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Why we Love and Sponsor Benthos

We love Open Source here at Meltwater, and like most modern software companies, we would not be able to operate without it.

One project that we are especially fond of is Benthos, “the stream processor for mundane tasks”. In this post we share how our relationship with Benthos started, how we are using it, and why we decided to become an official sponsor of Benthos.

How Meltwater uses Benthos

Benthos is a project originally created within Meltwater’s Core Platform team. The mastermind and core maintainer behind it is Ashley Jeffs, a Meltwater alumnus.

For about 2 years we have been utilising the flexibility Benthos gives us to read data from many possible places and an array of available processors. Crucially, Benthos has the ability to extend its inputs, outputs and processors with custom plugins.

We heavily use this plugin architecture, and contribute to Benthos by pushing bug fixes and features that benefit all other Benthos users to the upstream. Further we have custom plugins that only make sense for Meltwater, so we maintain our own fork of Benthos that we deploy with these custom plugins.

To share one specific example, we are using Benthos to process the full twitter firehose, also using IDML, another open source project of ours. We are very happy with it, or as one of our developers put it so well:

I use Benthos on a (near) daily basis. Nothing interesting or extraordinary ever happens. It just works.

If you want to know more about the Meltwater/Benthos relationship, we recommend reading Why We Built a Dull Stream Processor and Benthos Lab: A Case Study of Hackathon Innovation.

Why we Sponsor Benthos

As you can tell from the stories above, we are avid users of Benthos, and highly interested in its well being i.e. continuous and stable development. Hence we were looking for ways to support the project, besides making code contributions ourselves.

When the GitHub Sponsors program launched we saw this as a reliable way for us to support Benthos, so we started sponsoring Ashley to allow him to push the development of Benthos forward.

A practical side note here: While we generally like how GitHub Sponsors works, it still has one challenge for corporate users right now. It does not allow you to sponsor an individual user directly from your GitHub organization (e.g. github.com/meltwater in our case). However we hear that GitHub is already working on such corporate sponsorship and it is expected to ship soon. So for the time being you have to sponsor a project from a GitHub user account.

How You Can Support Open Source

If your team or company is an active user of Benthos, we hope that this post motivates you to sponsor Benthos too, so that its open source development can thrive.

This does not just apply to Benthos. Maybe assess which projects your company is heavily depending on, and then give those projects/maintainers the support they need to keep the project running? At the end of the day, it is in all of our best interest to see these projects last and succeed, isn’t it? :)

Last but not least, the Benthos website benthos.dev just got a fresh new look and a lot of great content to get you started. Check it out!

What are your experiences with supporting open source development in your team and company? You can share them with us in the comments below.

Image credits:

Mona, the GitHub Octocat! - github.com/sponsors

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