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CODE4LIB  July 2013

CODE4LIB July 2013

Subject:

Re: LibraryBox 2.0 Kickstarter

From:

Jason Griffey <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 8 Jul 2013 23:18:10 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (281 lines)

Realized I just hit SEND to Jonathan only, and others might have the same
questions he did. Jonathan, please excuse getting this twice.
***
Answers, where they exist, are inline. :-)


On Mon, Jul 8, 2013 at 5:31 PM, Jonathan Rochkind <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I still don't understand how this project differs from PirateBox.
>
> What features are you adding in your fork? What has been added to your
> fork over PirateBox in the current release, and what do you plan to add
> that differs from PirateBox in the 2.0 release you are funding? And why are
> you adding these features in a fork, instead of contributing them back to
> PirateBox?
>

LibraryBox began as a fork of PirateBox that attempted to make it generally
more comfortable for use in academic settings. Anonymous upload
is...troublesome at best...so that was the first thing I stripped out. I
also built in the ability to alter the SSID easily, customize the logos
without having to be familiar with the command line, and just generally try
and make the sorts of questions that librarians and teachers might ask a
bit more obviously answerable. It was a _very basic_ fork. But it was
something that seemed to have legs despite.

The existing install of LibraryBox (1.5) is based on the .3.2 release of
PirateBox, and as such is missing some of the newer abilities that
PirateBox .5.x has. Part of the 2.0 is simply bringing the two into sync.

I am adding them in a fork because it's a different project with different
goals. The features of LibraryBox 2.0 that are applicable to the upcoming
release of PirateBox 1.0 will be contributed back.


>
> Or are there no new features, it's feature-identical, but just with a
> different name and different branding?  In which case, what is the
> kickstarter actually paying for?
>

See above. In addition, the Kickstarter funding is allowing us to leapfrog
the current PirateBox install in a lot of ways that haven't been possible
until now, such as unmediated installation (well, basically unmediated). I
haven't announced it yet (coming in the next Kickstarter update) but the
lead developer of PirateBox has agreed to do the work on LibraryBox 2.0, so
much and more of it will be used in PirateBox as well. We're also going to
be adding MUCH easier web customization vis a vis relocation of the web
directory to the USB stick (not currently available in PirateBox) and we're
testing PHP on the boxen to allow for a richer web experience. None of this
is currently available without customization of a Piratebox install which
is again beyond the abilities of most librarians.


I'm also very confused about how you are budgetting, how you are
> determining how much money raised will fund how many new features of what
> sort:
>

I can see that! Kickstarter is a marketing medium, not a project management
tool. :-) So the language used in the campaign isn't designed to be project
management based. That comes after.


>
> You say in the kickstarter, that the money raised will "help me find and
> pay them to make LibraryBox more awesome" -- but then you also say that
> "Anything raised here on Kickstarter will also be used to purchase
> hardware" -- this seems to be contradictory. Will the money be used to pay
> developers, or will it be used to purchase hardware?
>

Ummm...Both? My initial plans for how to budget got shot out of the water
in the first 12 hours of the campaign...I had originally planned, when I
thought I would raise somewhere between 3-5 thousand, to use the money for
bounties on given features. And I had a couple of stretch goals, for like
the 4000 and 4500 marks. Needless to say, that was pretty meaningless
pretty fast.

That said, now that I have the money to pay the appropriate person to do
the work (Matthias Strubel, lead developer on Piratebox) I am doing so. At
the same time I will be purchasing hardware for testing purposes (part of
the need is to ensure that the unmediated install works on a variety of
hardware) as well as buying some solar panels to test load and runtime
under various conditions. There's been a lot of interest in unattended
LibraryBoxen, so I'm going to try and test enough things that I can
recommend a set of things that work reliably and well.


>
> If it was being used to purchase hardware, than it wouldn't be obvious
> that more money raised could lead to more feature development -- since you
> don't need more hardware for more feature development. But you repeat later
> that the more money raised, the more features will be delivered: "If we
> raise a ton of money, the v2.0 will have a ton a features!" -- so I'm
> thinking your earlier assertion that the money will be used for hardware
> was in error (and you should correct it to avoid being dishonest and/or
> self-contradictory) -- you do plan to use the money to pay developers?
>

Technically, developer at this point. Although I suppose if Matthias gets
hit by a bus, developers will still be applicable.

While in many cases it is true that you don't need more hardware for
feature development, you certainly _do_ if the feature you are developing
is hardware specific in some way...say, if you wanted to test having two
wireless networks running simultaneously on a single box, it would help to
write to and test on a box that has that hardware capability. It's also
necessary to have hardware to test new installs on, troubleshoot, develop
documentation, etc.

If you knew me, you would have an idea of how amusing the idea of me being
dishonest or self-contradictory is. :-)


>
> But then the question is, what methods have you used to estimate how much
> it will cost to pay developers for each of the new features or improvements
> you plan, how do you know the amount of money you are raising is sufficient
> for the development you are telling people you'll do with it -- including
> the 'stretch features' you already have in mind but have not revealed yet
> (you say will be revealed 'as soon as the project is funded').
>

Here's an area where I am learning as I go! Given that my plan had been
bounty-driven, I am now faced with the complication of more flexible
development costs but also with the boon that it's a single developer who
is also the lead on the very thing I'm forking. So it's a lot less
complicated than I could be, thankfully.

As I said above, when I wrote the text for the Kickstarter, I certainly
didn't think I'd be where I am now. The original stretch goals read like a
joke now. So: back to the drawing board for more audacious goals (developed
with Matthias, so that it's clear what both the cost and the timeline is).
Those are coming ASAP.


