[Ambassadors] Red Hat's investments (was Re: Going passive)

Christoph Wickert christoph.wickert at googlemail.com
Tue Nov 9 19:35:05 UTC 2010

Am Dienstag, den 09.11.2010, 13:17 +0100 schrieb Matthias Kranz: 
> On 11/09/2010 12:23 PM, Sascha Thomas Spreitzer wrote:
> > [....] and I do not feel it is ok to contribute for a
> > companys benefit that is not equal to its project investment.
> I wrote similar questions to Jonathan but do you know how much Red Hat
> spends for Fedora? 

Generally speaking I think this is a really week argument. This is just
what parents say when their kids grow up: "As long as you are living in
my house you have to do what I want." You will not convince your
children with that logic and you wont succeed with grown ups in a
community of volunteers ether.

> Of course, it will become quite difficult to come up
> with a mathematical equation but I wonder if anyone of use is really
> able to oversee all the investment done by Red Hat.

I don't think that anyone of us is able to oversee this investment as
Red Hat does not publish any numbers on it. Please correct my if I'm

However I have two suggestions for a mathematical equation:

                     Money Red Hat spends on Fedora
                    Hours Fedora contributors spend
                      in their free time on Fedora

Now compare the hourly 'wage' of a Fedora contributor to the average
wages Red Hat pays their employees (or compared to *your* wage).

Alternative approach:

                     Money Red Hat spends in Fedora
               Number of commits by Fedora contributors 
                that end up in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 

Compare the yearly growth of to the commits to red Hat's investments in
Fedora. Do you think they are getting bigger by the same factor?

Now compare this factor to the value of Red Hat shares on the stock
exchange. One could certainly argue if Red Hat get's more valuable by
the community or by the work of their employees, but the general
tendency that the community is doing more and more work that ends um in
RHEL is undeniable.

Fedora contributors are helping Red Hat to grow an ecosystem for Free
Software and Red Hat builds their enterprise product on top of that. The
amount of work that goes into Fedora is relevant to Red Hat's business

Jeroen once grepped through the changelogs of all RHEL packages and
AFAIR the result was that Red Hat would need to invest 4 times more than
they spent at the time of the merge (FC6 to F7) to keep the balance.

Do you really thing the investments have changed by that factor? I doubt
it until someone comes up with numbers to prove me wrong


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