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Re: Raising money for Debian

Raphael Hertzog <hertzog@debian.org> writes:

> there's a discussion going on on debian-project about entering an
> agreement with DuckDuckGo to get some sort of affiliate commission from
> the money that DuckDuckGo would earn from traffic tagged as coming
> from Debian.
> 1/ To Wouter and Gergely: this discussion touches several sensitive topics
> but you have not taken position... what do you think of the project?

I'm afraid I can't answer just yet: I haven't finished reading the
thread yet. After a quick glimpse through the thread, I think there are
certainly good arguments to accept the offer, but, as others expressed
in the thread, there are valid concerns too.

Unfortunately, without reading the whole thing, I'd rather not take a
position, and catching up on the thread may take a day or two more.

> 2/ To all: are there other ways to raise money that we have not yet
> explored and that we should try?

One idea that comes to my mind, is that we seem to focus a wee-bit too
much on raising money at times. While I agree that we do need money, for
hardware, travel and sprint sponsorships and a whole lot of other things
I have little insight into, there are alternative ways.

The problem I see with 'raising money' is that those who donate have
little control over how that money is used. While that works for many,
it might very well stop others (especially companies) from
donating. Transparency helps here, and Stefano's work on this front is
very important. But it's not enough, in my opinion.

We already seek sponsors for DebConf, and have had events hosted or
sponsored by various entities. This kind of donation is something we
should focus more in, I believe. Perhaps it's not (entirely) monetary,
and is tied to a specific event, but it's still useful, and as far as I
can imagine, it might be easier to find sponsors for specific tasks,
than to raise money that can be spent in any number of ways.

People, especially commercial companies, do like to retain some level of
control on what their money is used for. While this is not neccessarily
a good thing in every case, it's something we could explore and
experiment with more.

> 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?

This one's a tough question. I do not think we should promote either of
the examples you gave. Recognise? Yes. But not promote. There's a very
thin line between the two, and I admit I have no idea how this could be

I believe each of these opportunities should be carefully evaluated.

As for where to draw the line? I don't know. I have no problem with
listing companies as sponsors for DebConf, for example, nor listing
sponsors for sprints and BSPs and the like.

I would have a problem with a www.debian.org/sponsors page, though.

In general, though, I'd draw the line slightly above where the general
consensus within the project does.


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