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Joined: 20 Jan 2003
Posts: 487

PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:45 pm    Post subject: bin fork of gentoo for web hosting or web hosting package Reply with quote

I was thinking about this for a while (years) now.
In the past 8 years I've been self-employed and ran a few web hosting servers.
I've been using gentoo in the beginning because of flexibility. I dumped it for debian because of compilation times. I also setup and maintained freebsd boxes and centos boxes for customers.
Now I was wondering, given all my experience with web hosting servers and configuring and running them, why wouldn't I write a management software?
I would like that very much and I want it to be open source and free for private and commercial use.
However I would also want to get paid for my time and work, living costs money and if I'm doing something I'm doing it exclusively and that means I would not work on commercial projects but this project alone.

Basically I want to create a gentoo (hardened) based binary distribution that is optimized for hosting websites.
It should include
- configuration of the kernel
- compilation of all potential packages with the right configuration options
- configuration of services
- optimization of services depending on amount of RAM, CPUs, HDDs and usage.
- a management interface for the administrator (manage server/s, resales, affiliates, customers, billing, tos, print or email contracts, ...)
- installation or usage profiles (load balancing, virtual machines, virtual hosts, distributed services, backups, ... - single server shares hosting? this profile, webserver with php only on this machine, 1 db server on another machine? that profile)
- a sales website complete with configurable options, billing and billing gateways, affiliate and resale management. multilanguage and country.
- an end user interface. (manage email accounts, domains, databases)

now I'm not sure about the packages, building and updating a binary distribution. I guess I'd need one or more machines for building packages.
the best solution would probably be to just use gentoo and provide the builds and the USE flags and rebuild packages automatically if a GLSA is written for a package or a new version gets released.
Like I wrote it has been a while since I've used gentoo. I've used it from 2001 to 2008, from 2004 to 2008 for web hosting but moved to other distributions.

So where would I begin? Is it even possible to work on an open source project and get paid full time?
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Joined: 05 Jul 2003
Posts: 41740
Location: 56N 3W

PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Yes, its possible to work on open source and get paid full time buy you need to work for an employer (or own the business). Its generally not possible while you work for yourself, unless you can find someone that wants to pay you for the project you want to work on.

There are a very small number of Gentoo developers who are paid to work on Gentoo but they are paid by their employers, not Gentoo.

Most business models are based around support as free/open licences make the aquistion cost of software very low. You can charge what you like for the software in binary form but you would be cutting your own throat as the GPL requires you to make sources available for little more than the distribution costs.

What you describe is a derivative distro, not a fork. There are lots of Gentoo derivatives around. e.g. Sabayon, Pentoo, Funtoo, Calculate, SystemRescueCD ....

It pretty much means that you would not have an income stream until you had product in the market under support. You can sell the product, like RHEL, and charge a fee for support.


Computer users fall into two groups:-
those that do backups
those that have never had a hard drive fail.
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Posts: 487

PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello NeddySeagoon,

thank you for your reply.
I wasn't sure if fork was the right term but the forum topic line is only this long :)
Those derivates you mentioned, they also had to start somewhere. Maybe I should ask them how they went about it.
When I see the Mozilla Foundation they do offer their products for free and their sources are also open. But they also weren't a single person and were part of AOL.
But the problem is, if you don't work full time on a project the result won't be as good (you need time to get back into it, your mind isn't focused on this project alone, you'll miss some "window improvements" and so on) and will take a lot more time to be done, if it's done at all. And if you do work full time on it you'll need financial reserves (I don't have those any more).

I'll have to think about it. Probably have to create a legal non-profit organization and ask for donations but no one would donate if there's nothing there. heh. catch 22. I guess it will have to be a side-project and probably end up unmaintained like so many open source projects. Maybe just work with what's there and ignore which distribution it's for. Begin with writing the sales website since i have to do it anyway (there are no open source solutions specialized in selling web space, at least I found none). That's a start.
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