If there was a new feature that was considered reasonable to include, is there an option to pay to accelerate its implementation?
IMHO, it is very unlikely that new features could get included very soon due to the current development priorities which focus on hosting migration tasks. Moreover, there is currently no crowdfunding page towards specific features, if you wanted to refer to something like Piwik Features Crowdfunding. But there is an issue tracker where you can file feature requests, vote for it, and mention that you would be willing to (co-)fund it. That would be a good start to go in search of someone interested into implementing it. Last but not least, there is a donation page for MeB.
It’s certainly possible; in fact, for some open-source projects, it is the most common way. (A prime example is the Linux project, where the majority of patches is developed for money today; e.g., a hardware company might hire someone to write and upstream a driver for their new product, and other companies are interested in the implementation of certain file system features that they want to use.)
Basically, there are two options:
- You could (try to) commission the MetaBrainz Foundation, which would then have the desired feature implemented by its employees. This has occurred at least once in the past, but I consider it relatively unlikely that MeB currently would accept such an offer, because its developer resources are very limited and more urgently needed for other tasks (see @Yvanz’s reply).
- On the other hand, you could hire a suitable independent developer to implement the feature, and it would likely be accepted just as volunteer contributions are (if of sufficient quality). I’m not aware of this having been done yet, though. Note that, for more complex features that require a deeper understanding of the existing code base, the “developer market” may be quite limited.
Some of the more desirable feature requests will require quite an effort, up to the hundreds of hours of work, and would therefore not be particularly cheap. There are other things, of course, that could be implemented in an hour or less.
FWIW, this is also one way of seeing what Google Summer of Code is. Sure, the GSoC students have mentors from within the MetaBrainz community, but they’re getting paid by a 3rd party (Google) to implement something that might not be anywhere near the top of the paid (or even volunteer) developers’ priority list.
The total stipend to a successful GSoC student is $5500 (and that’s not counting the money Google gives to the organisation (e.g., travel stipends)), so that might work as a way to calculate costs - GSoC is ~3 months of working, so that’s somewhere between $1500 and $2000 USD/month. As a baseline. If you’re hiring an established professional programmer, costs might be higher.
But yes, it is absolutely possible to pay for new features, in the manners @chirlu listed.
While there are many features I would like to see, the one that I think is important and worthwhile is for the JSON-LD structured data to include “memberOf” (ticket) relationship, as it allows us more easily to indicate which groups and bands an artist is associated with.
The information is already available on an Artist’s Relationship page, and we already implement the JSON-LD “member” relationship, for Groups, so I’m hoping it would be something not too onerous.
…and one more feature I thought was sufficiently important, was enabling musical works to link to third-party sites to “get the score”, just as we already do for releases where you can “Get the Music”, so that composers are on an equal footing to artists. See the discussion here: “Feature request: Work external URL “Get the Work” (Score)”
This doesn’t need any new code though; it just needs @reosarevok to get around to adding the relationship.
And I see that someone has already been assigned to my ticket on the mattert, so it could be implemented much soon than I could have hoped.
Is there an option for contributors to receive donations, and/or gifts, eg. Amazon wish lists. It may not be much, but I’m sure that such acknowledgements would be well received.