Episode 175

Serkan Holat on Agile Public Funds


May 12th, 2023

41 mins 24 secs

Your Hosts
Special Guest

About this Episode


Serkan Holat


Richard Littauer | Leslie Hawthorn

Show Notes

Hello and welcome to Sustain! The podcast where we talk about sustaining open source for the long haul. Richard and Leslie are hosting today, and they’re very excited to welcome our special guest, Serkan Holat, who’s a Freelance Software Developer, with over 20 years of experience in researching finance, open source ecosystems, and digital public goods. He advocates for financing open source software with public money and setting up dedicated public funds called Agile Public Funds. Today, we’ll discuss with Serkan, the need to allocate funds to support and publish critical open source software, the importance of sustainability on open source software, and the lack of understanding of the industry’s risk profile. Also, Serkan gives us all the details on an experiment he recently started to increase awareness about using public money to finance open source. Download this episode to hear much more!

[00:01:47] We start off with Serkan telling us how the tax cause is going. He proposes introducing an open source tax on proprietary software sales, with the revenue going to public funds for distribution to the open source ecosystem.

[00:06:11] Serkan explains how he’s watched the space grow, and he talks about the Digital Public Goods Alliance that recognizes open source software as a new type of digital public good, and the Sovereign Tech Fund.

[00:08:35] Serkan tells us why there shouldn’t be any obligations on the developers and what we should do.

[00:10:23] We hear Serkan’s thoughts on the Sovereign Tech Fund in Germany, an excellent initiative that he supports as a blueprint for other nations to follow, but scalability will become an issue.

[00:12:39] Free Software Foundation Europe has a fantastic campaign. Serkan’s explains the idea of using public sector collaboration.

[00:13:56] There’s a discussion on the challenges of implementing public sector collaboration and there’s a suggestion of creating a social contract to increase funding for open source software.

[00:16:43] What’s wrong with the market we currently have? Serkan elaborates on this.

[00:20:19] The conversation shifts to Richard, Leslie, and Serkan touching on the role of security in financing open source software, they discuss the allocations of funds to support and publish open source software, the need for sustainability in open source software, and the lack of understanding of the industry’s risk profile.

[00:28:41] Serkan shares his thoughts on how he’s trying to convince software companies to produce open source software.

[00:30:31] Richard wonders how a tax on proprietary software to help out open source communities, is going to lead to a more equitable environment, or all people building open source software.

[00:32:45] Serkan advocates for the creation of public funds to finance the open source ecosystem, and he’s been experimenting with this approach for the past 15 months. He chooses three projects from Open Collective each month and distributes money based on their criticality score.

[00:34:11] Find out where you can follow Serkan and all his writings on the web.


[00:02:51] “My proposal on that area is to introduce an open source software tax on proprietor software sales.”


  • [00:37:13] Leslie’s spotlight is the Chaos Computer Club.
  • [00:38:22] Richard’s spotlight is the Feminist Bird Club, Northern Vermont chapter.
  • [00:39:04] Serkan’s spotlight is an announcement made by Minister Alexandra van Huffelen, at the EU Open Source Policy Summit 2023.



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