Requesting Contracted .NET OSS Bug Fixes from the Community

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Requesting Contracted .NET OSS Bug Fixes from the Community

27 Mar, 2009

I am a OSS enthusiast and want to use tools like nHibernate in my daily application development practices. What I am not is a CIO or Architect at my company. There are several roadblocks, misconceptions and valid concerns that are raise when I suggest using an OSS tool in one of our projects. One of the biggest concerns I have heard is that of responsibility. The question usually is phrased like this:

"When we encounter a blocking bug what do we do?"

The overwhelming OSS response to this is: "Fix it yourself and submit a patch." And this is where I lose management. Management doesn't want to take on the responsibilities of fixing platform bugs. In their eyes it is much easier to purchase packages from vendors who take on those responsibilities. The role of tools like nHibernate, Ninject or even Prism in my environment is to allow me to focus on business value and functionality. We are not a platform company.

I want to find a solution to this problem, and I think it falls down to money. My company is willing to pay good money to a vendor for a tool that allows us to deliver business value quickly. I wonder if that same cash flow relationship could be applied to OSS.

Say, I have to make a choice between vendor Product X and nHibernate for ORM. Product X requires a license fee of $1000 per developer. I chose nHibernate and put my $1000 per developer in the bank as a emergency fund.

Six months later, I encounter a bug or blocking problem in nHibernate that is going to prevent me from releasing my product. I can't fix it myself. I do not have the time or the skill needed to do so. I create a test case for the problem and submit it with a portion of my emergency fund to the community for a solution.

My question is, do you think anyone would accept it? What if we wanted them to be contractually obligated to fix the bug upon acceptance? Is anyone out there currently doing this? Would any of the current developers want to do this? Is this a viable alternative to vendor software here?

So here is a list of the OSS tools I would like to use. Anyone out there willing to commit to saying, "Yes, if you can provide me with a test case, I can provide you with a fix for that OSS tool. I charge $X amount per hour or this flat fee."

  • nHibernate
  • Fluent nHibernate
  • Castle Winsor
  • Ninject
  • Rhino.Security
  • Prism
  • MVC Contrib
  • Caliburn

If your particular pet OSS project is not listed, I would still like to hear from you. This list came of the top of my head from what I am currently interested in.

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Bobby Johnson

About Author

I am a passionate engineer with an interest in shipping quality software, building strong collaborative teams and continuous improvement of my skills, team and the product.

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