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[Debconf-discuss] Thanking our sponsors

A long while somebody in #debconf-team asked if we can have plain
t-shirts available for sale without sponsor logos.

That is of course a valid question and I would like to share my
feelings about it: it would be a very bad idea ;-)

But thanks for bringing up the question, in reality this is not
something the Orga Team can really control, as we are releasing the
designs for the t-shirt under a DFSG-free license.

I am sending this e-mail in the hopes we can coalesce an Orga Team
view on the matter and see if we can convince our attendees to care
about the underlining issue, that is, of course, to thank our

DebConf is a very unusual conference in many aspects. Among them, it
is the case that our sponsors do not really "buy advertisement" in the
conference. They carry a huge financial burden as they shoulder more
than half of the total expenses. Instead of silent bystanders, holding
signs with the names of their brands, they are a key participant in
DebConf. Even if you do not rely on sponsored food, accommodation or
have some of your travel expenses covered, all attendees benefit
greatly from a much diverse (and numerous) crowd.

Showing our sponsor logos in key places within DebConf is just a way
to thank them for their support. For them, there is plenty of value in
helping DebConf happen, but that value is really in the Debian
itself. In that respect, they share our committement and appreciation
towards the project. And that of course deserves to be thanked, in the
same way the project shows appreciation to many other parts of the
project that make it thrive.

Of course, it would be difficult to say that companies employing
hundreds of thousands of people care for the project. In reality,
there are people within those companies and organizations that
appreciate the value that Debian bring to their employers. It is to
these people we owe our deeper thanks. Now, if we have people, for
example, willingly wearing t-shirts without their logos, I would be
afraid that can be used to undermine the credibility of our contacts
within each company. And by doing so, we will be hurting future
DebConfs (as more than half of our donations come from recurring

I would like to conclude saying that I appreciate the idea of having a
DebConf where we do not need to rely on sponsors so heavily (our
sponsors in general contribute to the project in many other ways,
too). We can organize a camp-site, for example. I have attended such
events and while they are incredibly uncomfortable, it helps to have a
very focused set of attendees. If we rather prioritize having a more
comfortable, productive setting, we need the help of our
sponsors... which deserve to be thanked ;-)



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