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Re: revenue sharing agreement with DuckDuckGo

Le Tue, Mar 27, 2012 at 10:26:18AM +0200, Stefano Zacchiroli a écrit :
> [1] https://duckduckgo.com/
> What they propose is:
> - donating to Debian 25% of the income they make from inbound traffic
>   that originates from Debian users if DDG is a search engine option in
>   a web browser
> DDG will earmark traffic originating for Debian, for browsers who want
> to do so, by using the search URL
> https://duckduckgo.com/?q={{search}}&t=debian . Mike, with his
> maintainer hat on, is fine with using such a search string in
> Iceweasel. Other browsers, if the respective maintainers want to, might
> end up doing the same.

Dear all,

my feeling about DDG's proposition is that it reminds me similar attempts to
automatically collect users statistics, against which we usually take a hard
line.  In case of science packages (I hope you are not tired of this...), it
can for instance be mandatory registration forms, non-free license terms, etc.
Users statistics is a crucial information for some projects, which can
influence whether they continue or are terminated, and it is very hard for us
to push Debian's principles against this perspective.

One main difference is that DDG proposes to pay to obtain an exception to the
rule.  Taken together with the trademarks, where the projects that can buy one
can make restrictions that the projects that only use copyright licenses can
not, it gives me the feeling that we are being strong with the weak, and weak
with the strong.

Adding "&t=debian" to search URLs bring no direct technical benefit for the
users.  DDG has a nice policy about privacy, but for the rest it looks like an
elaborated proxy to make Yahoo queries, with a bit of enhancements for the
keywords that can be found in Wikipedia and other mainstream sites.  All in
all, it is not free software.  I think that it is great to have it available in
the search box, and actually, it was already there before they made their
propositions.  So their "25%" proposition is mostly about tracking users.

I think that we should not add tracking features by default.  This said, having
a partnership working in an opt-in manner like Popcon could be an insteresting
experiment, if there are volunteers to run it.

DDG also makes direct donations to Free Software projects
http://www.gabrielweinberg.com/blog/2012/03/duckduckgo-foss-donations-2011.html ).
I think that this is the way to go: receiving donation from projects which 
use Debian and want Debian to continue.  In the case of DDG, it means that we
need to outcompete FreeBSD...

Have a nice day,

Charles Plessy
Tsurumi, Kanagawa, Japan

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