Open Source, sustainable & independent.

Open source projects have a profound impact on society, yet many struggle to become financially sustainable and independent. We design financial solutions for open source projects. We envision a collaborative world with an abundance of financial models fostering open source values.

Values

We care about both open source and financial values:

  • Transparent: anyone can read the code.
  • Forkable: anyone can modify the code and publish its own version.
  • Accessible: anyone can use the code, no matter how much money at disposal.
  • Sustainable: the project's developers are financially supported.
  • Independent: the project is not influenced by outside interests.

All our solutions are designed so that open source code remains 1. transparent and forkable (i.e. collaborative) and 2. free for hobbyists, small companies, nonprofits, and anyone who cannot afford to pay a fee — price should never stop anyone from building.

Financial solutions that respect open source values can profoundly impact society to become increasingly collaborative. This vision and our longing to help the many open source developers who struggle to make ends meet are what drives us.

Current Models

Trans­parentFork­ableAccess­ibleSustai­nableInde­pendent
Proprietary Software | Closed Source
Proprietary Software | Public Source
Open Source | Open Core
Open Source | Dual Licensing
Open Source | Company Backed
Open Source | Donations

Proprietary | Closed Source: Closed sourced, not forkable, usually expensive. Photoshop, Windows, AutoCAD, etc.
Proprietary | Public Source: Same, but the code is available to be read. Unreal Engine, for example, shares knowledge and benefits community patches by making its code public.
Open Source | Open Core: The code is open source but some extensions are proprietary. Such Software can in theory be as expensive as proprietary software but they are usually more accessible. Elasticsearch is a successful example of using the open core model to build a prosperous company.
Open Source | Dual Licensing: The code is available as a "community version" with a free but restrictive copyleft license, and as an "enterprise version" with a permissive but paid commercial license. For example, MongoDB's community version is AGPL-like licensed and prohibits running a SaaS, while the enterprise version allows running a SaaS but is very expensive. This is not particularly forkable: if MongoDB shuts down then the code is stuck with the restrictive license and nobody can take over.
Open Source | Company Backed: Large companies are increasingly open sourcing their internal tools. These projects are open source and financed but not independent. React's development, for example, is entirely dependent on Facebook.
Open Source | Donations: Some projects — due to their high exposure, high amount of users, and relatively low developing cost — can sustain solely on donations. Usually in web development, for example Webpack or Vue. For most projects donations are not enough.

Lsos Donation Fund

Trans­parentFork­ableAccess­ibleSustai­nableInde­pendent
Open Source | Lsos Donation Fund

The Lsos Donation Fund enables companies to easily donate to their open source dependencies: companies make a monthly donation while we take care of fairly distributing donations among the open source projects they use.

Lsos Basic

Trans­parentFork­ableAccess­ibleSustai­nableInde­pendent
Open Source | Lsos Basic

The Lsos Basic enables open source projects to set a fee that large companies pay.

It uses novel mechanisms to enforce the fee without leveraging copyright law — code remains MIT licensed.

Everything stays free for hobbyists, small companies, nonprofits, and anyone who cannot afford to pay a fee.

Lsos Commons

Trans­parentFork­ableAccess­ibleSustai­nableInde­pendent
Open Source | Lsos Commons

The Lsos Commons adds a license clause to open source projects in order to "stimulate" large companies to financially contribute to open source in a more substantial way than they do today.

Although they are, from a legal perspective, forced to financially contribute, we tolerate and never sue the large companies who infringe the Lsos Commons license clause. Instead, we continuously remind large companies who forget to pay their fee, with kindness but insistence.

The fees paid by large companies allow us to remunerate open source developers with a salary comparable to the industry.

Lsos Growth

Trans­parentFork­ableAccess­ibleSustai­nableInde­pendent
Open Source | Lsos Growth

The Lsos Growth adds a license clause enabling open source maintainers to set an arbitrary fee that large companies have to pay.

We enforce the fee by using novel techniques; unlike the Lsos Commons, we do not tolerate the infringement of the Lsos Growth license clause.

The Lsos Growth is able to accommodate the financial needs of even the most ambitious projects with hockey-stick growth.