Mark Shuttleworth funds software development bounties

The founder of Thawte, Mark Shuttleworth, has many
thoughts on open source development and its funding,
based on his experience as the sponsor of the SchoolTool project.

So the risk is that a well-funded open source team that is NOT lead by someone with a personal interest in shipping the project will get distracted by other shiny tech toys and fail to actually ship something focused and constructive. How are we dealing with that in the current round of work on SchoolTool? First, I’m personally watching and asking the core team to focus on actual functionality. They assure me that their engine work is “done”, and that they are currently working on a usable tool that can be tested by schools. Time will tell. And second, we will shortly have a second, collaborating team, that will I hope also bring much of the engineering work into a more public forum.

Time will tell. These are expensive ways to learn, but I feel that the experiment is very much worth doing. There are lots of tools I would like to see developed in the open source world that developers have not yet done for themselves, and which I would be prepared to fund. Perhaps other philanthropists are in a similar position. We need to learn how to do this effectively, and the only way to learn is to try.

He has recently issued
bounties for work he’s like to see happen with his SchoolTool project, with Python, and with Mozilla.

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