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OBS Studio gains another big sponsor with Facebook

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Do you make videos? Livestream? Well, you probably know of or use the cross-platform open source OBS Studio and how it's basically the go-to for such things and they just gained another huge sponsor.

Facebook join Twitch in being a top-level "Premiere Tier" sponsor, meaning they give a higher sum than $50,000 (which is the minimum for Diamond Tier, which is down a level). In a new blog post on the official OBS site, they mentioned how they're now looking to grow their team thanks to the level of funding they have been getting. Ending on a personal note, developer Hugh Bailey ("Jim") mentioned how thankful they are for the support from "sponsors, contributors, volunteers, and especially all of our users" as without them all it wouldn't be where it is.

Unsurprisingly (since it's Facebook), the reaction has been quite poor in some areas. Some people believe (wrongly) that being sponsored means they're now in some ways owned by Facebook, which is not true. It's basically a fancy regular donation and sometimes extra help in other needed areas. OBS Studio is still open source, independent and will continue to be so as clarified by OBS Studio's business dev in a Twitter thread.

I think this is great, I use OBS Studio often as does our livestreamer (join us on Twitch!) and we would be quite stuck without how easy it makes doing so many things together. If people working on open source get offered money, they should take it. This is another validation that open source is awesome and worth it.

You can find out more about OBS Studio on the official site.

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Tags: Apps, Open Source
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Doc Angelo 29 Feb
Saying that this "must" be an infiltration is if you ask me exactly as stupid as saying that this "can not" be problematic in some way. We don't know, so why would we say something like this?

Who here thinks that Facebook doesn't do evil stuff at all? I think next do no one. We can't know what is happening. We shouldn't make strong statements when we can't back those statements up with facts and knowledge. Simply saying "it is not a problem because it's just a donation" is the same kind of baseless argument as is "this must be a buy-out".

Here's how I see it: Facebook is very obviously a company with a history of things that were not a good thing. Facebook has done a lot of awful things, and it is doing them right now. I think most people agree and for many of them, a few examples spring to mind.

So we should be aware and stay alert when such a company invests in something that is free. If you think the GPL has the power to fend of corruption of the humans who commit changes to that software, you should examine that train of thought. It wouldn't be the first free project to contain malicious code without anybody noticing, and it wouldn't be the first project to fall because of greed, even that of the creators, who I believe hadn't that in mind from the start. We are all just humans. None of us was "good" at every point in our lives. If we don't take that in mind, what good is the GPL? How much worth is the source being open, if nobody opens it, so to speak? If nobody would take a deep and good look in order to find anything malicious, of what use is it?

Of course are people going to be asking questions if such a big investment comes from such a company. That should be the expectation of any person not living under a stone for the last 10 years. The explanations from the dev team don't really bring anything to the table that is worthwhile. To be fair - there is not much one could say in this situation, because the expectation is of course that in the case of something malicious, the people behind that would still act the same: They'd say that there is no problem. That's just how it is, so everybody should take that in mind. The community, and the devs as well.

Quoting: https://twitter.com/dodgepong/status/1233107031965474822I’m sure there will still be people with tinfoil hats who think this is some evil conspiracy, but it really is not. If it was, I would be out — I have a full-time job, and the work I do for OBS is largely voluntary, so I can leave if I want to.

"People with tinfoil hats"? That is just a god-awful thing to say in this situation. Seriously.

So lets put that aside for a few moments. As far as I can see, the full-time job of Mr. Torell is producing live streams for events and competitions. His job is about using software like OBS. And it wouldn't be a completely baseless assumption that he is using OBS for his work. He needs that tool to make money.

See, I don't want to point out that there is a problem with that. Not at all. This shows how great FOSS is. One can use that software to create value, and even change it when you need it to do some things it yet can not. You can make the software better in order to create more value that you can sell and live on.

I'm just putting these words into perspective. Because when I first read them, I thought he has a full-time job that has nothing to do with OBS and everything he does for it is just a hobby. That's not the case.

I think that is an important bit to understand here.

Again, not because I want to say that Mr. Torell must be malicious, but... well, see my statements above.


Last edited by Doc Angelo on 29 February 2020 at 9:48 am UTC
Rutine 29 Feb
Quoting: 14The fact that Facebook gave money to OBS does not take away any of your money to donate somewhere of your choosing.

I never said that. I was just saying I disagree with the way you put it. It's not a "power to the people" thing as you say. It's a "power to the people with money" thing as Purple Library Guy said.

