Alo Sarv
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Developer's Diary

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Bounty-based development model...

...a viable solution for funding open source development?

As I mentioned about a week ago, I'm taking on a medium-sized database project for development to generate some income; this naturally drops Hydranode development to near the bottom of my activity listings; however, this gave me an idea.

There has been discussions about "donate-based bounties" since last summer already, and the topic has raised on a monthly basis. About a week ago a bounty was set to implement mldonkey files import support to Hydranode; price was determined and currently money is being gathered for implementing it. The price was fixed at 80 EUR, out of which 20 eur has been donated so far. If you want to support this effort, send a donation via the Make a Donation button on the right; make sure to note in the comment that this is for "mldonkey import support" development. Once 80 eur has been raised, development will begin on the support and it will be released publically once completed.

All this gave me an idea. Why not implement this functionality in a semi-automated manner, publically available. The details of the system as the idea develops follow.

There are three parties involved in the system - Client, Implementer and Bounty Manager. Client makes a request (via a web-form or email) for a bounty; say '4+gb support for edonkey module'. Bounty Manager reviews the bounty, adds implementation details/comments, and determines the price for this work. For this sample, let's say 100 EUR. The bounty is then published (along with the price) on Hydranode website. Any Hydranode user can become a Client by donating to that bounty. Once the required money has been donated, an Implementer accepts the bounty and begins implementing it. Once completed, the module, patches or updates will be published.

Any developer (either official Hydranode developer, or 3rd-party developer) can take bounties and implement them. Since it cannot be expected that the Client(s) perform quality assurance, the Bounty Manager will perform quality assurance on the resulting patches or modules. Only if they pass the quality assurance will the bounty be considered 'completed' and the donated money to be payed to the Implementer.

This method would allow users to directly affect the development process and would motivate 3rd-party developers to code (since they get money for it).

Potential caveats: Refund policy? Implementors accepting a half-funded bounty (hungry coders needing food? :P) Implementors accepting bounty but not delivering on time or not passing QA? Implementing partially (important pre-work for some bounty)?

The idea obviously needs more work before all kinks can be ironed out. But the idea in general - what do you think?


personally I think this is fair.


yes, this sounds fair.

best wishes,
I think it's an amazing idea! Figuring, what to buy first :)
Hey Madcat, it's a long time since I last posted here, so welcome back...
I like the Idea of Bounty based development, but I hope it will not become your main motivation - except you get enough $$$ every month :)
I don't think that projects need a cap when reached you (someone) start to develop the project. Instead everyone should be able to donate freely and all money until it is finished gets shared between all contributors. Therefore the project can be splittet into several milestones equaling a part of the money.
Well bla bla, just have a look at the Nintendo DS Wifi bounty, I think thats pretty what I mean.
The pro donation milestone panel's is visualized wrong, the text is not aligned well in the box an is cut (mozilla 1.7.x)
The pro donation milestone panel's is visualized wrong, the text is not aligned well in the box an is cut (mozilla 1.7.x)
as long as you use this model in addition to the current one and dont start to hold back features just to sell them for a high price to the community i think it's an interesting idea.
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