hopefully this is not just reiteration:
i think crowdfunding (patreon/etc) make a ton of sense for norns scripts— as we acknowledge that many scripts are in fact “art objects” that double as instruments, where many script authors might not actually release music using them (where we socially accept that people support music financially). provided we haven’t seen this sort of thing happen yet, i think it’s more a matter of somebody just starting the ball rolling by including a paypal/patreon/etc link to their script description.
as indicated earlier, i don’t think it makes any sense to have monome specifically involved in funding scripts— these are the art of the community. i can’t figure out how disbursement would work, and it quickly becomes a substantial management burden.
core norns development, however, is a totally different thing. we, the core developers, are basically a group of friends that share a similar goal. some occasionally take on contract work to do a feature or fix but generally most have their day job, and norns is fun group project— so (like most open source projects) energy goes into areas of personal interest (you will see this based on people’s individual commits, see the git history) and on their own time. for pressing issues that need fixes i either take on myself or arrange to pay a contributor, though very frequently if there’s an issue with a contributors’ code they will often notice and fix it before it becomes a big problem. as for generalized compensation i try to be generous— though often financial compensation isn’t what’s sought— and i can only gift so many machines i make.
if we were to hire-out some feature that people didn’t have time or desire to work on, it’d need to be a collective decision at this point. it’s inappropriate for me to act like a dictator over this project. and similarly, any new major contributor would need to fit into the existing team and ethos of the project, which ends up being a lot like hiring, but given it’s free software this is actually a lot more qualitative and relationship-based.
to reiterate: the group of people who have come together to build this project, and this community over the years has been astonishing and simply the best part of the experience.
what i think, perhaps, is more being voiced right now is the desire for some kind of community voting (ie with dollars?) towards feature requests. i see this from many angles:
- the desire for a script that doesn’t exist. in the past, artists hire programmers (this is how i supported myself for awhile). so perhaps what’s being asked is a crowd-funded approach to this, which is very very difficult given you immediately content with design-by-committee (we’ve seen failed versions of this here). but there’s likely a way forward.
- the desire for slight modifications to a script which the original author isn’t immediately personally interested in. this would be a case where the author should be hired for a personalized fork. however, many people aren’t interested in money, so this is a conversation that should be considered more as a meeting of two people’s interests. maybe there’s a friendship there.
- large infrastructural features that relate to core functionality. this should be discussed here on the forum. it will be assessed both by the core devs who might consider building it, new devs that might contribute, and other non-devs who may second their interest. truthfully there’s no amount of money that will just make a feature viable even if the code exists, if it doesn’t work with the vision of the platform. keep in mind that this platform succeeds by the merit of design and vision and passion, not just because code and money.
regarding the celebration/attribution to developers, i likewise attempt to direct accolade where it is deserved— to the degree of minimizing attributions to my personal effort in this whole project (i’m going to start correcting this as the project is clearly a group endeavor). however, there are places where more attribution should be given, and i will fix this. (for example, @scanner_darkly and @csboling have done wonders for the ansible codebase).
one final thought.
despite my reservations of redistribution/etc, i do feel like it would be legitimate to have some sort of donation system given we’ve open-sourced a bunch of hardware, allowing a huge number of people to use the software created by this community. DIY shields, fates, and teletypes have grown the user base, and not “for free” given our efforts. if we were to accept donations i’d rather steer that towards educational donations rather than crowd-funding features.
and, finally. while i’d have to discuss it with the team, if there are experienced developers out there that do need work and would like to help, absolutely e-mail me. historically whenever i need programming help, none of the smart people i know are available. remember: a whole lot of norns code is not fun stuff— it’s hard, sometimes monotonous, and particularly tricky to design… everything doesn’t come down to implementation. we are doing this sort of work so the scripting experience we’re trying to deliver is fun.
three years on, you all have made some incredible sounds and art code. thank you.