Funders and infrastructure projects communicate differently.

FOSS contributors are sensitive to wording. As they often follow a not-for-profit approach, market terminology tends not to go down well. Projects might dismiss a call for applications because it uses terminology invoking innovation or business. When misinterpretation leads to misunderstandings between funders and infrastructure projects, trust can break down and relations permanently sour.

Insight 8


  • As we have seen with adoption, FOSS contributors are often critical of the concept of growth. At the same time, growth is still applied as a measure of success by many funders. Scale, on the other hand, is seen by projects to be more responsible and resilient.
  • Infrastructure contributors don’t often conceive of their work as a product to be distributed and marketed. Product thinking – taking a “user” perspective of a problem that needs solving – is not the norm (or at least not explicitly so), even though it would suit the work of a community that is adverse to process and structure and often follows a “scratch your own itch” approach.


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