gritz
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Re: Shouldn't Rpi developers be payed by the Foundation?

Sun Jul 29, 2012 4:59 pm

mikerr wrote:Using open source means you get thousands of those 50k contract programmers for free - already.
I think this is a bit idealistic. Raspbian development is an excellent example of how to handle a project properly (I really can't praise the developers enough), but it also demonstrates that it takes far more than simple programming chops to bring a project to maturity.

Firstly, it needs someone at the helm to identify the requirement, to formulate the best means of addressing the requirement, sift through (possibly conflicting) bug reporsts, provide effective communication, documentation, support and all the other faff. This is a big ask for a programmer working for free in his / her spare time. Github / Souceforge are groaning under the weight of unfinished / buggy / unsupported / badly documented apps that were started in good faith by people who didn't realise how much effort and how many different skills it actually takes to do something properly. Every piece of clunky O/S software (and there are a lot) reflects badly on O/S as a whole, but I digress.

So yeah, even if you can amass a pool of programmers, beta testers who can replicate bugs and write reports (rather than just cry "it doesn't work!"), people who can write clear documentation etc and be able to promise a reasonable amount of time to the project, you still need someone in charge. Someone to delegate, prioritise and whatnot. You might get lucky and get it all for free, but it all depends on the timescale you're looking at and whether your customers are the F/OSS variety (who seem quite happy with spending their lives applying sticking plasters), or folks who have paid real folding money for something and (not unreasonably) expect properly functioning hardware drivers, for example. With a user pool of the size of the Pi the hardest thing is probably not gathering the expertise in the first place, but ensuring that those experts can dedicate time and effort when it is required and making sure that their time is used wisely, with no duplication of effort or shadow-chasing. That suggests a formal structure, rather than ad hoc community.

Remember that we're not dealing with something purely free any more. The unexpected level of sales has moved the goalposts somewhat and exposed the product to an unexpected demographic (for better or worse!) The upside is more funds for the charity's goal, the downside is more customers (for that's what they are) who expect a finished product. And anyone who hollers "it's only $35" at this point probably doesn't understand business very well. :lol:

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Jim JKla
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Re: Shouldn't Rpi developers be payed by the Foundation?

Sun Jul 29, 2012 5:03 pm

It is only $35 :shock:
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AndrewS
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Re: Shouldn't Rpi developers be payed by the Foundation?

Sun Jul 29, 2012 5:50 pm

Max wrote:Perhaps get some college students on the job, who are willing to work for a fraction of the price of a normal software contractor?
http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewt ... 54#p100254 ;)

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Jim JKla
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Re: Shouldn't Rpi developers be payed by the Foundation?

Sun Jul 29, 2012 5:58 pm

Or get the people you are using now for free a large number of whom I suspect were former students.
Noob is not derogatory the noob is just the lower end of the noob--geek spectrum being a noob is just your first step towards being an uber-geek ;)

If you find a solution please post it in the wiki the forum dies too quick

gritz
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Re: Shouldn't Rpi developers be payed by the Foundation?

Sun Jul 29, 2012 6:01 pm

AndrewS wrote:
Max wrote:Perhaps get some college students on the job, who are willing to work for a fraction of the price of a normal software contractor?
http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewt ... 54#p100254 ;)
See also "Raspberry Pi Fedora Remix". :(

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AndrewS
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Re: Shouldn't Rpi developers be payed by the Foundation?

Sun Jul 29, 2012 6:35 pm

gritz wrote:See also "Raspberry Pi Fedora Remix". :(
It's still being worked on: www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=51&t=12828

gritz
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Re: Shouldn't Rpi developers be payed by the Foundation?

Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:02 pm

AndrewS wrote:
gritz wrote:See also "Raspberry Pi Fedora Remix". :(
It's still being worked on: http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewt ... 51&t=12828
I know, but their whole "effort" hasn't been very professional thus far.

"So what happens if someone without a network connection tries to boot their Pi?"

"Dunno. Who cares?"

Cue silence, tumbleweed and all...

Being "free" is not an excuse to be poor quality - especially if you're intending to put your "achievements" on your C.V. Someone fell asleep at the wheel and the Foundation very wisely pulled the plug (mixed metaphor alert!) It was indeed fortunate that mpthompson and others created Raspbian, but expecting the really important stuff to just happen is what might be termed as "winging it".

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Re: Shouldn't Rpi developers be payed by the Foundation?

Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:11 pm

Well.... if it was really just 5p a Pi you might have a point for really big jobs that no one else wanted to tackle... but that would probably have to be the coding equivilent of unblocking a drain or cleaning a septic tank - hmm... USB stack comes to mind... the foundation might be better placed to tackle those sorts of jobs if they have access to secret Boardcom knowledge that they cannot legally share..

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AndrewS
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Re: Shouldn't Rpi developers be payed by the Foundation?

Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:20 am

gritz wrote:
AndrewS wrote:
gritz wrote:See also "Raspberry Pi Fedora Remix". :(
It's still being worked on: http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewt ... 51&t=12828
I know, but their whole "effort" hasn't been very professional thus far.
Cue silence, tumbleweed and all...

