Raphael Hertzog | 12 Mar 10:43 2013
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Usage of Debian's Money

(starting a new thread)

Hi,

On Tue, 12 Mar 2013, Moray Allan wrote:
> If there was general support then we could look at organising a
> funded program, but I would need a lot of persuasion before wanting
> to get into the question of Debian picking specific individuals to
> pay for their work while everyone else is unpaid volunteers.[2]
>
> [2] Some of you will remember Dunc-Tank.

Despite the above statement, your platform mentions “I would seek
suggestions on how we could try to advance Debian's goals by spending
money in ways we're not currently doing. While I think we should be
careful with money, I would be willing to authorise spending to try out
new ideas from others, where goals can be defined and the success of an
initiative can be judged.”

What kind of new ideas would be acceptable? Feel free to invent some
hypothetical examples to illustrate.

To other candidates, do you believe that we could benefit from using money
for other things than hardware and meeting/travel reimbursment? If yes,
what kind of things?

Cheers,
--

-- 
Raphaël Hertzog ◈ Debian Developer

(Continue reading)

Moray Allan | 12 Mar 11:19 2013

Re: Usage of Debian's Money

On 2013-03-12 12:43, Raphael Hertzog wrote:
> On Tue, 12 Mar 2013, Moray Allan wrote:
>> If there was general support then we could look at organising a
>> funded program, but I would need a lot of persuasion before wanting
>> to get into the question of Debian picking specific individuals to
>> pay for their work while everyone else is unpaid volunteers.[2]
>>
>> [2] Some of you will remember Dunc-Tank.
>
> Despite the above statement, your platform mentions “I would seek
> suggestions on how we could try to advance Debian's goals by spending
> money in ways we're not currently doing. While I think we should be
> careful with money, I would be willing to authorise spending to try 
> out
> new ideas from others, where goals can be defined and the success of 
> an
> initiative can be judged.”
>
> What kind of new ideas would be acceptable? Feel free to invent some
> hypothetical examples to illustrate.

Before thinking about any further examples, I first want to explain 
what I meant above, since it seems like I wasn't clear to you:

I said I would need (a lot of) persuasion before paying individual 
Debian contributors.  That's true, but it certainly doesn't mean I would 
attempt to veto paid internship stipends for e.g. students, if there 
seemed to be general support for them.  I was not trying to exclude them 
from "acceptable" ideas.

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Moray Allan | 12 Mar 17:41 2013

Re: Usage of Debian's Money

On 2013-03-12 13:19, Moray Allan wrote:
> Before thinking about any further examples

In fact I fear that it's logically impossible for me to give examples 
to demonstrate my point.  My claim is that I would be open to new ideas 
from others about spending money, and actively look for suggestions.  
Anything that I suggest myself here is by definition not a new idea from 
others!

For any new ideas, besides the costs, I would want us to assess the 
probability of different outcomes (e.g. probability of harm to Debian, 
of no benefit, of a small benefit, of a large benefit), and to agree in 
advance how the success of the spending will be measured and reviewed.

I suspect that I would be unconvinced by most ideas that suggested that 
we spend spend money in ways that it would not be permitted for SPI to 
spend money under relevant legislation and the SPI by-laws.

--

-- 
Moray

Raphael Hertzog | 13 Mar 00:57 2013
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Re: Usage of Debian's Money

Hi,

On Tue, 12 Mar 2013, Lucas Nussbaum wrote:
>   3) For what kind of things?
> 
> Since you are asking the question, isn't it up to you to come up with
> ideas/examples? :) I find it difficult to discuss such things in the
> general case.

On Tue, 12 Mar 2013, Moray Allan wrote:
> In fact I fear that it's logically impossible for me to give
> examples to demonstrate my point.  My claim is that I would be open
> to new ideas from others about spending money, and actively look for
> suggestions.  Anything that I suggest myself here is by definition
> not a new idea from others!

Since both of you want examples of possible uses of money, here you have
some that I quickly came up with:

1/ Grant some amount of money to the release team to offer as bounties on
release blocker issues that are not going forward.

2/ Have the ftpmasters write up a spec of what needs to be done to finally
have "ddeb support" (or "PPA" or ...) and use Debian's money to contract
with someone (unaffiliated to Debian?) to actually implement the spec under the
supervision of ftpmasters. Copyright of the code written would fall under
Debian/SPI.

3/ Buy advertising space on various media to recruit new contributors and
lead them into our (improved) mentoring infrastructure. Offer goodies as
(Continue reading)

Gunnar Wolf | 13 Mar 07:15 2013

Re: Usage of Debian's Money

Raphael Hertzog dijo [Wed, Mar 13, 2013 at 12:57:50AM +0100]:
> Since both of you want examples of possible uses of money, here you have
> some that I quickly came up with:
> (...)

