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Re: Raising money for Debian

On Fri, Mar 30, 2012 at 10:26:28PM +0200, Raphael Hertzog wrote:
> 2/ To all: are there other ways to raise money that we have not yet
> explored and that we should try?

At the risk of flogging a dead horse, I haven't felt good at the idea of
raising more money up to now, because I don't think we were being
transparent enough on how we use those money. This is changing now (see
my platform for some references) and I'm finally starting to feel a bit
more confident with the idea. Also, it looks like we're going to need
some money in the future, at least if we want to implement some
ambitious hardware replacement plans [1], as I think we should.

[1] https://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2012/03/msg00032.html

All that considered, I think the single most effective way of raising
money for a project like Debian is to knock at companies doors, make
them realize that Debian *is* important for them, engage then in some
yearly donation plans, and acknowledge that with some level-like badge
on the Debian website. As discussed in one of the first thread of this
campaign, we're already doing that, but only for DebConf. We "just" need
to make that fund-raising effort a bit more structured and general.

All other ways to fund-raise (including the DuckDuckGo example) are good
to have, but I don't think we need to plan ahead for them or anything
such. I believe handling them on a case by case basis is good enough.

> 3/ To all: The commercial world is full of such "win-win opportunities".
> Some are more obnoxious than other. Are there some that would be
> acceptable in the Debian context according to you? Where would you draw
> the limit?
> If you need some examples: an hosting company could give back x% of the
> monthly fee paid by customers running Debian servers and would likely
> appreciate some promotion of this "offer" on the Debian side. There is
> a book editor who is giving $1 for each sold copy of their Debian book.
> Etc. Most of those offers are created for marketing reasons in the hope to
> get noticed/promoted within the Debian community. Shall we promote those?
> Can we just inform people about their existence without promoting them?

We've discussed this a couple of times this year on -publicity, IIRC. My
opinion on the matter is unchanged. I think we should inform our users
of resources that are useful to them as Debian users, but not _because_
those resources will result in Debian donations. Otherwise stated, the
goal of Debian should be that of making user interests directly, *not*
indirectly due to arguments like "it will benefit users in the long term
because we'll use money to make Debian better".

This is a general principle that can be instantiated to various

- if, independently from donations, we decide to index on www.d.o
  hosting companies that offer Debian as an option, we should do that
  for all hosting companies we're aware of

- if, independently from donations, we index books about Debian (as we
  do), we should do that for all books we're aware of

- if, independently from donations, we index shops that sell Debian
  merchandise (as we do), we should do that for all shops we're aware of

Regarding promotion vs information, I think information like the above
is just fine, as long as the resource is useful per se, independently
from donations. I also think it's fine, and even a duty, to inform users
of how much Debian receives from the various options (e.g. percentages
of sell prices). That, for me, is not promotion but information, even
though I do realize it might influence user choices.

I think we should stay away from more promotion than the above
(e.g. -news items announcing: "here is the new thing, buy it and you'll
contribute $100 to Debian"), because it'll be very hard to be fair to
all vendors.

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 »

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