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Re: Future Debian CD plans

>Maybe it would be helpful if you could put pen to paper and
>tell us your thoughts on:

I'm going to be very short with this because I don't have much time right
now. It is something I'd like to expand on at some point.

> - your vision for the future of Debian

Simply for us to carry the torch of free software. That means while
we may charge for some things, there will always be a free path for
getting those same things. Carrying the torch of free software means we
may eventually grow out of Linux - in 10 years you could see the same
binaries and another kernel, for example. I feel we're well equipped
to bring free software to the public because we concentrate on system
integration while there are other organizations that do better at
building applications. We fit well with organizations such as GNU
and people everywhere who write free software but don't build a turnkey

> - ways to generate more money

I don't want money to become a goal of the project, just a tool with
which we get things done. Thus, while T-shirts are OK I'm not going
to get involved with them, or with other fund-rasing activities that
are not directly connected to bringing a product to the customer.
Some other volunteer can do that.
I will be involved with charging some small token amount for the system,
because people take it more seriously when they pay for it.

> - what are our current sources of income

We get thousands of dollars monthly in donated _services_, not cash.
We currenntly do not _ask_ for cash donations, and we have no treasurer to
take care of them. We have essentially
no petty cash that doesn't come out of my pocket, or Mike
Neuffer's, or Bdale's, etc. Each of us three recently blew at least
$400 each for ALPHA systems intended for Debian, for example.

> - how much money we need to maintain the master FTP server

This may be a red herring, because while I-connect has complained about
what it costs them, we could probably get someone to donate the services
if they quit.

> - what kind of budget Debian currently has


> - what kind of budget Debian needs

I would like to be able to send a representative to every trade show
that concerns us if the show has accepted a paper about Debian. This might
be be about $10,000 a year. Flying and hotels cost a lot,  and sometimes
we might want a trade show booth. Sometimes these things are donated, but
while trade shows sometimes donate space, they are loath to pay for any but
the keynote speaker. This is generally Linus or someone not connected with

> - how to attract more commercial support

We need to have a box with Debian on the cover, and not be just
another part in the Linux Grab-Bag 6-CD set.

We have been asked to provide a long-term address and phone number
where people can go for help. I doubt the phone part can be done
practically by volunteers.

We are having a serious problem with release engineering, but a lot of
people are red in the face over our latest snafu (1.2.2 doesn't satisfy
its own dependencies) and I expect this to change. I think I am going
to have to hold the throttle on the 1.3 release - rather than a target
date I think we need a date when we _plan_ to release and a later date
when we actually decide it's worthy of release and send it out - 1.1 went
a lot better because we took the time.

> - what forms of commercial involvement you envision

The key is to make the CD manufacturers work for us. They each seem to
have their own venues for distribution (different retail chains,
different nations, etc). We want to be in all those venues. My present
plan would do that by allowing any CD manufacturer to produce and
distribute an official Debian CD and make a little money. They do the
commercial stuff, we just collect a few bucks per unit from them and
concentrate on developing software and getting publicity so that people
become interested in the product. I don't see anyone spending much to
advertise Debian, and that's OK, publicity is better than advertising.

> - ways of increasing exposure/advertising of Debian

We are on the space shuttle STS-83 this March. Debian is controlling
a hydroponics experiment and sending video and telemetry to the ground.
I will do a press release on that with the debian-publicity list folks
and my wife, who is a professional public relations and publicity agent.

There are other opportunities of this type coming up. People using
Debian in schools during Net Day, people who do other interesting
things with it, etc.
release around that.

> - anything else you want to ramble on about

Growing the project is going to be more of a challenge than
i thought because some people don't want to grow it. I still
think I can get our audience to become much larger without discarding
the fundamental values that brought us to this point. It is going
to be an educational project with the developers, I'm afraid.


Bruce Perens K6BP   Bruce@Pixar.com   510-215-3502
Finger bruce@master.Debian.org for PGP public key.
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