In our report “Roadwork Ahead“, we focused on practices, values and structures of infrastructure projects and how these relate to funding practices and their effectiveness. But in our interviews, people who work on infrastructure projects also recommended very concrete measures how funding could better suit their needs. Here is an overview on ideas that go beyond funding for projects or products:
Especially for freelancers and volunteers contributing infrastructure projects, travel costs to community conferences, retreats and meetings can be an obstacle for deeper involvement in the project. This could be mitigated with travel funds or stipends that are easy to apply for, either by the conference organizers or individuals themselves.
Many of our interview partners voiced the need for external expertise in very different domains: From organizing and moderating events to “money wisdom” about handling project finances or successful crowdfunding to tech writing competence for proper documentation.
A rather specific comment was that it appears to be difficult to raise money for test suites, even though they potentially have a large trickle-down effect on a larger number of projects and overall reliability and interoperability of infrastructure.
Especially for projects who run infrastructure services, server costs can explode quickly. Funding for webspace can alleviate that, and at the same time foster a network of smaller hosting services that are perpetuating open digital infrastructure ideals, but currently cannot compete with the large cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS).