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Re: Resellers/Random thoughts on commercialism

David Welton <davidw@master.debian.org> writes:

> I don't even think it would be a bad idea if we sold something
> ourselves.  There's nothing wrong with selling free software.
> Organizing this, though, might be difficult.

I don't like the idea.  If the projects sells CDs directly, it creates
unfair competition for people who'd like to sell Debian CDs
themselves, or base a distribution off of Debian.

There are lots of potential for conflicts of interests there.

Currently, anybody who wants a Debian CD currently should have no
problems getting their hands on one.  I don't believe we have a
distribution problem.

Right now, Debian is one of the few Linux distributions that does not
sell CDs directly.  That makes us rather unique, and gives the project
a unique perspective.  Nobody can accuse us of being profit driven.


My largest concern is that Debian could start to make a substantial
sum of money from CD sales.  The temptation to direct some of our
energies towards increasing sales would be irresistable.  In the end,
we'd have a small part of the project that was being run as a
for-profit concern.  The profits coming in would be difficult to
distribute fairly.  Most likely, many of the developers who have no
interest in selling CDs will develop resentment towards those that do
have an interest in doing that.

Besides, physical media isn't the ideal distribution mechanism for
Debian.  We have developed a system which is ideal for in-place
upgrades over the Internet.  In contrast, the other Linux vendors
business models are based on selling lots of CDs - so you won't be
seeing an easy upgrade method from them that doesn't involve buying
new CDs.

As high bandwidth connections become cheaper, expect Debian to gain
market share - the commerical distributions that live off of selling
CDs are going to look like dinosaurs in comparison.


 - Jim

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