LibreTime services (and other ways to sustain the project)

With the LibreTime collective set up, the maintainers could run a bounty program or provide a way for folks/orgs to sponsor features.

While paid services could also be offered on the collective, there seems to be consensus around keeping that separate. That said, it might be nice to compile a list of service providers (companies or individuals) that we could reference on the LibreTime website or wiki at some point.

If it sounds like a good idea, should folks just list out what they can provide in this discussion?

This article about CiviCRM may provide some inspiration and guidance with regards to how we can sustain the LibreTime project and a core team.

These are some of the CiviCRM sustainability initiatives:

  • Make It Happen (MIH) - campaigns to get or support new features that you’d like to see into the project but which hasn’t been included within core development
  • Support for bug fixes - funding priority bug fixes
  • Paid Issue Queue - letting people with the money jump the queue and get the fixes they needed into project
  • Hire the Core Team - to develop the features for your next project (providing that it was inline with our wider objectives).
  • Partner Program - for service providers that wanted to financially support the project
  • Member Program - for end users that wanted to do the same.

Aside from hiring the core team, we probably could run similar initiatives by leveraging the LibreTime collective and Open Collective API.

Curious to get some thoughts from the LibreTime team and other stakeholders. Would these types of initiatives work for this project?

This could be a tool for providing priority support for backers and sponsors https://github.com/marketplace/open-collective-bot

We could also enable a sponsor button on https://github.com/LibreTime/libretime linking out to the Open Collective and even a maintainers Patreon account
https://help.github.com/en/articles/displaying-a-sponsor-button-in-your-repository#displaying-a-sponsor-button-in-your-repository

In addition to sustainability initiatives provided by LibreTime, we could dust off and actually use Open Producer collective (hosted by Open Media Foundation, 501c3) to provide any of the above for LibreTime and other OSS projects in this space.

Please join #openproducer channel in Open Collective Slack if you’d like to collaborate or partner up!

Open Collective just relaunched their bounty program. This is the basic way it works -

  • Bounty contributors first comment on the issue they’re interested in, to ask a core contributor to assign them to it. This ensures that multiple people aren’t unknowingly working on the same bounty simultaneously, and gives our core team the chance to check everything’s in order.
  • Set a time limit based on the complexity of the issue, so that if an initial bounty contributor doesn’t deliver it can be opened up to others
  • Contributors must complete a simple issue before moving on to one more complex. This helps assess skill level and avoid frustration and lost time.
  • Complex issues don’t really work as bounties, because they usually require a lot of back and forth and are hard to scope accurately in advance. drop them in favor of larger issues split into small bounties.
  • Use a “bounty candidate” label so other team members could bring potential bounty issues to the attention of the core dev team and they could be assessed for suitability.
  • Make sure bounty issues are fully specced out and don’t require more design before starting implementation.

Bounty levels -

  • $100 for “minimal complexity issues” (<1 hour average estimated completion time)
  • $200 for “simple complexity issues” (~1 or 2 hours average estimated completion time)
  • $500 for “medium complexity issues” (~1 day average estimated completion time)

To facilitate this, they came up with the Contributor Ladder:

First Time Contributors

  • Have access to minimal or simple complexity issues
  • Contributors are not part of the Open Collective GitHub organization
  • Fork our projects on GitHub and push changes on their forks
  • Should comment on bounty issues to get assigned (limited to one at a time)

Contributors (at least 1 completed issue)

  • They get added to the Open Collective GitHub organization
  • Can assign themselves bounty issues (limited to one at a time)
  • Have access to minimal, simple or medium complexity issues

Recurring Contributors (3 or more completed issues)

  • Added to the “Recurring Contributors” group on the Open Collective GitHub organization
  • Can assign themselves bounty issues (limited to two at a time)
  • Have access to minimal, simple or medium complexity issues

Confirmed Contributors (3 completed issues including at least 2 with medium complexity)

  • Added to the “Confirmed Contributors” group on the Open Collective GitHub organization
  • Become candidates to work on complex issues or projects on a negotiable per-project or hourly rate

Could something like this work for LibreTime?

We’d obviously need a budget to provide bounties, but incorporating some of the sustainability initiatives listed above could provide a way to do that.

What does everybody think?

I’d be open to the idea but it would depend upon us having more $ flowing into our project than we have currently available. Most of the things we need to accomplish are on the higher complexity range and even small contributions can be tricky because the frameworks we are using are so outdated from the point of view of most web developers.

As mentioned here, I think all this would be in scope with the Open Collective sponsored initiative.

Sounds like you’re making a good case for setting a budget goal that would enable maintainers to spend more time on the project.