illustration for Henry Zhu, Maintainer of Babel

episode 20

Henry Zhu, Maintainer of Babel

Henry Zhu is currently a steward for Babel, and today he'll be discussing the management and lifestyle side of working on an open source project full-time.

The financial side to open source is interesting. Henry talks about where he gets his money and how he can be financially independent while still working on open source full time. Most of the money comes from donations through Open Collective and Patreon. A lot of the donations come from users, but corporations do donate as well. Henry also discusses the stability of it, and how the NPR model of asking for donations can lead to uncertainty about the next month.

Henry says he's enjoying the management and marketing side of being a steward about as much as he enjoys coding. It's a side that people don't often think about with open source. This side of it includes a lot of marketing and interacting with the greater community, as well as the other maintainers and contributors to babel.

How does Henry handle all this responsibility when there is no one above him telling him when to take a break, or when to go on vacation? Henry and Joel talk about having a positive "selfishness", and taking care of yourself so that the project can prosper. If you want to be doing it for years you have to make sure that you don't burn out.


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