The creator of Homebrew has a plan to get open source contributors paid (Ep. 511)

What if you could bake a payment mechanism into the DNA of an open source package manager?

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On this episode, we chat with Max Howell, creator of Homebrew, about his new package manager, Tea, and how it aims to solve the problem of providing funding for popular open source projects.


Over the years Homebrew, an open source package manager, has emerged as the project with the greatest number of individual contributors. Despite all that, it’s creator Max Howell, couldn’t make a living off the occasional charity of the millions of people who used the software he built. The XKCD cartoon below is probably the most frequently repeated joke on the podcast over the last three years.

While he is not a crypto bull, Max was inspired with a solution for the open source funding dilemma by his efforts to buy and sell an NFT. A contract written in code and shared in public enforced a rule sending a portion of his proceeds to the digital objects original creator. What if the same funding mechanism could be applied to open source projects?

In March of 2022, Max and his co-founder launched Tea, a sort of spirtual successor to Homebrew. It has a lot of new features Max wanted in a package manager, plus a blockchain based approach to ensuring that creators, maintainers, and contributors of open source software can all get paid for their efforts.

You can read Max’s launch post on Tea here and yes, of course there is a white paper.


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