Thanks many bunches! I’m going to try to articulate (in this case, quote) a number of projects on the Funding page from @hildon . The impression I have from discussion and superficial research this qualifies. Perhaps @hildon beats me to it
As it is touching mapping stack, 2 & 3 are of great interest to me. But I also think that they can have a major impact overall for FOSS. Obviously, we would need some kind of legal body to make it happen. @poetaster was proposing to discuss it already a while ago - sorry, still haven’t picked up that topic with him.
I’ve had some personal communication in the direction of an initial legal entity, but think it should be put up for discussion when we can formulate the (numerous) options more clearly. A cooperative (I’m only familiar with the German variants). A foundation (bound capital). A simple corporation (there are 3 limited forms in Germany with various levels of initial capital required).
I’ve started doing recruitment In any case, the mapping infrastructure is also a case study for many similar ‘shared’ resource cases. Maybe we could gather examples? One obvious one is weather, and another public transportation.
Sometimes I’m charitable. Perhaps even often. Generally that has some self-serving motive involved (the psychology of the ‘good’ samaritan?). In any case, what we’re talking about here is finding concrete mechanisms to achieve well defined goals. Well, we’re trying to elucidate the goals and the mechanisms.
As for earnings from SFOS, well, I think I’d rather be the owner of a game franchise like Fortnite than the platforms it runs on. I know the ‘intellectual property’ angle that sticks to jolla is ‘irritating’, but if you compare it to apple/google/etc it’s still a much more ‘open field’. I’m of the opinion that we can bring intellectual capital to bear to change jolla. now @olf will convince me otherwise
How about a conference to discuss this?
I’ve been searching for the past weeks how we could achieve such organization. I found a tax expert and a notary that helped me picking the best legal form. In Austria, the easiest way to have people and organizations (IE: Jolla) to associate themselves together would be an “association” (in German: Verein).
Austria is basically ran by them as if you want your child to do any extra-curricular activity, have a garden in Vienna or train your dog… you need to join an association and pay a year/quarterly/monthly fee.
Based on past topics discussed here, bellow are the reasons why an association :
- An association can be non-profit taxation law for associations .pdf
- An association can have non-austrian members/board ministry of the interior link on how to create an association
- Can be created in one day and represent actions taken retro-actively (for example, applying now for an EU grant, before the association is “official”) also ministry of the interior’s website
- Can be tax exempt if it promotes selflessly projects for the general public In that case we would fall under the Science and research charitable purpose (page 14 of tax .pdf - Wissenschaft und Forschung)
- Further representatives can be appointed up to a year after the creation of the association also ministry of the interior’s website
- It costs 14€ to be created also ministry of the interior’s website
- No required minimal capital meeting i had with notary office
- Not a pain in the ass to change statutes, no need for lawer or notary english link bellow
- Boards of directors can be changed by the members, membership can “only” be terminated with death. So members have more power then the “board” - I’m translating the German words, don’t picture it as Gates + Musk + Buffet in the board. same english link
- There is one law about it. That’s it. No need to go text diving in ancient old German books. the law
To create an association is very simple and straightforward (link in English) :
- Find at least two persons
- Write the statutes in German (I got a template already)
- Send those + required documents to the Associations Authority (either the central police station or the district authority)
- Wait either for a positive reply or no reply 4 weeks after sending the docs see paragraph “Deadlines” of the English link
Required documents are: full name, correspondent address, date and place of birth and copy of the statutes. Couldn’t be easier.
Questions you might have:
- What about tax deduction from the donation ?
- This would require to create a “fundation” (in German Gemeinnützige Schtiftung) which requires more initial founders, 50k€ and needs to be approved by the Ministry of Finances.
- But wait, don’t we have to set all the projects we want to support first in the statutes ?
- No, in the statutes we can/have to write a more general status : “support and promote the development of SFOS and distribute the material under LGPL license”. Then, we can have monthly meetings were we decide how to spend the funds. (@pherjung talks about it here and for ideas/priorities there is @dcaliste comment )
- Only SFOS and not all FOSS projects ?
- There are many already existing organizations supporting FOSS projects, 0 supporting SFOS ones. In my opinion, we need to focus on something.
- What if SFOS disappears one day ?
- Well it’s (mostly) open source, isn’t it ?
- Why LGPL license ? After people/corporations/GAFAM/BATX can fork and sell apps we financed !
- True, but so can the initial developer to make a living. Maybe professional developers have arguments against it, it’s worth discussing about it. Doesn’t need to be in the statutes.
- Hiring people across borders for an NGO ? (question asked by @poetaster )
- Not hiring the person but paying for a service instead. Like you would pay a freelancer.
- Should we wait for November for this to start ? (question from @poetaster)
- Actually there is, the 8th of October a meeting in Vienna, and we could start even before that !
- What do you mean by associating ourselfs with Jolla ?
