I've heard of "orphaned" code, but this is a new one. The Miro project is trying a new approach to funding: asking enthusiasts to "adopt" lines of code.
From the letter to adopters on the site:
We're a small non-profit in a sea of big budget, for-profit competitors, and the recent stock market crash has severely hurt the foundations that fund the bulk of our work. But we want to take this crisis and use it as an opportunity to flip our funding model on its head. If enough of our users adopt lines of Miro code, we can create an organization that is funded from the bottom-up and not dependent on the top-down.
We aren't here to make money, we're here for a mission: to distribute wonderful video around the world in a system that's more open and decentralized than ever before. To do that, we need you to help us care for a little tiny piece of Miro.
If you're not familiar with Miro, it's "open Internet TV," a player that can handle nearly any video file and it boasts more than 6,000 free Internet TV shows and podcasts. Miro handles Quicktime, AVI, MPEG, WMV and other formats with ease.
For a mere $4 per month, you can "adopt a line of source code," to "keep Miro alive and growing." That's a steal for all the Internet video junkies who depend on Miro for their content fix.
Adopters will not only receive the warm fuzzy feeling of supporting their own bundle of code, they'll get a customized page and widgets to display the code and a "photo" of your new little buddy. You have to hand it to the Miro folks. It's a novel approach, and just might work.