On Tue, Sep 10, 2013 at 01:32:41PM -0700, Josh Andler wrote:
> If we want to go the donation to fix bugs route there will need to be
> a majority consensus from the developers (translators and other
> community members don't get included in this vote as they fall into
> different categories). The short version of this is we really wouldn't
> want to upset anyone or have ill-will or tensions arise because others
> get compensated while their efforts do not.
> If the developers did want to pursue this, we could then bring this to
> the attention of the board. My guess is that if we really had a large
> portion of the developers wanting to see this happen, the board would
> not likely oppose it. After that we could then discuss with Bradley
> Kuhn from Software Freedom Conservancy how to go about implementing
> this. If someone wants to try and organize a vote, feel free.
I happened to meet Bradley here at LinuxCon and he raised this topic
with me. He said that they analyzed all of their projects and Inkscape
was at the top of the list for likely success for fundraising. It
sounded like they would love to partner with us to raise moneys to help
improve the project, be it feature work or stabilization.
> >> > Maybe a stupid idea, but here I go :)
> >> > Have you ever considered to crowd-fund bugfixing? (i.e.: getting money
> >> > to pay somebody to do the work nobody else wants to do)
When Inkscape started there were several bug-bounty projects in
operation which we watched drift into non-success. I suspect that's why
many of us have been a bit skeptical about the feasibility of bug
bounties generally. But it's definitely gotten a lot of discussion.
By now there must be some good "best practices" identified, so maybe
it's just a matter of having someone come up with a plan.
> >> > If money can be obtained from a crowdfunding campaign... is there any
> >> > qualified person willing to do the job?
> >> >
> >> > I know it's unfair to developers who already contributed for free, but
> >> > as far as I know money is not the main motivation for hackers who persue
> >> > the fun aspect of development (new features, challenges).
> >> >
> >> > Maybe getting somebody paid to take care of the ugly stuff nobody wants
> >> > to do is a fair balance and takes the stress out so regular contributors
> >> > can focus on the fun stuff.
These questions have been on my mind as well. And I am of a similar
opinion that if money is being paid for development, let's try targeting
it to the stuff we need the most that volunteers don't want to bother
with. That sounds very logical.
If you would indulge me to blather on a bit more on this topic...
I think one problem with the bug bounty programs was that they paid on a
per-bug basis. But like I think someone else pointed out, often 90% of
the work is just learning the codebase; then the developer could swat a
dozen bugs all at once. So, we might want to organize the work as not
to fix a specific bug for $, but to fix a collection of closely related
bugs for $$$.
As to whom to find to do the work, there are a number of options.
Hiring an existing Inkscape developer seems least-risk; they will have
already climbed at least part of the learning curve and demonstrated
their ability and dedication. But finding one who is available and
interested could be tricky.
Alternatively, we could find a cheap external developer. I think this
would increase the administrative workload, and likely wouldn't result
in an ongoing developer. But for particularly unenjoyable work, maybe
And there's probably half a dozen other ideas. We've had good success
with GSoC, and so something that builds on that (Winter of Bugs?) might
be worth thinking about.
There are also possibilities beyond just direct paying for development.
For example, if we increased our presence at conventions that might pull
in more ordinary volunteer developers. Training is another avenue I
think could be good. Either arranging some development tutorials
ourselves, to help users graduate into developers, or even sending
existing active developers to developer training classes (to learn new
tricks for performance optimization, debugging, etc.)
I am also a big believer in the power of bug triagers to help make bugs
easier to fix, such as by helping gather stack traces or document steps
to reproduce. This is another tedious job (as I know from experience),
but doesn't need to be thankless, and there could be some low-cost ways
of stimulating these efforts.
> >> > Of course, it's not as easy as it sounds: A qualified developer who
> >> > knows the code enough and can meet the technical requirements is needed.
> >> > And probably also a person willing to take care of the paperwork and
> >> > administrative tasks. And people willing to review the patches...
I'm glad you brought up the administrative side. This may seem minor,
but it's a prerequisite to finding a developer and is tedious work so
could be hard to find a volunteer. We would need this person to be
reliable and responsive, able to talk with the lawyers, and prepared to
make tough decisions.
In fact this was my main counterargument to Brad's suggestion; he
indicated the conservancy would love to help on the financing/legal end,
but part of the management of this would have to come from us.
This has been essentially the same problem the board has run into with
other proposed activities - someone needs to take the coordinator role
to get it organized.
So that's my thinking. Before we start really talking about a paid bug
fixer, we need someone to volunteer to do coordination and
administration. Or lacking a volunteer, it's an important enough role
we could consider making it a part-time paid role, particularly if we
could raise enough money for multiple efforts.