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Paying developers? (was: It may sound stupid...)

From: olafBuddenhagen
Subject: Paying developers? (was: It may sound stupid...)
Date: Wed, 30 Mar 2011 00:30:52 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.20 (2009-06-14)


On Fri, Mar 25, 2011 at 02:42:59PM +0100, Tanguy LE CARROUR wrote:

> If I have not time to work on it, maybe I should pay someone to do it
> for me? Maybe not a full time job (I'm not B.G.), but if some people
> would invest couple of hundreds $/? per year it could make a
> difference!?

First of all, I'm glad you want to help :-)

Unfortunately, people making such offers tend to underestimate the cost
of software development. It would take a *lot* of donations, to actually
pay a fulltime developer a proper salary for a meaningful amount of
time. (Some weeks at least do an amount of work that would really make a
difference; more likely months...)

Donations would generally only suffice for some small bounties. However,
such things do not really work most of the time. A symbolic amount of
money doesn't really motivate anyone to do extra development work.
(Except perhaps for highschool students, for whom the money wouldn't be
just symbolic...) Either people donate their own spare time; or they do
development as a proper job, with the expectation of a normal salary.

Donations could in principle be used for other purposes, such as funding
developer conferences. But again, money is not the major problem here...
It would take someone who is actually willing to organise such a

We still have $1700 from our GSoC participation in 2008, and we honestly
don't know how to spend it...

Having said all that, I agree in principle that there should be an easy
way to donate money for the development of GNU projects. Unfortunately
this is a bit tricky, as the FSF is the legal entity behind GNU projects
-- but the FSF refuses to take donations for actual software development

(They fear that would take away from "normal" FSF donations, used for
campaining -- which is of course also important, and indirectly benefits
all free software projects... However, IMHO the assumption that
donations to individual projects would take away from FSF donations is
just a serious misunderstanding of how donations work on a psychological
level :-( )


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