Thursday, October 17, 2013

On the subject of my recent blog about funding Eclipse committers with taxes...

On the subject of my recent blog about funding Eclipse committers with taxes...

Some people have commented saying it's the worst idea they've ever heard.


That was kind of the point :-)

I was trying to be subtle (maybe too subtle), but the whole thing was really intended as an exercise in why I think the notion of taxation isn't going to work.

The best hope you have of getting taxation to work is to do exactly the opposite of what IMHO you should be trying to do.  I.e. in order to try to get the tax to succeed, you end up shooting yourself in the foot by making it harder to contribute, and hence you probably lose more help than you would ever gain.

My point as well was that in order to fund developers at the Eclipse Foundation, it's going to take a lot of money.  I don't think some people have been appreciating the scale of it, so the lousy idea of taxing committers hopefully illustrates that the amount of money required for even a token effort is not going to be easy to get, regardless of the source.  You can't just wave a magic wand and say "we'll ask people to donate it!"  Half a million dollars is a LOT of money.

Is there a viable way to raise the money on a recurring basis?  I honestly don't know.  I'm open to suggestions.

1 comment:

Scott Lewis said...

Hi Chris,

Like Andrew Eisenberg's comment on your posting, I agree it's obviously bad to tax *committers*, but IMHO that doesn't mean that *some* taxation of corp members is necessarily a poor choice to deal with this problem.

In your response to Andrew's comment, you question whether member companies are willing to pay more money to EF. Fair enough...but I think it makes sense to at least discuss this assumption that member corps can't/wouldn't contribute more to Eclipse.

First, I think there is good reason to suspect that at least some member companies would be willing to spend more money on Eclipse...if people would be willing to actually face this maintenance problem (tragedy) rather than ignoring it.

Particularly if the connection between their support of EF/Eclipse and the prevention (or rather slowing) of the Eclipse degradation can be made more clear to member corps. I don't think that some member corps are acting responsibly. For example...several strategic members (not IBM) may pay their dues, but they decidedly don't provide 8 full-time committers as originally in the bylaws. Further, even if they *do* provide 8 full-time committers, these committers generally work on *their project only* rather than contributing to the work needs of existing/infrastructure projects.'s not necessarily the case that members would have to pay more. Perhaps rather than spending as much money on things like: EF marketing/promotion of member-owned projects, EF IP work...and other things that EF dues current go for...these dues could be explicitly redirected toward maintaining the 'commons'.