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


On Thu, 18 Mar 2021, Jonathan Carter wrote:
> > 1/ How do you explain this lack of interest?
> I don't think that lack of interest is the problem here, but I do think
> that Debian contributors tend to be already starved for time, and trying
> to get them to do more is like trying to tap water out of an empty well.
> For some, a financial incentive might work if they're not currently
> working full time, and especially if they need money, but the median
> Debian developer seem capable of sustaining themselves reasonably well.

I share that analysis to some degree. But this means that we are not good at
attracting young persons who are not in this situation...

And actually this is somewhat confirmed when you look at the persons who
are paid LTS contributors: only one of them is very young (and is the one
who accepts to work the most on it), most of them only accept to work for
10 to 30 hours per month on LTS, as they have other professionnal
activities that they enjoy. They do LTS work as a way to continue to
contribute to Debian during work hours because they are attached to the
project and believe in the importance of LTS for the success of Debian.
And also because it can be somewhat intellectually challenging to work
on very diverse packages.

However, this doesn't explain it all either: the funding offer has been
built so that you don't have to allocate too much time, you don't have to
implement the project yourself, you can just describe the project, let
someone else do the work and review it. BTW, the first project funded
followed this approach as the security team members are all very busy.

The second conclusion that we could draw from this is that we're definitely
not in the same situation than in the past and that paying people to work
on Debian is likely to be much less problematic because many of the
current members would not be jealous, they are in a professional
situations that they are satisfied with.

It would be interesting to poll all Debian developers to have their direct
opinions instead of doing wild-guesses here.

> I've been telling a few people last month that I would really liked to
> have an Enterprise Edition Online MiniDebConf, unfortunately I don't
> have any time/energy to instigate that currently.

Something for a Debian fellow that we could hire ;-)

> It could cover aspects that already make Debian good for business, and
> cover areas where it could improve. I used to be on an Ubuntu mailing
> list called ubuntu-enterprise, it mostly contained feature requests from
> people who wanted more features for enterprise and large deployment use,
> but even those were really interesting. Also, I think even just some of
> our usual sponsors would already be interested in speaking at such an
> event, but I digress...

Found the project you mention: https://launchpad.net/~enterprise-ubuntu

FWIW I am considering changing the "Debian LTS" sponsorship into some broader
"Debian for enterprise" sponsorship that would cover LTS but also other
projects that would make Debian more enterprise-friendly.

> > 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?
> Sounds great!

Any advice on how to find the right person? Or on who the right person
could be?

Wouldn't that person be doing useful leadership work that the DPL should
be doing really?

> problems in the team and this is how they're going to do it". Sometimes
> it's better to allow things to happen than to make them happen. I'm
> hoping that if we are able to have sprints/meetings again in person,
> that many of our teams will take advantage of it and spend some time and
> project money to get together and work on projects. If you invite and
> let Debian teams know that they could apply for some funding from
> Freexian to get someone to spend more time on some problem, then that's
> probably going to scale a bit better since they might already have a
> better idea on how to integrate this kind of work into their team.

It would certainly make sense to get people of each team together
and discuss on their priorities and how they could leverage the Freexian

  ⢀⣴⠾⠻⢶⣦⠀   Raphaël Hertzog <hertzog@debian.org>
  ⢿⡄⠘⠷⠚⠋    The Debian Handbook: https://debian-handbook.info/get/
  ⠈⠳⣄⠀⠀⠀⠀   Debian Long Term Support: https://deb.li/LTS

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