[kwlug-disc] what would you pay for good kernel documentation?

Ralph Janke txwikinger at ubuntu.com
Sat Jun 5 19:25:55 EDT 2010

I agree with Khalid.

If you would to make money in a marketplace, you first need to understand
the marketplace itself, and  maybe even more important, your

In particular, you should create a value for your customers that is not
easily obtainable through other cheaper means. Certainly, sometimes
convenience is worth a premium, however, you have to know what
kind of convenience you need to offer, and how much it is worth
for your customers.

In regard to your disappointment about other open source people. You
may ask yourself in which way your expectations are realistic. Open
Source is based in big parts on the system of sharing. You get paid
*before* you ever contribute anything back by using contributions
of others who never get paid monetarily by you.

This creates synergies, that you can monetize in other ways. Consulting
work, or training work are only a couple of possibilities of indirect
monetizing of your experience that you have gained in the Open Source
community. You also may be considered for a particular job or
promotion for your knowledge gained by making contributions to
the Open Source Community.

Furthermore, we are all social beings. Hence social credit can often be
a lot more worth than monetary rewards. If your website is good, people
probably blog about it, more and more people will visit it, and you may be
able to even monetize from that through advertising. You also may be 
opening yourself up opportunities that you would not have otherwise, but
because of being known in the community through your contributions.

The advantage of community credit is that often it allows you more to do
what your own interest is. If you want to be paid, you often have to refuse
to follow your own interests and instead tune into the interests of your 
customers, regardless if you like it or not. 

As you see, there are lot of different ways of dealing with this issue. 
However, one of the important decisions is your ability to clearly see
which path works for you. 

Just my 2c, hope they help a bit


On June 5, 2010 03:47:27 pm Khalid Baheyeldin wrote:
> You are approaching this wrong, with unrealistic expectations. Let me
> explain.
> Stuff on the internet is there for everyone to "consume" unless you put it
> behind a paywall. Once you put it out there, people can read it, there is
> no obligation on them to pay it.
> Remember that there are lots of stuff out there on Linux. Are you
> differentiated enough that your site is THE resource on the topic, or would
> searching Google reveal similar information? Why would someone donate to
> your site, and not the tens of others?
> I am in a similar situation, but my expectations are different. Having been
> active in Drupal for 7 years now, I wrote many modules, authored many
> articles, spoke at conferences, ...etc. My articles on Drupal performance
> are a recognized community resource. When at conferences, I get tens of
> thanks for them from many people. Total strangers too. Satisfying for sure,
> even though it is not money.
> Many years ago, I put a tiny donate link on my site. I think in 4 or so
> years, the total amount is about $30 or $40. So, it is not significant at
> all, dollarwise. That is why I am not hopeful that it would be anything
> significant for you.
> Go ahead and continue to write these article. Write them for the sake of
> writing, and not much else (labor of love as you put it).
> If you want to monetize it, then run non-annoying ads on the site. This can
> net you any where between a few dollars a month to hundreds, depending on
> your traffic and many other factors (short version: a tech audience is
> blind to ads, so don't expect anything more than a few dollars).
> Or you can have expanded versions of the articles collected in a printed
> book from one of those print on demand services (lulu.com, cafepress.com,
> and many others).
> An side effect of being a prolific article author is that you will get
> recognition in a certain field and that will help bring you business in
> consulting and services, or maybe writing books for a publisher. I stress
> that this is a side effect, and should not be the main purpose of writing,
> or speaking at events. It is far more genuine and useful to the community
> as a whole when you do it because a) you like it, and b) you want to
> benefit the community. Writing just to be recognized, from my view, is
> akin to an MBA founding a company for the sole purpose of getting acquired
> and making big bucks, rather than having a useful product/service:
> artificial, and pretentious!
> These are my thoughts., in summary: donations are meagre, no matter how
> useful your site is. Continue to write because you like it. Hope that the
> side benefits happen.

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