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Software GNU is Not Unix The Almighty Buck

Site tracks F/OSS coding bounties 41

Posted by Hemos
from the making-some-money dept.
chatooya writes "Bounty County is a new website that lists programming bounties for free and open source software projects. It was launched this week by the Participatory Culture Foundation, which has some bounties of their own. You can search, browse, or get feeds of new bounties and if your project is offering a bounty, you can list it here." This is, IIRC, the fourth incaranation of a site like this that I've seen. Maybe this one will work.
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Site tracks F/OSS coding bounties

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  • The site currently lists only Gnome, projects. Bounties range from 200$ to 4500$
    • Re:Gnome-centric (Score:2, Informative)

      by jascat (602034)
      It lists other bounties, but seeing as it is so new, I'm guessing they haven't found very many yet. If people aren't visiting the site and sending them info for other bounties, then the listing on there will be very limited. There were bounties for Limewire, Horde and DTV. I'm sure if someone submitted a KDE bounty, they would post it.
    • The site currently lists only Gnome, projects.

      Nope.

      Nevertheless, they could also put the Ubuntu Dapper bounties [ubuntu.com] on the page.

      Also, if someone were to create a gnome-multimedia-server that lets clients control the playlist, and (optionally) puts multiple clients in sync (i.e. put three songs into the playlist on one PC and see the change reflected on another), I'd be willing to donate a 1000 extra bugs. However, it's absolutely necessary that this works with GNOME audio players like Muine and Rhythmbox, with
  • by yogikoudou (806237) on Monday December 26, 2005 @12:24PM (#14339783)
    And it's worth $290,650 [userfriendly.org]
  • I wonder if... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bgibby9 (614547)
    there will ever be a single "decent" repository of any programming job available that enables anyone to take advantage of it!

    I know (myself included) that I could almost leave my full-time role and focus on this type of development for a while to come!
  • 4th times a charm? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Michalson (638911) on Monday December 26, 2005 @12:33PM (#14339802)
    Frankly there is one problem with bounties - the vast majority of them are very, very low when compared to what even an entry level programmer could earn putting in the same number of hours as would be needed to complete most of them.

    By comparison, the bounties can have a habbit of pushing off the normal volunteers from those areas - some don't like the idea of getting paid for a free project (in much the same way people helping out a charity will often reject any attempt at compensation), while others don't want the pressure of a "paid" project; they just want to have fun and help out an open source project.

    That leaves you with only one big audiance for bounties - high school kids and bums in college who are riding on their parents money (actual paying students need to work real jobs to get enough money to pay tuition). Neither of these groups are all that great for accomplishing the goals of bounties - they tend to lack the drive and responsibility of more mature coders, and can easily turn in garbage that just fills the requirement list in order to get the money.

    To work bounties need to either be bigger and/or offer some of kind of other incentive, or they need to be tailored to that 14 year old high school student crowd - smaller, easier to evaluate, harder to screw up. Basically farm out the low level tasks with bounties, and have the core team work on the real features.
    • by knipknap (769880)
      Frankly there is one problem with bounties - the vast majority of them are very, very low when compared to what even an entry level programmer could earn putting in the same number of hours as would be needed to complete most of them.

      I think you miss the point of bounties. They neither are an equivalent to hiring a contract worker, nor are they intended to. They are an incentive for people who do the work for fun, or to help someone who is hesitant to take on a project. In fact, if the bounties were any hig
      • I'm gonna say that a one dollar bounty would be more fun:

        Imagine telling people that Linus Torvalds sent you a one dollar check (uncashed of course) as bounty for function foo()

    • To work bounties need to either be bigger and/or offer some of kind of other incentive, or they need to be tailored to that 14 year old high school student crowd - smaller, easier to evaluate, harder to screw up.

      Well, you've apparently never had any involvement with professional programming, of any kind.

      The most difficult part of programming is dividing up a project into small, easy to evaluate, difficult to screw up pieces. Doing that takes about 90% of the time, involves 90% of the effort, and usually i
    • That leaves you with only one big audiance for bounties - high school kids and bums in college who are riding on their parents money (actual paying students need to work real jobs to get enough money to pay tuition).

      You don't seem to understand how university education works in the US nowadays. I get no money from my parents, they are too poor to help much. Yet, I don't work. Why? Because the government and the university give enough in loans and grants that I can concentrate on my studies without being

      • yes but once you finish with your studies you're going to need to work 4am - midnight on any sort of work you can find including these bounties in order to repay those loans before you die.
        • The average monthly repayment is $250. That's not a problem in a white-collar job. Furthermore, since I will probably be working in the European Union after I finish my studies (the job for which I'm studying doesn't really exist outside of four or five countries), the strength of the euro means that it will be a cinch to pay off my loans since my salary increases in value when converted into dollars.
    • by bigtrike (904535)
      I bet a number of these get completed by people in developing countries where wages are not be as high. Some of the current bounties pay what I'd estimate to be about $100 per 8 hours of work. Not a great wage for most American programmers, but very high for a developing country.
  • by castoridae (453809) on Monday December 26, 2005 @12:33PM (#14339806)
    Nobody should think they'll actually make money at this. The # of hours required for the $ earned is going to far exceed what a competent programmer could earn doing standard contracting work. And that's not to mention that there may be multiple people working towards one "bounty" at the same time, winner-take-all. And don't forget about scope creep - from one of the limewire projects... "The code is done when we say it's done".

