Stephen Frost wrote: > * Simon Huggins (email@example.com) wrote: > >>I realise that money can be very devisive but these are relatively small >>amounts of money used well for the good of Debian. > > Even small amounts of money can change people's priorities. It seems that you are under the impression that the activities such as the selling of T-shirts are done for the purpose of raising money. (Not surprising given the spin that MJ Ray's been putting on it) The way we price this stuff has always been based on selling it as cheaply as possible, while making the numbers round for convenient change at Expos, and aiming to do just better than break-even (as opposed to doing just worse than break-even) -- we sell to DDs at cost price -- on a couple of occasions we made significantly more than break-even, but that was more a case of mistaken judgement, and being worried that we were likely to be left with stock that would be perishable (i.e. old release CDs) IIRC I put the money up for some or all of the initial stock at the first Expo. I'm pretty sure Steve's subsidised similarly on a few occasions. None of us ever took out anything beyond the money we'd put in. Over the years, the small profits have accumulated to the point that it funds the stock for the next event -- the alternative would be expecting the likes of us to subsidise the stock, in the hope of getting paid back -- I think that approach would actually increase commercial concerns, since at present we're not that fussed if we make a loss, or get left with a lot of stock. It also means that funds are available when SPI needs things funded in Sterling. One could seek sponsorship for the stand, but that has it's own risks to the independence of Debian. You are right that small amounts of money can change some people's attitudes. The current assets held by Steve are significantly less than the amount of money I've spent out of my own pocket on running the UK Debian mirror alone. Does it really seem likely that I would get distracted by the difference between making 200 and 300 pounds at the next Expo? Steve's also demonstrated a continued indifference to the potential corruption that goes with the presence of money. So, we do trade T-Shirts, but the primary motivation is to provide Debian fans with stuff they might like, not to make money out of it. The recently available "When It's Ready" and "Good Things" designs that proved so popular at DebConf5 would almost certainly not have been produced without taking this approach: http://www.einval.com/~steve/DebianT/ Perhaps you think we should set up a tshirt production business, but would that business be expected to pay for a stand at Expos? You have to sell a lot of T-shirts to justify the 5000.00 GBP it would probably cost to turn up, which might impose some rather more extreme commercial pressures. Given that we don't do this as our day job, we wouldn't be up for that risk, so that would simply ensure that there were a lot less people wearing Debian T-shirts in the UK, and slightly less money was available to Debian. You also mention the competition issue -- interestingly, it's generally been the case that our stocks were supplied by the people that one would think were our closest competition, with debianshop.com supplying us with CDs & DVDs, and linuxemporium.co.uk providing Tshirts & CDs on sale-or-return, for example -- we have avoided that pitfall as well, it seems. Personally, I like being able to get Debian Tshirts on occasion, and the availability of merchandise certainly makes the stand more popular at Expos, which in turn makes the uninitiated curious about what the attraction is. Without that continued popularity, we'd get smaller stands at the Expos, which would then reduce the effectiveness of the promotion we manage to achieve. I agree that there is a danger of corruption that goes along with the presence of money, but I don't appreciate the implication that such corruption is inevitable. In fact the level of honesty demonstrated by those involved over the years has been impeccable. There have been many occasions where people who could certainly have done with the money have had physical access to hundreds or thousands of pounds in cash, without incident. Rather than attempting to imply that there must always be an ulterior motive, I think we (Debian as a whole) should congratulate ourselves that we've managed to establish an environment in which such ethical behaviour can be expected. Cheers, Phil.
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