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Bribe Devs To Improve Open Source Software

Unknown Lamer posted about 9 months ago | from the five-cents-for-two-years-of-work dept.

Programming 109

mikejuk writes "Bribe.io announces itself as: 'A super easy way to bribe developers to fix bugs and add features in the software you're using.' Recognizing the fact that a lot of open source projects are maintained by developers working alone and in their spare time, the idea is to encourage other developers to by specifying a monetary value to a bug report or feature enhancement. Once an initial 'Bribe' has been posted others can 'chip in' and add to the financial incentive."

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109 comments

not a bribe (5, Insightful)

Gravis Zero (934156) | about 9 months ago | (#45334077)

it's not a bribe, it's a contract. how is this news?

Appealing to the inner pirate ... (5, Insightful)

perpenso (1613749) | about 9 months ago | (#45334139)

it's not a bribe, it's a contract. how is this news?

Its not news its marketing. Open source hobbyist devs are too rebellious to go for contracts, bribes are more appealing to their inner pirate. ;-) Its a way to make minimum wage pay for software development sound cool.

Re:Appealing to the inner pirate ... (5, Insightful)

Vintermann (400722) | about 9 months ago | (#45334211)

In that case, wouldn't "ransom" or "bounty" have been better? There have been projects like this before. As I recall, there was even one before Kickstarter came and made everyone talk about "crowdfunding" - but it didn't catch on.

Re:Appealing to the inner pirate ... (3, Insightful)

alex67500 (1609333) | about 9 months ago | (#45334357)

Ransom implies hostages... But bounty sounds exactly right, indeed! I personally probably would get off my lazy backside and start coding a bit more if there was a little reward involved

Re:Appealing to the inner pirate ... (4, Informative)

Lennie (16154) | about 9 months ago | (#45334501)

Obviously, many services already exists which provide bounties for open source development:
https://www.google.com/search?q=open+source+bounty [google.com]

So really, from first glance this doesn't sound new in any way.

The writer of the article thinks the 'voting system' (multiple people pledge to pay for a feature/bugfix) is a novel idea though. I've not looked at the others, it might be.

Sounds a bit like kickstarter as well.

Re:Appealing to the inner pirate ... (2)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#45335289)

Not entirely novel. I had been considering such a system [pineight.com] ; check the revision history to see when.

Re:Appealing to the inner pirate ... (3, Funny)

jm007 (746228) | about 9 months ago | (#45335251)

"bounty" sounds cool and could be used as a pick up line:
"Yeah, babe, I'm a bounty hunter"

Just don't follow it up with "... just like Boba Fett"

Re:Appealing to the inner pirate ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45338119)

So "...just like Zuckuss!" then?

Re:Appealing to the inner pirate ... (1)

CCarrot (1562079) | about 9 months ago | (#45336775)

In that case, wouldn't "ransom" or "bounty" have been better? There have been projects like this before. As I recall, there was even one before Kickstarter came and made everyone talk about "crowdfunding" - but it didn't catch on.

"Booty" would be the best. Lots of hobbyists would work for booty...:)

Re:Appealing to the inner pirate ... (1)

Eddy_D (557002) | about 9 months ago | (#45337387)

From the user's standpoint it's bribe.io...

From the developer's standpoint it's extortion.io.

- Eddy

Re:Appealing to the inner pirate ... (1)

darkwing_bmf (178021) | about 9 months ago | (#45338029)

Professor, what's another name for pirate treasure?

Re:Appealing to the inner pirate ... (3, Interesting)

durrr (1316311) | about 9 months ago | (#45334213)

It's also a way to potentially slow down bug solving. You write the patch and just before you hit submit, you realize "Oh wait, I could get paid for this" so you create a $1 bribe for said bug, wait until it have some dollars more, then submit and cash out.

It might even lead to more bugs appearing in the software. If there's some 1000 bugs you know because you added some willfully sloppy code, there's obviously money to be made.

Want more features? Well think of it like DLC. Oh they're ready all right but I'm waiting for the bribe request.

Re:Appealing to the inner pirate ... (4, Funny)

perpenso (1613749) | about 9 months ago | (#45334277)

Have you picked out a color for that minivan yet? :-)

Re:Appealing to the inner pirate ... (3, Interesting)

Stolpskott (2422670) | about 9 months ago | (#45334327)

This certainly could be the way that things go, but there are a few delicate balancing acts to be performed if a dev wants to game the process in this way.

