GNOME, Bounties and paid development [Was: Re: OPW; Where does the 500$ for each GSoC goes?]

Changing topic as this thread has branched in many directions (as others
later in this thread pointed out).

On Wed, 2014-09-17 at 15:16 +0200, Bastien Nocera wrote:
On Wed, 2014-09-17 at 13:58 +0200, Sébastien Wilmet wrote:
On Wed, Sep 17, 2014 at 09:51:15AM +0100, Ekaterina Gerasimova wrote:
The approach to budgeting is similar in that the Foundation and Google
both have a budget, but our budgets are quite different. Any spending
in any area means that that money cannot be spent in another area.

What if the Foundation decides to just organize OPW, which is already a
good contribution, but doesn't sponsor itself interns? By doing that,
the saving permits to spend the $10k or $5k on something else, like
sponsoring an experienced member of the Foundation instead of sponsoring

For example when a Friends of Gnome campaign (like for the accessibility
or security) is finished, the Gnome Foundation could add $5k to it.

What exactly do you hope to achieve by saving $5k?

One of the problems for the Friends Of GNOME campaigns is that we have
trouble finding interested parties to work so cheaply to implement the
goals we set out. When I was on the board, I put together 2 call of bids
for those campaigns, and I constantly heard from consultancies that the
amount was so low that the only reason that they would be interested in
it was to help GNOME. I doubt that the amount is significant enough to
pay the people necessary to achieve the goals we set out.

I just wanted to lend a little insight into this as someone who was
faced with what probably was one of your bounties.

I hope I can help to clarify the situation to other readers (as I
suspect Bastien already understands this pretty well) from the point
of view of a consultant.

At Openismus we did briefly consider submitting a bid for what if I
recall correctly was a $50,000 bid which had to do with improving
the onscreen keyboard with regards to localization (things are a bit
fuzzy, it was a long time ago and I don't recall all the details).

The problem I perceive here is that we submit detailed proposals all
the time, things that we work very hard on, which does incur risk
that needs to be mitigated somehow or covered in the operational budget
of the consultancy.

In my opinion, submitting a less than professional bid is not an option,
and can even be severely damaging to your reputation as an individual
or a company.

My rough estimation is that the cost of the work involved simply in
preparing a bid for this bounty is anywhere between $5,000 to $10,000,
I could be underestimating that as I did not have intimate knowledge
of what operational overhead this would incur on top of the analysis
and work which must go into preparing an acceptable bid.

I know that these bounties were presented with the best intentions
and really appreciated to see movement on that front, however I don't
really see how that can work well unless we, the foundation can really
afford it. In another light, if there was a way to sweep all of the
bidding overhead under the rug, then it might have been alright to
work on that bounty even if 50K might have been considerably lower
than what we might have normally asked for that work (as you mention,
it would be a sort of favor to GNOME).

Of course without a proper bidding process then it would be unfair,
the whole thing is very complex and as such, I'm not sure that it's
the best option for the foundation's spending.

I think perhaps, if we organized bounties which clearly and definitely
improve software that industry is going to use, and not only for the
singular purpose of the GNOME Desktop Environment, then perhaps we would
be able to get some real backers in the industry to come together with
us and put together a bounty that is worth bidding for.

Best Regards,

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