RFC: Bounties for porting new cameras - General Discussion and Assistance - CHDK Forum

RFC: Bounties for porting new cameras

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RFC: Bounties for porting new cameras
« on: 15 / May / 2012, 16:26:34 »
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We are considering offering bounties for porting CHDK to new cameras. The idea is to have new releases faster and to offer developers some money for their time and dedication. What we have in mind is this:

* posting a bounty for a specific camera model. An escrow service could be used to ensure that the money is available.
* anybody who would like to work on that port could apply to get a camera for free. To avoid freeloaders, we'd select people who already have some experience with CHDK, but anybody would be eligible for the bounty.

We'd like feedback from you about this:

* Do you think it would be a good idea? Would it be helpful?
* What is a good amount of money for the bounty in your opinion?
* What conditions can be set on the bounty (can we have a few subtasks paying small amounts, or only a big bounty when the camera runs CHDK)?
* How to choose people that would get a free camera? Should these people have certain obligations? Which ones?
* What is a good time frame for the bounty? We'd like to set a deadline to encourage faster development, but it has to be something reasonable.

Disclaimer: bounties would be paid by a company. There will be no copyright claiming by the company, no requests for other licenses instead of GPL, or anything else, but the company may end up using CHDK in a product.

Re: RFC: Bounties for porting new cameras
« Reply #1 on: 15 / May / 2012, 21:12:07 »
Interesting proposition.   Speaking for only myself, here's my take on this.

One of the challenges in helping with CHDK for a new camera is simply having access to the camera.    I've had several people offer to FedEx their cameras to me - in one case just to have me load the current CHDK port for them. So finding a way to help the CHDK community support new cameras via a "loaner" program seems like a great idea.

However,  the flip side of the offer of a bounty is that so far,  almost nobody has done  their first original port of a new camera without significant help from the members of this forum.   Will the same help be freely offered once people are competing for a bounty and thus paid for their effort ?  Or will the some of the eight to ten people (my rough estimate) who currently really understand the porting process (and have ported more than one camera)  just walk away ?

CHDK is a "labor of love" with tens of thousands of volunteer hours invested.  Unless the bounty is thousands of dollars per camera,  its probably not worth doing "for the money".  So will the bounty really encourage more CHDK ports than would have been done by motivated volunteers ?  Maybe.

I can understand your desire to monetize CHDK somehow and appreciate your offer to share the proceeds from that venture.    I'm just not sure you have the business model quite right yet.    And then there is this : http://chdk.setepontos.com/index.php?topic=2210.0





« Last Edit: 15 / May / 2012, 22:00:38 by waterwingz »
Ported :   A1200    SD940   G10    Powershot N    G16

Re: RFC: Bounties for porting new cameras
« Reply #2 on: 16 / May / 2012, 07:37:27 »
"If we have seen further than others, it is because we have stood on the shoulders of giants"

Most of those 'giants' are no longer around and were assisted by countless other individuals.

It is a question of philosophy.

No reward is seeked.

If a company wishes to 'leverage' the power of CHDK it should do its own development, pay commercial rates and check the legality and other implications with Canon.

I am sure Canon would prefer not to officially discuss this.

If a particular camera is not supported too bad.

Payment imposes obligations of support.

It is bad enough at the moment, where some people expect you to fix all problems but are not willing to invest their own time.

(My current practice is to refuse to work with such people, I tell them to use CHDK (rather than SPM) instead.)




David

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Offline c10ud

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Re: RFC: Bounties for porting new cameras
« Reply #3 on: 16 / May / 2012, 08:03:05 »
We are considering offering bounties for porting CHDK to new cameras. The idea is to have new releases faster and to offer developers some money for their time and dedication. What we have in mind is this:

* posting a bounty for a specific camera model. An escrow service could be used to ensure that the money is available.
* anybody who would like to work on that port could apply to get a camera for free. To avoid freeloaders, we'd select people who already have some experience with CHDK, but anybody would be eligible for the bounty.

We'd like feedback from you about this:

* Do you think it would be a good idea? Would it be helpful?
* What is a good amount of money for the bounty in your opinion?
* What conditions can be set on the bounty (can we have a few subtasks paying small amounts, or only a big bounty when the camera runs CHDK)?
* How to choose people that would get a free camera? Should these people have certain obligations? Which ones?
* What is a good time frame for the bounty? We'd like to set a deadline to encourage faster development, but it has to be something reasonable.

