The Participatory Culture Foundation (PCF) believes the media is controlled by a small group of corporations. In response, it created the open source video player Miro as a way to make media available to the masses. Although the foundation receives funding from organizations like the Mozilla Foundation and Skyline Public Works, PCF relies heavily on hackers in the open source community and a small bevy of paid programmers to help develop its software. As a nonprofit organization, PCF sometimes has to get creative in order to pay the bills -- and thus its latest release.
This week, PCF opened the Miro Store and began selling T-shirts to generate some cashflow and help compensate the on-staff programmers for the time they spend working on improving Miro. Though many open source development teams sell branded items as a way to infuse projects with cash, these fundraising shirts let less technically savvy people contribute by submitting shirt designs of their own for consideration.
In fact, according to PCF's executive director, Nicholas Reville, the artists who designed the initial group of shirts aren't hackers at all. While they didn't contribute to Miro's codebase, "They are involved because they believe in the mission and support what we're doing," Reville says.
The first two shirts to be rolled out were newly designed for the store's opening. Miro Bird was created by commercial artist Dan Funderburgh, and Exploding TV by graphic artist Jamie Buckmaster. Shirts bearing the Miro logo designed by Jon Hicks, creator of the Firefox icon, are available in three colors.
The shirts are printed by VG Kids in Michigan and cost $18 each plus shipping. "About $7 to $9 per shirt goes to support Miro, and the rest covers the cost of printing and shipping the shirts," says Reville.