Immich Team Goes Full-Time, Joins Forces with FUTO

Big news for Immich users! With FUTO's support, it is now going full-time, continuing its privacy mission without paywalls.

Immich continues to rewrite its open-source fairy tale. What began as a hobbyist project has evolved into a full-time endeavor that financially sustains its developers. Isn’t this the dream every open-source developer strives to achieve? But before we continue, here are a few words for those unfamiliar with the project.

Immich is a high-performance, self-hosted photo and video management software with AI capabilities, designed as an alternative to services like Google Photos or iCloud Photos. It allows users to back up and manage their photos and videos directly from their mobile devices.

Still, with a twist—it’s all under your control on your server. This means you have complete ownership and privacy over your precious moments, with no third-party access—a dream come true for every self-hosting enthusiast. Now, back to the topic.

Alex Tran, the lead maintainer of Immich, announced that as of May 1, 2024, the core team will transition to full-time roles under the new partnership with the Austin, Texas-based company FUTO, focusing solely on Immich’s development.

“After careful deliberation, the team decided that FUTO’s vision closely aligns with our own: to build a better future by providing a polished, performant, and privacy-preserving open-source software solution for photo and video management delivered in a sustainable way. Immich’s future has never looked brighter, and we look forward to realizing our vision for Immich as part of FUTO.”

Alex Tran, Immich Founder

Under the terms of the agreement, FUTO will finance the Immich team, allowing them to dedicate themselves entirely to the project while retaining complete autonomy over its direction and leadership. FUTO has committed to preserving Immich’s open-source nature, maintaining its AGPL licensing without introducing paywalled features or advertisements.

The partnership also outlines a shift in Immich’s funding model. Previously, community donations via GitHub sponsors were supported, but these will be discontinued in favor of a modest optional payment option.

And now, let’s talk about FUTO, a name that might be new to many of you. It is a organization, founded in 2021 by 18-year Silicon Valley veteran, programmer/founder of Yahoo! Games, and WhatsApp seed investor Eron Wolf. The company is dedicated to developing technology that empowers users to regain control over their digital lives. Something into which Immich fits perfectly.

The views and beliefs outlined on the company’s “About” page align closely with the FOSS philosophy, even bordering on the extreme.

“FUTO believes in the power of individual freedom and economic competition, yet we must concede the free market is failing to challenge the Tech Giants. Anti-trust enforcement has proven impotent to restore a balance that would actually threaten the oligopoly’s domination.”

The following quote from the same page also captured our attention, and we largely agree with its bold assertion.

“Meanwhile, the FOSS movement has been equally unable to claw back tech sovereignty from Silicon Valley’s power centers. In many cases, the reasons for this are obvious: a significant part of the most important FOSS foundations and projects are themselves funded by the tech oligopoly.”

By all appearances, FUTO seems dedicated to a noble goal: bringing transparency and control back to users. A romantic mission we like very much, but achieving it in today’s commercialized tech reality is quite challenging in our humble opinion.

Moreover, the Immich team has promised a transparent transition. Before the end of the year, a detailed roadmap will outline the steps necessary to bring it to a stable release, promising quicker bug fixes and feature rollout.

Why a stable release? Yes, Immich has a lot of releases behind it so far, now at version 1.103.0, but it frequently undergoes significant changes. Each new version typically demands considerable user involvement, giving the impression that the software is perpetually unfinished.

However, given that Immich’s devs can now devote their whole attention to the software’s development, they are in position to be able to iron out any current flaws much faster, making it the ultimate solution for anyone seeking complete control and privacy over their digital memories.

With FUTO funding secured, Immich is expected to compete with the other major player in this niche, PhotoPrism, which benefits the entire FOSS community.

Lastly, don’t forget that we’ve crafted a comprehensive, user-friendly guide to assist our readers in effortlessly setting up Immich. You can find it here. Happy self-hosting!

Bobby Borisov

Bobby Borisov

Bobby, an editor-in-chief at Linuxiac, is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, he has worked as a Senior Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

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