As we approach Kodi DevCon (our annual team member conference) we continue our quest for greater transparency and openness in how the project is managed. We’d like to touch on project finances: specifically where the money comes from, and where it goes.
Outreach is a major expense. In 2018 Team Kodi members presented at:
- FOSDEM - @martijn, @yol and @lrusak gave talks (here, here and here)
- Open Source Leadership Summit - @natethomas spoke (slides)
- SCALE - @natethomas spoke, How to Destroy a Community (video, overview and slides)
- Linaro Connect - @lrusak spoke (video)
Team members also attended:
- Embedded World
- Community Leadership Summit
- Open Source Summit North America
- GSoC Mentor Summit
- Videolan Dev Days
Some attendance costs are fully covered by the conference organizers. Sometimes our team members pay their own way. Mostly Kodi funds or part-funds a trip. Your donations allow the team to play an ongoing and active part in the Open Source community; both sharing our own knowledge with others, and learning from them so we can make Kodi better.
Server infrastructure, hosting, bandwidth and CDN services, build servers, hardware items for testing, and some minor subscriptions, e.g. accounting software (as we need to file tax returns) are lesser but regular recurring costs. Some are offset by sponsors, most we fund ourselves.
Kodi DevCon is our largest expense of the year. We are a global team and the project talks mainly in text, via the forums or Slack. This creates endless opportunities for cultural, linguistic and more general misunderstanding. DevCon typically brings 20-30 team members together somewhere in a cheaper part of Europe and gives them a chance to speak face-to-face, share ideas, share some drinks and laughs - helping to defuse tensions that build up. We also get to talk about Kodi a lot (even more than normal) which spares our partners for a few days. They do get sick of hearing about it :)
The project has three sources of funding: sponsorships, public donations, and sales of Kodi branded tee-shirts and Raspberry Pi ‘flirc’ cases. There is zero advertising on our website and in our application - and this will never change (we reject many emails from advertising sales people each week). While we need to raise funds to cover our annual costs, we are not motivated by money, and nobody is paid by our foundation - we are 100% volunteers.
Kodi is free - and will always be an Open Source (GPL) project - because we chose to be Open Source and because it is impossible for us to change our license. We have never required contributors to submit a CLA, so they own the rights to their code, and a license change would need the permission of all contributors. Our oldest code (c.2002) cannot be attributed to a single author, and solving that would need us to rewrite an impractical volume of code. And the team simply wouldn’t allow the license change; especially @spiff our resident Viking who has been around since the original Xbox days.
We do like sponsors - as long as they are relevant and publicly supportive of Open Source software. Sponsoring Kodi does not bring any special treatment or influence on the team, and all sponsors are vetted by the board. Past sponsors have donated cash to our Foundation (our preferred option) or provided developers with hardware (spec. kit to write code on, not test samples) and one even bankrolled DevCon which was awesome. Current Gold sponsors provide us with free services (e.g. site hosting) which saves us a fortune. You can see their names in the footer of this page and we cannot thank them enough!
We are proud to announce our latest Diamond sponsor - Libre Computer, who manufacture a range of Allwinner, Amlogic and Rockchip single-board computer hardware for industrial and hobbyist use-cases (including HTPCs). We are normally shy when hardware vendors approach us with an offer of sponsorship, but Libre Computer has been funding a range of Open Source projects and Linux multimedia development that directly benefits the ecosystem around them in addition to their own products. We like their approach to FOSS, and we appreciate their support.
Interested in individually supporting us? - there are several ways:
- Our Donate page has PayPal, BTC and Wire Transfer info
- Our Patreon page.
- Amazon (US) will donate 0.5% of your purchases to registered non-profit organizations of any US purchases via smile.amazon.com. We are listed as “Kodi Foundation” and here is a link to sign up: Amazon Smile
Thank you to everyone who contributes to Kodi and hopefully makes it possible for the team to have our developer conference in October - and if you know of a company contributing to Open Source who might be interested in becoming a Kodi sponsor, please drop us a line.