Purposefully writes bugs into the software will probably have a negative impact on the quality of the finished product, making it less attractive to potential users. Less attractive will usually translate to fewer users, which translates to a smaller pool of potential "bribers".
If the bugs are in a core element of the product that everybody uses, it will be discovered quickly, and either fixed quickly by another contributor who is not looking to get paid for it or start driving users toward other potential options (assuming there are other potential options which offer a similar feature set).
If the bugs are in an area that not many people will use, so it is less likely to garner widespread attention from devs looking to fix it, there will also be fewer users interested in the problem. Those users may be the most likely to post a bribe/bounty on the bug, and may post a correspondingly higher bribe, but that single user's contribution may be the only contribution.
Delaying a bug fix in order to try and get paid (or paid more) on the bribe/bounty runs the risk of another dev stepping in who fixes the bug for nothing or the currently posted amount, so the work you have done to date is for nothing.
If the code on a project is so badly written (on purpose, to game the system) and you are the only dev supporting the project, that no-one else is willing to get involved in it, then the project will probably not see many users.

The gaming options are also present on the user's side - being the first to post a bribe/bounty on a particular bug in the hope that others will climb on board is a good way to get your bug addressed, but there is a degree of "why should I foot the entire bill for this change?" which is perfectly reasonable as the change will probably benefit either the community as a whole or at least a section of it. The gaming side from the user's perspective is similar to a Dutch Auction, where the question "How low can I go?" comes in.
Also, and this one depends very much on the implementation of the idea, not the idea itself, if a user posts a bribe for a particular bug, which then attracts other contributors, what happens if the original briber then tries to withdraw their bribe? For example, I want to get a bug fixed but I do not want to pay for it, so I post a $100 bribe for the bug to be fixed. 10 other users see that, and contribute $10 to the bribe fund, and I then withdraw my bribe (because now, there is a much higher chance that other users will contribute and that devs will take notice, so the problem might be fixed without me having to spend anything).

The sweet spot for this system to be gained is thus pretty small, and probably most applicable to older projects which have been very popular in the past and have a fairly large community of users with significant investment of time and effort spent using the system, so they are pretty much locked in. On those projects where there has been some drama or the existing dev team have not been maintaining the project properly, then this approach could work and could be reasonably profitable, as long as both the devs and the users are not going to try and game the system too much.

Re:Appealing to the inner pirate ... (1)

somersault (912633) | about 9 months ago | (#45334499)

If this were to be done, you wouldn't be allowed to withdraw any offers. It would be the same as an eBay auction, or a Kickstarter project. You've essentially agreed to a contract. If you win, you have to pay.

Re:Appealing to the inner pirate ... (1)

Bob_Who (926234) | about 9 months ago | (#45335055)

this approach could work and could be reasonably profitable, as long as both the devs and the users are not going to try and game the system too much.

My God! I think you just re-invented a commercial software development and marketing strategy.

You should be paid for that!

Oh yeah, never mind...

Re:Appealing to the inner pirate ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45334675)

OK, so you created 1000 bugs and put a $1 bribe on each of them to encourage others to chip in to get them fixed.
If half of the bugs are fixed by random people who thought that it was easier to fix the bug and cash in on the $1 than paying someone else to do it you are down $500.

You have essentially created a game where one can choose between adding to the bank or taking it all and you start by adding to the bank. There is no reason for anyone else to not take the money and your only advantage is that you have your hand a little bit closer to the bank since you created the problem. You do however not benefit from this since you don't see when someone else is fixing the bug until it is too late.

Re:Appealing to the inner pirate ... (1)

Custard Horse (1527495) | about 9 months ago | (#45334863)

OK, so you created 1000 bugs and put a $1 bribe on each of them to encourage others to chip in to get them fixed. If half of the bugs are fixed by random people who thought that it was easier to fix the bug and cash in on the $1 than paying someone else to do it you are down $500.

You have essentially created a game where one can choose between adding to the bank or taking it all and you start by adding to the bank. There is no reason for anyone else to not take the money and your only advantage is that you have your hand a little bit closer to the bank since you created the problem. You do however not benefit from this since you don't see when someone else is fixing the bug until it is too late.

The only problem with this premise is that intentionally writing bugs but leaving a mostly functional piece of software would take quite a bit of planning.

Surely a serious coder would want to write more, useful, code and bug-fix as necessary rather than engineer a situation which may or may not produce free monies?

I choose to believe that coders would have pride in their OSS and introduce new features rather than produce bug-laden code which might be replaced by the next big thing.

Having said that I'm no coder so my assumptions are probably invalid.

Re:Appealing to the inner pirate ... (1)

Bob_Who (926234) | about 9 months ago | (#45334961)

but I'm waiting for the bribe request.

...money is the root of all shareware. In this case, open source bugs are the root of all booty. That's still not doing evil, right?

Re:Appealing to the inner pirate ... (1)

N1AK (864906) | about 9 months ago | (#45335129)

You write the patch and just before you hit submit, you realize "Oh wait, I could get paid for this" so you create a $1 bribe for said bug, wait until it have some dollars more, then submit and cash out.

I'm not sure it's a real world issue. Firstly is someone who has already decided to code a fix without any prospect of getting paid suddenly going to change their mind after designing a fix to potentially earn a few pounds; even if they did then someone else might see the bounty and claim it before they does meaning their coding was wasted and they don't get anything.

Paid for software already exists. The fact that someone could go and work for a firm making paid for software already doesn't stop 1,000s of people working on open source software for free.

Platforms that ban copyleft (0)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#45335519)

The fact that someone could go and work for a firm making paid for software already doesn't stop 1,000s of people working on open source software for free.

Yes it does, especially in the field of video games. First, video games tend to require skills other than programming, and the communities around these skills tend not to have quite as much of a sharing culture. Second, all major video game consoles require a proprietary commercial software business model and ban copyleft [slashdot.org] , and game genres involving two to four gamepads and one screen don't work well on PCs, which tend to be connected to screens too small for two to four people to fit around.

If they were to do that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45335515)

If they were to do that then why would they do any work whatsoever currently, where they get paid fuck all?

Is this merely you asserting what YOU would do if you were a FOSS coder (but are not because it doesn't pay)? Because, remember: the coders working for FOSS are either already being paid or are unpaid. In the case of the latter, they already do not consider the only purpose of coding on the project "to get paid" and in the case of the former, they get paid already and won't get paid if they refuse to do work.

In either case, your conspiracy would only work with people who already COULD work on a FOSS project BUT DO NOT because they won't get paid.

Therefore a bounty would make these people do the work that isn't currently being done.

Re:Appealing to the inner pirate ... (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 9 months ago | (#45336683)

It's also a way to potentially slow down bug solving.

Maybe. But it could also speed it up. If developers can profit by fixing bugs or adding features, they would likely spend more time doing that, and it could attract more developers into open source.

It might even lead to more bugs appearing in the software. If there's some 1000 bugs you know because you added some willfully sloppy code, there's obviously money to be made.

Most OSS projects have competitors, so if the code is too buggy, users will go elsewhere.

Re:Appealing to the inner pirate ... (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 9 months ago | (#45337315)

It's also a way to potentially slow down bug solving. You write the patch and just before you hit submit, you realize "Oh wait, I could get paid for this" so you create a $1 bribe for said bug, wait until it have some dollars more, then submit and cash out.

It might even lead to more bugs appearing in the software. If there's some 1000 bugs you know because you added some willfully sloppy code, there's obviously money to be made.

Want more features? Well think of it like DLC. Oh they're ready all right but I'm waiting for the bribe request.

You forget this is OSS so you're not the only one who can bug hunt. I'm not saying some enterprising scumbag won't have such an idea and try to perpetuate such a con but for it to be successful the code must be relevant to begin with. Then there's the time spent fabricating the actual bug in the code. If it's too easy to spot somebody is going to swoop in and claim that $1 you just put up. Of course crafting such a bug on purpose is much more difficult than doing it accidentally so you actually spend more time creating a problem to solve than the original software would have taken but you stand to make a few dollars from the endeavor.

I worked with a guy like that. He would go to outrageous lengths to avoid doing some of the more mundane aspects of his job to the effect it took him longer to come up with the plan to avoid the work than the work would have taken. It was usually entertaining to see what he would do next to avoid a simple job.

Re:Appealing to the inner pirate ... (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 9 months ago | (#45334265)

They should have called it Booty.io

Re:Appealing to the inner pirate ... (4, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 9 months ago | (#45334751)

In other news, people who think bribery is cool are small-minded morons. Case in point:

"One of the things I have always found troubling about Westerners doing business in emerging market countries is that they sometimes take an almost perverse pride in discussing payoffs to government officials. It is as though their having paid a bribe is a symbol of their international sophistication and insider knowledge. Yet, countless times when I am told of the bribe, I know the very same thing could almost certainly have been accomplished without a bribe."
--Dan Harris, chinalawblog.com

First movers pay surcharge for priority processing (1)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#45335531)

True, a lot of things can be accomplished without paying a surcharge for priority processing. It'd just take several years longer for the paperwork to be approved, while your competitors pay the surcharge for priority processing and take the market for themselves.

Re:Appealing to the inner pirate ... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 9 months ago | (#45334861)

Open source hobbyist devs are too rebellious to go for contracts

Is this actually true for any of the open source projects that have users? In most cases, the developers are entirely happy to work on the code for money, and in the case of larger projects many of them do full time. The problem is that a contract to fix a single bug is hard. This is why bug bounties administered via a simple mechanism are nice.

The hobbyist Linux dev is history (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about 9 months ago | (#45337367)

Open source hobbyist devs are too rebellious to go for contracts

Is this actually true for any of the open source projects that have users?

Doubtful. That is why I ended the sentence with a ";-)". In reality it seems that many successful open source projects are corporate or government funded. Linus Torvalds is not even in the top 100 kernel contributors anymore.

