Thorium (ROS distribution) on kickstarter

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Chompjil
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Re: Thorium (ROS distribution) on kickstarter

Post by Chompjil » Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:48 am

So I personally really like the idea of this, if it gets funded development on Thorium will help ReactOS too remember that. Honestly I didnt expect you guys would do it this way

helsinkiharbour
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Re: Thorium (ROS distribution) on kickstarter

Post by helsinkiharbour » Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:02 pm

Z98 wrote: So since there is not an actual end product with ReactOS alone, what reward is there to offer backers? The fuzzy feeling of knowing they helped support ReactOS?
I would say yes! The complete kickstarter idea is built on the idea of a sexy, but currently non-existing, product. Where backers can buy the fuzzy warm stomach feeling that they contributed actually to its creation.

About rewards, abstract stuff is completely fine for people, if we look on other successful crowdfunding campaigns: for instance you could give out as reward for a 1000$ pledge the honour to name a next release (e.g. "ReactOS "Eddie Fresh" 0.3.16" ) Another abstract things are "Forum badges" ("Hero of ReactOS" or the backer is granted blue font color) or a place in special thanks section in the documentation.... many more things like that are possible.

Even early access makes sense as most people don't bother to compile, prepare and tinker with open sourced stuff themself. Early access could be a "official" convenient physical collectors edition, nicely boxed ReactOS build.

gonzoMD
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Re: Thorium (ROS distribution) on kickstarter

Post by gonzoMD » Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:19 pm

helsinkiharbour wrote:
Z98 wrote: So since there is not an actual end product with ReactOS alone, what reward is there to offer backers? The fuzzy feeling of knowing they helped support ReactOS?
I would say yes! The complete kickstarter idea is built on the idea of a sexy, but currently non-existing, product. Where backers can buy the fuzzy warm stomach feeling that they contributed actually to its creation.

About rewards, abstract stuff is completely fine for people, if we look on other successful crowdfunding campaigns: for instance you could give out as reward for a 1000$ pledge the honour to name a next release (e.g. "ReactOS "Eddie Fresh" 0.3.16" ) Another abstract things are "Forum badges" ("Hero of ReactOS" or the backer is granted blue font color) or a place in special thanks section in the documentation.... many more things like that are possible.

Even early access makes sense as most people don't bother to compile, prepare and tinker with open sourced stuff themself. Early access could be a "official" convenient physical collectors edition, nicely boxed ReactOS build.
You forgot one Thing.

Thorium != ReactOS

helsinkiharbour
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Re: Thorium (ROS distribution) on kickstarter

Post by helsinkiharbour » Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:58 pm

gonzoMD wrote:
helsinkiharbour wrote:
Z98 wrote: So since there is not an actual end product with ReactOS alone, what reward is there to offer backers? The fuzzy feeling of knowing they helped support ReactOS?
I would say yes! The complete kickstarter idea is built on the idea of a sexy, but currently non-existing, product. Where backers can buy the fuzzy warm stomach feeling that they contributed actually to its creation.

About rewards, abstract stuff is completely fine for people, if we look on other successful crowdfunding campaigns: for instance you could give out as reward for a 1000$ pledge the honour to name a next release (e.g. "ReactOS "Eddie Fresh" 0.3.16" ) Another abstract things are "Forum badges" ("Hero of ReactOS" or the backer is granted blue font color) or a place in special thanks section in the documentation.... many more things like that are possible.

Even early access makes sense as most people don't bother to compile, prepare and tinker with open sourced stuff themself. Early access could be a "official" convenient physical collectors edition, nicely boxed ReactOS build.
You forgot one Thing.

Thorium != ReactOS
But it should be ;) ... and nothing wrong in enstrengthen the connection. :)

PS: another PR idea (used by some kickstarters too), do an AMA on reddit, pretty popular http://en.reddit.com/r/IAmA/

Webunny
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Re: Thorium (ROS distribution) on kickstarter

Post by Webunny » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:21 pm

Z98 wrote:Where is this belief that ReactOS can be presented as an endproduct for crowd funding even coming from? I mean, I'm assuming somehow you arrived at that conclusion, otherwise you wouldn't be making these arguments. The idea with crowd funding is that people are asked to provide money up front for a potential product. While the product in question will in most instances see general availability, backers tend to get potential other rewards such as early access or swag. But ReactOS is open source, there is no such thing as early access and there is no such thing as cost of access either, which would be the only other incentive for people who want it to back it in a crowd funding environment. There might be swag, but hell if I can see people ponying up money just for some commemorative token. Setting up a product line is also non-trivial, especially since finding graphic artists willing to put in the effort to design worthwhile products is difficult. So since there is not an actual end product with ReactOS alone, what reward is there to offer backers? The fuzzy feeling of knowing they helped support ReactOS? They can already do that by donating directly to the project. This being the case, why would we attempt to shove ReactOS alone into a crowd funding platform?
Come, come, z98. Why do you obstinately insist it CAN'T be presented as a product for crowdfunding?

