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Section: GNU (7)
fsf-funding - Funding Free Software
Funding Free Software
If you want to have more free software a few years from now, it makessense for you to help encourage people to contribute funds for itsdevelopment. The most effective approach known is to encouragecommercial redistributors to donate.
Users of free software systems can boost the pace of development byencouraging for-a-fee distributors to donate part of their selling priceto free software developers---the Free Software Foundation, and others.
The way to convince distributors to do this is to demand it and expectit from them. So when you compare distributors, judge them partly byhow much they give to free software development. Show distributorsthey must compete to be the one who gives the most.
To make this approach work, you must insist on numbers that you cancompare, such as, ``We will donate ten dollars to the Frobnitz projectfor each disk sold.'' Don't be satisfied with a vague promise, such as``A portion of the profits are donated,'' since it doesn't give a basisfor comparison.
Even a precise fraction ``of the profits from this disk'' is not verymeaningful, since creative accounting and unrelated business decisionscan greatly alter what fraction of the sales price counts as profit.If the price you pay is $50, ten percent of the profit is probablyless than a dollar; it might be a few cents, or nothing at all.
Some redistributors do development work themselves. This is useful too;but to keep everyone honest, you need to inquire how much they do, andwhat kind. Some kinds of development make much more long-termdifference than others. For example, maintaining a separate version ofa program contributes very little; maintaining the standard version of aprogram for the whole community contributes much. Easy new portscontribute little, since someone else would surely do them; difficultports such as adding a new CPU to the GNU Compiler Collection contribute more;major new features or packages contribute the most.
By establishing the idea that supporting further development is ``theproper thing to do'' when distributing free software for a fee, we canassure a steady flow of resources into making more free software.
Copyright (c) 1994 Free Software Foundation, Inc.Verbatim copying and redistribution of this section is permittedwithout royalty; alteration is not permitted.
- Funding Free Software
- SEE ALSO
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