Subject RE: [Firebird-general] Firebird money matters
Author Steve Summers
On Saturday, February 25, 2006 08:15 PM Doug Chamberlin wrote

>At 06:08 PM 2/25/2006 -0500, Steve Summers wrote:
>>All they'd have to do is make unrefusable
>>offers to a few of our key people like Claudio, Dmitry, Helen, or any
>>of several others, and it could prove to be impossible to
>recover from
>>the loss. But without the ability to compensate them for their time,
>>how would we respond to something like that?

>Hmmm. I think you've fallen into the trap of playing their
>game on their terms. We will always fail if we do that. In other words, if
>any of the large commercial DB entities wanted to hire these people away
from the
>Firebird project, then there is nothing we could do about it.
>You don't really think, even if we came up with a wildly successful
>funding scheme, we could counter their offer with anything truly
>do you? (I would only hope that these people would hold out for truly
>indecent amounts before giving in to the dark side.)

Well, I haven't fallen yet, and I'm in no position to pull the foundation
into the trap with me <g>. I'm not suggesting that we need to figure out how
to start charging, and then use the money to pay highly competitive salaries
to everyone involved. However, I do think that without more money, we won't
be able to even "slightly" compensate any more people. If we could double
the size of the team of people who know how FB works internally and can
program for it, we'd be half as vulnerable to key-player poaching.

>No, we should not run scared of such a turn of events. We should, instead,
>continue to maximize our efforts within the resources we have.
>And stick to the fundamental open source principles - we are all free to
>use or not use, improve or not improve, benefit from or not benefit from
>Firebird without legal or commercial encumbrance.

I agree that we shouldn't change the our principles, or even the means. But
if even a tenth of the companies like ours who sell applications based on
firebird contributed the same approx. $50 per site that we're doing, I
suspect the foundation would have at least a couple hundred $K per year to
work with. That would pay for promotion as well as giving our core
developers larger grants so they're less likely to be looking for higher
paying jobs, and maybe let us hire another half dozen of them.

I'm not proposing "legal or commercial encombrance" - I don't think there's
any way we could do that anyway, given the legal terms of the license
agreements involved. But reminding people of the MORAL encombrance - the
informal "if you come to my house and drink my free beer, you ought to bring
a 6-pack to share occasionally when you come visit" reciprocity that most of
us learn by the time we're out of college (or end up with no social life!)

I think that maybe some of our commercial users just need to be reminded
that open source only thrives when it has a whole community of contributors,
and we'd like them to contribute too.