Subject: Re: improving project maintainership
From: Simon Cozens <>
Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2002 10:03:11 +0000

Tom Lord:
> "More resources" means that there should be a greater number of more
> senior people being well paid to be full time maintainers for shared
> projects.  There should be a self-imposed "tax" on FS-based businesses
> for that purpose.

In some cases, this already does happen; VA Linux, for instance, picked
up a lot of good guys and paid them to maintain their projects full-time.
On the other hand, when the economic downturn happened, these were the
first against the wall. 

But in a lot of other cases, it isn't going to happen, for two major
reasons, as seen from the FSB's point of view:

    1) shelling out to make someone a full-time maintainer doesn't give
the company any competitive advantage other than the dubious quality of
"prestige". There's no business case for doing it; it might be nice,
public-spirited, and generally a great idea, but, like it or not,
the purpose of a business is not to be a good citizen, it's to make money
and keep the shareholders happy.

    2) Developers cannot hold companies to ransom; the whole point
of free software is that nobody can hold anyone else to ransom over it! 
And so there's no way established maintainers can *make* it worthwhile 
for a business to pay their wages. If I suddenly declare that I'm not going
to do any more maintainance work on a project because I want to be paid
for it, someone else will take over, and I end up looking foolish. And
people could be quite justified in questioning my motives for maintaining
the software in the first place.

	} /* the next line is indented funny to preserve old indentation */
    - plan9 has a bad day