Certainly, no contributors get into projects with the sole purpose to get a financial gain out of them. Open source has never been about money either. But for you as an author, the lack of funds to sustain your ideas and pay for even a small portion of the time you’re spending on them is—I’m not going to lie—devastating. It may not be your concern at first but it will inevitably become one when your ideas gain popularity, demanding significantly more time than there are hours in a day.


In 2023 I received $593.02 in sponsorships via GitHub Sponsors for my work on komorebi, the tiling window manager for Windows, which has continued to grow beyond my wildest dreams; it currently has 6.5k stars on GitHub, 57k downloads and almost 1000 members in the community Discord.


Below is the monthly breakdown of the sponsorships received last year:

Month Payout
January $27.61
February $26.77
March $35.71
April $81.00
May $46.00
June $32.00
July $31.00
August $33.32
September $52.83
October $66.37
November $82.00
December $78.41

I was laid off in November (and remained unemployed until late February 2024), which saw an increased number of both one-time sponsorships and monthly sponsorships.

In 2023 I also started posting live development videos on YouTube, inspired by Andreas Kling’s videos developing SerenityOS.

Although my YouTube channel remained unmonetized in 2023, I was able to grow the channel to 1.5k subscribers, and in February 2024, with over 4000 hours of watch time, the channel reached “full monetization” status.

It’s unlikely that I’ll hit the $100 minimum payout threshold on the channel in 2024, but technically, the work I put into the YouTube channel in 2023 has opened the possibility for users to financially support the project in a passive way by subscribing to the channel and watching videos.

I initially thought that the channel would mainly attract viewers who wanted to learn more about writing and maintaining a large, complex piece of software in Rust.

It turns out that many people just love to tune in for the “chill vibes”.

There are a number of high profile success stories of people who have been able to make a living from voluntary contributions to their open source work, and if this is a path that you, dear reader, would like to pursue, I would urge you to first reflect on Bo Burnham’s advice:

I would say don’t take advice from people like me who have gotten very lucky. We’re very biased. You know, like Taylor Swift telling you to follow your dreams is like a lottery winner saying, ‘Liquidize your assets; buy Powerball tickets - it works!’


Tiling window managers in general are very “sticky” pieces of software, and komorebi is no exception. Once you start using it and it clicks, it becomes an essential part of how you interact with computers.

Much like notado.app and kullish, I will continue to develop komorebi regardless of the amount of financial sponsorship the project receives simply because I too am stuck in its stickiness! It is such an essential part of how I interact with my computer that I will always be compelled to develop it indefinitely.

I am so grateful to every single person who has ever financially sponsored komorebi. I wish I had more to give back to you for your support than just shout outs at the end of my YouTube videos.

If you have any questions or comments you can reach out to me on Twitter and Mastodon.

If you’re interested in what I read to come up with software like komorebi, you can subscribe to my Software Development RSS feed.

If you’d like to watch me writing code while explaining what I’m doing, you can also subscribe to my YouTube channel.

If you found this content valuable, or if you are a happy user of the komorebi tiling window manager or my NixOS starter templates, please consider sponsoring me on GitHub or tipping me on Ko-fi.