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.
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 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.
An internationally known community manager, speaker and author, Leslie Hawthorn has over 10 years experience in high tech project management, marketing and public relations. In March 2012 she joined Red Hat, Inc., where she is responsible for Community Action & Impact on the company’s Open Source and Standards team. Prior to Red Hat, she served as Outreach Manager at Oregon State University’s Open Source Lab and as a Program Manager for Google’s Open Source Team, where she managed the Google Summer of Code Program, created the contest now known as Google Code In and launched the company’s Open Source Developer Blog.
When not focusing on all things open source and community at Red Hat, Leslie is in the “save the world business” and works on side projects that make the world a better place. She was recently invited to be a member of ConvergeUS’ 2012 Council of Innovation Advisers, a mentor for The Outercurve Foundation and a Scout for Mozilla’s WebFWD program. She also serves as a Board Member/Advisor to the following organizations: CASH Music, the Humanitarian FOSS Project, the Sahana Software Foundation and the Technology Innovation Management Review.
Leslie lives in Portland, Oregon, U.S.A. with her two cats. She enjoys organic gardening, cooking for her four housemates and working on the occasional craft project. She harkens back to her days at U.C. Berkeley now and again by indulging in an evening’s read of Medieval English Literature (but you can keep your Geoffrey Chaucer; William Langland for the win!). You can follow her adventures on Twitter or her blog at http://hawthornlandings.org
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!
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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