An Idea For Debian Funding From The Community
Why do we need more Money?
In order to be able to afford more developer gatherings ([#FAQ_number_of_gatherings 50] per year seems a conservative estimate) Debian needs more money. One can calculate with about 2000-5000USD/€ per developer gathering, which would result in an overall sum of up to 250kUSD/€.
How would this work?
This could work much like the [http://club.mandriva.com Mandriva Club], which "sells" a lifestyle feeling of coolness and l33tness for supporting Mandriva. (As far as i know it was the [http://club.mandriva.com Mandriva Club] that saved Mandrake from bankrupcy and made it profitable again, so there is a lot of potential in this concept.)
So the point is to emphasize lifestyle feeling and other activities that we want to encourage (like helping newbies, fixing/reporting bugs, keysigning and last but not least donating money)
How could it work for Debian?
- it should look and feel cool and professional
it could use another name like "Friends Of Debian" to not remind too much of the [http://club.mandriva.com Mandriva Club] and perhaps emphasise community
- it could have a Debian-Orkut, to emphasize community and attract people
- it could encourage key signing within the community and real life meetings to strengthen the community
- members could donate money to Debian and receive coolness points in exchange
- members could receive trustweb points for signatures on their gpg key
- members could form sub-communities within the Debian-Orcut and receive community points for beeing active within that community and for helping people in the support forums
- one person would have three categories of points (coolness for money, trustweb for signatures, community for activity) which would make up the overall rating of that person
- members could purchase Debian releases (on DVD) or Debian merchandise for reduced cost
Things to sort out
- Where would the money go? Options would be SPI, FFIS, SLX-Debian-Labs, etc
- SPI would need to get either an accountant or other means to rapidly process money every week (since 50 gatherings per year translate to one per week, with up to 20-30 reimbursements each)
Merchandise could be handled and sold by e.g. LinuxNewMedia, which is somewhat international and has subsideries everywhere where there are bigger clusters of Debian users (Japan seems to be missing).
Frequently Asked Questions
Wow, 50 gatherings are a lot! How do you arrive at that number?
There are a lot of groups and teams that would benefit from a work meeting: Debian-Java, Debian-QA, Security Team, Release Team, all the proters of all the architectures, Kernel Team, glibc maintainers, Debian-Edu, cdds, the Debian Policy maintainers, the KDE packagers, the Gnome team, debian-installer... If all teams only met twice per year we would most likely surpass the 50. That said: It will take some time for groups to get used to meet and we wont see so many gatherings during 2006 yet.
Won't This Money Corrupt Debian?
Theoretically that is possible. But it is not likely: Other Projects dont get currupted by money. One example that is very close to Debian is Ubuntu, which uses money to pay developers, fund conferences, give away lots of CDs etc. Still the community prospers and there seems to be no resent or envy about money there. Debian subprojects used money in the past to help development: Debian-Installer and Debian-Edu development gatherings were funded by SLX-Debian-Labs without corrupting people or the subprojects. It is obviously important to do this right. But beeing aware of the danger will already help alot.
Are these Development Gatherings just Smaller Deb``Confs? Will they be a semi vacation to talk about stuff one does as a hobby?
No, there is a distinct difference between a Debian Conference and these Developer Gatherings: The focus of these Developer Gatherings is to work in a focused way to solve specific problems and get stuff done. They are work meetings without talks or formal dinners or parties etc. They are much more like the python sprints or collective maraton hacking sessions. Usually people attending such a meeting might want a vacation afterwards.
Of course it is ok and even desired if the attendees enjoy working on the specific problem.