Caution: my English is far from perfect. (Русский тоже не всегда хорош).

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Interesting lisp (or scheme) project

There was a post in the lispjobs blog - a part time job for a freelance lisp programmer (I even applied).

The project in question is quite interesting - a website where open source software may be funded collectively by the software users.

Also interesting is that the project is going to be open source and to be created on lisp (they already started and use PLT Scheme).

The guy running this project - Christopher Rasch - wrote quite detailed article almost seven years ago about how such a system may work.

In two words it is approximately following.

Some people wish some soft to be created and are ready to pay some money for it. These people may be called "donors". Other people may do the work required. They may be called "performers". The goal is to allow donors to collect in common sufficient money for performer(s) to do the work. After that performer(s) do the work and get the money.

The mechanism suggested to achieve this goal is similar to equity market. Central object is obligation to do the required work - it is called "software completion bond". The bond is "backed" by money of donors - this means that bond owner may exchange the bond to the money when the job completion criteria are met (as determined by the judge indicated in the work specification).

Bond owner is the performer - he acquires the bonds by some small price before starting work. He may even do only part of the work and sell the bonds to someone else. It is supposed that in this case the bond price will be higher than the initial because less work is left to do to receive the money escrowed for this job.

Christopher Rasch describes his project as a "wish trading market". Read the article for more details.

Although implementation may vary, there are people that want something in this fashion. See at least this thread in the sbcl-devel mailing list.

As for me, I think it is a very interesting idea. There are several projects that I would fund by few dollars, especially taking into account that the money are protected until the job is done. And in particular the "wish trading market"- I hope a kind of bootstrapping may be applied here: after some initial version, this project development may be funded via the described mechanism too.

How comprehensive this initial version should be? Maybe most of things may be done manually at the beginning.

I hope the project will succeed. Unfortunately there is not so much progress last time (AFAICS there were no changes at all in the project svn repository for at least several last weeks).


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