Gentoo Archives: gentoo-nfp

From: Rich Freeman <rich0@g.o>
To: "William L. Thomson Jr." <wlt@××××××××××××××××.com>
Cc: gentoo-nfp@l.g.o
Subject: Re: [gentoo-nfp] Tax return and accounting discrepancies
Date: Thu, 24 Mar 2011 13:03:57
Message-Id: AANLkTi=P+NTBuWzG6uLUWC3mkeH7vHW98QAs87MBYJj2@mail.gmail.com
In Reply to: Re: [gentoo-nfp] Tax return and accounting discrepancies by "William L. Thomson Jr."
On Thu, Mar 24, 2011 at 2:55 AM, William L. Thomson Jr.
<wlt@××××××××××××××××.com> wrote:
> Thats more about being able to get Gentoo vendor certified. Some > corporations will only go with software the vendor supports or is > certified against.
I think that what you're getting at is that Gentoo isn't properly organized to be like Canonical. I agree. I think we need to be realistic about what Gentoo is. I'd love to see Gentoo grow. I'd love to see Gentoo better able to fund its development. However, right now that is going to basically consist of having better access to hardware. I think it is unlikely that we are going to be in a place where a substantial number of devs are paid full-time to be devs. The thing Canonical has that Gentoo doesn't is an infusion of capital. That automatically comes with strong central governance, since nobody invests millions of dollars without making sure it is being well-spent. So, while I agree that you're describing an ideal-state (sort of - there might be many contributors to Gentoo who wouldn't want to be part of a "Canonical"), I think we need to aim first for continual improvement even if it falls short of perfection. I do think that directors/trustees/etc are important to have, even if perhaps they are not a legal necessity. Gentoo is community-driven, so even if dictatorship is more "efficient" it probably isn't a good fit. Perhaps that means we won't sell as many units as Canonical, and perhaps we just need to live with that. As Mike said, when interest is limited you have to do what you can with what you have. Sure, we can argue about whether it is "good enough" but that doesn't change anything. If elected I expect to have to get my hands dirty, and I don't mind doing so (was just reading up on NM/IRS law last night). Many hands make for light work, but we don't have many hands, so we just need to do what we can with what we have. In the end we aren't collecting a paycheck and can't afford to start writing them. Having been involved with other types of non-profits (churches) I do want to also caution about something that can happen when well-meaning people try to solve these kinds of issues in the wrong way. I've been in churches that were highly volunteer-driven, and they had enough labor to get the job done. Then I've seen them become successful, get money, start paying professionals, and start having serious problems. When the balance starts shifting towards paid labor, then volunteers can feel left out (they aren't around for the Tues 10AM planning meeting or whatever), and they can move on to other places where they feel like they have more impact. That leads to more demand for paid staff, and now the budget is taxed. Your big volunteers tend to correlate with your big financial contributors (they're the ones who care), and as they leave your budget is attacked on both ends. The result can be a really big mess. This doesn't happen to a business that started out top-down and grew top-down with a big budget organically. The two types of operations are fundamentally different in makeup and dynamics even if an org chart for either can look similar. There is no reason that something similar couldn't happen here. Gentoo is a community-driven distro, and we need to keep the community healthy above all else. Rich

Replies

Subject Author
Re: [gentoo-nfp] Tax return and accounting discrepancies "William L. Thomson Jr." <wlt@××××××××××××××××.com>
Re: [gentoo-nfp] Tax return and accounting discrepancies Matthew Summers <quantumsummers@g.o>