Re:not a bribe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45334353)

It's news because editors seem to accept bribes to publish stories like this (start ups with a business model based in something already done to death where the only difference is the name....bribe...that cool, i get it, it must a great and original idea).

Sure it's a bribe ... to avoid taxes (1)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | about 9 months ago | (#45334427)

Sure it is a "bribe". Bribes aren't taxed! ;-)

Revenue from a "contract" is taxed.
A "paycheck" is taxed.
A "reward" is taxed.
Hell... even a "bounty" is taxed.

A bribe never sees the light of day = not taxed ... ;-)

- Jesper

Re:Sure it's a bribe ... to avoid taxes (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 9 months ago | (#45334547)

You can declare bribes, and I'm sure some people do. No point exposing yourself to the penalties for tax evasion.

Re:Sure it's a bribe ... to avoid taxes (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 9 months ago | (#45334977)

You can declare bribes, and I'm sure some people do. No point exposing yourself to the penalties for tax evasion.

I'm pretty sure that there's actually an IRS form for that, in fact.

Schedule C- Profit or Loss from Business or... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45335321)

Yep.. of course there's an IRS form for it.
Make sure the bribe giver files the required 1099, though.

Re:not a bribe (1)

nashv (1479253) | about 9 months ago | (#45334719)

A contract can impose that any new code or modifications must be submitted under a license different from the original open-source code. A bribe does not give any rights to anyone.

If anything, bribes revoke rights, in spirit of the open-source ethos.

Re:not a bribe (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 9 months ago | (#45335107)

it's not a bribe, it's a contract. how is this news?

They can't call it a contract. If they did, it would be too obvious that isn't not a new business method so you couldn't patent it.

Re:not a bribe (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | about 9 months ago | (#45335423)

It's not a contract either, as the developer doesn't sign anything in advance agreeing to do work.

Its more like a bounty. "$100 for the head of the GUI bug that is ruining my day". Why they didn't go with that for a theme is beyond me. Boba Fett is far cooler as a model than some corrupt school board official.

Re:not a bribe (1)

Frobnicator (565869) | about 9 months ago | (#45336367)

Nope, still a contract.

You are right in that most contracts are bilateral; that is, everybody agrees with them up front.

Reward contracts ("lost my object, return for reward") are called unilateral contracts, the person making the statement agrees with it. Other people are not bound to the terms, but if they complete the terms they can collect on the contract.

Courts around the globe routinely find that these unilateral contracts are binding, usually when someone posts that they will pay a large reward for safe return of an object, then fails to pay the reward on delivery, and the finder takes the person to court to get the reward. If you post that you have a large reward for the safe return of your pet, you better be able to pay -- the unilateral reward contract is legally binding.

This will fail big time (1)

jkrise (535370) | about 9 months ago | (#45334083)

Established proprietary s/w vendors have big pockets; and much more self-interest and motivation to keep Open Source Software inferior. Honesty is the not only the best policy for open source projects; it is the only policy that works in the long term.

Re:This will fail big time (1)

eulernet (1132389) | about 9 months ago | (#45334527)

There are plenty of other cognitive problems with money compensation.

For example, if you are paid to fix a bug, and there are a lot of bugs, you'll probably fix them as fast as possible to get the money.
When you concentrate on the result, the quality always lowers.
The quality is not a problem for a few jobs, but definitely not on computers !

Here is a nice article about other motivational problems:
http://whatspinksthinks.com/2013/11/04/get-shit-done-the-worst-startup-culture-ever/ [whatspinksthinks.com]

Re:This will fail big time (1)

Mike Frett (2811077) | about 9 months ago | (#45334761)

Well it didn't fail, no matter how badly your proprietary brain wants it to. this [indiegogo.com] shows you how it can and does work.

Re:This will fail big time (1)

nashv (1479253) | about 9 months ago | (#45334779)

The problem is that many open-source projects simply will not listen to their minority users, presumably because they have no obligation to do so. Handy examples are the "Use margins to track changes" in Libreoffice. The developers admit that the feature is trivial, but will not implement it even as optional.

Or the recent ridiculous address bar font in Chrome - again obviously trivial but a 'wontfix'.

Now here is the thing, people have specialization and contribute in different ways to open-source. OSS developers need to recognize that very often it is a small specific set of features that prevent users from migrating entirely to their software and this hurts OSS in wide-ranging ways.

The prevalent attitude seems to be 'The code is there for you to modify. Do it yourself.' For the average user, that could mean developing proficiency in some programming language, familiarity with that software's architecture before they even begin to understand how to get what they want.

