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Thursday, May 30, 2013

What should I do next?

With the completion of my second book, I'm looking for another big project. I turn to you, my readers, for inspiration and direction.

I received an interesting suggestion via reader feedback not too long ago. It was in response to my post about funding free (as in GPLed) software work. In that post, I was specifically talking about my software defined radio work. It's built on top of things like GNU Radio which are licensed under the GPL, so anything I release must also be licensed that way.

Unfortunately, this means there's a significant disconnect between the ability to do the work and the ability to be paid for that work. That then reduces the likelihood that I'd ever put in the work required to make it sufficiently generic for widespread use. After all, once it solves my own problem, exactly why should I go beyond that?

I want to give the interested parties of the world a chance to show that this can be changed, and that such projects can be funded. It's time to find out just what the market will bear.

Perhaps you have heard of a little thing called Kickstarter. There's a project called Light Table which is using Kickstarter to fund its development. It's built on top of free software (well, open source, but whatever, unless you're rms), and the core will also be open sourced when it is released.

However, there's another rub for the Light Table project. It apparently will have a "pay what you can" type license for individuals, targeted around the $50 price point. The creator of this project decided to ask for $200K to make this happen.

It wound up gathering over $300,000. I'd say that's a pretty good sign that the market will support that kind of project.

So, I want to know if the market will support any of my projects.

To tempt everyone, I will put forth some of the possibilities for things I could build, whether from scratch or by extending something which already exists but hasn't been released:

Let's try something different here. Instead of asking for feedback which requires actually writing a note and takes a long time, I'm going to make this really simple.

There are several links below. If something I described seems interesting and should become a Kickstarter project, click on it. Then if you see more links after that and want to click some more, then click on. I'll use the traffic logs from my web server to figure out what it all means.

Super Trunking Scanner: 800 MHz, SmartNet (existing)

Super Trunking Scanner: APCO P25 version

Parallel analog recording SDR scanner

C++ build tool (open source it as it is now)

C++ build tool (extend it)

C++ build tool (extend it *and* open source it)

fred (open source it)

publog (the software which creates these posts and my books)

Something else entirely