LinuxMCE Forums

General => Users => Topic started by: los93sol on April 28, 2009, 09:22:31 pm

Title: Paid Development in Open Source
Post by: los93sol on April 28, 2009, 09:22:31 pm
First, I want to express my gratitude to the developers working to make LinuxMCE as good as it possibly can be.  I also want to point out that I have and will continue to make my contributions both in the form of documentation on the wiki and monetary contributions in the future.  That said, I am disappointed to see the trend of paid development going on within LMCE recently.  I don't see paid development as being in the spirit of open source and am afraid it will end up hindering the development in the near future.  I am curious how other members of the community feel about it.  I'd like to see the community and developers come up with a better way to get specific devices supported.  Personally, I think the first step is getting remote assistance working so that developers don't even need to have the device in most cases, just a user to support development. 
Title: Re: Paid Development in Open Source
Post by: Che on April 28, 2009, 09:46:15 pm
I for one would support a central fund so yyou can just click 'donate' on the main page, and you donate to the project as a whole.
Title: Re: Paid Development in Open Source
Post by: posde on April 28, 2009, 10:37:11 pm
You do know, that OSS is first and foremost not a price tag, don't you?

I develop stuff I care about.

People proposed giving me an iPod Touch so I could better work on the iOrbiter. I declined. The reason: Simple. If I would take the iPod Touch, I would be obliged to do the iOrbiter. But I do the iOrbiter (just as an example), because it is fun, and every now and then, I feel like working on it.

Other developers do see it differently, and accept moneytary donation to get things done. This is fine with me, as long as it is what they want. Nobody on the people doing development for LinuxMCE is getting rich. Most of the endless hours are spend working on the software to make it better, to bring it forward without a penny.

However, if someone does want a very specific feature, the person has the choice. Either, dive in, and do it yourself, or, coerce one developer into thinking it is good for him/her to do it, or three: Make some donations to get things done. But you know what: What ever way you choose, it stay Open Source Software. Open in the sense of speech. And that's what it is all about, imho.
Title: Re: Paid Development in Open Source
Post by: Che on April 28, 2009, 10:45:29 pm
You do know, that OSS is first and foremost not a price tag, don't you?

I develop stuff I care about.

People proposed giving me an iPod Touch so I could better work on the iOrbiter. I declined. The reason: Simple. If I would take the iPod Touch, I would be obliged to do the iOrbiter. But I do the iOrbiter (just as an example), because it is fun, and every now and then, I feel like working on it.

Other developers do see it differently, and accept moneytary donation to get things done. This is fine with me, as long as it is what they want. Nobody on the people doing development for LinuxMCE is getting rich. Most of the endless hours are spend working on the software to make it better, to bring it forward without a penny.

However, if someone does want a very specific feature, the person has the choice. Either, dive in, and do it yourself, or, coerce one developer into thinking it is good for him/her to do it, or three: Make some donations to get things done. But you know what: What ever way you choose, it stay Open Source Software. Open in the sense of speech. And that's what it is all about, imho.

Here here. I still think that a central fund would speed development along, as it would help the macro-development along, as opposed to independent features. I would also be more than willing to donate, but as I currently have little knowledge of what I want in specific features,only I just want LMCE to be better than it is (small things, like bits of the UI, etc), and as my knowledge of coding is up there with Paris Hilton's knowledge quantum entanglement, I can't do it; SO, having a general fund for those little projects I think would help. Obviously it should be donations, and not payment. The money  would cover equipment, software, hardware etc.
Title: Re: Paid Development in Open Source
Post by: colinjones on April 29, 2009, 12:26:42 am
There's nothing wrong with paying for specific OSS work... and it is far from uncommon out there. The fact is, if there was sufficient interest in a specific piece of work from those that have the capabilities, it would get done for free anyway (and the vast majority of LMCE work gets done this way).

BUT for those pieces of work for which the priority is not high for those capable of doing the work, the reality is that either it will not get done, or we need to offer an incentive for it to get done. It allows a pressure relief that non-developers can press, if they are interested enough - only this way in a world were either the number of developers is not infinite and/or not every user is a capable developer, can there be some level of service delivery to non-developer's interests!

