Ben Fry resigning from the Processing Foundation



Nice to see you here

That’s really sad!

And we wish all the best…!


There is more explanation at . To spare people the click, and to avoid link rot:

I have made the extremely difficult decision to resign from the Processing Foundation. I am absolutely heartbroken, and have not slept well for months.

Casey and I started the Foundation with Dan as a way to make the Processing project more sustainable. For years it had been just Casey and me, supporting thousands and thousands of users.

Back in 2017, I was diagnosed with cancer just weeks after my second child was born. I took a break from participating directly with the Board.

Last fall, with urging from Casey, who was planning to leave, I tried to return to an active role with the Board.

It was a strange experience; I was soon shocked to learn that the Foundation spent nearly $800,000 last year. $0 of that went to Processing 4.

This year, the proposed Foundation budget is around $1.2 million. But for Processing, there is budget for just two people: one developer, one community lead.

You know what that sounds like? The reason we started a Foundation in the first place. Two people is not enough for all of the Processing software projects that live at the domains, not just the original software, but also releases for Android, Python, Raspberry Pi, etc.

There have been two million downloads of even just the 4.0 releases, and there remains consistently about 100,000 unique users a month.

Two people is not enough to sustain the current community, but more importantly, not enough to move the project in new directions—more languages, platforms, devices; broadening the audience further.

We’re very much back in the same place as when we started in 2001: coding is still too obtuse and oblique, and the only way to fix that is to reduce barriers that will make coding accessible to more people.

I have continued to work on the Processing software since resigning from the Foundation—since walking away only punishes our users—but it’s really difficult. There’s no future in this current structure.

From the outset, the project was always a 50-50 split between internal (software development) and external (the community, the documentation, examples, etc). The Foundation has lost all sense of balance.

It’s a depressing outcome following the $10 million windfall of donations. It’s just co-opting the work that I’ve done for 22 years: building the software and supporting the community; both in years past when it was an unknown project, or in more recent years when keeping things working wasn’t always fun, but was still important for the community that relied on it.

The situation is especially difficult for me because it has been created by the people who most benefited from all that work I did, and from people I trusted as friends.

The Processing software and its community deserve better, and need a better home than the “Processing” Foundation.

  1. How can the Processing app not be supported by the Processing Foundation??

  2. Where did the ten million go?

  3. If the Processing Foundation does not support the Processing editor, what does it do?

  4. There needs to be a disclaimer on the screen which asks for donations when we download the editor stating that the money does not go to support for the editor. Isn’t that fraud??


@jafal :wave: :slight_smile:

@svan regarding 2, the few comments in this thread and those in response to Ben’s tweet seem to denounce the foundation’s ideological drift, which has led it to extensively fund “woke” programs (“afrocyberfeminism”, “intersectionalism”, “combating white supremacy”, etc.) to the detriment of software development.


Who controls the website where Processing is downloaded? Personally I don’t think that the Foundation should be allowed to ask for money and then not give anything to the folks who have created and maintain the editor. I have contributed to the cause and I thought that my dollars were going to programmers; apparently that is not the case.

It does clearly state that the donation is going to the Foundation and I erroneously assumed that they were the ones writing the code for the editor.


Very sad news, but certainly puts some things into perspective after reading through the twitter thread.

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And I was wondering why on earth things improve so very slowly in the processing language…

now it is clear…


Very sad to hear that Ben has resigned from the Processing Foundation but after reading his announcement I understand and agree with his reasons for doing so.


Absolutely! Edited to use the word “here”. Sorry if it read otherwise.

Having been involved in superficially similar conversations in a much larger software foundation recently, there are certain people who need to understand that they’re as much a part of the problem.

I don’t know how broad the actual membership of the Processing foundation is, but it sounds like some questioning of its adherence to its core mission may be in order.


Dear Processing Community Members,

This topic has sparked a lot of heated reactions. While it’s natural to have strong opinions on such a challenging topic, I want to stress that our established community guidelines remain in place. Open and honest dialog is encouraged, but please avoid personal attacks or derogatory language.

Please take a moment to revisit our community guidelines if you haven’t done so recently. Thank you for your cooperation in maintaining a respectful and constructive community environment.

Thanks for your understanding.



It is surprising that the foundation itself doesn’t comment here.

The leaving of a core member and founder of the project is an issue and this discussion gives more questions than answers.

