Interactive community and fund raising - Sponsored development model
Speaker: Eric Laffoon
The Quanta project has for years successfully funded a full time developer, initially out of my pocket, but since 2003 this has been effectively community supported. In the process we have learned a lot about how to effectively leverage this model. There are certain key elements. In our talk I will explain what these elements are and how they are inextricably tied together.
Here is a thumbnail. First of all we initiated mailing lists for users and developers. These have been critical because they give us an interactive relationship with users which helps refine our program. It also helps relieve developer effort because knowledgeable users step up to help. Finally it is the first resource of funding.
A sponsored development model requires a careful choice for a sponsored developer. I will give my guidelines, some of which no doubt will surprise people.
Making funding appeals means understanding the psychology of activities and assets in the development process. Timing and relevant factors, as well as the guidelines for appeals, can make the difference between a smashing success and a dismal failure. I will cover this from years of experience.
All of this comes to my vision of the new model for software. I will impart a big picture vision for how software should be developed and delivered explaining how you the developer or project manager can turn it into a funding success. At this time I will reveal various additional funding ideas and how businesses can be cultivated from free software development.
Eric Laffoon has been a computer geek since the days of TTL logic and the first microprocessors. He began using KDE full time in early 2000, coming from OS/2, and he got involved in developing Quanta Plus shortly after. In 2001 he ended up being the last person involved in the project and brought in Andras Mantia who was sponsored full time in July of 2002. Quanta saw source downloads of 40,000 at SourceForge where it reached a top 10 spot among 50,000 projects. Shortly after Quanta became the start of the KDE web development module as part of the KDE release packages with Eric as maintainer.
Since this time Quanta has won over thousands, if not millions, of users and numerous accolades including the LinuxQuestions.org user choice award for the last three years. It is generally considered the dominant web development tool on *nix. In the process we have hundreds of regular beta testers and a number of people who consistently donate and do subscription sponsorships. We have two sponsored developers and are looking at the possibility of expanding. Eric would like to share his experience with others in the KDE community as an effective model for advancing KDE development.
Video (Ogg) (167M)