Thoughts on Open Source Bounties?

Hans Fugal hans at
Wed Jan 30 10:02:30 MST 2008

Steve wrote:
> Hi everyone,
> I'ld like to add an additional feature to an existing open source application.
> I had considered writing it myself, but to be frank, I'm getting quite
> lost in  the API.
> It probably doesn't help that this feature would be of limited benefit
> to anyone but myself, and so my motivation just isn't as high as it
> could be.
> The feature addition should be fairly straight forward especially for
> someone more familiar with application itself and how the underlaying
> language (Perl) handles email.
> I'm curious to know if anyone has had any luck with open source
> bounties, or do you think it would be better to simply contract the
> work out?
> I'ld be willing to pay up to $500 to have the feature added since it
> would be a major convienence for me, but like I said, I think the mod
> probably has very limited applicability.
> Thoughts?
> Sincerely,
> Steve
> p.s. If any good Perl programmers want to make a quick $500 for a day
> or so worth of work, on an open source project, please contact me off
> list, smorrey at

As I see it, a bounty is just contracting the work out to 
you-don't-know-who-yet. If you have someone who you know is likely to 
take the contract than by all means go straight to him. If not, a bounty 
is a possible way to find someone.

A bounty can possibly be cheaper, because you might not have personal 
contacts with the people who already know the application inside out, 
who might bite on your bounty. It would take them less time than a 
programmer who hasn't looked at the source yet. OTOH, people offering 
bounty often offer a laughably small amount for the task and then wonder 
why the lazy slobs don't want to make a "quick" $50. I don't know if 
that's the case in your situation - probably not since $500 is more 
probable to actually be worth someone's time. Even if you are offering 
enough, you may be offering more than enough which is great for the 
bounty hunter and for you in the sense that it gets done (but maybe you 
paid too much).

Hans Fugal ;

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the
right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
     -- Johann Sebastian Bach

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