Fedora Freemedia India.

11 04 2009

Max has already blogged about it.

Now, let me talk about the most demanding region for freemedia, India.

For the month of March and April alone, we have 524 pending requests. And we have taken up and/or fulfilled 16 requests so far.

If my realisation are correct, here is why there is such a mad rush…

1. Lack of Bandwidth: Very few people has access to good connections. Either it take weeks to download an iso, or connection interrupts frequently causing trashed downloads.

2. India has large number of Fedora userbase. And due to massive number of Fedora Events and ambassadors there is a surge in interest for Fedora.

3. People want to take it ’cause they are getting it for free. In their eyes, ship-it and freemedia are same. So they just want to get a media even if they really don’t require that. I shall bet around 40% or so is such request.

What are the causes of concern:
1. Given the problem #1 and huge volume of requests, it may be so that there are genuinely interested people who are not getting access to latest media and continuing with older F7 or F8. I find a lot of them.

2. Given problem #3, may be a reasonable portion of the request can be ignored safely. To identify this, we can ask the requester to get back to the “Assigned”
person. I am sure many of them will not get back.

Possible solution:

1. To ensure a fixed number of DVD’s are distributed each month. Let’s say 100/Month. Lets look at it’s cost aspect. It is 100*40*6=24000INR= ~500 USD/per release including DVD and shipping cost. May be this is a bad investment, but on a second thought, I think I would like to have multiple channels. A way to do this will be as Max suggested, reimbursing Ambassadors against ticket number.

2. Get LUGs to sell Fedora DVD at a reasonable price. Getting LUGs involved in Fedora as well as getting Fedora Ambassadors involved in Local Lugs will be a good way to increase the availability.

3. Get ambassadors and LocalContacts to fulfil requests usually.

I am still having a feeling I am missing something, but I don’t know what.

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10 responses

11 04 2009
Sayamindu

I think #3 is extremely probably since

1. Bandwidth is not a major concern nowadays. I still remember “the good old days” when we used to go around major academic institutes in Kolkata, asking for a CD or two of the latest distro, downloaded “unofficially” over 256 K leased lines.

2. Magazines like LFY (and a few local magazines as well) do a pretty good job of distributing the DVDs. We had only PCQ Linux when we started out (I’m not saying that PCQLinux is bad)

I suggest that you “tie up” with the LUGs, local student bodies, etc, and designate them as nodal points for distribution. Send 10 DVDs of each release to them (if they ask for it, that is). How they choose to distribute the DVDs is their matha byatha.

Also, can you chew the applicant db and try to figure out how many of them stay close to each other. PIN codes can be quite useful here – throwing random ideas around – but people whose PIN prefix (upto first 4 digits) match should ideally be able to get the DVDs from each other.

11 04 2009
Manish

Two ways which I find apt.
* Ask them to snail-mail a stamped envelope inside the envelope. with the blank media. Then see how the fake application drops down.
* Sell the media at a nominal rate of Rs 20.

11 04 2009
Matt Domsch

If, per Sayamindu’s comment, it’s getting easier for users to download content because they themselves have sufficient bandwidth, then I would like to see additional Fedora mirrors in India to make that download most effective. Fortunately Fedora has two well-managed mirrors in India, but we saturate these two constantly. Additional mirrors, at ISPs or universities, would be most welcome. Refer potential mirrors to http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Infrastructure/Mirroring for details on how to get started.

11 04 2009
David Nalley

Perhaps what we should consider is immediately on media availability to send 25 of each type of media to Ambassadors throughout India – and then publish how to get a hold of them. Of course this raises the other problem of making sure those people get responses. If we can eliminate the shipping cost I think that would be a better solution, and perhaps the in person meet would reinforce how this isn’t like Shipit.

12 04 2009
Rangeen Basu Roy Chowdhuy

Regarding point #3, I have an observation. People often want the fancy looking media though all they really want is the OS. I have personally experienced people getting disappointed when they get home burned media. The look of the media is a major issue for them. Even I feel bad that they go through so much trouble to come to my place to collect the media and return disappointed. Can something be done in this regard. I guess the freemedia page should propagate this message even more clearly that freemedia != fancy media (Max has stressed on this point in his blog).

Just my thought.

13 04 2009
sankarshan

@Sayamindu – I kind of wrote about the same subject on my blog. And, along with *UG tie-ups, one of the things that need to be done is to see how to get folks to get listed as ‘resellers’ ie. those who can sell the media at a cost.

@Rangeen – The media for the events that we produce is no different from the media you’d burn. Besides the fact that instead of a marker, you have a proper label. However, media labels are cheap and, if someone is volunteering to ‘sell’ the media at a cost, organizing media labels for them isn’t too difficult.

Personally, I’d just like to stop FreeMedia right now for India. It is as close to freeloading as it can get and, all it does is create bad end-user experience. Instead, putting in place a definite path to obtain the media would come in more handy than FreeMedia as it is right now.

The need is however – [i] more mirrors at colleges (irrespective of public/private) [ii] more folks volunteering to act as ‘resellers’

14 04 2009
arnav

give 1 dvd to each ambassador as he is 1st person who should upgrade & ask him to sell dvd for 20inr to anybody who knows him. it reduces strain on the ambassador to download fedora

14 04 2009
sankarshan

@arnav – so here’s a question – are you suggesting that “all” Fedora Ambassadors in India be provided with a single 32-bit DVD ? Or, are you suggesting that a select few (either self selected or, volunteered) be provided with such media ?

14 04 2009
susmit

@sankarshan da,

The only reason I don’t like the idea of scrapping the freemedia is that a project of Fedora’s stature can not afford to be fully dependent on others (lugs/individuals).

Collaborating with lugs are a way to scale up availabilities. But should this be the only way for availabilities? (My professor in Networking always used to quip: Here he is, always concerned about reliability 😉 )

But can we really afford to say these :

Go to xyz lug(or vendor) and find out if they are willing to provide/sell you a Fedora media. If they say no, and as we don’t have any event in your locality, we are sorry to say there is nothing we can really do about making fedora available to you!!!

14 04 2009
sankarshan

@susmit – we’ve had long discussions about this. And, my current pet peeve with FreeMedia is what I’ve blogged about. I see [i] a lack of accountability and [ii] a bad end-user experience. Let’s talk about the latter. For someone who does not manage to make the cut with the request – how can we ensure that we provide alternative paths to the media ? Because the primary reason for raising the ticket was to obtain the media. The corollary here is that the ease of raising a ticket increases the chance of freeloading. So, I see an important question here – do we work towards decreasing freeloading or, do we work towards strengthening the routes to media. And, I do not have a definite answer at this point. In fact, I do not want to have.

Having said all that, [i] is another part that bothers me. Just how do we expect people to contribute to the project by volunteering for Freemedia ? Recent trends in requests for various swag does indicate that we are approaching that margin of freeloading wherefrom there are only two paths – either raise the bar on swag entitlements or, just write off the costs. I am wary of doing the latter. What you mention as being dependent on *UGs, I see as a means to enforce that Ambassadors have their ear to the ground. I see an somewhat unhealthy trend of Ambassadors working in isolation in an elitist silo. That is going to be counter productive. As regards, what can be done – we should actively start looking at and, incubating commercial sponsors/vendors for the media including possibly exploring the possibility of allowing co-branding. Perhaps that would make it worthwhile for people to approach us and charge a sum to sell the media.




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