On Fri, Apr 09, 2021 at 10:04:13AM +0200, Ricardo Wurmus wrote:
Mark Wielaard <mjw(a)gnu.org> writes:
> On Thu, Apr 08, 2021 at 11:40:17AM +0200, Ludovic Courtès wrote:
>> All in all, I would rather let each project take care of its funds and
>> fiscal sponsorship by itself (but the discussion on how to switch
>> sponsors should be collective). Ideally there’d be a strong GNU group
>> with its own fiscal sponsor, which could act on behalf its member
>> projects. But we’re verrrry far from that. Let’s first save what can
>> still be saved.
> I think you are a little naive :) Financials are important and I think
> you are a bit hung up about the word fiscal, in fiscal sponsor. The
> idea is that you do need a legal entity to "exist". A legal guardian
> so the individuals aren't taking on all risks personally. A legal
> entity who can receive fund, pay expenses, hold assets, etc.
I don’t think it’s naive to state that there are many GNU packages right
now that don’t *have* funds, reimbursable expenses, or assets. It could
be useful for them to have a legal entity that can manage the legal sido
of this for them eventually, just like it became useful for Guix when we
received USD funds, but I agree that it is not a *requirement* at this
(Guix is also an example for a project where finances/assets are handled
by more than one legal entity.)
GNU Guix did well and it has a backup already. That is good and was
very forward looking. And if Guix wanted to setup a shared copyright
pool they could using the legal entity they setup. But other projects
haven't and are currently relying on the FSF for that and some of
their assets or hosting. I really hope we can keep doing that, but I
don't know we can or if everybody will want to.
> Now you might be right that some of the bigger GNU projects
> this individually. But I think those should pool together with some of
> the smaller ones then, or maybe we should do it as GNU Assembly so
> that those smaller ones who think they don't need any resources can
> actually get them, because the infrastructure must actually exist and
> must be resourced.
Yes, though I think taking on this task and aiming for a solution at
this point would not be prudent given the state of the GNU project as a
whole. Is this really a problem we should take on *now*?
I think it depends on whether you believe the GNU Assembly should take
up more responsibilties for the community setting up new resources or
if we can keep relying on the FSF and the existing infrastructure
various GNU projects are using now.
So at the moment for gnu.tools Carlos deals with DNS and Andy makes
sure the machine that hosts the list and wiki is payed for. And that
is fine, I trust them to deal with that. But what if we want to extend
our resources, setup a pagure machine or get some sourcehut
maintenance contract? I am fine to pay for that personally. But it
would obviously be better if we had an actual legal entity be
responsible for it so that if any of us individuals has something else
to do the organisation still keeps running.
It might not be the most urgent problem to take on. We can wait and
see if the FSF cleans up its board and we as GNU Assembly can start
honest talks about the GNU/FSF relationship as we tried last year. I
haven't given up, but maybe that makes me naive :) But I do think it
is important to start thinking about it now and maybe start some
discussion with some existing organisation like the Conservancy to see
if they can help us out. These things will take months, so it might
make sense to start the converstation early.