[OSM-dev] X-Prizes

Richard Fairhurst richard at systemeD.net
Wed Mar 19 11:22:23 GMT 2008

Gervase Markham wrote:

> Paying bounties or other rewards within a volunteer project is a large
> can of worms. Some projects manage it, others go down in flames. Apache
> has refused to pay _anyone_ for years for this reason, although I think
> now they are getting around to employing a sysadmin (who won't code). It
> depends hugely on the dynamics of your project.

I suspect the dynamics may be right for OSM.

We have lots of users who are constantly - rightly - demanding more  
features. Some of them are little things that can be ticked off by  
individual developers when they get a moment: most of my Potlatch trac  
list comes into this category, for example.

But there are a few really big ones. These are reliant on our few  
developers being able to take a break from fire-fighting, which we're  
doing a lot of the time, and diving into them. It's great when this  
happens - TomH is tackling the Export tab right now, I believe  
(yay!!), Jon of course recently did mod_tile - but very dependent on a  
tiny number of people having free time.

OSM's _primary_ output is its data, not its code, and that's the  
difference from Apache. All the other stuff we do is really cool, but  
it's essentially there to facilitate the data. [1] If bounties for  
developers means fewer obstacles for mappers, that's a win.


[1] One of the things I really like about OSM is that the developers  
are, almost without exception, mappers too. We really do eat our own  

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