A cursory research into Kickstarter will show you many open source projects, which did just fine. Look at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/175 ... =discovery, http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mbs ... =discovery, http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dwh ... =discovery, etc. All open source programs with no early access or cost of access and hell, yes, seen the pledge-rewards, it's mostly for some commemorative token.

Your whole line of argumentation on this is based on your personal belief such a thing is impossible, while, in fact, many examples prove you wrong. There never is a guarantee, of course, but as you can see, it's quite possible to achieve enough backing, EVEN for an open source program. And, given some additional media-attention - get it mentioned on slashdot, for instance - it's even very likely a considerable amount (200000+) can be gathered. The problem with your line of reasoning is that you always take the premise it's not possible, while in reality this is nowhere substantiated by the facts. You *assume* it won't work for a plethora of reasons you consider show-stoppers, but one can easily see that all those reasons didn't stop a lot of other progs and apps - including open source ones - to be quite successful on Kickstarter. The main variable whether a program is going to be successful or not, is not all those reasons you gave, but simply this: enough media exposure/attention-gathering and an innate sense of having something cool, interesting or with promising potential. The latter is something ROS has without doubt, it just fails a bit in the first department...which can be remediated, and is in no way something insurmountable.

All the reasons you gave are of relative little importance, as the many other open source projects on Kickstarter show. People will back, even for commemorative tokens or other little things, or even for a mere mention as backer on ROS; as long as you make it widely known, and it's something people find cool, you will have a decent chance in getting a considerable chunk of money indeed. You might say a donation-bar would do the same (not that I see any this year, and not that even tokens are given as reward) to some degree, but the actual and potential exposure you get with a bar on your own site is only a 20th of what Kickstarter can provide, so you can't really expect more than a 20th from the donation bar as well. There is a reason, after all, that projects use kickstarter, instead of just making a donation-bar on all their sites.
Last edited by Webunny on Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

Z98
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Re: Thorium (ROS distribution) on kickstarter

Post by Z98 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 12:43 am

Let's retread a few points. First, I did not initiate this kickstarter campaign. I provided some written work and the like, but the ones that framed the campaign in this form was not me but a few core developers. So to claim that "I" am the one that insists that crowdfunding an open source project is problematic is a bit off mark. I do agree with the line of reasoning of the developers, but the whole campaign was framed this way because they themselves arrived at the same conclusion as I did.

Second, all of the examples you listed are projects that are much easier to represent as a hands on end product for users. An operating system by itself has little intrinsic value, it is its support for running applications that makes it worthwhile. It's one reason why Linux traditionally has so much trouble gaining traction on the desktop and it's the point that too many of its supports keep missing when arguing for why people should switch. As such, it is a means to an end, not the end itself, which is why it's trickier to present it as an end. As an aside, Diaspora is pretty much the poster child of mismanaged and oversold crowdsourced software projects in the tech community, so holding it up as an example is not a good way of arguing your point.

Third, the project has been around for over a decade. We've been discussed on slashdot to reddit to digg to a wide variety of other platforms. The one common pattern to all of those discussions is an underlying skepticism or outright cynicism regarding the project's prospects. While there is enthusiasm in some quarters, the problematic undercurrent is even more strongly felt. We are actually moderately well known amongst the tech savvy. We have gained the attention of many outlets. But the level of open support or even encouragement for the core goal of the project has always been problematic because too many factions have a vested interest in us failing, both in the closed source world and in the open source world. That's the backdrop that we, the team, are evaluating against when considering funding methods. So it therefore should not be surprising if we find dubious the notion of some miraculous breakthrough just because we're suddenly putting ReactOS on kickstarter.

helsinkiharbour
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Re: Thorium (ROS distribution) on kickstarter

Post by helsinkiharbour » Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:11 pm

Z98 wrote:We are actually moderately well known amongst the tech savvy. [...] The one common pattern to all of those discussions is an underlying skepticism or outright cynicism regarding the project's prospects
Actually, I think here is the core problem of ReactOS, the non-tech savvy don't know about ReactOS up to now. The tech-savvy who know, are cynical or negative for several reasons: one part might have joined the unix/linux train and wish therefore every windows approach (even full open source ones, like ReactOS) bad, the tech savvies ("professionals") under windows are often sceptical against open/free source approaches.

But I think group with the biggest enthusiasm potential for ReactOS was not activated up to now: the limited tech-savvy PC users who are unhappy with the direction where MS leads the PC/windows platform. And here I think a Kickstarter campaign could gain the attention of these PC folks. I predict, if one offers the PC people (PC users) an alternative to MS Windows, which preserves the qualities and adding more, like free like beer and freedom of the MS mis-lead (many are unhappy with Win8, the XP support end etc), many would say "yes!" in no time.

milawynsrealm
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My problems with Thorium...

