Funding for the Community

As many of you are already aware, we started a new Friends of Eclipse Disbursements programme this year through which we are making funds gathered through “Friends of Eclipse” available to the community. Chris blogged about this in January.

To get access to these funds, you need to open a bug against Community/FoE Disbursements. Your proposal should be concise, but specific: what kind of event/purchase are you suggesting, and how much will it cost. It’s completely reasonable to “ballpark” the cost in your initial proposal and then refine that cost as you start to receive positive feedback (i.e. don’t invest too heavily until there is some confidence that we’re going to make it happen). But, please do provide a reasonable estimate.

The “we” that I’m referring to is the elected “Committer Reps” and me. Together, we’ve been reviewing and discussing the proposals we’ve received so far. There are a couple of promising ones. We certainly do like the idea of funding community-building events like the Texas A&M University Eclipse Symposium. In fact, I am hopeful that we’ll be able to use this event as a template for similar events at other universities.

I also like the New disk array for Hudson and build workspace storage proposal: a lot of community good can come from making builds easier (as more and more projects move their builds to Hudson at Eclipse, the amount of disk space we need is ever-increasing). Plus, we can use the disk space for other stuff. The one problem with this proposal is the cost: ~USD$6,000 after shipping and duty. That’s a significant amount of funds (about 40% of what we have available this year, and 200% of what I figured we’d allocate in the first quarter) that I personally feel uncomfortable committing to without support from the community. Your thoughts as comments on Bug 336864 are welcome.

We’re not ready to close the door on the other proposals, but sorting out how to make them happen is difficult. We just don’t have enough money to fund ongoing development work, and it’s really hard to rationalize providing any single project with huge chunk of the cash.

We’re just figuring this out ourselves. We know that we have to be careful with the precedents that we set as we try to do right by the many projects and diverse communities in and around Eclipse.

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11 Responses to Funding for the Community

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  3. Scott Lewis says:

    Wayne and Committer Reps:

    How does disk space for the Hudson builder help small projects that can’t do the releng necessary to participate in the simultaneous release?

    How do Eclipse symposia assist in meeting the community needs for new features, testing, integrated releases?

    I would assert that both disk space and Eclipse symposia look appealing to the EF and the Committer Reps because those (hw and symposia) are both things that have been supported by the EF before/in the past…and are therefore ‘familiar’…and bear little resemblance to the actual needs of the resource-starved projects and their associated communities.

    • Extra disk space on the primary build server for Eclipse helps everyone in the community. There were times builds were failing due to lack of space. On top of that, we can use this extra space to potentially have maven artifacts available (or whatever else in the future). In the end, all of this is opt in.

      I do think we can make the release engineering process a lot easier at eclipse.org and I’ve been doing some work in that area to have a sample Tycho project that eclipse.org projects can use. I’ve experienced the pain of release engineering first hand and it’s on my plate to make it better.

      In the end, the intention for FoE Funds is stated clearly in the wiki: “can be used to support purchases and activities that benefit (directly or indirectly) the Eclipse community”

      http://wiki.eclipse.org/Friends_of_Eclipse/Funds_Allocation

      When making the decision on these things, I personally look very hard on how the funding would benefit the Eclipse community, from individual project to eclipse.org as a whole to the whole eclipse ecosystem.

      Anyways, I’ll always have in mind the frustration of smaller projects… I’m a mentor on many of them and help people quite a bit with problems. My hope is that we learn lessons on how to improve things and continue to iterate.

  4. Wim says:

    I agree with Scott. The foe money should go to projects and individuals that cannot participate otherwise. Disk space for the build is not that. Let Google or IBM donate some hardware.

    Community building is also the wrong way to spend the money IMO. Let these guys buy their own beer.

    Why is only 15k available. I thought the foe money was 50k . What can we do with 15k other than spend it all in one place.

    • The intention for FoE Funds is stated clearly in the wiki: “can be used to support purchases and activities that benefit (directly or indirectly) the Eclipse community”

      http://wiki.eclipse.org/Friends_of_Eclipse/Funds_Allocation

      When making the decision on these things, I look very hard on how the funding would benefit the Eclipse community, from individual project to eclipse.org as a whole to the whole eclipse ecosystem.

      “Community building is also the wrong way to spend the money IMO. Let these guys buy their own beer.”

      Ok, that’s just crazy and I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that, especially when it concerns spreading Eclipse knowledge to students. Community building is vital for Eclipse’s future health, especially given new efforts surround Orion and EclipseRT.

  5. I agree with Chris with regard to the importance of community building through universities. Personal example: I got hooked onto Eclipse in 2004 through a free plug-in development training by Eclipse committers.

  6. Ed Merks says:

    I really don’t think anyone impartial wants to be in a position to judge which projects are starved and need special funding. There are arguably a hundred of those and they simply can’t all get $1000 a month.

    As Chris says, we need to focus on things that benefit our community as a whole, that help grow our community, and that benefit the most of its members for the least number of dollars.

  7. Gunnar says:

    Judging which projects get donations is suicidal. Frankly, I’m afraid this could lead to projects competing for FoE money which is wrong IMHO. Spending the money on things (whether it’ll be IT infrastructure or community building events) which are open to all projects is a much better way. It’s not the case that the build infrastructure is just for privileged projects. It really is open to any project.

  8. digulla says:

    As an outside, I have no idea where the funds come from but have you considered donations? US $6,000 doesn’t seem like a figure which is impossible to collect on the ‘net today.

  9. digulla says:

    As an outsider, I have no idea where the funds come from but have you considered donations? US $6,000 doesn’t seem like a figure which is impossible to collect on the ‘net today.

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