[maemo-users] Diablo's Modest/Email

From: Theodore Tso tytso at MIT.EDU
Date: Wed Sep 10 14:20:13 EEST 2008
On Wed, Sep 10, 2008 at 09:54:14AM +0200, Dave Neary wrote:
> With commercial software the "I'm paying money for this software"
> argument carries some (but not much, in my experience) weight with the
> maintainers, which it obviously doesn't with Free Software. 

At least in theory, this can work with Free Software as well; there
are various "bounty systems" that are around, which allow some number
of people to get together and offer money to someone who will add some
particular desired feature.  In the case where N==1, it's the way most
classical music was written (i.e., a patron sponsoring a composer's
work), but the advantage of the Internet is that it is possible to
more easily aggregate a large number of people getting together over
the internet to pay for a particular feature, which is then available
for everyone to use given that it is Open Source.

This has been used to pay for an author to write a book that two
publishers considered not economically viable (The Big Meow, at
http://www.the-big-meow.com).  As another example, Codeweavers
(www.codeweavers.com) have a bounty system allow users of make
CrossOver office, their commercially supported version of WINE, an
open source program which allows people to run Windows executables on
Linux, support various proprietary programs which aren't supported on
Crossover Office and/or WINE.  Programs that have enough bounty money
pledged get worked on first, and the improvements show up first in
Crossover Office, and eventually make their way back to the open
source version of WINE.

Attempts to try to do this on a more general scale have failed
(www.openculture.org is gone, www.bountysource.com has a website which
is still up, but the folks running it are planning to shut it down due
to lack of time on their part), but I suspect that if someone were to
set it some kind of aggregation/escrow service as a non-profit
organization, there's no reason why it couldn't work; the hard part is
getting enough the patrons and the programmers and/or artists to
embrace it so it can achieve critical mass.

This is getting a bit far afield from the original thread, or this
mailing list for that matter, though...

						- Ted

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