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New Conservancy Offers Gratis Services to FOSS 30

Anonymous Coward writes "Yahoo! News is reporting on the launch of the Software Freedom Conservancy. The new organization, started by Bradley Kuhn, Eben Moglen, and Daniel Ravicher, will serve to provide member projects with free financial management and administrative services. The new group was established by the Software Freedom Law Center, which was started by Moglen and Ravicher one year ago."
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New Conservancy Offers Gratis Services to FOSS

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  • by toomz ( 175524 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @03:14PM (#15052565) Homepage
    Financial management for free software???
    • It avoids those division-by-zero errors you'd get if you used an accounting package designed for normal businesses.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Web servers, hard disc copies, etc. etc. -- That is usually where the "click here to donate" moneys go. A lot of open source projects with big ideas in mind fell flat on their face due to money problems, if I am not mistaken. I think this is a good idea. Nice to see people helping out the little guy. Although, when you need an accountant, you pretty much just let go of the "garage" feeling, and have taken your first steps into the world of Big Business(TM).
    • by Anonymous Coward
      A month.

      Donations can be a pain a times you have to keep books for the tax man.

      Not all Open Source projects don't have cash making arms. Ie paid support you get to the top of the email list.

      Closed minded people thinking that Closed Source is the only thing that makes money.
  • time to get started on that FOSS PVR/DVD player i was putting off..
  • Hmm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Perhaps this could be of some use to projects like OpenBSD that are not in a position to create their own not for profit entities.
  • Wine involvement (Score:4, Informative)

    by vinn ( 4370 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @03:33PM (#15052699) Homepage Journal
    Here's some details from this week's Wine Weekly News regarding Wine's involvement:
    http://www.winehq.com/?issue=310#Software%20Freedo m%20Law%20Center%20Update [winehq.com]
  • Hope it works out (Score:4, Informative)

    by richg74 ( 650636 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @03:45PM (#15052777) Homepage
    Having been involved in setting up a couple of non-profit organizations, I can testify that getting all the paperwork done and filed with the IRS can be a real pain. (The initial application, Form 1023, is currently 28 pages long -- not counting required attachments -- and comes with 38 pages of instructions.) As a way to spend your time, it's almost as attractive as having a root canal.

    Sizable organizations can generally bite the bullet and get it done, but this might be a real help to some smaller projects, or those just getting started.

  • by Arandir ( 19206 )
    For two decades the FSF has been yelling that Free Software is not hostile to commerce, that you can sell Free Software, and that you can make a living writing Free Software. They keep saying that freedom, and not price or marketability, separate it from proprietary software.

    So why now the turnabout? Why are key members of the FSF now impliying that Free Software needs to be a charity case?
    • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Knuckles ( 8964 )
      Free Software is not hostile to commerce


      that you can sell Free Software

      I'm not sure they ever made that claim. That you are allowed to, yes, That you can serives on top, yes. That it will be easy licensing the free software itself for a fee, no.
      Anyway, I'll say "RedHat".

      and that you can make a living writing Free Software

      Countless people

      So why now the turnabout? Why are key members of the FSF now impliying that Free Software needs to be a charity case

      Ther is no turnabout. For a variety of reasons, not
      • Just like the fact (in and of itself) that many proprietary software companies/projects do not make money for a long time and depend on corporate funding does not make these projects any more viable.

        The corporate funding is an investment. The investors expect the projects to be financially successful. Few of them are, which is why these sorts of investments are risky, and why it's so hard to prove yourself worthy of the funding. But the bottom line is that the funds will eventually get reimbursed.

        But that i
        • It is not an admission of anything or changing any tune from the FSF (The FSF itself is a non-profit after all).

          The FSF have never said that commercial Free Software is the only way to go, merely the Free Software is not counter to commercial development. Free software has been developed commercially. Free software has been developed non commercially. This conservancy doesn't change that, it merely aims to help service one part of a very broad Free Software church.
        • I don't see it that way. To me it's more like IBM's research labs. Enable people to run with their ideas, and eventually usable stuff will come out of it.

          Nobody in the FSF ever said that it is simple to make money off free software, and they are very aware of the fact that the environment is in many parts still hostile. In the conservancy's case, I guess it's about helping free software grow despite this hostility. You only see it as a charity because it's free software and you are predisposed to see it tha
  • International ? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    as FOSS is a worldwide movement will they be offering these services globally ? or is this another US only club ?

  • Pamela Jones is also gushing about the Software Freedom Conservancy at Groklaw [groklaw.net].

    Having dedicated (para)legal and accounting types to handle the administrivia of maintaining Non Profit (Charitable) status, could be a godsend for the projects that manage to get in on this opportunity.

  • I would like to announce that I will gladly handle the paperwork so that anyone can take advantage of tax exempt status. Just assign me all your copyrights so that we can proceed. Uh, nevermind the fine print...

    Just teasing. I know that's not what's going on here. But hopefully people will check the fine print just in case.
  • I tried to use the Free legal resources touted last year by these guys. I called up and some harried guy answered the phone (presumably Moglen) and he said he'd have to call me back. I left my number and never heard from them again. It was so disorderly as to be amusing. But it was not effective OSS legal advice for the little guy, by any stretch. Maybe they'll get it right on this one, or eventually..
  • Great (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by mihalis ( 28146 )
    Someone call Theo De Raadt.
  • Yahoo! News is reporting on the launch of the Software Freedom Conservancy

    No it isn't, the link goes to a PR Newswire page, which is an automatic feed that is carried by Yahoo!. In this case, all we can say is that Yahoo is redistributing an article that was written, published and paid for by the Software Freedom Conservancy on the their own launch.

    In case you don't understand the significance of this, the way it was originally written implies that Yahoo! believes this to be significant enough to report on

To do two things at once is to do neither. -- Publilius Syrus