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curl receives $10K USD donation (haxx.se)
139 points by danso 19 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 45 comments

Crazy to think that curl is in nearly every piece of tech sold today[0], and is used in a large amount of the software on those tech products, yet $10k is the biggest donation it's received.

0: https://daniel.haxx.se/blog/2018/09/17/the-worlds-biggest-cu...

Not sure if it's unexpected because there's no expectation of a donation (at least not a widely known one).

I use wc but I don't donate to GNU/FSF (I'm sure some people do but almost no one I know does).

(just using `wc` as an example -- I'm well aware that `curl`'s utility is much greater. I use curl once in a while.)

I think it's more related to how "normalized" it is. You don't really view wc as solving a problem you had - you view it as something that's always been there. It's worked for decades, and will likely continue to work for decades.

People are only likely to donate to something that's solving a problem they care about.

How is it 'crazy to think'? To me it seems entirely expected that many are happy to leech off free work. Unfortunate, but expected.

If you compare it to other free things, it does seem odd. For example, kids are making a small living, sometimes a small fortune, playing video games live online with much fewer viewers/users than many open source projects like curl.

>free work


Pick one.

Free just means "given away without demanding money".

Demanding (or asking) and needing/appreciating are two different things.

So "given away without demanding money" does not necessarily imply "and it's a decent behaviour to leverage that free source, make millions off of it, and never give anything back". It only implies that it's perfectly legal.

Free means "without cost or payment", so turning around and suggesting that someone who rightfully uses a software provided under a "without payment" model is actually "leeching" because they do not offer payment just cannot logically follow.

Leeches take what is not theirs to take, that's the whole point. When you follow all the rules, you're not a leech, you're a user.

If curl does not want users to have access to their software for free, then change the model. It's not even shareware or nagware or anything. It's just free. But to insult users who follow the rules is ridiculous.

I agree with your points. Maybe a better word for a "leech" would be a "freeloader?"

I agree that if projects such as curl wanted payments, they would use different licenses. However, to me at least, it feels wrong when successful companies, e.g., BAT FAANG, use free software without giving anything back.

I enjoyed this blog post from Daniel too: https://daniel.haxx.se/blog/2019/04/29/what-is-the-incentive...

I suppose open source projects could change their license such that big FAANG companies have to pay for their use, and individuals and small business could still use them for free.

I see no downsides: if my company ever grew to FAANG proportions, I'd be happy to pay a few million dollars (then pocket change) to open source projects I used.

That would make them "formerly open source" projects.

AGPL or "pay for a commercial licence" is becoming more common. Still open-source, but if you don't want to open source all of your services, then you can pay for a commercial licence instead

I imagine this whole mess could have been avoided if the major 'managed service' providers/software-as-a-service providers chose to kick some of their profits up to the Free and Open Source projects they're profiting off.

As it is, we have Free software projects feeling cheated (understandably), and their only recourse is to change to more restrictive licences.

I don't imagine going AGPL would mean much for curl though, or other such applications. It's projects like MongoDB (no longer Free and Open Source software, according to Wikipedia at least) that we're normally thinking of when it comes to AGPL.

I don't know, e.g. Qt has a license for commercial use, but most people would say the project is open source.

According to this reddit thread [0], some important parts of Qt are not Free and Open Source software. That includes the Qt Quick compiler. It's true that some of what's under the 'Qt' umbrella, is available under the permissive 'weak copyleft' LGPL licence.

More generally:

When a library is released under a strong copyleft licence like the GPL, then you are welcome to make use of it, but you are required to release your software under that same licence (i.e. to make it Free and Open Source), if you publicly release it. They do not prohibit you from making money, nor do they single out large corporations for special hostile treatment. Any licence that does, is unlikely to be considered a Free Software licence, or an Open Source licence.

(The AGPL licence goes even further than the GPL, and can apply even if you don't release your software. This is relevant for the software-as-a-service model.)

[0] https://www.reddit.com/r/programming/comments/803fx9/qt_comm...

