Adopt a line of code: The makers of Miro have a unique funding model

The multiplatform video downloader-and-viewer combo formerly known as Democracy Player is taking a cue from Sally Struthers and offering you, the Windows or Mac or Linux viewer at home, the opportunity to adopt a line of code in their software. "If enough of our users adopt lines of Miro code," says co-founder Nicholas Reville, "we can create an organization that is funded from the bottom-up and not dependent on the top-down."

Miro's parent organization, the Participatory Culture Foundation, has received grants for its work over the years from the Mozilla Foundation, the Open Source Application Foundation (Mitch Kapor's project), the Knight foundation, and similar celebrants of open source and open democracy. Times being what they are, the funding's not what it once was, and so in the wake of its recent Miro 2.0 release (which, according to Reville, tripled the product's user base) the PCF is thinking creatively about funding its creativity.

Miro itself combines a player, an RSS reader, and a BitTorrent client. And what does $4 get you? Your code will not write letters home telling you how it's doing in school, but you do get the actual line of code, its name (!) and picture (!!!), a blog widget for showing off the equivalent of a wallet photo, and your name in the credits. Those unfamiliar with reading code are also given the experience of trying to figure it out -- a similar process, your reporter understands, to raising a teenager.

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