Last week we received a message from a very special person:
“Please write to Richard Stallman to email@example.com.
He could not send you a message through the page himself because of the requirements for logging in.”
We were both skeptical and thrilled at the same time – this is Richard Stallman after all and you simply don’t joke with things like this. So we sent him a message – which got through – and we were really pleased to receive a rich piece of feedback on our project.
Here’s the list of points raised by RMS – and following our answers to each one of them. It’s very important to us to share this kind of feedback – so everyone knows where we stand and why we are doings things the way we do.
- Instead of saying “open source”, how about saying FLOSS, so as to give the free software movement a little recognition and publicity?
That was a great idea – we changed the slogan in the home page and also updated the “about” page in the blog. We also included a link to the free software definition as stated on the FSF website (http://www.fsf.org/about/what-is-free-software). This is a very big deal for us – by using “open-source” instead of ”free” we might have failed to express what we really mean (and we apologize for that). The concept of “free software” is very important to why we started this project in the first place – therefore the updates.
- Accept payments by bitcoin, not just paypal. Why is it important to have one payment split among several receipients rather than multiple payments done by the same payer?
We have other payment methods in our roadmap including Bitcoin. It’s important to stress that one of the Paypal’s features we depend today is the ability to make “parallel payments” (so we can handle payments for more than one developer from a single account/transaction). It’s important to note that this feature in particular is not an essential requirement but a desirable functionality; it just made sense to us. We wrote a more detailed explanation on the e-mails (which you’ll be able to see later here in the blog).
- Loosen up about how people log in.
We just added support to custom OpenID providers – however the discussion shed a light on the anonymity question. We never thought of it as a requirement (since it didn’t see it as an issue in the whole scenario) but he gave us a different point of view – anonymity is a right, not an feature. Users that want to remain anonymous should have the right to do that. That really makes sense – and Bitcoin could fill this gap in the payment process so we wouldn’t have a break in the model. That being said, he offered himself to discuss parallel payments support (transactions with one payer and multiple receivers) with the Bitcoin experts he’s meeting in Bitcoin2012 this weekend in London (they might be able to help). Of course, at the same time we invite anyone who wants to help us implementing it on our project – we’re already looking into that but help is always welcome.
We’d like to finish this post by thanking Richard Stallman for both the feedback and the permission to disclose the whole conversation – we’ll have it linked here very soon.