[Cython] funding (Re: sage.math problems?)

Robert Bradshaw robertwb at gmail.com
Thu Mar 22 19:39:59 CET 2012

On Thu, Mar 22, 2012 at 10:52 AM, Stefan Behnel <stefan_ml at behnel.de> wrote:
> Dag Sverre Seljebotn, 22.03.2012 17:58:
>> On 03/22/2012 09:03 AM, Stefan Behnel wrote:
>>> I would prefer copying the original installation over
>>> (including the build history), rather than rebuilding it.
>> I hope it doesn't come to this, but if it does, I think we should really
>> look hard at ShiningPanda instead.
> We could set up an OSS test account to see what we'd get for our money,
> i.e. how much of our build/test cycle we can put into one hour in their
> environment.
>> Honestly, my feeling is that if we can't rally up $240/month in funding
>> among Cython users then we might as well give up.
> As long as we have sage.math, I can think of better things to do with 240$
> per month. Didn't we want to organise another workshop at some point?

+1, this would be a much more effective use of funding, though also
easier to get funding for.

> Regarding funding in general, maybe we should just start putting up one or
> two of those sexy funding bars on our web site, like the PyPy devs do for
> their funded projects. Assuming that goes well, it would also allow us to
> put money on dedicated projects by paying basically ourselves for doing
> tasks that we won't normally spend our precious spare time on (e.g. because
> they appear too large for a weekend), but that we and our users deem
> necessary for some reason.

While that's a good idea in theory, I'm not sure how many additional
hours would be freed up just because we could pay ourselves for it.
Perhaps it would act primarily as an additional incentive to align our
efforts with user request (though there are certainly already
non-monetary incentives). A budget of a couple hundred a month is
likely an order of magnitude too small to get as serious developer to
attack "larger than can be done in a weekend" projects. Also, the
monetization of Cython development changes the spirit of things a bit,
and while I am a big fan of people being able to make money, or even a
living, off of open source development, it complicates things a lot
from a legal, financial, and political perspective.

The current model of organization X is willing to pay developer Y for
feature Z directly seems to work well enough for the moment. E.g. with
GSoC, the bottleneck is finding good enough students and time to
mentor them, not slots (=funding). Opening up funding to non-students
could help a bit, but IMHO wouldn't change the balance that much (the
gainfully employed cost a lot more and have less spare time).

> Basically, any "real" CEP that we consider doable and that we'd have a
> developer for could get a funding account where users could "vote" for it
> by donating money.
> (and that's where the legal issues start ...)
>> (And specifically, we
>> could ask NumFOCUS first, and possibly share the queue with other open
>> source projects on their lists, and possibly ask ShiningPanda for an OSS
>> project rebate).
> Sure.
>> I'm not primarily concerned with uptime, but with the time spent in
>> maintaining the systems. The more that can be moved into the cloud the
>> better for open source projects, if it means less maintenance, which is
>> usually the case; see our move to GitHub.
> I don't know how much time the maintenance takes on UW side, but they're
> using the machines for many other things, so I guess they'd have to invest
> the time anyway. So they won't win much by us moving out.

Yes. We add to the load a bit, but not much. And I don't see us saving
administration time (the most lacking resource here) by moving to
another service (if anything, it'd likely be more work).

> Speaking for myself, I don't consider the time wasted that I invested into
> the Jenkins setup so far, and I'm also not sure there'd be all that much to
> gain by no longer administrating the server installation itself by
> ourselves. The bulk of the work is about configuring jobs and writing
> build/test/whatever scripts, which still applies to a cloud installation
> (with, I assume, the added disadvantage of no longer being able to ssh
> directly into the machine).
>> ShiningPanda also offers features like testing on Windows.
> That *is* a feature, but it also takes up additional (paid) time. We
> wouldn't have to run continuous tests on it, though, just trigger tests
> manually when we want them.
> Stefan
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