Donation Link: Formal Proposal

Tanstaafl tanstaafl at
Tue Dec 3 17:26:36 UTC 2013

On 2013-12-03 11:35 AM, John Crisp <jcrisp at> wrote:
> 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

Yes, the comment is clear... the logic - solicit donations from 
NON-commercial end-users to avoid 'subsidizing free software for 
businesses' - is... well, it simply isn't (logical).

And by the way - you seem to be under the impression that I am:

  a) knocking Ken for undertaking this and

  b) against paying for software

You are wrong on both counts. I am *very* happy (thanks Ken!) that he is 
doing this... I just pointed out a discrepancy in his logic.

I also hope that I am not now hearing what I think I'm hearing regarding 
companies that engage in commerce for profit.

> 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.

It *always* depends on the meaning of the words, and when you use words 
with double/multiple meanings, things can quickly get confused.

When someone says 'free software', in my opinion it *always* will mean 
'free as in beer', but it may or may not mean 'free as in open source'.

So, my comment/confusion stands. Kent said 'free software', which 
implies at *least* 'free as in beer', and you simply can't distinguish 
between the two when it comes to commercial vs non-commercial use, 
unless you change the *nature* of the 'free software' to something else 
- ie, 'free for personal use, $cost for commercial use'.

> Why is money such a dirty word ?

It isn't for me. I'm a free-market capitalist (*not* the fascist system 
the USA supports today).

>> 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.....

Pointless comment because those are two entirely different things.

Maybe I should have been clearer - 'If I was a 'free/open source 
software developer...'...

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

It sounds like you are suggesting that 'profit' is a dirty word?

> 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.

*Everything* that you just said applies 100% equally to *all* 
*individuals as well, so I, again, don't see your point.

To ask this question another way...

If I am a software developer and voluntarily engage my own time to write 
code for 'free software' like Thunderbird, you think I should be 
resentful if some big nasty corporation took advantage of me by using 
said software without compensating me, but *not* be resentful if some 
noble private individual took advantage of me by using said software 
without compensating me?

> 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.

Yeah, what a horrible thought... nasty for-profit 'businesses'...

> So why shouldn't they pay a contribution ?

Because it is *free software*?

Understand, I'm not saying they should, or shouldn't, donate, I'm just 
saying that it is free software.

> OK, so take TB away. What are their options then ? Undoubtedly a
> product that they WILL have to pay for.

Ok, *force* users to pay for Thunderbird, and they will likely say 
'well, if I have to pay for it, why shouldn't I just use Outlook like 
98% of my competition does and be done with it?'...

>> 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.

You mean, like postbox, and Eudora, and OperaMail, and all of the other 
mail clients that tried to force people into a paid model?

> However, if you have a better way of doing it then say so, and
> do something positive like Kent has.

Would that I could. If I was independently wealthy, I'd set up a private 
foundation to fund Thunderbird directly, all by myself... alas, I'm not...

>> 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.

When I said 'I like them' I of course meant that as far as the 
implementation of the idea itself.

Of course I'd much prefer if Mozilla would have a change of heart, and 
delegate what would amount to a *miniscule* portion of their entire 
budget to Thunderbird to fully fund it. But apparently we're way past that.

> 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

You seem to be under the false notion that people cannot line their 
pockets through a NfP. All charities are NfP, and the vast majority are 
bigger crooks that the USG (United States Government).

> 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.

Well, on this we can fully agree... :)

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