(crowd)Funding SuperCollider development?

Hi everybody!

An important discussion is arising within this topic Supercollider 4 first thoughts.

I know this can be a really sensitive issue, so the idea here is to make a preliminary discussion about the possibilities and systems on funding SuperCollider development.

Should we (crowd)fund SuperCollider development?

Which funding model should we adopt ? Funding for a short period for specific approved community goals ? Rotational funding of long term devs to allow them to put more time and effort into SC ? …

Legal issues ? Does this legally demand a foundation ?

Ethical issues ? Would the previous developers be ok with this idea ?

How this would integrate with the main dev workflow ?

long live to the SC!

All the best,

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Basic proposal:

  • Community proposed campaigns with thread / poll

  • Dev team manages with final authority

  • All campaigns are mirrored by github’s issue list.

  • All funds go directly towards resolving specific issues

In-depth proposal:

  • Qualified agents who accept the task / issue are paid half up front, half when finished, and subject to approval by the development team.

  • Once the issue is dismissed, the campaign supporting the issue may remain open for a short period of time as an open channel for the community to volunteer any additional funds that they would like to grant the developer as a bonus… or as an incentive to continue further development.

  • If there are any discrepancies, the community will be informed, and the guilty may be forcibly marked or blacklisted from any projects involving funds… possibly with ‘bail’, or being able to pay for one’s mistakes.

  • The current dev team may decide to appoint council, supervisors, members, managers, admin roles etc… community approval isn’t necessarily required.

  • If someone else would like to participate, they may volunteer or be appointed and possibly voted in by the community

  • The dev team should be damn near unanimous in agreement, if / when funding is ever involved in the greater development of SC

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Around three years ago there was a poll about the developments desired by the community. Maybe a good starting point would be to analyses which points has evolved during from there until today.


One thing to consider is the funding model of other open source software. Should we be more related to Ardour or to Processing ?

@scztt mentioned some thing about the funding model of Ardour. Can you explain more about their model? which aspects do you think we can borrow from them that will work inside SC dev community ?

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Personally, I think it would be great if computer music departements or other institutions would allow some of their employees to work on SuperCollider as part of their job for a couple of hours a week/month. I don’t know if this is already the case.

If there are any discrepancies, the community will be informed, and the guilty may be forcibly marked or blacklisted from any projects involving funds… possibly with ‘bail’, or being able to pay for one’s mistakes.

Yay, sounds like fun! … Not

If someone f*cks up or steals money , they get righteously outsourced

…and not some tight-ass overly managed head trip… far from it…

I do think Rainer is correct that, when money is involved, then accountability becomes a concern in a way that it currently isn’t for the SC community.



Of course. I just meant to say that for me it would take the fun out of open source and I would never work on such “sponsored” issues. But maybe it’s an attractive option for others :man_shrugging:

I am not a developer, but I see funding as a way to improve points that currents devs don’t have the specific skills, e.g. once in the sc-dev mailing listing I saw a complaint about parsing and almost all devs were saying that it was a really hard thing to do, and it will take lot of time … Same dificulty I guess was what Scott C. mentioned about garbage collector

I think that a selection for a guest-dev by the traditional developers and maintainers would be a polite, safe and harmonious solution for this problem, no need to create a tribunal of shown results.

In all cases, all the dev comunity must be OK with this funding idea, otherwise won’t make any sense…

This is a complex topic, especially for open-source communities. The biggest problem is accountability and contracts, but that’s not an impossible task to tackle. Some open source projects were partly funded through crowdfunding and it worked well. Personnally, I would be glad to contribute to the development of SuperCollider by giving some money on a per-project, but not on a monthly basis.

There are a lot of universities and music institutions using SuperCollider almost everyday for some of their projects, as well as a substantial amount of musicians / teachers / artists / scientists. I think that many of us, and some of these institutions, would be willing to invest some money in funding SuperCollider’s development.

The problem is that doing such a thing and asking for crowdfunding would be a huge energy drain for quite some time, at least in the beginning: creating the right organisational structure, getting things right, convincing the community of devs and users, etc… I suppose that launching such an initiative would be very hard to do right, but could be done with a lot of determination/will/diplomacy, etc…

I hope that this topic will attract more people. It’s a nice topic to think / discuss about!


As mentioned here:

Open collective is designed to allow a community to accept and apportion funds without having to be an official org with a bank account etc


Hi there,

I wanted to be sure I’ve understood the idea behind this topic.

It means in the next years anyone who want to use the latest build of SC have to pay something like Ardour;

Or that if I want to contribute to dev. effort I can, if I want, make a donation for a specific SC dev. area that I want to speed up ?

As a young composer that want to choose a computer music system for the long run I think its legitimate to know what will happen in term of potential future constraints due to some kind of (crowd)Funding.

Looking forward to reading you !

All the Best,

Hi ChB.
I was similarly concerned so I sat in on a dev meeting.

Everything is fine. No need for alarm. The devs assured me that they feel comfortable.
I really got the sense that they are happy working for the good of the community.

This thread and the other one drummed up a lot of anxiety for me but after sitting in on that dev meeting I feel confident that nothing bad will happen to my absolute favourite music making tool in the future.

Be at peace. All is well.

Thank you !

I really hope if it had to happen one day it were more the “if I want to make a donation” option than the subscription or per-project “tax”…

But maybe should not we make all our life SC dependent by using both FAUST for kind of “more future-proof and portable DSP work with no dependencies” and SC for the rest ?

Don’t know …


The only idea mentioned here is funding, never tax (which is also virtually impossible and surely repudiated. Even the discussion about using SC whithin commercial systems is quite problematic Commercial licensing (again) )

The main idea of this topic is to discuss, in general, funding options to boost SC development. This came up scattered by some users at this topic Supercollider 4 first thoughts, in which specially suggested that we fund individual upgrades that are too demanding for the current team.

Personally, I think Ardour’s model is neither a good developing model nor the most appropriate one for SuperCollider.

@yaxu mentioned Open Collective

I second it.

I think the misunderstanding that crowdfunding = reduced access is interesting… Crowdfunding has become synonymous with having a paying insider group that gets priority access, often with tiers so people with the most money get the most back. This seems more like a commercial project then than a free/open source community one, and crowdfunding platforms like patreon can push you in this direction quite aggressively.

Personally I’ve had really great results from crowdfunding without getting into that model. “Pay as you feel” or “pay what you can” schemes work well in my experience, and don’t exclude people without spare cash, or who live somewhere with a disadvantageous exchange rate if people can choose a £0 / $0 / €0 option and get the same access as everyone else.


Open Collective maintains a sense of alignment with the overall aesthetic.

I imagine it single tier, any & all amounts, crediting Supporters in the same key of AUTHORS