OpenBSD Journal

Creative support ideas: DixonGroup's OpenBSD Enterprise Bundle

Contributed by grey on from the good fund raising ideas, until OpenBSD bake sales appear dept.

Jason Dixon writes:

In response to Theo's notice of slow CD sales, the usual flood of revenue schemes were renewed on the OpenBSD mailing list. One of the few good ideas has been for someone to offer an Enterprise offering of OpenBSD for those companies willing to spend extra, but want something to show for their investment (printed manuals, vendor support, etc). In response to this, I'm now offering up the following business software/support bundles:

The OpenBSD Enterprise Bundle
The official OpenBSD CD-ROM release, combined with one month (8 hours) of our enterprise, all-encompassing support.

The OpenBSD Small Business Bundle
The official OpenBSD CD-ROM release, combined with one month (4 hours) of Installation-only support.

All proceeds (total minus CD/shipping costs) will be donated directly to the OpenBSD project. This will hopefully address the ongoing demand that commercial users have requested, while opening up an untapped stream of donations for the developers.

For more details, please visit

It's nice to see not just ideas, but actual attempts at finding more creative ways to get money toward the project. It looks like OpenBSD and Jason will benefit from this arrangement. Of course, undeadly loves to hear about commercial products and support services using OpenBSD, particularly if you are taking additional steps to provide support back to the project.

(Comments are closed)

  1. By Anonymous Coward ( on

    Didn't anyone listen to Theo? He said he didn't want suggestions! ;)

    1. By tedu ( on

      it's not a suggestion; it's an action. demonstrating the difference between talking and doing. :)

    2. By Daniel Hartmeier ( on

      Behold the majesty of action over petty talk.

  2. By Chas ( on

    Put up a paypal list for specific desired donations.

    Theo recently asked for hard drives. If he had found a reasonably-priced supplier and listed a URL, he probably would have received a ton more than he did (he requested SCSI-1 drives for $250, which I thought was overpriced).

    New Features and Enhancements should also be listed with dollar amounts. For example, I'd probably give a couple of hundred dollars towards SMP support on my Sparc 20.

    If the OpenBSD developers want money, they should put up a donations page with EXACTLY what they want and why, not just a general "send us money and buy our CDs."

    I would love to be able to say that I directly funded greylisting and i386 W^X. I can't with the way things are structured now.

    1. By truk ( on

      It won't happen. This has been suggested before and shot down.

      The project needs the flexibility to spend monetary donations as they see fit. Which should come first, paying the electric bill or getting you SMP on your Sparc 20?

      You’re free to make a suggestion when making the donation. Mine say "For XXXX, or Beer" ;) I don't expect anyone to honor my suggestion. Well maybe the beer part.

    2. By Anonymous Coward ( on

      What a load of crap. If you want to donate a couple hundred dollars, DO IT. Feel free to add a comment in there that you'd like it to go to a specific project, but don't feel slighted when it goes towards something else.

      1. By Chas ( on

        Do I need to dig up the canceled check to prove it?

        1. By Anonymous Coward ( on

          "I would love to be able to say that I directly funded greylisting and i386 W^X."

          I bet you would

    3. By grey ( on

      As the subject says, already exists. If you want to send some cash in that way, it's been an accepted method for years. Sometimes it's actually easier to use, even if ultimately hardware is what is involved (speaking from personal experience after trying to convince a retailer to use my credit card info to pay for a developer's equipment - and then dealing with returns because it wasn't right and the like, paypal was a lot easier).

    4. By tedu ( on

      if noone is ready to work on sparc smp right now, that'd be useless. either the money would have to sit there accomplishing nothing, after which you'd complain about how your money was stolen and openbsd failed to deliver what you "paid" for, or the money would be spent on something else entirely, after which you'd make the same complaint. maybe you wouldn't complain. but you don't get to donate money into a certain bucket because then the project ends up with piles of money in buckets it can't touch.

      for better or worse, the openbsd project is not a store you walk into and say, "here's a hundred dollars. i'll take an smp sparc support and a journaled filesystem." you don't get to tell the red cross what size bandaids to buy.

      1. By jsnikeri ( on

        Well put

  3. By Kevin R ( on

    I *really* dig this idea. It's hard to convince some larger companies to make an official donation towards something free, and often they seem wary of free software like OpenBSD. This way, consultants can get the companies they work to make an official "purchase" of OpenBSD, and the money still goes to the OpenBSD team. Also, larger companies expect to pay larger amounts of money for higher-end software, they feel more secure spending the extra money. I know I will probably get at least a few of the companies I work with purchase this. Thanks! Kevin

  4. By Johannes ( on

    Excuse my question, but how do you (Jason Dixon or the DixonGroup) expect to make money or at least not to lose money by offering these bundles if all proceeds minus CD-set and s&h-costs go to OpenBSD? How can you afford to give email/phone support more or less for free?

