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Re: [tdf-discuss] Re: Paid Developers


On 12 May 2011 17:55, Marc Paré <marc@marcpare.com> wrote:

Le 2011-05-11 17:01, Samuel M a écrit :

 I believe, that The Document Foundation can employ Developers for
LibreOffice. I believe the community is able to get the money for that on a
monthly base.

We saw that the community was able to rise 50.000€ in 8(!) days. It will
be possible to get that money in a year for one full-time developer.
These two examples show that this works even over a longer period of time
(note that these projects are much smaller than LibreOffice):
- Ardour (http://ardour.org): $4500 are raised every month to pay the
main developer
- Linux Mint (http://linuxmint.com): $5500 were raised in April to pay
the main developer


Despite from having full-time developers, for volunteer developers it
would be nice to get money for fixing a specific bug / implementing a
feature. Ardour has such a system where you can donate for a specific issue:
http://ardour.org/bugbounty
I think something like this would bring great benefit to LO, since users
can show what they want to be fixed most and developers get some money for
coding (or at their option donate it to TDF).

To be honest, if we could convince most school districts in any country to
adopt the use of LibreOffice as their main suite, dropping MSO and
contributing a small percentage of their "per seat" cost savings, then we
could see some distrcits paying to have accessibility issues worked on or
some other aspect of LibreOffice that would be of interest to them.


In essence this was the idea behind setting up the INGOTs. Your idea is
simpler *if* you can get agreement with large centralised bureaucracies.
It's not easy, I have been trying for more than 10 years ;-)

Schools in the UK make individual decisions about the resources they use. We
had to make INGOT certification wider than just OOo/LO simply because most
are entrenched in MSO. OTOH we know some have switched as a result of
learning more about FOSS through the certification process.  If we can
generate volume international take up, funding developers on the project
would be easy.


For anyone not familiar here is the essence of what we do.

We provide certification for IT User skills accredited by the UK government
and linked to the EU qualifications framework. We have two EU transfer of
innovation grants to support take up in other countries with other grant
applications made this year. We have said that if say a Writer certificate
is gained with LO we can make that a LO certificate and give TDF a kick back
for each certificate. That means we don't need to ask for what are either
license fees or charitable donations from LO users, (well no harm in getting
donations anyway if we can) we ask them to get their skills certified -
something which most education people can identify with. Sell them education
not technology. Of course the difficult side is to get the schools to take
up LO and establishing the quality assurance systems for a credible
international certification in new territory. At present we have to
certificate other things because there simply isn't the volume of people
using FOSS in schools to sustain the business. This is beginning to change
though.

We are adding a lot of value by providing an e-portfolio/VLE system and
pupil progress tracking and reporting through custom Drupal modules. Videos
here <https://theingots.org/community/videotraining> if interested. Many
other educational suppliers charge a lot for these facilities using
proprietary apps but without the certification, we are providing that
support as simple value added using FOSS.  We now have the facilities to
certify every subject in every level of the school curriculum (based on the
UK National Curriculum but in principle we could do the same with any
national system that is standards based) and include learners with Special
Educational Needs. Since most of this development work is done we can charge
low rates for users. In volume say a couple of dollars a certificate, its
designed to scale and we support multiple languages. There are about 7
million learners in the UK schools alone and we currently have active
project presence in Malaysia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Spain,
Romania, Netherlands, Kenya, and USA with interest in a few others. It is
all embryonic but we do get an income so some at least are prepared to pay.
Not a big enough volume yet so we use the EU grants to support development.
We have more recently had interest from two or three large players in the
qualifications market - any one of these would make a very significant
difference simply acting as a marketing vector. We just keep on developing
until it is just a "no-brainer".


So, yes, there are certainly some models that could be followed in fund
raising that could prove advantageous to the LibreOffice project and users.


Sensible thing is to do the easy things first like getting donations
targeted on a specific goal like developing some high priority aspect. Then
look for schools/districts/countries that might do a collective donation and
substitute LO for MSO. Then look at  which ones might go for certification
etc. All of that needs people on the ground with time to do it though. We
all have to earn a living ;-)


Cheers

Marc



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