[draft 3] Guidelines for Equipment and Service Donations

Lynn Winebarger owinebar at se232.math.indiana.edu
Tue Mar 16 07:21:54 UTC 1999

On Mon, 15 Mar 1999, Nils Lohner wrote:

> In message <Pine.LNX.3.96.990313222150.18185d-100000 at se232.math.indiana.edu
> >, L
> ynn Winebarger writes:
> >
> >   Could there be a clause stating where descriptions of purposes may be
> >found?  This might help provide a common reference for projects.  I'm
> I'd rather not write that into the resolution as it's a technicality, not 
> a general rule. I argee that this would be valuable, and it's something 
> that we should probably put on our web site in the project pages.
    Well, I'm not sure it's actually a technicality.  In contrast with
other people on the list who've responded, I think there should be more
of a guarantee that funds will be used for specific purposes, and that
this promise of a site tracking donation/purpose status would help
assure them of that.
    I realize that there are administrative issues to consider.  But
we should also consider the article Jim Thompson wrote on Slashdot
about organizing an "open source donation clearing house" of sorts.
When I read it, my immediate reaction was, "but isn't that part of
what SPI is (planning on) doing?"  
   See, I tend to think there are a lot of people and companies who would
be willing to donate for particular purposes, but not necessarily just
open software, or even when the promise of using the funds is limited.
Furthermore, I think that if SPI limits its guarantees of how money will 
be used, then probably either another non-profit will arise to take and
track those donations, or (worse) the potential donors just won't give
funds.  And neither of those situations is desirable.  A unified front for
donations is very preferable.
   When I say that, keep in mind that I'm thinking that companies (not
just individuals) who need/use particular types of software could
reasonably be persuaded to give for those types of software - not only
would they get to use the software in the future, but unlike just
purchasing licenses, they would get a tax write off, and some guarantee
that the projects they donate for totally die because a particular 
developer loses interest.  This would be a big win for everyone, I think.


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