Donation Link: Formal Proposal

John Crisp jcrisp at
Tue Dec 3 16:35:59 UTC 2013

On 03/12/13 12:43, Tanstaafl wrote:
> On 2013-12-02 6:07 PM, Kent James <kent at> wrote:
>> We are asking the user to make a decision about donating each major

> This comment confuses me.

Not sure why. It was pretty clear IMHO

> Free software is free software. You cannot distinguish between
> 'subsidizing free software' for commercial and non commercial use...
> *all* use is free.
> Also - you seem to be saying that in order to combat (probably not the
> right word but couldn't think of a better one) your aversion to
> 'subsidizing free software for businesses', you are proposing a nag/beg
> screen to beg for money from NON-commercial (end) users. That makes no
> sense.

Of course it makes sense, but it depends on where you are standing.

Free software isn't always free. Yes, I know the arguments about 'Free'
and 'Open Source', but I wish people would use Open Source rather than
free - IMHO 'Free' gives people unrealistic expectations.

Mozilla don't really care that much about TB. If it stays as is, it will
wither on the vine for lack of leadership, direction and focus. Well
done to Kent for grabbing the nettle. He needs help and support, not an
ear bashing at every opportunity. Where are the alternative suggestions
out there at the minute ? Who has taken time to write them up ?

Personally I would rather see TB hived off and become properly
independent and Mozilla to support as they see fit.

Either way, the project/application/call it what you will needs cash to
survive long term. If you choose to move away from Mozilla you would
have to pay for a hosting environment etc etc. That isn't free. So the
software has a cost to build.

Why is money such a dirty word ? We all need to survive. It's just about
how you go about raising it.

> If I was a developer, I would be *proud* if my work was so good that
> even large commercial enterprises wanted to use my software.

Be as proud as you like, but it won't necessarily bring you any money.....

Quite simply the average user does not PROFIT from the use of the
software. But corporations and companies do.

That is a world of difference. Companies will do what they can to cut
their costs and increase their profits. They are by nature mercenary. If
they can get it for free then they will take it. Your proud bit of
software lines THEIR shareholders pockets, and they never even said thanks.

Equally, if they have an expense then they can offset it in their books.

The average user just saves themselves the cost of the software, but
businesses do that, and can make money from it.

So why shouldn't they pay a contribution ? OK, so take TB away. What are
their options then ? Undoubtedly a product that they WILL have to pay for.

I'd also guess that a lot of donations WILL be from ordinary users with
a moral conscience rather than from a business that does not. They won't
pay unless they have to.

> This whole aversion to 'subsidizing free software for businesses' turns
> me off in a big way.

Fine, go ahead, ignore the situation. But when there is no money to pay
the mortgage of the devs or the servers that the system is built on,
what then ?

Businesses have to pay for every other product and service that they
use. Why not a contribution to TB ?

> If you (and other Mozillians) really feel this strongly, then the proper
> - imnsho - course should be to change the license to 'free for personal
> use', and charge for corporate/commercial use (note: I would be
> *strongly against* such a move).

In the end I don't think you will have a choice unless you want to see
TB die. However, if you have a better way of doing it then say so, and
do something positive like Kent has.

> Of course, if you did that, you would then be in a position where you
> would *have* to listen to your (now paying) customers and implement
> features they wanted - or lose their business.

Not necessarily. But is that any different from any other software out
there ? You always listen to your customers first, or did I get
something wrong ? Quite frankly there is no point in building software
no one wants anyway.........

> Personally, I like the suggestions to add the Donationware information
> to the 'About' window/screen, and on the 'Welcome' screen that shows up
> for new major releases, I don't see this as being too intrusive, and
> corps can disable it easy enough (at least the welcome screen part).

To be honest, I don't REALLY like them, but I understand that something
has to be done. It isn't that palatable, then then what are the other
choices ? At least it is a step in the right direction.

However, you only have to look what is going on around you to realise
that unless you have a benefactor who is willing to underwrite you for
nothing, just asking for donations will never cut it. So you may as well
get people used to the idea that they can't take without giving forever.
The software is Open Source, not free.

Also remember that none of this 'cash' is about profit as I far as I can
see. No one is out to line their pockets. So a NfP is urgently needed
with a fully independent Board, and clear and transparent funding. You
may find that some companies are happy to donate if they a) know where
the money is going and b) can get a receipt  :-)

At the end of the day, yes it would be great of TB remained as it has,
but that isn't the case. The world turns, life moves on, and we all have
to move with it. Kent has seen it coming and has tried to do something.
Hats off to him.

B. Rgds

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