The fact that no member of the foundation states his or her position here is either arrogant or disrespectful to this forum.

And here are questions that require an answer for example regarding the handling of donations.


It’s really very sad to see the sole developer/maintainer leaving their own project, especially in such a bitter manner. But I have to agree with his decision, as it seems the Foundation has lost its core values and mission, embracing some other vision that isn’t that of its own founders. So many honest questions now remain unanswered: who will carry on with the project’s progress? What initial decisions will they make? What is the alternative version of this story? What have they done with the donations made by their users? (Ben left a huge question mark regarding this matter).


If you go to the commits page in the current Processing 4 repository, you will see that its latest commit made (up to this moment) with the comment “apparently not.” When you enter the commit, you will see that Ben deleted a file called FUNDING.yml, which contained a link to the Foundation’s mission page. In other words, it seems that Ben is really saying that the Foundation no longer cares about its original mission.


I could be wrong, but that’s not my understanding about his post.

He’s stating he’s leaving the “Processing Foundation”, not Processing IDE & library:

I have made the extremely difficult decision to resign from the Processing Foundation.

Unfortunately, this misunderstanding is happening on Reddit as well.

Also, that wouldn’t imply that the “Processing Foundation” would stop financing Processing, be it the original Java version nor any of its derived flavors, such as p5*js, Python & Android modes.

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If the Foundation didn’t support the editor in the past, what is there to indicate that it will in the future? In my opinion the authors need to have total control of their work, and that includes distribution and development. Funds derived from software downloads shouldn’t be diverted to the Foundation. The editor download website needs to be separate from the Foundation’s website.

The “Processing Foundation” still has an obligation to fund Processing and all of its official flavors, regardless who’s resigning or joining it!

Otherwise, it loses its raison d’être and must be denounced, as Fry is doing in a surprising way!

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The “Processing Foundation” still has an obligation to fund Processing and all of its official flavors,

According to what we’ve been reading they’ve already failed in their obligation.

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Some more responses from people involved in Processing were linked by tigerfiend on Reddit. Because Twitter requires a login to view complete threads, I looked up tigerfiend’s links on nitter. I’m reposting them here to minimize link rot and to provide a record of the conversation should the other copies be deleted. If interested, you may want to check with the source links for updates.

Casey Reas

Earlier this week, Ben Fry wrote a personal thread about his views on Processing and the Processing Foundation, saying that he left the Foundation because he disagreed with its direction. I’m clarifying that I’m aligned with the Processing Foundation, my vision of Processing and the Processing Foundation are the same.

The Foundation is actively and financially supporting development for Processing and p5.js and related projects. Ben refused financial resources multiple times and never articulated an alternative plan. He was offered direct payment and he was offered a budget to hire people. This whole time he was a board member of the Foundation, he was the President; he had an equal stake in decision making. After he left the board and after a few months for all of us to cool off, he was again offered financial support for Processing.

This isn’t about Ben and Casey so let’s please not oversimplify it, it’s so much larger, so many amazing people are involved with Processing and the Foundation in 2023.

Daniel Shiffman

I would like to post a note to say that I am in full support of the Processing Foundation, its mission, its leadership, and direction.

Growing up, it was my dream to be a musical theater director. Strangely enough, I recently woke up and discovered I had been teaching and helping to maintain open source tools for creative coding for 20 years. I love doing it and I love the community with all my heart.

In 2012, I was invited to help start the Processing Foundation. I was always being invited to do things. I never had to struggle or prove to anyone that I had value in the community.

Though it was always right in front of my face, it took me some time to learn and see other people’s struggles. I’m still learning. I’m still missing seeing so much.

Supporting a community and maintaining open source software is not easy. It’s really hard. I believe the team at the Processing Foundation is equipped to take us into the future and find new and better solutions for sustainable open source and healthy and inclusive communities.

Casey and Ben created Processing in 2001. They’ve dedicated 20+ years to building and maintaining both the software and its community. The elegant simplicity of the Processing language, website, and IDE is the original source of inspiration for all of my teaching and work.

Lauren McCarthy

sometimes i think about how @p5xjs, used by so many white men to achieve financial success and recognition, was created and led by women/femme BIPOC artists based on core values of inclusion and access

For my own safety and the safety of the other women and people of color involved in these projects, I can’t engage with his lies here on twitter. I believe the work and values of @p5xjs and the processing foundation are clear and people can form their own conclusions.