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

Martin Owens <doctormo@gmail.com> writes:

> I feel much better about paying for work to be done than tipping, it
> feels more right. Although it requires larger pools of money and a more
> forthright approach deciding where this resource should be plowed in
> order to curate the larger design. Debian hasn't been much for curating
> anything, since it's more anarchistic than planned. But maybe it'd be
> possible to have project goals at the debian level which such money
> could be focused.

There were some past experiments with this in Debian, and they caused a
lot of social controversy.

One of the problems with paying for work in the Debian context is that
we're a world-wide project that welcomes contributions from everyone as
equally as we can manage.  I think this is one of the major strengths of
the project.  For the most part, we can ignore such things as differences
in compensation rates in different parts of the world.  But if we get into
paying for work, that immediately highlights that amounts that are
inadequate to pay for skilled time in some areas where there are project
contributors are far more than a typical wage in other areas.  This
creates, or at least highlights, an awkward inequality in the project.

Another problem is that when some people are paid for doing the same work
that other people are doing on a volunteer basis, it creates a lot of
tension that's difficult to manage.  While this is true anyway (for
example, my employer pays me to do some packaging work), currently it's
quite indirect, and the payment isn't officially blessed by the project or
part of the project structure.  Every contributor to Debian just manages
their finances in their own ways.  I think the tension gets much worse if
the project is explicitly deciding to pay some people and not others.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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