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Re: Debian's relationship with money and the economy


On Thu, 14 Mar 2013, Moray Allan wrote:
> On 2013-03-12 14:06, Raphael Hertzog wrote:
> >The Debian ecosystem includes many economical actors, be it companies
> >or individuals, but we tend to hide those aspects as if they didn't
> >exist.
> I don't think that's quite the case.  Perhaps Debian's commercial
> partnership/sponsorship/supporter activities should be more active,
> but they are not intentionally hidden.

I'm not thinking of (financial|hardware) sponsors, but more of the
involvment of companies in Debian development. Quite a few DD do
contribute to Debian as part of their work, but we show it nowhere.

I never use my @freexian.com email even when my contributions are the
result of work for my customers. We have many DD working at Credativ,
I have never seen Credativ being credited anywhere. HP is recognized for
their hardware donations, but I don't remember having seen DD use their
HP email for contributions on hppa or other kernel work. Etc.

Put this in contrast with the Linux Kernel community. There must be a
reason why companies are so shy when it comes to Debian...

Speaking for myself, I believe it's a cultural issue. The values we defend,
and our strong roots as an independant distribution, some parts of our
history (for example the backslash against Canonical), (inadvertently?) give
out the message that we don't welcome companies in our development

> >Despite Debian's non-profit status, IMHO Debian's growth and success
> >relies on the capacity of those "actors" to have some "economical
> >success". And there are many ways to help those actors, without
> >involving any direct flow of money from Debian to them, in particular
> >at the press/publicity level.
> Indeed, this is fairly uncontroversial.  We already make press releases
> about, and otherwise publicise Debian's partners/sponsors/supporters.

It's uncontroversial for sponsors that provide money and hardware.
Would you do it for companies that contribute features? For example,
Linaro funded my work on multiarch. There are probably other examples
but as I said, they tend to be not advertised within our community.

> >For full disclosure, I'm speaking of experience here since I tried
> >to get
> >some Debian press coverage of the fundraising for the liberation of
> >the Debian Administrator's Handbook. See
> >https://lists.debian.org/debian-publicity/2011/10/threads.html#00001
> >for the discussion that happened.
> It's not clear to me that this is closely related to the questions
> you asked above.

It is about promoting a project that benefits Debian but that also
implies someone making money out of it.

> In fact, if we want to keep good relationships
> with partners/sponsors/official supporters etc. we should probably
> restrict how much we allow the commercial activities of individual
> Debian members to be advertised through Debian media in an
> uncoordinated way, outside our formal programs.

How could this have been better coordinated and through which formal

For reference, I contacted the press team which declined a press release
but said that a Debian Project News entry would be ok. Later, when someone
added the DPN entry, two other DPN contributors didn't like it because it
was a fundraising and because the money was not going to Debian, and
they got that entry removed.

The text mentionned 12% of the money donated going back to Debian because
I find it legitimate to give back something to Debian when Debian helps
the fundraising.

> Since you say it's just an example, I won't comment more on the
> specific case.

Feel free to reply privately on that part if you prefer.

Raphaël Hertzog ◈ Debian Developer

Get the Debian Administrator's Handbook:
→ http://debian-handbook.info/get/

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