    That said, I don't disapprove of this - just want to clarify that open source is still basically a volunteer effort, and while this is a nice token and perhaps a nice incentive, it shouldn't be confused with actual contract work or a means of livelihood.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 26, 2005 @01:27PM (#14339993)
    I think this is frontier work. Hard to see how anyone can deny this is a worthy project. Looks like early days and this will surely get better. But here are my questions/thoughts about bounties..

    1) How is the project itself funding the site? Perhaps they take a small percentage of the bounties.

    2) Wages are VERY low. It's just a start. As a focal point will serve both ends. Eventually business who want OS changes but don't have inhouse skills will use it to post (hopefully valuable) bounties.

    3) A problem arises because bounties will be cherry picked with the most rewarding stuff getting done quickly and the difficult and boring stuff getting left to one side.

    4) It goes against the scratch-an-itch motive. As per (3) some stuff will just never get takers because it's too obscure or dull while some bounties will be overwhelmed with applicants thinking "I was going to do exactly that anyway"

    5) This needs to expand beyond mere code. Design, test, maintainance, documentation and secondary assets are all a vital part of good software. For example paying graphic artists to design an entire new icon set in a consistent theme, or a bounty for a test report on 20 different hardware platforms that a computer shop owner could complete.

    6) Better skill based categories and micropayments for quick consultancy. For example I am an expert on DSP and could probably fix a complicated sound/video problem by altering a few lines of code. How could I get just a dollar for looking in on the source and saying "Yeah you need to cast this var as an integer and wrap it"?

    7) How are multiple bounty collisions handled? If 10 programmers all took on the bounty on the first day chances are they will all finish at about the same time so a first to the post gets paid system is quite unfair. Also this gives incentive to the quickest and hence probably lowest quality/least tested effort (a bit like the rush to post on /. ;)
    However farming them out on a round robin basis is inefficient.

    So SkuttleMonkey finally went to bed!? Or died in his slashdot chair like one of those mad chinese gamers? Hemos is dragging up some unusual stories, actually its refreshing to see less popularist material, good stuff.
    • Some alternative points:

      3) If you need boring stuff done, you must pay a highter price. Basic microeconomics.

      4) It is not "skratch an itch", it is "fell free to pay someone to scratch your itch". That is an potentiality of FOSS that people always throw out to "I'm not a programmer" complainers. Also, there are a few things that the scratch an itch model may never deliver well (but paid for development solves), like integration.

      5) Totaly agree, it must be expanded. But for some of those things, contests a

  • by Anonymous Coward
    You might be interested in the perception of bounties in some bigger projects.

    Once, Aaron Seigo writes about why he sees bounties with scepticism, also referring to a $30,000 Gimp Bounty gone awry.
    http://aseigo.blogspot.com/2005/11/mutiny-on-bount y.html [blogspot.com]

    And the original article by Dave Neary detailing what went wrong.

    http://dneary.free.fr/gimp_bounties.html [dneary.free.fr]

    Obviously it's not that easy to support F/OSS, especially not by offering bounties.

  • These businesses are using you like slaves [which, for those of you who like to ponder old parchment documents written by dead white European males, was outlawed many score of years ago [cornell.edu]].

    $1000 would barely pay for one contractor day if the contractor were hired through an agency at prevailing rates:

    ($75/hr for the contractor + $25 overhead for the agency) X (8hrs/day) = $800/day

    And believe it or not, an employee [with SS, Mdcr/Mdcd, UnEmpl Ins, Roth, 401K, Health, Dental, etc etc etc] would probably

  • Why use bounties to get programmers? Aren't there enough people on SourceForge willing to help out (if it is really a good idea that you have, that is) ...

    I know for a fact I've had at least 10 people ask to help me out... and I'm not even looking for help...
  • I see bounties as providing one strong net positive assuming their popularity grows. It gives a good indicator of where true need exists for incremental change.

    In most cases, these changes are going to be requested by those who feel they don't have the expertise to produce those changes themselves. When the bounty total approaches the true cost, you'll known people are pretty serious.

    This doesn't harm open source in that visionaries and those wanting to do something just for fun can still do so. It can h
  • by rappo (671118)
    ...project management system that incorporates bounties into the core of the system. It's run by myself and my buddy Warren. We act as the escrow for all bounties placed in the system, so if it says there X dollars for a request, there truly is.

    Think of a SourceForge.net site with bounty handling built-in to tasks (feature requests, bug reports, etc). Also, I'd like to think that we're a bit easier to use from both the project manager's perspective and the end-user's perspective.

    We have SVN support and a bu
  • from large bounties on even larger projects to small bounties for small projects- posted by people, not foundations.

    There is a generation of users that would love to see more functionality in their computer, but have no idea how to cause that to occur... this same generation understands that they go to google to find things, ebay to sell things, amazon to buy things, etc.

    Why not give them one place to go to make things work?

    Bounty coders could become the handymen of the information age -- if the place

    • Actually, the shift in focus should be from those collecting the bounties to those contributing to them. If contributing a couple hundred dollars per year toward improving F/OSS becomes seen as a viable alternative to spending that money upgrading software just because the vendor says "it's time." then the bounties will grow.

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