Subject: software tax (was Re: [ppc-mobo] Re: GNU License for Hardware)
From: "Bradley M. Kuhn" <>
Date: Wed, 20 Oct 1999 14:02:30 -0400

Russell Nelson wrote:

> Yup.  I mean, really, are there *any* free software businessmen who
> support a software tax?  I guess it depends on the deal you get, but in my
> experience, anything paid for with a tax is perpetually underfunded.

I don't know if I count as a "free software business-person", but I have
made my living since April 1998 writing, documenting, and teaching free

I, for one, do support a software tax, placed on hardware sales.  Granted,
this would not fund every possible software project or even a large portion
of them.  However, I think that such funding would create a pot of revenue
that can be used for the most innovative among us to apply for funds and
start important software projects.  

In the USA, I think it is reminiscent of NSF funding (which, although it has
a lot of problems these days) aims to fund science without a political

I think we could do something similar with a software tax.  There are many
companies who have used NSF or NIST funded work to get them started.  There
is certainly a place, I think, for software-tax-created software that can
*help* free software businesses get off the ground.

> In order to make the big bucks off government coercion, you need a
> government monopoly.

Why is it ipso facto coercion?  Are all taxes coercion by your estimation?
I think if the judges of who got software-tax funded were elected
individuals (and assuming campaign finance in the USA is cleaned up) we
could have a great organization to being funding software projects.

         -  -  Bradley M. Kuhn  -  -