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Re: Fedora and Google search: the final report



On Tue, 2008-03-11 at 13:18 -0400, Greg DeKoenigsberg wrote:
> This represents my final report on this matter.  My conclusion: it's not 
> practical to pursue a relationship between Fedora and Google at this time, 
> for the following reasons:
> 
> 1. RED HAT BEARS THE LEGAL RISKS FOR FEDORA.
> 
> As much as Red Hat has worked to create an independent governance model 
> for the Fedora Project, in the final analysis, Fedora is a property of Red 
> Hat.  This means that any deal made between Fedora and a third party 
> *must* be agreed upon by Red Hat legal.
> 
> 2. THE BOILERPLATE CONTACT FOR GOOGLE'S CUSTOM SEARCH ENGINE (CSE) IS TOO 
> RISKY FOR RED HAT LEGAL TO ACCEPT.
> 
> The terms and conditions for the Google CSE program 
> (http://www.google.com/coop/docs/cse/tos.html) are pretty onerous.  The 
> biggest sticking point for Red Hat lawyers is Section 5, in which Google 
> demands unlimited indemnification.  Negotiations to resolve this clause 
> have been unsuccessful.
> 
> 3. MECHANISMS LIKE THE FIREFOX SEARCH BAR ARE SPECIFICALLY EXCLUDED FROM 
> THE GOOGLE CSE.
> 
> It seems like there are two potential sources of revenue for Fedora in 
> Firefox: the start page (which would probably be low dollar) and the 
> search bar (which would probably be high dollar).  In actuality, though, 
> the search bar is *specifically* excluded from the Google CSE agreement, 
> in section 1.4, Appropriate Conduct.  Quote: "You shall not, and shall not 
> allow any third party to: ... (f) directly or indirectly access, launmch 
> and/or activate the Service through or from, or otherwise incorporate the 
> Service in, any Web site or other means other than the Site, and then only 
> to the extent expressly permitted herein."  Which means that unless we 
> negotiate a deal with Google directly, we can't use the search bar to 
> generate revenue at all.
> 
> So that's it.  There are no simple avenues to pursue at this point, which 
> means that we are now open to pursue other options (wikia, fedorasearch 
> being the two I like best).  We should also consider whether we want to 
> change the default search to use these, which might require a break from 
> the Firefox brand.

I like the fact that wikia is all about transparent, open services.
That makes them more like us than Google is.  They're also based around
a community contribution model -- people donate spare bandwidth and
cycles to webcrawl for indexing purposes.  I don't think wikia is
competitive yet as a search tool from the user's point of view, but we
certainly are in a position to help make them more so.

What if, as part of this new "community grid" project (which I like
calling "Trellis"), we offered people the ability to pitch in with the
web-crawling duties?  This is not limited to just Fedora users, but
here's one possibility:  Installing user sees firstboot module providing
Trellis.  User opts in, then from a menu of system resource donations,
selects either (1) "wikia," or (2) "Fedora, I trust you, use this time
for whatever you like," which maps to a certain proporation of donation
for wikia (published somewhere, with a link).

This isn't purely about CPU cycles anymore, but it's still worth
considering.

-- 
Paul W. Frields                                http://paul.frields.org/
  gpg fingerprint: 3DA6 A0AC 6D58 FEC4 0233  5906 ACDB C937 BD11 3717
  http://redhat.com/   -  -  -  -   http://pfrields.fedorapeople.org/
  irc.freenode.net: stickster @ #fedora-docs, #fedora-devel, #fredlug

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