← Back to team overview

elementary-dev-community team mailing list archive

Re: "I'm Quitting": we both overreacted


I have to be honest and say this is an incredible over-reaction. There's no
controversy or grand plot or anything crazy.

You can walk into -web right now and I guarantee Kiran will give you the
credentials to view the in-progress site. It's not some well guarded
secret. I've also had mockups of the new homepage on my dA for at least 3
months and had been showing them in IRC for longer than that.

I've attached a screenshot of the homepage at galaborel here for your
viewing pleasure.

As you can see, the page has been simplified to concentrate on 3 things:

1. What is Luna? We want to have a video explaining what it's all about.

2. How can I get Luna? We want the download link to be extremely prominent
and clear.

3. How can I contribute (monetarily)? This is I guess where the
"controversy" lies.

elementary is, has always been, and will always be open source and freely
available for anyone to download without charge.

However, we have a growing community of developers that pour a lot of time
into elementary and would love the opportunity to turn this hobby into
their profession.

After much discussion in IRC, in person, and on Skype, and after seeking
the advice of other FOSS organizations like Yorba, we agreed that we'd like
to attempt a pay-what-you-want model with elementary. This is the same
model we've seen become very successful with the Humble Indie Bundle.

As you can see, we're suggesting a donation of $10 to go with your
download. This is far cheaper than our competitor desktop OS's Windows and
Mac OS.

Something I've discussed with Charline
Canonical is that their user testing has shown that the word "Free"
really hurts public perception of Ubuntu. People outside the FOSS world see
free and they think cheaply made or stuffed with ads or just a trial

When we're talking about our advertising, we need to be thinking about
crossing the chasm. People from the FOSS world already know that elementary
OS is free and open source. We don't need to educate or convince those
people, we need to reach out to people who have never even heard of the
concept of FOSS.

Marketing elementary OS as pay-what-you-want has the advantage of both
demonstrating confidence in the quality of our product, but also hopefully
increasing our revenue stream to the point where we can start paying back
some of our devs for their hard work.

But, please also note that we offer a link that explicitly says you can
download Luna for Free. You don't even have to change the field to $0 and
the copy also states that you can download Luna for free if you'd like.

I for one, would like to try this model out and see if it works for us. And
if it does, I want to help make this model easily accessible to our third
party devs as well through AppCenter.

And if it sucks, we try a different model. We've never been an organization
to cling onto failing ideas.

As I've said before and to be perfectly clear, elementary OS is free and
open source software and it will always be so.

But it's a little hard to put food on the table unless we start thinking
about how we get our users to give us money.

On Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 4:30 AM, Сергей Давыдов <shnatsel@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Yesterday I announced in #elementary-dev and #elementary-web that I'm
> quitting the project. Rumors spread fast and they're usually more scary
> than truth is, so I'm writing this to clarify what happened, what caused me
> to do that and "if I'm really quitting".
> *What happened*
> I'm attaching the controversial log so you don't have to take my word for
> anything. My IRC nickname is "SergeLion" these days.
> I removed the username and password required to access the development
> site from the log because I'm not sure I'm allowed to publish them and
> replaced them with "<username:password - deleted because I'm not sure I can
> publish them. --shnatsel>". No other edits were done.
> The frontpage discussed in the log is down at the moment, but you can
> download the mockup at
> http://bazaar.launchpad.net/~elementary-design/+junk/mockups/view/131/elementaryweb/Frontpage/Luna/homeluna.svg<http://bazaar.launchpad.net/%7Eelementary-design/+junk/mockups/view/131/elementaryweb/Frontpage/Luna/homeluna.svg>
> It seems to require Inkscape for proper rendering.
> *What's my problem with that*
> My problem is particularly about this part:
> <DanRabbit>    Once again, this is not the time or place for that
>> discussion
>> <DanRabbit>    the discussion is not about whether the pay process is
>> attached to the download process
>> <DanRabbit>    it is
>> <DanRabbit>    that's how it's gonna go down
>> <DanRabbit>    the discussion is about how we ensure people know they can
>> pay $0 if they'd like
>> <SergeLion>    DanRabbit: where and when do I start the business model
>> discussion?
>> <DanRabbit>    SergeLion: like 6 months ago or after this model doesn't
>> work out.
>> <SergeLion>    DanRabbit: shit. I quit. Now.
>> <DanRabbit>    It's a little freaking late to try to change everything
>> dude
>> <DanRabbit>    It's not like we didn't have this discussion a LONG time
>> ago
> Business or fundraising model is an important and touchy issue affecting
> the whole project. I'm a little surprised that as a (mere) developer, I'm
> not aware of an important project decision made "like 6 months ago". I'm
> especially surprised by the closed-door business model decision because
> I've been studying the free software phenomenon for the past two years, and
> I did mention that more than once to the council. I cannot show off a PhD
> in free software and free culture theory, mostly because this subject is
> pretty much unexplored and I'm kind of breaking new ground. There are even
> hardly any books on the subject - Eric Raymond's "Cathedral and the Bazaar"
> back from 1997 and Lawrence Lessig's "Free Culture" are pretty much
> everything we have, and I'm not aware of any work besides mine to
> systematize the recent facts and give a broader understanding of how e.g.
> free culture business works and how it can be used. My only arguments for
> being right are: always relying on facts and existing success stories,
> being invited to lecture along with professors and accomplished
> businessmen, and not being proven wrong so far. Sure, I cannot state I know
> or correctly understand everything, but I at least did study the subject
> and as of my experience no-cost business/fundraising model will work much
> better (do I have to remind of Nine Inch Nails' albums being released *for
> free download* under creative commons and failing to reach tops of any
> charts but *ranking #1 paid purchase* on Amazon MP3 service at the same
> time?)
> I've uploaded and shared the funding opportunities document with the
> council on the 26th of March 2012. Here's the document, you can see that in
> the revision history:
> https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pAEymg8cQ5-tqhn6exxaUEWZbZXQ47YbfeYkM6nMqdQ/edit
> The document invitation was sent to council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, so I assume
> the Council members were aware of its existence.
> That was 3 months ago. I was not notified by any Council member that
> everything is already decided.
> And now I'm confronted by an accomplished fact. The decision is made. It's
> not backed by any successful cases and it seems to be vastly suboptimal, if
> not disappointing to me. I think I have a better alternative. But I cannot
> influence the decision. And it's also disappointing because this is not the
> way I intended my work to be used.
> I can't help but feel pwned. These are not the ideals towards which I've
> been working all this time. This is not the elementary into which I can put
> my spare time, effort, hopes or beliefs. I'm not going to willingly put my
> effort into it. I'm quitting.
> *What really happened*
> I have to admit DanRabbit always took my concerns into account and never
> pushed his decisions, and for that I respect him greatly. This is actually
> the first time I bump into such issue for the whole my year-long
> participation. This is really not like Dan. And if he *really* wouldn't
> care, he could just get away with some bull reply, like that they'll
> consider it in the next council meeting and I'd fuck off (that is actually
> a bull reply because I have no way of knowing what happens in council
> meetings).
> I assume he's just tired of discussing the matter and is willing to take
> any decision just to settle to something. I have been through this myself,
> so I can understand that. Dan seems to have been really busy lately, both
> in elementary and IRL. In addition, elementary puts a great deal of
> pressure and responsibility on him. So I hope he did not really mean what
> the log reads.
> *What now*
> I plead to the Council to make a business/funding model decision in a
> transparent way and consider community suggestions. This decision is
> dictated by the way the money will be used, which is also a sensitive
> matter and would better be discussed with the developer community.
> I also plead for establishing a better decision-making process. I guess
> the incident proves that the current one is not good enough.
> I've hit up some books and got some ideas on the subject which I'm willing
> to share, but that's a vast separate topic.
> Please not to discuss the business/funding model in this thread. This is a
> touchy and now controversial issue, so I fear it will do more harm than
> good. If you have concerns regarding it, please write them down for future
> reference, and bring them up as part of Council-organized process.
> *Regarding myself*
> I blame burnout and hack on until DanRabbit comments on the events.
> I will also attempt to participate in the process of deciding the monetary
> goals and offer my expertise on means of meeting them (again).
> Yours faithfully,
> --
> Sergey "Shnatsel" Davidoff
> --
> Mailing list: https://launchpad.net/~elementary-dev-community
> Post to     : elementary-dev-community@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Unsubscribe : https://launchpad.net/~elementary-dev-community
> More help   : https://help.launchpad.net/ListHelp

Best Regards,

Daniel Foré


Attachment: luna.png
Description: PNG image

Follow ups