You can rest assured that most work will still be carried out gratis because most of it is essential to everyone, including the developers. And this ultimately is a market-driven concept... the more developers we attract to the project, the less need for paid development work there will be. Conversely, the more users that get themselves to a point that they can develop for themselves, the more they can service their own needs.

Moral of the story - financial contributions for work will only be necessary for non-essential/core work, which will hopefully reduce over time, and this reduction will be assisted by all of us (devs and non-devs) encouraging as many new devs to join the team as possible.... so go find some more devs!
Title: Re: Paid Development in Open Source
Post by: scottie4442 on April 29, 2009, 01:07:26 am
This is the way will all software, at least those projects I have been associated with, if I need something customized then I pay someone to do the customizing.  I have no problem if a small group want to have something specific done then they donate to pay a developer to do it.  As colinjones said, the vast majority of opensource is done gratis because the developer(s) enjoy it or want something that is not there at the time and then contribute it back to the community. (if you read the GPL it states that paying for customizing or adding to existing software is ok) I for one will continue to donate to those projects that I use the most and even contribute to have customizations done that I need.
Title: Re: Paid Development in Open Source
Post by: donpaul on April 29, 2009, 03:14:35 am
If there was a paypal donate button on the linuxmce project page, I would donate. Just a thought.
Title: Re: Paid Development in Open Source
Post by: Techstyle on April 29, 2009, 04:23:35 am
Since I have been a member of the forums I have seen posts about donating and about a Store with LMCE compatible products.  I believe both of these can be accumplished by setting up a Amazon Associates Astore.  When people buy from the store the community would recieve 5-15% of the purchase price at no cost to the buyer (Win-Win!!).  They come in a number of shapes and sizes from a search window to a direct link to a product.  the Hardware WIKI pages could be linked in such a way to generate community income.

We would need to set one up from each of the Amazon sites - UK, US, Germany

My site (www.techstyleuk.co.uk (http://www.techstyleuk.co.uk)) has links to Amazon.co.uk pages and I recieve income from them whether the buyer buys one of my products or somebody elses products.

just a thought....
Title: Re: Paid Development in Open Source
Post by: los93sol on April 29, 2009, 04:51:41 pm
There is definitely some good discussion going on here and I fully agree with funds being setup for specific tasks to get the attention of developers.  I think Techstyle is on the right track, I know a store has been discussed for quite awhile now and am also fully aware that there are licensing issues with it.  It seems logical that by making purchases from the LinuxMCE store instead of other outlets that we are helping the community.  Collinjones also has raised some good points about proper planning for the proposed system.  Perhaps an easier way to get such a store started is to only sell products that are 100% plug and play and known to have no issues with LinuxMCE.  With this approach we aren't branding or advertising them in such a way to breach the license Pluto has on the software.  In my mind this would also help solve issues with the wiki since buyers would need a source to assist any issues with install seperate of the LinuxMCE Store.  Over the longer term it may become feasible to work with the Pluto license to officially sell preconfigured and prebuilt packages.  So we accomplish three goals with this system:

1) LinuxMCE store finally becomes a reality
2) Feature pools
3) Wiki enhancements

Those are basically my thoughts, I want to stress that I don't think paid development should stop, but that I think it can happen in such a way to benefit the entire community instead of individual agendas.
Title: Re: Paid Development in Open Source
Post by: krys on April 29, 2009, 05:20:37 pm
I think that the general contribution idea would be nice and I would like to see a bulk of it go to supporting a working out of the box MD. I know one of the beauties of LMCE is that with some work it can run on a huge variety of hardware... but it would be nice to pay a dev, and donate the hardware to him/her and have it fully supported. That way if someone does come here and want to set up LMCE from scratch we can say "buy this MD and its easy as pie". Or for someone like me who has a working system but plans to upgrade a few MD's it would be nice to have an option that I know works and has been confirmed to play at 1080, or 720 with ui2 overlay etc. For example I would say the Asus EEE B202 would be a great "LinuxMCE friendly" piece of hardware. It is small enough to mount to the back of a TV. Supposedly can handle UI2 and 720p etc... but it still requires configuring. I would imagine that the right person could make it fully Pnp in about 20min.
Now we use a link like discussed above and anytime someone buys one of these from the link, LMCE general fund gets paid.
Everyone is happy and all of a sudden LMCE is more user friendly.
Title: Re: Paid Development in Open Source
Post by: Dale_K on April 29, 2009, 05:43:14 pm
I'm about to be unpopular.

