Raphael Hertzog | 12 Mar 12:06 2013
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Debian's relationship with money and the economy

Hi,

my previous mail targeted the topic of using Debian's money
(<20130312094330.GA30502 <at> x230-buxy.home.ouaza.com>). But the topic
of money in Debian does not have to be limited to that.

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.

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.

When a project ultimately benefits to the Debian project, we should
not fear to promote it even if that promotion helps the project
initiator to make money (and IMO even more so when the project initiator
is a Debian member).

Do you agree with this analysis and statement? If not, why?

If yes, how can we shift our culture and our policies towards this goal?

----

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
(Continue reading)

Moray Allan | 14 Mar 17:01 2013

Re: Debian's relationship with money and the economy

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.

For example:

http://www.debian.org/partners/
http://debconf13.debconf.org/become-sponsor.xhtml
http://lists.alioth.debian.org/mailman/listinfo/debian-sponsors-discuss
https://lists.debian.org/debian-companies/

As with many areas of Debian, we would benefit from having more 
volunteers to work on these.

> 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.

> When a project ultimately benefits to the Debian project, we should
(Continue reading)

Raphael Hertzog | 14 Mar 21:34 2013
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Re: Debian's relationship with money and the economy

Hi,

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  <at> 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
community.
(Continue reading)

Stefano Zacchiroli | 14 Mar 22:07 2013
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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,
etc.

> 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
(Continue reading)

Jonathan Corbet | 18 Mar 15:07 2013
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Re: Debian's relationship with money and the economy

On Thu, 14 Mar 2013 22:07:39 +0100
Stefano Zacchiroli <zack <at> debian.org> wrote:

> 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.

Just for the record, LWN's tracking is a bit more sophisticated than
that.  An awful lot of kernel developers post code from something other
than a corporate email address, but we (try to) get it attributed
correctly anyway. 

Not everybody thinks that the LWN statistics are a good thing, BTW.  It is
easy to measure things like "changesets contributed" or "lines of code
changed,"  It is far harder to measure "actually useful work
contributed."  So we publish the things we *can* measure, at the risk of
slighting the developer who slaved for a week over a five-line scheduler
fix and encouraging companies to spew out a lot of relatively useless
code-churn patches.  But it's the best we can do and is still useful, so
we persevere.

jon

Jonathan Corbet / LWN.net / corbet <at> lwn.net

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Moray Allan | 15 Mar 18:03 2013

Re: Debian's relationship with money and the economy

On 2013-03-14 23:34, Raphael Hertzog wrote:
> I never use my  <at> 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.

I don't think there's any policy to discourage that.  In fact I see 
many DDs and other contributors who use a paid-work address for their 
Debian work, although most of these are small consulting companies etc. 
rather than giant IT companies.

>> 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.

I can't personally see how to create a policy that would fairly enable 
this, without also publishing a press release for every company that 
allows a DD to spend some time on Debian matters.  In fact, there is a 
stronger reason to thank companies who give time for generic Debian work 
rather than ones who fund specific features for their own benefit.

(Continue reading)

Lucas Nussbaum | 14 Mar 20:13 2013
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Re: Debian's relationship with money and the economy

Hi,

On 12/03/13 at 12:06 +0100, Raphael Hertzog wrote:
> Hi,
> 
> my previous mail targeted the topic of using Debian's money
> (<20130312094330.GA30502 <at> x230-buxy.home.ouaza.com>). But the topic
> of money in Debian does not have to be limited to that.
> 
> 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.
> 
> 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.
> 
> When a project ultimately benefits to the Debian project, we should
> not fear to promote it even if that promotion helps the project
> initiator to make money (and IMO even more so when the project initiator
> is a Debian member).
> 
> Do you agree with this analysis and statement? If not, why?

I very much like the distinction between information and promotion that
Stefano made in
https://lists.debian.org/debian-publicity/2011/10/msg00022.html

(Continue reading)

Lucas Nussbaum | 14 Mar 20:31 2013
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Re: Debian's relationship with money and the economy

On 14/03/13 at 20:13 +0100, Lucas Nussbaum wrote:
> Btw, in the specific example of your book, have
> you considered creating a Debian package for it?

Oops, I missed http://packages.debian.org/wheezy/debian-handbook
Excellent!

Lucas

Neil McGovern | 15 Mar 10:32 2013
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Re: Debian's relationship with money and the economy

On Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 08:13:02PM +0100, Lucas Nussbaum wrote:
> I think I would generally be fine about an informational message in
> Debian Project News about an fundraising campaign for something that
> clearly benefits Debian. Btw, in the specific example of your book, have
> you considered creating a Debian package for it?
> 
> However, I don't think that making Debian press releases about such
> initiatives would generally be a good idea.
> 

My view as one of the press officers is that I'll issue press releases
for newsworthy[0] items that the *project* has done, and DPN should have
news items that are informative to people interested in the project.

Thus, the launch of a new derived distribution, for example, would make
a good entry in DPN, but I wouldn't issue a press release for it.

Neil
[0] Nice mnemonic: TRUTH - Timely, Relevant, Unusual, Trouble, Human
Interest. Dear journalist unions, please don't strike me down for
revealing your inner secrets.
--

-- 
Moray Allan | 15 Mar 11:01 2013

Re: Debian's relationship with money and the economy

On 2013-03-15 12:32, Neil McGovern wrote:
> My view as one of the press officers is that I'll issue press 
> releases
> for newsworthy[0] items that the *project* has done, and DPN should 
> have
> news items that are informative to people interested in the project.

Yes -- now that you've said it, this sounds like common sense.

Though, for clarity, I wouldn't want DPN to turn into some kind of 
Slashdot clone that just happens to be run by Debian people -- I would 
like a clear Debian project relevance to the stories there, even when 
they're not directly about things done by/in the Debian project.  And 
clearly it's up to the DPN editors to decide whether to include specific 
story suggestions or not.

--

-- 
Moray

Francesca Ciceri | 15 Mar 19:41 2013
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Re: Debian's relationship with money and the economy

On Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 01:01:25PM +0300, Moray Allan wrote:
>  And clearly it's up to the DPN editors to decide whether
> to include specific story suggestions or not.

Thank you Moray for making this point.

Francesca,
the other press officer

--

-- 
"Non mi uccise la morte, ma due guardie bigotte,
mi cercarono l'anima a forza di botte"
Fabrizio De André, Un blasfemo
Toni Mueller | 16 Mar 19:17 2013
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Re: Debian's relationship with money and the economy


On Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 01:01:25PM +0300, Moray Allan wrote:
> Though, for clarity, I wouldn't want DPN to turn into some kind of
> Slashdot clone that just happens to be run by Debian people -- I

We have planet.debian.org for that, right?

Cheers,
--Toni++

Gergely Nagy | 19 Mar 17:25 2013

Re: Debian's relationship with money and the economy

Hello,

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

> 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.

Well, we have the debian-companies[1] list, we also have a partners
page[2], and the debian-sponsors-discuss[3] list too (although this
latter one may not be in the same category as the other two).

 [1]: http://lists.debian.org/debian-companies/
 [2]: http://www.debian.org/partners/
 [3]: http://lists.alioth.debian.org/mailman/listinfo/debian-sponsors-discuss

So, no, I don't think we hide this information. Rather, in recent years,
I've seen efforts towards the exact opposite.

> 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.

Perhaps. I'm not entirely convinced that most actors would need
press/publicity from Debian. As far as press and publicity goes, I'd
defer to our very own press team to do as they feel appropriate.

Personally, I would not set up a general rule, but decide on a case by
(Continue reading)


Gmane