Here's my take on answering this question: Going for software-only campaign was a tough choice. We had to consider different outcomes, so we figured what would be minimal amount allowing us to support port for a reasonable time (at least a year), and offered that as a basic award - support for a year, regardless of how successful campaign is (as long as we collected basic goal). But it was also clear from the outset that the only way the project mat become really successful is by it becoming truly community project, as we need hundreds and hundreds of people to participate. It's fair to say that project has become wildly successful, and the reason why it became wildly successful and not just successful is thanks to people who selected Follower and Driver awards, not just basic awards offered. And it's my big hope that they selected these rewards as active members of the community, who may and interested to do more, not to just get access to the firmware while others can't.platforma wrote:I've got a generic question about the kickstarter: The follower and the driver rewards give access to the alpha/beta version of the firmware. With the stretch goal the source is now being released to backers right after the campaign has finished. Isn't that the same as the access to alpha, since one will be able to compile the code themselves? Or it is meant the binary alpha/beta versions distributed directly to backers?
So right, with the source release, everyone will be able to build firmware from source - and it's big win which everyone hopefully wanted to. If every 10th backer will regularly build from source, then we potentially have 70+ people who'll be ready to contribute bugfixes and new features (the real percentage will be of course lower). But next 2 months after the source release, the esp8266 port will be in great flux. We'll make "point" releases specifically for early access users, and feedback from them will be the highest priority we process (they effectively will have their say on development during these 2 months - until first "general availability" release).
We also consider other benefits for Followers/Drivers, e.g. more votes per person in module "election" process (please stay tuned for details on that, it's enough to say that we can't have complete votes until all backers are in, i.e. the campaign is finished, so we aren't hasting with that, but some details to follow soon). And please don't be too shy to mention that you're Driver/Follower in github bugreports - that'll help us to set priorities right .