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

Re: Finding sponsors for Debian

On Mon, Mar 12, 2012 at 03:16:42AM +0800, Thomas Goirand wrote:
> Over the years, I've always been very surprised to see that there's very
> little money that Debian is able to get. I'm convinced that this
> situation could change with a bit of involvement from the DPL, and that
> such money could help a lot the project. For example, sending open
> letters to big companies, and letting them know that we do accept
> monetary contributions could help.

Let me start by observing the obvious: attracting money is not a goal
per se; Putting them into good use for Debian is. According to my DPL
experience, we have two main chapters in Debian budget: travel
sponsoring and hardware replacement.

On the second chapter, money availability hasn't been an issue up to
now: we have been able to replace fairly expensive servers (10 kEUR+)
without having to worry too much. That might change in the future,
depending on DSA needs, but we are not there yet. Either way, the real
bottleneck there is the *coordination* work that is involved with buying
hardware: getting quotes, picking vendors, choosing hosting, etc. It is
*a lot* of work and DSA is very good at it. But they could use some help
and that is why DSA members have been called in the past for people
helping with the formation of an hardware coordination team. I've
repeated various times their call for help, but the number of volunteers
has been scarce (hint hint).

On the first chapter --- travel sponsoring --- there are two main
sub-chapters: DebConf travel sponsoring and sprints. For the sake of
this discussion let me include in the latter sub-chapter travel expenses
related to Debian representatives who attend events on Debian budget: it
currently happens rarely enough not to warrant a separate category.
(Note/reminder: we have resolved last year that DebConf budget is part
of Debian budget, it is just earmarked differently for a time period
centered around the conference.)

For DebConf travel sponsoring, what you are asking for already happens.
The DebConf sponsor team each year go knocking at companies door asking
them to sponsor DebConf. The DPL is de facto a member of the DebConf
sponsoring team, because he/she usually have company contacts and is
happy to share with other team members.

DebConf travel sponsoring dominates our overall travel sponsoring costs,
so it makes sense to go knocking at companies door yearly as part of
DebConf organization. I don't think it would be useful to do so more
than once per year. Companies would feel split among the different calls
for donations and they would hardly give more. The DPL being already
part of the effort, I don't see margin of improvement on that front

What *would* help is to have more people participate in the yearly
initiatives of the DebConf sponsor team. Coincidentally, this is
precisely the time of the year where DebConf people are working on
gathering sponsor. I hereby encourage anyone interested in this topic to
volunteer as a member of the DebConf sponsor team. It's easy, there is
plenty of easy coordination/bookkeeping work, and every company contact
you have could help.

> Do the candidates feel the same way as I do? What types of actions could
> be done to improve the current situation, which if I'm not mistaking,
> isn't great this year?

I'm not sure what do you mean with "isn't great this year". If you refer
to DebConf sponsors that is partly true. See above on what can be done
to improve :-)

In more general terms, I think the best way to encourage donations to
Debian is to show to the world that we know how to use the money to
benefit Debian. Nobody wants to donate to a bank. This has been one of
my main motivation to streamline sprint management and standardize the
procedures that give visibility to what we do during sprints:
http://wiki.debian.org/Sprints .

Showing what we are capable of doing with money has also been a
motivation for me to invest some time on periodic budged reports, an
ongoing task that I've discussed in more details in my platform.

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 »

Attachment: signature.asc
Description: Digital signature

Reply to: