[consulting] Costs of forking

Zack Rosen zack at civicspacelabs.org
Wed Feb 8 23:59:59 UTC 2006

As posted here: http://www.zacker.org/costs-of-forking

A lot of full time Drupal/CS consultants I've been talking to here in  
Vancouver have been sharing concerns about how to meet the needs of  
their clients while still being able to contribute code they  
development back to the Drupal community. The general assumption is  
that most clients are oblivious to the mechanics of open-source  
communities and assume that they are paying simply for an engineer to  
develop new functionality and ignore all the time required to work  
with the Drupal community to make sure contributions and patches are  
accepted and merged back.

I think the simplest solution is to figure out a way to asses costs  
to forking code that can be communicated to customers upfront when  
contracts are negotiated.

How about this estimate?

    1. Costs to mantain your own forked module: 25 developer hours X  
$100 an hour X 2 times a year = $5,000 a year per module.
    2. Open-Source development resources lost: 5 hours per patch X  
$100 an hour = $500 per patch.

Using these estimates consultants can justify adding in a line item  
to cover their costs to contribute their code back to the community.

Do you think this will work?


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