I won't comment on them, as you are addressing our candidates, not
just anybody ;-) And I don't have anything too useful to add.

> > I suspect that I would be unconvinced by most ideas that suggested
> > that we spend spend money in ways that it would not be permitted for
> > SPI to spend money under relevant legislation and the SPI by-laws.
> 
> What kind of restrictions are you referring to?

There are some activities forbidden with SPI money. I was, for
example, at the PgDay Hispano in Cuba in 2011, as well as some other
(and much more PostgreSQL-minded than me, I'm basically just a very
happy user), one from Chile, one from Ecuador, one from Norway. We
were all invited, and it was supposed we would get travel
sponsorship. In the end I ended up giving my plane ticket as a
donation to PostgreSQL (I don't know about their situation), because
SPI cannot use its funds for any activity related to flying people to
Cuba or transferring that money directly to Cuba.

I am unaware of other such restrictions, but: Whatever is forbidden
for a 501(c) charity uder the USA laws, is forbidden to SPI.

Stefano Zacchiroli | 13 Mar 09:02 2013
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Re: Usage of Debian's Money

On Wed, Mar 13, 2013 at 12:15:30AM -0600, Gunnar Wolf wrote:
> I am unaware of other such restrictions, but: Whatever is forbidden
> for a 501(c) charity uder the USA laws, is forbidden to SPI.

Right.  Just a note on your example: I don't know about Postgres, but
Debian does have other trusted organizations around the world that might
come handy to overcome limitations of country-specific organizations.
For instance, had it been a Debian trip, we could have done the
reimbursement via some other, non-US, trusted orga.

Cheers.
--

-- 
Stefano Zacchiroli  . . . . . . .  zack <at> upsilon.cc . . . . o . . . o . o
Maître de conférences . . . . . http://upsilon.cc/zack . . . o . . . o o
Debian Project Leader . . . . . .  <at> zack on identi.ca . . o o o . . . o .
« the first rule of tautology club is the first rule of tautology club »
Moray Allan | 13 Mar 13:24 2013

Re: Usage of Debian's Money

On 2013-03-13 09:15, Gunnar Wolf wrote:
>> What kind of restrictions are you referring to?
>
> [...] because
> SPI cannot use its funds for any activity related to flying people to
> Cuba or transferring that money directly to Cuba.
>
> I am unaware of other such restrictions, but: Whatever is forbidden
> for a 501(c) charity uder the USA laws, is forbidden to SPI.

Ha, now I need to clarify that I absolutely did not have in mind US 
sanctions when I wrote about restrictions.  Those are nothing to do with 
SPI's status, but a feature of general US law.

I said, "I suspect that I would be unconvinced by most ideas that 
suggested that we spend spend money in ways that it would not be 
permitted for SPI to spend money under relevant legislation and the SPI 
by-laws."  I'm not trying to make a hard rule by that, only to give some 
kind of description for how I might respond (more or less favourably) to 
ideas that I haven't heard yet.

I was primarily thinking of the restrictions from SPI's bylaws where 
its purpose is specified (Article 2):

http://www.spi-inc.org/corporate/by-laws/

Before someone jumps in, I should again state that I'm not trying to 
set an acceptance rule by this.  There are things allowed by SPI's 
bylaws that I don't think should be priorities for Debian money.  (For 
example, the bylaws seem to permit general promotion of computer use 
(Continue reading)

Lucas Nussbaum | 13 Mar 11:46 2013
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Re: Usage of Debian's Money

On 13/03/13 at 00:57 +0100, Raphael Hertzog wrote:
> Hi,
> 
> On Tue, 12 Mar 2013, Lucas Nussbaum wrote:
> >   3) For what kind of things?
> > 
> > Since you are asking the question, isn't it up to you to come up with
> > ideas/examples? :) I find it difficult to discuss such things in the
> > general case.
> 
> On Tue, 12 Mar 2013, Moray Allan wrote:
> > In fact I fear that it's logically impossible for me to give
> > examples to demonstrate my point.  My claim is that I would be open
> > to new ideas from others about spending money, and actively look for
> > suggestions.  Anything that I suggest myself here is by definition
> > not a new idea from others!
> 
> Since both of you want examples of possible uses of money, here you have
> some that I quickly came up with:
> 
> 1/ Grant some amount of money to the release team to offer as bounties on
> release blocker issues that are not going forward.

