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New horizons: contributing with virtual machines

So you visited FreedomSponsors and liked it – great! But… what now?

As you may already know we developed the project platform using Django, a great open-source Python web framework for rapid development. Since our project platform is also open-source it’s only natural for many of you to take the opportunity and learn about both Django and FreedomSponsors by downloading the code and playing with it locally.

Cloning our code repository and deploying the platform locally isn’t difficult – but we understand that it might become harder than it should be due to environmental constraints. Maybe you don’t want to or can’t change your Linux working environment or – even worse – your environment is based on a different operating system (say, Microsoft Windows) and getting everything to work properly would just take forever.

With that in mind we updated our “getting started” instructions in order to make it easier for you to use a virtual environment for running the platform locally. That’s right – from now on you should be able to get the FreedomSponsors platform running on your machine in no time!

All you have to do is to download a virtualization software, a pre-built virtual machine, deploy the code and have fun. So:

1. Download VirtualBox (there are other virtualization softwares available but we just like this one better – feel free to try any other one you feel comfortable with, but don’t forget to give us your feedback on it!);

2. Download one of the available Ubuntu pre-built virtual machines;

3. Follow our “getting started”instructions;

4. Have fun playing with the code!

We expect that to make it possible for even more people to learn and contribute with the project. As usual we welcome your feedback – please let us know about your experience!

New rule: Now you can pay for unfinished issues.



Before today, sponsors could only pay for finished issues.
Now you can pay for issues that are “IN_PROGRESS”, *if* the developer is accepting payments for it.

IMPORTANT: We encourage you to pay for unfinished issues only if you trust the developer’s good faith to meet the issue’s requirements. There’s a little more about this in the FAQ.

Now, the whole story:

Three weeks ago, Gimp developer Nicolas Robidoux kickstarted an issue: Add other samplers that properly reduce (downsample) and warp images - it’s about improving some image transformations on GEGL – a library used by Gimp.

Since then, something incredible is happenning: people from all around are supporting Nicolas with bounties varying from US$ 5.00 to US$ 400.00. The grand total (as os this writing) is US$ 1780.00. The FreedomSponsors model is really starting to “catch”. This is great! :-)

Nicolas has split this medium-to-big task in 8 steps, each one with a price.

According to FS’s previous rules, an issue could only be paid after it was finished.
But in this case, it makes sense for some sponsors to pay as soon as possible, or after the completion of an intermediate step.

So, FreedomSponsors is adapting accordingly. Now, when a developer starts working on an issue, he/she can check a flag to start accepting payments. Then the payment option will be available for that issue’s sponsors.

This particular issue is so different from the others, that it is making us discover that more adaptations will be needed to support this kind of “workflow”.

Some of these changes are already being discussed on Github (see issues #97 and #81), and now there’s also a mailing list available to keep the discussion going (and of course, anyone is welcome to join).

With your help, FreedomSponsors will keep, evolving, adapting, and getting better. :-)

– Tony Lâmpada

NEW: The FreedomSponsors mailing list

FreedomSponsors is growing more popular.
Now some developers around the world are offering us a helping hand to improve our platform (yay! :-) ).

We all need to communicate well, so a mailing list is needed.

So, the FreedomSponsors Google Group was created today, to discuss all things related to FreedomSponsors.
Everyone is welcome to join!

– Tony Lâmpada

New feature: Users listing

Some developers like to advertise their skills on their online profiles. Also, those profiles point to many interesting resources, which are definitely worth showing.

For that reason, FreedomSponsors now has a ‘Users’ link that displays a list of users, their websites and bios.

Of course, users can opt in or out if they want in the edit profile page. Existing users that didn’t provide website/about informatition were “opted-out” by default.

Also, newer users show up first.

Here’s the code, in case you’re interested.

As always, please feel free to drop us some feedback.

Improving the small things

Small things

Since last post there were a few small improvements. Not one of them is a very big deal, but altogether they account to something a little… bigger.

Some of it I already tweeted about, some not. Anyway, here’s the full list:

  • 1. More stats:

Statistics page now displays a list of the top sponsored projects, each project with a link that points to that project’s issues

  • 2. Merged pages “user profile” and “user history”

The user profile page used to have a “show history” link with issues related to that user.
Now the history content shows up in the user profile page.

