Bug Bounty

Should We Pay for Eclipse Bug Fixes?

Jessica Thornsby

Should the community be willing to offer cash incentives for bugs they want fixed?

There is currently some buzz in the blogosphere around the idea of ‘bug bounty.’

Holger posted a blog questioning what an Eclipse user should do, when they discover a bug they cannot fix themselves, citing bug 8009 as a prime example. He proposes that offering a cash reward to whoever fixes a particularly tricky bug, could be the way forward. The money could be paid into a trust account and then, if the bug goes unfixed for a specified period of time, the payer could decide whether they wanted their money back, or donate it to Eclipse.

Following the blog post, Ralf Ebert experimented with Holger’s idea and offered a bug bounty for bug 155828. This bug looks to address the issue of the JUnit 4.0 test suite wizard that’s missing from Eclipse JDT.

However, Ebert has a few ideas of his own. He suggests adding a shopping cart to the bug tracker, to create a marketplace for bug fixes and enhancements. He suggests this would lower the entry barrier to funding open source work, because the cost of bug fixes and enhancements could be shared between individuals.

“The tragedy for Eclipse is that the average corporate developer has no way whatsoever to spend money on his behalf for tooling and runtimes,” he writes “open source software is free as in freedom, but not free as in free beer.”

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