Quoting: 14I do not understand the point you're making. I mean, I get the point, but it's not applicable. A rich entity donated money somewhere, and that somehow makes it pointless for anyone that's not rich to donate anywhere...?

I think the point is applicable. The point is that indeed my ten bucks are not going to make a big difference compared to what a big company can spend.

Quoting: 14If Facebook is using OBS and they are providing monetary support because they'd like some features implemented, I don't see the problem.

I think that nobody everyone here said they were glad that OBS got the money. We were just talking about something else

Quoting: 14So, the OP was Facebook donating money, and that makes you angry. It's sounding to me like you wish you could control Facebook's money yourself. Or, maybe your solution would be that nobody is allowed to earn lots of money or not allowed to donate. What is your ideal here?

I don't think people that answered are angry about Facebook donating money. And i don't think either that they want to control the money themselves.
We were, or I was talking about the bigger picture, about why big companies do these kind of things, about real "power to the people", about controlling big companies. etc.
Doc Angelo 29 Feb
Something else that came across me while looking at the website of OBS: I really wondered that they have such a big amount of funding already. Just for the sake of numbers, I'm going to make a list and calculate the recurring donations and the one time donations over the last year. Just out of interest, and for the reasons I stated in my post above. I'm going for the minimum values for tiers with a stated minimum. Because there is no stated value for the premium tier, I'm going to extrapolate from the lower tiers. This calculation would be more accurate if we would have the exact numbers. If there is a good reason for OBS to not post the exact numbers, I'd like to know.


"Bronze Tier: These sponsors have pledged at least $250 per month to the OBS Project."
12 months * $250 * 6 sponsors = $18,000 per year

"Gold Tier: These sponsors have pledged at least $20,000 per year to the OBS Project."
2 * $20,000 = $40,000 per year

"Diamond Tier: These sponsors have pledged at least $50,000 per year to the OBS Project."
2* $50,000 = $100,000 per year

"Premiere Tier: These sponsors have gone far above and beyond with their contributions to the OBS Project"
20->50->100 is what I'm extrapolating here. That means that both Twitch and Facebook pay at least $100,000 per year. It was said that Twitch pays "a lot" more than Facebook, so I'm going for $150,000 for Twitch.
$100,000 + $150,000 = $250,000 per year

Then there is Patreon. It's a good thing that the income isn't hidden on the Patreon page, so we have an exact value. It is $1,392 right now.
12 * $1,392 = $16,704 (roughly $15,000)

There is also "Open Collective", which I didn't know before. It seems to be a website for donating money to projects. As it is with LibrePay, the software behind project itself is open source. In contrast to LibrePay, you can not use the service without paying them for the service. It isn't non-profit, either. It's a regular company in that regard. They take a whopping 10% from every payment towards OBS. That's without payment fees from other finance institutions, which come on top of that (I think that's called "stripe fee" in the US). I removed any instance already calculated above from the list of payments, so that just additional payments are included in this position. Also, all of items in the list that reflected above tiers show that assuming the minimum value for recurring tiers from above seems to be accurate.

$11,285.66 donations - $1,128.52 Open Collective fee - $471.53 payment processor fee = $9,685.58 (roughly $10,000)


  $  18,000   Bronze Tier
+ $  40,000   Gold Tier
+ $ 100,000   Diamond Tier
+ $ 250,000   Premiere Tier
+ $  15,000   Patreon
+ $  10,000   Open Collective
- $  10,000   See the edit below
--------
$ 423,000


Some things to note: I can not know of any other donations for example via PayPal or other ways. Known one time fees do not play a big role. The transfer fees were only subtracted where known, which is only the data from Open Collective.

--------------------------------------------------

I'm just going to let this sit here as it is, just numbers. If there is anything wrong with my calculations and more importantly my assumptions, then please let me know. Please, take what I have written above in the spirit I described in my former post above. This is just me taking a look at it, nothing more.

Maybe I'm going to write my thoughts about this later, but I'm going to go outside first. The weather is nice and my cats like going outside with me. Also, it is often a good idea to let some things sink in before going at it. :)

Edit: I just have gone over what I wrote earlier and realized I forgot to substract the Open Collective fees and transfer fees for corporate sponsors (the tiers), because some of those, but not all, are known via the data from Open Collective. I updated this with a single substraction in the final calculation.


