GetGNULinux.org and money
I wanted to bring this subject up so the development of GGL.o can say in the open. So here we go... money.
What could GGL.o do with money? Not much. The hosting costs are moderate and I can afford them (it's a small static site); I don't think advertising would be very useful. So at first look there is no real need for money and that's the reason I have always made sure it was clear the site was non-commercial. There's even a donation page where I ask people to give it to other causes.
Still, I am considering various options where GGL.o would generate some money. This is only very distant and open, so don't jump on me straight away
To speak further I need to say more about myself:
As I have mentioned sometimes, I am a student in France (I'm 23). I am trying to become a Physics/Chemistry teacher in highschools. Because of my rather tortuous path, it's already been 5 years since I left highschool, and still have the great luck of my parents almost completely caring for me.
Theoretically I should need only one year to get done with it, but in practice there are around 6000 of us studying for that exam where exactly 610 will be selected for training and get the job. I stand very little chance, at least this year.
Also, depending on how "things go" it may or may not be that I should have to sustain myself fully or partially, sooner or later.
Meanwhile, I spend an enormous amount of time trying to improve GGL.o in various ways. This time I spend is now directly competing with time I should spend studying, and time I might have to spend working (sometime). And time, human time, is what helps GGL.o most in my opinion.
So I am considering trying to generate a little revenue from GGL.o that could "justify" spending so much time. This fits pretty well into my vision of the "Free Content" concept (I use the term "content" to include software and "free" as in freedom of course ), that does not exclude the making of money. I think it is also a vision shared by Danijel and others here. Generating revenue from "Free Content" is something that is perfectly healthy IMHO and ignoring that would relegate much of the movement to well-meaning, but little-powerful hobby work. In my situation today I am not sure I could keep doing this much for very long, because of the well-known priorities of getting a job and making a living.
I am saying "doing this much", while it often appears in the forum that I'm not there for long periods or that issues aren't solved very fast, but I can assure you I spend a lot of time on the website. There are always many things going on at once.
I also wish to say that if the original website is certainly the result of my work, I also certainly feel greatly endebted to the Libervis community (in particular in Nuxified) for the continous stream of help, remarks, discussions, proposals, corrections, and now also to the translators who keep doing a fantastic work. [As a side note, a Brasilian Portuguese translation has been launched and the French translation is complete, waiting to be transfered to html and put online].
So I have no intention of putting this aside to go solo "selling out" the website. Rest assured of that.
So, the question then, is how? How could money be made with GGL.o without losing the goal and strength of the website? I keep giving this much thought.
First, "advertising" as most people know it is out of sight. I am not going to pollute the web with the blinking banners I keep filtering out with Adblock when I surf.
If really it became necessary I would set-up some Google ads, but I really don't think so. I don't like too much the thought of not being able to choose what's in there, and they wouldn't fit too well in the design.
In fact I am trying to think of better business models. I have always, for example, been admirative of A List Apart's model. Because they know exactly what their public is and always provide very high quality content, they are able to choose their advertisers, select them by relevance to their readers. Then they rent small, clear and clean exclusive adspaces per time (not per click). I have seen they even launched a jobs section some time ago.
Trying to imitate this, I am thinking of working in the next big area where GNU/Linux needs a push after communication: hardware. It's simply hard to find a non-Windows computer around these days.
So maybe we could find partners ready to pay for preferential positionning in a list of GNU/Linux hardware vendors (Putting up such a list has been on plan for a while now). This would be a relevant relationship. We need good hardware vendors Ã la System76 to spread GNU/Linux further, they need our visitors (people who won't want Windows or don't want to install an OS). It could work.
Similarly we could partner with CD and DVD vendors. Distrowatch does that, maybe a partnership with LinuxCD.org could work.
In all cases it would be clear on the website which links are commercial.
In order to do this, I think we need to be more ready.
The recent Novell/Microsoft event has brought the choice of distros up again and this isn't quite solved.
I would like to complete this Linux can do project, and revamp the Link buttons, so as to spread the site a little more.
I think various pages (nxfd for discussion, translation wikis and mailing-lists, develop wikis, "help us" page, contact page...) could be organised better.
PolishLinux.org and generally the interaction between PL.o, GGL.o and Nxfd deserve to be better linked to and put forward.
And the French translation must be put up, for it is just a large amount of work not being used right now.
When this is complete (towards Jan-Feb likely), then maybe it will make sense to try and generate money. (note that "maybe" word, for these are only preliminary thoughts).
I am not naÃ¯ve and am not going dreamy at potential millions to be made from an initially nice website. I am not looking for money in general (I would have started something else otherwise) and trust me if you saw the state of my computer or which bicycle I ride to university, you would probably laugh and trust that I am not indeed. I sincerely hope that you understand what position I am in today and percieve how dear GGL.o is to me. So I share my thoughts about the future of the website.