[racket] consulting and open source Racket enhancements

From: Neil Van Dyke (neil at neilvandyke.org)
Date: Tue Sep 24 18:28:49 EDT 2013

Anyone have current thoughts on Racket-related consulting, especially 
for businesses who need a somewhat general-purpose Racket module for 
their own app, and are open to contributing that module as open source?

I've been consulting on clients' Racket projects since PLT Scheme 2xx or 
1xx.  The majority of the work is analytic or otherwise 
application-specific.  However, a good percentage of the work involves 
the client needing a general-purpose Racket module to do Foo, and me 
making the module.  It would be good for the Racket community if some of 
those modules were released as open source packages.  The main barrier 
to open-sourcing such modules is that it wasn't arranged from the 
beginning with the business people and in interdependent contracts with 
other parties, and so often very hard to change after the fact.

Going forward, I now have tools and process guidance that make releasing 
Racket packages this way low-to-negligible cost (depending on whether an 
organization wants API documentation for its own use).  So I think the 
main question then is whether an organization is willing to commit to 
open-sourcing the modules from the start.

(Another issue is that people do a sanity check if they're looking at 
paying to develop a general-purpose module for Racket, but it seems like 
'the same thing' already exists for Java or Python.  I've been blessed 
with clients who consider having to roll their own general-purpose 
module occasionally to be an acceptable cost in return for the 
advantages of Racket.  It helps that they've also needed me to do things 
like make a general-purpose jQuery widget, when the open source ones 
were not adequate, and to do similar even with some Python and Java 
libraries, so they appreciate that roll-your-own is not entirely a 
Racket-specific phenomenon.)

Anyway, I'm thinking of starting a side business of developing 
general-purpose Racket packages on demand -- modules that satisfy all 
clients' requirements and are incidentally open-sourced.  Perhaps with 
some discount over normal rates in consideration of the package being 
open-sourced.  Of course, separate from that, I'll continue to 
open-source modules that I develop for my personal projects 
("http://www.neilvandyke.org/racket/").  Anyone have input?

Neil V.

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