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Question for coders: What do you think of this idea?


I was involved in a 'ale & blues'-fueled discussion last night with some of my fellow FOSS cronies when this article posted on the Tux Machines website came up:

Open Sourcity articleOpen Sourcity is a place where great ideas inspire talented programmers
Posted 22 Nov 2013 by Beaux Walton
open source ideas

How often have you thought of a way to improve a piece of software or hardware? How many times have you wondered why companies invest millions of dollars to produce a product that is obviously lacking from the moment it launches? Have you ever wished you were in a position, or had the skills, to change that?

Chances are if you've typed 'open source' into your search engine then you've heard about SourceForge and OpenHatch. If you're not familiar with these sites, I'd absolutely recommend checking them out. They present an amazing platform where you can get involved with a variety of high-quality, open source projects.

But, what if you're not a programmer? If you look around, you'll find an article by Doug McKean titled: How non-programmers can contribute to open source projects. As he mentions, there are heaps of ways for non-programmers to help. There's always beta testing, documenting, translation, evangelizing, and donating.
The problem

What if you have an idea, just not the skills to see it come to fruition? An Austrian friend and I faced that very dilemma. We came up with an amazing application to change the way mechanics service or repair vehicles they're not familiar with. The only problem was to develop such an idea was going to cost us upwards of $40,000. We wanted to get involved with an open source team, not to beta test or evangelize, but we wanted people to help us make our software a reality. We wanted to get together with like-minded, passionate people, and we wanted to see our dreams become reality. Just because we can't code, doesn't mean an amazing idea should never see the light of day, does it? Programmers and developers are always trying to come up with good ideas, what if that idea is a non-programmer's head, and they're happy to share it and help develop it?
Our vision

It's time to change the game. Ideas for software programs should no longer be left in the hands of people with just technical skills. People with good ideas should be able to inspire and work alongside open source programmers to create amazing software, regardless of their computing background. Open Sourcity will be the community platform where great ideas inspire talented programmers to help create software that matters most to people. Idea and skills sharing will see developments that we've only ever imagined, but never thought would see the light of day due to lack of support.
Let's get started

We're looking to work with passionate people to make this community a reality. If you're a web designer, graphics designer, marketing expert, SEO expert, or just someone with a really good idea, get in touch now. Anyone with a desire to further the open source message can take part in this project. Together we can create the future we want.

Join our Google Group, check out, or send an email to: [email protected]
--- End quote ---

It proposes starting yet another community that actively brings non-coders and coders together with the intent of providing coders with ideas and inspiration for new projects...

Some of the opinions expressed in our group (which includes coders and non-coders) were interesting to say the least. Truth is, it even got a little heated at times. And the sides in the discussion didn't break down neatly between those who were able code and those who can't. (Which surprised me!)

I'd be interested in hearing from some of the folks at DC who do programming to see what their opinion is on something like what is being proposed for

So OK DC coders...what say you?

(I'll chime in later with what went down in my group about it. I'd like to get some independent opinions here first.)

I think there are some nice ideas there.. In fact it has some of the flavor of the kinds of things I've been thinking about for a rebirth of DonationCoder version 2..

This started out to be a long post, but I lost my train of thought and went off on tangents and salacious opinionations.  So, brevity often being a virtue, I'll simply say I think it will either be a stunning success or a quickly-forgotten-and-swept-under-the-rug failure.  Personally, I like the idea, but it's going to take a lot of active participation from both sides of the fence.  If successful, it would remind me of something like DC's 'Coding Snacks' on steroids, or like the discussion forums of many established softwares where the principal coder(s) actually listen to bug reports and suggestions.

So, here's hoping for the best  :Thmbsup:, but it wouldn't surprise me if it fizzles.  :(

First off, that is an amazing website -- to me it feels a bit like the modern day equivalent of a page filled with blink tags and animated gifs :P.

Having a shrill pink and green banner that takes up half the screen, and things sliding in and out every paragraph, shouldn't take away focus from the idea though, which I really like.

Two things that worry me:

There is a tendency that developers and users speak slightly different languages, and users can sometimes have a hard time expressing what their idea is, in terms that developers can understand. Also, as soon as you've managed to communicate the idea to the developer, won't something like GitHub work better?

And what would the legal status be of the app, what if the developer wants to monetize the amazing app he wrote? what if the user who had the original idea does?

Btw, from the forum:


^Yeah...that forum thread brought me to a screeching halt and set off my nagi-buzzer too. And I'm not PC by any stretch. I'm hoping it's just somebody pranking them.

But if so, they really need to be monitoring their site better.


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