On Tue, Mar 06, 2018 at 01:52:42PM -0500, William L. Thomson Jr. wrote:
> On Tue, 6 Mar 2018 10:30:41 -0800
> Bryce Harrington <br...@osg.samsung.com> wrote:
> >
> > I work with both SPI and SFC (SPI via X.org board where I serve as
> > treasurer, SFC via Inkscape where I serve as chairperson).
> 
> Are you the liason? That was the only real limitation I saw to
> organizations. Having a single point of contact. I cannot recall if SFC
> has the same or not.

Yes, SFC has a defined liaison, and I'm in that role.  For X.org
the board secretary is the liaison, but as treasurer I've worked
directly with them on various matters.

In practice, with both organizations, I've seen healthy interactions
between their staff and general members of the projects.  The liaison
tends to be more of a facilitator of discussions than a bottleneck, in
my experience.

> http://www.spi-inc.org/projects/associated-project-howto/
> 
> Seems SFC is more flexible with projects leadership
> 
> "How are “project leaders” defined with respect to Conservancy?"
> https://sfconservancy.org/projects/apply/
> 
> > The fees charged by the two organizations are on income only.  SPI
> > charges 5% on donations, SFC 10%.  That is in addition to paypal or
> > other banking fees.  If the project has 0 income, there are 0 fees.
> > They both provide a variety of services at no additional fee.
> 
> IMHO those are VERY reasonable and cheap fees for accounting and legal.
> Hiring a CPA and/or Attorney would likely cost considerably more. Plus
> they specialized in tech, where most do not. Hiring ones that do are
> even more expensive....

Yes, I agree.

> > For example, I can get financial transaction
> > data from my SFC-based project within a week or two lag, whereas for
> > SPI-based projects the lag can be many months (but they're working on
> > improving that).  
> 
> That maybe due to how they came about. The SFC had a different
> mission/agenda from the start. SPI has more evolved.

Perhaps.  Honestly I think the paid staffing of SFC is making a
difference.  Financial transactions are both voluminous and dull work,
so I can easily imagine it being difficult to tap volunteer labor to
handle it.

Both organizations use the open source Ledger bookkeeping tool.  With
SFC, I have a read-only view into the data for my project and can pull
and review data at my perogative.  SPI currently sends out periodic
summary reports, and I maintain a shadow Ledger for keeping local track
of things.  I definitely prefer SFC's approach here.

> One problem Gentoo has, which I think neither SFC nor SPI wants, is a
> history and mess to clean up. Gentoo has not had its filing with IRS
> done likely ever since first filing. It has some major issues, that
> will require time due to neglect for a long time.

X.org also had a history of tax troubles prior to joining SPI, and there
were some tax related issues involved in the dissolution of the X.org
Foundation's business registration in Delaware.  Unfortunately, I had to
handle that on my own and it was a bit painful and time consuming, with
numerous calls to Delaware government clerk' answering machines.  SPI's
lawyers did point me in the right direction at the start, and once I had
it sorted they took over with the rest.

Inkscape did not exist as a business entity prior to joining SFC; I just
handled Inkscape's finances as part of my own and just filed and paid
the taxes with my own personal tax returns.  SFC took care of everything
involved in transitioning things over, primarily some trouble with
PayPal who made it difficult to transfer the large amount of money
across.  Was pretty seamless and painless from my perspective.

> Thus IMHO it is better to go with one of these entities sooner than
> later before the mess gets to big to clean up. Their costs to clean up
> will be to great, and I feel it will be a no go. Likely why Gentoo has
> never proceeded with either SFC or SPI.
> 
> Words of caution. They provide great services at really low rates. But
> that is only for those without messes. Messes are costly to clean up.

Messes are unfortunate, yes, but I don't think it's particularly unusual
for a project to have them -- indeed they can often be the major
motivation for a project to join one of these organizations, as it was
in both of my cases.  You may still end up having to clean it up
yourself on your own, but you would have had to anyway; yet there's some
chance the organization could at least provide advice, and might even
lend a hand with some of it.  I wouldn't consider a mess being a reason
to not join, but instead look beyond those and focus on if in general
the organization would bring benefits that would improve your project.

However, it definitely would be a good idea to identify a few persons
with sturdy constitutions to be available to work on transition related
issues.  It can be a very time consuming and harrowing adventure, but at
least there is gold to be won at the end.  :-)

Bryce

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