Kickstarter for Open-Source Projects?
The Web site http://www.kickstarter.com is an interesting place. Basically, it's a site that allows people to invest in various projects, giving people real money to develop an idea. Those ideas vary from film-making to programming video games, but the concept is the same regardless of the project.
What is the motivation for investing in someone's idea? That's the beauty; it depends on the project. Maybe it's an M.C. Frontalot album you want to see created, so you give money to the project so the album is produced. Perhaps it's a video game you'd really like to play, so you give money to the developer to make the game. Perhaps the developer gives a copy of the game to all investors. Perhaps not. There are no rules, just collaboration.
Recently, we've seen open-source projects use Kickstarter, and it seems like a great idea. If you see a program idea you like, send money, and if the creators reach their goals, they'll create the programs. Because it's open source, the benefit is obvious: you get to use the program when it's complete.
Granted, it's not a perfect system. It certainly would be possible to abuse it. It seems that actually funding open-source developers is a good idea though. Perhaps this method of funding is a fad, or maybe it's the start of something great—paying developers to develop free software. If it works, it seems like everyone wins.