Subject: Re: terms
From: "Joel N. Weber II" <devnull@gnu.org>
Date: Fri, 12 Dec 1997 02:26:57 -0500 (EST)

   > (When the FSF sells a deluxe distribution, they hire someone to
   > compile all the software for your particular platform, and they give
   > you the FSF's CDROMs and manuals.  Occasionally they get lucky and
   > someone orders a deluxe distribution for something that they
   > recently did a build for...)

   Sounds like $5,000 worth of consulting, and worth the price to a
   company who doesn't want to spend months fooling with this stuff.  Of
   course, if a company could just 'make World' and a Debian would pop
   out the next day, then maybe it wouldn't justify that much consulting.
   Is there a disincentive to improve release engineering here?

My understanding is that in most cases, deluxe distubutions are bought
when someone at a company appreciates the work of the GNU project, and wants
to contribute some money.  Getting their boss to buy a deluxe distribution
is much easier than convincing their boss to donate money.

Actually, good release engineering reduces the work needed to create
a deluxe distribution, and thus it is desireable.  (There are some
scripts that help the process some, but those scripts could never
work if ./configure; make install didn't reliably do the Right Thing.

   I would hope the FSF ftp server
   is maintained by a student, so the expert programmers can apply their
   skills to more strategic tasks.

It is maintained by someone who works for FSF.

Incidentally, it is probably not reasonable to assume that students are
not expert programmers.  It appears that I am going to be a high school
student for the next six months; but I'm also writing the gnu web browser,
which is named e-scape, and doing a significant amount of the system
administration on the gnu project's computers...