10 Dec 2017
On December 7, Patreon made an announcement about the change in their
transaction fee structure. The results as of December 10 speak for
December 2017 summary: -$29 in pledges, -6 patrons
All leaving patrons marked "I'm not happy with Patreon's features or
services." as the reason for leaving, with quotes ranging from:
The billing changes are not great.
Patreon's new fees are unacceptable
In this article, I will explore the currently available methods for
supporting sustainable Free Software development and compare their
My experience taking donations is very short. I announced my fund
raising campaign on
Patreon in October 2017.
Here's what I collected so far, vs the actual money spent by the
$140.42 / $162.50 = 86.41%
$163.05 / $187.50 = 86.96%
The numbers here are using the old Patreon rules that are going away
||7.9% + $0.35
||12.9% + $0.30
Just like everyone else, I'm not happy with the incoming change to the
Patreon fees. But even after the change, it's still a better deal than
OpenCollective, which is used quite successfully e.g. by
Just to restate the numbers in the table, if all backers give $1
(which is the majority currently, and I actually would generally
prefer 5 new $1 backers over 1 new $5 backer), with the old system I
get $0.86, while with the new system it's $0.69. That's more than 100%
increase in transaction fees.
It's more expensive than the new Patreon fees in every category or
Flattr is in the same bucket as Patreon, except with slightly lower
fees currently. Their default plan sounds absolutely ridiculous to me:
you install a browser plug-in so that a for-profit corporation can
track which websites you visit most often in order to distribute the
payments you give them among those websites.
If it were a completely local tool which doesn't upload any data on
the internet and instead gives you a monthly report to adjust your
donations, it would have been a good enough tool. Maybe with some
adjustments for mind-share bubbles, which result in prominent projects
getting more rewards than they can handle, while small projects fade
away into obscurity without getting a chance. But right now it's
completely crazy. Still, if you don't install the plug-in, you can
probably still use Flattr and it will work similarly to Patreon.
I made an account, just in case, but I
wouldn't recommend going to Flattr unless you're already there, or the
first impression it made on me is wrong.
Paypal is OK in a way, since a lot of the time the organizations like
Patreon are just middle men on top of Paypal. On the other hand,
there's no way to set up recurring donations. And it's harder for me
to plan decisions regarding my livelihood if I don't know at least
approximately the sum I'll be getting next month.
My account, in case you want to make a lump sum donation:
Bitcoin is similar to Paypal, except it also:
- has a very bad impact on the environment,
- is a speculative bubble that supports either earning or losing money
without actually providing value to the society.
I prefer to stay away from Bitcoin.
Liberapay sounds almost too good to
be true. At the same time, their fees are very realistic, you could
almost say optimal, since there are no fees for transfers between
members. So you can spend either €20.64 (via card) or €20.12 (via bank
wire) to charge €20 into your account and give me €1 per month at no
further cost. If you change your mind after one month, you can
withdraw your remaining €19 for free if you use a SEPA (Single Euro
Payments Area) bank.
If I set out today to set up a service similar to Liberapay, even with
my best intentions and the most optimistic expectations, I don't see
how a better offer could be made. I recommend anyone who wants to
support me to try it out. And, of course, I will report back with real
numbers if anything comes out of it.
Thanks to all my patrons for their former and ongoing support. At one
point we were at 30% of the monthly goal (25% atm.). This made me very
excited and optimistic about the future. Although I'm doing Free
Software for almost 5 years now, it's actually 3 years in academia and
2 years in industry. Right now, I'm feeling a burnout looming over the
horizon, and I was really hoping to avoid it by spending less time
working at for-profit corporations. Any help, either monetary or
advice is appreciated. If you're a part of a Software Engineering or a
Research collective that makes you feel inspired instead of exhausted
in the evening and you have open positions in EU or on remote, have a
look at my LinkedIn -
maybe we could become colleagues in the future. I'll accept
connections from anyone - if you're reading this blog, we probably
have a lot in common; and it's always better together.
30 Nov 2017
Ivy is a completion method that's
Ido, but with emphasis on simplicity and customizability.
The current release constitutes of 280 commits and 8 months of
0.9.0. Many issues ranging from
#1336 were fixed.
