Giving back to the open-source community

How the engineers at WeTransfer came together to support the open-source community

Giving back to the open-source community

WeTransfer has always been committed to supporting creative communities by giving away advertising space to artists and causes that matter. Now we’re extending our efforts to the open-source movement and its contributors by providing financial support to projects we believe in. 

Why are we doing this? It’s simple.  WeTransfer is built on open-source. Like many other companies, we rely on open-source projects to work, collaborate, improve our services, and grow our business—pretty much all those things that make us a successful company. 

Open-source projects rely heavily on individual contributors to survive. More often than not, contributors work on these projects in their free time to ensure a certain product encompasses all the features and security users (like WeTransfer) need. 

It’s common practice for individual contributors to use their own money to keep the internet secure and alive as many widely used open-source projects have close to zero funding. 

Giving back to those who keep us moving forward

Up until now, WeTransfer has been giving back to the engineering community through open-source software on GitHub. Our engineers are always thinking of ways to open the code we write and contribute upstream to the libraries we use. Among other initiatives, we have opened a document-scanning library for iOS.

As always, we want to take our contribution one step further and get the whole team of engineers involved in giving back to the community. 

So what have we been up to?

Glad you asked. 

Building an open-source team

Since open-source is a core part of the engineering team’s work, we’ve decided to build a dedicated team to oversee all our open-source efforts but also put them into the spotlight. This is the first step in a company-wide effort to standardize how we open code, contribute upstream to other repositories, and support maintainers. 

Getting every engineer involved

Not only did we want to provide financial support to the open-source community, but we also aimed at involving our engineers in deciding which projects or contributors they’d like to support. And while doing so, we wanted to increase awareness around these projects within WeTransfer. 

Choosing whom to support

We first had to set up an organization-wide request for comments (RFC) to gauge how realistic the individual contribution scheme would be. After a few weeks of reflection, we found a solution. 

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Here’s how it went—our team of engineers made a selection of projects dear to their hearts without having any restrictions. After coming up with no less than 20 projects, every engineer was asked to choose the projects they wanted to support the most. 

At the end of the decision period, the OSS team made some verifications on whether the projects accepted donations, how those donations could be recorded, and whether the projects we wanted to support were in line with our ethical values.

The selected projects were very diverse, from large and well-known open-source projects to smaller niche ones. Not only did we want to give engineers the freedom to support organizations and individuals they admire, but we also wanted to show that WeTransfer and its engineers value their work. 

What’s next? 

WeTransfer is a company that gives back to our community and one that puts people first. We want to lead by example and pave the way to a better future for the tech industry. 

There’s more to come—our efforts to support OSS won’t stop here. Stay tuned!