Only QT for device creation [0] is proprietary, everything else is under (L)GPL. If on the other hand you are talking about the optional commercial license for those who don’t want to comply with the (L)GPL, alternative licenses are something completely different.

[0]: https://www.qt.io/qt-for-device-creation/

I like how MS has done with this VS Community. It's full fledged VS Pro, but only free for companies with fewer than 250 PCs and less than $1M in ARR.

I would use GMAFIA instead of Netflix. I don't see them at the level of Apple, Google ... and the likes.

It's odd to have an acronym that includes Netflix but not Microsoft - I'll give you that.

What does the 'I' stand for?

My guess is IBM



He does mention sponsors that contribute (though amounts aren't shown) outside this program. https://curl.haxx.se/sponsors.html

Whatever I've made public, I don't set any expectations for it that would allow me to be let down. It'd be great if it helped me directly in the long run, but I don't expect it to come back.

The author is Daniel Stenberg, the lead developer of curl. A few months ago, I caught an amazing keynote where he walked through some of the crazy things you can do with it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7Mxq013Dy4

If you use curl, consider contributing via their Open Collective page: https://opencollective.com/curl Even if your employer doesn't have an "open source fund," many companies allow you to expense < $50/month with minimal approval.

Interesting footnote at the asterisk, that the Linux Foundation "didn't bother to respond". I thought of all entities, LF would appreciate something like curl.

The LF hasn't been about tools and software for quite a while. It's disappointing. I wish they'd change the name at this point. At least it would be honest.

> 100% of donations received go towards funding diversity programs.

Ref: https://www.linuxfoundation.org/about/donate/

> The LF hasn't been about tools and software for quite a while. It's disappointing. I wish they'd change the name at this point. At least it would be honest.

>> 100% of donations received go towards funding diversity programs.

Are there any organizations that use their donations to focus on supporting developers of actual open-source projects?

Diversity is great an all, but it makes more sense to focus on the people who are actually doing the work rather than the ones you hope might do the work.

That's a real shame because other than the note at the bottom, it doesn't really make clear where donations are going. I'd honestly admit that my belief was different to reality, and I'm not entirely certain what "funding diversity programs" means in this context.

I work with the LF and have now followed up with Daniel about partnering with us.

Diversity efforts refer to scholarships at LF-organized events such as https://events.linuxfoundation.org/kubecon-cloudnativecon-eu....

Thanks for the update, glad you've followed up now!

Are diversity scholarship applicants to KubeCon generally Kubernetes contributors?

Not necessarily. Here are some of the past ones:


Thank you, Indeed. It's easy to get bogged down and do nothing but cynically watch assets at the core of your business fail in slow motion, because they're in the commons; so acting anyway is laudable.

Good for them

I wonder why there aren't more shotgun style donations for these small ulities. Ie say 100k split over 100 most popular ulitities for security bounties etc

That would probably make a tangible impact on overall Internet security

Somewhat off topic, but it's very odd that the US won't let him visit, and the reasons aren't clear. https://daniel.haxx.se/blog/2018/07/28/administrative-purgat...

There is no indication in that post, that he was denied entry, simply that he was denied ESTA.

Some countries nationals are allowed travel by ESTA (such as mine, the UK) but certain conditions preclude it, so you apply for a visa, which is what he is in the process of doing during that post.

Not in that post, but there is another post from a year later saying his visa application still hasn't been processed, and even a page to track how long it has been which is approaching the 2 year mark:


That is, I'd say, an unreasonably long time.

They also spoke at a lot of conferences in 2019, and are going to speak at a lot as well in 2020. None of those conferences are in the US, and they are only attending Mozilla all-hands outside the US, so...

He should try for a special talent visa.


Why derail the conversation? This could easily go down a deep rabbit hole of nasty comments...

I bet you could submit a link from his April follow up and get some traction.

They should just update the curl license for all newer versions going forward to require any US based company to pay 1 million dollars to his account per binary distribution of curl.

The "What could possibly go wrong?" list would be quite long, but not being able to travel to the US is probably costing them money.

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