Innovation, funding and FS

Bernhard E. Reiter bernhard at
Mon Sep 17 10:42:18 UTC 2018

Am Samstag 15 September 2018 17:20:26 schrieb Paul Boddie:
> On Friday 14. September 2018 09.06.50 Bernhard E. Reiter wrote:

> It is worth noting that there are a number of recurring obstacles.

.. with micropayments and financial regulations being among them, yes!
I'll have to take more time read through the interesting links
you were providing.

> Then again, I am inclined to think that such platforms tend to favour
> transactional work, often underpriced, that is viewed as fashionable
> amongst the relentless promotion of the "gig" economy (hence the venture
> funding for some of the companies above). Instead, I think that structures
> to fund Free Software should enable developers to actually draw a salary,
> not have people speculatively do work in order to compete for payouts.

If I do understand you correctly, you believe they fund more "marketing" and 
less "development". Whereas sometimes good quiet engineering would need to be 
funded. In a bird's view I'd agree on this. The challenge - though - is to 
find out which kind of engineering work is worth what.

> Micropayments with low transaction costs is like the Holy Grail of
> payments, though. 

It look doable, though, if a major bank would back it (in a traditional sense 
without distributed ledger technology).

> But the matter of persuading people to pay for stuff is 
> worth further thought, and there was a blog article about that recently:

This article is interesting, my rule of thumb how much to pay is
* 10% of cost for a license of a comparable proprietary product
* or 1% of the revenue for each business topic/unit that depends
  on Free Software  (for my company that is 1% of 100%, but some
  companies may depend less on Free Software).

> One thing I ought to mention is the need for solutions that use real money
> as opposed to today's favourite cryptocurrency. When looking for creative
> solutions there always appears to be someone wanting to sweep everything
> off the table to further their "cipherpunk" anarchist pipedream.

Well said.

> People need genuine solutions that do not involve financial speculation,
> legal uncertainty, and exposure to criminal schemes. A crucial aspect of
> funding Free Software is exactly that of giving people certainty 
> so that they can focus on what they actually want to do.

Fine again, except for the last part. 
It is not the desire of the Free Software engineer that should drive the 
directions of funds, but the needs of the users. There can be a wide 
difference between the three things:
 a) what people want to do
 b) what people are good at
 c) what others need

To be succesful in my eyes, a funding model would need to make sure that 
mainly c) and b) is matched.

Best Regards,

FSFE -- Founding Member     Support our work for Free Software: | contribute
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