Subject: Re: Mandatory donations or build from CVS...
From: Seth Gordon <sethg@ropine.com>
Date: 12 Oct 2001 14:40:23 -0000

   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.

   I think the Internet community needs to *seriously* get over the
   free ride they have been getting for soo long :)

Some people who provide "content" over the Internet need to
*seriously* get over the idea that the world owes them a living.

   I don't consider that they are paying $5.00 for the convenience of
   installing software (perhaps I should have clarified that fact).
   The important thing here is to fund the projects future development
   and encourage more Open Source software.

Ah, but how do I know -- particularly before downloading it -- that
helping to develop *your* piece of software is worth $5.00?  Maybe I
should give that money to the FSF, or Debian, or the OpenBSD project.

   > and you'd have to lower the price to pennies to make it worth their wile
   > cost-wise, but then make paying such a small amount an inconvenience in
   > itself.

   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.

Also, even if the amount of the donation is small and the technology
makes it nigh-effortless, the *act of deciding whether or not to pay*
is inconvenient. See Clay Shirky's "The Case Against Micropayments"
(http://www.openp2p.com/pub/a/p2p/2000/12/19/micropayments.html)
for more on this subject.

   My idea right now is to use the CVS repository to build up metainfo
   so that you can give out "gifts" proportionately.  IE if user
   "alice" does 90% of the work and "bob" does 10% then a gift of $10
   to ProjectX would yield $9 going to alice and $1 going to bob.

And if Alice believes that her contribution represents 90% of the
work, while Bob believes that his represents 20% of the work, how are
you going to arbitrate between them?  What happens when you have not
only two, but hundreds of developers competing for credit?  And what
about the people who write documentation, maintain the Web site, and
answer newbies' questions on the project's email list?  How much time
will this kind of decision-making take away from actual development of
the software?  And how will you compensate the person who makes the
decisions?

-- 
"[Perl] est un esprit LISP dans un corps C, n'est-ce pas?"  --Philippe Verdret
== Seth Gordon == sethg@ropine.com == http://ropine.com/ == std. disclaimer ==