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Re: [to all candidates] using debian funds for Debian's hardware infrastructure

Martin Zobel-Helas <zobel@debian.org> writes:

> in the past Debian had some generous donors, who donated a huge amounts
> of high quality hardware on regual basis to the Debian project. For some
> reasons (not to be discussed here) those sources dont exist any more.

One idea - perhaps a naive one, as I do not know the circumstances -
could be to figure out a way to find hardware donors again, to cover at
least part of the expenses. This obviously assumes that this is
possible, and because the reasons why these donations stopped is not
known to me, neither should the issue be discussed here, I'm unable to
elaborate on this idea. But it is, nevertheless, something to consider,
in my opinion.

> As this hardware comes to the end of it's lifecycle, DSA will need to
> buy new hardware. To keep up our standards on hardware for core
> infrastrucure, DSA will need to spend several 10k USD on new hardware in
> the next year.
> @all: do you think it is worth spending large amount of money donated to
> Debian to keep our core hardware infrastructure on its current level?

Yes, it is.

> @all: do you think Debian should do a fundraising campain where we
> collect a larger amount of money dedicated to Debian's hardware
> infrastructure?

This, I'm not sure about. I donated to a number of fundraising campaings
by members of the larger free software community, and it filled me with
sadness that quite a few of them never reached their goal. That's
discouraging both for the project, and for those too, who did donate. I
don't want that.

So *if* such a campaing is to be made, it needs to set an achievable
goal, and it must not be neither the sole source of funding for Debian
hardware, nor the biggest part of it.

There's a lot more that needs to be done for a campaign to be
successful, ranging from making it known and visible, long enough to
receive a usable amount of funds, but short enough to not be seen as
'begging', either. It must have a clear goal, a generic "we need
hardware, please donate" is not going to cut it - people want to know
what their money is used for, and we want to tell them up front too
(that's one of the reasons why the work of Debian Auditors is so
important, among other things).

But alas, we already have fundraising campaigns within the project, so
all we need is get the relevant people involved, and help them prepare
and drive the campaign (which, of course, includes learning from past
campaigns too, and improving on their ways too).

And if we do launch a new campaign, we need to ensure that there is
coordination between the new and running campaigns, to avoid approaching
the same organisations twice, without knowing about the other, and other
similar mishaps.

> @lucas, @algernon: in your platform you are not stating how you will
> handle money requests, and what do you think about using Debian's money
> at all. Can you please elaborate?

When it comes to financial stuff, I'm bad at it. Luckily, I'm well aware
of that, and even better, so is Debian (Constitution 5.1.10). Therefore,
my intention is to, if elected DPL, rely on (and possibly delegate, if
that seems more useful) trusted members of our project, who are far more
experienced and better at these matters than I am. That's not to say I
don't want to be involved, quite the contrary! I just know my limits.

Nevertheless, the general idea is to continue down the path we're on,
and make spending as transparent as possible. Due to my shortcomings
mentioned above, to do my job properly, transparency and involving the
larger project in decisions is the only option available to me anyway.

If elected, this may result in some bumpy times in the beginning, slower
reactions and perhaps more bureaucracy than needs be, but in time, it
should become a much smoother procedure.

I only touched spending, however. As far as fundraising goes, there are
existing campaigns, and there's a need for more. I think we can all
agree, that coordinating these would be beneficial for everyone
involved, and thankfully, we have people more than capable of
undertaking that task, and as DPL, a task like this will have my full


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