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From Ian Lynch <ianrly...@gmail.com>
Subject Re: Making donations to the project
Date Wed, 19 Oct 2011 09:21:44 GMT
On 19 October 2011 09:35, Ross Gardler <rgardler@opendirective.com> wrote:

> On 19 October 2011 09:20, Ian Lynch <ianrlynch@gmail.com> wrote:
> > This is a transfer of a discussion that started on the private list. It
> > started by considering the situation of TeamOO in relation to the ASF.
> Many
> > people over time have made small donations to TeamOO - some probably that
> > are philosophically opposed to the Apache license and are committed to
> LibO
> > or even something different. This leaves TeamOO in a difficult position
> in
> > terms of administering the funds they have. ASF policy is that money
> donated
> > simply goes to the ASF not to specific projects. Some would consider that
> > the ASF donations system is not very accessible to individuals wanting to
> > donate small amounts of money. This discussion is to explore ways of
> working
> > that fit ASF's charitable status and donations policy while enabling
> those
> > that want to make monetary contributions to OpenOffice.org to be able to
> do
> > so.
> >
> > That is an attempt to summarise the discussion. If I got anything
> important
> > wrong or left anything out please comment accordingly.
>
> Thanks for bringing this here, there are too many discussions
> happening on the private list (its not many, maybe one a week, but
> that is too many). Think of it from Team OOo point of view. It now
> appears that the PPMC has been dicussing them specifically in private.
> How are we (the community) to build trust if they can't be a part of
> our discussions?
>
> I'd like to add too things to the above summary - first the discussion
> was barely that. Some useful observations about the inadequacies of
> the ASF fundraising policies for AOOo and a note that Team OOo
> originally existed to handle this aspect of the project in the past.
> There were not discussions, mentors immediately asked for it to come
> here.
>
> Secondly I'd like to summarise the ASF current position so we know
> where we are starting from:
>
> - the ASF accepts donations via PayPal from individuals
>
> - traditionally this has not been an important activity for us, but
> the mechanism exists and can be promoted by AOOo
>
> - our expenses as a foundation are adequately covered by corporate
> sponsorships
>
> - we do not allow sponsors to define where money is spent, to do so
> would provide a means for corporate interference in projects
>
> - very little in the ASF is set in stone, but as a charity producing
> software for the public good we limited in what we can do with our
> funds
>
> - the ASF does not, and will not, pay for software development
>
> - we expect third parties to ensure the projects they care about are
> healthy - they do this through contribution of volunteer time
>
> - if third parties want to earn a living by ensuring our projects are
> healthy then everyone is happy (as long as our marks and the Apache
> Way are respected)
>
> - to move forwards from here the AOOo PPMC needs to clearly identify
> it's needs (reminder, needs are not the same desires)
>
> I sincerely hope that Team OpenOffice representatives will participate
> in this discussion, along with any other organisation that has an
> interest in fund raising.


It seems to me that it is not really a problem for any organisation outside
ASF to raise money and use it however they judge fit to support the project
or not. The only issue comes when such an organisation uses an Apache
Trademark and appears to be using the Apache brand beyond nominative use.  I
doubt there is any problem with TOO if they simply get permission from ASF
to use the OOo brand name in their fundraising or simply avoid using it
altogether. If they called themselves the Champions of Open Desktop
Productivity Tools or something, raised money and gave some of it to LibO
and some to pay an OOo developer why would there be a problem? Existing
funds might be different if they have told people donating that the money
would be used for a specific purpose - but hey they can always give it back
to anyone that isn't happy.

My business is related to promoting FOSS, but more generically than simply
to promote particular brands or products per se or direct fundraising so it
is a bit of a different situation. Donating cash is a bit academic at the
moment because we still need to develop to earn surpluses beyond operating
costs and funding growth but we are certainly contributing to marketing and
promoting brands. If we do have cash we can donate it to where we think it
will be most effective so I don't have any real desire to be some
fundraising arm specific to ASF, TDF or anyone else. We could make a
donation to ASF or we could employ a developer and say go work on AOO.
Paying to put on a conference could be done by ASF but it could be done by a
third party with or without ASF cooperation. (Better with, but just to
illustrate that it would be technically possible to run a conference
separately as long as no trademarks were infringed).

So there is a massive range of flexibility even now within the system as it
exists. If we knew specifically what problems TOO had we might be able to
help. Of course the problem they have might be in defining the problem ;-)

-- 
Ian

Ofqual Accredited IT Qualifications (The Schools ITQ)

www.theINGOTs.org +44 (0)1827 305940

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