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Software The Almighty Buck

Miro Asks Users To "Adopt" Lines of Source 178

Posted by kdawson
from the pray-you-don't-get-refactored dept.
soDean writes "The FOSS video player / downloader Miro is asking its users to support development by 'adopting' a line of source code for $4 a month. Each adopted line of code comes personalized with a little avatar character that will grow older over the year. PCF, which makes Miro, says they think the project is the first of its kind and they believe it's a chance to 'to have a truly bottom up funding base.'"
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Miro Asks Users To "Adopt" Lines of Source

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  • by binford2k (142561) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @07:22PM (#27753037) Homepage Journal

    when your line of code dies?

    • by Chabo (880571) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @07:25PM (#27753067) Homepage Journal

      Or maybe if someone decides to deprecate your method just to spite you?

    • by rolfwind (528248) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @07:29PM (#27753123)

      when your line of code dies?

      It gets buried properly, it gets inserted into the Duke Nukem Forever project.

    • by CrimsonScythe (876496) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @07:32PM (#27753141)

      I just adopted this little gem:


      I hope they won't port it to Python any day soon, though...

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by cstdenis (1118589)

        Too late.

        You'll have to settle for:


      • by tyrione (134248)
        Oh come now! You know you want to fondle, ``{}.'' Oh wait! What are you doing with your other hand?
      • by gbjbaanb (229885)

        // I paid my $4 and all I got was this lousy comment

        How many LOC are there in the project? I feel an alternative to code golf coming up - how to write a very short, tiny, simple task in as many lines of code as possible. Some outsourced developers I know stand a very good chance of winning.

        • How many LOC are there in the project?

          The FAQ [getmiro.com] says:

          ...the total number of lines of core Miro code, excluding blanks, is 46,258, but changing all the time.

      • Sorry to break it to you, but Miro IS written in Python.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by paroneayea (642895)
        Actually, we've stripped all the redundant lines out of the adoptable lines in the database well before we launched. Including that one, including try, except, blah blah. :) And Miro *IS* written in python, fwiw.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by GumphMaster (772693)

      Just adopt:

      while (true) {

      and all will be well

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by nospam007 (722110) *

      Not to mention that I already own tons of files full of lines with 'old' code.
      The room is full of it, some lines have even beards.
      Why adopt another one is beyond me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Darinbob (1142669)

      Is this the Tamagotchi model of development?

  • by alain94040 (785132) * on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @07:22PM (#27753039) Homepage

    Finally an Open Source project with some real marketing geniuses on board! That alone deserves celebration.

    I don't think this will quite work, but it's a step in the right direction. Will users get to pick which line they adopt? You could even imagine an auction system. Some lines might become very trendy: "I own the main function declaration of the program, but that cost me $500".

    I'll ask the people on my entrepreneur network [fairsoftware.net] if they like the model!

    • by Propaganda13 (312548) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @07:30PM (#27753127)

      Change $4 to $1 and they might get more bites.

    • by Jurily (900488)

      Finally an Open Source project with some real marketing geniuses on board! That alone deserves celebration.

      Firing them from a cannon into the sun? But hey, at least I've heard about their project now!

      This whole adoption thing is a step in a really bad direction: the users only need to hear about the source code if the binary isn't working for them. Of course, make it available and talk about it in receptive circles, but I don't think the target audience wants to hear about it. (It's a torrent client combined with a media player).

      It sucks for exactly the same reason the EULA-dialog with the GPL in it does: it for

    • Finally an Open Source project with some real marketing geniuses on board! That alone deserves celebration.

      I don't think this will quite work, but it's a step in the right direction.

      It doesn't even really need to work in order to "work". Even if they don't make any money from this promotion, they landed themselves with a story right here on Slashdot, which has probably exposed their software to a lot of people who hadn't heard of them before.

    • by samkass (174571)

      When I first read it the first thing I thought of was Wikipedia. I've made minor edits to a couple articles, and every time I do, Wikipedia automatically puts those pages on their watch list. When someone else edits those pages, I can quickly look at those edits. I tend to be interested in those articles, and help refine subsequent contributions. In effect, I've "adopted" a part of that article. It might be interesting if OSS projects structured their projects such that micro-contributions are easy to

    • by ozphx (1061292)

      Four bucks a month for a piece of software that if closed source would probably retail for around $20?

      Nice try...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @07:24PM (#27753065)

    "For only $4 a month, you can give this line of source clean electricity and information to process and grow."

    • by TerribleNews (1195393) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @10:31PM (#27754625)
      Oh, yeah, my parents adopted a line of code in Beliz or Botswanna or something and they kept getting printfs from him ever month and then one day they decided to go visit him in his village and when they got there it turned out he'd been commented out years ago and his parents had been keeping the $4 and writing fake output. True story.
      • I was going to adopt line #419 after they promised it'd make me US$ 4.2 million, but they kept asking for more money for 'lawyers fees' and 'bank charges' and stuff.

