GitHub incentivises open-source investments with sponsor-only repos

GitHub incentivises open-source investments with sponsor-only repos
Ryan is a senior editor at TechForge Media with over a decade of experience covering the latest technology and interviewing leading industry figures. He can often be sighted at tech conferences with a strong coffee in one hand and a laptop in the other. If it's geeky, he’s probably into it. Find him on Twitter (@Gadget_Ry) or Mastodon (

GitHub is launching private repositories that only sponsors have access to, helping to incentivise open-source investments.

Open-source mostly relies on developers voluntarily giving up their time to build and improve projects. Priority is naturally given to work that helps to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table—meaning that open-source projects can be underdeveloped at best or be left with devastating vulnerabilities at worst.

A growing number of private companies and initiatives are helping to provide some financial backing to open-source developers.  Google, for example, has allocated $100 million to support independent organisations – including the Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF) – that do the noble work of helping to fix open-source vulnerabilities.

However, it’s clear that more can still be done.

Platforms like Patreon, Twitch, and Kickstarter all give perks to backers. By launching sponsor-only repositories, GitHub will be hoping that it can make open-source more sustainable by raising critical funds.

Much like the aforementioned platforms, developers can set access to specific repositories based on sponsorship tiers:

Custom welcome messages can be set for each tier for a personalised appreciation message and to give any specific details.

You could be thinking sponsor-only repositories are somewhat antithetical to open-source and GitHub is clearly aware. The company says they’ll be aimed at enabling sponsors to be given early access to projects or new features in return for their financial backing while helping to support the development of the free version.

(Image Credit: GitHub)

Related: Library deliberately corrupted by its developer relaunches as community project

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