Donation Link: Formal Proposal

The Wanderer wanderer at fastmail.fm
Thu Dec 5 04:34:04 UTC 2013


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On 12/04/2013 04:25 PM, Kent James wrote:

> On 12/3/2013 9:26 AM, Tanstaafl wrote:

>> 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).
> 
> The quote about "subsidizing free software for businesses" is not
> really my quote, it was originally Mitchell, I only mentioned it to
> make the point that Mozilla itself is not really all about
> free-as-in-beer products.
> 
> You are correct that the main intent of the donation link proposal is
> to solicit donations from individuals, not from businesses. So I will
> add my own statement here that subsidizing free software for
> individuals is not the primary mission of Mozilla, nor something that
> motivates me to be involved. Individuals who use FOSS software have
> the same obligations as businesses to give back.

Yes, they do: none at all.

"Giving back" to upstream may be good citizenship, but it's very much
not an obligation; that's part of the idea of free-as-in-liberty
software. Arguing that it *is* an obligation not only undermines the
idea of free software, but seems likely to reduce the motivation of
people to actually do it - or even to use the software at all.

There's a very big difference between "you should do this" and "you are
obligated to do this".


For what it's worth, as a very minor contributor who'd like to become a
bigger one if I can find the time: I don't have a particular problem
with the idea of a donation request as a one-time-only thing, or a
once-per-major-version thing, or even a permanent-on-the-"home"-screen
thing... as long as presenting the request will *not* involve
automatically opening a new tab in Thunderbird, which I think I've seen
proposed as an alternative to using the "home" screen.

I don't want tabs in my mail client, and I go out of my way to avoid
having any appear, ever. Having one 'shoved in my face' as part of a
donation request would be something I'd find highly objectionable, and
I'd be inclined to refuse the request just on principle because of it.


Also (and a bit closer to the previous topic of the subthread), from my
admittedly somewhat limited experience deploying software for an
enterprise, I can say that having officially-deployed software solicit
funds from the end user would be seen as a Big No-No. There would need
to be some way for administrators to override this, so that the request
never appears to the user.

That might well significantly impede the effectiveness of the request,
by significantly limiting its reach - but I suspect that if such an
override is not provided, the request's reach will be limited even more,
because enterprises which might otherwise use Thunderbird will be likely
not to.

- --
   The Wanderer

Secrecy is the beginning of tyranny.

A government exists to serve its citizens, not to control them.
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