News

Sustaining the open-source DS/ML ecosystem with the Anaconda Dividend Program

Oct 28, 2020
By Peter Wang

Back in April, I shared a blog post about changes to our Terms of Service. In that post, I mentioned that, as we moved to a paid license model for our commercial users, we would plan to invest a portion of those profits back into the broader open-source community. Since that time, we have formalized our plan, and I’d like to share it with you today.

First, a bit of context. Over the past decade, Anaconda has invested about $30 million into open-source innovation and maintenance of projects such as Pandas, Dask, Numba, Bokeh, HoloViews, Panel, and Intake through allocations of employee time and (like many other organizations) giving occasional direct donations, sponsoring events, and more. However, the way we have been doing it doesn’t scale. It doesn’t provide a sustainable economic model over time.

Fostering the ongoing health and vibrancy of this community is essential for everyone: in the data science and machine learning fields alone, open-source software has become a foundational element of the tech stack used in every industry. It’s time for commercial users to help fund the open-source innovation they depend on.

So today, I am excited to announce the Anaconda Dividend Program, which formalizes our commitment to direct a portion of our revenue to open-source projects that help advance innovation in data science. We are launching the program in partnership with NumFOCUS, and will kick off with a seed donation of $10,000, as well as an additional 10% of single-user Commercial Edition subscription revenue through the end of this year. Going forward, we will fund the dividend with at least 1% of our revenue in 2021, with a minimum of $25,000 committed for the year.

Let me be clear that Anaconda will always offer a free version for academics, hobbyists, non-profits, and small businesses. But we changed the Terms of Service for our public repositories because we believe that commercial users should support the open-source innovation that is powering their own businesses. Our newest offering, Commercial Edition, is our mechanism to do that—and single-user subscriptions are just $15/month. Now commercial users will help sustain open-source development in our space.

I have always wanted to support more open-source projects and am excited that the Anaconda Dividend gives us a way to do this. I believe that over time, our investment will grow to become a significant source of sustainable funding for the open data science and ML ecosystem. And this is just the beginning. We are working on other ways for the people who contribute their time and talents to open-source development to be compensated for their work.

We have chosen to partner with NumFOCUS because they work each day to make scientific computing more open and accessible. They are a US-based nonprofit organization which provides crucial administrative services and operational support for nearly 40 open-source scientific computing projects. NumFOCUS also cultivates a diverse and welcoming community of users and developers around projects through programs like PyData and DISC. I encourage anyone who feels compelled to support the continued vitality of open-source for scientific computing to consider making an individual contribution directly to NumFOCUS as well.

At Anaconda, we believe it’s our responsibility to help sustain open source and ensure that innovation in the data science space will keep going strong. We’ve taken a big first step in changing the way we do things, and we are excited about what lies ahead.

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