Re: Paying developers to get features faster
From: Steve Holdoway (steve_at_itemfront.ltd.uk)
Date: Thu, 22 Jan 2004 11:28:13 +1300
On Wed, 21 Jan 2004 21:41:54 GMT, Ben Theil <firstname.lastname@example.org>
interesting article on how some software houses base their products on
existing Open Source, rather than starting from scratch.
>This has once been suggested a few times before on the Internet. I do
>think it is a very good idea!
>My main concern is with the quality of code being contributed to the
>Linux Open Source pool. The applications works with small set of
>features. When trying to compile it there are a warning messages flying
>past the screen. This is true even with the Linux Kernel compile. This
>-The Linux programmer only knows how to implement the function but does
>not know the C programming language well. Their knowledge in pointer
>usage, global variable usage, union, types and function parameters is not
I disagree. Many linux developers come from the time where c used
integers for almost everything. What is seen by some as warnings is
seen by others as shortcomings of th compiler. It works, and works
>In Software Engineering classes it is a well know maxim, "You can prove
>the presence of bugs but you cannot prove their absence." A clean
>compile is atleast a lot better than a screen full of warning messages.
>While that it may not prove the absence of bugs, it certainly is the
>closest thing to reliablility.
There are far better ways to show the reliability of code. Thorough,
documented testing is one that springs to mind.
>Rewarding programmers to clean up the code is a great way to create a
>robust OS and applications. A prize of $200 to clean up the code for
>GNOME XYZ application OR Linux Network drivers, is a lot of money for a
>programmer in India. Similar prizes could be setup to clean the code for
>the kernel, KDE, OpenOffice etc.
But then you still need a viable measure of the improvement. Anyone
can get rid of the compiler warnings... the tell you what they're
>The reward for any application/system should have a definite deadline and
>should meet the code documenting standards. It should have a basic
>standard for the "Makefile" and compiler options. For example, the
>"Makefile" should not have "2>&1 > /dev/null" for the file compile.
You mean that the other way round??? Otherwise stderr is displayed on
stdout, and stdout is discarded.
>The Linux kernel 2.6 compile is a lot better. There are still tons of
>warning messages that fly by the screen. Doesn't this raise the concern
>about buffer overflow problems in those drivers or modules?
No, not at all.
>Accept it or not, the truth is that the Open Source developer will not
>hang on to the same project for the rest of his/her life. If there is a
>better opportunity he/she will leave their "baby" for the world to take
>care of it. A crude analogy would be someone doing odd jobs for whatever
>reason. Once there is a better opportunity, the odd job is history.
>Open Source developing is more like an "odd" job for these programmers.
>Whatever great things that they have contributed should be cleaned up.
>With giving some financial reward it can be accomplished. For example
>the GNOME's "Bounty" system is a great idea to add features to a product!
As most people currently develop because they want to, the code that
is generated is of a far higher quality than most commercial products,
where people develop what they're told. OK, real life gets in the way,
but you're never going to make a living out of it are you. So the
difference is between unpaid and paid work that you do in your spare
time. Which one will be of better quality???
>My personal observation (being a command line afficianado) is that the
>Windows environment on Linux is so Bloated (with a capital "B"), it makes
>Windows look like a great champ. Suddenly, using KDE apps or GNOME apps
>on Linux doesn't seem to be too attractive. Besides when I tried to
>build them there were tons of warning messages which does make me
>nervous, for any possible buffer overflow problems.
What is this correlation you have between compiler warnings and buffer
overflows??? Makes no sense to me.
>"Paying developers to get features fast" is the way to go for Open Source
>movement. "For the love of coding" is a temporary truth for the coder.
>When reality hits with bills to pay, then that love is gone. The code
>can be cleaned up by many other "C" linguists at a great deal. I am sure
>that if a 1000 Linux users around the world give $1 each to clean up code
>in the Linux Kernel or GNOME or KDE, then that is $1000 prize amount.
>That is a LOT of money for a teenager in Germany or a small group of
>progammers in India. Everyone benefits with this approach.
I don' want to use code cut by a teenager in Germany, or to have come
out of a software sweatshop in India or anywhere else for that matter.
>The "clean compile" should be demonstarted on atleast 5 major
>distributions. That is the proof of some good work and money well
What! Do you mean at least 5 different compilers, or what? To compile
against different distros proves that all library calls are standard,
and nothing else ( major that I can think of at the moment! ).
>The required infrastructure is already in place. For example,
>sourceforge.net is a great place to start.
>This is a great article and people should pay more attention to it!
$0.02 from an old f*rt who's just been in the industry too long!