Re: Debian goes big business?
> Shawn writes:
> > I am all for a for-profit business forming as a value-added seller of
> > Debian products. Such a business could focus on pre-installations,
> > packaging and marketing, and user support. I would think a very
> > successful business could be built on such a model, and there would be no
> > necessary control flowing either way between said business and the Debian
> > organization. The Debian community would control the software, such a
> > business (and there could be many of them) would control its own
> > marketing, packaging, support program, etc.
> Exactly! This is just the sort of company I would love to participate in.
How about the following variation on the theme?
Rather than starting a for-profit business as a value-added seller of
Debian products, why not start a not-for-profit, user centred,
association that does the same job? It would work a bit like an
automobile association. Users would join by paying a membership fee.
It would be run by a board elected by the members - one vote per
member. Membership fees and other income would be used to pay
employees who do the work.
Earlier posts have suggested that Debian itself could be turned into
such an association, but I don't believe that would be in Debian's
best interests. I believe Debian should remain a developer
controlled, entirely volunteer, organization. A flaw with the status
quo however, is that there is no mechanism to ensure that the needs of
users are looked after. This is where a separate "Debian User
Association" could fill the gap. Well actually, the "gap" isn't all
that large, because fortunately debian users are looked after quite
well at the moment. But perhaps a user association could do even
better, as well as taking over some of the "user assistance" work that
developers currently do, freeing them up to concentrate more on
The "Debian User Association" (DUA) would be separate from "Debian",
but the two would obviously wish to cooperate closely with each other.
DUA would concentrate on user issues --- value adding to the
distribution in user-centred ways. It would provide user support to
members --- perhaps produce regular publications that deal with
frequent user issues. It would also be heavily involved in marketing.
There is one big advantage of this structure over a for-profit Debian
business in that, I believe, current (and future) debian users would
be more enthusiastic about signing up. With a business, the profits
would go to the owners, where as with the DUA, the aim of the
organisation would be to serve its members. A DUA would provide a
mechanism for improved user support and marketability. It would
provide a mechanism for paid workers, without damaging Debian's
volunteer developer model. It would be a means for promoting Debian,
in keeping with the Debian spirit.
"They told me I was gullible ... and I believed them!"