Why I'm on Liberapay
I'm a software developer, and I do volunteer work as a PulseAudio maintainer. In 2015 I left my day job, in part because I wanted to spend more time on PulseAudio. Now I spend about 10 hours per week on it. (I wish I had energy to do more, but somehow I don't. Lack of time is not any more the limiting factor.) I'm relying on my savings to cover my living expenses, which is why in 2016 I started a Patreon campaign as an attempt to make my current lifestyle sustainable for a longer time, preferably indefinitely. Around the turn of 2017/2018 I opened this Liberapay account too, because Liberapay has some advantages over Patreon.
In case you're new to Liberapay, here's a quick summary: Liberapay is a crowdfunding platform that allows creators or projects to get regular income (a bit like a salary) for long-term work. This is in contrast to "traditional" crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter that target one-off projects with clearly defined start and end dates. If you want to support me, you can click the "Donate" button on this page, and then choose the amount of money you want to donate per week, and then the number of weeks to cover by your first payment (the more you pay in one go, the less there will be fees and the less frequently you need to go through the payment process). The weekly amount doesn't have to be large - for example 25 cents is already great and makes a difference.
If you for example choose to pay for 10 weeks, you'll be reminded after 10 weeks to donate again. I actually get the whole sum immediately, so the payments don't happen weekly, it's just that the accounting and donation reminders work as if the payments were done on a weekly basis. You can at any time change the weekly donation amount, which will be reflected in when you'll be reminded to donate again. Canceling already-paid donations is possible too: if you donate 10 weeks worth of money, but after 2 weeks regret that and want to cancel altogether, you should be able to get a refund for the remaining weeks, you just need to contact Liberapay.
Since it may be relevant to your decision-making about whether to donate or not, I should probably mention that I expect my savings to last for several years with frugal spending habits, so I'm not going to run out of money any time soon.
What is PulseAudio?
All operating systems on personal computers, tablets, phones, and other end-user-facing devices with sound capabilities tend to have some kind of a sound server. PulseAudio is the usual choice on Linux-based operating systems. A sound server is a background process that manages audio between applications and the audio hardware. PulseAudio does audio routing and volume control, and can also send audio between computers or apply audio effects, to mention just some of the features. The software is invisible to most users; as long as sound works, there's usually no need to know that PulseAudio is handling it in the background.
What is it exactly that I do?
I'm one of the three currently active project maintainers. Being a maintainer technically only means that I have write access to the "official" source code repository, and thereby act as a gatekeeper for code changes ("patches", as the jargon goes) that other contributors produce. PulseAudio is an open source project where all work is done in the public, so anyone can participate in the development. Since the maintainers act as gatekeepers of all code contributions, an important part of my work is reviewing patches, but I do many other things too: I prepare releases of new versions, investigate and fix bugs, answer questions on the mailing list and IRC, write documentation... I do whatever I feel is important for the project.
I also maintain some audio packages in OpenEmbedded. Most of that work is updating the packages whenever new versions appear.
How to follow my work
I write monthly reports of my work to my blog at tanukaskinen.wordpress.com. If you want to pay really close attention to my work, you can subscribe to the pulseaudio-discuss mailing list, or follow the PulseAudio project at freedesktop.org's GitLab (if you sign in to GitLab, you can set up email notifications).
Liberapay vs. Patreon
Liberapay has significantly lower fees than Patreon, because Liberapay takes no cut from the donations (I recommend you to donate to Liberapay too, though, they're not exactly well-funded at the moment). The payment processing fees are at most a few percent, while on Patreon the total fees are somewhere around 10%. On Patreon you have to also pay your country's VAT on top if you live in the EU. Liberapay doesn't have to care about VAT, because on Liberapay nobody's selling anything, everything is a pure donation.
Liberapay is a non-profit and all the code is free software, which may fit your values better than Patreon. It certainly fits my values better.
Liberapay has the drawback that it doesn't currently provide any way to give updates to the donors. You'll have to subscribe to my blog yourself if you want notifications about the monthly reports or any other news regarding my Liberapay campaign.
Another significant drawback is that using Liberapay is illegal (for me, not for you), because the law in Finland prohibits individuals from asking for donations for themselves. It's a crime without a victim, but a crime nevertheless. I understand it very well if you don't want to be part of anything illegal, which is why I'm mentioning this here. In case you're wondering what's the point of such law, apparently its purpose is to protect citizens from giving money to fraudulent fundraisers. I'm willing to do some civil disobedience, because the risks seem rather small. Even in the worst case the most severe punishment possible wouldn't be unbearable, and before that several unlikely things would have to happen: the police would have to notice this campaign, the police would have to decide that it's good use of their resources to prosecute this case, and the judge would have to decide that a harsh punishment is reasonable given the severity of the crime. The fundraising law is (probably) not a problem on Patreon, because on Patreon I'm selling something (early access to the monthly reports) instead of asking for donations.
- Email: <email@example.com>
- IRC: tanuk on Freenode
- Blog: tanukaskinen.wordpress.com
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