Here's a shocker : People have different expertise, and knowing C pointers is not the only thing the human race needs. OSS developers needs to recognize the oppurtunity of having a much wider impact by , say, helping that biologist do his convoluted statistical analysis more efficiently in Libreoffice Calc so that he can confirm that the drug his chemist friend made will actually help cancer patients. Ok, that's a long shot - but you get the picture.

Why? (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about 9 months ago | (#45334829)

I'm sorry, but both your arguments don't make sense to me. Why would big pockets of closed software vendors make this initiative fail? Will they spend money on this platform to have developers focus on irrelevant features or "harmless" bugs? I can't think of any other way closed source vendors would be spending money on open source to make it worse.?

Honesty? What's dishonest about this? It's out in the open that people are willing to pay others to fix bugs in software. Either the maintainers of the open source package themselves step up and fix it and get paid, or some independent developer will. It may depend on their contributions being accepted by the maintainers, but I don't see anything hidden or dishonest about the process.

It may fail because people aren't willing to pay enough, or the initiative will remain too small to maintain, but I don't really see any other reasons why it would fail otherwise.

wtf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45334085)

Is this an advert for bribe.io, or for the linked blog, i-programmer.info?

Both are shit by the way.

What a great name! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45334087)

"bribe |brb| verb
persuade (someone) to act in one's favor, typically illegally or dishonestly, by a gift of money or other inducement"

I bet they really thought that one out. As a professional developer myself, the last thing I would want is someone googling my name and seeing that I "accept bribes" or something stupid. Given how HR departments work these days, they probably wouldn't even bother going to the website to see what it's actually about, and your resume would go into the trash can without a second look.

Of all the words they could have picked, they went with the one that is associated with illegitimacy or dishonesty. Talk about a Web 2.0 fail.

Re:What a great name! (-1, Troll)

The Cat (19816) | about 9 months ago | (#45334129)

Given how HR departments work these days, unless you have a Guangdong zip code, your resume would go into the trash can without a look.

FTFY

Bounties, not bribes (1)

KritonK (949258) | about 9 months ago | (#45334179)

In the Amiga community there is the similar notion of bounties [amigabounty.net] , where people collect money, to be given to whoever implements some required functionality, usually a port of something useful.

I'm not sure one would want someone to think that one is bounty hunter, but at least it's better than giving the impression that they accept bribes.

Re:Bounties, not bribes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45334911)

Wait, people still use AmigaOS for anything other than emulating their childhood games/demos?

Re:Bounties, not bribes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45337107)

*shakes cane at young man*

You know what you're standing on! Get lost!

Re:What a great name! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45334205)

And thinking like that is why I don't consider myself a "professional". You can keep that title, and the people that would do what you describe can keep their jobs. I don't need either.

I'm more opposed to this sort of thing because this feels like trying to get IT people to work for tips. It's not something I would support. Projects that would use a service like this generally already have a way to donate.

Re:What a great name! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45334451)

That'd be both their loss and your fault, in the end, for working for stupid people.

Even the worst departments I can think of would spend all of 2 minutes looking at whatever website it was if it was sufficiently high enough in the rankings.
"What, there is a site you can use to bribe people on? How can that shit be legal? [click] ohhh I see, smart guy, we might need to snap him up if he plans on going indie, that would be bad."

Re:What a great name! (1)

bakedbread (2009504) | about 9 months ago | (#45334593)

As a professional developer myself, the last thing I would want is someone googling my name and seeing that I "accept bribes" or something stupid. Given how HR departments work these days, they probably wouldn't even bother going to the website to see what it's actually about, and your resume would go into the trash can without a second look.

Maybe. But maybe instead your new employer would have expectations that you find uncomfortable to fulfill.

Re:What a great name! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45335191)

And you want to work for these people? Why?

Re:What a great name! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45337839)

I'm a hot chick who's kinda poor. What "other inducement" can I use to get the stupid gcc double to char conversion consistent regardless of optimization level?

bribing is a stupid name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45334091)

bribing is a stupid name because it has so much negative energy.

Seems like paying .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45334123)

bribing is a stupid name because it has so much negative energy.

Sounds more like paying devs.

Re:bribing is a stupid name (1)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#45335981)

"Sarcasm is stupid." Is that what you were trying to imply?

Reward for work? (3, Insightful)

genocyde (184014) | about 9 months ago | (#45334151)

Getting paid for work? What arcane principle is this?

Doesnt everyone just work for free towards the greater good of software

not new (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45334161)

This is what SuSE and Redhat already do in a sense. Instead of calling it bribery they call it employing developers to work on opensource.

In the rest of the world... (4, Insightful)

Reeses (5069) | about 9 months ago | (#45334215)

that's called issuing a paycheck.

Re:In the rest of the world... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45337001)

or commissioning a work

Bullshit name (1)

readacc (3401189) | about 9 months ago | (#45334273)

They call this a "bribe" because there seems to be this assumption that open source developers write code purely out of the greatness of their heats, that this is the status quo, and that adding a financial incentive towards fixing bugs is morally wrong.

