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

Stefan Behnel stefan_ml at behnel.de
Thu Mar 22 20:03:23 CET 2012

Dag Sverre Seljebotn, 22.03.2012 19:21:
> On 03/22/2012 10:52 AM, Stefan Behnel 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?
> I honestly don't think there's a lack of money for things like this once we
> go around asking; the most expensive part of any workshop is the time of
> the participants.
> Workshops in particular may be fundable through William's grant. The main
> problem is when people are available. Robert will not be available for some
> time, and neither will I (though I'm much less important these days), but
> if the rest would like to meet up I'm sure it is fundable one way or the
> other.

Yep, sounds like a time rather than money issue.

>> 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.
> Well, outright funding for projects is of a totally different order of
> magnitude. The $240 doesn't pay for more than between 1 and 4 hours of
> "grown-up" developer time (at least in Western Europe and US); for serious
> feature-funding you're starting to need thousands or tens-of-thousands of
> dollars rather than hundreds.

PyPy manages to get those amounts. Just look at their home page, the
projects are all in the tens of thousands of dollars. I don't think that's
impossible for us.

> Smaller constant-amount bounties (like GSoC) for fun stuff one would have
> motivation to do otherwise is a different matter. My impression is that a)
> core devs have no more time for Cython than they spend already, b) Cython
> development is a bit too difficult to enter for random "bounty-hunters".

Regarding b), PyPy is far worse.

Regarding a), I'm not so sure. At least I would consider it a way to focus
my work. Currently, I'm rather reluctant to starting anything that looks
like more than a couple of evenings or a weekend.

> Slightly related: I believe the best thing we can do to attract more
> developers is to seriously clean up the codebase. My new year's resolution
> is that if I get some days for working on Cython this year (I hope to),
> I'll spend it only on cleaning up the codebase, not on (even simple) features.


>> 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 ...)
> Well, I seem to remember from a talk that NumFOCUS will have a full-time
> (or part-time?) position to deal with such administration. And they'll be
> set up as a non-profit (so tax-exempt for US-based donations). So I think
> that's a better route than PayPal.

Sounds like it. Is their tax-exempt status restricted to the US? That would
be unfortunate for many donators.

> Should we solicit donations on our webpage with a link to NumFOCUS? (I can
> ask NumFOCUS whether they're cool with that.)

Interesting. If they have the administration set up (BTW, is that paid or
do they want something for that?), they should be able to handle project
specific money as well.

>> 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).
> There is SSH access at least to the environment where the tests are run,
> according to their web pages.

Ok, that's cool.

>>> 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.
> And it's in beta so far. But it's a feature sage.math will never get.

Sure. However, most code we write isn't platform specific, and having a CI
server run Windows tests doesn't always help in debugging them if you don't
have a Windows box to reproduce the problem. Their SSH access may help on
that one (assuming that you get a usable environment there, including
MinGW/gdb or Microsoft's compiler environment), but I should note that
setting up the Jenkins jobs for Windows basically means rewriting them
completely (and remotely). What do you even get when you ssh into their
Windows box? Not a DOS prompt, I hope?


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