When I started working on Cake in 2014, I did it to scratch an itch I had. FAKE existed (which has been a tremendous initial inspiration), but I didn't know F# enough (at all) to be confident enough to bet our build process on it.
A lot has happened since then; .NET has changed, and so has Cake. We've moved from a separate Roslyn and Mono engine to a unified one based on Roslyn. We've added support for C# 6, 7, 8, and just recently 9. In addition to .NET Framework, we've added support for every version of .NET Core, from the early beta to .NET 5. The project has also gone from a single maintainer to nine, which I think is the biggest reason for its success.
We keep a close eye on statistics. Not only is it satisfying seeing the numbers go up, but it's also an indicator that people and companies still use our little project. Cake in its different incarnations has been downloaded over 12 million times and is the third most downloaded dotnet tool on NuGet. Build tools don't often get credit as libraries do, but we know that some big companies like Microsoft and GitHub use Cake in their build process. However, no company has ever reached out to us about sponsoring us in any way. That is until a couple of weeks ago.
Getting our first sponsor
Out of the blue, Paul Stovell, the founder of Octopus Deploy, reached out to me and wondered if we would let them become an official Cake sponsor! I'm personally a big fan of Octopus Deploy, a tool that I've been using a lot throughout my career, and I must confess I was very humbled that such a great company wanted to sponsor our little project.
We've always worked on Cake in our free time, but having sponsors opens up for so many things. Suddenly, we can put even more time into the project, and we can hire external services for things that we sometimes don't have the experience or knowledge about ourselves.
I'm not saying that your company should sponsor Cake, but you should take a moment, reflect on what projects you depend on, and try to make sure that those projects stay around.
To put it short, companies like Octopus Deploy, that sponsor projects that they depend on, make open source sustainable, and I want to say a personal thank you to them for doing it!
You should check them out if you haven't already: https://octopus.com