Ferret is now accepting donations

Hey folks,

Since this is the Ferret mailing list I should preface this by that
the donation of time and help by people like Jens K., Jan P.
and all the other people who have contributed to Ferret is just as
valuable to me as any financial assistance. Thanks.

Ferret has been a labour of love but it has taken up a lot more of my
life than I ever expected. At in excess of 50,000 lines of code, I
believe it is one of the largest Ruby projects, especially with only a
single developer. (previous version before rewrite had >70,000 LOC so
added together that is a lot of work). I would love to keep pushing
Ferret forward at the rate it has been going but other things are
going to have to start taking priority (like putting food on the
table). If you find Ferret useful in your application and you aren’t
able to contribute with the development, please consider making a
donation at the Ferret website:

http://ferret.davebalmain.com/trac

So where do I see Ferret going in the future? I’d really like to build
an object-database based on Ferret, with ActiveRecord and Og bindings.
Why?:

  • Fixes the current DRY problems with Ferret. ie, should you store
    data in the Ferret index to take advantage or highlighting? Or build
    your own highlighter so that the data isn’t stored in two places.
  • Simplifies things. You’ll be able to forget about IndexReaders,
    IndexWriters, file-locking, etcetera. Just create the database as you
    usually would and you have Ferret full-text search built in.
  • Range queries just work. No need to pad numbers or format dates
    correctly.
  • Sort just works. And it won’t take forever to build the
    sort-index (currently a problem on very large indexes).
  • Performance, performance, performance. As people are often
    pointing out, the bottle neck in many applications falls in the data
    access layer. Mapping relational database schemas to Ruby objects (or
    any OO language for that matter) can be very expensive at run-time. A
    good object database should easily outperform even SQLite. (and I’m
    being very cautious here)

Right now, I’d need to raise at least 5 figures before I’d consider
this undertaking so please send some encouragement my way if you would
be interested in something like this. Otherwise I’d appreciate any
kind of contribution, financial or assistance with development. In the
meantime I will continue to improve test coverage and Ferret
documentation, fix bugs and help people on the Ferret mailing list.

Happy Ferreting.
Dave

Hey,

this is great! I’ll definitly hit the donation button myself in near
future,
but don’t expect much since I’m a little away from having a job that
really
pays out right now.

Anyway: Your plans for the future sound very interesting. I’ve been
using
lucene quite some time ago for the one and only persistence layer in a
project and it did work out. An optimized ferret for these kinds of
things
would definitly be great. IMHO people - including myself - often have a
sql
layer in the back office mainly because of security reasons… relational
dbms are so long around and often you are relying on things simply
because
they have proven to work. On the other hand performance sensible apps,
gameservers or telco servers with many concurrent users often can’t rely
on
rdbms out of performance reasons. So this sounds really interesting from
a
practical point of view as well. Hopefully such companies will make a
noticeable donation once they are aware that something like ferret
exists
and has future plans like the ones you’ve described. Being noticed seems
to
be very important, imho it needs a marketing genius like DHH to give an
open
source project an breakthrough like the one that rails has seen.

Regarding the ‘I need something on the table to eat’ imho the best thing
that could happen to an open source developer who loves his child
project is
that one of the big companys hires him and lets him work on what he
loves.
Seems as this has just happened to Charles Nutter et al who have been
hired
from sun because of their work on jruby. On the other hand many
developers
don’t want to work for a big company because of the loss of freedom.
Whatever you decide to do in the future there really should be some
great
opportunities (and donations) for an incredible developer who is pushing
forward a project of the size of ferret in such a great pace.

My personal opinion: If one is making money with the help of an open
source
project like ferret and there is an opportunity to donate, they should
feel
a need to give something back. May it be patches or money…

Cheers,
Jan

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