Subject Firebird money matters
Author rogervellacott
The biggest difference between FB and its competitors, including
MySQL, is money. Money pays for more developers, more publicity,
more pressure on ISPs, and also provides the ability to attract
people like Jim Starkey away from the competition.

So regardless of the relative technical merits of MySQL and FB,
MySQL is streets ahead because it has muscle. Its muscle comes from
an operating model which generates money.

This is what we should be discussing. How can FB generate cash?

My company, like thousands of others, uses FB commercially, and we
deploy it to a significant number of our own clients. My single
download of FB 1.5.3 will be deployed to 20+ different sites, and
around 100 users. So actual users of FB around the world must
number many millions. I am not familiar with Foundation finances,
but I would guess that even $1 per year from every FB user would
help a bit.

My whole business depends on FB, yet I have never paid a penny for
it. And of course, I don't want to pay for it. I sometimes think I
should make a donation, but I am running a business, not a charity,
and when it comes to the moment of deciding whether to give money
away, or hang on to it to help with the payroll, then my charitable
instincts do not win.

So, as a community, we need a mechanism for turning those millions
of users into serious cash. If such a mechanism depends on changing
human nature, then it will fail, so rather than fighting against
human nature, we need to use it.

Here is an idea.

Let the FB Foundation provide some inspiring, official Firebird
documentation which developers can pass on to their users, which
enable users to make a direct annual donation to the foundation.
There could be a small leaflet, describing the Foundation, and a
donation form, looking a bit like an invoice. The documents can be
given to the client, and the developer can suggest that making the
donation is the decent thing to do. Developers can modify the
donation form to show an amount of money which is appropriate for
the specific country or the specific client.

The developer has the benefit that it makes him look good - he is a
member of an international community of highly skilled people, and
he is working selflessly to support that community. He can also
show his client the support newsgroups, so the client sees that he
has access to resources beyond the single developer, should it ever
become necessary.

The idea also has the benefit that the donation does not seem to the
client like just yet more money for the developer. It brings the
client in to the FB community, and may even make him aware, for the
first time, that he is using a Firebird database. And so the
process helps with FB publicity and public awareness as well.

Shame will help. The client needs to know that the developer will
know whether he made the donation. The developer, perhaps, can show
the client a sample certificate which the developer will get from
the Foundation on receipt of the client's donation. He will pass
the certificate on to the client, to be hung on the wall, and it
says something like

"My Client Inc

is a contributing associate of

The Firebird Foundation"

for the year 2006

Roger Vellacott
Passfield Data Systems Ltd