Getting support to curl

The other day I read this blog post by Stormy Peters, talking about getting people to sponsor or support Open Source projects and she continued to describe the Gnome approach and a bunch of projects that accept donations etc etc.

It made me (not too surprising) think about the situation for our little project cURL. We’re independent of any umbrella organization (GNU, ASF, etc) and we don’t have any vendor or company backing that pays for daily development or maintenance. We don’t have any legal entity or formal organization behind the project. We’re all just a bunch of people on some mailing lists.

We do have occasional companies and vendors who step up and pay individual developers to add features or provide various kinds of support, but they’re all basically single-shot occurrences and nothing that’s done on an ongoing basis.

Or products are used in all Linux distros, by hundreds of companies and so on. We’re a fairly active team, continuously working on bug fixes, tweaks and adding new features.

What can we do to make us more attractive for more support or active sponsoring by some vendor(s)?

Would joining an “umbrella” organization or forming a legal entity make it any more likely to happen?

Isn’t it so, that if the project is mature and good enough already, there’s actually very very little incentive for any company to take it under their wings and rather the market economy makes it a lot more profitable to simply use it as it is and if – at worst – in the end something really hits the fan, you can pay someone at that crisis point to fix up the immediate problem. And then continue like before.

And to be honest, I think we are proving to everyone that it works this way by continuing to deliver rock solid quality software. For no price. Completely open source. Year after year. Darnit, it’s just too fun to stop!