by Tom Veatch
The main problem I see with CoSource.com is that the projects supported are mostly really small, time-limited, custom-programming projects basically negotiated between one customer and one developer, rather than significant new initiatives that many participants can pull on together. I have had big ambitions for PFFS, which should be able to organize large and visionary projects, and which should ideally be able to appeal to and bring in the mass markets of naive users whose needs for easy UI's can motivate more of that kind of programming, which isn't getting done as much as it might in the Free Software world.
Also CoSource.com loses the Many-Eyes-On-The-Problem, bazaar nature of free software development, by not really allowing developer groups to modify their offers and by not really encouraging them to include all additional developer participants that have a willing spirit. In this way it doesn't seem to allow for gradual and continuous evolution of projects or integration with the volunteer free-software development community. Also under CoSource.com, customers no longer have much leverage on the process after their money is committed (which may be a Good Thing, if customers are normally obtuse en masse), whereas, here, customers control project acceptance by controlling disbursements: money doesn't become "AVAILABLE_FOR_DISBURSEMENT" until they say so (subject to bug-list dispute-resolution methods). Finally, at CoSource.com the developer specifies the kind of licensing they are offering, and customers may accept whatever they like. This market solution has the result that developers may not be motivated to GPL their code.
In summary, though, I think CoSource.com makes reasonable choices for all these problems, and provides a solution that is at least both market-based and clear for most of them, and with some relatively minor tweaks they could have everything I have conceived in PFFS. One possibility is to go talk to them (I'm in Seattle, they are just across the lake) and give them some feedback and let them run with it. What do you think?