Financial Incentives in Open Source

Moderated by:
Rob Lanphier (Wikimedia Foundation)
Panelists:
Todd Crowe (Todd Crowe Web Design & Development), Leslie Hawthorn (Elastic), Stormy Peters (Cloud Foundry 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

Elastic

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, Leslie joined Elastic as director of developer relations. She works from Elastic’s EU HQ in Amsterdam, The Netherlands – when not out and about gathering user praise and pain points.

Photo of Stormy Peters

Stormy Peters

Cloud Foundry Foundation

Stormy Peters is Director of the Mozilla Developer Network. Stormy is passionate about open source software and educates companies and communities on how open source software is changing the software industry. She is a compelling speaker who engages her audiences during and after her presentations and frequently speaks on business aspects of open source software.

In addition to Mozilla, Stormy is a founder and board member of Kids on Computers, a nonprofit organization setting up computer labs in developing countries. She also serves on the board of the Software Freedom Conservancy, a nonprofit organization that helps promote, improve, develop, and defend Free, Libre, and Open Source Software (FLOSS) projects. Conservancy provides a non-profit home and infrastructure for FLOSS projects.

Stormy joined Mozilla from the GNOME Foundation where she served as executive director. Previously, she worked at OpenLogic where she set up their OpenLogic Expert Community, and Hewlett-Packard where she set up their Open Source Program Office. Stormy graduated from Rice University with a B.A. in Computer Science.

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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