[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Buying hardware with Debian money

On Sun, Oct 20, 2013 at 11:41 AM, Lucas Nussbaum <leader@debian.org> wrote:
> Hi,
> I received a few requests for hardware purchases, that I think are worth
> discussing with the project as a whole in order to progress towards
> having clear guidelines for what is acceptable and what isn't in terms
> of spending Debian money.
> Please provide feedback on the proposed decisions -- they are not final
> yet.
> A. Memory expansion cards for m68k buildds (expected cost: 500 EUR)
> ===================================================================
> Widely quoting from a private mail:
> | Debian has an unofficial m68k ("Amiga") port. It became unofficial
> | mainly because build daemons were not fast enough to keep up with
> | security updates in a timely manner. The port has an active developers
> | community (see https://lists.debian.org/debian-68k/). Debian is the only
> | Linux distribution with a working m68k port, and m68k is still popular
> | among fans of retro computers. It takes little financial effort to keep
> | the port running; what is needed is money for small hardware upgrades.
> I'm inclined to APPROVE the request, for the following reasons:
> - even if the port is unofficial, and is very unlikely to become an
>   official port again in the future, it benefits from an active
>   developers community composed of several DDs.
> - experience has shown that porting work on one architecture often
>   benefits other architectures (since similar problems show up
>   across different architectures).
> - the amount of requested money is relatively low.
> Obviously, the following conditions would apply:
> 1) the hardware bought would have to go to buildds used through
> debian-ports.org, and/or to porter boxes that are widely open to the
> Debian community.
> 2) if the machine stops being used for Debian-related work, the
> hardware must be transferred to another DD.
> B. Powerful machine for d-i development (expected cost: 1.5k-2k EUR?)
> =====================================================================
> A debian-installer developer writes:
>> up to now, I've always used my own hardware for Debian work, but I'd
>> like that to change slightly due to my work on d-i. I intend to work on
>> at least the following topics:
>>  1. performing more frequent d-i uploads:
>>       http://lists.debian.org/debian-boot/2013/10/msg00194.html
>>  2. implementing some kind of official images with backported linux
>>     kernels (and possibly other needed bits from the right suite);
>>  3. implementing automated regression testing, so that we can work
>>     properly on 1., 2., and also on stable uploads; dailies would also
>>     benefit from that; people from -cd@ (Steve, mostly) would probably
>>     appreciate it as well.
>> Some desktop machine with fast disc(s), a bunch of RAM and some CPU
>> power would be nice, so that I could play with a bunch of VMs (most
>> likely, primary targets will be amd64 and i386, but virtually anything
>> qemu can deal with). Some disc space to hold a local (possibly partial)
>> mirror would be a plus, since there's plenty of deb/udeb fetching during
>> d-i builds and when testing installation.
>> Do you think something can be arranged on Debian funds to that effect?
>> If that looks reasonable, any specific site/vendor I should be looking
>> into to come up with some specs that would be nice to have, so that you
>> ACK/NACK it? In which case, any upper bound? Or any other ideas? Of
>> course the HW can be shipped over to the next person wanting to work
>> that much on d-i in case/when I start burning out. (FWIW I don't plan on
>> leaving the d-i RM position before jessie is released. ;))
>> [ Also, I do realize having some nice hardware racked up in some
>> datacenter would be nice for testing purposes, but until automated
>> regression testing is implemented, one needs to rely on clicking and
>> typing into a VM, so as to debug/develop some framework to perform
>> automated testing. A datacenter-hosted machine would also not help with
>> the “preparing an upload” side, which still needs some trusted, local
>> machine IMVHO. ]
> I'm inclined to APPROVE the request, for the following reasons:
> - the machine would be primarly (only?) used for working on Debian
> - the specifics of the tasks justify hardware hosted locally (VNC to
>   a remote machine is possible of course, but latency makes it quite
>   inefficient to do testing that way)
> Of course, as quoted in the original mail, if the DD were to stop their
> involvement in d-i development before the machine reaches its end-of-life,
> the machine would have to be shipped to someone else.
> C. Laptop for developer (expected cost: 1k-1.5k EUR?)
> =====================================================
> A DD is asking for help to buy a new laptop. He maintains or participates in
> the maintenance of a few medium-to-large packages. His only mobile computer is
> an Atom-based netbook with a rather small screen, which is not powerful enough
> to do packaging work (he also has a desktop computer). He describes himself as
> a "first world middle class person", is currently a student, and cannot afford
> to spend money on hardware.
> I'm not sure of what to do:
> - Debian cannot afford to buy hardware for every DD
> - But many DDs don't need Debian to buy hardware for them
> - This machine is more general-purpose, not specific to Debian work than in (B)
> So far, I answered with the following question:
>> How much do you honestly think that this purchase will increase your
>> Debian productivity?
> But I would welcome other ideas of criterias to apply here.


I am in favor of funding A and B, but not C. (Basically, with my
fundraising hat on, I am using the simple but subjective criteria,
would I be willing to write to a sponsor and explain that X amount of
money was spent in a certain way.)

In addition, with C it's more complicated as it sets a precedent that
I don't believe we can afford to set. e.g - Conservatively speaking
even if only 5% of DDs are in a similar position, that would open up
50 * $1000-1500 of potential requests, or $50,000-$75,000, for

That said, it does seem that the situation with C is suboptimal, and
perhaps he could try to see if any DDs have a spare laptop that they
could lend/give, as even a 5-6 year old laptop seems that it would be
better than what he has now?


> Lucas

Reply to: