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paying people for Debian work (Re: Why do we take so long to realise good ideas (Was: Difficult Packaging Practices))




On Wed, May 29, 2019 at 11:01:44AM +0200, Raphael Hertzog wrote:
> > > Use the $300,000 on our bank accounts?
> > I heard that this didn't work out well the last time ("dunc tank"),
> > though that was before the time I followed Debian development.
> Yes, I was there (and mention it briefly in the questions of the talk I
> gave) but it's been a long time ago. 

that dunc tank has been 10y ago doesnt really mean things have changed.

> There are things to learn
> from this failed experiment (such as "don't let the DPL decide alone who
> gets paid") but there are also many reasons to believe that we are no
> longer in the same situation.

well, "believe"...

> At that time, the number of persons working
> on open source as part of their paid work was rather low and the jealousy
> aspect was likely more problematic than it would be today. We have been
> getting used to have Debian contributors being paid (such as on LTS) and
> we know that with appropriate rules, the social impact of the use of money
> is acceptable.

I'm not sure this conclusion is true. True, nowadays there are probably
more people being paid to work on free software (but then, also 10y many
people were paid doing that) and true, there's now Debian LTS, which
pays very few Debian people to do work which many Debian people consider
boring.

But there's one significant difference between LTS and dunc tank: dunc
tank was ment as an initiative inside Debian, while LTS is carefully set
up on both sides, in- and outside Debian, and the money part of it is
*completly* handled outside Debian, and I very much like this and I
consider this a main reason why LTS is accepted by the Debian community.

I *believe* things can become ugly very easily if a volunteer projects
decides about salaries and whom to hire and fire, to give two basic
examples.

Also, once motivation has been destroyed, it can be very hard to
impossible to rebuild it. Money can be a huge motivator, and a huge
demotivator as well.

So I don't think LTS has shown that "this can work", as in LTS we have a
very nice benevolent dictator and as such the setup is very different
from what I imagine would be a Debian setup.

I'd much rather have an/more external entity/project/s paying people
doing Debian work. And if that entity is a charity as/under SPI, Debian
could even transfer money to that entity.


-- 
tschau,
	Holger, who is getting paid for free software work, incl. LTS

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