What the FOSS
The S stands for Support.
I love Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) – I regularly use Open Source frameworks and libraries in personal and commercial projects. I contribute code to Open Source projects and support the maintainers I rely heavily on with tips, GitHub Sponsorships, and buying licenses when they become available.
I create and maintain a few Open Source Libraries myself - one of them is quite popular: the unofficial but only PHP SDK for Firebase. I wish I could be humble about it, but at the same time, I don't: the SDK and its related components combined have more than 2,8K GitHub Stars, 400K monthly downloads and rising, and 15M downloads in total. One could be tempted to say that I mostly do FOSS (Firebase Open Source Software).
But here's why the F in FOSS stands for "frustration": Firebase is a commercial app development platform by Google. I'm sure some people use Firebase for their static websites or pet projects, but most are using it to make money on a large scale.
My gripe is not at all with the developers who use the SDK! My mission is to make the work of all developers (myself included) more productive and enjoyable, and I'm incredibly pleased that I can do it with the SDK. I love the positive feedback I receive. I am super grateful that I have a handful of longstanding, endearing GitHub Sponsors who fund me out of their pockets.
My growing frustration is that employers use me (and other FOSS maintainers) as their free-of-charge developer for their profit - many of them might not realize it, making it even worse.
I have invested countless hours maintaining and adding new features to the SDK, updating its documentation, and providing support on GitHub, StackOverflow, and a (now closed for the same reason) Discord Server.
I'm not able or willing to do it anymore: my time is precious, and if I'm not being recompensated for spending it, I need to reclaim it.
So, without further ado:
Changed Terms of Support (TOS) for my Firebase-related Open Source Projects
First and foremost:
The Firebase Admin SDK for PHP will remain Open Source and maintained. A GitHub sponsorship is not required to access new features and bug fixes.
- Only the latest major version of the SDK and related libraries will be supported
- Only the latest Laravel and Symfony versions will be supported
- Only actively supported PHP versions will be supported
- There are the following new GitHub Sponsors tiers:
- Firebase Open Source Sponsor (50$/month) for Open Source Maintainers who provide a link to their Open Source Project
- Firebase Bronze Sponsor (500$/month), meant for Freelancers given they provide a link to their Website or LinkedIn profile
- Firebase Silver Sponsor (1,000$/month), meant for freelancers or businesses with less than 10 employees who provide a link to their Website or LinkedIn profile.
- Firebase Gold Sponsor (2,500$/month)
- Sponsors will be featured with a logo and link to their website in the README files of all projects listed above.
- Sponsors will be invited to join a private Slack Workspace
- Feature Requests will be queued unless created or backed by sponsors of the above tiers.
- Bug reports will be handled if they are apparent or include self-contained code snippets or a link to an example repo to reproduce them
- Support requests ("How do I...") are reserved for GitHub sponsors
- Sponsors are aware that I am not obligated to fulfill feature requests, especially not time-bound ones, and that their Sponsorship has the sole purpose of supporting the maintenance and development of software they rely on.
- The terms apply to all Firebase-related projects in the kreait, BESTE, and jeromegamez GitHub namespaces
If this seems too much or expensive, consider how much one senior developer costs per month or even daily if they're a freelancer.
I hope I was able to explain my motives sufficiently, and I look forward to your reactions and feedback as this situation evolves. Having my work appropriately funded or having more time on my hands, I will be equally happy!
If you have any questions or, as a commercial entity, a counter-offer, please let me know – you can reach me on Twitter or via email.