Subject: Re: The merger: a user's perspective
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 18:42:45 -0500

Bradley Kuhn writes:

> I agree with this.  But, in addition, I also have more than a user's
> perspective.  I also have the perspective of a run-of-the-mill programmer
> who is struggling to make a career writing, supporting and documenting free
> software.  Not having the time nor the energy to start my own company, I
> have been closely watching all the free software companies and who I might
> like to try to get a job with in the next year.

This brings to mind an old idea of mine that I kick around from time to

Would there be interest in having a non-profit organization that worked
like this?  You donate to the organization and name a free software
developer as the recipient of the donation.  That developer gets a portion
of the money donated and designates how the remaining share is to be
divided.  The division would be pre-set by the organization, for instance
in a month you get the first $50 donated to you, half of the next $200, 1/3
of the next $750, and 1/ of anything over a thousand dollars a month.  The
money passed on has to go to people who are making less than you.  The idea
being that you could donate to (for instance) Linus and be assured that the
money would be spread somewhat fairly through the entire.  I have some
friends who are lawyers and they think that this kind of scheme should
legally fly and (at least in the US) be eligible for charitable status
under tax laws.

The interesting thing about it is that a company that wants to fund a
specific project gets no say in the project from donating this way - but
their donation translates more effectively into programmer salary than it
would if the programmers were employees!  Secondly the cost of identifying
who effective programmers are is no longer a risk borne by the company.

There are a few drawbacks as well - which people are sure to quickly point
out to me...

Food for thought?