On 11/13/2017 12:31 AM, jake wrote:
> Clearly, Snowdrift.coop is non-profit.
> But must all projects funded on Snowdrift be non-profit?
No, but none of the project requirements are set in stone since we still
have to roll out that whole structure.
The plan is *not* to require that all projects be legal non-profits but
that all the work funded from Snowdrift.coop go toward the direct
development of public goods. That means not getting funded from
Snowdrift.coop and just then giving the money to investors or keeping it
as profit without putting it toward new work.
> If so, the developers may be paid as an expense to the non-profit
> organization. But at what point does this become a profitable business
> for the developers?
This seems to be a misunderstanding of the whole nature of non-profit
entities. Nearly all non-profits have paid employees, and some are paid
decently. What makes a non-profit is that there are no investors who own
stock and get returns on their investment. There can still be any number
of paid employees paid to do work.
> Is it simply that the developers are not allowed to make purchasing
> decisions for the organization, such as to pay themselves?
That issue has more to do with who makes decisions. That is not an issue
for non-profits per se (or Snowdrift.coop projects per se), but there
are legal regulations around decision-making when it comes to tax-exempt
organizations (like 501(c)(3) in the U.S.). I'm not a lawyer so can't go
into details there.
> The big question: is it ethical to essentially start a business using
> Snowdrift? There are business models where a company commercializes
> open-source software. Take CodeWeavers and Red Hat, Inc., for example.
Ethical is a philosophical question. I think there are at least ethical
questions about the whole concept of profit. I certainly it's unethical
to put profit *over* the public good in any situation.
As for Snowdrift.coop, we're not focusing on *starting* businesses but
on funding the creative work that produces or improves public goods.
Codeweavers makes a commercial product based on Wine. We would support
Wine itself (and it's fine for Codeweavers to share in the benefits of
the improvements to Wine).
Red Hat provides hardware and support while using free software like
Gnome. We would support Gnome and other free software that Red Hat uses.
Red Hat (or other new companies) are perfectly welcome to do business
providing hardware and support services around the free software we support.
Hope that answers your questions. Feel free to ask more.
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