On Sat, Jun 28, 2003 at 12:26:52AM -0400, Dylan Carlson wrote:
> OT, and my apologies if this has been covered elsewhere: what is the
> status of Gentoo becoming a non-profit org?
Instead of trying to give you a simple status update on becoming a
non-profit, I'm going to share my very personal thoughts and feelings with
you guys in regards to the non-profit effort, with the goal of creating
some kind of group vision for the future of Gentoo.
If this email sounds sappy or overly self-introspective to you, it is not
intended to be that way. Also, I did drink a cup of coffee recently, so
please take this into consideration when reading this email.
I personally do not care at all, it makes no difference to me, whether we
are for-profit, non-profit, neither or both. Ask a child what they want to
be when they grow up -- do they ever reply "I would like to be employed by
an S corporation" or "I want to establish a charitable trust"?
In a similar way to how a child is not interested in these things, I am not
interested in these types of things.
Gentoo Technologies, Inc. is C corporation because it cost only $100 to
incorporate, and took less than a week to set up, and was what my lawyer
told me to do. It was the easiest way that I could set up a legal entity. I
could really care less if it is a C corp, S corp, LLC or 501(c)(3). Now, I
do understand and appreciate that many of you care very much about these
issues, and I want you to be happy. Because many of you care about these
issues, it's my obligation to also care about these issues.
But I am not *personally* interested in our legal tax status.
This is what you should know about me.
I want to do cool things, create new technologies, be involved with good,
friendly, courteous people, be part of a professional, well-organized team,
and have the ability to collaborate and learn. I want to ensure that the
people I'm working to also have these opportunities. And I would like my
work to somehow change the world for the better. I realize that this
paragraph sounds like a long list of cliches, or a Miss Universe pageant
speech, but I suppose most peoples' ideals sound like that when actually
I like free software very much because it is a means to an end -- I love to
learn, and I don't like school. I cherish the freedom to able to educate
myself. That is something that is impossible to do without access to source
code. I love free software because it gives me the power to learn on my own.
I am going to guess that many of you are very much like me in this way.
When I look at projects such as Portage and Gentoo/BSD (two random,
well-known examples,) they are more than just a bunch of code to me. They
represent a new way of doing things, a new vision for how things should be
done, whether that relates to package management or the concept of a "Linux"
distribution. I find that very exciting. I see meaning in the projects that
have been created.
This is what inspires me. The concept of "metadistribution," for example,
gives me a vision of how Linux distributions should function. Exploring and
implementing this vision is incredibly exciting.
I've shared all this gushy personal information to say this. We all have
things that engage our minds and inspire us. I want this project engage and
inspire everyone, and be a joy for everyone. If I knew that turning Gentoo
Technologies, Inc. into a 501(c)(3) will guarantee this, then I'll make it
happen. But I am not naive -- I know very well that 501(c)(3) status is not
a panacea and does not guarantee joy. I'm afraid that some people view
501(c)(3) status in this light, as some kind of nirvana to be reached at
I am *not* against a 501(c)(3). As I said earlier, I do not care. What we
need to determine first (in my opinion) is:
1) What engages and inspires us?
2) How do we formulate this "excitement/spirit" into a collective vision for
3) How do we best implement this vision?
If the best way to implement our vision includes getting 501(c)(3) status,
then we will do it. I think that what we need first is a vision for the
project, and that process begins with introspection and reflection about
what makes us tick and what we want to get out of all this.
Chief Architect, Gentoo Linux