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Re: How to make Debian more attractive for users, was: Re: The number of popcon.debian.org-submissions is falling

On 22/07/10 at 14:22 +1000, Russell Coker wrote:
> On Thu, 22 Jul 2010, Lucas Nussbaum <lucas@lucas-nussbaum.net> wrote:
> > > That's an interesting idea.  But where is the money going to come from?
> > 
> > This idea is likely to get so much people against it that it's not worth
> > discussing.
> Involvement of Debian funds would cause problems, but there are other options.
> We could have Debian maintain a list of consultants and companies that provide 
> phone and Jabber support.  Also a mapping of consultants to areas of expertise 
> would be good (EG if someone happens to need some paid expert advice on Debian 
> SE Linux ;).

We currently have 827 consultants in 64 countries listed on
http://www.debian.org/consultants/, which is pretty easy to find. It's
true that this listing could be improved, but still, it's there (also,
you are not listed).

> Maybe we could have an IRC channel where people could post questions like "I 
> want to pay $50 per hour to have someone fix a bug in my Perl code on 
> Debian/Lenny".  If such a channel was available then I'd occasionally use it 
> for my clients, early last year one DD got a small series of $US100 contracts 
> through me that probably took him about 30 mins each to complete - that's a 
> rate of $US200 per hour and the client was totally happy!
> With some of these jobs the faster the response is the more the client is 
> willing to pay.  If you can fix something within the next hour the client will 
> often pay twice what they would pay to have it fixed tomorrow.  In the past 
> I've had ongoing requirements for rapid expert advice on Perl in Debian/Lenny 
> and PHP with libraries backported to Lenny from Squeeze which I couldn't find 
> adequate resources in a small enough amount of time.

So what you are proposing is that an entity would setup a service where
users would post support requests (or development requests), and
developers would, sometimes, pick up the offers and get paid for that.

While I would be totally against using Debian funds to set up such a
service, there's nothing preventing someone from investigating the idea
of creating a company that would provide that service without the
official endorsement of Debian. However, there are several problems:
- are there enough potential clients? If they are willing to pay, why
  would they choose this instead of one of the 827 consultants we
  already have listed?
- is it legally possible/easy to do? this would potentially involve
  developers from many countries with different regulations.
- are there enough interested developers?

This doesn't seem very different from bounty-sponsored development. It
has been tried before. Why did it fail?


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