The biggest problem I have with a ton of open source software is that the really big issues (particularly usability, but even features to make some software on par with their proprietary counterparts) are either hard, boring, or both. Coding functionality like tables you can resize with your mouse like you can in MS Word, isn't as much fun as writing a Personas feature in LibreOffice to let you use Firefox personas in the UI.

People who code for a livelihood aren't guaranteed to make better code than open source developers. But they are motivated to do the messy shit to solve end-users issues, because there's money on the table.

Re:Bullshit name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45334371)

Personas or Persona? Mozilla went and gave their identity service a name nearly identical for their skin system...

Re:Bullshit name (1)

kemosabi (659932) | about 9 months ago | (#45336211)

My first reaction to your remark was to respond that you're wrong, that for the most part work on open source is separate from work for pay, and that people do it in their own time out of intrinsic interest and not out extrinsic reward overcoming intrinsic indifference.

Paying them would then be pernicious and wrong because it changes there story from "I do this because I'm good at it and value it" to "I do this for spare cash", and I've seen that have a bad affect on people. Their intrinsic sense of reward and their own story about themselves is changed into a sense of extrinsic reward.

What stops me from saying that whole-heartedly is that there *are* aspects of writing software that are essentially unrewarding for many people, and intrinsic interest in making something work (especially just for the person writing code) is very different from the activity of making it work for everyone. Some people will do it from altruism, but many people will get it working good enough for their own needs and be done with it.

So in that turning-the-crank, grinding-out part of the task, maybe there's room for something like this service... though there are other services like it, as others have already pointed out, and I agree that the name sucks.

If I had a mod point, I'd mod you up.

The problem this has always had in the past... (5, Interesting)

tlambert (566799) | about 9 months ago | (#45334381)

The problem this has always had in the past is that what people want to pay for is generally not actually a bug, it's editorial control over some aspect of the product which they dislike. This may or may not have an impact on "fitness for purpose" of the person who is willing to supply the "bribe".

A good example of this is the lack of Cairo back end rendering support in xpdf, which will only get included over the primary maintainers dead body, according to at least 3 GNATS database bug reports by third parties who would desperately like to see Cairo support, and have even provided code to implement it.

Only they are not SO desperate for this support that they are willing to fork the project and shoulder the same burdens shouldered by the current maintainer. So it seems they are willing to pay a "bribe", it's just not a sufficient one for them to get their way. And so it remain unsupported.

I really don't see this site going any farther than the half dozen sites that have tried the same thing in the past, and also failed to provide the editorial control over the product that the people supposedly footing the bill want.

The last pay-for-feature/pay-for-bugfix business model that worked is centralized control of the product by a nominal support organization, which acts as a barrier to entry for other people trying to get into the "we want to be maintainers too!" business. This was the Cygnus model for gcc, and it's the current Codeweavers model for Crossover Office as a commercial WINE variant. It only works because the barrier to entry for third parties is so high that there isn't competition occurring in the market.

So once again: nothing to see here.

Re:The problem this has always had in the past... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45334533)

Only they are not SO desperate for this support that they are willing to fork the project and shoulder the same burdens shouldered by the current maintainer. So it seems they are willing to pay a "bribe", it's just not a sufficient one for them to get their way. And so it remain unsupported.

A quick Google (xpdf cairo( shows that Poppler supports it, so I'm not sure what the problem is?

Re:The problem this has always had in the past... (3, Informative)

tlambert (566799) | about 9 months ago | (#45334619)

Batch conversion with no screen output is not supported, which many people want so that they can provide screen readers for things like forms documents that are required on state and federal forms documents which are flagged as "no edit", which makes them non-compliant with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA).

Re:The problem this has always had in the past... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45334901)

> which will only get included over the primary maintainers dead body, according to at least 3 GNATS database bug reports by third parties who would desperately like to see Cairo support, and have even provided code to implement it.
What a douche bag. And people wonder why open source gets maligned.

Re:The problem this has always had in the past... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45335001)

But who has to maintain that code? If you aren't happy with the decisions made by the maintainer, then fork it and maintain your own version, or maintain a patchset against the current version adding what you want.

Open source is scratch your own itch (1)

InfiniteLoopCounter (1355173) | about 9 months ago | (#45334413)

As a contributor to open source myself (okay, minor, but in quite a few projects) I can say that it is very much a scatch your own itch thing that, in a mature environment with lots of devs/project managers/translators/package maintainers/etc., will gel together to form a nice overall 'product'. Many people do it just for the fun of it and already have another (I assume quite good) source of income. As nice as they are, it is the artists and content people that usually like the micro-payment system -- I suspect because some of them do it in real life?

