When Companies Sponsor Their Employees to Contribute to Open Source Software
WordPress, the popular open source CMS, powers a reported 43%+ of the web, including this site. It is backed by a global community of contributors who volunteer their time in all sorts of ways, from code to documentation to training. But did you know that many of the project’s biggest contributors are sponsored by their employer to provide that time?
As we discussed with Brad Williams of WebDevStudios, the success of WordPress has created an economy around the software, growing and launching many businesses that serve the needs of its users, from personal blogs to major corporations. And one of the way those companies give back is through these sponsorships.
No company is more tied to WordPress than Automattic, the owners of WordPress.com, which was founded by the co-founder of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg. Hugh Lashbrooke is the head of community education at Automattic, which sponsors him for 40 hours a week, primarily to contribute to WordPress’ training team.
Hugh joins us on this episode to give us an inside look at these sponsorship arrangements and how they influence WordPress team dynamics. Plus:
- What happens when a company stops sponsoring an employee to contribute to WordPress?
- The flexibility you need to work with volunteers on such a massive project
- “Public by default” as a standard of work