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Open Source Bug The Almighty Buck

A New Way To Fund Open Source Software Projects, Bug Fixes and Feature Requests 52

Posted by Soulskill
from the charge-10-cents-per-compile dept.
Lemeowski writes "Open source software projects are seeing some success on fundraising sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. But Warren Konkel believes open source software needs a better funding model that's more aligned with how software is built. So Konkel, who was the first hire at LivingSocial, teamed up with his friend David Rappo, a producer for games including Guitar Hero and Skylander, and founded Bountysource, a crowdfunding and bounty site specifically designed to help developers raise money for their OSS projects, bug fixes and feature requests. In this interview, Konkel talks about how he recently snagged a $1.1 million investment in Bountysource, gives developers tips on launching a fundraising effort for their OSS project, and more."
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A New Way To Fund Open Source Software Projects, Bug Fixes and Feature Requests

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  • Tighter integration? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @05:35AM (#44881839)

    It would be cool to have bounty collection integrated with issue tracking, where after creating a new issue or finding that one that I need implemented I could put my money on having a resolution with just a couple of keystrokes.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @08:14AM (#44882321)

      Github, are you reading this? Go for it!

      issue tracking, where after creating a new issue or finding that one that I need implemented I could put my money on having a resolution with just a couple of keystrokes.

      It would also make it legal to fund projects in Finland, where donations are illegal (without cumbersome permits etc). One can't give money without compensation like work, or product or service. But giving money for fixing issue would be legal.

  • Javascript needed (Score:4, Informative)

    by Captain Hook (923766) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @05:52AM (#44881887)
    Can't see anything on the bountysource homepage without Javascript enabled.

    Inspirational webdesign makes me want to donate money.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @06:22AM (#44881969)

      You could put out a bounty for making the web site viewable without JavaScript. :-)

    • by gottabeme (590848)

      -1 Offtopic. Yeah. Right. Sure. It's not like anyone else had the same problem or anything...

      Slashdot...I tell you what...

  • by ssam (2723487)

    The current synfig (2d vector animation software) crowdfunder has an option to influence development direction.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Bounties have been tried over and over again with open source software. They don't work. You end up getting like five people chipping in $10 to try to solve some problem that would take a team of engineers a week to solve. And who in their right mind is going to do that, when they could get paid to do something else?

    OSS definitely needs to find a better way to get users to part with their cash to fix the bugs that actually take work to fix (instead of it just being "fun", like most less-mature OSS projec
    • by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @06:32AM (#44882013) Homepage

      Fortunately, despite the name, it seems BountySource also supports fundraisers aka Kickstarter-style schemes aka "assurance contracts". We know from Kickstarter that this model can scale to very large investments, when the project leaders are credible and there are lots of people who want something done. Unfortunately Kickstarter has a very narrow focus, so it's really great to see someone step up and create a competitor focused on the open source world. If I didn't already have a job I'd definitely consider experimenting with funding myself this way.

    • by pspahn (1175617) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @06:50AM (#44882059)

      Bounties have been tried over and over again with open source software. They don't work.

      If this is the case, do you think that maybe it's simply a matter of visibility? How many people do you know (ie how many fecebook friends do you have) that would even be aware that some form of bounty-open source kit exists? Are the bounties something they will perceive as valuable? I'm guessing not.

      You've got to make it attractive to aunt Suzy, and that's where the problem lies. Suzy doesn't really care about this stuff and so it never gets put under her nose. Do a promotional live cd as a reward. Have it play a promo video that's simple and mimics Google's ad motif while also touting the benefit of open source in general. Maybe offer some form of outstanding support as a reward.

      If you're too specific with bounties, there's no greater incentive for someone to donate. Bundle your fixes up and try and fund it as a leap from 0.95 to 1.0. With all the version creep going on today, people might be inclined to see something go 1.0 (however arbitrary the version scheme actually is).

    • by Joining Yet Again (2992179) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @07:06AM (#44882099)

      And who in their right mind is going to do that, when they could get paid to do something else?

