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12:10pm

Funding and Promoting Software Freedom Development via Non-Profits
    Friday October 12, 2012 12:10pm - 12:30pm @ Auditorium

    Free, Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) began as a not-for-profit endeavor.  FLOSS licenses have, of course, always permitted both commercial and non-commercial activity.  However, the heart of FLOSS development remains in the not-for-profit space.  For example, much of the early GNU software that makes up our modern GNU/Linux systems was written by staff developers employed by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) , whom the FSF paid to write that software and release it under Free Software licenses.

    In recent years, non-profits have been somewhat underutilized to advance software freedom.  Most projects now organize informally, with both volunteer and corporate contributors.  Informal affiliations have their advantage, but lack of a formal organization can often lead to missed opportunities for the project.

     

    Non-profit organizational structure has serious advantages for FLOSS projects.  Non-profits exist as "neutral territory" for a project's community.  Funders (which can include for-profit companies, non-profit grant-making institutions and individuals) can give through the non-profit to support the activity of the project as a whole,,instead of merely supporting one specific contributor.  Indeed, non-profits can advance the project's goals while benefiting the public good.  Additionally, governmental non-profit regulations provide verification processes to assure that a single for-profit vendor has not hijacked the project.

     

    Most importantly, though, non-profits can collect donations and use those donations to pay developers to write new software.  This possibility has existed, and has been regularly used, since the early 1980s, but became less common in the late 1990s.  Most new projects seek for-profit business models, and often simply do not realize they could utilize a non-profit structure to fund their work without the quagmire of seeking profit: the work merely needs to break-even.

     

    If projects wish to pursue these ideas, there are two main mechanisms to officially become a non-profit.  A project can create their own organization, or join an existing non-profit "fiscal sponsor" who handles the non-profit activity for the project.  This talk will cover the non-profit options that exist for FLOSS projects. Free, Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) began as a not-for-profit endeavor.  FLOSS licenses have, of course, always permitted both commercial and non-commercial activity.  However, the heart of FLOSS development remains in the not-for-profit space.  For example, much of the early GNU software that makes up our modern GNU/Linux systems was written by staff developers employed by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) , whom the FSF paid to write that software and release it under Free Software licenses.

     

    In recent years, non-profits have been somewhat underutilized to advance software freedom.  Most projects now organize informally, with both volunteer and corporate contributors.  Informal affiliations have their advantage, but lack of a formal organization can often lead to missed opportunities for the project.

     

    Non-profit organizational structure has serious advantages for FLOSS projects.  Non-profits exist as "neutral territory" for a project's community.  Funders (which can include for-profit companies, non-profit grant-making institutions and individuals) can give through the non-profit to support the activity of the project as a whole, instead of merely supporting one specific contributor.  Indeed, non-profits can advance the project's goals while benefiting the public good.  Additionally, governmental non-profit regulations provide verification processes to assure that a single for-profit vendor has not hijacked the project.

     

    Most importantly, though, non-profits can collect donations and use those donations to pay developers to write new software.  This possibility has existed, and has been regularly used, since the early 1980s, but became less common in the late 1990s.  Most new projects seek for-profit business models, and often simply do not realize they could utilize a non-profit structure to fund their work without the quagmire of seeking profit: the work merely needs to break-even.

     

    If projects wish to pursue these ideas, there are two main mechanisms to officially become a non-profit.  A project can create their own organization, or join an existing non-profit "fiscal sponsor" who handles the non-profit activity for the project.  This talk will cover the non-profit options that exist for FLOSS projects.



    Conférenciers

    Type Human & Legal

8 Interested

Number reflects attendee interest not registrations or attendance. Get there early!


 

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