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Re: Debian UK

On Wed, Sep 07, 2005 at 12:30:11AM +0100, Matthew Garrett wrote:
> > Businesses are not inherently evil but they do have different priorities
> > than Debian.  I don't follow debian-uk and it certainly doesn't sound
> > like it's actually been resolved in an acceptable way regardless.

> It's somewhat worth pointing out that Mark has something of a reputation
> for inter-personal friction. The probability of the situation being
> resolved to his satisfaction is small, but (to the absolute best of my
> knowledge) he's the only UK-based developer to have raised any serious
> objection to the way things have been handled so far.

If I thought interpersonal friction was the only issue, I wouldn't
bother continuing to follow this thread.  The fact is, MJ has raised a
number of specific concerns that I agree Debian should come to terms
with if DUS is going to be using the Debian name.

The salient questions seem to be:

- Why does the DUS have an opt-out model for DD membership in the org
  (if this is indeed the case)?
- Should an organization that uses the Debian name be selling
  merchandise, or should sales be kept at arm's length from the task of
  holding funds on behalf of Debian?
- Should an organization that uses the Debian name be directly
  accountable to the DPL or other Debian project leadership for how it
  spends Debian money?

and more generally,

- What *should* Debian's policy be on the use of the Debian name by
  affiliate groups?

> Simply using the argument "Debian's legal entity doesn't sell things,
> therefore no closely associated entity should sell things either" isn't
> very convincing - it's more worthwhile to look at /why/ SPI doesn't
> engage in any commercial activities.


> b) It impairs competition (the leading Linux CD manufacturers in the UK
> supply us with the CDs that get sold, and certainly don't seem to be
> complaining)

Well, I'm not sure that's much of a counterargument.  Just because DUS
has chosen as partners companies that are a) leaders in their field and
b) happy with the arrangement doesn't mean that its CD sales have zero
impact on *others* that might be trying to sell CDs, does it?  Not that
I have a problem with Steve, Phil, and the others either buying or
selling CDs, but we should consider whether it's appropriate to be
selling them under the name "Debian UK Society".  Maybe it doesn't a
damn bit of difference, though -- whether it's DUS, or Phil and Steve,
they're obviously going to be sold at the Debian booth, so the name
endorsement is already there, right?

> Is it inappropriate for an organisation that is closely linked to Debian
> and which uses the Debian name to engage in any form of commercial
> activity? Does the answer to this depend on whether it's for profit or
> not?

I think it would be inappropriate for anyone *other than Debian* to
profit from sales using our name.  Heck, last I checked, the logo policy
doesn't even allow DDs to sell Debian clothing at a profit.

I don't know how I feel about not-for-profit sales using the Debian
name, but I think that's one of the questions that's been put to us...

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
vorlon@debian.org                                   http://www.debian.org/

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