  • by curtix7 (1429475) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @07:26PM (#27753093)
    the end of one line if statements and ternary operators as we know them.
  • Man, that's more than a lot of programmers get paid at their full-time jobs.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by acordes (69618)

      Can't tell for sure if you're joking, but the average commercial programmer only generates something like 10 SLOCS per day (can't remember the exact number). Hopefully companies are paying their developers more than $40 per day :).

      • Re:$4 a line?? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Chabo (880571) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @07:50PM (#27753331) Homepage Journal

        Hopefully companies are paying their developers more than $40 per day :).

        Depends on whether those jobs have been sent overseas.

        On a related note, I'm genuinely curious: what's the average salary for developers look like in the countries to which companies often outsource work, like India and China?

        • by cdrguru (88047)

          China is pretty awsome - around 3K/year for a software engineer. 4.5K for a manager. This is in USD and is a few years old. Might be higher now.

          India is more like 10K I believe.

          We have an outsourcing consulting company in Tempe and they do all the work in Mexico. I believe their people make less than 20K/year there.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by vux984 (928602)

          On a related note, I'm genuinely curious: what's the average salary for developers look like in the countries to which companies often outsource work, like India and China?

          If this is to be believed:
          http://www.payscale.com/research/IN/Job=Software_Engineer_%2F_Developer_%2F_Programmer/Salary [payscale.com]

          Software Engineer / Developer / Programmer with 5-10 yrs experience makes a media salary of around 430k Rupees. (between 8.5k and 9k US.) Interestingly, 10-20yrs experience is actually lower. (I'd guess they've got less i

        • Re:$4 a line?? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Gwala (309968) <(adam) (at) (gwala.net)> on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @08:50PM (#27753855) Homepage

          We have a group in Shanghai - we've got pretty well qualified guys in our office, we pay them 14,000 RMB per month (~US$2,000). They get about 8,000-10,000 of that with the rest going to the government in payroll taxes.

          More average developers come in at between 6,500 to 8,500 RMB per month.

          • Follow up question - how well can you live in Shanghai on that money?

            • by Gwala (309968)

              Pretty well off - however most of our staff commute in from neighbouring provinces in the morning (our offices are fairly near to a train station).

              Certainly when I have stayed there (mostly during hiring season) we've eaten extraordinarily well with 2-3 course meals coming out to about 300 RMB for 4 people (~US$10/head).

      • That's $4 a line per month, or over say a 5-year lifetime of the code, $240 per line. If the production rate is 10 SLOCs per day (I heard 12 SLOCs), that would be $2400 per day of future revenue. If code "lives" 10, 20, or more years (or even until the copyright expires, which with continuing extensions will likely be when humanity self-destructs), well, I'll let you calculate it. :)
      • First, that number, which has been bandied about an awful lot (if not 10, then it's 7, or 12, or similar) is very questionable. I would like to see a reputable and responsible study that shows these numbers.

        But that wasn't really the point. The figure is $4 per month. That's $48 per line of code, per year. I would not mind getting paid on that scale, especially since my output averages a lot better than 10 lines of code on a work day.
      • by brit74 (831798)
        I just checked my software project. I have about 250,000 lines of code in about 4 years. That works out to over 200 lines of code per day. I wish I could make $800/day! That works out to $200K per year. (Besides, as someone else pointed out: this is $4 per line of code per month, not $4 per line of code.)
      • by SL Baur (19540)

        the average commercial programmer only generates something like 10 SLOCS per day

        That's pretty close. After you have factored in documentation, testing, etc. it's a fairly reasonable number and it's only on new development. My own SLOC/day in the last year is way negative, but that's because I'm currently working on maintaining an existing system (and the negative count means I'm saving money by getting rid of ancient crap that wasn't being used and no longer needs to be maintained).

  • Interesting idea, I wonder if this will lead to people purposely adding lines of code just to generate more revenue. Hopefully they would set up a price system based upon supply/demand at that point though.

    • Interesting idea, I wonder if this will lead to people purposely adding lines of code just to generate more revenue.

      FTFA there's 46,000+ eligable lines. So until they're turning over $2m a year there's no scarcity. I don't see them getting $2m but then I'd never heard of Miro.

      • Imagine a webbrowser, serving up a custom site, with rrs and torrent support, with a media plugin. Wait did i just describe opera?

        I kid, its what marketing call a media platform, like the iplayer download client or 4od, but build around open technologies (a.k.a what i listed above).

        I wonder how much of the 3rd party projects code is included in thier count?
        the rendering engine is gecko
        the interface is xulrunner
        i think the torrent uses transmition
        the media player is gstreamer/xine or vlc

  • The code-base of Miro doubled in size with 99% of the new lines coming from comment...err programmer documentation.

  • Comments? (Score:5, Funny)

    by bughunter (10093) <bughunter@earthlin k . net> on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @07:39PM (#27753217) Journal
    Do I get a discount if I adopt a comment?
  • The Sims (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @07:41PM (#27753237)

    Now the developers at Miro will spend all their time making sure their emoticons age properly instead of actually coding!

