Meet and Greet the Community!

Welcome, Thomas! Thanks for the work you do.

Curious if you have a sustainable business model in place for yourselves going forward - or is it always going to be volunteer? Might be a topic for another thread.

  • Projects:
  • Sustainability:
    • Grew up with a strong contribution ethic, without recognising utility is not the same as value. Between my personal account and community account my projects get about 500 million downloads a month yet they only bring in a few dollars a month despite the full-time load they demand from my unpaid time. This usage-to-income ratio has gone on for over 15 years now, it lead me to philosophy and economics, it makes sense now. Interested in playing more sustainable games within open-source (such as flossbank, licensing experiments, or not solving alien issues unless paid or self-valuable), and disciplines to avoid the unsustainable traps (self-sacrificial faux-obligations to improve without compensation things you created but do not benefit from).
  • Location:
    • Digital nomad for most of my life for the benefits of self-heterodoxy and financial runway.
  • Other:

Kia ora, all.

I’m Dave Lane, from Christchurch, New Zealand. I’m a long time Free and Open Source Software advocate and developer. I originally moved from the US to NZ to work as a research scientist in the mid 1990s. The day I arrived, (having seen it in my postgrad UNIX lab in the US and knowing we couldn’t afford SGI machines at the Forest Research Institute (now Scion Research) in NZ) I first installed Linux on my work computer, and the rest is history. I left my research role because I found the organisation too capricious/precious about “IP” (my work was funded by the NZ taxpayer, but the organisation forced people to pay again, and tried to patent everything - not my preferred approach) and so I decided to start my own company. I ran Egressive, a small pure-play FOSS dev (specialising in Drupal implementations) and system integration shop (our work was copyleft licensed, unless upstream differed) from 1998-2012, when I sold it. I now work for the Open Education Resource Foundation as their Open Source Technologist.

I’m one of 2 full-time staff (and the only technologist). We’re aiming to democratise higher education by creating an openly licensed university to provide very affordable opportunities for people in parts of the world where higher education is generally unavailable, particularly for women in the developing world. In our first year, we’ve had people from at least 100 countries take our courses, more than half of whom identify as women.

The only tech requirement for learners is an internet connected device. Everything we do is open, mobile-friendly, runs on FOSS, and is licensed for re-use. We’re lucky that we also all work remotely, so Covid19 hasn’t been a big inconvenience for us, but we did parley our experience into an initiative to help educators in the developing world move online, with some help from the Commonwealth of Learning and UNESCO among others.

Beyond my education work, I’m also a vocal advocate for doing things more openly in NZ (particularly education and gov’t - I’m a champion for open software standards!) and have been involved in the NZ Open Source Society (an NZ registered charity) for many years, including 9 years as chair. Now serving as deputy chair (both are unpaid voluntary positions).

Something interesting about myself… hmm. I’m a closet herpetologist who’s chosen to live in a country with precious few herps… and I’ve been paid to dance for people.

I look forward to collaborating with you all!


Hey there, y’all!

I’m Gina Helfrich – currently I work as a Program Officer on the Global Tech team at Internews and I’m based in Austin, Texas, USA. I run a program called BASICS that’s specifically trying to intervene to make a positive impact on the sustainability of privacy and security focused open source projects.

Prior to Internews I was Director of Communications and Culture at NumFOCUS, where I worked closely with leaders of scientific software projects on the long-term sustainability of their communities and tools.

I occupy sort of a weird place in the community insofar as I’m not a developer and have never been a consistent contributor to any particular OSS project, but on the other hand I’ve been deeply involved in the OSS sustainability problem space for 5+ years now and have productive professional relationships with a lot of maintainers.

I arrived here via a MozFest panel and look forward to learning more!


Welcome, @balupton, @lightweight, and @Dr-G! Super good to have you all here. :slight_smile:


Hi everyone! My name is Zach and I’m the Founder at Exygy. As a certified B Corp, we use Design and Technology to improve lives.

One of our initiatives is Bloom Housing. Bloom is an open source web portal for folks to find and apply to affordable housing. We have implemented it in multiple jurisdictions.

