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Re: revenue sharing agreement with DuckDuckGo

[ catching up with some old discussion ]

On Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 12:16:09PM +0200, Stefano Zacchiroli wrote:
> All in all, as a project we should simply see the agreement as something
> like "for every web browser in Debian who decides to use t=something,
> Debian will receive donations". If, due to the usual way we maintain
> packages, including upstream relationships, that set will shrink to
> nothing, too bad. The agreement will simply allow the set to exist, it
> will not magically fill it with browsers that implement t=something.

I've just re-read this whole thread. Helped by the useful input you
provided in it, I made up my mind and decided to go ahead with the
agreement, according to the spirit described in the above paragraph.

As per the thread, it seems to me that most of the arguments presented
have been in favor of going ahead. There have also been arguments
against, mainly about (1) privacy and (2) relationships with upstream.

For the first concern (privacy), the problem really is much bigger than
the query string (browsers and OS are identifiable in many more ways)
and our default browser already send a rather peculiar and easy to
identify User-Agent string. There have been interesting discussions
about implementing a "big privacy switch". I find that an intriguing
idea, but it requires consideration of way more applications than

For both concerns, I see them as something that maintainers should
already care about anyhow, and that will remain unchanged by the choice
of accepting DDG donations. In particular, good relationships with
upstream is something we pursue no matter what. If and when a search
engine query string will become a source of tension with our upstream,
the maintainers should discuss with them and look for a solution, as
they did before. I don't see how accepting DDG donations would change
anything in this respect.

Last but not least, transparency. I don't know, yet, how to answer the
many "how much" questions that have been asked in the thread. But for
sure we will have to be public about that once we have an answer. I'll
check with the auditors and trusted orgs to ensure this kind of
donations are clearly marked as such.  If at any time we will become
scared by the amount, we can decide to quit.

For the same transparency reasons, I also suggest that maintainers of
the involved packages document where appropriate (e.g. in README.Debian)
that they have implemented the t=debian query string, and why.

Stefano Zacchiroli     zack@{upsilon.cc,pps.jussieu.fr,debian.org} . o .
Maître de conférences   ......   http://upsilon.cc/zack   ......   . . o
Debian Project Leader    .......   @zack on identi.ca   .......    o o o
« the first rule of tautology club is the first rule of tautology club »

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