Subject: Idea: Free Software Funding Protocol
From: Norbert Bollow <>
Date: Fri, 10 Jan 2003 14:34:36 +0100 (CET)

Here's an idea for funding Free Software development... I don't know
whether it's new; if it is, I'll probably want to call it something
like "Free Software Funding Protocol".

It goes like this:

(1) Some person or organization (referred to as "Steward" hereafter)
    publishes a Vision for a new Free Software project, or for
    improving an existing project.

(2) The Steward then convinces businesses which will benefit from the
    realization of this Vision to submit financial donations to the

(3) A point system is used to rate the various Donors, as follows:

    Each US$ donated during the current year gives 1 point.
    Each US$ donated during the past year gives 1.5 points.
    Each US$ donated two years ago gives 2 points.
    Each US$ donated three years ago gives 3 points.
    Each US$ donated four years ago gives 4 points.
    Each US$ donated five years ago gives 5 points.

    Donations from more than five years ago are not counted anymore.

(4) The Steward uses the donated funds to pay people to implement
    the Vision.  These developers can be hired as employees or as
    independant contractors.  It is part of the contract with the
    developers that besides working on realizing the vision, they
    also put a high priority on personally providing support for
    the software to the Donors.  Support requests from different
    Donors are prioritized according to the point system described
    in (3).

(5) The developers whose work is funded in this way will collaborate
    with other contributors.

What do you think about this idea?

Warm greetings,

Founder & Steering Committee member of
Norbert Bollow, Weidlistr.18, CH-8624 Gruet (near Zurich, Switzerland)
Tel +41 1 972 20 59        Fax +41 1 972 20 69