Allow donations for precise bugs

Dear friends,

I apologize in advance for the cross-post but it seems adequate here, as this proposal involves users and developers.


Currently, in bugzilla, I can file bugs or propose new features. My idea is to allow users to donate money directed towards a *precise* feature or a *precise* bug.


The idea is that

1. you donate for each feature *separately*. Donations are per-feature (or per-bug).

2. everyone can donate *freely* (or not donate at all).

3. when, and if, the *overall* donation for a given feature reaches a certain threshold, that feature is *guaranteed* to be implemented within a given time (the time is stated in advance, before donations begin).

4. (optional) as an incentive to donating, you could give the guarantee that, if the threshold is *not* reached within X days, his money will be given back to the donator, or at least it will be reusable to sponsor another feature.

Many more things must be discussed but, first, please let me clarify the important reasons behind this proposal.


Why am I proposing this? The recent article from Eugenia about Gnome ignoring their users ( made me think it's the right time to propose what I've been thinking for a while.

In the article, Eugenia correctly points out that OSS projects tend to ignore the needs of *ordinary* users: currently the OSS model tends to favour the needs of *corporate* customers (because corporations such as IBM or Novell put the money for those features), and those of *power* users (because they program the features they themselves). But the needs of *ordinary* home users are not respected as much. They often tend to be ignored.

So Eugenia is right here. But, IMHO, her error is to assume that this lack of respect for the need of ordinary users _is the developers' fault_. Instead, I think it is the *users* fault; I think users are still not as _responsible_ and self-aware to get together and *directly* finance the features they want.

Consumers are not yet a responsible community and they have no awareness of themeselves as a power. (I believe this is partly why the economy is dominated by corporations.)

I am sure many of us have a small amount money, but no time to contribute code. Some of us love OSS so much that we would happily donate some, *provided* we are guaranteed the feature to be implemented if the threshold is reached.


Many more things should be discussed:

1. who should define, for each feature, the money threshold and the time? (see point 3 above)

2. once the threshold is reached, how do we decide which programmer is to take care of the task?


Now a difficult matter must be discussed. In point 3 above I talked about "guarantees" as an incentive to donations.

Suppose the threashold is reached for a given feature: exactly, _to what extent_ are you guaranteed the feature will be implemented? I mean: what if the developer *fails* to implement the feature in the given time? After all, 100% guarantees do not exist in the real world; that's why collaboration contracts exists, stating what happens when one of the parts *fails* to provide its service.

I would like someone to expand this topic. Some ideas: if it is not possible to guarantee the feature is *implemented*, at least we can guarantee it will be *worked on*. We could also set up some rating system, where developers are rated according to how well they behaved in the past.

As an extreme measure, we could provide legal contracts between donators and implementors! I would not underestimate this possibility.


I would like to hear many opinions about that. I am posting a similar proposal in KDE's list.

My best wishes to you all,

Maurizio Colucci

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