    I am just curious :-)


    1. By Jason Dixon ( on

      That's the idea behind donations. I'm donating my time and skills for the benefit of the project. Instead of giving it away for free on the lists (which I'll continue to do anyways), I'll be exchanging it in return for large donations to the project.

      Mind you, I hope that many of these customers will choose to retain me on a long-term basis. But that's hopeful thinking. :)


      1. By Matthias Kilian ( on

        Well, but what about the risk that you'll sell hundreds of enterprise bundles?

        That could force you to set up a complete support call center :-)


  5. By Chas ( ` on

    I would like a UNIX-like system that I can drop and forget for 5 years or more.

    With OpenBSD's current support policy, I MUST upgrade every year to continue to receive patches (and not even binary patches at that).

    I will pay you $100/year to support 3.5 for 5 years. Will you take?

    1. By Jason Dixon ( on

      I don't see it being possible for $100/year. Not that patching is expensive to maintain; rather, it's necessary to upgrade the system every year (3.4->3.6->3.8) to guarantee errata availability. Even then, it's not like remote upgrading is very difficult (unless we run into another a.out->elf type transition), but the combination of tasks would be hard for any business to justify at $100/year.

      And this doesn't even touch on other aspects of "support" that are typically necessary (log analysis, backups, etc). Unless this isn't something you're looking for.

      Hmm... what type of "support" are you really looking for anyways? Perhaps I'm assuming too much.


      1. By Kevin R ( on

        I think he means backporting the errata for a release and making the changes available as source and in binary format. (Correct me if I'm wrong.) I can see how this would be very useful to some. Kevin

        1. By Anonymous Coward ( on

          i think services like those can be had w/o much problems.
          what most ppl don't grok however is that this costs money, ie
          $100/hr is the minimum.

          although i guess an experienced sysadmin wouldn't need more the 2hrs
          per release for possible backporting of important fixes to and compiling and providing them as binary package.

          i mean, what's the deal, look what is affected, make there, install to a fake scratch directory, tgz that up and install it in the target machine(s).

          i'd say 4-6hrs should easily suffice per year, but $100, as the OP suggested is a bit low

      2. By Chas ( on

        And yes, I'm willing to pay for such a service. How exactly is such a thing impossible?

        If it weren't for the avalanche of patches, I would be tempted by cAos or White Box. They will be supported (and spewing patches) long after 3.5 is dust.

        1. By Anonymous Coward ( on

          how much would you be willing to pay for it annually?
          how much is RHAS or SLES costing for this sort of support?

          technically this is no real problem backporting /usr/src and ports
          fixes back to a given release and maintain this tree and provide
          binary packages/patches.

          the problem is only the commitment and this could be solved via
          a fixed payment/contract.

          this sort of specialized contract is much more easier than for the openbsd team to take care of older releases as they have to make sure all things work on all platforms etc etc., if i'd have a customer with a fixed platform or even better i could also advise which h/w to use i could very well easily provide this kind of service for $$$.

    2. By mike ( on

      limit users and disallow internet access, do not ever add new hardware, meaning you buy enough spares of your current components at today's prices to last five years, and it just might work ;)

      seriously though, I have an as/400 that run 5 years straight æs an internal db server until the company went bust... it cost 80k upfront.

      1. By Anonymous Coward ( on

        In one of my previous jobs I worked at a bank where they used an AS/400 with MIDAS accouting software. OS/400 is bloody secure, the machine is built like a tank and the thing never crashed. Old tech without lots of bells & whistles but it did its job, and did it well.

    3. By Peter Dembinski ( on

      So employ the programmer and pay him for backporting patches.

  6. By Jimmy ( on

    I welcome this, and would hope that every so often we get a word saying how successful it is going. For me, I can get my boss to order 6 or 8, which they don't mind doing, and I know it helps future developement. I have CDs going back to 2. something, and I keep 'em like a collection of beatle records.

    1. By Jason Dixon ( on

      I have no problem giving out totals if someone asks, but I see no reason to publish it publicly. The OpenBSD project would probably also be able to provide these numbers.


      1. By Anonymous Coward ( on

        That makes sense. As this thread here and on misc shows, talk is cheap, and if someone saw that they had X$ coming in, they would assume no more is needed, not realizing that it takes Y$ to actually inprove the software. Thanks for stepping up.

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