[OT] Developing Software as Charity?

AJ ONeal coolaj86 at gmail.com
Sat Dec 18 18:32:48 UTC 2010

I was wondering the same thing.

I guess they are both tax write-offs. I'm not very experienced yet. I don't
want to bend any rules, I was just curious.

Even in the case that it weren't a charitable contribution, it would still
be nice to have an organization which helped connect passionate developers
interested in particular types of development with those willing to spend
money for it.

The problem with outsourcing, in many cases, is that you don't get someone
as passionate about what you're building. You get someone who wants a job.

With open source you know you're getting someone who really loves that type
of project.

AJ ONeal

On Sat, Dec 18, 2010 at 10:38 AM, Frank Warmerdam <warmerdam at pobox.com>wrote:

> On 10-12-18 12:20 PM, AJ ONeal wrote:
>> Let me know what you find out.
>> Right now I'm hiring some guys in India to do work for me that I'm open
>> sourcing[1].
>> The end product will use the tools that they're writing, but the whole
>> technology community will benefit from having these tools (which will in
>> turn
>> generate more tools that I may end up using for my product).
>> I would be very willing to hire someone to create just about every
>> component of
>> my product as an open source module and then tie the modules together
>> myself
>> with a UI.
> AJ,
> To me this is directed development and would be very iffy for charitable
> status.  I don't know SPI's position on such things, but within OSGeo
> (another foundation I am involved with) we would not accept a contribution
> for such work as something that could be considered a charitable
> contribution
> under US tax law.
> We do allow sponsors for projects, but the sponsors are not able to provide
> any specific direction to how the project will spend the money.  Projects
> can also post activities they would like to pursue and sponsors can choose
> to fund one of these efforts specifically.  But we make an effort to make
> is so that organizations cannot actively direct funds to a specific
> development they need for their own commercial reasons.
> Now, I'm not a lawyer, and it may be that we are being overly cautious.
> But this was based on our interpretation of a lawyer's advice and various
> "wisdom" on the net.  I think you should be cautious in this regard.  I
> also think SPI should be careful before volunteering to be a conduit for
> such funds though I'm not going to get mixed up in it.
> I'm curious, if you are getting this work done to develop a product,
> isn't it enough to treat the cost as a business expense?   I'm vague
> on the advantages of making a charitable contribution vs. just writing
> something off as a business expense.  In Canada I believe they normally
> amount to the same tax effect.
> Best regards,
> --
> ---------------------------------------+--------------------------------------
> I set the clouds in motion - turn up   | Frank Warmerdam,
> warmerdam at pobox.com
> light and sound - activate the windows | http://pobox.com/~warmerdam<http://pobox.com/%7Ewarmerdam>
> and watch the world go round - Rush    | Geospatial Programmer for Rent
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