For six months of work, my low estimate is about $12000. I don't think I'd necessarily close donations if I reached that number, since it is really a minimal budget.
So I'd say I need $12000 to sustain for 6 months, but would accept up to $15000. After that, I'd rather people save the money for a future round of development, should it arise.
I would need at least $1000 (total) before my first two weeks, at least $2000 immediately after those two weeks, at least $6000 by the end of the first four weeks, and at least $12000 by then end of the first 12 weeks.
This would let me ramp up sufficiently, and give me room to bail out if it doesn't seem to be likely that I'll get enough funding. The idea is that it's easy for me to get two weeks off of work without consequence, and 4 weeks is even doable. More than a month, and I'll actually be living off these funds out of necessity, which is why I need a larger buffer zone.
I think that I've said $60 is a nice number because it allows people to show some commitment to the project without being a 'corporate' size sponsorship. Some people are selling me on the idea of cash-proportional voting, and I'm thinking maybe I'll sell votes in $60 increments.
You can donate however much you'd like, but $60 would be the increment in which votes were assigned. For example, $500 would buy you 8 votes.
However, I don't want to leave out general community input, or the voices of those who donated less than $60. Here is my proposed way of being reasonably fair.
I will put up my official list 1 week *before* allowing donors to vote. I'll open up a mailing list where people can freely make their case for different ideas on the list, whether or not they've contributed money.
After the vote, I'll add an additional 10% of votes which I reserve to cast wherever I want. What this means is that if there is a close tie in paid votes, but a major consensus among community members in general, I will be able to lean in the direction of the community, so long as I'm convinced that there is some general agreement.
Ruby 1.9 Field Medic.
Start with Ruport and tumble through dependencies, working on compatibility issues. From there, work on helping with 1.9 support where needed in projects like: ActiveRecord, mechanize, redcloth, Camping, Merb, hpricot, highline, and maybe others. I've not checked the 1.9 status of these projects, but I'm sure could come up with many more if time permitted.
A Six Month Nightmare with RubyForge.
No one likes PHP. But RubyForge is driving me insane. I would be willing to fix it given the time and funding.
First class PDF support in Ruby.
I'm currently maintaining PDF::Writer along with Mike Milner. The library implements most of the PDF spec, and is incredibly useful. However, it's not very usable. It is slow, has API issues, and countless bugs. The current plan is to maintain the library making minor improvements when we can. A large time block would allow for something better: A fast, thin, pretty rewrite. This would go a long way to helping Ruby be a first choice for reporting software development.
From Lone Hacker to Community Leader.
I could work with newer or shy developers to help them get acquainted with free software practices in general. I'd help people learn how to package gems, set up mailing lists, do sane release cycles, etc. I could maybe even produce a free book called "Open Source Software Development in Ruby"
Your idea here
please email me at gregory.t.brown at gmail.com
Keep in mind that I want to have projects that a) are personally interesting to me to some degree and b) are within my reach, skill-wise.
But I'd love to hear any and all ideas, and will post the possible ones here.