Author Topic: New Thread: Paid Development in Open Source - charter for donations....  (Read 1024 times)

colinjones

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NEW THREAD: split from another thread on similar subject.... please can people comment on these ideas and add their own. I split this out because the other thread hasn't addressed these points directly. Please only post in this thread if your comments directly relate to these ideas. Anything else can go in the other thread!

I think that idea of a central Donate option/pool-of-funds is a good idea....

....that being said, there needs to be some governance around it before we jump into such a scheme. A Charter needs to be implemented to provide this governance, voted on by the community and implemented. We can't have the fund unaccountable to those that are contributing, and there needs to be some kind of consensus on how it is spent, and visibility.

Some suggested principles - please comment:

Any Paypal-type account should have several senior/long-term members with access to it. (ie no potential for lock out)

The vision for the fund should be for the furtherance of LinuxMCE generally, and where possible, to provide benefit to as many members as possible.

The fund should be directed to providing features/benefits/bug-fixes/shows/exposure that would otherwise not occur/not occur for a considerable period of time (expedition), rather than as a form of revenue for developers.

Any draw-down on the funds should be by general consensus only.  *

Any such paid projects should be published in a sticky, and on the main website (news section?)

A consolidated list of suggested projects/feature-requests/etc, should be maintained by the forum moderators in a sticky topic. This list can be reviewed by the developers in their regular steering committee meetings (a la jimbodude), prioritised, and the leading options put forward to a consensus vote in the forums  *

Non-dev forum members should have the option to advance other items in the consolidated list via consensus vote in the forums - these items/projects will be considered for funding after the steering committee's list.

None of the above should prevent any forum member(s) from directly reaching an agreement with a dev to perform specific work-for-cash outside this funding arrangement.

* - we need to derive how "general consensus" / "consensus vote" is defined. I feel that those who have contributed should have priority, perhaps even in proportion to their contributions (ie, $1 = 1 vote), and my feeling is that those who have not contributed to the fund, should not really have a say. But to achieve greater fairness, systems such as Preferencial Voting and Proportional Representation should also be considered, rather than simple majorities/first-past-the-post approaches.... discuss...

« Last Edit: April 30, 2009, 12:32:46 am by colinjones »

Craptastic

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Only comment I would add is consideration for use of the pool for the purpose of purchasing hardware and widgets etc. There are a million things out there and many would be really cool but let's face it, all this gear costs money. I would see no issue in the developer of the app benefiting from the free hardware for their system while supporting dev work of either user based prioritized lists or functional/technological steps forward of LMCE.

Obviously, guidelines and governance still required.

Craptastic

los93sol

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I agree with Craptastic, I see no issue with the developers benefitting from free hardware from their system so long as it is to contribute to development.  There should be an establishes set of rules to regulate such purchases.  My suggestions would be:

-If at least one core developer owns the hardware and is pursuing development of that device it cannot be purchased by a second developer

-The only way a device with existing support may be purchased is if the device development has been abandoned and is not complete.

Also, I will make my commitment now to donate $100 when the pool is setup.

hari

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I'd prefer to have the foundation set up as legal entity.

br, Hari
rock your home - http://www.agocontrol.com home automation

skeptic

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The fund should be directed to providing features/benefits/bug-fixes/shows/exposure that would otherwise not occur/not occur for a considerable period of time (expedition), rather than as a form of revenue for developers.


I agree with just about everything you said above, but this is a KEY point for me.  I think it should be expanded upon in such a way that future maintenance and updating of these new features is able to be covered by volunteer/free development work, and of course all code would be open source.

The one thing I disagree with is the idea that those that do not donate do not have a vote, or their vote is insignificant.  Personally, if there was a prioritized list of items and some of them were things I wanted to see added then I'd donate to the cause.  However, if people can't vote or their vote doesn't really count for much because they haven't donated, and they don't want to donate because the things they want are not on the list or are a low priority because they can't effectively vote....  Catch-22. 

Che

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I'd prefer to have the foundation set up as legal entity.

br, Hari

I am in agreement with this 100%, BUT. We must remember that his will require both a lot of work, and some people will have to take it on full time. So long as everyone knows the ins and outs of it then you guys have, as ever, my full support and co-operation.
As said in theother thread, I believe that LMCE will become the firefox of the MCE Market, and especially now, with Open Source being so popular, and also with the growing market of Media centers.

alx9r

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I'd prefer to have the foundation set up as legal entity.

br, Hari

I fully agree with hari here. 

In fact, governance rules would likely be automatically inherited from statutes in whatever jurisdiction the foundation is established -- this would reduce the amount of work required to establish the rules as most of the generally applicable rules are already defined.  I think it would also be easier to retain accounting and legal services as an official legal entity. 

I have personally witnessed successful evolution of a non-profit volunteer organization in the past.  From my perspective, it would not have succeeded were it not for the force of law protecting its fair operation. 

Similar ground has been successfully ploughed in the past by other OSS projects.  Mozilla Foundation and Ubuntu Foundation come to mind, but surely smaller ones exist too.  I don't think there is any shame in copying valid parts of their structures.

Alex

extremeshannon

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I think this is a great idea. I would toss in 100 to start the pot off. I would like to see everything set up first. See who is controlling the pot, list of Ideas for Development, etc..

I think as far as voting rights it should be who donates get proirity over those who don't.  But the Amount shouldn't matter. Some prople can afford more than others and should have the right to vote as much as the other person.

Just my thoughts :)