While it’s “open source” it’s just been us working on it to date, so we haven’t had need for much of a formal governance model. We’re now starting to get interest from outside contributors and it’s a good time for us to be thinking about more formal governance. I’m wondering if this community could point us at some exemplars that we could reference. Specifically, we’re looking for governance models that make sense for a small projects (we’ll never be huge), and potentially ones that accommodate multiple types of contributing organizations (in our case, government, civil society, private sector, and funders).

I read through this “Choose a Governance Model” post in the Governance Working Group of this community, which then landed me on CommunityRule. It’s super valuable, but we’re looking for something a layer down from where they’re playing now: examples of governance models for actual open source projects similar to ours that we could start from.

Any suggestions welcome. Thank you all for creating and curating this community!


Hi @zberke,

welcome! and thanks for sharing your situation with us :slight_smile:

You can find our advances on governance models in the tag governance of the forum. From there you can find references to resources such as:

I think those points summarize the main advances we have been doing in the last months. We have now join forces and created the Governance Guidance Working Group.

All in all, it’s true we don’t have an exhaustive list of examples of governance models, maybe because governance models are still not explicit in common projects :thinking: (and that is something we are trying to address).

Would you help us to identify what could be interesting to create? Feel free to drop a message in the governance forum, so we can discuss it carefully :nerd_face:


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Hello! My name is Anthony, I use the pronouns he/him.

I’m a programmer from New Jersey, and I found Sustain through my search for resources on how to grow and improve my community of developers!

Brief version: I help run the League of Extraordinary Foundry VTT Developers which was created to solve very specific-to-our-industry-and-platform problems. Foundry VTT is a commercial platform for playing roleplaying games like Dungeons and Dragons virtually, which has spawned a cottage industry of Patreon-funded artists and Patreon-funded open source plugin developers. I was very interested to read @jwf’s origin story, because it’s very similar to our challenges!

I’ve also recently begun volunteering with SPDX-legal to learn more about how they operate. I just reviewed my first new license proposal for them last week and I look forward to more opportunities to help SPDX with their mission.

I plan on being active in the conversation because I want to give back! The podcast in particular has given me countless insights into the work of sustainable community management and open leadership, and I plan to put those to action and reporting on our journey where relevant!


Welcome @anthonyronda

The SPDX project is interesting because of its potential to improve license compliance across all open source projects. I always use their License-Identifiers.

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Hi @anthonyronda and welcome! I echo @GeorgLink’s appreciation for SPDX’s work. I work at the UNICEF Office of Innovation on Digital Public Goods, and we adopted a while ago SPDX identifiers to standardize our our registry of digital public goods. I love it :heart:


@lacabra please be aware that SPDX lawyers erased the concept of Public Domain, which is releasing code to be unconstrained by copyright regulations, making it impossible to opt out from copyright laws. If you require SPDX, you’re essentially making it impossible to use projects like SQLite in your work, or in the work of UNICEF contractors.

Thanks @abitrolly. I would like to better understand what you are suggesting, because I am not sure I follow your argument:

  1. You mention that “SPDX lawyers erased the concept of Public Domain”. Can you provide context or links for this statement? I still see SPDX listing both CC-0 and The Unlicense which are essentially variations of a public domain dedication.
  2. The work of UNICEF does not require the use of SPDX identifiers anywhere. We do use SPDX identifiers in one of our projects. My understanding is that SPDX is an open specification/standard for anyone to use, but using it does not impose any restrictions where it is being used. Correct me if I am wrong on my understanding.
  3. UNICEF chooses to license their work from a number of open-source software and open content licenses. I suppose that your comments stem from the fact that this repo is licensed under the Unlicense, where we intentionally choose this particular license for the greater reuse of the (mostly) content stored in that repo. I would love to understand how choosing the most permissive license makes anything impossible downstream, as I am open to changing the license if that results in greater reusability.

Thank you! :pray:


@lacabra we can discuss the concept of public domain dedication vs licensing in a separate topic. It should be a basic human freedom / right to dedicate a work into public domain with no implied fears or questions asked. Lawyers I know could consult people why CC-0 is bad for code and why The Unlicense may not be suitable for art according to copyright law. But defending public domain as an alternative to copyright requires a different approach. Forcing people to choose SPDX for CC-0, Unlicense, WTFPL or any other license equivalent instead of opting out from copyright may leaves an impression that everybody is happy about the copyright, but that is not true. And as more projects include SPDX validators and ask for valid license identifiers, we dilute and lose the voice of people who would prefer the public domain to be a simple and convenient tool to release their work without the defaults of responsibility and legal knowledge that is imposed by the copyright law.


