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Re: bounties

From: Jonathan Wilkes
Subject: Re: bounties
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 2010 18:12:07 -0700 (PDT)

Writing reports on deliverables isn't overhead, it's documentation of new features (which would have to
be done anyway).  Though presentations would certainly be overhead, as well as filling out forms, forms,

Message: 2
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 2010 20:19:34 +0100
From: Graham Percival <address@hidden>
Subject: bounties
To: Jan Nieuwenhuizen <address@hidden>
Cc: address@hidden, LilyPond Development
Message-ID: <address@hidden>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii

On Tue, Jun 15, 2010 at 08:25:27PM +0200, Jan Nieuwenhuizen wrote:
> Op dinsdag 15-06-2010 om 16:50 uur [tijdzone +0100], schreef Graham
> Percival:
> > That has been attempted before... hmm, 2007?  Han-Wen tried to work on
> > lilypond full-time, but there just wasn't enough people offering
> > bounties
> I am considering to offer commercial support and may be able to do
> that on a part-time basis.  However, working on two bounties has
> illustrated that bounty work can be quite tricky.

Indeed; there's almost no relationship between the amount of work
required and the amount of money being offered.

> It would be very
> nice for someone doing this for a hobby and getting to know LilyPond,
> but commercial support requires some level of predictability.

Actually, somebody pointed out (privately) that chasing bounties
is less appealing for inexperienced developers: a $100 bounty
could very well take you 50 hours to complete (i.e. if it's your
first time working on spacing code), making the job $2 / hr.

> Also, if the amount of work is not consistent but takes the form
> of a few thousand euros once a year, you would be very lucky if I
> (or whoever else would take this on) would happen to be available
> within a reasonable time frame to work on those.


I'm not trying to discourage people from offering bounties -- it's
certainly better than nothing!  However, there's very good reasons
why programmers don't immediately start working on any issue that
has a bounty being offered.

One idea I've toyed with is seeking a grant to work on lilypond.
Various governments and agencies give research grants; I'm pretty
certain that we could get a grant to improve medieval chant
notation or contemporary non-Western scales or whatnot.  However,
this would probably require
- a bunch of grant applications
- collaborating with some musicologists (i.e. a medieval chant
  expert, or John Cage scholar, or whatever)
- overhead of writing reports about deliverables, giving
  presentations to people, etc.
- etc.
In the process of doing the specialized notation, the developer
might fix a few "normal" bugs as well.

If there was a concerted effort, particularly between the European
academics involved with LilyPond, it could be done, and we might
even be able to fund a full-time developer for 6 months or even a
year.  However, I'm not certain the effort would be worth it --
writing grants is a lot of work; we'd probably have to make
multiple attempts; dealing with the administration of the grant
would be a lot of work; etc etc.

- Graham

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