Disclaimer: bounties would be paid by a company. There will be no copyright claiming by the company, no requests for other licenses instead of GPL, or anything else, but the company may end up using CHDK in a product.
My opinion on this is that you should view this from a different perspective: you see a port for a specific camera has been made by user X and you (can) show your appreciation with a donation or something.

In fact, quoting reyalp's signature: "don't forget what the H stands for".

There's no guarantee CHDK will continue to work as it is for newer models hence you cannot be 100% sure you can have a port for a specific camera. Especially in a specific timeframe. (e.g. Canon changes something subtle and we're all doomed... unlikely, but that can happen)

As for your specific questions:

* Do you think it would be a good idea? Would it be helpful?
No, see my previous thoughts.
* What is a good amount of money for the bounty in your opinion?
I don't think you can easily estimate the work needed for a specific port. It depends on how much the camera is different from other already-ported models, the number of changes there've been in DryOS, the number of features you're interested in, etc.
* What conditions can be set on the bounty (can we have a few subtasks paying small amounts, or only a big bounty when the camera runs CHDK)?
* How to choose people that would get a free camera? Should these people have certain obligations? Which ones?
If you want to actually hire someone, just, well, hire him/her (?)
* What is a good time frame for the bounty? We'd like to set a deadline to encourage faster development, but it has to be something reasonable.
See question number 2.

In the end, if you want to run some sort of commercial business with CHDK (also: can you run a viable business relying on a hack? ymmv) i think you can safely choose between the already ported cameras.
As an example:
A800, SX260HS, S100, SX40HS are all ported. And they're the most recent models available in the low-mid-high range of powershots (not really sure if they still are right now...?) so you can expect to find them for at least 1 or 2 years in stores.
In 1 or 2 years everything can change...or nothing ;) hence my suggestion on the issue.

Riccardo
« Last Edit: 16 / May / 2012, 08:04:59 by c10ud »


Re: RFC: Bounties for porting new cameras
« Reply #4 on: 16 / May / 2012, 12:20:36 »
Thanks a lot for the replies so far.

First of all, let me clarify one point: the company does not intend to build a business model on top of CHDK. We already use cameras of all sorts for several things, and CHDK has been considered as an interesting tool for one of our current R&D projects; the project would still work without CHDK, but would be a little more cumbersome. We are still deciding whether to use CHDK or not. Either way, we thought that we could help CHDK in some way, which is why I posted this RFC.

We are also aware that CHDK is an open source project, the meaning of H, that is not indorsed by Canon, that it may suddenly not work anymore with newer cameras etc. In fact these are some of the reasons why we thought that a bounty could be a good idea instead of hiring. I have worked in and with open source projects for over a decade, and have seen offers for bounties (that is, "implement that and we'll pay some money") and of hiring ("we know you can do that. We need that. Implement for us, get paid"). Bounties usually are interesting (but often too cheap), and hiring usually means that nothing gets back to the open source community.

I'll reply to some specific points below, but here's another question then: do you have any other proposals that would be helpful to CHDK?

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i think you can safely choose between the already ported cameras.

We know. But reading the forum we noticed that there are many requests when new cameras come out and ports may take a while. We also thought that we should give something back instead of just using CHDK (see next one) and to speed things up a bit.

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Most of those 'giants' are no longer around and were assisted by countless other individuals.
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My opinion on this is that you should view this from a different perspective: you see a port for a specific camera has been made by user X and you (can) show your appreciation with a donation or something.

Indeed. Some projects are large enough to spawn a company (for profit or non profit) that accepts donations. Others are so small that they have only one or two developers. CHDK is neither. I couldn't find anything in the wiki about donations, and like Microfunguy wrote, it would be difficult to find a way to give back to everybody who once helped. A bounty looks into the future, so it's more manageable.

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Payment imposes obligations of support.

Not really. This is why we thought of a bounty: once it "works" (according to some definition what works, like a specification of a minimum feature set) the bounty is complete and there will be no support afterwards.

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However,  the flip side of the offer of a bounty is that so far,  almost nobody has done  their first original port of a new camera without significant help from the members of this forum.   Will the same help be freely offered once people are competing for a bounty and thus paid for their effort ?  Or will the some of the eight to ten people (my rough estimate) who currently really understand the porting process (and have ported more than one camera)  just walk away ?

This could be a problem. But the bounty can be broken in many stages. The bounty may also be split among all commiters, or commiters that did at least N% of the port etc.

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If you want to actually hire someone, just, well, hire him/her (?)

If you believe that this is a good solution, we're open to that. Would it generate interest? Someone working part-time or full-time on this project.

 

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