Mailing List Archive

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [tlug] kickstarter for open source...

Ulrike Schmidt writes:

 > So we agree we can drop the "spare change for UNICEF" comparison in 
 > favor of "retailing innovation"?

No.  Look at the subject line.  It's not about the success or
otherwise of Kickstarter.  It's about open source.

 > Why not? Are there any reasons besides intuition? Because my
 > intuition is that crowdfunding is perfect for open source projects
 > although there might be some improvements specific for these kinds
 > of project.

Well, I'm an economics professor and you're not, so I personally am
going to trust my intuition, not yours. :-)  Curt's intuition is
tolerably close to mine, and that counts with me, too.

As for other reasons, there's the economics of spam.  See below.

 > So when I put my money into an open source project I am not only helping 
 > myself to a good piece of software, but I am also doing something for 
 > the community. Even better! The project will progress regardless of my 
 > motivation.

I've already declared myself uninterested in your motivation.  I'm
interested in your contraints.  If you can't get the product without
paying, it's a purchase.  If you pay more than you have to (including
anything if "have to" is zero), that portion is a donation.

In open source, you don't have to pay (modulo "ransom" schemes[1] and the
like).  There are about 100,000 projects on Sourceforge, there must be
similar numbers on github and bitbucket, and a couple hundred on
Savannah.  How many of those do you contribute to?  If a few FLOSS
projects get big publicity for getting $1000 or more from Kickstarter,
how many of them do you think will register?

So the question is how many people, how much money, and how many
projects.  "Free money" means lots of legitimate projects and probably
a number of scams.  Divide that into a relatively inelastic amount of
money for donations with lots of competition from art and other
traditional sinks for charitable contribution.

Eventually mailing your friends and asking them to look at your
kickstarter project will be as welcome as mailing them and asking them
to join your MLM scheme is today. :-(

[1]  "Ransom software" was proposed in about 2000 on FSB and perhaps
elsewhere.  One develops software, then withholds the free license
until such time as enough money is amassed.  In one variant, "enough"
included refunds to early purchasers who could have gotten the
software for free if they waited a bit.

Home | Main Index | Thread Index

Home Page Mailing List Linux and Japan TLUG Members Links