Last Monday I was sitting in #drupal-contribute and a few people were discussing gittip as a method to support people who worked on core. In March, I quit my job to work on Drupal 8 and then Dries asked me to be a maintainer. Since then I've spent over £15,000 of my own savings and I've relied on my partner's maternity pay as well. So gittip was pretty interesting. Heading over to gittip I found a site where in a couple of clicks I could link my twitter and gitthub accounts and start accepting tips. All pretty easy. The hard part was then to promote it. Asking for money just feels weird. Fortunately someone in the Drupal community convinced me to give it a go and so I tweeted.
Help me extend my unemployment and support Drupal 8's development https://t.co/0w9v8gYmdW— Alex Pott (@alexpott) August 5, 2013
Since then a ball has started to roll. There has been an amazing number of community retweets and messages of support. Lullabot asked me to do a podcast on the subject. As of writing, I'm getting over $50 a week in total from 36 different contributors.
One question that has come up is what is my target. This question has two answers, one short-term and one long-term.
In the short term
My short-term aim is to make it to January working 100% on Drupal core. To find out why I think this is necessary read http://xjm.drupalgardens.com/blog/triaging-drupal-8. So, I'm going to reduce some of my outgoings temporarily and invest another £6000 of my own money. However, based on this I will still have a shortfall of £5350 which is equivalent to about $475 a week. So that's my target with gittip.
For those that are thinking "whoah he'll never make it!" I do have contingency plans. However, I'm trying to give the community fundraising a shot. I believe that if we can start a culture of supporting each other through crowdfunding sites like gittip, www.drupalfund.us, and other simliar sites then the community will be healthier for it. Why? Well, just because Acquia employs many well-known contributors, some have jumped to the conclusion that Acquia controls Drupal core. This concern is unfounded. Drupal 8 has over 1500 contributors, many more developers than any single company can hope to employ. However if we, as a community, want to mitigate any threats (real or imagined) from the enterprise or big companies then we have to step up. Drupal core is complicated and contributing takes a lot of time and effort. Supporting individuals to work on core is one way to ensure that Drupal continues to benefit from the thousands of people willing to give up time to contribute to it and is financially supported by individuals and companies alike.
In the long term
My first step will be to see how the community effort has gone. I want to see if I can stay independent and continue to work on Drupal. Perhaps with the release of Drupal 8, if most of the funds from the community are in place that I need to support myself and my family, I will be able to take on short-term contracts. If that proves impossible then I will be seeking employment with a company that wants to do great things with Drupal and understands the value of core contribution.
Thanks to you all
It's interesting, and I think healthy, that gittip does not tell you who donates to you. So, whilst I can't thank people individually unless they tell me they've donated, I would like to thank all the community for the support and noise you're helping to make.