I think the IDEA of open source is a noble and lofty concept, BUT.  I would, have and will continue to pay for support/development.  Open source is cool, but has anybody noticed that LMCE hardware support seems to be predominantly EOL products?  This is by no fault of anybody, it's just the nature of opensource.  When you're relying on people's free time and/or interest level for development, development will be slower.  Combine that with the fact that hardware vendors aren't going to be as fourthcoming to a Linux market with specifications and driver support as there isn't enough money in it for them.

It's an attractive concept to think that a group of interested people can get together and donate their time and resources to develop a quality product.  LMCE is a testament to that.  However, I believe that opensource will only take you to a certain point (LMCE is also a testament to that).  

I know Linux/Unix people love to bash MS and other companies that make money but it's undeniable that when a new piece of hardware comes out, it will hit the shelf with Windows support.  Hardware vendors know they have to or they won't make money and don't kid yourselves children, making money is what it's all about.  Nvidia doesn't sit around and say "Our new card will make gamers so happy!" they say "We will sell the shit outta these things."  And I don't mind that at all.  If someone has or can provide something I want, I'm happy to pay them for it.  I certainly don't work for free, why should they?

I for one wholeheartedly support paid development.  I would actually support making LMCE a commercial product.  I'd rather pay $1500 for the product and be assured that my new hardware will be supported than have to scrounge around ebay looking for old equipment that works.  (God I'd love to be able to buy a brand new webpad, it pisses me off to no end that I've got a used one sitting on my table.)

The undeniable fact is that money gets shit done.  I don't care what it is, sex, your lawn, whatever it is, you'll get it faster and usually better if you pay for it.
Title: Re: Paid Development in Open Source
Post by: tschak909 on April 29, 2009, 08:48:32 pm
Well, here's the deal, Dale_K,

You are making a very terminal assumption, that free = gratis.

no,

It does not.

Free in our case means Libre.

People, (including you) are paying people like me, to add support for things they want support for. This is good. It pays my rent, it allows me to work on something I enjoy doing, and it gives everybody a supportable product.

But you are also SERIOUSLY oversimplifying the fact that it takes us A LONG TIME to do a release! *thwap-you-on-the-head* don't do that.

Understand that _EVEN WITHOUT_ proper driver support, with certain devices, it is relatively easy to reverse-engineer support for them, given either the right equipment, or a clever enough understanding of how to do it without the equipment. Really, it comes down to leg work. Why was I able to do proper support for the 3101 Gyration remote? Because I buckled down, and did it, and did it without duct tape. Why didn't anyone else do it? That is MY question, because ANY OTHER DEVELOPER could have been able to do the work. _THIS_ is what I am pissed about, because I am _NOT_ God's gift to programmers (so many tend to think they are), I do it because I want to SEE this stuff EXIST.

I know you're still somewhat new to the concept, and I can understand the oversimplications, but the truth isn't quite so black and white.

-Thom
Title: Re: Paid Development in Open Source
Post by: merkur2k on April 29, 2009, 09:07:48 pm
dale_k, you seem to be basing your arguments on an assumption that hardware manufacturers are paid directly to support one platform or another, which is rarely the case (ie microsoft does not pay a hardware manufacturer to write drivers for windows). each platform has an associated developement cost for them to support it, and they base their decisions on what platforms have the market penetration to make their time worthwhile (as in number of units sold in that market segment). so it is a matter of market penetration, not direct monetary compensation.
I think sponsored open source developement provdes a great way to get around this limitation even for hardware drivers, but it takes copperation from the manufacturers. for other general software like LinuxMCE it is a proven model that works well in the real world.
Title: Re: Paid Development in Open Source
Post by: Dale_K on April 29, 2009, 09:08:59 pm
I disagree, I think you may be oversimplifying.

