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Get Paid to Solve Open Source Problems

Getting help on issues related to open source projects isn't always like walking a straight line. Sure there are bug reports, mailing lists and discussion forums, but the challenge of actually getting specific local issues addressed is not a sure thing.

That's the gap that OpenLogic is attempting to fill with its Expert Community program. OpenLogic is an open source stack vendor that provides certified open source solutions and support for a collection of over 160 projects.

The Expert Community program, formally launched earlier this year, taps the open source community on behalf of OpenLogic clients to get the answers, fixes and, in some cases, features that they want.

Sitting at the helm of OpenLogic's Expert Community program is industry veteran Stormy Peters, director of community and partner programs. Peters is well known in the community as a founding member of HP's Linux division where she had also managed the Open Source Program Office.

"The idea was that we could either hire developers that worked on each of the projects or we could work closely with the community to get problems solved," Peters told internetnews.com. "We take first-line calls from customers, and if we find it's something technical in the product we contact our community members."

When a community member actually fixes an issue, OpenLogic compensates them for their efforts. Current compensation starts at $100 minimum per issue, though Peters noted it can be adjusted on a case-by-case basis for complexity and time involved.

According to Peters, OpenLogic has attracted some 2,300 members, half of whom reside outside of the U.S. She noted that the growth rate was 62 percent in the last quarter alone.

Just being a user of a particular open source project isn't enough to be an OpenLogic expert, though. The program seeks out those who are actively involved with the open source projects that they may end up fixing issues for.

"We're looking for contributors and committers," Peters said.

The reason why OpenLogic is looking for that degree of project commitment is practical.

"We don't want to fork code," Peters explained. "If we fix something for our clients, we want to make sure that it goes back into the mainstream."

Another issue that OpenLogic addresses with its expert community is the need for anonymity. Not every organization wants to advertise the fact that they are having issues with a particular piece of software within their enterprise.

OpenLogic has a non-disclosure agreement in place so that expert community members' names are not disclosed to OpenLogic's customers, and customers names are not disclosed to the community.

Peters couldn't disclose the total volume of issues addressed via the program to date, but she would say that so far there haven't been any that they haven't been able to solve.