Neither am I.
(Understand that I’m not specifically referring to myself here.)
Suppose I’m over-stressed and lost interest in “my” module aardvark.py
in the std lib, and haven’t touched it in five years. There are tons of
serious bug reports, nobody wants to work on them, and the Steering
Council decides to depreciate it and maybe remove it.
But before that becomes official, the quantity surveying community
decide that they cannot live without the aardvark module and offer to
crowd fund, say, 3 days a month for two years. Or maybe it’s just one
company or person who offers to fund it.
Or maybe they are flush with cash and decide to fund a full time
position. Remember when folks were all excited about crowd funding Mark
Shannon? By memory, we were talking about half a million there, although
not for maintaining one small module
Now maybe to people on a five-figure salary with full time work, a
measly three days a month isn’t going to interest them one bit. But
there have certainly been times in my life that even 1 day a month of
paid development work might have helped me rediscover my love of
I’m probably not the only Open Source coder who would find their stress
levels go down rather than up if offered some money.
(Anyone who has enough of their needs fulfilled that money ceases to be
a de-stressor is very lucky
And if not? I can always say No thanks, I’m too busy or otherwise not
interested. Maybe I want a change of career. Maybe I’ve decided to turn
my back on technology. There’s no obligation to say yes.
But there’s surely no harm in giving the community the opportunity to
make the offer to pay, if they care enough. (Perhaps they don’t.)
Maybe one of the other devs will volunteer. Or not.
The PSF pays Åukasz to work through a lot of bug reports that aren’t
being worked on by anyone else. He probably considers that a fair
It is hardly unusual for developers to work on projects that they don’t
personally care about in exchange for money.
That’s two years from now, and the module will be in a much better state
Maybe my circumstances have changed and I’ve rediscovered my love of the
module, or there are a dozen quantity surveyors lining up to maintain
the module, or a big rock from space has hit the planet and the
survivors have more pressing concerns than the Python stdlib. Who knows?
We don’t have to solve problems for all time to make a temporary
solution worthwhile. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
We have plenty of precedent here. There are people who either are, or
have been, paid by their employers to work a certain number of hours on
Python. Guido was (is?) one. I think there are a few Microsoft employees
who are paid to contribute. The rules aren’t different just because they
are being paid.
I’m not assuming anything. John Andersen made a suggestion and I’m
running with it for further discussion.
It seems to me that there are two viewpoints here: those who think that
having “batteries included” is important, and those who don’t.
Both groups agree that having unmaintained modules in the stdlib is a
problem that needs to be solved. The first group are looking for
solutions which would fix that while keeping the module in the stdlib.
(John’s idea was to give the community a better opportunity to step up
and contribute either time or money.)
The second group doesn’t care too much about keeping modules (especially
niche modules) in the stdlib. Some of them might not even want a stdlib
at all, outside of the bare bones needed to bootstrap enough of an
environment to install whatever you want.
So if there is little or no benefit to keeping a module in the stdlib,
then why try to keep it in the stdlib? If a module is unmaintained, push
it out of the stdlib, and the lack of maintenance becomes somebody
I don’t think those two groups are ever going to be in full agreement,
but I think we should at least allow discussion and debate.
“We can’t allow crowd-funding to pay you to maintain this module,
because some of the other developers who aren’t maintaining it are
already being paid full-time to do other things.”