Market Making for the Bazaar
In “Making Money in the Bazaar” (June 1999), we raced across the landscape of current efforts to drive innovation and make a living in the Open Source market. We now introduce a system for consumer-driven Open Source funding. If successful, it could accelerate the pace of innovation even further and create a small industry around developing free software.
Is there some graphics hardware you wish Linux supported better? A game you wish was ported from Windows? Or possibly a GUI application to ease some parts of system setup?
If so, what do you do about it? If you are a developer, you can just write it. The Linux model has been “scratch your own itch” and contribute back to the community.
If you aren't a developer, don't have the time or the necessary skill—you're out of luck. You have to wait and hope that some other sufficiently motivated developer with the same need will take on the project.
This can be quite frustrating—you need that graphics driver now. You could speed things up by hiring someone to develop the software just for you. But paying a fortune to have a custom driver developed for a $50 graphics board just isn't feasible.
A larger group is needed to share the burden of developing a standard driver. Several thousand people in the world probably use that same graphics card and run Linux. Why don't some of them get together and share the cost of having the work done?
The same concepts apply to scripts, help files, applications—anywhere there is a demand for software.
The Internet is an amazing tool for bringing specialized communities together. A group of people needing the same software is just such a community.
The trick is to attract all of the interested parties to the same web site, where they can pool their resources with others wanting the same thing. This site must coordinate the process of gathering support, selecting a developer, evaluating the resulting software and collecting the funds to pay the developer.
Axel Boldt's Free Software Bazaar was the first realization of these ideas. It opened in the fall of 1998; within six months, it collected over $25,000 US in offers and over $1200 in payments towards Open Source projects. The site works by letting users browse a list of existing offers. If a user is interested in sponsoring an existing project or creating a new one, they send e-mail to Axel. He then adds their offer to the listing page.
These offers can be claimed by the first developer to successfully complete the work. Axel then notifies the sponsors, asking them to send payment directly to the developer.
The Free Software Bazaar is a great service to the Open Source community. However, a huge ongoing effort is required to maintain momentum and grow the movement into something powerful.
For cooperative funding to become a significant force in the Open Source market, the achievements of the Free Software Bazaar must be multiplied many times. Managing the demands of so many parties is a difficult problem. A cooperative funding service needs to be innovative in solving the confidence and communication problems between sponsors and developers. It should be convenient and simple. It must be professional and build a strong record of trust. In the end, it is essential to attract and maintain a critical mass of sponsors and developers.
CoSource.com is an attempt to create a service that meets these demands. It is a commercial enterprise created to provide the range of services required to make cooperative funding a success for buyers, developers and the Open Source community in general.
It intends to:
Publicize to better achieve a critical mass of sponsors and developers for each project.
Have staff work with corporations directly to encourage sponsorship and development of open source.
Provide VISA/MC/AMEX credit card processing to make payment convenient (especially for non-US sponsors).
Automate as much as possible with HTML forms and a database back-end.
Provide a stable web address and organization for long-running projects.
Foster trust between buyers and developers through simple, standard and legally binding on-line agreements.
Provide cash advances to developers with a proven track record when they begin work.
Provide web space to trumpet the financial contributions of corporations and individuals towards particular projects.
Prevent duplication of effort by having sponsors collectively hire a single developer to work on a project.
Allow sponsors to back out any time until a developer is finally selected.
Allow full control for sponsors to select the developer, development schedule, source code license, etc. that suits them.
If all these goals can be achieved, cooperative funding will provide effective answers to the questions, “How does one make a living on free software?” and “Who is motivated to innovate?”
The answers are that innovation is funded directly by users who pay for new features, which in turn supports a small army of independent software developers.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
Free to Linux Journal readers.Register Now!
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide