Crowdfunding official audio interface support

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alemusica
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Crowdfunding official audio interface support

Postby alemusica » Sun Oct 20, 2019 12:19 pm

Hi everyone!
Recently I got into this thread https://forum.rme-audio.de/viewtopic.php?id=23618. It’s the RME forum. There are many users which desire the official drivers for the Fireface (I’d really like it too) and would be ready to crowdfund it. I’d like to expand the idea not only to RME but to whoever company accept it. So basically my idea is to inform every hardware company might interest the Linux audio community, crowdfund an amount and hoping some company will accept the challenge, give the amount to one of the companies the community will choose.
Please give your opinions.
Thanks

merlyn
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Re: Crowdfunding official audio interface support

Postby merlyn » Sun Oct 20, 2019 2:35 pm

It's a good idea but I can see reasons why hardware companies wouldn't be interested.

First of all if a company could make a profit out of Linux support they would already be doing it. Secondly 'support' involves more than a one off payment -- it's an ongoing process. Crowdfunding could produce a hardware device -- that is a one off payment. Crowdfunding may be less suitable to enable support as staff would have to be employed to work on the Linux drivers.

There are also legal implications. If a company offers Linux support does that mean they will help users with any distro on any hardware? That would be too big an undertaking. Because of the diverse nature of Linux it would be difficult to provide troubleshooting advice to every Linux user who has bought the product. And if the company proudly advertise Linux support they are then obliged to fulfill that.

So a company may prefer unofficial support to avoid legal issues.

The money may be better given to ALSA devs, or a developer who is interested in writing control panel type software for existing hardware.

alemusica
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Re: Crowdfunding official audio interface support

Postby alemusica » Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:46 pm

Thanks Merlyn,
as you are a very old member of this forum, maybe you can help me to create a survey so the community can decide where to lead the work of the alsa devs and then start the crowdfund.

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CrocoDuck
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Re: Crowdfunding official audio interface support

Postby CrocoDuck » Mon Oct 21, 2019 7:28 am

I agree with everything Merlyn said.

If a company does not want to develop drivers for Linux, has never planned for it, and has no intention to do so, or even human resources to allocate for the tasks associated with it, then a one off payment will not change that. Not to mention: they will never accept a payment to carry on work they never planned to do in the first place. Companies decide how to invest their funds and time, it is not that we can turn at the door of a company and be like "we have a bag of money, please do XYZ": it doesn't quite work that way. In order for that to work, you need to enter into contractual, binding, agreements with a company ahead of the crowdfunding. In essence: funding starts after the project has been agreed, not afterwards, and the scope of the funding, the work that will be carried on, the timeline, the schedule, etc.. etc... all have to be defined.

alemusica wrote:Thanks Merlyn,
as you are a very old member of this forum, maybe you can help me to create a survey so the community can decide where to lead the work of the alsa devs and then start the crowdfund.


I definitely support donating to open source projects instead, as they often make already use of the crowdfunding model, or something along those lines (donations and all that jazz), although many projects are actually funded through the most common channels (e.g. agreements with partner companies). Still, much like a company, the developers of Open-Source projects have already a set of priorities they are working on, and we should not knock at their door with a bag of money pretending they stop doing what they do and focus on something else instead. ALSA is actually part of the Linux kernel so I would guess that maintaining integration with the Linux kernel itself, following its release cycle, it's the biggest focus and missing the associated deadlines would be disastrous for the project as well as the Kernel development cycle, perhaps. I have no idea how the ALSA project is funded, but given that it is now part of the Kernel I would guess it is funded by the Linux Foundation. This to say that one would need to have a good chat with the devs to see whether anything like this can work -at all-.

My gut feeling is that essentially nobody, either commercial or Open Source entities, will be in the position to be able to carry on some on-demand work on a short notice, as it is most probably going to be disruptive of the ordinary planned work for their project. I think it is not great to turn software developers into "on-demand service implementers" either: I do not see how this would help keeping the aim of a project consistent, but this is maybe too far away down the line...

Anyway, to create a poll, just create a new topic and in the tabs at the bottom just select "Poll creation" and fill in all the info.
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tramp
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Re: Crowdfunding official audio interface support

Postby tramp » Mon Oct 21, 2019 11:52 am

I agree as well with what Merlyn and CrocoDuck said, with the only exception :
merlyn wrote:If a company offers Linux support does that mean they will help users with any distro on any hardware? That would be too big an undertaking. Because of the diverse nature of Linux it would be difficult to provide troubleshooting advice to every Linux user who has bought the product.


Those drivers have to go into the kernel, (or be loadable as kernel modules, for the case they ain't could be done in open source, (mümel mümel . . )) so the need to support different variants of Linux distributions is negated.
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merlyn
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Re: Crowdfunding official audio interface support

Postby merlyn » Mon Oct 21, 2019 2:58 pm

tramp wrote:Those drivers have to go into the kernel, (or be loadable as kernel modules, for the case they ain't could be done in open source, (mümel mümel . . )) so the need to support different variants of Linux distributions is negated.

Thanks for clarifying that.

When @alemusica referred to 'official drivers' above I assumed he was referring to the combination of kernel modules and a control panel. In RME's case the control panel is the super whizzy and graphics heavy Toatal Mix. It was Total Mix that I thought could be more trouble than it was worth for RME to guarantee would work on all the different Linux systems out there.

Rather than speculation on my part it would be better to find out :D

@alemusic what outcome would you want from this project? Is it a Linux version of Total Mix?


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