TEL AVIV, Israel, Dec. 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- xs:code today announced the launch of their monetization platform for open-source projects. The company, with a $500,000 investment led by gaming giant Plarium's co-founder Haim Turpiashvili, is taking a new approach to solving the sustainability challenges of open-source software, incentivizing developers to maintain their code by charging companies for using it.
Open-source software powers some of the best-known companies and apps used by billions every day. Open-source software runs more than half the world's websites, and 90% of all software is estimated to contain open-source components. Commercial software also often incorporates free open-source components, profiting from open-source developers' hard work.
Users of open-source software rely on volunteer code owners and maintainers to keep the projects working, secure and up-to-date. Volunteers can't always give an open-source project the time, attention or focus that it needs to be kept bug-free, up-to-date, and have current documentation. A thankless and rewardless role, developers can burn out under the pressure of user demands. This can be a problem for companies that rely on these open source projects for their core business needs.
Making open source sustainable and fair is a long-standing challenge. The vast majority of open-source projects earn next to nothing from voluntary donation systems. Big companies can hire maintainers for large-scale open-source projects they use, but this turns code contributors into waged workers, cutting across the freedom ethos of open source.
"We've spoken to open source developers with thousands of Github stars and millions of downloads each month, but have only ever made a few hundred dollars in donations over the years," said Netanel Mohoni, co-founder and CEO of xs:code.
xs:code takes an entirely new approach. It allows developers to offer subscription-based access to code on a private repository, while keeping a free version available on a public repository. xs:code handles the subscriptions, payments and supports automatic profit-sharing between open-source developers and their contributors.
xs:code allows for different licensing options, and developers can choose how the paid version differs from the free option. For example, open-source developers can put a project with a 'copyleft' licensed version of their code on GitHub that can be used for free by other open-source projects; companies who want to use that same code in a commercial product can buy a subscription for a permissive-licensed version through xs:code's platform. Another option is a 'freemium', or 'open core' model where the paid version has more features than the free public code.
Netanel Mohoni and Chen Ravid, two Israeli entrepreneurs, founded xs:code after struggling with outdated open-source software in a previous company.
"It was frustrating when an open-source project we needed was unmaintained," said Chen Ravid, xs:code's co-founder and VP Product. "Equally, I knew that I was using something that people built out of passion and without any compensation. There had to be a way for the open-source developers to get compensated that could keep them engaged in their projects."
To help open-source developers profit from their work and reach a wide audience of paying customers, xs:code also offers support with project promotion to help open-source projects find their market and grow their audience.
"People create open-source projects out of passion. It's not about the money," said Mr. Mohoni. "With xs:code, open-source developers and contributors can get the resources they need to improve and maintain their projects, while making it easier for companies to give back to the open-source community by paying for using the projects they rely on."