12 10 / 2012

How GNU/Linux distros, Wikimedia can make money to sustain other than donations

  • Why I am writing this article
  1. Recently there is lot of controversy about Ubuntu adding Amazon search results to unity lens, donations wizard in iso download image page.

  2. How can FOSS people make money close to corporate / consultant salary by doing FOSS work which they do at spare time.

  • How can GNU/Linux distros make money other than collecting donations ?
  1. AFAIK by running conference across multiple cities and countries it is possible to make significant amount of money to sustain the development. For an example consider debconf which is stable distro has conducted only 13 conference world wide so far. On a other case consider PyCon which is run across 20+ countries every year, PyCon US being largest one. There is also SciPy conference, Django Conference, Plone Conference, Rails Conference which are successful, generate significant amount of money. Ubuntu Developer Submit is free of cost, if it happens in multiple cities with fee there is significant amount.

  2. These conference are run by volunteers I am pretty much sure there are more enough GNU/Linux developers, volunteers who can make this happen.

  3. Most of the conference has low event price which is really wrong model. As a developer you give your work for free over the internet, spend your free time maintaining the work, helping fellow users to solve the issue in mailing lists, IRC. AFAIK its worth paying to listen to Robert Love, Greg Kroah, Linus Torvalds, Ian Murdock, Debra and other Linux contributors and maintainers.

  4. Running more conference means there are likely chances of getting sponsorship.

  5. Well every decent university has good conference hall which can be pulled in for free / lesser amount to run conference.

  6. If wikipedia conducts 100 conference across different cities in world, with 100 participant with average participant fee of $10, sums up to $100000. This is a rough estimation and this can be managed by local wikipedia chapter.

  • What is the biggest problem with communities ?
  1. Most of the FOSS communities want to make entry fee very low, which is wrong model. Low prices attract every one. If money from conference goes back to make community development which is healthier for development.

  2. Communities and money don’t go well at all.

  3. Every conference should be planned to run without sponsorship money means participant money should cover venue charge + food which most of the community conference miss.

  • Why this model ?
  1. This model makes sure project has enough money to sustain and can hire the creator to work on full time if necessary.

  2. It is hard to make people to donate the money.

  3. Conference runs by ensuring high quality developers talks, tutorials, sprints.

  4. It is highly unlikely that any developer will not learn new tricks, tips, guidance in conference of their choice.

  • As a developer our physical presence makes more valuable to budding developers and to other fellow developers why not make most out of it .

  • Note: I know running conference is tiring and hard, shouldn’t been conducted for heck of it.

  • There are lot of local FOSS conference but rarely part of the conference revenue is donated to FOSS projects, all the money goes for running next year conference, which is really sad.