As Libre Graphics Meeting (or LGM as it is known amongst insiders) is getting closer, projects and contributors are looking for sponsors. Even in the Free world, conferences are expensive. I’ve added the pledgie link to Hugin’s homepage and I believe other Free software projects have done the same. And in the community, people are musing about corporate sponsorships.
My own humble opinion is that asking Linux vendors to sponsor Libre Graphic Software is like asking Walmart to enter the trucking business. Those are two completely different worlds. Sure they do business (Walmart needs to truck its goods), but the driving factors are different, the cultures and people are different, and they are good to each other at a distance.
Similarly, the Linux vendor are in the computing infrastructure business, not in the graphics business, and while they have some graphics needs (like every business); and we have some computing needs (like every business), there is no natural fit for more integration than just “using” each other’s products.
The right sponsorship to Libre Graphics would come from businesses whose core competence is the image. A print-shop for Scribus (I can’t stress enough how good a print shop is Mardigrafe – if you have printing needs in Montreal, talk with Louis, who happens to be one of the driving forces behind LGM and Scribus). A movie studio for Blender. An advertising agency for Gimp. A news agency for RAWstudio.
It does not always work. Remember Cinepaint?
For it to work, the mentality within the industry must change. It is only when box vendors realized that Linux gives tham a competitive edge that they started funding it. First as tactical counterweight to Microsoft. Only in a second stage some of them realized that adopting Linux (rather than merely using it to put pressure on Microsoft) is a viable and profitable strategy, and now we have Android (Linux based) tablets.
Similarly, the initial pitch to the graphic design industry would be to put tactical weight on Adobe, to push Adobe into moving forward with features that appear first as “prototypes” in Free software; and into lowering its prices.
At some point, some will realize that adopting Libre Graphics is actually good for their bottom line. And the small shop that pays $20.000/year on Adobe licenses now will get the same work done with $0/year of Libre Graphics software. With such a competitive advantage they might consider plugging some of these savings back into what amount to R&D expenses on features that help their bottom line, as opposed to licensing fees that are just taxing their business.