Let's use the remote as our example.

As an opensource project, the people that have the knowledge to develop support for that remote including yourself, don't do it, not out of any nefarious reason, just circumstance.  You don't happen to use that remote so it's not priority, you're working on something else that has more importance to you, etc.  For whatever perfectly legitimate reason, it doesn't get done.

Now, as soon as it becomes a situation of monetary compensation the function of that remote moves up the importance scale.  I'm not saying that's a bad thing or that you're a bad person.  In my opinion if you posess a skill that others don't then they should pay you to use it.  I'm saying that "money gets shit done".  That's why I pay for development and will continue to do so.  Because I want the things important to me to get higher priority.

The original topic of this thread was an inquiry into opinion on the appropriateness of paying for development.  My post and this reply demonstrates that development progresses faster if it's paid for.  As in our example, I guarantee that if people like myself HADN'T donated money, there would still be no development on that remote.  Again, no bad reflection on you or any of the developers on this project.  All of you have a lot to do and you're doing it as an aside to your own daily lives, so it's expected to have slower than commercial development.  

But, answer me this, if LMCE were a retail product and it's sales provided enough income that the core developers on the project made a living equal to or better than they currently make, would the development be faster and more hardware supported?  I'm very confident, yes.

I'm not saying one way is better, they're just different, commercial = better/faster support/development, open source = more flexible and cheaper.

Title: Re: Paid Development in Open Source
Post by: tschak909 on April 29, 2009, 09:13:56 pm
The simple fact is that there is NO way in HELL that a single commercial entity could produce a piece of software, this large, and monolithically support it.

Pluto tried.

Pluto died.

It has taken a community of people to be able to continue development, to be able to develop the pieces that Pluto simply did not have the ability to, for a variety of reasons, including that certain features got lower priority due to pressure from investors, etc.

And I can tell you've never done any software development. In any project, open or commercial, the first 60% gets implemented quickly. The problem is, the last 20% are on the upper swing of an asympyotic scale.

Read that last sentence again.

The amount of time to fill in what is considered the last finishing details is the absolute killer for any project, because you're also debugging during this time, and having to support others during this point. It makes NO difference whether the project is commercial or not. The only difference lies in the prioritization. You may think things are progressing faster if YOUR features are being worked on, but what about SOMEONE ELSE'S features?

Stop being selfish and think about the bigger picture.

-Thom
Title: Re: Paid Development in Open Source
Post by: Dale_K on April 29, 2009, 09:20:55 pm
dale_k, you seem to be basing your arguments on an assumption that hardware manufacturers are paid directly to support one platform or another, which is rarely the case (ie microsoft does not pay a hardware manufacturer to write drivers for windows). each platform has an associated developement cost for them to support it, and they base their decisions on what platforms have the market penetration to make their time worthwhile (as in number of units sold in that market segment). so it is a matter of market penetration, not direct monetary compensation.
I think sponsored open source developement provdes a great way to get around this limitation even for hardware drivers, but it takes copperation from the manufacturers. for other general software like LinuxMCE it is a proven model that works well in the real world.

Agreed, that's the point I was making with the Nvidia example, but it's a cascading effect.  Open source porjects like LMCE will never be a huge market share because it's not commercial.  There is no entity advertising it on TV and in magazines.  There are very few companies even installing it on a commercial level.  This will sound like a catch 22 but part of the reason it's not commercial is slow development which is due to lack of resources because it's not commercial.  Not saying it's a bad thing, just how it is.

I'll wager that if MS purchased Pluto/LMCE and began marketing/developing it there'd be tons of hardware supported. (That's what money can do for you.)

