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Re: Question for DPL Candidates: Debian $$$

On Tue, Mar 24, 2009 at 01:58:02PM +0000, MJ Ray wrote:
> As I understand it, charities currently pick their operating system
> by either doing an independent evaluation (an old guide of that sort
> of style from when I last worked for a non-profit is at
> http://www.volresource.org.uk/swit/select.htm ) or by buying from an
> approved list like http://www.ctxchange.org/directory/30
> Use of debian seems to be limited because it isn't on any approved
> lists and charties can't get funding for an independent evaluation
> at the moment.  Would you support using donations to fund one or
> both of those?

In principle, yes.

Practically aspects that I would evaluate before taking the final
decision are things like: how much it will cost (obviously), how many
charities consider that list, etc etc. Plain old cost-benefit analysis
if you want.

> > Who will be payed to do the development and deployment? [...]
> Whoever the charities would select.  I think it's not up to me
> because I have a conflict of interest.

That was one problem I had in mind. The other I've mentioned stand:
first we should try to look for non-payware ways of achieving the
result. Then we should consider paying someone. A topic like this one
would surely be one on which I would first look for agreement among
DDs before giving moneys away though.

> > That, on the contrary, is perfectly reasonable and I will be all
> > for that.
> How would you like that to work?

Well, easy. First I would like to see a team formed "inside" Debian
(a-la alioth project) contributing energies to the goal. Then the team
will look for Debian money to support a meeting like any other team,
in my vision, can do. You tell me how much money the meeting will
cost, how much you are _unable_ to collect [1], and I will evaluate
and give the needed money.

> Some attendees at the recent NAVCA.org.uk event http://bit.ly/EGL5
> seemed to be saying that they didn't consider free and open source
> software because of a lack of resources to get the decision-makers
> to meet/work on such things. They weren't looking for resources, but
> they didn't know that people donated money to organisations for the
> general promotion of debian. I think that lack of awareness among
> non-profits is something that debian's money could help to address,
> if there's enough for the forseeable in-project needs.

It seems to me that the solution to this kind of problem is not money
per se, but rather making known that we do have money and how that
money flow in/out Debian. As I've said elsewhere in this thread, we
should make all that more transparent. Apparently it will have
interesting side-effects also for your use case.

> I'm undecided about the most effective kind of resources, but there
> only seems point investigating further if a general aim of targetted
> debian promotion to NPOs would be funded.
> Does that explain it and do the candidates think surplus donations
> could be used to help NPOs to consider debian in some way?

To summarize: yes in principle, details should be however considered
case by case, once the "kind of resources" gets clearer.


[1] one thing is making possible things that were impossible without
    money; another one is wasting money, e.g., by paying hotel bills
    for 3-people meetings that can happen in the home of one of the 3
    by paying train tickets to the others

Stefano Zacchiroli -o- PhD in Computer Science \ PostDoc @ Univ. Paris 7
zack@{upsilon.cc,pps.jussieu.fr,debian.org} -<>- http://upsilon.cc/zack/
Dietro un grande uomo c'è ..|  .  |. Et ne m'en veux pas si je te tutoie
sempre uno zaino ...........| ..: |.... Je dis tu à tous ceux que j'aime

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