I think that it is important to motivate our contributors using things
that we can reasonably provide on the long term. Such as the reward of
participating to a well-known and visible project.

I don't support the idea of using monetary bounties to encourage volunteers.
I could be convinced to use Debian money to encourage volunteers if the
focus was not on money itself, but rather on giving an quite inexpensive gift.
(Continue reading)

Gergely Nagy | 16 Mar 17:05 2013

Re: Usage of Debian's Money

Lucas Nussbaum <lucas <at> debian.org> writes:

> On 13/03/13 at 00:57 +0100, Raphael Hertzog wrote:
>> 3/ Buy advertising space on various media to recruit new contributors and
>> lead them into our (improved) mentoring infrastructure.
>
> I think that we have other, better ways, to improve the project's
> visibility than to use paid advertising. For example, do cool stuff, and
> get it covered by the press. ;)

Let me disagree a bit here. While it may not apply to all kinds of
press, my impression so far is that waiting for press to happen is a
nice dream. To achieve maximum effect and reach, you have to influence
the press, and just doing cool stuff will not be enough for that. Quite
likely, they won't even realize cool stuff happened, or only when it's
already old news. But even if they do, will they consult us? Will they
paint a correct picture, that does us good?

I would not be so sure, and would rather avoid this whole problem by
delegating the task to OUR press team whom we do trust, and then
persuade the media to use our press team's material, in exchange of some
green bills or virtual coins. Everybody wins.

Mind you, I'm not saying that accidental press is bad - it surely
isn't. All I'm saying is that we can benefit from both.

--

-- 
|8]

(Continue reading)

Moray Allan | 14 Mar 23:46 2013

Re: Usage of Debian's Money

On 2013-03-13 02:57, Raphael Hertzog wrote:
> Since both of you want examples of possible uses of money, here you 
> have
> some that I quickly came up with:
>
> 1/ Grant some amount of money to the release team to offer as 
> bounties on
> release blocker issues that are not going forward.

I wouldn't be against experimenting with bounties, but like Lucas I 
would much happier about non-cash bounties, and also think that 
non-bounty "rewards" by people being public thanked for their work might 
be sufficient incentive in many cases.

> 2/ Have the ftpmasters write up a spec of what needs to be done to 
> finally
> have "ddeb support" (or "PPA" or ...) and use Debian's money to 
> contract
> with someone (unaffiliated to Debian?) to actually implement the spec
> under the
> supervision of ftpmasters. Copyright of the code written would fall 
> under
> Debian/SPI.

This doesn't sound fundamentally different to me from "pay someone to 
fix bugs in zsh"[1], or paying people for other normal Debian 
activities.  I could much more easily accept us e.g. paying an 
accountant or a lawyer for some work that is clearly not related to 
Debian volunteer roles, though even in those cases I would want us to 
try to find volunteers first.
(Continue reading)

Gergely Nagy | 16 Mar 16:53 2013

Re: Usage of Debian's Money

Raphael Hertzog <hertzog <at> debian.org> writes:

> Since both of you want examples of possible uses of money, here you have
> some that I quickly came up with:
>
> 1/ Grant some amount of money to the release team to offer as bounties on
> release blocker issues that are not going forward.

While such one-off bounties would help the release further along, would
it be worth it? As far as I see, our releases are slow, because we're
terrible at dealing with RC bugs, we have tons of packages lingering
in a sorry state, and there's no bounty that'd fix any of these.

It's a bit of an exaggeration perhaps, but bounties for release blocker
issues sounds like pulling a tooth. It makes the pain go away, but if
you don't wash your teeth, it doesn't help much in the long run.

> 2/ Have the ftpmasters write up a spec of what needs to be done to finally
> have "ddeb support" (or "PPA" or ...) and use Debian's money to contract
> with someone (unaffiliated to Debian?) to actually implement the spec under the
> supervision of ftpmasters. Copyright of the code written would fall under
> Debian/SPI.

The problem with this approach is that writing the spec and supervising
the person or people implementing it is no small task, either. I dare
say it is actually harder than writing the code itself. Therefore, I
would find it unfair to spend money this way, unless ftpmasters are
getting paid for their part too.

I find the GSoC model reasonably acceptable for these kinds of things,
(Continue reading)

Lucas Nussbaum | 13 Mar 00:00 2013
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Re: Usage of Debian's Money

On 12/03/13 at 10:43 +0100, Raphael Hertzog wrote:
> To other candidates, do you believe that we could benefit from using money
> for other things than hardware and meeting/travel reimbursment? If yes,
> what kind of things?

