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Re: Re: Report from DSA Team Sprint in Oslo

Thank you Tollef,

Tollef Fog Heen wrote:
]] Filipus Klutiero

>  It is concerning that we no longer receive enough hardware donations
>  to meet our needs. I can only encourage these improvements to
>  donations pages. Specifically, if we lack any significant hardware,
>  let's add it tohttp://www.debian.org/misc/hardware_wanted.en.html

I don't think it's particularly concerning.  Relying on donated hardware
rather than buying hardware ourself ties our hands with regards to what
kind of hardware we end up with.  By buying hardware, we get the
hardware we want, at the time we want.

I agree that imposing ourselves to rely exclusively on donations would be a constraint. Clearly, buying hardware ourselves gives us the optimal result in a sense, but it's also most costly, and money is one of our constraints.

I was not really thinking about stopping to buy hardware, but rather to increase the hardware we're donated (and if we get enough, perhaps reduce our hardware acquisitions). I imagine that lots of our hardware needs are not too specific and can be accomplished by a variety of machines. I would think donated hardware could be used to address general needs, and the needs which donations failed to cover could be bought.

Additionally, we can solicit both smaller and larger donations than the
exact size of the machines we are looking for, since we can join and
split donations as we wish to better match what we need.

Right. Just to be clear, I'm not suggesting to stop soliciting money donations.

But from this report, I get the impression that the most welcome hardware donations would be from hardware companies sponsoring Debian with new hardware. I imagine such companies have enough advertisement budgets to give at least one server. And if they really want to give more, we could offer them to give another server :-) Or to complete with a money donation. Hardware companies from which we accept donations should find it interesting to be entitled to claim that Debian uses their machines.

So I think we should first make it clear that the hardware we need most is servers. (And we need bandwidth too)

>  I am curious about what share of our hardware needs come from the need
>  to support specific architectures. Perhaps even how much money and
>  time DSA spends on each architecture.

We so far only have numbers for our services, where the cost of an extra
architecture is fairly small.

Sorry, what do you mean by "our services"?

   As for time spent, we don't track that at

Yeah :-|

I figured that one non-profit with needs similar to ours was Wikimedia. And Wikimedia has thought about donations, so their strategy should be interesting. It turns out that Wikimedia doesn't really solicit hardware donations... In fact, it's more busy offering its hardware. It accepts some hardware donations though, and these seem to make a fair difference:

So what is the main message of the statements? What is the big picture?
The Wikimedia Foundation's financial situation is strong. Revenue has exceeded the mid-year plan. This is primarily due to another strong online fundraiser campaign, including the engagement of Global Collect as an additional payment processor that allowed us to receive donations in a greater number of local currencies. Spending is below plan due primarily to slower hiring, recruiting expenses, and the timing of the capital expenditures for servers purchase. A portion of the total planned capital expenditures will not be spent and reallocated since we received 40 donated servers
from Cisco.

So, I don't know. I'm not much aware of our budget, but it seems Wikimedia's income in money donations (around 30 million USD / year) can't be compared to ours, and that probably makes its hardware procurement a lot easier their Debian's. A less different organization might be more interesting for comparison. For reference:

[2012-04-04 11:43:04] <chealer> hi. sorry for being offtopic, but does Wikimedia sollicit hardware donations, and if so, where does it do that? [2012-04-04 11:44:45] <saper> chealer: I think it's the other way around: http://blog.wikimedia.org/c/hardware/ [2012-04-04 11:47:11] <chealer> saper: right, I saw that, which surprised me a bit. I was thinking Wikimedia could sollicit donations of new hardware from hardware companies [2012-04-04 11:47:47] <chealer> (and then perhaps give them away when they're out of warranty / replaced)
[2012-04-04 11:47:51] <chealer> thanks though
[2012-04-04 11:48:08] <saper> I don't know that
[2012-04-04 11:48:16] <saper> I guess new hardware can be donated
[2012-04-04 11:48:22] <^demon> I don't think we actively seek out hardware donations. But we have accepted them from time to time.
[2012-04-04 11:49:07] <RobH> Hiay
[2012-04-04 11:49:10] <RobH> hiya even
[2012-04-04 11:49:45] <RobH> chealer: We do accept donations of new hardware, as long as they fall under the usual, we need to be able to disclose it for tax purposes and the like, as well as the hardware needs to be in scope for our needs and new, under warranty stuff [2012-04-04 11:50:22] <RobH> Myself, mark, and CT Woo tend to be involved in those discussions, as we are the procurement team for WMF [2012-04-04 11:50:56] <RobH> We do not really openly solicit though, but we have gotten a few donations in the past [2012-04-04 11:51:14] <RobH> before Oracle purchased Sun, Sun did some donations to us, as well as Cisco recently did so as well. [2012-04-04 11:51:39] <RobH> though over 90% of our infrastructure is merely purchased, rather than donated. [2012-04-04 11:52:10] <RobH> but if you have anything you would like to discuss in a lot of detail you can of course email me (rob at wikimedia dot org) [2012-04-04 11:53:32] <RobH> we have also gotten in kind donation during normal hardware purchases, like vendors tossing in extra support equipment and the like.
[2012-04-04 11:53:40] <chealer> ^demon: right... thank you
[2012-04-04 11:54:01] <Theo10011> rob-(ing)-hood.
[2012-04-04 11:54:12] <Theo10011> :P
[2012-04-04 11:54:19] <RobH> rob-(in)-hood ;]
[2012-04-04 11:54:34] <RobH> though like that i see myself dressed thug style throwing up gang signs
[2012-04-04 11:54:46] <RobH> westsiiiide.
[2012-04-04 11:55:15] <Theo10011> Tupac!!!
[2012-04-04 11:55:20] <RobH> chealer: and when hardware does go out of warranty, we don't automatically trash it, but eventually it reaches end of life for us [2012-04-04 11:55:31] <RobH> usually when the new stuff takes up half the power, has double the specs, etc. [2012-04-04 11:55:49] <RobH> then we open up an email account in our RT system and do a blog posting for deserving nonprofits to submit for hardware donation
[2012-04-04 11:55:57] <RobH> and we then parcel those servers out to them
[2012-04-04 11:56:15] <RobH> though we have to be selective, only give to registered nonprofits that have goals that are in alignment with our own [2012-04-04 11:56:38] <RobH> basically anyone we donate to needs to be reasonably close enough to what we do that the folks who donated money or hardware in the past wouldn't be upset about it [2012-04-04 11:56:58] <chealer> RobH: this is exactly the information I was looking for (as a contributor to another non-profit IT-intense project). [2012-04-04 11:57:37] <chealer> sorry again for disturbing and thanks to everyone for your answers
[2012-04-04 11:57:47] <RobH> not disturbing at all =]
[2012-04-04 11:57:55] <RobH> glad to answer the questions

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