Project financing

This is the follow-up budget to Horizon 2020 where most (if not all) ActivityPub financial support from the EU came in the past 3 years. So it was expected that Horizon Europe would keep financing free software and the ActivityPub community. But it looks like we’re going to have to fall back to NLnet proper, and alternate sources outside of Horizon Europe, unless there’s a CSA with free software in its mission. Maybe @j8ter knows more about what’s cooking there.

It’s a difficult task though, since “users” were trained to understand online services as “gratis”. Pricing something is not easy: too low a price, and people do not value the service ; too high, and they go elsewhere.

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Is there a source for this? If anything deserves government funding I’d say it free software especially that which supports a more sane society.

I suppose part of our task in creating something more sustainable is to ensure all parties needs are being met. If I am hosting a service and I like a cost-based approach, I could share what my costs are including time spent in administration and being on-call to maintain the uptime that users expect. People may quarrel with my hourly rate in which case, maybe I should hire them. Value-based pricing is another approach but not great when the alternative is free and subsidized by a very strange monetary environment. In a market with good competition cost and value tend to converge so profits are minimal.

Pricing is certainly a challenge but broadly-speaking, it’s not a new one. A business will typically do a survey or make a good guess, then provide discounts and bundles for more price-sensitive customers, premium memberships and perks (like Patreon and Kickstarter) for those who want to help more. Then there’s different framing like reddit’s paying for server-time or merch that helps the whole business survive.

Now I’m curious to know how hard it is to add any sort of payment information to the various software of the Fediverse. Searches for payment, paypal, and bitcoin had no hits in Mastodon’s codebase but a couple in Diaspora.