This got to be the most important post on the #Slackware
forums for ages. That's why I'll quote the whole post by Pat Volkerding:
I told [the Slackware Store] to take [the donation link] down or I'd suspend the DNS for the store.
I've been mulling over exactly how to tell you all this, and I guess this is as good a place as any. The store has been ripping me off horribly, and I'm very nearly broke. I have no evidence that they've ever done anything with donations besides line their own pockets. I've not been paid any money by them in two years. That was upon the 14.2 release (and followed another long period of time with no income). The 14.2 release generated nearly $100K in revenue. The store gave me $15K, and later said that I was "overpaid".
When I agreed to set up the store, it was structured as a company where they owned 60%, and my wife and I owned 40%. I had not yet escaped California and would have quickly gone broke there with a house underwater had I not taken the deal. And 60% seemed fair, since the idea was that the company would be providing health insurance, paying for the production of the goods, and handling shipping and related customer service. And when my daughter was born and needed surgery and continuing medical attention I could hardly jeopardize our insurance in the days before the ACA. I was between a rock and a hard place like many residents of the US. Since then, the store has ceased to provide any benefits, and shouldn't even be getting a 50/50 split in my opinion, much less looting the coffers for 81+% (anything they want to spend money on is an expense, apparently, while any expenses I have to support the actual project come out of the peanuts they toss me). I only found out about how bad it really was last year when I finally managed to get some numbers out of them. I thought the sales were just that bad, and was really rather depressed about it. Another side note - the ownership of the 60% portion of the store changed hands behind my back. Nobody thought they needed to tell me about this. At that point I'd say things got considerably worse for me.
Still not sure how to move forward, but I have some hope that the community might think that my work is and has been worth supporting. If at all possible I'd like to get away from replicating physical media which seems to be a lost cause. T-shirts? Well, maybe, but I don't see that providing a reasonable income either. I'm wondering how Patreon would do. It would at least be better than nothing, which is where I am now.
Through all of this I have continued to work hard towards getting Slackware 15.0 released because I believe it will be by far the best release we've ever had, and because I'm dedicated to my work and the community that uses it. I've never really been in this for the money. At any given juncture (including now) I've had numerous opportunities that would support me and my family far better and would provide us with the things that we need rather desperately. I mean, I'm sitting here in a house with a giant hole in the roof, a broken door sealed with duct tape, and a failed air conditioning condenser that I can't afford to fix, my wife has been driving on a spare tire for weeks, my teeth need serious attention again, and I only just got a machine here with UEFI for the first time (bought a used machine... really out of my budget but it had to be done).
I'm open to suggestions at this point. As far as Slackware 15.0 goes, I've been testing PAM and Kerberos here and have given quite some thought to trying to get them merged (or at least in /testing) so that we can have proper support for Active Directory and NFS. Plasma 5 has been a consideration as well, although frankly it's grown much larger than GNOME was back when I decided that should be spun off for third party maintenance. If that's going in, we really need to analyze which dependencies would not be used outside of Plasma and stick all of those in the KDE series. I'm as tired of the pollution of the L series as the rest of you are.
"I did this 'cause Linux gives me a woody. It doesn't generate revenue."
-- Dave '-ddt->` Taylor, announcing DOOM for Linux