The number of people who contributed code as grown to
Details on changes
Changelog.org has been a part of the repository since
can get the details of the current and past changes:
Many improvements are incremental and don't require any extra code to
enable. I'll go over a few selected features that require a bit of
information to make a good use of them.
Off by default. You can turn it on like so:
(setq ivy-use-selectable-prompt t)
After this, your current input becomes selectable as a
candidate. Press C-p when you're on the first candidate to
select your input instead.
This solves the long standing issue of e.g. creating a file or
foo when a file
foobar already exists. Previously, the
only solution was to use C-M-j. It's still available, but
now you can also select your input with C-p and press
New global actions for ivy
ivy-set-actions was used to enable the following bindings:
- Press M-o w to copy the current candidate to the kill ring.
- Press M-o i to insert the current candidate into the buffer.
These bindings are valid for any completion session by default.
Use C-d in ivy-occur buffers
Here's an example use-case: search your source code for a variable
name with e.g.
counsel-rg and call
ivy-occur (C-c C-o).
Suppose you get 10 results, only 4 of which are interesting. You can
now delete the uninteresting ones with C-d. Then maybe
check off the others with C-d as well as you complete them
one by one. A sort of a TODO list.
Similarly, if you want to go over variables to customize, you can call
counsel-describe-variable with input
^counsel-[^-] and then check
off the ones you have already examined with C-d.
Defcustoms to play with
Here's the list of new
defvar that might be
interesting to review:
14 new commands were added by me and many contributors. Here's the list:
counsel-ack - completion for ack
counsel-apropos - completion for apropos
counsel-file-register - completion for file registers
counsel-fzf - completion for fzf
counsel-git-change-worktree - completion for git-worktree
counsel-git-checkout - completion for git-checkout
counsel-minibuffer-history - generalization of
counsel-org-capture - completion for org-capture
counsel-org-file - browse all attachments for the current Org file
counsel-org-goto - completion for Org headings
counsel-org-goto-all - completion for Org headings in all open buffers
counsel-switch-to-shell-buffer - switch to a shell buffer, or create one
ivy-occur-delete-candidate - delete current candidate in
ivy-switch-view - select a window configuration, decoupled from
My personal favorites are
Again, thanks to all the contributors. Happy hacking!
P.S. Please consider joining my 74 patrons to give me the opportunity to work on Free Software a lot more. We are currently at 30% of the goal.
18 Nov 2017
ivy-occur (C-c C-o) is one of the coolest
features in ivy. It allows you
to save your current search into a new buffer. This has many uses:
- get a full overview of all candidates
- many useful modal bindings (q, j,
k, f) and mouse support
- ability to manipulate candidates as text
- save the search for later, with the option to refresh the search with g
- go over candidates as a TODO list, using C-d to remove elements
Everything above works for any
ivy-read session. But the most
powerful features come into play when
ivy-occur gets customized for
a specific collection.
ivy-occur for grep-like functions
(ivy-set-occur 'swiper 'swiper-occur)
Thanks to this default customization, the resulting
swiper* buffer is in
ivy-occur-grep-mode which inherits from
grep-mode. Additionally, you can use
ivy-wgrep-change-to-wgrep-mode C-x C-q to edit the result
in-place - pressing C-x C-s will save the changes.
Similar customizations are available for
(ivy-set-occur 'ivy-switch-buffer 'ivy-switch-buffer-occur)
This makes C-c C-o open your candidates in the powerful
ibuffer, which adds additional info to your buffer list and allows
you to manipulate buffers easily.
For instance, to delete all matching buffers you can do C-c C-o
The source code is short enough to be included here:
(defun ivy-switch-buffer-occur ()
"Occur function for `ivy-switch-buffer' using `ibuffer'."
(ibuffer nil (buffer-name) (list (cons 'name ivy--old-re))))
The interface is quite simple:
ivy-occur is responsible for
generating a new buffer, and the occur function
ivy-switch-buffer-occur is to fill that buffer with useful
info, based on the current search parameters like
This is a brand new feature that works for
counsel-fzf (which itself is quite new, thanks to
@jojojames for contributing it).
Since these functions are used to complete file names, we obviously
ivy-occur to open a Dired buffer.
