среда, 17 ноября 2010 г.

Collective donate

This is a translation of my previous post in case we need to contact someone in the english-speaking part of the world.

In my previous prticle I described a mechanism of collective funding of free software development. In my opinion, the scheme is quite viable, but still some questions remain and one of them is how one can start?

Today highly skilled developers get about $20 30 per hour, so one should have at least $1000 to make an order. I think I will not be mistaken if I say that most people are ready to spend only $1 2 at a time. To make the collective funding of free software orders work, it is necessary to have a network with thousands of nodes in it. So a chain from someone who places an order to the end users who invest their $ 1-2, will include at least 4-5 mediators.

Before a social network reaches such proportions, it should appear and develop somehow. It is hardly possible without constant financing of some small tasks. As an example I propose to collect donations for the collective development of free software projects.

How does it work?

We all have probably seen that there is a donate button on some free software projects sites. Many of us perhaps have thought about making a donation, as developers do not get enough money for their job and may soon lose their interest in the project. It happens. One may find the examples quite easily. I can cite Linux Router Project as an example.

Unfortunately, the proposed methods of making a donation in Russia sometimes remind me of a mockery. To make a donation one should have a Visa card or an electronic wallet PayPal. The minimum payment size allowed by the payment system and a commission make it almost impossible to donate the amounts less than $ 10-15, which cuts off users willing to donate just $ 1-2. But here a social network that was described in my previous article may work.

I propose to unite in groups of 10 15 people. One deals with the support of a credit card or PayPal wallet and sends invitations to friends to make donations. The others supply him with the money for $ 1-2 donations. A convenient way to transfer money should be chosen. You can even transfer cash from hand to hand.

So now it's clear with the transferring of money. Now the ways of control should be discussed. How can one check that his donation was made and the money reached the project.

The following mechanism can be used.

Some projects promise to mention those who donate more than the others on a special page. Let's imagine that only a name and a sum of money are mentioned. The node transferring the money to the project states a specified message encrypted by a private key that corresponds with the known public key that is available to all the nodes.

If a message appears on a project site, it means that the money that was collected by the node reached the project and everything was fulfilled.


Imagine that there is a simple social network consisting of 7 friends wishing to maintain open source software. For the sake of simplicity let's imagine that no one refuses or tries to cheat. (In the previous article was described how a network avoids such attempts).

The network is a tree and each participant is ready to pay no more than $2.

  • Vasya

    • Petya

      • Andrew

      • Ira

    • Igor

      • Denis

      • Natasha

Vasya makes assertion: "I want to donate $10 to KDE project with the message "KDE forever." I will encrypt the message with the key K. You will be able to read it using the public key P (attached to the suggestion)."

Then he sends the suggestion to Petya and Igor and asks them for $5.

Those forward the suggestion to their friends and ask them for $2. They get $4, add their own $1 and send the money to Vasya.

Vasya collects all the money and sends it to the project with the specified message.

Let's suppose that Denis wants to check if the donation was made. Despite the fact that he doesn't know Vasya, he can do it easily. He visits the site, finds a list of donations there and tries to decrypt the message with the key P. If after the decryption he finds a message "KDE is everything", he can be sure that his money reached the goal.


Perhaps the proposed scheme will seem unnecessarily complicated to you. Why is it so difficult? Let me remind you that there is a great difference between $10 and $1000. As long as a network grows, it should be able to solve different tasks.

Seven people from our example may know each other and come to an agreement. To donate $100 one should involve 50-100 people, and most of them won't know each other.

The proposed method gives the opportunity to control the process of donating in a big network, where nodes know only their friends, but not all members of the network.

In my opinion, there is a good way to build up a network from a scratch. Everything depends on us. Look for true friends. Choose useful projects and make donations. Who knows, maybe, finally, we will pay for the development of programs rather than for copying them. All of us are good at copying, so why do we need extra mediators?

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