Some of you who followed the Play GitHub repository and this user forum in the last few years may know me.
Since I was the most active Play contributor in the last years and, in the last 1,5+ years, probably the last core contributor left who actually worked on Play on a regular basis, doing most of the work to make the last releases even happen, I finally want to comment on the current situation and what we have planned with the future of Play.
First of all, let me clarify one thing:
I never worked for Lightbend and never received one single cent for my work on the framework and its ecosystem.
I want to mention this because it happened to me more than once already that people thought I work for Lightbend, because of the amount of work I did for the framework in the last 7 years. Basically, I am just a random guy on the Internet who invested a lot of time since 2014 to push Play forward by adding new features and fixing bugs (until I even became #1 contributor just recently, based on commits) and helping the community to solve their problems. Plus making sure the build runs stable ;)
(BTW: I already used Play 1 as well already since 2010, contributing code to it too)
So, in the last 1,5+ years Lightbend retreated more and more from Play, which meant there was hardly any of them working actively on the framework anymore on a regular basis, like it used to be. For me that meant the work I was doing to keep Play alive was getting even more and more, almost impossible to handle for me next to other projects I was working on to pay my bills and next to my family (I do have a wife and kids).
Now, as you have read the blog post, Lightbend is working with me and some other people “to form a community-led organization that would take responsibility for the future development of Play Framework (outside of Lightbend)”.
So, what does that actually mean?
Let me get straight to the point: We are planning to move Play to https://opencollective.com/ - a place where people and organizations can sponsor an Open source project with recurring or one-time donations in the (IMHO) most transparent way possible.
That means that people like me, who really deeply cared (and still care) about Play in the last years are able to continue their work on the framework, while also finally getting paid for their time invested - getting paid from organizations and individuals like YOU, people and companies that use Play on a daily basis, that rely on Play, that run Play applications in production to thrive their business and that profit from the work that people like me, passionate Open source contributors, do in their free time to keep a fantastic framework alive and to even push it further.
In the last 6 month, when it dawned to me that Play would basically be (or become) unmaintained if I wouldn’t be motivated to contribute, I was thinking a lot about what to do with Play and how I should personally stay involved with the framework. Not just once I was thinking to just open a GitHub sponsors account. However, in my opinion with a fully transparent platform like Open Collective we finally found the best solution. For me, moving Play to Open Collective just feels right to me, I think it is the right thing to do for Play, its users, its community and everybody else who is interested in the success of the framework. From the perspective of a passionate Open Source developer, I think it’s the absolutely best solution for everyone involved. IMHO Play should be run by the community. Not by an individual, not by a single company, but by people who really care about the framework.
And people who contribute to Play should get paid accordingly by the companies who profit from their work.
I have seen from other projects (like https://opencollective.com/socketio, https://opencollective.com/webpack or https://opencollective.com/generator-jhipster) that it is possible to build a healthy, stable and fair relationship between contributors and sponsors, where people and companies who are interested in the success of a project can support the project by giving money, which will be used to pay contributors, like me, for the work they are doing - be it part time, be full time or just for implementing specific features.
I don’t think I have to prove to anyone that for me working on Play was never about making money and that money was absolutely never my motivation (and of course no one ever forced me to contribute or to give those talks at user group meetups, I just wanted to help to create a great piece of software ;). But now that Lightbend quits and wants to hand over Play to someone else, things already have and also need to change.
So to everyone that wants to keep the framework alive; to every company out there that is invested into and depend on Play; to everyone that has Play applications running in production; basically to everyone that has an interest in the success of Play and that the project prospers:
If you are interested that there is someone that cares about the project (and related sub-projects), maintains it and pushes it forward, please sponsor me and other contributors! You will not invest into me or other contributors as individuals, you will not invest into a company, but you will invest into the project and its community.
We are planning to open the Open Collective account soon, so please let us know by contacting us via the e-mail address mentioned in the blog post or by sharing your thoughts by commenting below in this thread if you or the companies you are working for are willing to participate. Of course if you have any questions, please let me and us know, I am looking forward to interesting conversations.
Thank you very much!
PS: I know this post is solely about funding and money. Of course we are super happy if people and organizations want to invest time to write code for Play and contribute and maybe even become maintainers. However, what I think is important right now is to collect money so we can keep going as soon as possible.