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

On 2013-03-12 02:47, Martin Zobel-Helas wrote:
@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?

For people who don't know what the hardware replacement plan is about, see e.g.

First, I should say that from my perspective this path was already agreed on in the project, and I think that an incoming DPL should need rather strong reasons to abort existing spending plans (and if so should make it a prominent part of their platform). Since we potentially change DPL every year, but many parts of the project work on a longer timescale, we would have major problems if each incoming DPL reopened decisions about hardware spending, the DebConf budget, etc.

Having said that, when I first heard about the planned level of spending for new hardware, I was a little concerned about it. In part, it wasn't clear to me (just as an interested Debian member) how much cost/benefit analysis had been done for different options, though I mostly trusted that the involved people were making a sensible decision.

More significantly, I wanted to see clearly that we would try to balance spending by fundraising, not just run down existing Debian funds then have a problem later -- of course, money sitting unused isn't helpful, but we should weigh up the benefits of alternative uses of money. And while it might not be relevant for a few years given the economic situation, I would prefer it if we continued to seek appropriate hardware donations, in the hope of shifting back towards more donated hardware if it became possible.

If I had been DPL when the hardware replacement plan was first proposed, I'm rather confident that you would have persuaded me it made sense, I'm just trying to describe the kinds of ways that I want us to think "carefully" about money.

As a more general point, I also think that for the longer-term we need to establish some clearer conventions about how we authorise non-urgent spending. The constitution says,

"[The DPL may] In consultation with the developers, make decisions affecting property held in trust for purposes related to Debian. (See §9.). Such decisions are communicated to the members by the Project Leader or their Delegate(s). Major expenditures should be proposed and debated on the mailing list before funds are disbursed"

but I don't think we have any convention on what counts as major. And, even after a debate, the DPL can ignore the real consensus. While most decisions in Debian can be reversed later, once money is spent we can't override that.

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

I would like us to do more active fundraising in general. Spending money on hardware will be a clearly positive use of donations for most donors. I don't think it will help us to split hardware infrastructure fundraising into a separate fund, but it might be useful to run a fundraising campaign which promotes this specific need.

@moray: can you tell DSA the lottery numbers of next week please?

3, 11, 14, 24, 34, 35.

But I won't tell you *which* lottery those are for.


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