"The issue for software, of course, is not money. It's developer time."
From what I've heard, the usual reason developers don't have time is because they work full-time jobs which aren't in the RO world. The question I put to developers is: If the community could raise enough cash, would you be willing to work full time on a project? Or in a paid part-time capacity?
An organisation like RISC OS Connect would be ideal to set up such a scheme. But it needs donations and willing programmers to work.
"A bounty, or donations scheme, is hardly incentive. Making profit is."
I doubt any sane businessman would invest in RO for the consumer market. Developing a competitive product is very capital intensive for relatively little gain. I'm sure I read once that ROL have never made a profit. Any new venture is likely to lose a lot of money before it makes any - there's just so much work to be done.
IMO the only hope for RISC OS on the desktop is an open-source, non-profit model, powered by individuals that realise there's no profit to be made, but actually care about keeping the platform alive.