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From Jeremias Maerki <dev.jerem...@greenmail.ch>
Subject Re: funding developers (WAS: tagged PDF)
Date Sun, 13 Apr 2003 08:52:46 GMT

On 13.04.2003 08:14:51 Glen Mazza wrote:
> > > for adding any extensions. As the "gethelp"
> document states,
> > one option is
> > > to fund a developer. 
> 
> Has it been cleared with the main Apache organization
> that that is indeed an option?  Other Apache projects
> aren't making those types of solicitations on their
> project pages.  AFAIK everything is voluteer
> work--Tomcat, Struts, Apache, Cocoon, etc. 
> 
> Apache is a non-profit organization, so I'm not sure
> FOP can have web pages saying:  If you would like this
> functionality just send us $5000, this developer is
> only $XX per hour, etc., etc.  Or, even if it legally
> could, whether the Apache organization would allow
> it--things may start to degenerate that whenever
> someone has an enhancement request the project asks
> for money.

That's something that should be discussed on the community@ mailing list
IMO.

You're right: working at Apache is volunteer work. FOP is no exception.
But there is also a reason that Apache is so successful: Its
business-friendly license. There is almost always a financial interest
behind a management granting a developer time to help on an OpenSource
project. That's how it works very often. Apache is not a shop where
everything is free. Sometimes you also have to give something back. I'm
not talking about money, but funding someone or, better, a project or
the Apache Foundatiuon itself is one way to contribute. And the latter
is official.

> <Q>
> it seems a shame if there are people
> who are willing to fund Jeremias & Peter to get
> something done, and we don't
> have a way to put them together.
> </Q>
> 
> But we do--email will work.  Anyone can take Apache
> software and create enhanced versions of it, so long
> as they follow the Apache license.  All that would be
> needed would be the available developer to contact the
> potential customer: i.e., an email to someone posting
> the enhancement request on the DEV or USER list.  

...and spend a LOT of time acquiring potential customers. The problem is
that everyone wants more XSL-FO functionality.

> But having a list of all committers on a website page
> will make it easier for outside organizations to
> contact individual developers, so I would recommend
> it.

I agree.

> Having an explicit list of committers on the site
> could also help get FOP done more quickly.  The
> current situation, where would-be FOP developers, in
> addition to working for free, must labor in anonymity
> may be reducing the pool of top developers willing to
> work on the project.  

I'm wonder what triggered that paragraph. Would you explain?

Nobody must labor in anonymity. This is Open Source. Everyone can
participate. Granted, we are currently very reluctant to accept patches
for the maintenance branch because we need to focus on the redesign
to finally be able to support some important features of the XSL-FO spec.
But we are more than eager to accept help on the redesign to get this
version 1.0DR as soon as possible. We will also make new committers,
gladly so. But these guys have to come out of their hiding place and
start contributing. It took me 18 months to be voted in, but I'm sure
that new candidates don't have to wait this long because we ARE short on
resources. But we need to see some commitment, some continuity. Apache
membership doesn't come free as at SourceForge.

FOP, unlike quite a few other projects at Apache, is not backed by a
large company where a team does most of the work. A lot of FOP
committers left the project during the last two years. The reasons are
mostly because they changed employers, I think. The new guys try to take
over as best as they can. And we depend on new faces jumping in and
helping.

Jeremias Maerki


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