Episode 189

Otto Richter on Codeberg


June 30th, 2023

37 mins 16 secs

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About this Episode


Otto Richter


Richard Littauer | Abby Cabunoc Mayes

Show Notes

Welcome back to another episode of Sustain! The podcast where we talk about sustaining open source for the long haul. In this episode, Richard and Abby are joined by guest Otto Richter. Otto is the executive director of Codeberg, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing a free and open space for developers to host their software projects. It’s like GitHub or GitLab but powered by free software as an alternative to proprietary software platforms. Today, we learn about the financial model and the inner workings of Codeberg, its commitment to user sovereignty, and its unique approach to open source hosting. Also, we discuss the challenges and triumphs of running a nonprofit in the tech space, the importance of community involvement, and the future of Codeberg. As always, it’s a fascinating discussion, so go hit the download button and hear it for yourself!

[00:01:49] Otto explains what Codeberg is - a nonprofit hosting software projectories, created as an alternative to proprietary software platforms and he explains the difference between Codeberg and GitLab.

[00:03:37] Otto explains the structure of Codeberg as a registered nonprofit association in Germany.

[00:04:52] Discussion about the financial structure of Codeberg, including donations and membership fees.

[00:05:41] Abby asks Otto about the membership structure and fees of Codeberg, and he explains that it is an opportunity for larger companies, but it is currently more around individuals.

[00:07:02] The discussion turns to how the voting process is within the association, what they are voting on, and how things get implemented. Otto explains the role of the executive board in relation to the membership as well.

[00:09:39] Richard is curious about international membership of Codeberg, and Otto explains the challenges, even though 50% of the members are from outside of Germany.

[00:11:19] Richard and Otto discuss how about the value of sovereignty in Codeberg's platform and in Germany in general.

[00:13:29] Otto talks to us about the about the design process of Codeberg and how it currently works.

[00:14:43] Otto shares the current number of users and projects on Codeberg as well as user protections on the platform and managing user expectations around platform availability.

[00:19:39] Abby asks Otto about the audience of Codeberg and how they manage reliability. He cites an example for us and explains how they communicate downtime to users.

[00:23:41] Otto tells us how Codeberg’s contributors is really a mixed bag.

[00:24:50] Richard wants to know why they don’t have a federated system or a decentralized system.

[00:30:10] Otto goes into the importance of building up “human infrastructure,” projects coordination, and why they need to spread awareness.

[00:32:38] Abby really wants to know about ways of paying contributors for their work, and Otto discusses why it’s so simple in Germany to do so.

[00:34:25] Find out where you can follow Codeberg on the web.


[00:30:10] “I think one important part is that you need to pay humans for their awesome work.”

[00:30:24] “You need to decide whom to pay. What is the most important thing?”


  • [00:35:25] Abby’s spotlight is the Godot Gaming Engine.
  • [00:35:42] Richard’s spotlight is a book of poems by Martín Espada called, “Floaters.”
  • [00:35:58] Otto’s spotlight is the Linux Show Player.



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