Contributed by marco on from the Developing-isnt-free dept.
I know you saw a blurb from Bob a few days ago and many of you purchased and/or donated some cash, thank you very much for that! The bad news is that OpenBSD for the past 2 years has turned a loss of approximately $20K USD ($40K total). I don't think I need to explain in many words what that is doing to our beloved OS, and worse, our main systems architect. This is starting to seriously impede the development of OpenBSD and OpenSSH. A lot of serious architecture and development is done at hackathons around the world. The week-long one in Calgary being the big one where everyone tries to get together to discuss and plot a course for the future. To put this in perspective, due to financial restraints the 2007 hackathon is not going to happen unless someone is willing to pick up that tab. The scheduled hackathon of 2006 will happen in about 2 months. Large hackathons like that cost up $30K USD. The smaller hackathons that are concentrated on a single area of development are less expensive and come in at around $10K USD. These figures do not include flights and stay for the poorer and student developers we have. Unfortunately not everyone in OpenBSD is able to afford these trips but we do love to fly them out to pick their brains.
What is happening is that the CD purchase FTP ratio is out of control. People pretty much stopped purchasing CDs in quantities they used to and use the FTP mirrors instead. This lack of sales is what is causing the project to turn a small loss for the 2nd year in a row.
To fulfill most development goals OpenBSD should be generating about $100K USD. With that amount of money the project can finance 1 large and 4 small hackathons per year. Pay the bills and a part-time developer to mind the shop when Theo isn't around. In an ideal world we would have a sponsor per hackathon and the CD sales would be paying for other expenses.
Inquiries about sponsoring hackathons and other fund raising questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Serious/interesting offers will be evaluated by me and discussed with Theo. The idea is to keep him busy with technical stuff and as little as possible with fund-raising activities. Unfortunately sending email to the lists is counter-productive and worse will generate flames. Please restrain yourself and simply contact me off list.
What I want to point out what a lot of people don't seem to realize is that OpenSSH development is paid from the same pool of money as OpenBSD. OpenSSH is in use by millions around the world however the revenue stream just simply isn't there. This is where other projects could help. Without naming entities or projects by name there are others out there that are sitting on some cash. It would be wonderful if these entities could share some of the wealth to keep us going.
All this said, a few words of caution. First and foremost OpenBSD/OpenSSH will not compromise its goals. The reason why the project has been able to maintain integrity is by simply saying "no" to outside preassure. Doing the right thing can and sometimes is painful, but it is what makes the project into what it is today. All donations will therefore have to be without any strings attached.
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