We’re back online!

There has been a lot going on recently, even though we’ve been so silent. We’ve been reorganizing everything to move to a more distributed organization. We’ve participated in the creation of Happy Dev, which is a network of developers and professionals of the web. With this community, we’ve worked on lots of exciting projects, including tools helping move to a more distributed web. We’ve gathered a lot of people, and worked on the governance and cooperation between networks. We’ve done a lot of exciting stuff, and we’ll tell you about it all soon. Stay tuned!

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Taking Open Funding to RMLL, Montpellier

Look out Montpellier, Open Funding crew members will soon be arriving. With tickets booked, I’m looking forward to the 15th Free Software World Meeting in France, where Open Funding CEO Sylvain Le Bon will present his speech on “Building a sustainable business model with your community” at 11:40 next Thursday (10th).

I shall present a series of crowdfunding workshops over Thursday and Friday – look out for posters at the conference, which will include workshop times and directions.

RMLL Banner

Place de la Comédie, Montpellier

Place de la Comédie, Montpellier. © J-L Zimmermann. CC-BY

Workshops:

  1. Crowdfunding 101 in 15 minutes
  2. Legal considerations for crowdfunders
  3. TBA

At our stand in the RMLL activities room, we’ll be proudly presenting Valentina, Gregorio, and Novius OS – the latest Free Software projects to launch funding campaigns on Open Funding. See you in Montpellier!

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It is time to open the world

Today we’re uncovering our new campaign “Open the World“: a drive to encourage innovative open source projects to get backing from their users. These projects do more than just develop software, they contribute to a more fair and open world, based on the sharing of knowledge.

This month, three exciting creative projects are joining #OpenTheWorld: Novius OS, a multimedia publishing platform, Valentina, a clothing pattern designer, and Gregorio, a gregorian chant musical score editor.

They’re calling for you to back their new features and ideas. So jump in and take this chance to Open The World of creativity!

 

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Gregorio is opening the world of Gregorian chants!

Gregorian chants have been sung for centuries, and are still popular today, with a lot of bands very active today like Gregorian. But Gregorian chants need a special writing, and no suitable software exist for that today. Fortunately, today there is Gregorio, and we’re glad to announce this project is joining the first session of the #OpentheWorld campaign. They’re adding a bunch of great features to make Gregorian chants writing easy and open, so if you want to open the culture, don’t wait and go support them!

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Novius OS is opening the world of Multimedia publication!

Novius OS is a powerful multimedia publication tool, designed for communication professionals and Internet-lovers. It is already used by major companies around the world to publish any kind of content on the web. It is with real pleasure that we’re announcing today their participation to the first wave of the #OpenTheWorld campaign. They’re planing new features that will really improve their application, so if you’re on the web, and wish that all the content could be published more easily with more freedom, come and support them!

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Valentina is opening the world of Clothing design!

We’re very happy to announce that Valentina is joining the first session of #OpenTheWorld! Valentina is a young and very promising pattern design software for clothing. It aims at bringing clothing design closer to the people who wear it, so that it can better fit their taste, size and style. Valentina’s team is now working on a set of new features that will bring that software to a new level. So if you wear clothes and think we should open the way they’re made, be sure not to miss this campaign!

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We’ve ditched MailChimp for Free Software PHPList, working on API

PHPList LogoI’m proud to say that the move from proprietary Mail Chimp to Free Software PHPList has been completed. In addition, I’m going to be helping to improve and extend the PHPList public API to allow for closer integration into crowdfunding campaigns.

Good newsletter management software is critical for effective communication, both for crowdfunding platforms like Open Funding, and also crowdfunding campaign managers like Susan at Valentina (she’ll start funding on June 16th with a handful of other projects – stay tuned). Proprietary tools are very popular, with MailChimp in the lead. However PHPList is a competitive Free Software alternative, without the nasty license restrictions. Open Funding has taken advantage of their offer of free hosted accounts for other Free Software projects.

And I’ll take advantage of the additional freedom our new mailer offers by refreshing and extending its public API on the 14th and 15th of June, when I’ll be joined by Michiel Dethmers, PHPList CEO, and other developers for a weekend-long sprint. The Open Funding technical team are hoping to integrate PHPList commands directly into the Open Funding dashboard. The plan is to provide simple “subscribe” and “unsubscribe” buttons in an Open Funding release later this year. During the sprint we’ll be looking at more advanced function calls too, like adding and removing newsletters and their subscribers remotely.

So if you’re in Berlin, Manchester, or London at the weekend, and have some coding smarts to share, come by and say “hi”!

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The revolution is yours!

We discussed recently how projects can adapt to the Open Source paradigm, basing their progress on user contributions. But as a user, you might be wondering how you can get involved in a project you find interesting. There are actually many ways to get involved. Let’s look at some of them.
The consumer phase

As the “1% rule” states, the vast majority of users in a community just consume the content generated by others. This makes sense, because when you first discover a community, you investigate it before eventually feeling able to contribute to it. So here are a few things you can do:

  • Just use it! The more people that use the software, the stronger its community. It may be hard to realize in the consumption model that we live in, but Open Source  projects are not made by them for me, but instead by us for everyone. So just trying it out is already joining the community.
  • Learn about it. There are people behind that project. Who are they? Why do they do it? How do they organize? Learning about the project will make you a closer part of it, and will probably help you get the most out of it. You will discover new uses that you had never thought of, and maybe a rich community who will be able to help you.

The contributor phase

It’s only when people start feeling at home in the community that they start getting involved in it. They start by improving the content and helping others in the community.

  • Promote it and help others. Show other people what they can do, and help them. Improve the tutorial or make a blog post about it. Remember, the bigger the community, the stronger it is. So every time someone joins in, you’ll get a better product yourself.
  • Give feedback and fix it. You think it could be improved? You have new ideas? You want someone to fix this bug that has been bothering you? Just say it! All feedback and comment can be valuable. And don’t forget you can even correct the spelling mistakes you may run into. It may look like a tiny contribution, but that’s what the community is made of. And it will help you get used to the process, and eventually maybe make a bigger contribution.
  • Adapt it and translate it. Communities share their work around the world. But the context is not the same everywhere. Translating the product in your language or adapting it to your local reality is very important as it enables the community to grow in new places and environments. This diversity is what makes open source strong, and every local flavor is a major help to the community.

The creator phase

People who contribute regularly may eventually feel empowered enough to actually create content of their own that they’ll give to the community.

  • Build a local team. You can buy the tools to produce furniture or cars for your neighborhood and actually make a living out of it. You can also create a local user group to help local people use the software. This group will become a hub for the community and the incarnation of the community on which people will rely.
  • Create it. Of course the best way to contribute is to actually create content that will be added to the ones the community already uses. A feature or a plug-in, a brand new design of an object the community didn’t have before. Once you have the skills and understand how the community works, add your own signature!

It’s important to note here that the number of creators isn’t fixed to 1%. In fact studies have shown that this number tends to increase over time for lasting projects, and the same applies to contributors. If people feel empowered and included, they will naturally tend to participate more and more, and move towards the center of the community. But the community needs to be built correctly, and particularly, the values need to be clear and agreed among the members, the interest people have to contribute should be clear and shared, getting involved should be very easy, if not trivial, and, most important of all, people should be respected and participation valued. People need to feel respect and belonging to get involved. Otherwise they’ll just leave and the community will disappear.

Of course, you don’t necessarily have the skills or the time to create your own content. But that shouldn’t stop you from participating! This is why we’ve created Open Funding, the co-funding platform of Free Software and Open Source content. You can contribute to the new feature you need by funding the creator who will work on it. You’re part of the community, contribute and make the product your own!

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