I’ve recently started using Rawtherapee as an essential piece of software at my art reproduction shop. I would personally love if there were like a Rawtherapee Developer Fund on Patreon or something similar (I know the Godot project had (maybe still has?) this even without being a formal organization.
I’ve seen a couple different suggestions in different threads about how to contribute to Rawtherapee but it kind of feels like the suggested options are not really looking for donations (?). Surely there are at least a couple contributors that could actively use a little money for their effort?
Well I mean - I would want 100% of my donations to go directly to RawTherapee development. Thats why I mention something like a Developer Fund that would have the goal of having a full time developer paid by the fund, or bugs/features with bounties or something.
@heckflosse is one of the main developers for RawTherapee and has been truly instrumental as a developer in many of its tools and overall optimization. This is the first time I have seen him solicit funds (i.e. he’s not in for the money)
Oh I don’t mean to sound like I’m saying @heckflosse isn’t deserving of donation or anything. (though being new here I have no idea who the devs on this project are, now I know who one is )
I think what I’m trying to say is that as an end user, I would rather put money into a pot that someone else gives out to developers rather than sending money to individual developers. If i’m commissioning work on some particular bug or feature I need then yeah, paying a developer directly makes sense. But I would prefer there was a general fund I could contribute to as an automatic recurring payment that the devs can draw from as needed.
I’m thinking something along the lines of the Blender Development Fund that companies can become a sponsor of. If RT is too small of a project for that, then maybe a fund that covers RT, Darktable, Argyll, etc?
I honestly don’t think you would even need to go as far as making a 501c3, that is indeed a good bit of overhead. Heck when I used to work with Godot all the time they were getting funding from big corporations even without a formal organization and just a patreon page.
That makes sense, but such a thing is not possible for RawTherapee. Whether such a system works is also a matter of perspective. My thoughts on this:
If you accept donations, some users will inevitably start to expect things. This creates some pressure to perform, which you actually may not be comfortable with. You could of course ignore this, but then you accept the risk that when development stalls people may start to look negatively on you or your project (“He just took my money and nothing ever happened, booo”).
Does a project need money to function? I think it is safe to claim that the RT project doesn’t need money to continue*. There are very few developers, all of whom are in it for the fun. While we will try to deliver a fully functional and polished product, we’re just hobbyists, not the least interested in commercial business. We will work on it in our own time, when we feel like it, just because we like to, regardless of the money you give us.
Regardless of Ingo’s personal deliberations on accepting donations, he’s definitely worth his lines of code in gold However, always be aware that you’re not donating to the project as a whole; Ingo is also never obliged to somehow convert to donated money into more programming.
[*] There are a few actual costs for RT (e.g. webhosting). Pixls is supporting us for that. Shout-out to @patdavid for his efforts! He’s very transparent about the financial side if you want to know. So if you want to help out RT and others, consider donating to Pixls.
Just maybe to add to this. There are of course alternatives as soon as somebody gets the opportunity to work on RT on a structural basis. But that usually involves larger sums of money, actual contract-work or some more philanthropic attitude where somebody just ditches their day job to work full-time on a project out of interest (this is what sort-of happened with darktable).
Already in 2012 the website of RawTherapee did have a donate button somewhere on it! In my mailbox I stumbled upon a discussion of the RawTherapee Open Source Management Comittee that existed at that time (of which I was a member). But Gabor Horvath, the original creator of RT, asked if the site maintainer could remove that button, because there was some money on the bank account to pay the webhosting for a couple of years.
In that same discussion we were talking about an incredible offer of a company to add adware to RawTherapee, which would generate enormous amounts of money blabla, which everyone refused of course.
We’re ten years later and this idea could be revived of course. So you start RT and you see a 10 seconds ad of a very big petrochemical company saying that it is, and always has been, the very greenest company ever on this planet!