Financial Incentives in Open Source

Moderated by:
Rob Lanphier (Wikimedia Foundation)
Panelists:
Todd Crowe (Todd Crowe Web Design & Development), Leslie Hawthorn (Elasticsearch), Stormy Peters (GNOME Foundation), Donald Smith (The Eclipse Foundation)
Business
Location: E145/E146
Average rating: **...
(2.33, 3 ratings)

If you are responsible for the health of an open source development project, you may be considering using financial means to improve the dynamic in some way. Perhaps you want to accelerate development, make the community more vibrant, or just thank people who have contributed a lot. Hiring and assigning staff to solve problems is a traditional means of using money to help, but not the only method out there. Bounties, awards programs, and contract work are all methods that are frequently employed by open source projects, especially projects that have a little money to spend, but maybe not enough to hire full-time staff.

Financial motivations can be fraught with peril though. Even a well-implemented program can produce poor results under many circumstances. While a financial incentive may increase motivation for some, it might be demotivating for others. Worse, some incentives even demotivate the person receiving them.

This panel is made up of individuals with a broad range of experience in incentive programs, contract work, and community management. We’ll talk about what works, what doesn’t work, and what to look out for when using money to spruce up a project.

Photo of Rob Lanphier

Rob Lanphier

Wikimedia Foundation

Rob Lanphier is a seasoned community manager who has launched two major open source initiatives: Linden Lab’s Second Life client source release and RealNetworks’ Helix initiative. During his nine years at RealNetworks, Rob was a key contributor to two important multimedia standards (RTSP and SMIL). He’s also worked at a number of companies, including Microsoft, Asymetrix, Conjungi, and also worked as an independent consultant specializing in MediaWiki development.

Todd Crowe

Todd Crowe Web Design & Development

Todd Crowe has over twenty years of experience in the computer industry. In that time he has worked for many large and well known software and internet companies including Microsoft, IBM, Netscape and America Online.

Before leaving America Online to work independently, Todd worked on several internet applications that were used by millions of internet users. His last project, which he lead the design and development of, was a service that supports several America Online applications used by millions of people every day.

More recently Todd is focusing his work on managing, designing, and developing the websites of local companies and organizations. His currently clients include several businesses as well as the Pacific City – Nestucca Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Nestucca Rural Fire Protection District.

Photo of Leslie Hawthorn

Leslie Hawthorn

Elasticsearch

An internationally known community manager, speaker and author, Leslie Hawthorn has spent the past decade creating, cultivating and enabling open source communities. She created the world’s first initiative to involve pre-university students in open source software development, launched Google’s #2 Developer Blog, received an O’Reilly Open Source Award in 2010 and gave a few great talks on many things open source.

In August 2013, she joined Elasticsearch as Community Manager, where she leads Developer Relations. She works from Elasticsearch’s EU HQ in Amsterdam, The Netherlands – when not out and about gathering user praise and pain points. You can follow her adventures on Twitter

Photo of Stormy Peters

Stormy Peters

GNOME Foundation

Stormy Peters currently works as the Executive Director of the GNOME Foundation. Stormy joined the GNOME Foundation from OpenLogic where she set up their OpenLogic Expert Community. Previously, Stormy worked at Hewlett-Packard (HP) where she founded and managed the Open Source Program Office that is responsible for HP’s open source strategy, policy and business practices. Stormy joined HP as a software engineer in the Unix Development Lab after graduating from Rice University with a B.A. in Computer Science.

Stormy is also an advisor for HFOSS, OpenSource World, IntraHealth Open and OpenLogic, as well as founder and president of Kids on Computers, a nonprofit organization setting up computer labs in developing countries.

Stormy is a frequent keynote speaker on business aspects of Open Source Software at major conferences such as the Open Source Business Conference and the O’Reilly conferences, as well as government organizations such as the United Nations and the European Union. Stormy is involved in GNOME and free and open source software because it is changing the world and the community is full of smart, passionate people!

Photo of Donald Smith

Donald Smith

The Eclipse Foundation

Donald Smith, MBA, MSc, is Director of Ecosystem Development for the Eclipse Foundation, an independent not-for-profit foundation supporting the Eclipse open source community. Prior to joining Eclipse, Donald was Director of Technology Evangelism at Oracle and has also worked for startups WebGain and The Object People. He brings over a decade of worldwide industry experience, from small “dot-com” through Fortune 50 companies. Donald speaks regularly about community development, persistence, business integration and politics at conferences and events world wide, including Java One, Oracle World, Sun Tech Days, Evans Developer Relations Conference, OOPSLA, JAOO, Server Side Symposium, Colorado Software Summit and others.

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