Re: [Gimp-developer] How much money to make a dent in GIMP 2.8?

On Mon, Mar 5, 2012 at 3:56 PM, peter sikking <peter mmiworks net> wrote:
> Paul Slocum wrote:
>> I've been a serious professional GIMP user for about 10 years, but the
>> project has seem stalled for quite some time now.  I was wondering how
>> much money it would take to get the project back on track?  Would 25k,
>> 50k, 100k to hire one or two programmers for several months make a
>> substantial difference?
> can I point out a couple of things?
> first, it has been pointed out for years that that would
> build a two-class society in GIMP: paid and very active
> (and contribution is power in free software), vs. unpaid and
> occasional contributor (or more tragic, unpaid and steady
> contributor; how long would that last?)

Blender Foundation has been able to deal with that for years and it's
by far the most active free graphics project.

Whether we are able to organize things same efficiently is a whole
different topic :)

> next, software engineering is only one single piece of the whole
> puzzle of shipping software. I have a lot of respect for the people
> who write the documentation; for the people who do triage in
> bugzilla; for those who run the SoC; for those who organise
> and do localisation; I probably forget some more who do similar
> hard, nagging work that involves quite a bit of managing
> processes. all of this is not seen as development,
> which is already a put-down for these people. add another one
> on top; that it would not speak for itself to pay to get
> this done?

Well, I do some of what you mentioned and I have absolutely no
problems with somebody else getting paid to develop GIMP.

> then there is my team, the UI team. and related, the people
> undertaking quite a bit of usability research at this moment.
> As a professional, I know what all that is worth, both in
> what it delivers to the project and what it costs in
> the real world: a substantial amount. all of this is
> contributed at the moment with the understanding that
> there is no money going around in GIMP (donations are
> used for travel to bring contributors together and for
> servers and hosting).
> I would not like to see that understanding being broken.

I'm not sure what you mean with money going around. If a hired
programmer interacted with your team, would that be a bad thing for
the understanding?

> the reason our (m+mi works) contribution of years to
> openPrinting came to an end, was that I realised
> that everyone was paid to contribute to open source
> printing (_no_one_ work voluntarily in printing) except
> for us, the interaction design team, who were dragging
> printing out of the 1980s (kicking and screaming).
> meanwhile there was a lot of pressure on us from these paid
> folks to make progress, but not a dollar to make it happen.
> then something snapped.

My impression was that it was because nobody actually used your spec :)

> I won't get fooled again. if there is money for the engineering
> of a project, then there better be real ($) appreciation of
> what interaction design is worth.

I can't see why both UX team and a programmer couldn't be paid.

> my conclusion is to let pandora's box of paid development
> closed.

OK, here is my take.

It's been a 1+ year since I deliberately raised public awereness of
lack of developers in the team. It got quite a coverage in the online
press, including Phoronix. We've been mentioning lack of developers in
the public all the time ever since then.

What's the outcome?

We haven't experienced any substantial raise of active developers.
We haven't released 2.8 yet, after 3+ years of having it in works.
We wouldn't get a lot of the new features in 2.8/2.10 without GSoC.

BTW, GSoC  _already_ is paid development_and_ you already worked with
at least one of the students :)

So, would you say that the project manages itself just fine? Because
the way things are going we are not going to deliver. We've been
failing expectations for years. This has got to stop.

Alexandre Prokoudine

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