PostGIS "Fund Me" Milestone

On the twitter this morning, there was a good question:

TL;DR: If you find a feature in “Fund Me” and want to fund it, join the postgis-devel mailing list and make yourself known.

If you go to the PostGIS ticket report and scroll through the pages you’ll first see some milestones tied to released versions. These are usually bug reports, both big and small, valid and invalid, and will eventually be closed.

We unfortunately carry a lot of tickets in the current development milestone (2.5 right now) which are, at best, speculative. They should probably be closed (we really will never do them and don’t much care) or moved to the “Fund Me” category (they are valid, but we have no personal/professional impetus to address them).

The “Fund Me” category used to be called “Future”. This was a bad name, as it implied that sometime in the “Future” the ticket might actually be addressed, and all you needed was sufficient patience to wait. The reality is that the way a ticket got into the “Future” category was that it was ignored for long enough that we couldn’t stand to see it in the current milestone anymore.

The PostGIS development community includes all kinds of developers, who make livings in all kinds of ways, and there are folks who will work on tasks for money. The “Fund Me” milestone is a way of pointing up that there are tasks that can be done, if only someone is willing to pay a developer to do them.

That’s the good news!

The bad news is that the tickets all look the same, but they are wildly variable in terms of level of effort and even feasibility.

And then there’s the “big kahunas”, tasks that live quietly in one ticket but actually encompass massive research and development projects spanning months or years.

These kind of core features basically never get funded, because the marginal benefit they provide is generally much lower than the development cost for any one organization. This is a common open source weakness: aggregating funding is something everyone agrees is a great idea in principle but rarely happens in practice.

Occasionally, lightning does strike and a major funded feature happens. PostGIS topology was funded by a handful of European governments, and my work on the geography type was funded entirely by Palantir. However, usually funders show up with a few thousand dollars in hand and are dismayed when they learn of the distance between their funds and their desires.