Obviously a bribe ... to avoid taxes (2)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | about 9 months ago | (#45334417)

It is obviously a "bribe"; because bribes aren't taxed!

Revenue from a contract is taxed. A paycheck is taxed. A reward is taxed. Hell, even a bounty is taxed.

A bribe? Not so much ... ;-)

- Jesper

Re:Obviously a bribe ... to avoid taxes (1)

ampmouse (761827) | about 9 months ago | (#45338951)

Um, no. IRS Publication 17 [irs.gov] doesn't agree:

Bribes. If you receive a bribe, include it in your income.

How is this new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45334425)

So how is this different to sites that already exist...?

https://www.bountysource.com/
http://www.codebounty.co/
others, i mean, wikipedia even has an article for this idea.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-source_bounty

Did someone mention bribe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45334449)

Why the hell would someone want a bunch of politicians involved?

CAPTCHA: adultery (How ironic is this?)

Thanks but no thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45334475)

So, pay someone to pay someone, I'd rather get something going via mailing list or forum not a middleman.

Sponsoring would be better (1)

joaeri (583880) | about 9 months ago | (#45334479)

Naming it "Sponsor" would be a lot better. I really like the way LuaJit [luajit.org] handles this and I think it's a rather good win-win. Someone gets a feature they want and the open source developer gets some funds to continue doing what they like. Hopefully the developer will say no to features that would take the software in the wrong direction.

Re:Sponsoring would be better (2)

kale77in (703316) | about 9 months ago | (#45334651)

Or better still, go medieval, and just call it patronage. Support worthy causes (art, architecture, music, science, computing) and receive honour from your peers, who all do the same, at least whenever they need a break from exploiting the peasants.

hello (-1, Offtopic)

Melissa Davis (3420989) | about 9 months ago | (#45334577)

my Aunty Sadie just got an almost new Lincoln MKS Sedan just by some part time working online with a laptop... Web Site Blue48.m -->

Please do not call this a bribe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45334605)

Please do not call this a bribe - bribes are implying dishonesty and/or illegal behavior. This is something what keeps many african, asian and south american countries in the poverty.

Let's call it something like a bounty, reward, whatever.

Calling it a bribe will give impression, that bribe is something acceptable - which it isn't.

Conflict of interest. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45334617)

It rewards having more nuisance bugs. Bad idea. And money always finds a crooked use. Or several ones.

I'd prefer to see that done for actually useful documentation. Specially for promising, fun, but less used distros. Whole countries could benefit from that. Seriously. And the well documented distros would definitively have a better chance.

Yes. Decent documentation would be a much better idea, there.

New Revenue Stream! (1)

gsslay (807818) | about 9 months ago | (#45334691)

Wouldn't it be terrible if anyone deliberately put bugs into things so they could later be bribed to fix it.

I'm sure no-one would dream of doing that.

How is outcome decided? (1)

leehwtsohg (618675) | about 9 months ago | (#45334703)

How will they decide if the goal was met? I could easily envision a case where I ask for something, developer implements it with a slight change.
Now, I'm still unhappy about the result, but developer thinks he finished the job.

slashdotted before lunch... launch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45334709)

...

Nothing new.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45334847)

This already existed, http://freedomsponsors.org/ has been doing the same thing for some time now, what I like about these sites is they don't charge you anything until the developer claims the bounty and and it is accepted, then you procceed to send the money, I like how this operates in a trust among all parts.

Hacking the bribe system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45334923)

This can be hacked by creating a stupid (or less intelligent) system, generating publicity to the bugs/issues and waiting for your incentive to fix them. This is a well known tactic, used in the corporate world to get the incentives. When I started out in the corporate world, an old-hack once told me, "When you write code, make sure you insert some sleep statements. That way when management comes back requesting that you optimize it, you can (after waiting for the problem to escalate to a suitable level), fix it and get to be known as the fix-it guy".

It's not a new idea (2)

msobkow (48369) | about 9 months ago | (#45334929)

Already been done. BountySource [bountysource.com]

Re:It's not a new idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45335103)

Mod parent up.
Bounty source has a better name (I'd rather go for a bounty than a bribe myself).
Also, there seems to be projects raising significant money (30k$). Probably enough for a developer to work on it almost full time assuming he is not in the Silicon Valley or New York...
I am actually quite impressed.

Just pay like everyone else (1)

js3 (319268) | about 9 months ago | (#45334993)

When my toilet gets blocked, I pay a plumber. if you need shit fixed pay a software developer. what's the point of this bribe stuff?

Pay for bug fixes? (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | about 9 months ago | (#45335141)

Isn't that what so many FLOSS supporting slashdotter complain about when companies charge for patches and upgrades?

Re:Pay for bug fixes? (1)

Arker (91948) | about 9 months ago | (#45336197)

There is a difference between paying for a bugfix on software you already purchased once, and paying someone to fix something you get for free.

