Working smarter not harder

Mesa Crowd Funding Survey Feedback

Follow my successful crowd funding campaign to help improve OpenGL support on Linux I ran survey to get some feedback from my backers. Here is the feedback and my responses.

For those interested I've just started my follow up campaign to do some more work improving OpenGL support on Linux: http://igg.me/p/585689/x/2053460

Anyway here is the feedback.

  • “Join a FLOSS-company of your choice. Actually, this project was a perfect work sample to help FLOSS companies to value your skills.”
  • “Keep up the good work! Hope to see you employed in a FOSS project one day ;)”

I would really like to. Hopefully someday.

  • “advertise it. if you can pull off crowdsourcing to the degree of paying someone fulltime to work on things PEOPLE want to see being worked on, rather than for-profit corporations, maybe you'll be able to get people to commit a percentage of their income to fund full time programmers for projects that concern humanity (i.e. Mesa, Wayland/Weston, OSS gpu drivers, etc)”
  • “More publicity prior to commencing.”
  • “should try to get more attention from media, i noticed your project once it got funded. Not sure, but rootgamer.com just might been able to reach a wider audience”

I tried my best. To tell you the truth a lot of Linux websites just plain ignored my requests.
This is probably because I didn't have any previous Mesa contributions to back up my claims I could do what I was saying. I would love to be able to successfully fund some full time developers in such a way but $3,000 is one thing I'm not sure how possible it would be to raise enough to support full time work.

  • “You need to let people hear more about this. I am a daily follower of /r/linux in Reddit and I never heard of your campaign.”

I had never used Reddit before creating my campaign I think someone put it in the comments section or something. I know how Reddit works this time around so I can post it myself 🙂

  • “I can't really see the benefits of the campaign but anyway I ask filly aware of the problem that mesa drivers lack, and I am happy that someone did something to improve them.”

I think you answered your own question.

  • “I probably would have chipped in $1, but having your lowest amount be $5 for an "Every cent counts" category is a bit weird.”

Indiegogo allows you to select a different amount if you wish to so you could have donated. However something you should note for campaigns you contribute to in future is that if you only donate $1 paypal takes $0.30 of that dollar. So if 1 million people donated $1 paypal would make $300,000. Anything over $1 and paypal still only takes $0.30 plus a small percentage I think its 1%.  So if 200,000 people donated $5 instead a lot more money ends up in the project as opposed to paypals pocket.

  • “Periodic e-mails on the progress the developer is making to backers.”

I decided against doing this instead creating a daily blog that people could visit to avoid flooding their inbox with daily updates.

  • “I would want to ensure the work would be done before payment thus use a platform that pays on completion such as feature bounties and that there is longer term commitment to contributing a than one off feature development. Fundcfor a year or six months for a position at the Linux foundation or other free software organization would be my preference.”

Many people suggested this during my campaign and I understand your concern with handing money up front but as many people pointed out software developers need to eat and provide for their families. There are many sites that have tried to use bountys to get software work done but they just don't work.

  • "explain better”

I tried to explain things as simply as possible.

  • “Better and bigger improvements in OpenGL, with demos and examples.”

This would involve more time which means I would need more funding.

  • “As you wrote it was your first crowd funding campaign and mesa development. Thus I first was a bit sceptical and funded only $5. But with a first campaign successfully completed I think people have more confidence in you and your skills and would certainly back future campaigns with more money.”
  • “With the trust you gain, next campain will be more successful, I am sure of that”

I hope this is true.

  • “A project website where all the links, the progress reports and results are published would have been great.”

Hmm, I had such a thing setup on the Github wiki. I'm sorry you didn't see it.

  • “stretchgoals: more granular like for every x amount 2 or 3 days additional time instead of only full weeks”

This is a very hard thing to do for any software project as things can often take more or less time than originally planned, especially when you are still learning how a project like Mesa works.

  • “Put MESA in the name of the project. It will be much easier to find on Google.”
  • “I guess, you could include "Mesa" next time in the project title, makes it easier to find/classify ;)”

I originally did. I changed the project title to be more descriptive for those who didn't know what Mesa was. Next time I will try leave it in the title.