>
> Also, do you plan to use any of the money to pay yourself for your time,
> in addition to paying other developers, and buying hardware?
>

Originally? No. But originally I had a bit less money in mind. I am still
considering myself the last in line for $, and will manage the money in
order to provide what's promised before anything else is done with it.
After that, I'll see what I have left....but I'm betting it won't be much.
Let's just say that the difference between $3K and $20K is significant when
it comes to financial planning and I didn't think I was going to need
things like an LLC that now it appears I desperately need. So development
is only one part of what is now a very complicated problem set.


>
> Those are my questions, since you asked.
>
> I think these are questions that need to be answered for code4libbers --
> or really anyone that has enough understanding of software development to
> know what to ask -- to be interested in giving you money.
>
> Frankly, I have some serious reservations about contributing to your
> project, and would share these reservations with anyone else you asked. It
> is not clear to me that you have a clear plan for what you're actually
> going to do; that you have adequately done homework to make sure you can do
> what you want to do for the amount of money you expect; and you have not
> provided the argument for why what you want to do (a fork of PirateBox) is
> actually a useful thing to want to do in the first place.



Hope that helps assuage some reservations. I totally understand if it
didn't, though...I am assuredly _not_ a developer in any meaningful sense
of the word. I am, at best, a product guy who bumbles his way through
things that people think are interesting.

I have not tried to justify LibraryBox vs PirateBox as I see them as two
very, very different things. PirateBox was started as an art project, a way
of thumbing ones nose at copyright status in the US. Before I forked the
project I spoke with David Darts (the inventor of PirateBox) to get his
advice, and throughout the development of LibraryBox both he and Matthias
have been awesomely supportive. I think both of them see it as an extension
of the ideas behind Piratebox...it is certainly the first public project
that I've seen that attempted to turn PirateBox into a more appealing
project for librarians and educators. While development is a _big deal_ in
this project, I'd like to think that the rest of the implementation is just
as important, and that has been done pretty well, I think.

The Kickstarter campaign wasn't about having a clear, delineated
development plan. It was about selling the idea and possibility of the
project so that I could then have a clear delineated development plan.
Which is what myself and Matthias are working on now.

:-)

Thanks for the questions...I appreciate them very much, as it has spurred
me to act more quickly in getting some of the above info out into public on
the Kickstarter. Working on that next. :-)

Jason


On Mon, Jul 8, 2013 at 5:31 PM, Jonathan Rochkind <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I still don't understand how this project differs from PirateBox.
>
> What features are you adding in your fork? What has been added to your
> fork over PirateBox in the current release, and what do you plan to add
> that differs from PirateBox in the 2.0 release you are funding? And why are
> you adding these features in a fork, instead of contributing them back to
> PirateBox?
>
> Or are there no new features, it's feature-identical, but just with a
> different name and different branding?  In which case, what is the
> kickstarter actually paying for?
>
> I'm also very confused about how you are budgetting, how you are
> determining how much money raised will fund how many new features of what
> sort:
>
> You say in the kickstarter, that the money raised will "help me find and
> pay them to make LibraryBox more awesome" -- but then you also say that
> "Anything raised here on Kickstarter will also be used to purchase
> hardware" -- this seems to be contradictory. Will the money be used to pay
> developers, or will it be used to purchase hardware?
>
> If it was being used to purchase hardware, than it wouldn't be obvious
> that more money raised could lead to more feature development -- since you
> don't need more hardware for more feature development. But you repeat later
> that the more money raised, the more features will be delivered: "If we
> raise a ton of money, the v2.0 will have a ton a features!" -- so I'm
> thinking your earlier assertion that the money will be used for hardware
> was in error (and you should correct it to avoid being dishonest and/or
> self-contradictory) -- you do plan to use the money to pay developers?
>
> But then the question is, what methods have you used to estimate how much
> it will cost to pay developers for each of the new features or improvements
> you plan, how do you know the amount of money you are raising is sufficient
> for the development you are telling people you'll do with it -- including
> the 'stretch features' you already have in mind but have not revealed yet
> (you say will be revealed 'as soon as the project is funded').
>
> Also, do you plan to use any of the money to pay yourself for your time,
> in addition to paying other developers, and buying hardware?
>
> Those are my questions, since you asked.
>
> I think these are questions that need to be answered for code4libbers --
> or really anyone that has enough understanding of software development to
> know what to ask -- to be interested in giving you money.
>
> Frankly, I have some serious reservations about contributing to your
> project, and would share these reservations with anyone else you asked. It
> is not clear to me that you have a clear plan for what you're actually
> going to do; that you have adequately done homework to make sure you can do
> what you want to do for the amount of money you expect; and you have not
> provided the argument for why what you want to do (a fork of PirateBox) is
> actually a useful thing to want to do in the first place.
>
> Jonathan
>
>
>
>
> On 7/8/13 2:14 PM, Jason Griffey wrote:
>
>> In case people hadn't seen this, at ALA Annual last week I launched a
>> Kickstarter for the development of LibraryBox 2.0 (http://librarybox.us),
>> and open source fork of the PirateBox project. I had originally budgeted
>> for $3K for the Kickstarter, hoping to make a bit more than that in order
>> to pay a developer to do the bits of the release that I can't do.
>>
>> Well, it sort of blew up.
>>
>> http://www.kickstarter.com/**projects/griffey/librarybox-20<http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/griffey/librarybox-20>
>>
>> Take a look, let me know if you have questions. I'm really excited about
>> the project, and the opportunities for development that I have now.
>>
>> Jason
>>
>>
>>

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