Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Grassmann.jl dev looking for science funding
20 points by DreamScatter 3 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 6 comments
Greetings, I am the developer of Grassmann.jl working on creating more free software for engineers and researchers. I don't have a career and really need some funding to be able to continue creating more value in terms of basic science research and free software.

My goal is to create software foundations based on geometric algebra for scientists and engineers. I believe this work to be essential for the advancement of science and it must be open source, so that it can be built on by future researchers.

Please consider sponsoring Grassmann.jl at https://github.com/chakravala/Grassmann.jl

To give some honest feedback, I think you need to put a lot more work into explaining what geometric algebra is and what the code you show in Grassmann.jl does before you can expect to get any serious funding. If nobody understands what you're talking about in the README, why would they want to fund it? Even looking in the comments here, currently the two comments complimenting you are two people who have no idea what it actually is. That might be enough to garner a passing interest, and maybe pocket-change donations, but it's not enough to get serious investments.

Furthermore, the sorts of sketchy compiler abuse being done in Grassmann and your refusal to address it until someone pays you to do so does not send the sort of message potential funding sources or people evaluating whether or not they should adopt your software want to hear.

To be clear, I do think you've done some seriously impressive work on Grassmann.jl and I wish you the best in pursuing this. I hope this is taken as constructive feedback.

Thanks for the condescending feedback, but I don't "abuse" the compiler, as if the compiler can be abused in the first place? If someone has some serious concerns about code I post on the internet, feel free to open an issue demonstrating an actual flaw, and I might consider addressing it.

Have you considered building a company around the open source to fund it?

To get started on the best current thinking, that I know of, check our https://costs.media

JJ, hey guy who put that together and champions COSS, has a great interview with the CEO of GitLab. Highly recommended if you'd like to learn about their learnings about building open source and companies. I think the prevailing idea to squash is that by building a company you no longer serve your base users (scientists for you / developers for COSS more generally). There is a great middle ground. Maybe also consider a trademark for selective enforcement of who can make money by offering this as a service. (I personally think the MongoDB strategy around TMs might be the best model right now)

I haven't used this myself, but I seem to keep hearing about it, from many quarters, and how extremely useful it is. It's hard to get this kind of work funded, so it's more important than usual for individuals to help if they're in a position to do so.

Hi. Don’t understand your work on Grassman.jl (hopefully only yet, I plan to study differential algebra), but admire it a lot! Thanks for this and other packages and your contributions to Julia community.

Here I have found nice list of micro grants and fellowships (not at traditional university). Maybe you’ll find something worth applying for.


My very humble list of things to look into about FOSS funding:

- Make a blog post about your situation, where do you work now (it doesn't have to be identifying info, something like a PhD student in Germany), what are your (social & technical) goals with this project, what about financial goals...etc. By "social" I mean why things like "why is this open source?" and "why do you think it ought to be done?"

- If the choice of AGPL is not based on strong political opinions, you might want to reevaluate that if you are planning for some commercial adoption. A lot of companies have policies on the inclusion of GPL code. MIT/BSD might be more viable in the long term.

- Read about people making money from FOSS, check their reports on their situation, and dig down to see how they started.

- I feel more confident donating when I know how much a creator/dev is making per month (via donations) and what their next goal is. (You know, these Patreon progress bars)

- Options are paralyzing. Choose one funding site to be the main one. You could leave the rest under an "other ways to donate" link.

- Be open to doing some freelancing until you can sustain yourself. (Math tutoring, Software gigs, consulting)

- A lot of the time, the thing that ends up actually making money is a side product sold on top of the original code. You could think about videos teaching how to use the library, consulting, feature requests...and such.

- People donate to the things they feel value and potential. The magnitude of your users is going to be a lot less than other projects out there. So, you might need to get more out of your users, deliver more value to them, and/or get researchers to write on how valuable your library was to them, so that non-expert, science enthusiasts understand the value proposition better.

- I don't know much about the field, but you might benefit from writing some bindings/wrappers for your library to be used from Python/Matlab/Fortran considering Julia's current market penetration.

- I know this sucks, but social media is pretty important if you want to be making money from donations. You want to follow people doing research in relevant areas and who might use your library. Join in anytime you can add something useful to the conversation. Get people to get used to your name and build creditability. Go where the users are and build an honest, trustworthy image for yourself there. EDIT: Ok, I see you have been doing that in discourse.julialang. Good job and continue ahead. Maybe after you setup a proper announcement for your open work, you can link to it in your signature that goes along with your posts/comments.


# Things to read (I am posting HN links because comments sometimes have hidden gems):

- I Quit My Job to Live on Donations to Zig (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17256394) [first comment is spot on]

- Why I'm donating $150/month (10% of my income) to the musl libc project https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20268087

- I Just Hit $100k/year On GitHub Sponsors (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23613719)

- I'm going to work full-time on free software (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18920604)

- The happinesses and stresses of full-time FOSS work (https://drewdevault.com/2020/01/21/Stress-and-happiness.html)

- The path to sustainably working on FOSS full-time (https://drewdevault.com/2018/02/24/The-road-to-sustainable-F...)


# Off topic:

- If you still want to do YouTube, 3b1b open sourced the library he uses to make his videos.


- Maybe there is a niche for youtube vids for advanced students studying maths at home these days. IDK, that is not really my field.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact