Kai says Hi!
Tuesday February 26th 2008, 16:32h
Filed under: Private

This morning we welcomed Kai Timon Stürmer, 3400g and 47cm, at 8.02h in Bern. What a joy to say hi to Kai!

First glance on Kai Timon

First glance on Kai Timon

Update 2008-03-22: Many photos of Kai and his friends online now.

How rich are you?
Friday February 15th 2008, 21:45h
Filed under: Development Cooperation, Fairtrade, Politics, Private

Do you think you earn too little? Such as Klaus Zumwinkel hiding some millions before authorities (and now paying with his job as German Post CEO). But even I as poor doctoral student am placed on the top 4% worldwide. Do the test yourself and see if you really have to worry for the 3% who earn more than you or if we should start thinking about the 96% other of world population (thanks to Dominik Roser showing me this great link!):

How rich are you? Global Rich List

COfundOS - Collectively fund Open Source Projects
Thursday February 07th 2008, 0:54h
Filed under: ETH Zürich, FLOSS, Research

As in many situations in our daily life, particularly in open source projects there is often the collective action problem: Many people want a specific feature enhancement of a software, but as there is not a single firm which owns the software and thus has a financial incentive to improve it according customer needs, the feature gets not implemented (or not within a reasonable timeframe). Of course also voluntary developers listen to their open source software users. And also many of today’s open source projects are company sponsored and thus follow again the traditional market logic. However in open source projects, feature demand and feature supply does still not match in many cases.


Therefore, platforms such as COfundOS are necessary. They provide a market place of feature seekers and providers for open source software projects. Although such Bounty systems are not uncontroversial because of motivational crowding aspects, to my knowledge so far no one has provided empirical evidence of negative effects within the open source software environment.

Now doing a little action research experiment I asked my friends at Swiss Open Systems Users Group /ch/open to fund a particular feature for Scribus, the DTP application I use for the OpenExpo booklets. Thus I filed a new COfundOS project for this PDF handling need we had. Luckily, Andreas Vox from the Scribus developer community signed up, specified his solution and offered to accomplish the taks by end of April. (well, I have to admit that I helped my luck and talked to Andreas on IRC before about suitability, timeline and costs… ;)

As initiator Sören Auer told me, the platform isn’t yet the huge place where thousands of features and millions of Euros get in. Also some mechanisms such as trusted payment are quite tricky to solve (Fundable did this in a smart way). However I believe the potential of such a open source feature market place is great. Imagine SMEs or public administration offices channelling their needs for open source applications and submitting small sums of money for the implementation of certain enhancements. (big companies hire the core developers themselves) I vision the more open source solutions are used in daily business, the more users are willing to pay for improvements. And because the source code is all open, a perfect market for open source programmers may evolve.