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Re: Debian's relationship with money and the economy

On Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 09:34:10PM +0100, Raphael Hertzog wrote:
> Put this in contrast with the Linux Kernel community. There must be a
> reason why companies are so shy when it comes to Debian...

In the Linux Kernel community there is a virtuous culture of measuring
company contributions, which incites companies to compete in
contributing. For example, LWN's regular stats on contributions to the
various Linux Kernel releases are based on email domains. So it seems
unfair to compare the two worlds on the basis of which email domains are
used when contributing, given that in only one case (Linux Kernel) there
is an explicit incentive to use the company's email.

I don't think that Debian is fundamentally hostile to companies
contributions. If you look at the various initiatives that Moray has
mentioned, some of them are recent, but some others (like the partners
program) are very old.  If there is a cultural issue, is in the
difficulty that a volunteer, mostly hacker project has in finding
volunteers to work on tasks that we tend to consider "boring": deal with
for commercial partners, stay in the OEM business, certify hardware,

> 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
> community.

Note that you can still be independent (meaning that you can reasonably
think you're making decisions based on their technical merits, rather
than on the interest of specific companies) even in presence of
companies contributions. You "just" need to have enough diversity in
company contributions so that potentially conflicting interests balance
each other. That is the independence model of the Linux Kernel
community, which is entirely different from the current Debian model,
but not necessarily worse.

Stefano Zacchiroli  . . . . . . .  zack@upsilon.cc . . . . o . . . o . o
Maître de conférences . . . . . http://upsilon.cc/zack . . . o . . . o o
Debian Project Leader . . . . . . @zack on identi.ca . . o o o . . . o .
« the first rule of tautology club is the first rule of tautology club »

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