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To: gentoo-nfp <gentoo-nfp@g.o>
From: Ferris McCormick <fmccor@g.o>
Subject: [Fwd: Re: [gentoo-core] Software in the Public Interest]
Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2008 12:02:54 +0000
Since Alex forwarded the original to -nfp, I'll forward my response as
well.  I didn't reply on -nfp originally because it started on -core.

Regards,
Ferris

-------- Forwarded Message --------
From: Ferris McCormick <fmccor@g.o>
To: Yuri Vasilevski <yvasilev@g.o>
Cc: trustees <trustees@g.o>
Subject: Re: [gentoo-core] Software in the Public Interest
Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2008 11:50:22 +0000

Yuri,
  Thanks a lot.  I think we have looking for some of this information.
All,  I've added a couple comments.


On Sun, 2008-08-10 at 23:32 -0500, Yuri Vasilevski wrote:
> Hello,
> 
> I am currently at DebConf in Argentina, and today there was a BoF
> by Bdale Garbee about SPI [1] with another 5 members of the SPI board
> present and participating. And that reminded me about the discussions
> that where happening on this list some time ago, so after the BoF I
> approached Luk Claes (one of the members of the board and a friend) to
> ask him about the doubts regarding how SPI could work and what could
> be the advantages and the disadvantages of Gentoo having a relationship
> with SPI.
> 
> From what we talked, SPI could provide three services to Gentoo:
> 
> 1) Helping to take care of all the paperwork regarding legal status,
>    trademarks, copyright and such.
> 
> 2) Offering legal advice and helping in court for free. And if they can,
>    that's not only limited to USA, but also to other countries.
>    (As an example he told me that there was a case where someone
>    registered a domain name in Spain with debian in it and they managed
>    to contact a Spanish lawyer and he arranged a settlement for that
>    case.)
> 
> 3) Gentoo can accept (in some cases tax deductible) donations through
>    them in the USA. For this they accept four ways making the donations
>    (two electronic ones, checks and wire transfers), as well as, they
>    provide ways to channel this money where it's needed (like in the
>    case of DebConfs that some of Debian's money that came from donations
>    in the USA was made available for use in this conference in
>    Argentina). 
> 
> And the good part is that the tree options are completely independent,
> so Gentoo, or any project for that matter, can join with any subset of
> the three options mentioned above.
> 
> I also asked whenever they were in a position to accept a project the
> size of Gentoo and I was told that they should be able to accept Gentoo.
> 

I would think so.  Debian is a member, I believe.  So also is the IRC
OFTC network.

> Also being, us gentoo developers, part of a big free software project
> makes us by default contributing (aka voting) members of SPI in case we
> (as individual developers) join it, so we should be able to have some
> influence on how things are run within SPI, as well as, if some people
> are interested they should be eligible for being a member of the
> board.
> 
> So, After this very long preamble I would like to express that I think
> we should seriously consider joining SPI with, maybe, just a subset of
> the options they provide. And I'll go option by option (in reverse
> order) now:
> 
> 3) This one I'm unsure, if I am not mistaken, Gentoo Foundation has the
>    right status to be able to accept tax deductible donations. So for
>    me it would make sense to join if the SPI method is more flexible and
>    makes it easier and friendlier for the donor to make the donation. Or
>    else it might also make sense to have it as a completely parallel
>    channel and see how it works so in case it works well, Gentoo will be
>    able at some point to free itself from dealing with the related
>    paperwork.
> 

We are a registered not for profit with the State of New Mexico, but we
do not have 501(c)(3) Federal tax status (well, I don't think we are
501(c)<anything>).  So this is useful.

> 2) I think this one is very good to have, as well as, it is a good way
>    to get to know SPI better and to see if later we should outsource
>    more responsibilities to them. So for me, this reason alone is good
>    enough to join it and then see how open, trustworthy and efficient
>    they are so we can make a qualified decision on whenever to change or
>    not our status within SPI.
> 

This is *extremely* useful.  We do not have international law expertise,
and lawyers who do are in high demand and so expensive.  This could also
come in handy if someone actually takes the IRC/Freenode grumbling
beyond the grumbling stage.

Also most useful when we start talking about licensing others to sell
Gentoo-branded mugs and such outside the US (such as in Russia).

> 1) This is the most delicate one and the one I have no clue about. I
>    don't know what is involved in keeping all the paperwork done, nor
>    how much time and energy it consumes. So I can not say how much sense
>    does it make to do it in house as apposed to outsourcing it.
> 

We're legal at this stage, and so far as New Mexico is concerned, the
paperwork for that costs us about 10 minutes and 10 dollars / year.  The
money goes to the state, so it is a fixed expense anyway.
> So, I would like you to consider my proposal as well as to offer you my
> services as proxy for any questions you might have for the SPI board
> members here at DebConf, or, you can always contact them directly [2]
> 
> Here is also some info on guidelines for the projects wanting to join:
> http://www.spi-inc.org/treasurer/associated-project-howto.html
> 
> Kindest regards,
> Yuri.
> 
> [1] https://penta.debconf.org/dc8_schedule/events/223.en.html
> 
> [2] http://www.spi-inc.org/contact

Thanks again,
Regards,
Ferris

-- 
Ferris McCormick (P44646, MI) <fmccor@g.o>
Developer, Gentoo Linux (Devrel, Sparc, Userrel, Trustees)
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