Post by milawynsrealm » Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:41 pm

I think the problem that I have with Thorium (and some of the reasons why I don't contribute my money to it), is that there is already a saturation of cloud services out there on the market. Why should this service be any different (yes, it's open source, but so is GNU/Linux)? Aside from the design decisions that Microsoft made with Windows 8/8.1, was that it was trying to move everything into the cloud. Even the user accounts were being made into online accounts. And while to many, it would make life a lot easier, it would also make everyone a lot more vulnerable too. If a secure server is compromised or has to be taken down for system maintenance, that's going to spell problems for many users. That is the main reason why I contribute to the project.

Z98
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Re: Thorium (ROS distribution) on kickstarter

Post by Z98 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:49 pm

One point that I suppose we didn't emphasize enough was that it would be possible for you to host your own instance of a Thorium remote desktop environment server for those that want to manage the server themselves.

Now, why would people interested in free as in beer freedom be inclined to open their wallets to support a project? To them, what's the distinction between donating to fund development and just buying the end product?

mrugiero
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Re: Thorium (ROS distribution) on kickstarter

Post by mrugiero » Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:00 pm

Z98 wrote:Now, why would people interested in free as in beer freedom be inclined to open their wallets to support a project? To them, what's the distinction between donating to fund development and just buying the end product?
True. Actually, they'd probably prefer to pay for the end product because, hey, if it's already done, you can trust you'll get it.

Z98
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Re: Thorium (ROS distribution) on kickstarter

Post by Z98 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:05 pm

One thing to note is that throughout all of this, I don't think I said anywhere that it "could not be done." What I have stated quite plainly is that it would be extraordinary difficult to do well and there is significant uncertainty about how to do it properly. The time between laying the groundwork and anyone actually seeing anything would be a matter of months, minimum, and there's half a dozen minor tasks in between that would need to be completed first.

RaptorEmperor
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Re: Thorium (ROS distribution) on kickstarter

Post by RaptorEmperor » Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:24 am

As far as the whole issue of no one understanding that Thorium != ReactOS, I think that the fact that the thread's title is misleading ("Thorium (ROS distribution) on Kickstarter") doesn't help. Basically, as far as I can understand it, Thorium is a cloud service optimized to run ReactOS, so Thorium is dependent on ReactOS, but not a distro in the same sense that Debian and Fedora are distros of Linux.

I think the idea is pretty cool, though I've never fiddled around with cloud storage much, mostly because I've never found much use for it. (I did get to fiddle around with Remote Windows Desktops when I was in college and found the idea pretty cool.) Outside of the cloud, perhaps this software could also be adapted for home and local-area networks, i.e., a company buys a license and sets up a Thorium network in their servers, and the desktops are basically terminals.

Two thoughts are running through my head right now:

The good outcome: Thorium gathers enough funding to commence development, and the ROS developers basically themselves create the corporate funding that the project has desperately needed. Development of Thorium fuels development of ReactOS, so ReactOS finally blooms into a fully-functional OSS Windows clone, and Thorium thrives as a separate commercial project focusing on cloud services and perhaps commercial ReactOS support as well for those not running Thorium. Thorium Group thrives, ReactOS thrives, rainbows, butterflies, everyone sings kumbaya and is happy. I've been following this project for the better part of a decade and would love to see this happen.

The bad outcome: Thorium picks up, becomes the "official" version of ReactOS, talent leeches over to Thorium Group and development of open-source ReactOS code is neglected. OSS ReactOS becomes crippled, kind of like how DD-WRT is mostly focused on commercial support nowadays or Android is so dependent on closed-source code it's damn near useless otherwise. Users of now neglected OSS ReactOS must rely on binary blobs to run the complete set of services, such as how VirtualBox can't use USB, etc., without closed-source add-ons or face running deprecated, unsafe code. Development of Thorium/ReactOS focuses so heavily on corporate use that more development-intense components less likely to be used by business applications (DirectX) are underdeveloped or ignored entirely and ReactOS as a desktop Windows replacement is effectively abandoned.

Or, separately, ReactOS doesn't get deprecated, but does get consumed by Thorium and becomes bloated with adware and such, a la Ubuntu. This would still be bad, but not as quite because the code would still be mature enough to fork. (Which would then become a distro, btw, to those not quite clear on the matter. ;))

I'm a horrible pessimist, so even if I don't think things would get this bad, the thoughts still pass my mind.