Being "free" is not an excuse to be poor quality - especially if you're intending to put your "achievements" on your C.V. Someone fell asleep at the wheel and the Foundation very wisely pulled the plug (mixed metaphor alert!) It was indeed fortunate that mpthompson and others created Raspbian, but expecting the really important stuff to just happen is what might be termed as "winging it".
As an outside observer I agree that it's a shame that Fedora Remix turned out to be buggy / 'poor quality' especially when it was so hyped before release (there's still occasionally newbies on the forum asking where to get Fedora Remix). Maybe part of the problem is the geographical distance (and different timezones) between the Foundation in the UK and Seneca College in Canada? *shrug*

Before Raspbian came along the previous Debian armel releases (Squeeze and Wheezy beta) were put together by asb who I believe has semi-official links with the RPF? And I believe it was just happy coincidence that the Raspbian project (which I agree is a phenomenal effort from such a small team) managed to sync quite nicely with asb's spindle project, due to them both being based on Debian?
Of course I could be completely wrong ;) never believe anything you read on the internet.

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Jim JKla
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Re: Shouldn't Rpi developers be payed by the Foundation?

Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:17 am

This whole payment thing appears to be built on the notion that paid people get better results than amateurs a lot of this is built from the evidence of professional sports people.

While it is true that the top people in any field get rewarded the very best do not come cheap, and the lower echelons tend to be scraping a living at a level comparable with the top range amateurs.

The foundation follows the academic model where those that to a large extent shun big money to further their knowledge base and the knowledge base of the community and big business are aware that if they want to see development they need these academic types.

Broadcom, Microsoft, Apple etc understand this and while a lot of the funding may be invisible they sure as hell want to have a piece of that action.

A lot of RPi developers/testers/educators and I include myself in this group are in it for altruistic reasons.

I am sure a lot of us would be academic if we could get the funding but our life choices are such that we earn our living in other places.

This does not mean the talent is any less viable and when it comes to moving on our chosen field.

If the talent proves to be apparent then the opportunity offered by a project like the Raspberry Pi organisations like Apple, Microsoft, Oracle etc will headhunt the best but the nature of the beast will probably mean that the chosen will continue to support their start-up.

Linus Torvalds was in his own words arrogant enough to think he could build a better operating system than Microsoft that arrogance set a seed that has led us here to the RaspberryPi, his operating system is the heart of the RPi and he continues to support Linux despite never being overtly paid for his development work although he was rewarded with share options after the fact.

Share options that wikipedia reports as being worth 20 million of course that is likely to be apocryphal and even then it has to be an estimate.

My point being that great things can come to society by encouraging the free contribution of many and those that make the strongest contribution will reap rewards but probably not fiscal in the short term.

If you want to develop stuff and be paid go ahead no one is stopping you but this is a community of like minded developers those that seek reward are welcome to seek reward but the concept of turning the foundation into a money making enterprise to fund this is self defeating.

If the RPi is a success in the way the foundation intended then in the future we will need lots of Linux/computer engineers and teachers and amongst the ranks of the current developers, many will find work/reward and a future in this industry.

The reward will not be paid now but it will be paid.
Noob is not derogatory the noob is just the lower end of the noob--geek spectrum being a noob is just your first step towards being an uber-geek ;)

If you find a solution please post it in the wiki the forum dies too quick

gritz
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Re: Shouldn't Rpi developers be payed by the Foundation?

Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:11 am

Jim JKla wrote:This whole payment thing appears to be built on the notion that paid people get better results than amateurs a lot of this is built from the evidence of professional sports people.

While it is true that the top people in any field get rewarded the very best do not come cheap, and the lower echelons tend to be scraping a living at a level comparable with the top range amateurs.
Very fair points, and I appreciate that tempting the right personnel away from regular jobs (of any pay scale) is hard, but temporary contracts are (unfortunately) increasingly common these days. However, the main point of employing people is that it gives you a definite budget of man-hours which allows the prioritisation and assigning of tasks. It also allows the luxury of issuing instructions (rather than wishlists) and planning ahead, instead of just hoping. Unless your project has zero budget and an open ended completion timescale there will always be pragmatic decisions to be made (and expenses to be handed over!)

Anyway (speculation alert!), it's more than possible that the Foundation already have boffins and whatnot on board - remember that it's a cheap computer to facilitate IT education in schools and educational materials don't write themselves. I would imagine tthat this sort of thing is the Foundation's priority right now and that there are pressing matters of time. [/speculation mode]

I'm not saying that you need an army of paid nine to fivers (and I'm speaking generally here, rather than being Pi-specific), but you do need experts - evangelists to recruit / inspire / instruct, problem solvers, people who intinctively know what the customer wants and how to achieve it. Projects also need to have visible momentum, or all but the most altruistic will pass. Consider the ReactOS project: a very attractive solution in theory, but it's visibly stagnant. There's only a tiny pool of programmers working in whatever spare time they have and the fundraising effort is reaping very little, presumably because very few people are going to toss money at something that they feel will never reach fruition. It's a very vicious circle.

I'd venture to say that the Linux world probably has no shortage of coders, but what it really needs are people who can turn it into a universally viable product - both to end users (let's call them customers) and also to the majority of hardware and software vendors who still don't consider providing Linux support to be worthwhile. It's that Vicious Circle thing again - gaining momentum and getting past the tipping point. Otherwise "The Little Operating System That Could" will remain forever niche, tagged somewhere between curiosity and frustration by all but it's ardent fans.

Sorry, I'm waffling again! :lol:

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