Subject Re: Firebird money matters
Author rogervellacott

I agree with everything you say. In fact my posting arises from a
recognition that it really is time my company contributed, and an
attempt to answer the question why I, and thousands of others, never
quite get around to it. That surely must be quite an important
question for the Foundation.

I do not look on the funding of the Foundation as charity. But when
developers have to decide where their available funds should go, the
obligatory payments will always take precedence over the voluntary
ones. It would be good to find a way of influencing all those
thousands of decisions in the Foundation's favour.

Roger Vellacott

--- In, "Steve Summers"
<sesummers@...> wrote:
> Roger Vellacott wrote:
> >My company, like thousands of others, uses FB commercially, and
> >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
> >but I would guess that even $1 per year from every FB user would
> >help a bit.
> Yes it would.
> >My whole business depends on FB, yet I have never paid a penny
> >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
> >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
> >instincts do not win.
> Shame on you! <g>
> You shouldn't look at it as charity. What would it cost your
business if FB
> stopped being developed? The point of open source software is
that a whole
> bunch of people who benefit to greater or lesser degrees from its
> development, voluntarily share the cost of that development, by
> money or developer time (which costs money!)
> Our company was paying Borland $20-$30K per year for Interbase
> before we switched to Firebird. We are now gold sponsors of the
> which costs us a lot less than the IB licenses, but helps keep FB
> You should consider doing the same. Your business volume might not
be enough
> to justify $6000 per year, but if you considered just $20 per
> as the cost of goods sold for the database component of your
product, that
> would be $400. If just another 20 people in your situtation did
that, we
> could hire another part-time developer.
> >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 are a couple problems with this idea. First, your users
couldn't care
> less what database they're using. Many of them don't even know.
They run
> YOUR product. They pay YOU for your product, and assume they're
done paying.
> You are the one who is benefiting from Firebird, not your
customers. If you
> provided them with SQL Server or Oracle instead, you'd have to
include the
> cost of the database in your price. You'd either have to make a
lot less
> money for yourself, or charge them more and sell fewer of them.
Either way,
> you are the one making money from Firebird, not your customers,
and you are
> the one who needs to see fit to contribute a small slice of that
back, so
> the product can continue advancing.
> >The developer has the benefit that it makes him look good - he is
> >member of an international community of highly skilled people,
> >he is working selflessly to support that community.
> How is he (you) "working selflessly to support that community"?
You're using
> a product you didn't write, for free, and making money from it.
> thought about donating a little money to that cause, but
your "charitable
> instincts do not win".
> >The idea also has the benefit that the donation does not seem to
> >client like just yet more money for the developer.
> Yes it does! It tells them that YOU got the database part of your
> for free, but you'd like THEM to help pay for it! Here's an idea-
> in your original invoice, a note that says that you're providing,
as part of
> the price of your product (and taken out of your profit), a $20
(or $50?
> That's what we contribute) donation to the FB foundation for the
> part. When they ask what that is, you can explain it to them, and
> that they might want to become an associate member too.
> >Shame will help.
> Hope you mean that, because my tone here might be taken as a little
> harsh.<g>
> Bottom line. People who make money selling systems that rely on
Firebird are
> the ones who are benefiting. We would have had to spend more money
(even if
> they'd used MySQL, which charges a license fee in cases like that)
for the
> database part of our products otherwise. If Firebird is to
continue being
> competitive, it needs more companies like yours and mine to become
> We are, to the tune of about $50 per system we sell. You should
> doing the same- not as charity, but as an insurance policy to
reduce the
> chances that you'll need to rework your product to run on
something else, if
> the Firebird project dies.