[FFmpeg-devel] How to manage donations / fundings

Stefano Sabatini stefano.sabatini-lala
Mon Jul 27 00:56:38 CEST 2009

On date Sunday 2009-07-26 21:44:00 +0200, Michael Niedermayer encoded:
> On Sun, Jul 26, 2009 at 11:43:04AM +0200, Stefano Sabatini wrote:
> [...]
> > Also when money is involved things tend to get nasty, and that could
> > issue frictions between devs, 
> yes, iam not happy about it either, and i know what you mean ... thinking
> of what will happen to any money obtained through the SFLC/lawsuits ...
> also we still dont have a way for people to donate to ffmpeg ...
> just think of how many google summer of code projects we could have funded
> over the years had we a way for people to donate, even if the money wouldnt
> be used for anything else ...
> > that's maybe a necessary evil if we
> > want to continue to have a dedicated person to the project.
> iam not sure if it is a necessary evil, i guess the world is complicated
> and there may be solutions that are not evil. But our minds might be too
> limited to see them or we might plain lack the power to realize them.
> For example, if we follow the simple chain of reasoning that, FOSS is
> helping the public tremeandously (free & outstanding software) it would only
> be logic to pay developers for working on it, after all teachers are also paid,
> so is the police and firefighters as well as scientsts doing research and
> advancing humans knowledge ... they all serve the public, so does FOSS
> development ... somewhere music & movies also fit in that, like artists and
> actors giving their works away for free copying should also be paid through
> tax money because they as well help the public ...
> Now, not waiting for politicans to learn what software or FOSS is ...
> Some random ideas (these of course need consensus amongth the ffmpeg
> developers to be actually done)
> * adding a bounty field to roundup so people can offer money, technically
>   this should be very easy, we also added a substatus field ...
> * Finally seting up some way for random people to donate money to ffmpeg
>   via credit card or simple european bank transfer, it should also be
>   possible for people to tag their donation like ("for snow development")
> All in all there really are 2 ways to donate, the first that people can donate
> to a specific developer possibly in exchange for some work and donations to
> ffmpeg itself. The first always existed but AFIAK the amount from it is far
> below even paying for food for any devel, simply because these things are
> too rare also i prefer alot to work on what i like to work on and not
> work on a specific part that someone wants ...
> The second, that is donations to ffmpeg itself would be new, to do this
> we first would need to deal with the legal issues and we probably would
> need some person who at least for legal proposes is in charge of the money.
> The really sensitive part of course would be the question on how to decide
> what to do with the money, you already mentioned that this could very easily
> lead to frictions which we must avoid at all costs!
> My suggestion, thus would be and that may be unconventional simply to
> require a unanimous agreement of all ffmpeg developers for each use of
> ffmpeg money. Id guess that would prevent any frictions, at least i hope ...
> In practice this could be realized by the following simple rules
> * Any ffmpeg developer can suggest ffmpeg money to be used for any purpose,
>   such suggestions have to be sent to ffmpeg-dev and use [FINANCE] in the
>   subject, it is of course recommanded to discuss any such suggestion with
>   the other developers before
> * Any ffmpeg developer can veto any suggested use of ffmpeg money, any single
>   veto renders the specific suggestion void
> * If a suggestion does not receive any vetos in 2 weeks it is accepted and
>   must be followed by the person in charge of the money. Similarly the person
>   in charge of the money may not do anything else with the money than what
>   has been trough this process without vetos.
> comments and flames are welcome

The problems with vetos is that they make very difficult to actually
do things and they give too much power to every single participant in
the choice, I would rather prefer a system based on majority (e.g. if
GOLDEN_RATIO of the participants agree then the decision is accepted).

Also there has been already a discussion on the subject:


The main problem is that setting / organizing such things require time
and expertise skills, which is what developers usually lack, that's
why many FLOSS projects don't work very well with managing money:


An alternative solution to direcly manage the funding and all the
related administration / fiscal issues would be to depend on some
external organisation, for example:


FFmpeg = Forgiving Fierce Minimalistic Philosofic Enhancing Gadget

More information about the ffmpeg-devel mailing list