- Jolla could be a member of the association if it wanted too; so could other companies/organisations upon approval of it’s physical members.
- What are we waiting for ?
- At least one other person, preferably in Vienna so I don’t have to send the documents by the post office for a signature. But if it’s further I’ll just do it.
- Why not a cooperative ?
- We would pay a lot of taxes.
End remarks, I will post translated statutes soon, need to find the easiest way of doing so, so you can collaborate on it. Ask questions I didn’t think about/forgot replying. Don’t be afraid to PM me.
Can’t wait to see this ongoing !
If tax deductions are important and/or you want an initial low-effort legal structure, it might be worth looking into the option postmarketOS and others are using, i.e. the https://commonsconservancy.org.
The process is explained here. Basically, they provide services for free and open software foundations, including hosting infrastructure for wikis, etc; all based in the Netherlands.
It does solve the problem of taxation for people living in the Netherlands. But in creates a new issue regarding membership and voting rights.
Personally donation tax deduction is not important.
Not only for people living in The Netherlands.
I hope this information can be helpful:
Indeed you are correct, the CJUE statuated on this matter and EU donation can be tax deductible. I’m looking on what’s the procedure on it because it’s seems to be cumbersome, by using the Transnational Giving Europe platform which itself doesn’t list Commons Conservancy.
I still think this isn’t the most appropriate legal form we should choose. Other Commons Conservancy organizations seem all to have a board of directors that itself plan the development.
Nothing can save the browser. It needs to be replaced by FF official. Ie. pay someone to maintain it -like RH pays someone for ff wayland- and sort out all the shortcomings of the OS (compositor etc).
A “Verein” does not have to pay taxes (=theft) because a Verein MUST NOT earn even 1 cent. Otherwise they put you in a cage. I’m quite educated about Austrian “Vereinsrecht”, I run some and am part of many.
I think you are quite aware of this @apozaf. But for the others. Austrian and German “Vereine” are different. For tax exemption in Germany a “Verein” would have to be “gemeinnützig”, sort of like “approved non profit” to avoid taxes. I am not a lawyer, though and Switzerland differs again.
(And I see taxes a bit different, but respect your view on that. )
Thank you very much!
The relative ease of starting a “Gemeinütziger Verein” in Germany doesn’t differ so much. Points 1, 2,3, 4, 5, 7, basically the same. 8 is a bit different, but changing a ‘Vorstand’ can be done as the Statutes specify. In practice, it’s whoever has the time
As you’ve elaborated Foundation is far more complex (about the same capital requirements, etc) and as for all you’re other points, I could get behind all of them, even if I tend to be a GPL purist.
Given how similar the situation in Austria is to Germany, I don’t see any issues on that side. I’d be very happy to get behind a non-profit association (er, a club ), a ‘Gemeinnütziger Verein’.
In any case, it would be great if we had at least ONE such legal entity. I would join in some capacity.
This isn’t exactly true. A non-profit (take netzpolitik.org) can earn a million euros a year. It must, within some reasonable limit, spend that money for the purposes of the Verein. In practice, that can mean taking donations and paying staff, making things, planting trees, you name it. It is also abused as a tax dodge.
My point being, as long as capital does not accumulate, you can earn it to considerable sums. Sometimes, if you become politically dangerous, you may have your ‘non-profit’ status revoked (see campact in Germany recently). Doesn’t really matter here, though.
As promised, here is the first draft of the association statutes:
It is deliberately in English so everyone in the forum can read it and share thoughts about it. Once we are satisfied with it I will translate it (and publish the translation here too) and send it to the Associations Authority.
You don’t need an account to modify or comment the text. Please comment instead of changing the text. There is also an integrated chat.
Important matter, the name. The word Sailfish is a Jolla trademark so I’m unsure if we can use it in the name of the association (ie: Sailfish Association). I suggest the name “Sailmakers association”, keep the suggestions going, then I can set a poll at the end of the week with all answer so we can pick one.
Thank you very much for the effort!
How about “Sailmates“, as we’re all metaphorically in the same boat, and intend to create this in friendly cooperation with the sailors at Jolla?
Sail maker is a venerable trade. One of the view people on the planet who share my name is also a sail maker.
Looks very cool @jojo.
One comment I have is perhaps to consider making the association’s goals a bit wider, i.e. not just aim at SFOS, but aim at mobile Linux in general. Even if in practice most of the efforts are spent on SFOS.
This would help attracting funding and donations, as Linux is free and open whereas a few components of SFOS are not.
It would also help attracting members from other small communities (e.g. postmarketOS or Maemo Laeste) who would be interested in developing common GPLed (or similar) components for mobile Linux and porting applications to run on e.g. Glacier, which is essentially SFOS without any non-free code.
Hi @hildon , indeed in the doc some comments are about not naming SFOS directly but instead “free open source operating systems for mobile terminals” which i agree too.