GitHub has now started GitHub Sponsors, a service with which users can donate to projects registered at GitHub. For the first year GitHub will not take any commission and will match donations up to a total of 5 kUSD. More details can be found here or on the German blog post:
I can’t help having an uneasy feeling about this. Of course every EUR donated to Free Software helps, but this will likely increase the centralization towards GitHub and the control over financial flows could become critical…
They also allow other organizations (like Tidelift) to be listed as the recipient of donations for a project; the owner of the project is not required to use GitHub’s donation services.
I somewhat agree to the perception that it feels a bit wrong. On the other hand, they raise awareness about the issue of underfunded projects and the necessity of funding small to mid-sized projects, not only the big ones. In opposite to Tidelift, Github has the public outreach to make a massive change. However, I hope the Free Software and overall developer communities do not rest on Github’s step but take own action to decentralise the funding models for Free Software.