Re: Future Debian CD plans
On Sun, 19 Jan 1997, Bruce Perens wrote:
> I AM NOT TRYING TO TURN THE PROJECT INTO A COMMERCIAL ORGANIZATION.
> IT IS A NON-PROFIT. I WANT TO RAISE OUR PERCEPTION IN THE PUBLIC BY
> MAKING OUR PRODUCT _LOOK_ COMMERCIAL.
IMHO, our current popularity is founded on the fact that we are strictly
non-commercial and technical excellent. To look like a commercial product
but to "carry the torch of free software" seems to me like to lie about
the own parentage.
Of course, our popularity is among a certain group of people only:
experts and developers. Debian does not address the typical W95-user,
"dselect" and the complexity of our concepts indicate that. And in fact we
can't keep today what a commercial look would promise to these people.
This market is served by some commercial distributions who have
help-desks, hotlines, colorful but unproductive desktops and a 400 page
manual. The installation is idiot-proof at cost of the flexibility (and
easeness of boot-scripts) of the later system. You can't get into this
market until you offer the same (which will require you to _be_
commercial. Do you think the initial intentions of RedHat and Slackware
were to make big bucks by selling Linux?).
> If you are threatened by the premise of us selling a $2 CD because
> we'd be commerical, look at what FSF wants for tapes.
The FSF wants US$ 5000 for their Deluxe Distribution and $60 for the
"source distribution". You can get the same thing for under US$ 20 from a
vendor who calls his CD "official gnu archive". It's a matter of freedom,
For me it's perfectly clear that the FSF wants symbolic sponsoring of
their project by buying _their_ overpriced CD. This way they keep the
freedom they promise through the GPL and encourage to widespread their
sources. By billing US$ 2 you disorte the free competition among the
> I am sure that we can ad a petty cash budget to the project without
> alienating people. Ian Murdock got paid $10,000 to work on Debian, nobody
> got upset.
He got earnings which were not based on the work of the other Debian
developers, that's the crucial difference.
> One thing I am very sure of. I am tired of being the administrative slave
> of a bunch of whiny, fearful kids.
What else did you expect when you take the role as a leader of a project
runned by volunteers? Or better: what alternatives do you see than being a
slave to the volunteers?
> I want to see constructive action from
> you guys on the project's problems, not whining if I try to make the smallest
> policy decision. I'm a volunteer too, and there's no reason for me to take it.
The problem is: before the project's problems are not solved, your policy
decision will introduce even more problems than solving the current ones.
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