Donations in kde bug tracking system

Paul Pacheco paul.pacheco at
Sat Jul 6 04:05:11 BST 2002

> linux is an free-software project, but numerous companies, namely the ones
> you mentioned have been distributing it with closed-source software at the
> base of the system.  most notable of these programs is suse's yast and
> which impliment closed source software to configure/update your system.
> caldera also hase a questionable reputation when it comes to the use of
> non-free software in conjuntion with linux.
> sony has recently released linux for the ps2 and has conveniently found
> around the gpl that don't _technically_ violate the gpl.  but in the words
> of one user: "it does some pretty shitty things" to it.

that is all fine, but how is an open-close source argument relevant to the
discution of donating money to KDE, a free and open source software?

> the fact is that free software is _not_ a capitalist concept, it is in
> the complete opposite.  work is done by users to make a good product, not
> get paid.  it's what's driven projects like apache and the kernel
itself --
> two things that suse and caldera would be nothing without.

no, it is not the opposite. Open source is about developers donating code to
the comunity. That is perfectly compatible with capitalism, as it has been
proven by linux companies. Both apache and the kernel have had a great deal
of contribution from the comercial companies, and that have not hurt them at

I am sure you are not suggesting we are better off withought Suse, which has
quite a few employees working in KDE.

The thing is that more than often you hear:
"Nobody is paying me to do it, so I do what I please" and
"If you want that feature, do it yourself".

Both frases are a problem because not everybody is a developer and there are
some things that users want that developers are not interested in.

If users could donate money for a particular bug fix, they are trully
contributing to the project in their own way. Right now, users don't really
have a way to contribute to KDE other than a simple bug report, we are
excluding a good deal of people who might be  willing to help.

> >> money has the long-standing tratition of tainting things with greed and
> >> impeding progress/innovation.
> > If anything, I can argue the opposite. Companies are
> > usually forced to progress/innovate to be able to survive.
> > If they don't move, they are left out of market.
> one word: micros~1.

Again, how is microsoft, a closed source monster company, relevant at all in
the issue of donating money to KDE?

> i more or less stated this above, but money hurts an OpenSource project by
> corrupting the ideals behind the project.  sure, i'd love to give some
> to the guys who build this gui.  gods know they deserve a hell of a lot
> financial aid than they're getting, but i'd rather do that in an informal
> venue like a launch party or by offering some work of my own in return.
> setting up a system which allows the donation of cash to individual
> just leaves things wide open for corruption.

True that is a great way to give to the developers. However, that is not
very productive. My approach would give developers an incentive to work more
on KDE, developers will listen more to users ( they will receive money for
that ), and users will feel part of the team (a good thing).

> hypothetical example:
> company A wants some project to be developed.  so they not only start it,
> but then contribute LOTS of money to it.  developers flock to the project,
> drawn to it by the lure of the fat cheque and suddenly, company A now has
> new shiny plugin for their closed-source software that will now dominate
> linux platform.  additional money can be contributed to projects that
> no other purpose save keeping talented programmers away from their
> competition's projects etc. etc.

Again, why do you bring closed source into the matter? KDE won't become
closed source because some user donates money.

if other companies put money into KDE to prevent people from working into
say GNOME,  then great, we can allways use more developers. Even if the
intentions are not good, that is a good thing for KDE.

> when you enter money into the equasion, corruption inevitably follows.
> corporations and rich individuals are then given a means to shape, direct,
> and control the outcome of a project that was originally founded by a
> public.

This is a good point. If Suse wants people to do stuff, they could put money
into whatever pleases them. Other parts of KDE would loose developers. I
still don't know if this is something to worry about though.

> People are
> greedy.  developers and blue-blooded bourgeouis alike.  at present, the
> Free-software culture is out of the reach of the money-driven world
> it's main engine, the software itself remains free of control from people
> who would push to own a piece of it.

No, it is not out of reach. Again, IBM, SuSE, Red Hat, and a lot of other
companies ARE selling open source software, and there is nothing wrong with
that. That does not make the code any less open or hurt it at all.

And great, let them push, let them donate money to KDE, that is exactly the
idea, let them ask hard (with money) for what they want.

Yet again, how is this relevant to kde donations?

> all of the above said, i would like to suggest that we, as a community try
> to interact on more personal level in the form of launch parties and the
> like.  it would give the large number of us, the users the chance to meet
> the developers and pay proper respects.  money can always be involved at
> that level, the community saying 'thank you' in the form of gifts etc. to
> the leaders of said community.  but a system designed to pay developers to
> work on certain projects is crossing the line.

that is just an opinion. I am interested on real reasons why it would be
harmfull  for KDE.

Now, quoting Tim:

> No, I tend to agree.  The motivation for the projects would change from
one of
> pride of ownership (I'm not releasing this till it's right!) to one of
> monetary (I need some quick cash, what can I code tonight?).

> We may end up with a bunch of thrown together hacks and unmanageable code
> instead of some solid mantainable code

This is a very good point. I have to agree that is a problem. But rather
than just dismissing the hole idea, I would like to ask for solutions on
this issue.

The problem is knowing if a bug or feature is fixed cleanly and it is really
fixed, not just a quick hack.

One way is if someone is in charge of deciding if a bug is trully and
cleanly fixed. This is a big problem because I don't thing anyone would like
to do it for free.

Other way is to consider the bug fixed if after a month (or whatever amount
of time you please) there are no complaints. This would also be a problem
because the money would not be sent up until a month after the fix is done,
and it still leaves room for quick hacks.

Being a developer myself and seeing the quality of KDE's code, I think KDE
developers are artists, and are very perfeccionists. I would trust them to
do a good job.

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