[Gentoo] Funding volunteers?

Benjamin Mako Hill just posted an essay called “Problems and Strategies in Financing Voluntary Free Software Projects.” It’s worth reading for anyone interested in how Gentoo might spend any donated money.

An excerpt:

While it is unclear why paid labor crowds out the work of volunteers, Enjolra hypothesizes that volunteers are less motivated to work for free when they know that others are being paid to do the same work or will be paid to do the work if they do not. Faced with paid workers in their organization, volunteers wonder why they are not getting paid for their work and feel more motivated to volunteer somewhere else. In this way, a small amount of paid labor in an organization or project highly dependent on the work of volunteers can do more harm than good.

Instead, he suggests spending money on:

  • Hardware
  • “Capacity” — things that aren’t part of the project’s core goal
  • Conferences and meetings, including travel aid if funding is sufficient
  • “Code sprints” — roughly week-long hack sessions

He emphasizes the need to maintain transparency throughout the process, quoting examples such as the X Consortium for opaque development. But I didn’t catch any examples of opaque (seeming unfair or with unclear rules from the outside) funding.

[Gentoo] Running after the bandwagon

Mine’s a tad messier than most, but it’s still cleaner than usual.

Of particular note are:

  • The Sparc Ultra5 and Genesi Pegasos PPC stacked under the WRT54GS behind my monitor
  • The Palm Tungsten C, crucial for its 802.11b and cheesy yet useful IrDA keyboard
  • The can of Miller High Life, the quintessential cheap but still-drinkable beer (unlike The Beast, a.k.a. Milwaukee’s Best)
  • The books: K&R and Peopleware — Both worth reading
  • The left-handed mouse configuration

My desk

[Gentoo] You’re the maintainer, make it maintainable

Michael, you’re the one who has to maintain this ebuild, not the user who submitted it. So making it maintainable for you is what’s most important. Whether the submitter thinks a six-line sed is easier is completely irrelevant, because the submitter isn’t the maintainer. And even if the submitter is temporarily the maintainer, committing through you, that won’t always be the case — at some point, a developer will have to deal with it.

That’s how I’d think my way through your conundrum.

[Gentoo] Nuts. And X.

This week is crazy with school stuff. I had a biophysics term paper due Tuesday. The biochem term paper is due at the end of today. And my final is Friday for biochem — a class I’ve only been to once all quarter, so I’ll have two nights to learn everything.

If you want me to do something for you, now is not a good time to ask.

More related to Gentoo, rather than what Gentoo work I won’t be doing … Xorg 6.8.2-r2 feels about ready to unmask. I’d like to look a bit more into some of the migration to /usr bugs, but it seems like the remainder are mostly esoteric situations. If you’d like to test the ebuild out before it’s unmasked, feel free to leave a comment if it works for you. If it doesn’t work for you, file a bug.