Out Of The Frying-Pan Into The Fire
We are funded! Many thanks to all 106 our backers, and in particular to our own "summer Santa Claus"! Without each one of you, our project would stay just a dream. With your help, our dream came true. The funny paradox is that, since we are funded, we now have a lot more work to do - post updates, review student applications, mentor the hired students and send out rewards to our backers - but we will manage it :-)
What happens next?
To quote Kickstarter's own FAQ, "UK projects: If funding succeeds, funds are debited directly from backers' cards. There is a 14-day window for collecting and processing pledges. After that, funds will be transferred directly to your bank account.
What happens if a backer's credit card is declined? If a card is declined, an email is sent to the backer every 48 hours with a link to fix the issue. The backer has 7 days to correct the problem. If they do not correct the payment during that period, they are dropped as backers from the project and are no longer eligible to receive rewards."
We had 7 backers whose payments failed; 3 of them have already managed to fix the problem, so there are 4 left. You have time till June 7th, 7PM EDT to resolve this issue (enter an alternative credit card, call your bank, etc.). If you don't solve the problem by that date, Kickstarter will remove you from being a backer in our project. It's not a problem for us (we will manage fine), since it's only 4 out of 106, and the majority of the payments were processed successfully, but if you consider posting a comment in our project or getting your reward, we advise you to solve it.
We are going to receive the money from Kickstarter in about 10 days, so we don't know yet exactly how much we are getting, but we estimate that after all fees (Kickstarter and credit card processing), and producing and shipping all the rewards (USB sticks and T-shirts), we are looking at around US $5,000 left.
How many students that money is going to buy?
We had a lengthy discussion on our forum about how to divide the payment between the students (that's the real reason for our 4-day radio silence, BTW). Some KolibriOS contributors suggested that we pay students only based on the actual work done and the complexity of the tasks, and not fixed-price like Google does. While it certainly has its advantages (a student would have a real intention to complete his work since only in that case he/she would be paid), it requires much more attention from project coordinator and mentors - something that we don't have the time for. [Remember - we are all volunteers!] So eventually we have decided to stick with Google Summer of Code model - students submit applications and propose themselves the tasks they want to do, and the selected students are all paid the same amount and work for the same duration (3 months).
The second question that was raised is "How many students we should accept". Some people mentioned that in poor countries (like Russia, Ukraine, India, Uruguay etc.) people are getting less than $500 a month in certain jobs and feel happy, so we could easily hire 3-4 students with that money. That is correct, but it would limit us exactly to those poor countries, and definitely won't help KolibriOS gain international recognition. In addition, it looks just too greedy. On the other hand, hiring just 1 student for $5,000 (like Google does) seems a bit too boring - there won't be any competition or friendship between our students if there is only one of them.
So, after we have weighed all pros and cons, we think that 2 students would be an optimal number for us. Compared to the original GSoC payments, we have halved both the students stipends and the mentors "pocket money": students are going to get $2,250USD each, and their mentors - $250USD each. Mentors have already agreed to waive their "pocket money" demands in case, for some reason, we get into money trouble and can't fulfill all rewards or miss a few $ to pay the students. So we can count on $500 being a backup if something goes wrong, and paid to mentors if everything is OK. We hope that payment is high enough for the students to attract more countries and not look greedy.
So where's the application form?
We have just posted the application questionnaire, rules and our Summer of Code timeline on our forum: http://board.kolibrios.org/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=2326 Please help us share this link with as many people as you can, so that we can get many quality students applications! Tell them that the applications are open till Thursday, June 13th, 24:00 UTC. And if you are a student, feel free to apply yourself as well!