We are your tech team's polyglot open-source developer
We are a software development agency which exclusively works on open-source software across all programming languages. We commit to an SLA and guarantee the delivery of exactly those features and bugfixes in your open-source dependencies that YOU care about.
At ZoomCar, we needed some enhancements in Metabase which happens to be written in Clojure. Developing that in-house would have been too slow & costly. Polyglot team added this feature swiftly and provided support till the feature got merged into upstream project. I think this is a fantastic way to make open-source work for businesses.
Polyglot.network is a very interesting idea. Seems like a win-win for users and the FOSS projects they're using.
Frequently asked questions
- How does it work?
- Your engineers forward to us the issue URLs of open-source feature requests or bugs that will make their life easier - either via the form above or via email or by tagging us on GitHub/GitLab comments. Your CTO sets our priorities once or twice every month. We then work with upstream maintainers, in-house developers and a pool of remote developers to get these tasks done with high quality and reliability. You get the improvements you want, open-source developers get paid, and the ecosystem keeps improving. Everybody wins!
- What is the pricing model?
It's quite simple. Forward us an issue URL and we will get back to you with a time and cost estimate for that specific task. The payment would be 75% for development of the feature and the remaining 25% for getting it merged into upstream.
When you're comfortable, you can start thinking of us as a polyglot open-source developer on your team. You'd buy developer-months from us as a subscription and we'll deliver equivalent work output. A recurring stream of work reduces risk and allows us to promise a much better SLA. Because we only work on open-source, no proprietary info needs to be shared and no NDA need to be signed. You can choose the term of the subscription to be anything between 3 months and 1 year.
- What open-source projects and programming languages have you worked with?
- Do you work with upstream maintainers?
- Yes, that's our most preferred approach. However, as YOUR team member, we are completely dedicated to your needs and therefore, we also work with in-house developers and freelancers whenever appropriate. Our first priority is to deliver the features and bugfixes that you value.
- What if the upstream refuses to merge your changes?
- Open-source projects have certain inherent risks. For example, upstream may not want to merge a feature you want - either because of a conflict of interest (for example, they want to protect the commercial edition) or simply disagreements on product philosophy. These risks exist even if your team does the open-source work in-house. But with a good volume of work, it becomes possible for us to commit to a certain proportion of guaranteed delivery. With sufficient number of customers paying for a project, even a fork becomes sustainable.
- Will you not end up creating and maintaining forks of upstream FOSS projects?
- Our pricing model incentivizes us to merge our changes into upstream repos, not create and maintain forks. Occasionally, there can be a conflict between users' interests and maintainers' interests. In every situation, we will truly act like your team member and always do the right thing for you, while being good citizens of open-source ecosystem..
- Why not GitHub Sponsors or TideLift or BountySource?
- With Polyglot.Network, you only pay for the improvements that YOU value, not for mere support or maintenance. You will get direct, concrete value in return for your money. We also take accountability and commit to a reasonable SLA. We work completely on your behalf in your interest and nobody else.
- But we want to do open-source development in house!
- Your developers use open-source tools a lot more than what they can contribute to. Fundamentally, public goods are best financed via coordination. By outsourcing the open-source work, we avoid the tragedy of commons and split the gains with you. Your team can and should do the work that has a positive return on investment. But outsourcing can enable coordination and thus make a lot more open-source development possible. Therefore, you are leaving real money on the table by not outsourcing open-source development.
- We're a startup and always in a hurry so we just find workarounds and move on. Why do we need it?
Workarounds lead to technical debt. If you talk to your developers, you will find that they typically have tons of features/bugs in their open-source wishlist which would have allowed them to delete a lot of custom code and build more robust systems.
Public goods cannot be rationally maintained by uncoordinated private efforts. If a feature costs $1000 but gives you $700 value in return, it typically never gets done. But if there are 5 companies who outsource this to an external agency like us, we now have $3500 of total value created at the cost of $1,000.
This is why open-source is drastically underfunded. It might be a bit counter-intuitive, but you are leaving money on the table by either DOING open-source work in-house or NOT DOING it at all. By enabling coordination via outsourcing, open-source can be leveraged not just as utility, but also as a strategic weapon.
- What do you mean by "open-source as a strategic weapon"?
You can use open-source to commoditize your complements, or your competition, or your vendors and therefore improve your own profits.
The reason why this strategic weapon is so heavily underutilized is because it will take the right business model to price open-source correctly. We believe that our model is the best among all the ones that are being tried.
Clojure & Haskell
C++, JS, Clojure