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Re: Future Debian CD plans

On Sun, 19 Jan 1997, Bruce Perens wrote:

Bruce> Well, we never have had any money up to now because dealing with
Bruce> money has been more hassle than it's worth.

You've brought it to the point. Debian is in fact a non-commercially
organisation (I didn't found a clear definition what it is officially).
The last truly no-money-at-all Linux distribution in the world.
Is that the reason why so many developers joined the project? In my
opinion: yes.

If I understand you right, you want to turn Debian into a non-profit
(=commercial) organisation. Yes, you and other developers (including me)
put a lot of money into Debian or Linux in general. And yes, the
non-profit status together with some earnings from "selling the
distribution" would help to cover at least the running costs of the
project. But I still don't see how it would solve any of the other 
problems mentioned. For example

      * We still don't have the ALPHA and SPARC ports.
      * Reliable Quality control is missing.
      * RedHat is always faster with security fixes.
      * The homepage is not attractive.
      * The number of developers is huge.
      * "dselect" is too difficult.
      * TeX is not fully functional.
      * Very many old bug reports.
      * 200 packages are still not in the new source-format.
      * Support for other countries that US is only rudimentary.

Even the help-desk won't fix those problems: it would only report them
times and times again. Instead, the problems above result of each other.
In other words: we have to fix them anyways, regardless of 
non-commercial or non-profit.

And I see huge problems with motivation of the developers when introducing
money: you can't just pay a small group of volunteers for their running
costs. You have to cover all or they won't volunteer any longer (I mean,
for them it would be equally to support RedHat then). Another one is the
need of a full-time job to find and employ people for the help-desk,
organise it, bargain with vendors, employ even more people to speed up the
ports, employ even more people to guarantee quality to the vendors (->
test-installation). The differences to other distributions would only be
formal (if at all).

Bruce> Well, we never have had any money up to now because dealing with
Bruce> money has been more hassle than it's worth.

And I still believe this argument still holds. And therefore I suggest to
keep our non-commercial status: everybody pays his own bill. For common
costs we should find long-time sponsors. If Debian stays non-commercial,
I'm willing to pay the domain fee for 2 years.


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