  • 3. Added kickstarting issues to user history

User history did not display kickstarting issues, now it does

  • 4.  Colored values and better looking home

The home page and the search issues page now display colors in offer values. Green means PAID, orange means OPEN.
Also, the home page issue table is using a nice CSS that makes it more pleasant to look at.

  • 5. Show payments

The offer page and user history now displays the values that were actually paid for paid offers.
This is important because the payment screen allows for a last-minute change in the paid value, so there may be a difference between offered value and paid value.

  • 6. Comment edit history

Comments that have been edited now appear with a red “edited” label, that when clicked will show that comment’s edit history.


There is a motivation behind these small improvements. That motivation is one of the things we value the most in FreedomSponsors: transparency, visibility, openness. We’ll always strive to serve the Free Software Comunity with this in mind.

Hope you like it :-)

– Tony Lâmpada

A note to brazilians

A heads up for brazilian users.

Bug #25 has been fixed. What that means is that the conversion from USD to BRL no longer uses the fixed rate = 2.00.

Instead, FS now pulls the conversion rate from google, and adds 4,5% – an estimate of the expected conversion rate that will be used by Paypal (since there’s no way to get a precise rate from Paypal).

We might have to make small adjustments to that number as more payments are made. If that’s the case, we’ll add an update to the corresponding issue on FreedomSponsors (you can click the “Watch” button there to be notified of updates)

As always, feel free to look at the code.

New Stats Page

Check out the new stats page! Transparency is one of our strongest values – thus having this page makes a lot of sense for us.

If you’d like to see more stats, drop us your feedback or opinion.

And here’s the code in case you wanna take a look

FreedomSponsors-Github integration

We have just added another new feature.

If you have a Github account connected to your FreedomSponsors profile, now you can add a “Sponsor this issue on FreedomSponsors” link on your repositories’ issues.

We wanted to give Github users a functionality similar to the one provided by the JIRA plugin.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Log into FreedomSponsors with your Github account
  2. Go to “Github Settings” under your profile menu (top right), select the repositories you want to integrate, and click save.
  3. @freedomsponsors-bot will watch your repo for new issues and you add the comment with the appropriate link.
  • You can only select repositories owned by you or any of your organizations
  • You can stop that behaviour anytime on your “Github settings”

If you’d like to attract bounties to your Github project, please go ahead and try it out.

Disclaimer: this feature is still “beta” (since the whole process is not very testable from a TDD point of view). We may have to make adjustments to it in the future. And we’ll let you know if we do.

Feel free to leave us your feedback or opinion.
Also, take a look at the code if you like.

Tony Lâmpada

Watching issues

We’ve just rolled out a basic but very important functionality on FreedomSponsors: watching issues.

Now you can click the  toggle button to be e-mailed about new comments and other updates on any particular issue or offer.

Also, everytime you do something on an issue (like adding a comment, or sponsoring) you’re automatically watching it – and you can click to stop watching it.

A nice side effect of this new watch system is that it solves an old bug regarding feedback topics – FS didn’t send emails about Feedback issue’s updates. Now it does :-)

As always, feel free to look at the code, and if you’d like to help, or have any feedback, you’re welcome to!

Kickstarting issues

Yesterday we rolled out a new feature: Kickstarting issues.

Kickstarting an issue means registering it on FreedomSponsors without a money offer.
The home page will display the last 10 kicstarting issues, side by side with the sponsored ones.

People then will be able to sponsor those issues by placing real offers on it.

Why would you want to kickstart an issue?

There are a couple of scenarios when one would want to do that.

  • 1) You think the issue might be important to someone else (your boss, perhaps).

So you add it to FS by kickstarting it, and tell them about it.

  • 2) You would like to be sponsored to do it.

Maybe start a new project, or implementing something really cool on a project you like.
So you kickstart it and see if you can get a few sponsors to back you.
If you’re kickstarting issues like that, it’s probably a good idea to do it with a small, objetive, deliverable task than with a huge project.
That’s because of post-paid-no-strings-attached nature of FS offers. Do you have a big project? Kickstart it with small tasks!

Also, whatever the reason you’re kickstarting an issue, do leave a comment explaining why do you think that issue is important.

Feel free to look at the code.

As always, if you’d like to help, or have any feedback, you’re welcome to!

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