[Ambassadors] sponsorship from Microsoft to freesoftware events in Nicaragua

Nicu Buculei nicu_fedora at nicubunu.ro
Fri Mar 18 07:11:25 UTC 2011

On 03/18/2011 07:40 AM, Neville A. Cross wrote:
> I feel I am in a difficult situation right now. One Microsoft
> representative in Nicaragua has started an approach to the free software
> community at large in Nicaragua. He is offering sponsorship for
> freesoftware activities like events.
> As a summary, he is willingly to invest small amounts on events without
> any logo or promotion if the community talks about interoperability.
> Bigger support will requiere banners and logos.

This is a tactic employed by Microsoft for quite a while, they are 
buying credibility. If some years ago it was unimaginable, now their 
presence as many FOSS events is seen as "normal", they managed to 
position themselves from "the competitor" as "a partner".

I have no idea if this is also a goal of their tactic, but no matter 
what your decision is, expect your community to be divided, the 
"idealist" would feel the ideals of Free Software were betrayed and will 
complain about the mixed message, the "pragmatics" will be happy about 
money and the possibilities they enable.

> I think that if the community at large (which includes a few distros,
> and other free software groups like drupal) agrees with that, then it
> will be going with the majority. For instance, if the community
> celebrates Software Fredom Day, it is a big event in which fedora in
> Nicaragua contributes. If the event has sponsorship, that does not goes
> directly to one group endorsing all sponsors. I am tricking my self?

You have direct control over the events you organize, if you are invited 
at an event where Microsoft is a sponsor, you have to choose the lesser 
evil: endorse Microsoft with your presence or skip it and make Fedora's 
voice unheard. My choice is to keep the balance and be there (but I 
won't involve Fedora's money if Microsoft already paid something), while 
I see some merits in the opposite approach too.

> I think it is not needed for fedora events. Talking about any other
> stuff that is not fedora or freedom is out of place. We tend not to
> even mention others distros, because we have a topic. Do I am being to
> narrow minded? I think that resources is besides the point as Fedora
> backs up Fedora activities. Or do I should try to use their money and
> save Fedora money for other things?

In the Romanian community we agreed we don't need and don't want money 
from any entity not sincerely involved in FOSS. But we have a healthy 
collaboration with local communities from other distros: invite them to 
our release parties, go to theirs, organize events together, work on 
common projects... the FOSS way.

nicu :: http://nicubunu.ro :: http://nicubunu.blogspot.com/
photography: http://photoblog.nicubunu.ro/

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