Last edited by Doc Angelo on 29 February 2020 at 2:00 pm UTC
Dedale 29 Feb
This small post as a shoutout to the GOL stream channel. Nice little cosy ambiance. Do not hesitate to peek. :)
14 29 Feb
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Quoting: Doc AngeloSomething else that came across me while looking at the website of OBS: I really wondered that they have such a big amount of funding already. Just for the sake of numbers, I'm going to make a list and calculate the recurring donations and the one time donations over the last year. Just out of interest, and for the reasons I stated in my post above. I'm going for the minimum values for tiers with a stated minimum. Because there is no stated value for the premium tier, I'm going to extrapolate from the lower tiers. This calculation would be more accurate if we would have the exact numbers. If there is a good reason for OBS to not post the exact numbers, I'd like to know.


"Bronze Tier: These sponsors have pledged at least $250 per month to the OBS Project."
12 months * $250 * 6 sponsors = $18,000 per year

"Gold Tier: These sponsors have pledged at least $20,000 per year to the OBS Project."
2 * $20,000 = $40,000 per year

"Diamond Tier: These sponsors have pledged at least $50,000 per year to the OBS Project."
2* $50,000 = $100,000 per year

"Premiere Tier: These sponsors have gone far above and beyond with their contributions to the OBS Project"
20->50->100 is what I'm extrapolating here. That means that both Twitch and Facebook pay at least $100,000 per year. It was said that Twitch pays "a lot" more than Facebook, so I'm going for $150,000 for Twitch.
$100,000 + $150,000 = $250,000 per year

Then there is Patreon. It's a good thing that the income isn't hidden on the Patreon page, so we have an exact value. It is $1,392 right now.
12 * $1,392 = $16,704 (roughly $15,000)

There is also "Open Collective", which I didn't know before. It seems to be a website for donating money to projects. As it is with LibrePay, the software behind project itself is open source. In contrast to LibrePay, you can not use the service without paying them for the service. It isn't non-profit, either. It's a regular company in that regard. They take a whopping 10% from every payment towards OBS. That's without payment fees from other finance institutions, which come on top of that (I think that's called "stripe fee" in the US). I removed any instance already calculated above from the list of payments, so that just additional payments are included in this position. Also, all of items in the list that reflected above tiers show that assuming the minimum value for recurring tiers from above seems to be accurate.

$11,285.66 donations - $1,128.52 Open Collective fee - $471.53 payment processor fee = $9,685.58 (roughly $10,000)


  $  18,000   Bronze Tier
+ $  40,000   Gold Tier
+ $ 100,000   Diamond Tier
+ $ 250,000   Premiere Tier
+ $  15,000   Patreon
+ $  10,000   Open Collective
- $  10,000   See the edit below
--------
$ 423,000


Some things to note: I can not know of any other donations for example via PayPal or other ways. Known one time fees do not play a big role. The transfer fees were only subtracted where known, which is only the data from Open Collective.

--------------------------------------------------

I'm just going to let this sit here as it is, just numbers. If there is anything wrong with my calculations and more importantly my assumptions, then please let me know. Please, take what I have written above in the spirit I described in my former post above. This is just me taking a look at it, nothing more.

Maybe I'm going to write my thoughts about this later, but I'm going to go outside first. The weather is nice and my cats like going outside with me. Also, it is often a good idea to let some things sink in before going at it. :)

Edit: I just have gone over what I wrote earlier and realized I forgot to substract the Open Collective fees and transfer fees for corporate sponsors (the tiers), because some of those, but not all, are known via the data from Open Collective. I updated this with a single substraction in the final calculation.
So, about how many full-time developers can you pay a normal salary while also paying for some infrastructure costs? How long can you budget your payroll based on fluctuating donations?
Doc Angelo 29 Feb
Quoting: 14So, about how many full-time developers can you pay a normal salary while also paying for some infrastructure costs? How long can you budget your payroll based on fluctuating donations?

That depends on a whole lot of things. Some FOSS people are fine with the basic living costs of their region, some want to earn roughly the same as they would with a regular job. Some are utilitarists, some are capitalists, and there are many somewhere in between or even more different. So, it really depends on a lot of things. I'm not from the US. What would roughly be the amount of money an US based FOSS developer needs to cover his living costs?

