Access to testing ISOs the week of Release

Beta Testers

Amount: $10+ USD

Perks:

  • Early access to news / updates (timeframe will vary depending on the post)
  • Access to testing ISOs the week of Release
  • Access to weekly “snapshot” ISO of Budgie Edition
    • This ISO will be generated after our Friday syncs and use the stable repo. In situations where we are deferring sync for additional testing, they will be based on the unstable repository at a “most stable” point in time. In the event that it is the week of a release, this would overlap with the respective “testing ISOs”.

Crew

Amount: $25+ USD

Perks:

  • Early access to news / updates (timeframe will vary depending on the post)
  • Access to testing ISOs the week of Release
  • Access to weekly “snapshot” ISOs for all editions
    • These ISOs will be generated after our Friday syncs and use the stable repo. In situations where we are deferring sync for additional testing, they will be based on the unstable repository at a “most stable” point in time. In the event that it is the week of a release, this would overlap with the respective “testing ISOs”.

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