Re:Pay for bug fixes? (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | about 9 months ago | (#45337177)

If they are going to give it away for free, why shouldn't they give away the bugfix for free? After all, as so many FLOSS supporters tell me, the developers of FLOSS projects are working on the project because they use the project's product. If one fixes it for one's self, shouldn't one release the fix for all, for free?

Bounty Source (3, Informative)

mulvane (692631) | about 9 months ago | (#45335635)

How does this differ from Bounty Source? Bounty Source has been around for awhile now, is well maintained and already offers everything here. In some things, to much diversity is a bad thing and I see that here. You need to be able to meet up as many users with developers as possible for a system like this to work well.

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45335695)

Money can be exchanged for goods and services (Thanks for that nugget of knowledge, Homer Simpson!)

You can't complain (1)

maweki (999634) | about 9 months ago | (#45335873)

I've long held the opinion that developers aren't allowed to complain about the quality of open source software. Now rich people aren't allowed to as well? Fine by me.

Stupid Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45336081)

It's brilliant: Let's create an economic incentive to introduce annoying bugs into our software so people will pay us to fix it. What could go wrong?

Re:Stupid Idea (1)

znanue (2782675) | about 9 months ago | (#45336167)

Even in well designed projects with excellent coders, there are plenty of bugs. And, its quite possible people will pay more for new features. There are still tremendous forces suggesting that you don't add bugs willy nilly to a project, like much loser user adoption rates.

Concerns on bribing (2)

znanue (2782675) | about 9 months ago | (#45336113)

I am a developer working on an open source project and I would accept less money if I knew the bug was something I wanted to fix or a feature I wanted to implement. But to tackle something I truly don't want to do for personal joy or itch, I would have to have something on the order of $60-100 dollars per hour of my time to do it. And, there would be bugs and features all along this continuum. Also, I want higher adoption rights so the more "money" there is the more I want to do it for that reason. Also, if there are only a few bounties, I'd probably be willing to go for those more.

However, when money becomes a part of the motivation, if its not guaranteed, then I will start to look at expected probable outcomes (value of bug * chance I'll get the money = EPO). There has to be a reasonable assumption that you will get the money as a developer. Ways to increase the chance I'll get the money would be to take user's credit cards, but then you run into the problem of authing the card months after the bug has been fixed. You could implement a reputation system such that money that has been paid out in the past makes the current offer look stronger. You could also hold the money in escrow. Every solution on this front requires overhead, so how much would be taken off the top? Transparency in the accounting and structure would be highly important to maintain a perception of integrity in the bribing system.

Developers also can cheat the system by not really fixing the bug or adding the feature. They could implement the feature in ways that make more sense to them but cause the user to feel that they aren't getting value for money. A bug could be fixed in one way then pop up again causing the developer to look like he cheated a user, when in reality its the same buggy behavior for a different reason.

People are often terrible about getting information to the developer so that the bug fix is "easier". In that way, lines of communication would have to be kept open so the developer could ask for more information. Also, the developer could indicate that they find it low priority and suggest that they would consider it higher priority for a little more? Features are often poorly described by users so the developer could also communicate on that account as well.

What about bounty pooling? Like, two people put in a feature that is the similar but not quite the same. The developer and the users together may want to arrive at a compromise that benefits everyone.

People aren't paid in just money, social capital via social networks is also significant. Allowing the user to broadcast on plus and fb that he financed an open source project (and which one) also gets advertising for the project which benefits the developer, and kudos and respect for the user. Integration with social networks could be powerful. I, probably like many developers, don't like to use social networks personally, but users using them is great and I see the benefit.

I think the theory of the idea is sound, but it would require a lot of careful consideration, a lot of implementation, and some sound business consideration.

Also, in some way, this might undercut the amount of donating people already do. Now, to get the money I have to do more work, instead of generally getting rewarded for work I've already done. I can see that maybe it would lead to more money overall, but I wonder if it would?

a simpler alternative (1)

Kevin Fishburne (1296859) | about 9 months ago | (#45336275)

Is to be active in the mailing list and simply give them money (PayPal, whatever they accept). It lets them know that you value their work, and human nature tends to take over after that (hopefully for the better!).

This has definitely been done before (1)

golrien (528571) | about 9 months ago | (#45337047)

There are various sites that have done this in the past, I'm sure someone has mentioned them above.

What I've not seen anyone mention yet is https://www.gittip.com/ [gittip.com]

Gittip basically lets you set up weekly payments of like $1 or more to a person who does something, like, say, maintains some free software. If you are prepared to do that, it's a great way to support developers because, at its best, it would a regular income.

I don't really know whether Gittip will amount to much, but at least it's a new take on the "funding free things" problem rather than a rehash of something that has been done several times before, which "bribe.io" appears to be.

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