There is one full time dev, which is the project lead. The person linked on the article states that everything he does is voluntary, so he doesn't get paid anything for his work. I don't know how many people regularly work on OBS. If someone who knows that could step in, that would be awesome. Maybe there is even some page on the official website where finance distribution between contributors is described? Not that every dev wants to have something, as we can see with Mr. Torell.

Regarding fluctiating donations: One times donations are only 2% of the sum above. You are of course right that not every company will never stop paying their recurring plan. I just took the last year as the base for my calculations.


Last edited by Doc Angelo on 29 February 2020 at 3:06 pm UTC
Quoting: Doc AngeloSaying that this "must" be an infiltration is if you ask me exactly as stupid as saying that this "can not" be problematic in some way. We don't know, so why would we say something like this?

Who here thinks that Facebook doesn't do evil stuff at all? I think next do no one. We can't know what is happening. We shouldn't make strong statements when we can't back those statements up with facts and knowledge. Simply saying "it is not a problem because it's just a donation" is the same kind of baseless argument as is "this must be a buy-out".

Here's how I see it: Facebook is very obviously a company with a history of things that were not a good thing. Facebook has done a lot of awful things, and it is doing them right now. I think most people agree and for many of them, a few examples spring to mind.

So we should be aware and stay alert when such a company invests in something that is free. If you think the GPL has the power to fend of corruption of the humans who commit changes to that software, you should examine that train of thought. It wouldn't be the first free project to contain malicious code without anybody noticing, and it wouldn't be the first project to fall because of greed, even that of the creators, who I believe hadn't that in mind from the start. We are all just humans. None of us was "good" at every point in our lives. If we don't take that in mind, what good is the GPL? How much worth is the source being open, if nobody opens it, so to speak? If nobody would take a deep and good look in order to find anything malicious, of what use is it?

Of course are people going to be asking questions if such a big investment comes from such a company. That should be the expectation of any person not living under a stone for the last 10 years. The explanations from the dev team don't really bring anything to the table that is worthwhile. To be fair - there is not much one could say in this situation, because the expectation is of course that in the case of something malicious, the people behind that would still act the same: They'd say that there is no problem. That's just how it is, so everybody should take that in mind. The community, and the devs as well.

Quoting: https://twitter.com/dodgepong/status/1233107031965474822I’m sure there will still be people with tinfoil hats who think this is some evil conspiracy, but it really is not. If it was, I would be out — I have a full-time job, and the work I do for OBS is largely voluntary, so I can leave if I want to.

"People with tinfoil hats"? That is just a god-awful thing to say in this situation. Seriously.

So lets put that aside for a few moments. As far as I can see, the full-time job of Mr. Torell is producing live streams for events and competitions. His job is about using software like OBS. And it wouldn't be a completely baseless assumption that he is using OBS for his work. He needs that tool to make money.

See, I don't want to point out that there is a problem with that. Not at all. This shows how great FOSS is. One can use that software to create value, and even change it when you need it to do some things it yet can not. You can make the software better in order to create more value that you can sell and live on.

I'm just putting these words into perspective. Because when I first read them, I thought he has a full-time job that has nothing to do with OBS and everything he does for it is just a hobby. That's not the case.

I think that is an important bit to understand here.

Again, not because I want to say that Mr. Torell must be malicious, but... well, see my statements above.
On this stuff I think in terms of motivation. For corporations, the motivation is profit, sometimes with the personality of a lead person or two layered in, plus a certain . . . institutional style, about how they approach getting that profit. While on one hand I normally feel if I'm looking at a corporation in general, or for that matter Facebook in particular, that actual benevolence or altruism is obviously not going to be in that mix, on the other you can usually assume that they won't do harmful or illegal things for the sake of doing them; there has to be profit in it. A corporation's charter defines its "personality" as that of a psychopath--but a psychopath whose sole motivation is gain, not one of the actively sadistic ones.

So for instance, I really doubt Facebook would deliberately stick malware in an open source project they were helping finance. Spyware, sure--they're addicted to knowing about people. But anything that does actual direct harm would not enrich them and could get them in serious legal trouble, so why would they do it? Anyhow, if you're going to stick bad code of whatever sort into open source software, you don't do it by giving the project money. You do it by getting a programmer to write the code and submit it. You give projects money to gain influence over the directions the project goes, to make sure it prioritizes features useful to you. That isn't maybe great, but it usually doesn't retard the overall progress, it just hastens your stuff more, and often if a feature is useful to some big corp it's also useful to at least some other people, and with luck it's actually a generally desirable feature.
So yeah, I doubt FB contributing to this will make it worse. Some features important to FB will get a bit more priority, but since the money will speed overall development it probably won't actually slow down arrival of other needed work. Just, maybe check to see if the dang thing is phoning home.


