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Re: How to leverage money to accomplish high impact Debian projects

Hi Raphael,

I'm not running for DPL, but since you asked...

Raphael Hertzog <hertzog@debian.org> writes:

> 1/ How do you explain this lack of interest?
> I have read recently from other Debian members that they have a feeling
> that Debian is stagnating, and I share that feeling to some degree. If we
> had plans and motivated people, surely some of those would have stepped up
> to implement them in exchange of some remuneration. Do you share that
> feeling too?

Could it be that people are being protective of their motivation?

I'd guess that many people know about studies showing that one can turn
a pleasurable hobby into a tiresome chore simply by being paid to do it.

I think one might be able to avoid that to some extent if it's clear
that the work is something that has attracted no volunteers so far,
despite being a good idea that's been around for a while -- that should
allow people to draw a line between those things they were happy to do
unpaid, and the thing that they're being paid to do, such that they
don't stop doing both when the payments stop.

> 2/ I really want this initiative to be successful so I'm now looking into
> ways to make it work. I'm considering paying someone to identify useful
> projects. That person could talk to various teams, make proposals based on
> their own experience, and even run a poll among Debian developers. The
> idea is that we want to find high-impact projects that can help Debian get
> out of this "stagnation".
> What do you think of this idea?
> I'm considering past DPLs for this role as they have a broad knowledge of
> the project and usually also some vision for the future. But I'm open to
> anyone than can convince me they would do a good job for this. :-)

I've been pondering how it might be possible to spend more of Debian's
money, and it occurred to me that we could allocate a budget to each DD
which they could spend on pretty-much anything (as long as, for Debian
funds, the expenditure is allowed under the relevant non-profit
restrictions that apply to the funds that we hold -- you could apply
your own criteria of course).

That way you get to take advantage of the wisdom of the crowd, since
people in various areas of Debian are bound to know about things that
have been left undone for years or decades, that some targeted funding
would almost certainly sort out once and for all.

You'd probably want to have some sort of oversight (e.g. some ex-DPLs)
just to ensure that the madder ideas get filtered out, but if you ask
people to only suggest ideas that they'd want to spend their own money
on if they had it to spare, that should ensure that most people don't
get too silly.

Also, one could say that the people suggesting the project should not be
the beneficiary, and should write some sort of report indicating how
well it went before they would get any new budget allocated.  People
that had thought of funding things that turned out to be successful
could then be given larger budgets to play with in future.

Encouraging people to pool their budgets to fund bigger things would
hopefully result in them forming teams of mentors to oversee the work.

Cheers, Phil.
|)|  Philip Hands  [+44 (0)20 8530 9560]  HANDS.COM Ltd.
|-|  http://www.hands.com/    http://ftp.uk.debian.org/
|(|  Hugo-Klemm-Strasse 34,   21075 Hamburg,    GERMANY

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