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Re: Debian Consulting

> I've seen a number of open source umbrella organisations like this come
> and go, but a carefully thought out organisation with ties to debian
> would be both a drawcard for members and it would have an excellent base
> to work from, - the technical distribution and the history of
> co-operation...

Interesting thread #2.  The oss consulting network to non-profit oss
sponsor feedback loop.  I'm not too bullish on marketing companies,
but I have also watched this idea closely.  This phenomenon has been
discussed on the free software business list (see www.crywyr.com for
more info).  There are some interesting successful businesses that one
could emulate, keene.com, rentacoder.com.  There are also some very
new, very real attempts to help projects i.e. www.pubsoft.org.  Most
likely because that would be a bad idea.  The worst business plan I
have ever seen was the one at www.freedevelopers.net.  It was not only
nonsense in terms of business, but they used religious "war"
terminology in their manifesto.  Very scary.  Anyway, lots of OSS
projects have non-profit umbrella's, and there are lots of successful,
internet based, distributed consulting companies, but I have not
observed an oss project with a seperate, successful, marketing

I think that feedback loop is hard to take advantage of for two reasons:

1) complex business model.

2) Running a business, as you know, is serious, hard work.  No one
wants to do it for less than they would make working half the hours
with half the responsibliity and 1/10th the stress out in industry.  I
could be wrong, but I doubt anyone will work on a consulting arm of a
non-profit help to increase debian awareness without some serious
commitment and financial backing to keep them going.

For me, this frames the problem: So how do we market debian if the
developers aren't interested and we won't form a commercial
organization to do it?  So far all I can do is start where I am and
show debian to others.  A user friendly installer would be a huge
help.  When I can give a cd to my grandma, and she can boot debian,
knoppix-like, and just start working, we've completely arrived there.
Like I said before, though, most developers do not care about user
base.  Even though users become developers and admins which steam roll
into a better distro, few are shooting for breadth of appeal.  I'm
sure other people have some better ideas.


Rich Bodo | rsb@ostel.com | 650-964-4678

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