  • “4. If you were to back a similar campaign in the future how much would you contribute? I pay more obviusly if the work i understand is more or less complex or importance”

Make sense to me thanks for the feedback.

  • “Good updates, despite my not understanding much of the detail. I'm just glad I backed a technology that will benefit others in the long run, to the benefit of a platform I love.”

Thanks for helping improve Linux.

  • “Please make your documentation useful for other people who would like to start developing in Mesa.”
  • “The documentation that would help newcommers to start hacking with mesa was a main motivation for me to contribute. I hope the document that will come out in the process would be of great value”

I often point out my documentation on forums, reddit etc to people who have ask how they can start on Mesa development. So far I have not had any feedback so not sure how useful it has been.

  • “Where is open gl es support? you hav extra funded”

I put the extra time into piglit tests and documentation. From what I understand ES support is very easy to add I just haven't had the time to try build the ES version of Mesa yet. For anyone that wanted to try adding ES support it should be a trivial task.

  • “Very happy about the communication regarding the project.”

Great

  • “How much i would contribute always depends on what will be done and how big the project is. A thing that could be improved is that you show the end user what benefit he has from the work. You already tried this, but I think this can be improved. I know with just a debugging option in drivers this is hard to do, but this is whats needed. So it would be perfect if you have a concrete example where people(projects) need the new driver feature ( best a game, or anything else that affects many users ) . Even if such a description for end users is not entirely correct because the technical details are too hard to describe, just write something how it does affect the end user. For example: Less crashing of game xy linux version because the developers can now see whats wrong in this game. I think this would make even more people spend their money.”
  • “Once the code get commited, do a follwo up. Then try to reach the user of that extention in the open source comunity: intel dev, amd dev, valve guys and other video game editor. then get them to talk on how your work improved their work. Thanks :)”
  • “I think you did it well. A cool point would have been to have big company/well known peoples review of your work and why it's important. :)”

Well an example of why this work was useful can be seen in the link bellow. The extension I worked on is now used in the popular open source OpenGL debugging tool APITrace. Helping to make debugging an OpenGL application on Linux a better experience. This type of work should encourage development on Linux.
APITrace Continues Bettering OpenGL Debugging

  • “more detail of the project”

I tried my best to explain things in detail, but there is a fine line between spending to much time writing blog posts in detail and doing actual development work. I thought I got the balance just about right.

  • “The communication was spot on, the results are there, the timing is also good. I would just provide a bit more background about yourself as a contributor ti open source. Ultimatly knowing more about you are a person would also be positive for the campain.”

Agreed. Hopefully this will be much easier next time round now that I have this campaign under my belt.

  • “Next time please post your updates on a blog or somewhere else we can comment on them. I've really missed that feature on indigogo.”

That was the original plan but then I switch to using the github wiki. I really wish I didnt do that as I really would have liked feedback throughout the campaign. Lesson learned.

  • “Great idea! It grates on me when I hear people say that I'm not willing to pay for software! I would gladly pay people to write good stuff for me - I just don't want to pay a big mega-corp to lock me in. Keep up the good work, look forward to hearing more!”

Thanks

  • “I think it would be nice to say what implications this work has (or will have) on linux end users, when you expect it to be on the official repos, this kinda stuff. Not everyone is a developer and many people would like to see gaming getting strong on linux. I bet many people don't even know what Mesa is. Also, thank you. :)”

I tried my best to explain my project to people who dont know what Mesa is but I'll keep your points in mind. I think your right about explaining better about we to expect this stuff in offical repos.

  • “I like beer.”

Mmm, me too.

  • “Very well done in almost every aspect: Creating publicity (by fundraising & then blogging your daily progress), showing out your skills, proper code and an important step for MESA in terms of catching up with OpenGL spec versions. Kudos & cheers to you!”
  • “I am just happy to be able to donate to some one who can improve Linux code, since I can not.”
  • “Congratulations on a project well executed :-)”
  • “Very professional conduct for an experimental idea.”
  • “Thanks for your work!”
  • “I just wanted to thank you for your effort.”
  • “Keep up the good work.”
  • “well done.”
  • “thank you! ”
  • “Congratulations and thanks for this.”
  • “Good work!”
  • “Nice work =)”
  • “Great job!”
  • “good luck on future projects!”
  • “Awesome work!”
  • “Contine aporting options to the comunity to advance in open source projects etc. Thanks”

Thanks for your support too, I couldn't have got there without the project backers.

