Cool idea. 40hz's concerns are definitely legitimate. Still as a potential contributor I'd be willing to forego any share of profits if some cool stuff comes out of it.
I think many of us would. Few people expect something back for their donations so long as nobody else
is getting rich off them either. But the problem is how to keep one of these new projects from just turning into a (donation funded) commercial enterprise.
There's an inherent contradiction someplace in there that I just can't seem to get around.
If you take a look at some of the big FOSS projects that have recently gone under a corporate mantle (MySQL for example) you can see the potential for problems.
For while very few
begrudged the fact that MySQL's central project team finally got some 'payback' for years of hard work, it was still a pretty raw deal for the many who materially contributed to the project over the years, but were not brought in as part of the clique
And it was also a major blow to the 'social contract' necessary for FOSS to work when Sun almost immediately started to look for ways to get around the GPL (despite assurances to the contrary) by internally forking MySQL into a community and a commercial set of releases with functional differences in the core code
To be sure, many OSS products have community and commercial editions. But in most cases, the commercial version came first
, rather than the other way around as it did with "Sun's" MySQL.
The big hoopla that went down following Sun's announcement caused them to relent on some of their plans. But nobody is convinced it's anywhere near over. The departure of MySQL founder Martin Mikos from Sun in early 2009 would appear to indicate as much. And the steady stream of departures (Gosling, Phipps, Nutter, Enerbo, Siegler, Wierzbicki, et al) all of whom are major developers and project leaders from the OSS world tends to further reinforce the notion that all is not well in paradise.
So for me the question is how something like Eureka Fund's methodology can avoid creating a similar debacle down the road.