[ I replied in https://lists.debian.org/debian-vote/2013/03/msg00084.html ]

Lucas

Toni Mueller | 15 Mar 00:39 2013
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Re: Usage of Debian's Money

On Wed, Mar 13, 2013 at 12:00:48AM +0100, Lucas Nussbaum wrote:
> On 12/03/13 at 10:43 +0100, Raphael Hertzog wrote:
> > To other candidates, do you believe that we could benefit from using money
> > for other things than hardware and meeting/travel reimbursment? If yes,
> > what kind of things?
> 
> [ I replied in https://lists.debian.org/debian-vote/2013/03/msg00084.html ]

My personal favourite would be more, and likely more geographically
diverse, Mini-Debconfs ("Bar Camp" style?). I found the one in Berlin
very inspiring, and I was so far, unfortunately, unable to make it to
a real DebConf.

But I don't know whether that would be feasible.

Kind regards,
--Toni++

Lucas Nussbaum | 15 Mar 14:05 2013
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Re: Usage of Debian's Money

On 15/03/13 at 00:39 +0100, Toni Mueller wrote:
> On Wed, Mar 13, 2013 at 12:00:48AM +0100, Lucas Nussbaum wrote:
> > On 12/03/13 at 10:43 +0100, Raphael Hertzog wrote:
> > > To other candidates, do you believe that we could benefit from using money
> > > for other things than hardware and meeting/travel reimbursment? If yes,
> > > what kind of things?
> > 
> > [ I replied in https://lists.debian.org/debian-vote/2013/03/msg00084.html ]
> 
> My personal favourite would be more, and likely more geographically
> diverse, Mini-Debconfs ("Bar Camp" style?). I found the one in Berlin
> very inspiring, and I was so far, unfortunately, unable to make it to
> a real DebConf.

Indeed, such events are also a great way to meet the community of
advanced users / potential developers.

But I'm not sure of which problems would money solve. Based on my
experience from the Paris Mini-debconf (I was not involved in the
organization, but discussed it on a few occasions), it's not too
difficult to find free rooms in universities during week-ends in
exchange of some visibility/advertisement during the event.

What we could do is participate in the travel/lodging costs of Debian
contributors or people active in the event (giving talks, etc), and/or
piggy-back on the event to organize more focused meetings/sprints.

Lucas

(Continue reading)

Moray Allan | 16 Mar 17:48 2013

Re: Usage of Debian's Money

On 2013-03-15 02:39, Toni Mueller wrote:
> My personal favourite would be more, and likely more geographically
> diverse, Mini-Debconfs ("Bar Camp" style?). I found the one in Berlin
> very inspiring, and I was so far, unfortunately, unable to make it to
> a real DebConf.

Yes.  While I think it is valuable to have a "main" conference to allow 
maximum interchange between people from different regions, we should 
also encourage more regional events.  Events which last a day or two do 
not take a lot of organiser time.  (Somehow the organiser time required 
seems to grow exponentially with the scale of the event.)

Not everyone can justify the travel time or cost of attending a distant 
event.  I think this is especially relevant for encouraging new 
contributors, or people who are just thinking about starting to 
contribute to Debian.  Only the most enthusiastic will consider 
attending a DebConf far away from them; many more would attend a shorter 
local event.

--

-- 
Moray

Gergely Nagy | 16 Mar 16:30 2013

Re: Usage of Debian's Money

Raphael Hertzog <hertzog <at> debian.org> writes:

> On Tue, 12 Mar 2013, Moray Allan wrote:
>> If there was general support then we could look at organising a
>> funded program, but I would need a lot of persuasion before wanting
>> to get into the question of Debian picking specific individuals to
>> pay for their work while everyone else is unpaid volunteers.[2]
>>
>> [2] Some of you will remember Dunc-Tank.
>
> Despite the above statement, your platform mentions “I would seek
> suggestions on how we could try to advance Debian's goals by spending
> money in ways we're not currently doing. While I think we should be
> careful with money, I would be willing to authorise spending to try out
> new ideas from others, where goals can be defined and the success of an
> initiative can be judged.”
>
> What kind of new ideas would be acceptable? Feel free to invent some
> hypothetical examples to illustrate.
>
> To other candidates, do you believe that we could benefit from using money
> for other things than hardware and meeting/travel reimbursment? If yes,
> what kind of things?

Yes, I believe we would benefit from using money for other things than
hardware and meeting/travel reimbursment. We already use money in other
ways (sprints come to mind, for example, but one can argue that these
fall under meeting/travel reimbursment).

As I mentioned a few times here on -vote <at>  already, one of the things I'd
(Continue reading)


Gmane