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Crowd-funding is working for Open Source projects

Recent success in one campaign, and the launch of another, prove the power of crowd-funding for open source projects.

By Bryan Lunduke on Wed, 03/27/13 - 10:52am.

Funding Open Source software isn't easy – heck, in some cases, it can be darn near impossible – but it is certainly a worthwhile goal. And, right now, we're seeing a number of people and organizations tackling this challenge.

As you may remember, last month the company behind the LiveCode development tool set up a Kickstarter campaign with the goal of creating an Open Source edition of their software. They set out to raise roughly $500,000 in order to fund the endeavor. And they nailed it.

RELATED: Can closed source software transition to the GPL successfully?

In the final days of the Kickstarter campaign, it seemed like success may not be on the table this time around. While they had raised a significant amount, they were still considerably short of their goal. Luckily, a surge of folks, I'm assuming some of you reading this are counted among them, pitched in at the last minute and took it over the finish line.

But that description really doesn't do this success justice. They ended up raising nearly $750,000. That’s 50% more than the base goal, all directed towards taking an existing (successful) Closed Source software and bringing it under an Open license, proving that, at least in specific circumstances, it is possible to fund the migration of a Closed Source product to an Open one – all through the power of the community. Simply glorious.

In other news, the developers behind the popular image organization tool Shotwell have started a crowd-funding campaign (in this case, through indiegogo) to fund the further development of Geary, their email client.

The approach is different – Geary is an existing, Open Source, application looking for continued development as they do not have the funding to continue it otherwise – but the goal is the same. Fund the development of new, open-licensed code. And the scope of work and target dollar amount is different too – in this case only $100,000. But the project looks to be, at first glance, every bit as valuable.

It will be interesting to see if the community at large will continue to fund some of these excellent projects. Here's hoping.