Again, please don't take any of this as knocking LMCE or the devs in any way at all.  I'm just pointing out the advantages of paid development as per the original topic.  I am a big believer in paid for services and I think this project is no exception.
Title: Re: Paid Development in Open Source
Post by: tschak909 on April 29, 2009, 09:28:44 pm
There is a certain freedom here, that commercial projects never have, and that is that its developers are free to extend the system in any way they see fit.

My role here on this project is as a researcher. This is my one and only agenda. It is not for commercial gain, and will never be. This system is not something that can be sold en-masse yet, because of a large number of factors, and we understand this. It still doesn't stop us from spending the next 10-20 _YEARS_ making this possible.

Yes,

I'm thinking a LOT MORE LONG TERM than any commercial software developer. You should too. Today's Free Software, unlike the vast majority of today's commercial software, will STILL BE AROUND and BE USED and extended. We sacrifice the glam, and the fame today, for the price of doing it right for tomorrow.

This is what is important to us.

-Thom
Title: Re: Paid Development in Open Source
Post by: Dale_K on April 29, 2009, 09:32:32 pm
The simple fact is that there is NO way in HELL that a single commercial entity could produce a piece of software, this large, and monolithically support it.

Pluto tried.

Pluto died.

It has taken a community of people to be able to continue development, to be able to develop the pieces that Pluto simply did not have the ability to, for a variety of reasons, including that certain features got lower priority due to pressure from investors, etc.

And I can tell you've never done any software development. In any project, open or commercial, the first 60% gets implemented quickly. The problem is, the last 20% are on the upper swing of an asympyotic scale.

Read that last sentence again.

The amount of time to fill in what is considered the last finishing details is the absolute killer for any project, because you're also debugging during this time, and having to support others during this point. It makes NO difference whether the project is commercial or not. The only difference lies in the prioritization. You may think things are progressing faster if YOUR features are being worked on, but what about SOMEONE ELSE'S features?

Stop being selfish and think about the bigger picture.

-Thom

Thom,

I think you're seriously misunderstanding what I'm saying.  I think that because your replies are turning slightly aggressive.

Of course I've never done any programming/developing, if I had, why would I have helped pay you for development.

As far as a commercial entity not being able to develop and support LMCE or a project like it, I disagree and we'll probably just forever disagree on that point.

I certainly understand that the last 20% is the most difficult.  But I bet it would be much less difficult if the devs were paid to do only that.  Imagine if LMCE stuff wasn't what you did after work but it's what you do FOR work.  Am I to believe that more wouldn't get done?

Please don't take my posts as any sort of attack on the project or it's devs.  Quite the contrary, I'm making the point that development would go faster and be broader if more people paid for it.

I think of my own profession, if a friend asks me to help him with his network and I know it will be free.  I'll get to him when I have the time.  If, on the other hand, someone needs help and they're paying me $150/hr, I'll MAKE the time.  Paid for stuff happens faster, that's the only point I'm making.
Title: Re: Paid Development in Open Source
Post by: los93sol on April 29, 2009, 10:31:09 pm
Please note this thread is not intended to thwart the way things are currently done.  I wanted to get a discussion going about other ways to do things and constructively discuss this topic to see what good can come out of it.  At this point I'm voting to get the initiative back underway to get an official store going.  We have already seen at least one person here who was able to get around the licensing issues by not branding the gear as LinuxMCE compatible and not selling pre-installed systems.  Instead selling gear that is completely plug and play and known to work with a little effort (as long as it is fully documented and tested in the wiki) is absolutely a viable option as far as I can tell.  Anyone else interested in continuing this discussion?  I know it has been hashed out a few times in the past and maybe the best thing to do is dig up the old thread at this point if people are interested.
Title: Re: Paid Development in Open Source
Post by: colinjones on April 29, 2009, 11:31:19 pm
Cool it everyone, please! If the thread turns nasty or goes further off topic, I will have to lock it. I am considering splitting out my comment into a separate thread...
Title: Re: Paid Development in Open Source
Post by: totallymaxed on April 29, 2009, 11:40:02 pm
dale_k, you seem to be basing your arguments on an assumption that hardware manufacturers are paid directly to support one platform or another, which is rarely the case (ie microsoft does not pay a hardware manufacturer to write drivers for windows). each platform has an associated developement cost for them to support it, and they base their decisions on what platforms have the market penetration to make their time worthwhile (as in number of units sold in that market segment). so it is a matter of market penetration, not direct monetary compensation.
I think sponsored open source developement provdes a great way to get around this limitation even for hardware drivers, but it takes copperation from the manufacturers. for other general software like LinuxMCE it is a proven model that works well in the real world.