Assuming that the Kickstarter project actually does get the necessary funding (it's halfway to February and it's only gotten a tenth the required amount, can't say I'm optimistic :(), the key would be figuring out how to ensure the projects are separate enough so Thorium doesn't cannibalize ReactOS. Sounds like a great idea to me just as long as it's executed properly. :D

AmineKhaldi
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Re: Thorium (ROS distribution) on kickstarter

Post by AmineKhaldi » Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:30 am

RaptorEmperor wrote:As far as the whole issue of no one understanding that Thorium != ReactOS, I think that the fact that the thread's title is misleading ("Thorium (ROS distribution) on Kickstarter") doesn't help. Basically, as far as I can understand it, Thorium is a cloud service optimized to run ReactOS, so Thorium is dependent on ReactOS, but not a distro in the same sense that Debian and Fedora are distros of Linux.
I want to present some important notions quickly here (I admit I thought that anyone who's been following the project would know them already)
  • Thorium is the best thing Aleksey and Steve could come up with, in terms of creating a product to submit to KS based on the suggestion that many members of our community presented (trying KS for fundraising). It's set to be aiming for both cloud/virtualization...etc and embedded (and any other good ideas to commercialize ReactOS). Don't see it as something independent/different from ReactOS just because of that.
  • Thorium is created by the ReactOS team, for the purpose of getting ReactOS continuously funded.
  • Think of Thorium as a.. flavor of ReactOS that the founders saw fitting for the way KS works.
  • Backing Thorium means *directly* backing ReactOS, because that's pretty much the whole point of all this KS fundraising.
  • Thorium is not a project made by Aleksey and Steve alone as some people think (for reasons I don't understand, to be honest, because neither Aleksey nor Steve expressed that it is, in any way).
  • Thorium's success means accelerated development for ReactOS, through (for instance) hiring full time developers. You've already seen the fruits of the previous fundraising, we got David Quintana working now on the shell, full time, thanks to the generous donations of our community. Imagine this on a continuous level once the community succeeds in getting the KS campaign to complete funding. When you see that even OpenBSD are at the risk of shutting down because of lack of funding you realize how important it is to succeed with this KS campaign to secure ReactOS continuous development.
RaptorEmperor wrote:The bad outcome: Thorium picks up, becomes the "official" version of ReactOS, talent leeches over to Thorium Group and development of open-source ReactOS code is neglected. OSS ReactOS becomes crippled, kind of like how DD-WRT is mostly focused on commercial support nowadays or Android is so dependent on closed-source code it's damn near useless otherwise. Users of now neglected OSS ReactOS must rely on binary blobs to run the complete set of services, such as how VirtualBox can't use USB, etc., without closed-source add-ons or face running deprecated, unsafe code. Development of Thorium/ReactOS focuses so heavily on corporate use that more development-intense components less likely to be used by business applications (DirectX) are underdeveloped or ignored entirely and ReactOS as a desktop Windows replacement is effectively abandoned.
That's not the plan. It helps a lot to see the relationship between Thorium and ReactOS, like CodeWeavers and Wine: Proud Supporters of The Wine Project

This CodeWeavers initiative is the main and only source of full time Wine developers, it's the reason why Wine advances nicely and daily in development. You can see the daily patches that flow-in, and notice that the contributors emails are in fact the Wine team

As you can see, it's a company that provides continuous funding/hiring of *Wine* team. Not other people, the Wine team itself. That's what we want to achieve here with Thorium & ReactOS. We'll continue to focus on getting ReactOS to be an awesome, better, FOSS XP clone, while at the same time pursuing these flavors that help with the continuous funding.

ReactOS will not suffer in any way from Thorium presence, quite the inverse, it does *only* benefit from it.

To anyone who misunderstood the purpose of Thorium, it's not too late, it's never too late. We can make this campaign a success, I've seen our community in action many times, and I'm confident that we can pull this off !

If every single member of our community backs the project, and spreads it to just his basic circle alone (we're not even talking about serious word spreading) to get more backers, we can get enough backers to get this successfully funded, no doubt.

I hope this clears some misunderstandings. Please let me know if you have any questions, I'm also available at IRC (as usual) for realtime discussions (better suited for this topic I guess).

cruonit
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Re: Thorium (ROS distribution) on kickstarter

Post by cruonit » Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:15 pm

if the project fails you shouldn't quit, maybe the next thing could be a reactos based mobile OS(maybe it would get more attention)

Webunny
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Re: Thorium (ROS distribution) on kickstarter

Post by Webunny » Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:55 pm

AmineKhaldi wrote: [*] Thorium is not a project made by Aleksey and Steve alone as some people think (for reasons I don't understand, to be honest, because neither Aleksey nor Steve expressed that it is, in any way).

I think it stems from this: http://www.thoriumgroup.com/about/

It gives the impression that the two of them created the project, if not 'alone' than in any case primordially.

I'm not going to debate whether this is true or not, I'm only saying it gives that impression, and that's the reason why people think so. It's quite easy to understand, to be frank. They're the only two individuals mentioned by name.

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