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Funding New Features -- Need some new idea I think

I love Ardupilot, of course, and stump up a small amount each month.

Given that the software development that I do is not useful for embedded development, I cannot really code much for the project. That said, how do I/we get movement on adding some features that are lagging?

For example, serial camera control with the Runcam protocol and Gopro control.

Can we crowdfund such features? It would be up to the project leaders to organize what could be offered and come up with how much it would cost? I do think a fair number of people would probably be willing to contribute if a mechanism was created. This could also apply to maintaining such features if they needed an overhaul.

In general it would be nice to come up with new models for how Ardupilot can be supported – short of being a commercial operator that can pay for features to be added. It would also be another way to interact with hobbyist users and understand what they want and value.

Anyone else think this is a good idea?

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Hello,

Disclamer : that is not an official response, but my as team member.

This subject was largely debated inside the dev team during the last two years (at least). I think that we all want what your are speaking about but the main source of issues are : lack of management, lack of long term budget, lack of full time developper.
It a good chicken-egg issue : without stable funding, we won’t full time paid developper (yep I work for free here ;-P), without full time developper/manager we won’t have stable funding…

We already support funding of new feature, mostly with the partner program and also bug tracking. But generally we lack works force either for coding or review …

For new funding coming from the communauty, we have a funding commitee : http://ardupilot.org/dev/docs/how-the-team-works-development-fund.html . Maybe we should advertise more how to make proposal as those proposal are generally mostly fund by the project and sometimes with help from partner.

Another issue with funding feature is how to suppervised work ? We need somebody to code and somebody to watch over. But what append if it goes wrong ? Ardupilot has no legal right nor the money to attack a contractor (given that we made contractor contract for a feature). You see what I mean ?
I would love to work 100% for ardupilot, but for now, it isn’t possible.

I definitely can see the issue here and it really would require resources to manage crowd-funded developers. Mind you I really would not envision this as being terribly commercial. I would think it really a case of being used by the funding committee to spend on existing developers rather than just thrown out to devs for hire – that would be a non-starter.

The key being that these resources come from hobbyists who have pooled their resources. Serial camera control is a good example but there are others like it. It is basically asking users to pony up a little $$. I bet there must be a 100 people that would pay $20 each even to get Runcam control.

What about something like bountysource.com? Looks like there are some big teams/projects on there like IBM, and Mozilla.

Servers by jDrones