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I personally would be willing to pay $10 to someone who can offer to make microphone drivers work with one of my laptops under Ubuntu 10.10. I thought that other users could contribute to the same thing, and thus find a willing developer. Does there exist such a project(s)?

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This may interest you in regards to why these things don't usually work out. youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc –  Daenyth Jul 16 '12 at 15:15
    
@Daenyth, I have watched this video a few times before. However, the professors and the creative types tend to need jobs that pay $$$, so they are not completely alien to the idea of doing something slightly other than what tickles their fancy when a monetary reward is involved. Just as a professor might interpret the fact that NSF is willing to pay for X but not Y type of project as 'there is more demand for X than Y', a programmer might interpret things similarly - not only is there a bug / lack of feature, but it is so severe, that people will pay for it. Finally, the total might be large –  Job Jul 16 '12 at 18:13
    
I found this related video: lunduke.com/?p=429 –  Job Jul 21 '12 at 18:24
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$10 for device driver work, to be paid on delivery? I think you might be underestimating the task complexity here. –  user16764 Jul 22 '12 at 15:17
    
@user16764, not to be paid on delivery. I am fully aware that it would probably cost several thousand had an institution paid someone to build a driver start to finish. I am thinking more of a Kickstarter model, where these $10 and $25 donations add up, there is no guarantee that projects will be finished, and yet many of them do. –  Job Jul 22 '12 at 16:35
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marked as duplicate by Walter, Martijn Pieters, MichaelT, Glenn Nelson, gnat Feb 18 '13 at 3:47

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3 Answers

Such things have been tried, and generally were found wanting.

This sounds great in principle, but introducing bounties leads to conflict. For instance someone comes up with a really bad way to solve a problem, and the patch won't be considered by the maintainer. The maintainer's friend comes up with a better patch which gets accepted.

Who gets the bounty? If you say that the first person gets it, then the maintainer will get annoyed at pressure to accept bad solutions, and the second developer will get annoyed that someone was paid for bad work. If you say that the second person gets it the first person will cry "politics" and you've created bad blood. Either way you've created conflict.

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The person who places the bounty would probably decide who gets it. It doesn't really matter if the solution is not accepted to the main branch of the project. Part of the beauty of open source is that if a project doesn't go where you want it to, it can be forked. –  simoraman May 27 '11 at 7:00
    
@simoraman: Your response strongly suggests that you do not have a lot of open source experience. People in the open source world don't like others creating conflict, and don't like long-lasting forks. Maintaining a fork is expensive, and is a solution of last resort. Think of it as being like filing a lawsuit - it is good to have the option, but you want to avoid actually doing it. Really. –  btilly May 27 '11 at 7:30
    
I'm familiar with the implications of forking projects. But if we talk about a scenario where maintainers refuse an idea some consider important. Should they give up on the idea? Quoting Linus Torvalds: "The whole point of open source to me is really the very real ability to fork (but also the ability for all sides to then merge the forked content back, if it turns out that the fork was doing the right things!)" - linuxfr.org/nodes/85904/comments/1230981 –  simoraman May 27 '11 at 9:12
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Google Summer of Code appears to be doing a good job at it. Other attempts have not been very successful. Nothing comes off the top of the mind, but there were some attempts in that direction.

Foss Factory is another attempt but for GNU Hurd alone and not for open source projects in general. GNU Hurd will beg to identify itself as a Free Software rather than Open Source Software.

For your case, if you can bring other users to an agreement, and you end up hiring a developer, go ahead. Perhaps start off with the GNU Hurd style discussion and see where it takes to.

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While GSoC works y projects giving a bounty (which is payed by Google), not by users. –  johannes Jul 23 '12 at 1:52
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At present, it seems as though there are three (3) active sites that are worth considering:

See alternativeTo for confirmation and further details. There have been several others, like BountySource, that are no longer in service. There is also some information in Wikipedia (but it really needs updating).

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Good finds, mate! –  Job Jul 16 '12 at 1:18
    
Thanks for the up votes - I just added the additional links. –  colan Jul 16 '12 at 14:45
    
Just added PubSoft to the list. –  colan Jul 22 '12 at 0:55
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