Agreed, that's the point I was making with the Nvidia example, but it's a cascading effect.  Open source porjects like LinuxMCE will never be a huge market share because it's not commercial.  There is no entity advertising it on TV and in magazines.  There are very few companies even installing it on a commercial level.  This will sound like a catch 22 but part of the reason it's not commercial is slow development which is due to lack of resources because it's not commercial.  Not saying it's a bad thing, just how it is.

I'll wager that if MS purchased Pluto/LinuxMCE and began marketing/developing it there'd be tons of hardware supported. (That's what money can do for you.)

Again, please don't take any of this as knocking LinuxMCE or the devs in any way at all.  I'm just pointing out the advantages of paid development as per the original topic.  I am a big believer in paid for services and I think this project is no exception.

Dale_K I think you seriously have the 'wrong end of the stick' here. There is so much OSS out there touching your life...'its just that your blind to it. Its sitting behind almost all the routers, Wifi AP, Switches, PBX's, Printers, Photocopying Machines, PVR's, Satellite Receivers, In-Car-Management systems, the vast majority of the internet is hosted, routed through, switched and packetised by OSS. This software is everywhere...but in general its on few Desktops...more now that ever...but still far less than commercial software.

Also if you look at the software that makes up many of the basic building blocks of LinuxMCE itself you will see that these same packages are used in all manner of software applications...but they hide themselves away behind the scenes and many users are unaware of them at all...and there is nothing wrong with that as the UI is supposed to insulate the user from then. However without these OSS components LinuxMCE could not exist... and many of these same packages also form the underpinning of that big list of products that use OSS...without them the internet and the vast majority of consumer and professional products that connect to it would disappear. Collectively these products and the OSS software that makes them possible are a much bigger market than Windows.

Lastly I think Thom's initial response to your first posting in this thread was a reaction to your comment  about LinuxMCE compatible hardware becoming harder and harder to find. What you have to realise is that there is an enormous effort underway to transition from a LinuxMCE that was born inside a commercial organisation and only partly re-engineered when it was released on Kubuntu ie LinuxMCE-0710. The hardcore software Dev team is doing an incredible job trying to move this enormously complex amalgam of software away from its Pluto derived roots and to take it to the next stage where the whole project is built and managed by the community. This process is an incredibly long and complex one and it is this work that has delayed the release of the 0810 version. However once we have the tansition to 0810 behind this immediately opens up LinuxMCE to much newer hardware platforms and devices and prepares the way to future release on 0910 for example.

So please take all of this into consideration when looking at this project and its development path.

All the best

Andrew
Title: Re: Paid Development in Open Source
Post by: Che on April 30, 2009, 12:19:00 am
Yeh, but OSS is hurried along by donations, and seeing as we are neither requiring or even advertising donations at the moment (other than a very small link on the main page), I do not see how this goes against Libre software ideals. It's merely showing appreciation for (an amazing) piece of development, which will also speed up and improve said development. Mozilla is an example of this. Entirely open, but also very fast development time. Why? Donations.

I truly believe that LMCE could be the Firefox of the Media Centres, as it is just so damn amazing, how can't it be? All we need is more hardware suppport, and less bugs, and this really will get a HUGE market share. I mean that truly and honestly.
Title: Re: Paid Development in Open Source
Post by: totallymaxed on April 30, 2009, 01:53:36 am
Yeh, but OSS is hurried along by donations, and seeing as we are neither requiring or even advertising donations at the moment (other than a very small link on the main page), I do not see how this goes against Libre software ideals. It's merely showing appreciation for (an amazing) piece of development, which will also speed up and improve said development. Mozilla is an example of this. Entirely open, but also very fast development time. Why? Donations.

