Hi Kelli and all,
I'll take a stab at providing more context from Artefactual's perspective since I have said versions of this to various folks (clients of ours and not) over the last year or two. This point: "we've been moving away from the 'bounty' model of software development"
Means: we are not developers-for-hire. We have lots of developers who work for us and we do lots of developing and we sometimes get paid for specifically requested development work but we rarely do so anymore using the bounty-model. I realise that we have done so in the past (this
is the last example I can think of - with SFU in, planned in 2020) but it isn't a service
You might ask why - and this is harder to answer. Or it requires a longer answer, at least. I'll try to sum up some of why we are doing things the way we are doing them. Bounty-model development is simpler when something is new and it's harder when software is mature. We are trying to make Artefactual a longterm, sustainable company that can continue to put free and open source software out into the world. And I mean sustainable for the software, for the company and also for the folks who work for us! This means we we can't take on development-on-demand. It creates a large maintenance burden and technical debt, among other problems. This burden is one we are dealing with super-proactively right now by having hired a team of developers whose focus is the stability, usability and security of AtoM and Archivematica for the longterm. I think of software maintenance as a lot like other archival work: highly skilled yet often undervalued and invisible. Maintaining something helps knowledge persist across versions or organisations. It's caring work. (Stay tuned to our News
page for some features about the work of this team in the coming weeks).
No one at Artefactual thinks IIIF functionality is a bad idea. We aren't against it. We just aren't able to commit to it because we have other things we are trying to take care of right now. I love what my colleague Kelly said about IIIF functionality: not now and not in this way
. We are choosing to focus on customer needs first and that will ultimately benefit the larger AtoM community too. Trust me when I say IIIF is on our radar and we know there are people out there who want it. But it's not a matter of a customer of ours saying "I want IIIF" and then we will build it. It's more complex than that. And yes
we are trying to listen to our customers first. We can't be everything to everybody. We can't DOALLTHETHINGS (*insert Hyperbole and a Half meme here
Lastly, I would return to the AtoM Foundation as the ideal place from which community needs can be expressed to Artefactual.
I wanted to keep this short and I haven't really succeeded. We do strive to be transparent about what we do and how we do it and I am sorry if some of what I am explaining isn't giving the clarity you desire. Conversations in the user forum are great for getting info out to folks but they aren't the greatest at nuance or back and forth. We take our roles as stewards of AtoM seriously - our responsibility to the project and the people who use it. Let us know if I've missed anything.
Jenn Roberts (she/her)
Systems Archivist, Business Development Team