Gentoo Archives: gentoo-nfp

From: Ned Ludd <solar@g.o>
To: gentoo-nfp@l.g.o
Subject: Re: [gentoo-nfp] Summary of NFP options
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 2004 03:25:13
Message-Id: 1081826693.13774.45963.camel@simple
In Reply to: Re: [gentoo-nfp] Summary of NFP options by Scott W Taylor
I tend to fully agree to the following comments made by Scott here.

On Mon, 2004-04-12 at 22:51, Scott W Taylor wrote:
> On Mon, 2004-04-12 at 18:39, Daniel Robbins wrote: > > Hi guys, > > > > Here is a very short summary of the NFP progress so far: > > > > 1) I have committed to get something going by the end of this month (April.) > > This would be either an establishment of an NFP, or some kind of action plan > > to set up multiple entities like a NFP with one or more cooperatives to > > provide funding. > > Letting the people that care about and feel they would be affected by > such changes is as important to me as the final outcome. > > > 2) The main issue of concern for me is (obviously) not getting the NFP set > > up as soon as humanly possible but making sure that whatever is really best > > for the Gentoo community, as it is very hard to change things once things > > have been established. > > > > This has been very difficult because I have been trying to meet many > > conflicting and contradictory expectations of users and developers: > > > > A) Expectation: Gentoo will be competitive against Microsoft > > Reality: Microsoft spends $6.8 Billion USD on R&D every year. > ... > re: comment in meeting about how users become the testbed for unstable > linux software: so are Microsoft users, but linux users aren't required > to pay to be tested on. > > > B) Expectation: I want to be able to work on Gentoo full-time. > > Reality: As time goes on, Linux and free software is getting > > supported more > ... > > Good question. These big companies will want some return on their > > dollar, so they > > will expect you to do what *they* want and not what you want. > ... > This is precisely why i feel uneasy about a largely money-backed > operation being in control of gentoo. Even if current or former gentoo > people end up running it for the first year. > ... > > C) Expectation: Gentoo should be representative of user needs. > > Reality: Having an open participatory model makes it easier for > > external entities (such as the dreaded Microsoft) to co-opt (ie take over) the entity. > ... > As opposed to one that can be bought into? The current "open > participatory" model involves people participating and giving back to > the community to even get in. Participation may be open but it requires > a little more than just a checkbook. > > > D) Expectation: Gentoo should be set up to protect against co-option. > > Reality: This requires a closed and non-participatory > ... > I've worked as a federal contractor, and in a small office run out of a > glorified condo out in the woods, and many places inbetween. The common > thread was that when people felt things were being run fairly and > equitably, they were much more willing to put in the overtime and not > complain about feeling slighted. One day, that little company in the > woods got acquired by a venture-capital-backed startup headed up by > former vice presidents of various banks and mortgage companies. After > the takeover, people got pathetic 2% raises and were told straight up > that it'd be the last raise for another year. So, we no longer had much > of a say in the organization, while we kept hearing about all the money > they were spending on the marble fountains for the out-of-state > corporate offices we'd never see or use. > ... > > E) Expectation: We should have 501(c)(3) status > > Reality: I have learned that 501(c)(3) status is for charities. > ... > > 3) Several major universities are in negotiation about setting up some kind > > of entity to fund Gentoo development, and I am participating in some of > > these discussions. > .......... > Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of the coop, I like seeing a way to > help push along various open-source projects, even more so if Gentoo was > to be their flagship platform - the one that gets the most, or first > shot at benefits from any development or promotions that come from > having an actual budget. > > Something I've always respected about open source projects is that > contributions are mostly merit-based. If someone wants to contribute, > and they have good code, they are in. Sure, its somewhat of a utopian > view, as personality conflicts can get in the way. But truly open > projects have been this way for quite some time. When I first started > contributing fractal algorithms and printer drivers to fractint, and > even introduced a publisher to the whole concept (the book "Fractal > Creations" and a few others were the result of this). By the way, I was > 14 when I did this. I could not have bought my way into an organization > then, and was discriminated right out of any real office, but online it > didn't matter. > > My vote for gentoo as a distribution is to keep it pure. I have a vested > interest in keeping it running as well as it possibly can, because I use > it. Its my desktop, its my server, its my laptop. We already are > responsive to users, from bugzilla and other sources. There are people > out there making sure it runs well. Its not because they bought in to a > coop, its because they already care about the product. > > If you can get corporations and universities to chip in to a fund that > can help get better drivers built, or even show hardware manufacturers > that there is a presence out there aside from just ibm that wants linux > to succeed, and can better coax vendors to release open drivers for > (video, network, firewire, etc) hardware, or allow interested developers > to do so without resorting to trying to reverse-engineer their gear, > then that would be great too. But since not all that money will be going > directly to gentoo, I feel that there would be fewer concerns about how > a money-based organization, even if its called a coop, would have > somewhat of a conflict of interest with gentoo itself. > > If gentoo was declared a NFP, even though it might be more restrictive, > it sounds to me like that would be just the thing to help keep gentoo > pure by forcing the books to stay clean, and still giving universities a > charitable way to write off equipment and bandwidth which is helping us > and our users. And if they can afford to chip in to the organization > that funds development to further the growth and stability of linux > (including gentoo), then that is a great thing too. Although those two > things have a symbiotic relationship and benefit from each other, they > do not have identical goals and motivations, and for that reason I feel > they should be separate entities. It is important to have a clear focus. > Being pulled in two directions at once is likely to cause a rift. > > ... > > You will need to choose between an "open, participatory" (and co-optable) > > and a "closed, non-co-optable" (and non-representative/unfair) governing > > model. So let me know which you prefer and I'll get it set up. The other > > alternative is to try to find some kind of compromise, where the government > > for the not-for-profit isn't too fair or open, but is more bureaucratic and > > harder to co-opt. Let me know which one appeals to you. > > > > Sincerely, > > > > Daniel > > -- > > gentoo-nfp@g.o mailing list
-- Ned Ludd <solar@g.o> Gentoo Linux Developer

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