Just to point the public domain concept is not the same in every jurisdiction, AFAIK. In the Spanish case it covers two cases: public state owning and, probably our case, at extinction of the exploitation rights[1].

I’m not an expert and I can’t go deeper in this area.

[1] - BOE-A-1996-8930 Real Decreto Legislativo 1/1996, de 12 de abril, por el que se aprueba el texto refundido de la Ley de Propiedad Intelectual, regularizando, aclarando y armonizando las disposiciones legales vigentes sobre la materia. (Spanish, sorry)

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Welcome, @anthonyronda! Great to have you here. Would love to have you on the podcast to talk about your work with VTT. I’ll send a DM.

Hi Everyone. I’m Nebai Leon, and I’m working on a project related with Blockchain technologies: Nebai Revelations. This is based on an idea that have concerned me in the last six months, as I personally have been working hard on conceptualizing business models around the development of intellectual goods; since they’re considered public goods that cannot be limited to scarcity-based models for value capturing. Also I’ve published an article in substack exploring economic models for FOSS.

Glad to know you. This group is amazing!!


Welcome @nebairevelations! There are a few other cryptofuturists working here that are interested in the space. I hope to see some cool changes over the next few years. Check out our podcasts with Kevin Owocki for more, for sure.

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Hey Sustainoss Fam :wave:, My name is Siddharth Shivkumar and I am from India. I go by he/him pronouns. I started my career as a Blockchain Intern and later got a full-time role in an MNC in the AI space.:technologist: A couple of years down the lane, I realized that I enjoy working more with communities and would want to contribute to them. I now work as a Community Manager at Aviyel, trying to build a community of open-source enthusiasts that help sustain open-source projects.

I think sustainability is the only way to keep a project relevant and updated. And, unlike a lot of people around this space, I believe, it’s okay to incentivize contributors who contribute to this mission.

Fun fact: I’m a numismatist, or in simpler words, money excites me :joy:

Looking forward to learn from the community here!


I have been a member for a while, but I sort of missed this topic until just now, so I figure better late than never yeah?

My name is Osioke Itseuwa, I work remotely from Lagos, Nigeria. I am the community lead at Pavilion. Pavilion is a distributed global cooperative of freelancers specialising in building online communities on the open source tools that power them. We are showing how communities can be used to foster a new economic model for the gig economy that empowers workers directly.

Before joining Pavilion, I was the primary Community Advocate at Discourse, building out our community initiatives and serving as the primary Community expert to our Enterprise clients.

My first experience with communities was back in 2009 during University where I found that when fellow course mates came together in groups to discuss a topic, each individual became a sum of everyone’s knowledge on the topic in the group. This led me to start a now defunct community association called OpenIT to bring together all the skilled IT students so everyone could learn from each other and help the businesses on campus grow digitally.

Since then, I have worked in different roles and organisations and after realising that I always approached my work from an open source community-centred perspective, I pivoted to working as a community professional and an open sourcerer. This has led me to work with, contribute, manage and own the development of communities and products with companies like GitHub (as part of their devrel efforts in Sub Saharan Africa), Google SSA,

My current career focus these days is looking to understand and contribute to the evolution of communities and open source as they enable new forms of business and work. I’ve shared some of my work on this here previously.

In summary, I am a lean community, product, growth and open source professional with excellent strategy and retail experience spanning 10 years.


Hi all, Just learned about this group at the EU Open Source Policy Summit 2024 today. I’m Jeroen Ticheler. I have a keen interest in developing sustainable FOSS with a focus on Geospatial. Since January I’m back on the Board of Directors of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation where I hope to contribute to the further growth of the community, the use of open source geospatial technology and to the sustained and profitable development business models within our community.

GeoNetwork opensource was founded by me back in 2001 while working at the UN. GeoNetwork is widely used by governments to publish geospatial data and services. Among others it is the backbone of the INSPIRE GeoPortal in Europe and over 85% of the INSPIRE national endpoints in the EU. It also thrives in other Spatial Data Infrastructures.

My company is GeoCat with entities in The Netherlands and in Canada.

Looking forward to learn more within this community and make new connections that can foster our common growth goals. Feel free to connect!

Cheers, Jeroen