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Debian Corporation.


Evenin all:

I've been watching the bantering back and forth for the past few days and, for
once, not jumping into the middle of it.  But I have to bring you attention to
a fact.

Debian is not a commercial distro as Red Hat is, but it does make money. 
Non-proffit organizations make money and that is what Debian is, thanks to
Bruce.  Bruce also happens to be the president of the corporation that owns
Debian, SPI.  

If you look at the Debian home page there are some links concerning donations
and such.  I looked at these just last night.  It appears that Debian asks for
people, companies, and organizations to "donate" money to them because they
can't do it without them.  They mention travel, storage space, and burning
"test" CDROM's for new distro's.

We know that Debian doesn't put out CDROM's itself.  They're equipment is all
donated by a few organizations here and there.  And there aren't that many
confrences for them to attend.  So where do there "donations" go?  They also
mentioned the cost of registering and maintaining the domain.  I have a domain
and haven't paid a dime to maintain it since I registered it and don't have to
pay any more until I update it which is $50 a year.

So.  My question is, what happens to the rest of the money?  They took in about
$10,000 over the last year.  Now, without argument, they are not M$.  I
seriously doubt they are spending $10,000 per year to go to confrences.

My mother was the general manager of a non-proffit organization for 10 years or
so.  The president of the company made almost $200,000 per year in salary. 
Bruce is Debian's president.

I don't begrudge the man making a small salary from Debian.  I would myself.  I
do have a problem when he tries to snatch active developers from this, or any
other project.

It appears to me, as it has from the start of my involvment, that Bruce's
intentions were to use SEUL as a potential source of fixes to Debian in the
user-friendlyness department.  This means he can take what we come up with and
make it a part of Debian without credit, if he should choose.  But Bruce would
never do that, right?

Like he would never try to take all the active developers from this list, who
happen to be interested in providing a user-friendly Linux.  Something Debian
is lacking is those that will work on user-friendliness.

What would an under-handed individual, like Gill Bates for instance, do to
aquire a crew of developers to fill the gaps, if he were in the Linux biz?  I
think he might sub to an unsuspecting project with his goals in mind, watch and
listen for what's happening, at just the right time pounce and ask all the
developers to defect to his side.

Un-called-for?  Bruce would never do that, would he.  Let's take a "general"
look at his activities in SEUL.

He talked about future cooperation between SEUL and Debian.

I "hear" that he said he would bring us in some help in some areas. (hear-say)

He took a few pot shots at SEUL for lack of movement.

He contributed nothing in months, I thought he was unsub'd.

Out of the blue, when a bit of decention occurs in the ranks of the leaders, he
announces that SEUL is a dead end and asks all of the programmers to jump on
board his ship and leave SEUL to sink.

Upon a leader calling him on it he replies that he has made enemies by being
involved in SEUL.  A question burning in my mind is "How?!?" I can probably
count his posts over the last 3 months on one hand and they add up to nothing. 
Who in the world would have anything against him for his "involvment" in SEUL,
so far nothing more than vaporware?

He has also announced new efforts in making Debian more user-friendly.  He
stated he put a new group together to do some project, I forget which, and they
did it in a few weeks, comparing their progress to ours.  If he was interested
in helping SEUL why haven't we seen any help from Debian?  He evidently had
some people to shift around.  At that, why didn't he inform us of this group
and their project so we didn't duplicate their work, or so we could help them? 
Because he has never intended to take SEUL seriously, that's why.

The writing has been on the wall for quite some time.  I knew from day one that
Bruce had a Debian agenda.  What really threw me was his blatent attempt, maybe
succesful, at stealing project members.  Maybe he figured SEUL would have
disbanned by now, at which time he could do it with clear a concious and just
got tired of waiting.

Now Debian/Bruce is getting a "private company" to do tech support for them. 
Have you ever heard of such a thing from a "free distro"?  Don't get me wrong,
it will go a long way to helping in the fight against M$, but does any body out
there see a pattern here, besides me?

Sure.  You can say that it's all good as long as the entire Linux community can
benifit from it.  What's not good is the cut-throat nature it is going to
instill in the community.

Look at the current "tech support" link at Debian.  A bunch of users and/or
developers charging $50 - $200 per hour, Bruce charging $200 and donating 25%
to the Debian corp. of which he is the president, doesn't take a genious to
figure out the benefit in that one.  So just what do you think this tech
support is going to be?

Obviously he intends to charge people for support.  How many people do you
think are going to dive into Linux when they find out they have to shell out,
say $30 per hour for support, which they KNOW they will need as newbies?  And
that's if he doesn't intend on charging $50 or more, or via a 900 # at say $5
per min, as I suspect he plans.

I think the biz plan is "Sure, you can have the software for free!  We'll suck
you dry in every other way we can, and pay $0.00 in taxes while we're at it =)"
 What a plan.  It works and it's legal.  You don't have to pay a percentage to
the developers either, unless they're corporate employees, like the president,
vice-president, etc.

Again.  I have no quarel with anybody making a buck when and where they can,
it's a harsh world.  I do have a problem when that person begins to sabatoge
another Linux effort, like stealing developers, or Linux in general, like
overpriced support in the Linux:support ratio.

Think about it.  The media will have a field day when they get a gander at the
prices Debian is going to charge for support of an OS that already has a pile
of black marks against it.

This is ofcourse without having ANY idea of what he REALLY intends to charge,
but, please.  Look at the signs, they aren't too hard to read.  If Bruce wants
to swear I'm wrong about him charging people through the nose for this new
support, let him post it in writing with his PGP sig on it, here and on the
Debian web page.  Will he do that?  Doubt it!  And I will grovel on my knees
begging forgiveness if he actually charges just enough to cover the costs and
not a penny more.  Showing an "honest" desire to put Linux in the common mans
home instead of making a Linux empire.

If you should feel the need to argue Bruce's view, think about the fact that he
is the one that incorporated Debian.  He owns most, if not all, of the Debian
copywrites.  He stepped down as project leader after a user posted these same
types of remarks, and yet didn't step down as president of Debians corp.  Why
would he want to remain the president?  Hmmm?!?

This makes Debian and Bruce the same entity.

I had my own business and Incorporated it.  It's pretty plain to me what is
happening here.  Unfortunately, as the developer stealing shows, Bruce isn't
just planning on Debian being an additional income to upgrade his system and
such.  He has agressive plans in mind.  I fear that if they are too agressive
they will hurt the Linux community as a whole since Debian is on the top of the
Linux chain with RH and known to be a "free" distro.  If people start
associating cost with the "free" distro's it will hurt Linux as a whole.

Hopefully, he will keep his cost low opposed to my assumptions.  In this I
would love to be wrong, but I fear I'm not.

- ---
E-Mail: Cyberdyn@seul.org       Date: 03-Mar-98        Time: 03:19:47
Women's virtue is man's greatest invention.
                -- Cornelia Otis Skinner

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