  • by BitZtream (692029) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @07:46PM (#27753297)

    At $4/month that would be a nice way to make a killing in profits.

    Of course the result will be something roughly like the whole pixel advertising schemes in the end and Miro itself will suck, but hats off for the a good scam to make money of software.

    • At $4/month that would be a nice way to make a killing in profits.

      Recently we evaluated a static code analysis package from a vendor (that shall remain nameless) that wants to charge us by the line. The code in question is just over half a million lines of C code. At the (presumed) rate of ten cents a line, that's easily 50k USD. I can't think of a better business model (other than the route MP/RIAA have taken.)

  • }

    Best 4 bucks I ever spent

  • What happens (Score:2, Redundant)

    by SnarfQuest (469614)

    What happens if your line of code is the cause of a major bug? Do you have to hide your head in shame?

  • Queue parodies of Sally Struthers childern's chairity commercials in 3...2...1...
  • by DarkIye (875062) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @08:00PM (#27753437) Journal
    // This is line #273523
  • by some_guy_88 (1306769) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @08:02PM (#27753459) Homepage

    If they let you adopt a whole function or even a whole class, this could be a cool way of not only making money but also minimising bugs.

    People who adopt are likely going to read the code they get so this is a good way to get lots of eyes on the source.

    Just a thought..

  • rent? (Score:3, Funny)

    by mevets (322601) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @08:09PM (#27753545)

    If I adopt a line, can I charge other lines rent for using it?

  • "The line of code I adopted starts with /* and has several expletives referring to the code below it."
  • $4/line per month? Hell, I should try and get some code into this project... if I can get 2000 lines of code adopted, I'll make $96K/year for the rest of my life. Seems I'll be able to retire before 30 after all. :)

  • ...You've just crossed from "Creative" to "Cute." Next up: An endless stream of tote bags.
  • by sourICE (1480471) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @08:50PM (#27753847)
    Why support a child when I can support i++?
  • by Paaskonijn (1220996) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @09:06PM (#27753961)

    I get this on the page:

    Hello there! It looks like you are visiting from Europe

    Did you know that there are more Miro users in Europe than in the United States, but more than 99% of our financial support comes from American donations and philanthropies?

    Europe loves open-source, right? Help us make something great!

    Sounds like they're trying to cash in on our hatred for the U.S. :)

    • by asparagus (29121)

      It's probably true, though. I get a lot more European hits than American ones on my miro feed [miroguide.com]. But the area that surprised me is Africa, I've been getting maybe a tenth of of my hits off the continent. Maybe it's a sign of quality. More likely they like the price. ;-)

  • // This space for rent //

    // Ch3ap V1agra NOW! Click here! //

    // I partied with your Mom here. She liked my Python in her PERL. //

  • How much does it cost to run this program?

    Are you really adopting a line of code or contributing $4 a month to be used as required.

  • I've adopted the copyright statements at the head of each file. What a waste of $4000/mo.

  • I like the idea of miro, but my ISP sucks and last time i checked it didnt support an easy way to change my upload limits, or encrypting all connections?

    I also don't see the need for an entire application when they could just as easily make the thing a web app and users could use rss + their normal torrent application to download stuff, but i suppose some people prefer to have it run locally.

  • by Fnord666 (889225) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @11:04PM (#27754859) Journal
    Having used Miro, I want to adopt the following line:
    10 REM
  • If I adopt my slashdot number do I get extra nerd points?
  • What if the line contains a bug? Do you get a refund?
  • Do you know what happens when a programmer is paid by line of code?

  • Especially on OS X, PPC, what is up with Python using almost 70% of CPU while adding media to library? Apple' s Python is buggy? Or more important question (as same goes for Java), why Python was used? Because it is "fashion" or classy to use it in such matter?

    I was forced to iTunes "podcast" using because someone had the genius idea of using Python for media catalogue generating. Perhaps it runs good on Linux/BSD but not on OS X.

    Also how come it uses too much CPU while downloading? Isn't it people's number

  • That's it, I'm moving back to assembler. There are so many more lines there and I even get the added bonus of getting people to pay for NOOP lines :)

  • If I give money to a project, I expect to become a stakeholder of it - i.e. the priority of my inputs to their bug tracker and wish list would take into account the contribution I make.

    Otherwise, I'd be quite reluctant - probably just like everyone else.

    • by boris111 (837756)

      Yes I got into using Miro about 3 years ago. I was using it extensively. Problem is if I loaded up too many channels it became slow, and buggy. This last computer I built I decided to not install it this time. I thought this project had a lot of potential, but I've given up on them with the lack of improvements in stability. Also wrote off a few of my suggestions in bug tracker.

  • A neat idea, but, for FOSS projects at least, I think it would be more useful to be able to adopt lines of documentation rather than code. At least it would hopefully mean there are more of the former...

Old programmers never die, they just branch to a new address.