Thanks for your comments. I want to take a second to respond to them, because you've raised many issues which have been on my mind lately.
If you're going to create a project that is true to the spirit of whatever movement, you have to adopt the paradigm of what its participants expect. When you accomplish anything less, your credibility is often questioned.
This is completely true, and I've found the K5/OSS community especially vulnerable to mistrust and paranoia along these lines. I sometimes wonder what the source of this mistrust is. Perhaps too long fighting unscrupulous corporations?
Donating "referral link" pop-up money to projects is probably, in the eyes many hackers, dirty money. It's like making money from bulk e-mailing (spamming). You might be trying to do something genuinely good here, but I would suggest that you hinge the success of the project around the quality of the coupons you put on it.
I think this is a fair assessment, although I hope that what I'm doing is a far cry from spamming. I never expected that the Opons project would receive as much criticism as it has. It started as a way for me to organize various coupons that I find around the web. Personally, I think this has been the most amusing part of the dot-com boom, namely, the number of sites just giving away free money in order to attract users. When I realized that this could not only benefit me, but generate revenues for a site, I thought there might be some way to convert that phenomenon into something positive. But I really have no interest in offending anybody, or in even appearing to be exploitative. I wonder if K5 readers have suggestions on how to avoid that... That's the main reason I posted this story.
If you want to donate, do it and don't flaunt it around, because, when you do that, people want to know how much, where to, and why you couldn't give an extra xx dollars more. It also makes them feel uncomfortable.
The interesting thing about this point is that I (and, I think, most hackers) don't have much money. This strikes me as a very interesting way to generate money for deserving projects without having to have a lot of it ourselves. Imagine 1000 users each generate $25 for themselves and for the site (not hard to do - it only takes one signup, actually). That's $50K injected into the community. Maybe that's chump change to VA, but I think there are many projects/foundations that could really use it.
Finally, the main thing that free/open software projects need is help, discussion, contribution... not money. If you really want to help, keep the money, invest in some good books, and help write software.
Not that I want to sound defensive, but I do all of these things too. I'm not just some con artist trying to make a buck. I've written a heck of a lot of open source code: for Scoop, for Enzyme, etc. I just think that having an anti-commerce bias is something that could hinder the OSS community. I mean, somebody has to pay RMS's salary, right? What about the EFF's DVD legal defense fund? The list goes on...
Anyway, I don't mean to sound preachy, it's just that I want this thing to succeed. I think it's important enough to spend time answering these kinds of concerns. I hope others here will do the same, and voice their own.
Promoting open-source OO code reuse on the web: the Enzyme open-source project
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