Subject: Re: Mandatory donations or build from CVS...
From: Federico Lucifredi <f.lucifredi@mclink.it>
Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2001 19:21:02 +0200 (CEST)

> ==========================
> Date: 12 Oct 2001 14:40:23 -0000
> From: Seth Gordon <sethg@ropine.com>
> To: burton@relativity.yi.org
> Subject: Re: Mandatory donations or build from CVS...
> ==========================
>
>    Really?  $5.00 is a cup of coffee :)  Most of the software 
> I write
>    is for "power users" anyway.  :)
> 
> According to "apt-cache status", my home Linux machine has about 
> eight
> thousand Debian packages on it.  If I had to pay five dollars, 
> or even
> twenty-five cents, to download every one of those packages ... 
> you do
> the math.

cannot disagree with you here. But there is an additional point: beside the financial
impact of having to pay for many "built' packages, there is the impact that such a scheme
would have on the very diffusion of your software: at the very least, with shareware
people have a "ready to try" version of your product/utility/tool/toy, but with the
"build your own" approach, people have to be seriously motivated to try out your stuff.
Hence, the word of your (perhaps excellent) work does not spread as fast (or as far)
as it could. In short, it damages the author of the package since the main "payment"
OpenSource/Free Software authors receive in is recognition. And recognition can be very
often cashed in professionally.

>    Not once you have signed up and use paypal on a regular basis. 
>  It
>    is literally only one click to donate.
> 
> After the way I was burned by PayPal's customer service (see
> http://ropine.com/essays/paypal.html), I have no intention of 
> signing
> up to use PayPal.
> 

I second the idea of using an automated scheme a la CVS to keep track of authorship
and therefore contribution and monetary share. If the scheme is clear to all involved,
it could be done fairly impartially (and, ideally the buildmaster who decides which
patches go in and which ones don't needs to be outside of the payment scheme for all
releases of which he is in charge). But this is not going to happen on a large scale
because of what I stated above. People don't have the time to try out your software
as it is. you make your life harder, they will go to someone else.

About paypal, I have a love/hate relationship with them. The idea is great, and things
are dandy as far as you can manage things automatedly. When you have to deal with customer
care hell, well.... it is the usual story. Customer Care is very expensive for companies
in this country, and there are (at least not now) ways around it. If you find one, *that*
will make you rich. Paypal is just another startup trying to make it into the black
(they should make it by year's end), and of course in theyr case things are below average.
But have you ever tried to find a knowledgeable person in  _PUT_YOUR_COMPANY_NAME_HERE's
tech support? The cases are so rare that I clearly remember them.

Speakeasy.net is the only US company that I do not have big_bucks support contracts
with that has consistently knowledgeable tech support people on line. I do not know
how they do it, but if I were getting my MBA I would do a study case on them. Of course,
you have also to consider that Speakeasy.net DSL is one of the more expensive residential
connectivity providers .... Does Customer support quality always come at a price ? Is
ther any exception to that, I wonder ?

Cheers,
 Federico