Developer reconsiders npm command line ad scheme after outcry

Software developer Feross Aboukhadijeh decided to suspend a financing experiment that brought text ads to the command line and critics of detractors.

Introduced on August 19, Aboukhadijeh's JavaScript package called financing represented an attempt to provide those in charge of maintaining open source projects a way to generate income from their work.

Over the years, many people who maintain open source projects have complained that companies and individuals take advantage of their work and benefit from it without returning anything. After all, open source does not come with a default revenue model.

Companies formed around open source projects have tried to deal with cloud providers they take without giving, changing the terms under which their projects are licensed, with varying degrees of success. Individual developers have sought other forms of payment, through donations and sponsorships, for example. And companies that serve the open source community have implemented systems such as GitHub sponsors to facilitate user contributions. But rewarding developers for work that benefits the public that uses software remains an unsolved problem.

After installing the package financing as a dependency on an existing JavaScript package, the developers who subsequently integrated that package into their own code – made using npm a line tool command to extract code modules from the npm register – you would see a text-based ad in the terminal.

Aboukhadijeh added funding to his JavaScript module standard to present ads to users standard .

"At a high level, an open source maintainer should be able to npm install funds on his project and start receiving money for his maintenance work," Aboukhadijeh explained in a blog post earlier in this week.

"Maintenance managers should not need to present fifty companies to find the odd one that is open to the idea of ​​supporting open source financially. This is not a job that most maintainers like to do, actually they are good or should do. "

Some developers expressed support for the Aboukhadijeh experiment, even if doubts persist about whether the ads represent the best way to admit open source At the same time, misleading ads on people without prior notice or consent alienated others: Objections came through comments from GitHub Issues and forums like Reddit.

As Vuk Petrovic, a software engineer at Gravic, said: "My terminal is the only last bastion, the last haven of peace that does not ceaselessly serve me ads of corporate lords throughout the day.

" I oppose vehemently to this idea because I think it fundamentally opposes the open source spirit that we have built for decades. Yes, it is important to help open source taxpayers and project owners, but ads are not the solution. "

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Hosting biz Linode who published an announcement through financing stopped doing so in response to the setback but supported Aboukhadijeh's general objectives. In a statement sent by email to The Register Blair Lyon, vice president of marketing for Linode, said: "We suspended the announcement after reflecting on the reaction of the developer community, but we are still fully committed to supporting developers like Feross and the general movement of free and open source software. "

The Register understands that NPM, the company that operates the r Eg NPM, plans to review its policies to ban packages that deliver ads. Meanwhile, Aboukhadijeh intends to explore other ideas of income generation.

"Approximately 100 percent of the Fortune 500 use open source code," Aboukhadijeh wrote in his publication. "Maintenance managers are just beginning to wake up to our own power. Hopefully, we'll be surprised. This will certainly not be the last open source financing experiment."

If Aboukhadijeh can find a widely acceptable way to make people online pay just for digital goods and labor, publishers, musicians and almost any other creator of online content struggling to secure a salary Worthy will want to know. ®

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