Grass-Roots Funding Accelerates the Advancement of Free Software

Thanks to collaborative funding, a popular free chat client is finally picking up some long-awaited features.

LaSalle, Ontario (PRWEB) September 3, 2009 -- Shared funding is helping to bring voice and video messaging to Pidgin, a free chat client used by millions. Last week, Mike Ruprecht, the main developer of the feature, earned just over $3,500 CAD, collected from 10 different sponsors.

The bounty was made possible by FOSS Factory (http://www.fossfactory.org/), a website designed to help accelerate the advancement of free/open source software.

Pidgin users have been asking for voice and video for several years, but it was beyond what the developers could promise. According to Pidgin's FAQ, "We plan to implement these features, but it is a daunting task... It could be tomorrow, or it could be in 2099". Thanks to Ruprecht's hard work, Pidgin 2.6 has shipped with voice and video support for the XMPP (Google Talk) protocol. He is now working on Yahoo chat, and he intends to complete at least MSN and AIM support.

"Free Software developers have a reputation for contributing purely as a hobby", said John-Paul Gignac, founder of FOSS Factory, "but it eventually gets hard to justify spending too much time on it. The money that Mike earned is a great proof of concept, but we need to scale up the effort. If more users contributed a few bucks a month, I know that developers could sink a lot more time into their favourite projects."

The FOSS Factory website enables either one-time donations or monthly sponsorship. Its unique funding structure allows bounties to be shared among many developers without discouraging collaboration. This makes it ideal for large projects like Pidgin voice and video.

When asked about the bounty, Ruprecht said "... it helped me feel more comfortable putting more time in for it." Ruprecht is a recent graduate of ITT Technical Institute and is currently employed part-time.

The funding for Pidgin Voice and Video is down to just over $1,700 CAD. But FOSS Factory Inc. has promised up to $10,000 CAD of matching funds to help attract more sponsors and developers to the project.

About FOSS Factory:
FOSS Factory's mission is to accelerate the advancement of free/open source software by helping people collaborate on the design, funding, and development of innovative software ideas.

Contact:
John-Paul Gignac, Founder
FOSS Factory Inc.
519-967-9665
http://www.fossfactory.org/


$25,000 Prize for Free/Open Source Software Development

Up to $25,000 will go to developers who add voice and video chat to Pidgin, a popular instant messaging client released under the GNU General Public License (GPL). The prize is being offered to promote a new bounty-based free/open source software (FOSS) funding website.

LaSalle, Ontario (PRWEB) April 9, 2008 -- A new web start-up has announced a prize of up to $25,000 CAD for the addition of voice and video chat to Pidgin, a free instant messaging client. Through their new free software funding site, FOSS Factory Inc. (http://www.fossfactory.org/) has committed $5,000 CAD, and promised another $10,000 CAD to match contributions from any other contributors.

Pidgin, a program that lets you talk to your friends on MSN, Yahoo!, Google Talk, and many other systems all at the same time, has gained a wide, loyal user base thanks to its generous licensing terms, and its professional quality and usability. But its users have been wishing for voice and video support for several years. Partly due to the difficulty of implementing this feature, Pidgin's FAQ states: "It could be tomorrow, or it could be in 2099".

"Pidgin voice and video is a perfect example of a free software project that could use a boost", said John-Paul Gignac, founder of FOSS Factory, and a successful entrepreneur and free software enthusiast. "There's lots of demand for the feature, but until now, there's been no way to translate that demand into solid development funds."

FOSS Factory's new system lets participants split bounties into tiny sub-projects. That way, developers can collaborate without worrying about how the money will be divided, and they can get paid as they go. There is no need for project bidding, or exclusive developer selection: Anyone can participate as their time permits.

"Compared to other FOSS funding techniques, we help dedicated FOSS users contribute funds in a more effective, meaningful way", said Abdullah Bakhach, FOSS Factory's director of business development. "Our monthly sponsorship system can generate a much-needed revenue stream for highly-voted projects."

FOSS Factory Inc. is offering this prize as a way of introducing their website to the FOSS community. They are appealing to Pidgin's users to help bring the bounty to the full $25,000.

FOSS Factory charges $10 for posting a new project on their site, or $15/month for unlimited project posting. But they don't get a dime from project sponsorships. "We feel it's very important to keep our hands out of the development phase," said John-Paul Gignac. "The site is intended as a service to the community, so we don't want to interfere with that aspect."

About FOSS Factory:
FOSS Factory's mission is to accelerate the advancement of free/open source software by helping people collaborate on the design, funding, and development of innovative software ideas.

Contact:
Abdullah Bakhach, director of business development
FOSS Factory Inc.
519-505-0602
http://www.fossfactory.org/

FOSS Factory Source