Hi Mike,

On Wed, 2020-01-15 at 02:20 -0500, Mike Gerwitz wrote:
> On Wed, Jan 15, 2020 at 01:05:02 +0100, Mark Wielaard wrote:
> > This was indeed what I meant. More specifically I said "GNU
> > maintainers serve at the pleasure of the FSF" because that is what I
> > really believe. I certainly joined GNU because I support the FSF
> > mission. My copyright assignment is with the FSF. When I became a GNU
> > maintainer I was added to some FSF internal lists that said "For ALL
> > gnu programmers (volunteers included) and programmers of software that
> > the FSF has included in GNU." As a GNU maintainer the FSF arranged I
> > could talk to legal counsil (java used to have lots of tricky legal
> > issues). The FSF sysadmins have always helped with any extra technical
> > setups GNU projects need. I am a member of the FSF and donate money to
> > the GNU project through the FSF.
> The relationship can be confusing; GNU and the FSF have been pretty
> tightly coupled form the beginning (the FSF was created for GNU), but
> there are important separations.

Sure, and the relationship is always evolving. These days the GNU
project is actually one of the smaller programs the FSF runs. The last
public form 990 states that the FSF spend ~$250 thousand of ~$1.25
million on the GNU project (most of the rest of the money goes to the
education and outreach program and license education program). So by
supporting the FSF you are actually supporting not just the GNU
project, but a lot more programs around Free Software.

> Clarification about the relationship between GNU and the FSF will
> hopefully come soon.

Yes, it would be really good if the FSF publicly responded to some of
the suggestions we made about the relationship between GNU and FSF:

>   But GNU maintainers do not serve at the pleasure of the FSF.

Could you explain why you say that? Is it the word pleasure that you
disagree with? I am not a native English speaker. With "at the pleasure
of" I simply mean that practically the FSF has the ultimate authority
over the GNU project given that it creates the legal structure/entity
around the project. Without the FSF the GNU project would simply not
exist since it holds all our assets, owns the trademark, most of the
copyright, publishes the Free Software Definition and GPL licenses,
enforces them, takes on the legal liability for software we release
(and helps us when we screw up to fix up any legal issues we might have
created for our users), provides some of the infrastructure (and some
sysadmins) on which we do our work and provides oversight to make sure
what we do is in accordance with their software freedom mission as a
public charity. Only because they handle all that for us GNU volunteers
can we say that we are the GNU project working together on the mission
of Free Software.



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