I truly believe that LinuxMCE could be the Firefox of the Media Centres, as it is just so damn amazing, how can't it be? All we need is more hardware suppport, and less bugs, and this really will get a HUGE market share. I mean that truly and honestly.

Well I am 100% for supporting development by donations...we've always donated in various ways to this project. We also contribute back software we've developed ourselves or supported the development of by the community.

Andrew
Title: Re: Paid Development in Open Source
Post by: alx9r on May 02, 2009, 02:11:33 am
With respect to merits of paid development in FOSS projects:

Having a means of supporting a FOSS project in a way other than by contributing time (i.e. by donation) is important because it can increase the likelihood that a popular feature will actually get developed.  Surely this idea is actually some well understood economics axiom, but I will try to explain it in my own words.

If the only way a person can contribute to a project is by actually writing code, every person who does not have the skill to do such work is eliminated from the pool of people who are able to contribute.  I greatly benefit from LinuxMCE and would like to contribute somehow. I do not, however, have the skills (at least not yet) to actually write code to further its development. 

If a person can also donate money as a way to contribute to a project, look at all the people who can contribute to the project: All people who have money they would like to donate AND all people who have specialized skills and time they would like to donate. 

I suspect that currently the group of people who would like to contribute to the development of LinuxMCE but do not have the specialized skills required to actually work on the code-base hands-on is significant.  By creating a means of transferring money from this group to members of the group of specialists who actually write the code, the specialists would be able to spend more of their time on LinuxMCE than without the cash injection.  More time spent working on LinuxMCE by the specialists means a better LinuxMCE product with more features.

If those who are donating money can somehow steer what development it furthers, then features that are popular will garner support in the form of money. 

The previous sentence is important.  Without a donation system, the only features that will be implemented are those that are important or interesting enough to people with the specialized skills to create them.  However, with a donation system, there is a significant chance that features that are important to all users but perhaps not to developers will be implemented.

A good donation system should both increase the number of users whose contributions can be harnessed, and make the list of features that is actually implemented more democratic.


Alex
Title: Re: Paid Development in Open Source
Post by: USMC96 on May 26, 2009, 10:19:27 am
First off I haven't even gotten Linux MCE functional yet, but I am working on it. I have made some rookie mistakes and I am currently trying to educate myself before spending more money!

I too agree that $ makes the world go around.  Personally I am the kind of guy who will buy a $50 book/manual to tell me how to repair or build something worth $40 because the knowledge is worth it.  I however have minimal (compared to those who will read this) hardware knowledge, And no knowledge of writing code, compiling, etc.  I am planning to try and learn, but in the meantime I am incredibly thankful for the support of the various open source communities.

The money donation to make a driver or other tech related experience already exists, but the point this post has repeatedly mentioned is a "general fund" sort of concept.  I myself would donate on a regular basis, I Love this program (even though I don't really have it functional yet) and I wish to give back to the community that has helped, and I am sure will help me in the future. 

My biggest thought is how would such a general fund be disbursed?  Who would get paid?  Would there be enough money to pay everyone? I doubt it, for reasons mentioned above re: pluto.  So who would be in charge of disbursing funds? And bear in mind their is a huge difference in doing something for the community which gives you the warm fuzzy feeling inside, and getting paid $1 for days of writing code, and checking it's function.  Or maybe it could be used to purchase new hardware to check for compatability? But who gets to use that equipment if it works? 

Most people are not happy with the way their government spends money, because governments are so big....so is this!

While I support the idea the general fund concept may cause more problems than it may help, people may start to feel they should have a voice (or a vote) in the way it is used.

Just my two cents.     A HUGE thanks to the devs, and everyone who works so hard on this!!