Last edited by Purple Library Guy on 29 February 2020 at 7:12 pm UTC
Quoting: 14
Quoting: Eike
Quoting: 14The fact that Facebook gave money to OBS does not take away any of your money to donate somewhere of your choosing.

Yeah, after the wealthiest people and companies spent their billions, I'm still free to decide where to put my ten bucks. Cool.

Reminds me of the quote: "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread.”
I do not understand the point you're making. I mean, I get the point, but it's not applicable. A rich entity donated money somewhere, and that somehow makes it pointless for anyone that's not rich to donate anywhere...? You might as well just stop going to work if you can't earn the same amount of money as the richest corporations in the world with that logic.

So, the OP was Facebook donating money, and that makes you angry. It's sounding to me like you wish you could control Facebook's money yourself. Or, maybe your solution would be that nobody is allowed to earn lots of money or not allowed to donate. What is your ideal here?
The problem with charity as a major part of how things get done is complex but significant. Charity is OK, but it should be an edge case, not a main event. There are several basic problems with it.

1. Dealing with major social problems via the actions of private charities is very ineffective. It simply doesn't get the job done; it tends to amount to treating cancer with 500 bandaids. It's useful to the individuals helped, compared to nothing, but it has no impact on the overall situations giving rise to individuals needing help. Public sector action is much more effective. If you want to reduce poverty, increasing taxation to fund social programs or Keynesian economic policies is far more effective than hoping people will donate some of their untaxed income to food banks.

2. The amount of charity people can give does not scale linearly with their income. Middle class people and below spend most of their income on getting by; the total surplus left over for entertainment and other frills, including charitable donations, is small. Rich people spend very little of their income on necessities; almost everything is "left over". So they don't just have more money overall, a much bigger proportion of that larger amount of money is disposable. This is even more the case today, with such low taxes on the rich, on investment income, and on corporations. Thus, the donations of the wealthy or corporations can be disproportionately large.

3. Even if that doesn't result in those big actors contributing most of the money, it does tend to result in their taking over the charities involved. Small donations don't come with opinions about policy attached; large numbers of small donations are basically "background". But big donations very often come with quid pro quo attached; the big donors want the organization to prioritize particular things. So for instance, if you look at the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, they give major donations to health initiatives in the Third World. They also have very big investments in pharmaceutical companies. So when they donate to an organization, they want the org to prioritize initiatives that will buy expensive pharmaceuticals over initiatives that will buy mosquito netting. Even if the mosquito netting would be far, far cheaper and more effective. The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is also invested in various companies involved in private provision of education. Not surprisingly, it donates to and is involved in organizations that push for "charter" schools and, in general, privatization of education. So it's ratfucking the public education system in the name of charity. More generally, if you look at universities who get donations from alumni, the wealthy alumni with major donations tend to steer the priorities of the universities--they donate to business schools and chairs in economics, not to chairs in ecology or the humanities, let alone labour studies.
So if you hollow out public systems and "replace" them with charitable donations, what you get is wealthy people setting the policy approaches of the charities, and the policy approaches will favour generation of profits for the wealthy donors over actual efficient aid to needy recipients.

4. And then, they expect us to be grateful. And with media backing, they can often pull that off.
Eike 29 Feb
Quoting: 14So, the OP was Facebook donating money, and that makes you angry.

Not at all, and I don't even have an idea where you took that from.

Quoting: 14I do not understand the point you're making. I mean, I get the point, but it's not applicable. A rich entity donated money somewhere, and that somehow makes it pointless for anyone that's not rich to donate anywhere...?

If, say, the richest one percent of the people got 50 % of the money, and the majority of the other ones cannot donate at all because they actually need their money, yes, donations of the non-richest actually get less and less important.

Quoting: 14It's sounding to me like you wish you could control Facebook's money yourself. Or, maybe your solution would be that nobody is allowed to earn lots of money or not allowed to donate. What is your ideal here?

I don't know honestly, but for sure it's far from 1 % of the people controlling half of the wealth and controlling welfare by giving or not giving their donations. What's yours? You're cool with the actual situation?
Asu 1 Mar
finally Zuckerberg is doing something good...
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