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Re: KickStarter for Debian packages - crowdfunding/donations for development

On 06/13/2013 10:33 PM, Paul Wise wrote:
> We already have means of donating to Debian. Making that more 
> accessible is on the todo and probably your work could help out 
> here.
> http://www.debian.org/donations 
> http://lists.debian.org/debian-www/2013/05/msg00025.html

Great, would love to help out in some way. Who should I chat with about

> We have a mechanism for maintainers to point folks at upstream 
> donation pages, it is only used by two packages so far though:
> http://wiki.debian.org/UpstreamMetadata 
> http://upstream-metadata.debian.net/table/Donation

Yes, that's one of the problems we had identified. If the donation
mechanism is more complicated than 'apt-donate apache2 $5', then the
likelihood that it will be used goes down dramatically.

> Tying donations to one payment processor doesn't sound like a good 
> idea to me.

I agree. PaySwarm is designed to be an open payment standard. Once the
standard is finalized you'll be able to port your financial account from
one PaySwarm payment processor to another just as easily as people can
port their cellphones today. The specs are designed to prevent vendor
lock-in. There is only one payment processor today (Meritora), but once
other PaySwarm payment processors pop up, if you don't like Meritora for
whatever reason, you can switch (while preserving all of your financial
account data).

If you'd like to learn more about PaySwarm, there are a set of blog
posts that we did for Mozilla Hacks here:




> I am very concerned about motivations of Debian project volunteers 
> being distorted by money so I would suggest only allowing donations 
> to Debian as a whole or directly to individual upstream projects.

We could certainly do the former, although the upstream software authors
may not like that because it could be construed as the overall Debian
project overreaching into what should be a conversation between the
package maintainer and the upstream authors.

We could also do the latter, but I'd like there to be a possibility of a
package maintainer getting a reward of some kind for past work
performed. The Debian Security team does an excellent job, and have
saved us on numerous occasions. I'd love to have some way of sending
them something in appreciation.

What if we did the following:

1. If information exists in the package to distribute the donation
   automatically (these 35 people should get exactly these
   percentages), then we do that.
2. If the package lists the upstream project donation account, then we
   do that.
3. If there is no such information, then we send the money to the
   Debian project.

Does that sound reasonable?

> I am also concerned about the distortions that monetisation has had 
> on the web and worry about the consequences of embedding this into 
> browsers. Both the modern web and modern web browsers are very 
> concerning in general though.

I agree, although we may differ on what the root of the problem is. I
don't think it's money or monetization, as that is a neutral thing, just
like technology (and Debian). It's not inherently evil or good. We tend
to think of it more from a systems perspective. Certain systems result
in certain behaviors.

The Web's monetization has happened mainly based on advertising dollars
(Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, etc.). The system of advertising
results in an attempt to please the advertisers, since they're the
customers. Citizens are consumers, and tend to be viewed as 2nd class
citizens to the advertisers. We think that there are better models for
the Web, but that the core infrastructure for those models doesn't exist

The fundamental thing that we're trying to do with PaySwarm is to
democratize finance. That means that we're trying to put the tools that
are only available to large corporations and Wall street into the hands
of most people. It's analogous to how the Web democratized publishing...
pretty easy to put something out there these days that can reach
hundreds of millions of people. We want to do that to our global
financial infrastructure.

I think software developers are going to play a major role in building
this new Web-based financial infrastructure. I also agree with you that
we have to be careful and methodical about how we build this system. The
hope is that by doing it right, we can bring more money into the
ecosystem (in a good way) and tackle some long-standing problems
(under-staffing, interface design, testing, infrastructure, etc.).

I've been using Debian since the late 1990s. I love this project. I'm
primarily interested in trying to build the core donations
infrastructure in a way that is going to truly help the Debian community.

-- manu

Manu Sporny (skype: msporny, twitter: manusporny, G+: +Manu Sporny)
Founder/CEO - Digital Bazaar, Inc.
blog: Meritora - Web payments commercial launch

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