I'm a software developer, and I do volunteer work as a PulseAudio maintainer. In 2015 I left my day job, in part because I wanted to spend more time on PulseAudio. Now I spend about 10 hours per week on it. (I wish I had energy to do more, but somehow I don't. Lack of time is not any more the limiting factor.) I'm relying on my savings to cover my living expenses, which is why in 2016 I started this Patreon campaign as an attempt to make my current lifestyle sustainable for a longer time, preferably indefinitely.
In case you're new to Patreon, here's a quick summary: Patreon is a crowdfunding platform that allows creators to get regular monthly income (a bit like a salary) for long-term work. This is in contrast to "traditional" crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter that target one-off projects with clearly defined start and end dates. If you want to support me, you can click the "Become a Patron" button on this page, and then choose the monthly amount of money that will be automatically charged from your credit card and paid to me in the beginning of each month (Patreon will take a 5% cut, and the credit card processing fees are around 5% too). You can change your pledge amount or stop being a supporter at any time.
Since it may be relevant to your decision-making about whether to support me or not, I should probably mention that I expect my savings to last for several years with frugal spending habits, so I'm not going to run out of money any time soon.
What is PulseAudio?
All operating systems on personal computers, tablets, phones, and other end-user-facing devices with sound capabilities tend to have some kind of a sound server. PulseAudio is the usual choice on Linux-based operating systems. A sound server is a background process that manages audio between applications and the audio hardware. PulseAudio does audio routing and volume control, and can also send audio between computers or apply audio effects, to mention just some of the features. The software is invisible to most users; as long as sound works, there's usually no need to know that PulseAudio is handling it in the background.
What is it exactly that I do?
I'm one of the three currently active project maintainers. Being a maintainer technically only means that I have write access to the "official" source code repository, and thereby act as a gatekeeper for code changes ("patches", as the jargon goes) that other contributors produce. PulseAudio is an open source project where all work is done in the public, so anyone can participate in the development. Since the maintainers act as gatekeepers of all code contributions, an important part of my work is reviewing patches, but I do many other things too: I prepare releases of new versions, investigate and fix bugs, answer questions on the mailing list and IRC, write documentation... I do whatever I feel is important for the project.
I also maintain some audio packages in OpenEmbedded. Most of that work is updating the packages whenever new versions appear.
I write monthly reports of my work so that you can easily follow what I'm doing (and assess whether your money goes to good use). Those reports become available immediately to anyone who pledges at least $1 on Patreon. I also publish them in my blog at tanukaskinen.wordpress.com where anyone can see them, but I delay the public publishing by a couple of weeks so that there's a concrete benefit to being a patron.
Liberapay is another crowdfunding platform, and I have a similar profile there: https://liberapay.com/tanuk. Some people prefer using Patreon and some people prefer Liberapay. I have written more about the differences between Patreon and Liberapay on my Liberapay profile, but here's a short summary:
- Liberapay has lower fees, and if you live in the EU, you have to pay VAT on Patreon but not on Liberapay.
- Liberapay is a non-profit and the platform itself is free software.
- Patreon provides much better tools for me to communicate with you. Liberapay only provides the static profile page, and that's it. If you choose Liberapay, you'll have to follow my blog to keep up to date.
- There are some legal issues with Liberapay.
"The BIG Patreon Creator Pledge"
While waiting for basic income to some day move from experiments to actual policy in Finland, I'm part of a network of creators on Patreon who are building basic income for each other. "The BIG Patreon Creator Pledge" was initiated by Scott Santens, and by taking the pledge I promise that everything over $1000 I get from Patreon will be distributed to other creators who have taken the same pledge.