Re: The curl bus factor


I use curl a lot. In fact we all use (lib)curl a lot throughout the day without even knowing. As a sustainer, this concerns me:

Do I know who would pick up the project and move on if I die today? No. We’re a 100% volunteer-driven project. We create one of the world’s most widely used software components (easily more than three billion instances and counting) but we don’t know who’ll be around tomorrow to work on it. I can’t know because that’s not how the project works.

Basically, in a nutshell, if the author of curl, Daniel Stenberg dies tomorrow, the future of curl is up-in-the-air.

This is one project billions of people use each day without any governance. With Daniel leaving/left Mozilla, maybe he can join the Linux Foundation and/or get help establishing one? If he doesn’t want to join a foundation, what other options does he have?

FWIW I have nothing against Daniel, in fact, I’m a huge fan (he knows)! All I want is curl to survive for as long as it is needed. The current situation puts that in jeopardy.


Maybe the Core Infrastructure Initiative would be willing to fund development of curl, since it is an important tool?


Yes good call. I found this interesting:

So I guess one goal of receiving funding by the CII would be getting curl to “gold” level criteria?


Some curl updates.


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I didn’t know that curl is used this widely, it’s mind blowing.

On the other hand, I think I wouldn’t worry about the bus factor of curl. If it’s established itself at this level, even if something happens to the core maintainers, some institution would step in (like CII, as you’re already looking into it) and take the control of the project. That’s the beauty of open source.

The worse scenario would be, that the technology starts changing and curl cannot keep up with these changes with its limited resources. Even if it’s highly adopted in the industry at the moment, it could start dying, especially if there will be other ones who can fill the gap about these new demands.

Once in a while I think about jQuery for instance. How successful it was. Probably every major/active website was using it and now slowly it’s losing all that attention.

What would happen if we could make it “sustainable”? Of course, now one could guarantee that they would come up with the right solutions, but is it possible that the whole “web industry” lost some years over there?



Don’t let search interest confuse you with actual use. I helped manage for 2 years and while a lot of people were saying “jQuery is dead” each year the numbers went up. The reasoning for this is the following reasons:

  1. Bootstrap, the most popular most popular front-end component library relies on jQuery
  2. WordPress plugins.
    WordPress is another technology that isn’t as cool as it use to be, yet in 2019, 33% of websites still use it. That’s a 6% increase from 2017!
  3. A lot of sites rarely update their dependencies. The good ol’ “if it works don’t fix it” mentality (that I personally agree with).


jQuery is currently the most popular technology in this category

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Hi Justin,

Little bit late reply but thanks for sharing these links. This is a great insight that I wasn’t aware of.

On the other hand, “actual usage” doesn’t also mean that there is a future:

… when compared to the 2016 results, with jQuery usage falling 19.20% …

Of course no need to argue about this part. I hope I’m wrong and jQuery will continue to be widely used.

For me what is important, that there is a successful initiative in the market, almost everyone is using it, relying on it, but it still doesn’t capture any meaningful resources (that we can compare to a commercial success).

Like in any other organization, more resources (money) would mean attracting/hiring better talents, using professional services when necessary, having a room for some failures, or basically allowing you to keep delivering what you are good at.

Today we are failing to reward our “open source” entrepreneurs.

It seems to me that the economy (the way of distributing the resources) is very outdated when it comes to open source and/or digital goods in general. What is “sales”, or “price” in the new digital context?

Can we distribute our resources by using built-in revenue systems, that once the usage of your product increases (more users, more dependencies, more downloads?), your income increases accordingly?

I’m sure there will be many gaps to be filled when it comes to building such systems but at least we could start trying.

I’m planning to write more under “Experimental ideas” thread.

Thanks and happy Easter!