[GRASS5] [acuster@nature.berkeley.edu: Re: [Freegis-list] Funding for free projects (was: ArcInfo to Free conversion)]

Eric G . Miller egm2 at jps.net
Tue Jan 9 21:47:35 EST 2001

On Tue, Jan 09, 2001 at 08:40:33PM +0000, Markus Neteler wrote:
> Hi all,
> here an forward from "free-gis" mailing list.
> We should work out a policy how finanical donations
> can be done to the GRASS project. I am sure some
> ideas we can borrow from other projects like KDE or
> whatever.
> See attachment,
>  Markus

> Subject: Re: [Freegis-list] Funding for free projects 
>          (was: ArcInfo to Free conversion)
> From: Adrian Custer <acuster at nature.berkeley.edu>
> To: Freegis-list at intevation.de
> X-Mailer: Evolution 0.8 (Developer Preview)
> Date: 09 Jan 2001 11:26:39 -0800
> On 09 Jan 2001 18:54:17 +0000, Markus Neteler wrote:
> > Perhaps an idea: Why not spending the "proprietary maintenance tax" into
> > such a project like GRASS? That will speed up its development - of course it
> > remains free. Such GRASS-related funded projects are already running, but it
> > could be more.
> > 
> > And keep in mind: An open source project is what people make of it. So the
> > GRASS Development Team is open to interested programmers and open to new
> > ideas! Many new features are on the way (like a new GUI, integral database
> > management for vectors etc), but more "staff" is required to finish them.
> > 
> > Cheers
> > 
> >  Markus
> Do you have an explicit policy whereby a group of counties could make an
> investement in GRASS for functionality it may lack or for modifying the
> development priorities of the project? I suspect it is much easier for a
> group to cough up a few thousand dollars than find an employee who could
> do the work. You would never get them to spend all of the proprietary
> maintenance tax"  on GRASS but perhaps  they would give you a
> contribution if they could show the higher authorities that it was
> generating software for their specific needs.

Well, if someone (or group) really wanted to do something like this,
they could:

1)  Contract for the development directly with the stipulation that
functionality be released and integrated into the free GRASS source
tree under GPL.

2)  Go to some site/service like collabnet and try to find developers.

3)  Make a donation to the FSF and ask the money be directed to GRASS.

4)  Baylor and or Hannover could probably handle "grants" or
"foundations" for such donations.

5)  Set up an independent non-profit for such development.

6)  Hire developer's directly and have them work on GRASS.

Out of any of the above, the first would probably see the most direct
translation of money to features.  However, it'd likely be expensive and
may create a bit of a rift between the developers under contract and
developers donating their time.  The same could probably be said for any
scenario where developers are paid directly to implement feature X.

The scenarios that are more indirect may see little bang for the buck
and the donaters may feel they threw away their money.

I like the last two scenarios, but somebody with a lot of energy would
have to step up to the plate for organizing a non-profit (not to mention
getting funds and developers!).  The last one could be done by large
enough organizations, but finding good applicants could be challenging.

The OSSIM project, obviously, comes to mind...

Eric G. Miller <egm2 at jps.net>

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