      This, pretty much. People who only do things for money will want as much money as they can get.

      People who are doing it for love don't really care about the money.

      This is just another bunch of leechy entrepreneurs wanting something they can collect an eternal cut from.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Bounties have been tried over and over again with open source software. They don't work. You end up getting like five people chipping in $10 to try to solve some problem that would take a team of engineers a week to solve. And who in their right mind is going to do that, when they could get paid to do something else?

      Fundamental problem: People start OSS projects because they think it's a cool idea or they want to use it when it's done. Not to get paid. (If you start an OSS project to get paid, then your project has already failed.) Finding a way to fund the development is nice but these projects are started by people who already are paid to do something else.

    • by odie5533 (989896)
      There are sites where you simply vote on new features for OSS and the team uses the votes to gauge user interest in features. Attaching money to those votes adds incentive. Keep in mind that open source developers are in many cases coding for free to begin with. So if a lot of users want them to add a feature, they may be inclined to do so, regardless of financial incentives.
  • Hmm, there are too many crowd funding sites. :(

    • by ssam (2723487)

      1 privately owned company should have an exclusive monopoly on how crowdfunding should work, what the fees should be, how payments are made and what projects are suitable. Any project that dares uses a different crowdfunding site should be ridiculed for being different.

      • Competition produces inefficiency, as efforts are duplicated and people work to destroy each other rather than cooperate to produce the best possible set of options.

        Of course, 1 privately owned company should not have a monopoly on anything, whether it's called a corporation (as in the US) or a government (as in the USSR).

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          Competition produces inefficiency, as efforts are duplicated and people work to destroy each other rather than cooperate to produce the best possible set of options.

          Well there are two big sites most people have heard of. Kickstarter seems to have been verbed (verbing weirds language, mind you), but relatively popular and used in contexts where the crowdfunding site is NOT kickstarter.

          The other one is Indiegogo.

          They have their pluses and minuses. For Indiegogo, a plus can be a project doesn't have to reach i

          • by ssam (2723487)

            I used a GPB paypal account to pledge to the USD ubuntu edge indiegogo, and was refunded the exact amount in GBP that i pledged. no fee was taken.

      • by Trracer (210292)

        I think the problem is more on my side, there are too many to keep up with.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @07:04AM (#44882095)

    Looking at my e-mail archives, I've had an account on BountySource since September 2006. It isn't new.

  • by oleg_stormforge (588665) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @10:08AM (#44883331)
    "I'm going to write me a new minivan this afternoon!" http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/1995-11-13/ [dilbert.com]
  • Don't agree with the bug fixes bit, but feature requests seem fair enough...
    If you get people to pay for bug fixes, then people will intentionally write buggy code. Also if i paid for a feature request, i would be very unhappy to be given a buggy implementation of that feature and then asked to pay again for bug fixes.

    Similarly while a developer who's developing code for their own use, they have an incentive to fix bugs that affect their own use, but they have no direct incentive to fix features developed f

  • Ugh, again? Seems like every two months there's another "revolutionary" company that wants to bring bounties to open source. And every time they have to learn the hard way that bounties are a TERRIBLE way to do software development.

    Can someone please just write a big, heavy book about how stupid this bounty idea is so that next time some moron suggests it we have something to hit them with?

    • A cynical person might think that BountySource exists to make the owners a 10% non-refundable commission on top of every amount of money that changes hands and whatever they can make selling accumulated data to Twitter, Facebook and GitHub and others. They do not give a tinker's cuss whether it is an effective way to do anything except that.

      This cynical person might think that if he could see anything at all on their web site.

  • This could be a (partial) answer to sunday's Ask Slashdot [slashdot.org] question, "Attracting Developers To Abandonware?":

    I can't code in any meaningful way, nor do I aspire to. I could easily pay for a supported version of icewm, but I can't personally pay someone enough to keep it alive. I'd love it if someone took a personal interest in the code, to ensure that it remains up to date, or to make it run on Wayland or whatever.

There is no distinction between any AI program and some existent game.

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