To delete all
*.elc files in the current folder do:
- C-x C-f
elc$ C-c C-o tDy.
To copy all Org files in a Git project to some directory do:
org$ C-c C-o tC.
To get a list of videos to watch do:
mp4$ C-c C-o.
I can further e.g. mark 3 files with m and use r
to send these 3 files to
vlc as a list. See this
post for my dired setup
that makes r work this way.
You can remove some files afterwards with the usual D or
dx. And to redisplay the buffer use g.
I hope you like the new feature. I had a really good few hours
figuring out how it should work exactly. Please consider joining my
72 patrons to give me the
opportunity to work on Free Software a lot more. Happy hacking!
28 Oct 2017
Orca is a new Emacs package, an
attempt to refactor my old org-fu
into something that's much more re-usable and easier to get started
When capturing from Firefox using
org-protocol (together with
- either I refile each time I capture, which is slow
- or my captures pile up in one place, which is messy
- Define rules for where links from certain websites should be captured.
- Allow to capture directly into the current org-mode buffer, since it's likely related to what I'm working with on.
Part 1: Rules example
Here is my example list of configurations:
"~/Dropbox/org/wiki/emacs.org" "\\* Questions")
"~/Dropbox/org/ent.org" "\\* Articles")))
Part 2: Current buffer example
For example, I'm researching how to implement something with
docker. This means that I have
docker.org open, along with dozens of tabs in the browser.
I can configure to capture into the current org-mode buffer with a
Tasks heading like this:
(push '(orca-handler-current-buffer "\\* Tasks") orca-handler-list)
* Tasks, I just click the capture button in
Firefox and follow up with an immediate C-c C-c in Emacs.
The link is already in the right position, no need for an extra refile
customize with orca
You can set up the capture rules using M-x
Here's a screenshot:
As you see, the customization is a list of an arbitrary length, with
each element falling into one of three categories, each backed by an
Elisp function (
orca-handler-match-url). Each function takes a different number
of arguments (one, two, and three, respectively) - they are all
annotated by the interface.
Here's the code that describes the expected
:tag "Current buffer"
(string :tag "Heading"))
:tag "URL matching regex"
(string :tag "URL")
(string :tag "File")
(string :tag "Heading"))
(string :tag "File")
(string :tag "Heading")))))
You can read more about the customization types in this manual section.
I hope you enjoy
orca. I've submitted it to MELPA. Hopefully, it
will be available for an easy install very soon.
Org-mode is a beautiful thing, but my previous attempts to configure
it were huge config files of loosely related (i.e. the only thing in
common was Org-mode) stuff spanning hundreds of lines. Orca is an
improvement in this respect, since it focuses on a very narrow
domain. It still tries to be flexible (just like
org-capture) - you
can plug in your own functions into
initially, the flexibility can be constrained into the
customize-group interface, to allow for a self-documenting solution
that's easy to get started with. Happy hacking!
PS. Thanks to all my patrons for advancing my
As of this writing, we're almost at the 25% mark
with 61 contributors.
18 Oct 2017
In light of the recent success of the
(congratulations to @tarsius, by the way), I got a lot more optimistic about Free Software crowdfunding.
So I opened a Patreon account where you can support my work:
The goal I set there is both optimistic and (hopefully) realistic: I'd
like to hack on Free Software 1 day per week indefinitely, reducing my
real world job days to 4 per week.
Ideally, I'd like to work on Free Software full time (one can dream),
but it doesn't look like that level of donations is attainable right
now. But I think I could accomplish a lot working a full day per week:
- improve the level of maintenance of my current projects
- polish and release a few projects I have in a semi-complete unreleased state
- produce more content on my YouTube channel
- maybe start working on an Emacs book
Here's a list of
I've made over the last 5 years in my free time (all Free Software under GPL):
If you are a user of my work, don't feel any pressure to donate. We
are all here voluntarily: I publish because I enjoy it, you use the
software because you find it useful. But out there is the real world,
and, although I like my real world job enough, I can't say that would
I do it voluntarily if I had enough money to meet my needs.
If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life
I'd like to do what I love, and I wish you all the same. Happy hacking!