  • “I didn't actually understand what that extension was for... hence I did not know if I cared for it or not... and so did not back the campaign, but I love the outcome.”

Next time feel free to ask me questions.

  • “Please explain what it is that you do for mesa and how it affects the users, ie, new feature, bug fix, what sort of graphic cards are affected etc. Also I didn't like the relation between question 1 and 4. I didn't back your campaign, so the answers in question number 4 does not make sense. I expect more from a developer :)”

I explained all this on the campaign page on Indiegogo I guess you didn't see it. Yes I'm no Survey Wizard thats for sure but the answers where very insightful.

  • “I was too late to fund you. I wish I had. Thank you so much for proving this model works for FLOSS development!”

No problem. Hopefully some other dev does a campaign at some point I would like to fund someone else doing some work on Mesa too.

  • “Well done Tim, you rock. Please do some more work on Mesa if possible. I would back another campaign for Mesa improvements.”
  • “Thank you for your hard work! It is really a great idea to crowd fund mesa development and I want more of that. You mentioned ARB_arrays_of_arrays on day 8 news. So maybe you can start another crowd funding campaign for that extension. Probably with a shorter time-frame as it is a simpler extension (as you wrote) but I would really appreciate this and would certainly back it. Keep up the great work you do for FOSS.”

I have just announced my next campaign for the ARB_arrays_of_arrays extension. Unfortunately the work is more complex than I first envisaged but please see my campaign for more details. Thanks for your feedback and funding.

  • “Sooo quick! Unlike all the other cool projects that get overfunded, you delivered on time. You totally destroyed all the hype. The HYPE man! That's what crowdfunding is about, right? Just kidding :)”

Haha, I know you are joking but your right crowdfunding IS about hype, and a sense of personal involvement with the project. This is why I tried to answer everyones questions throughout the campaign and project and why I made sure to do daily updates even though I was still typing them up just before going to sleep most nights. When its only a couple of weeks work you have to try give as much feedback as possible. I really wish I could do a campaign for a whole years worth of funding however I don't think I yet at a point to attempt this and I'm not sure it would make it but if it ever does there would be plenty of hype to go around.

  • “The daily status reports where really great!”

Thanks, I plan to do them on my website next time so people can leave comments/ask questions.

  • “Good job. I didn't think you would finish”

This made me laugh.

  • “Could you comment on the fact that once patches has been sent to the development mailing lists it can take a lot of time to get them accepted, and this means that the discussion about the patches (and the eventual request for changes) will take place after you have stopped working on this campaign.”

Sure I will try make this more clear next time. Thanks for the feedback.

  • “tbh I didn't really 'follow' the project, it's just I use linux and win at home (win only for games), if linux had all the game I want, I probs wouldn't boot to windows. This project seemed to be heading in the right direction to help game devs publish to linux easier/cheaper (therefore they're more lightly to do it).”

Thanks for the feedback.

  • “I really hope that, know you have knowledge about how to improve MESA, you will still actively support it in your free time, because that's the spirit of FOSS. We can't pay everybody to work on stuff, otherways the devs doing the same in their free time get pissed and nobody would work for free. I saw this campaign as a possibility for you to get into MESA development, I hope you agree with that.”

Thanks, I do a lot of work in my free time and I have continued to improve upon my work after the project finished. I have also had a few more contribution accepted to Mesa since this project finished mostly in preparation for the arrays_of_arrays extension. However sometimes you really need a larger chunk of time to work on something like a whole extension. I would hope nobody gets pissed off as they can always do their own campaign (I would fund them). As I explained in my campaign most FOSS devs ARE paid full to work on FOSS projects.

2 Comments

  1. Vadim P.'s Gravatar Vadim P.
    November 12, 2013    

    You didn't have to answer every comment in the survey! 🙂

  2. November 13, 2013    

    I only just stumbled across this. It was an excellent initiative, and I hope your next kickstarter succeeds too (the current figures say Definitely Yes).

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