Balancing Makers and Takers to scale and sustain Open Source, Dries Buytaert, Sept 2019

To scale and sustain Open Source ecosystems in a more efficient and fair manner, Open Source projects need to embrace new governance, coordination and incentive models.

Dries does a great, long write up, including a deep dive into Ostrom, including definitions and illustrations of different types of goods:


For end users, Open Source projects are public goods ; the shared resource is the software . But for Open Source companies, Open Source projects are common goods ; the shared resource is the (potential) customer .

However, when the success of an Open Source project depends largely on one or more corporate sponsors, the Open Source community should not forget or ignore that customers are a common good. Because a customer can’t be shared among companies, it matters a great deal for the Open Source project where that customer ends up. When the customer signs up with a Maker, we know that a certain percentage of the revenue associated with that customer will be invested back into the Open Source project. When a customer signs up with a customer free-rider or Taker, the project doesn’t stand to benefit. In other words, Open Source communities should find ways to route customers to Makers.