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Open-source embedded projects garner fiscal relief

Apr 3, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive
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The BusyBox and uClibc projects have joined a conservancy started by the Software Free Law Center (SFLC) to provide free software projects with “fiscal and administrative services.” The SFLC says its Software Freedom Conservancy will shoulder distracting burdens on behalf of free software developers, allowing them to focus on development.

Services provided by the Software Freedom Conservancy include protection from personal liability, tax return filing, and project asset holding and management. Additionally, the conservancy plans to seek non-profit status, and to accept tax-exempt donations on behalf of free software projects.

BusyBox's newly appointed maintainer, Rob Landley, says he hopes the conservancy can protect BusyBox and uClibc better than the projects' traditional “Hall of Shame” approach. Landley said, “The big news with busybox this week is that we have a foundation of ruthless attack lawyers (well, ruth-deficient anyway). Pamela Jones hooked Erik and me up with them because the hall of shame didn't scale, or for that matter, work.”

Other initial conservancy members include WINE (WINE Is Not an Emulator), a project creating a Windows application binary interface layer for Linux, and SurveyOS, a collection of projects related to GIS (global information services) and CAD (computer-aided design/drafting).

Alexandre Julliard, of the Wine project, said, “We understand the importance of having our legal, financial, and administration houses in order, but our focus and energy needs to be on our code. The Software Freedom Conservancy gives us needed legal and fiscal protections in a market where disruptive technologies such as open source software sometimes generate aggressive actions from other market participants.”

Dan Ravicher, legal director of the SFLC, stated, “The mission of the Conservancy is to provide free and open source software developers with all of the benefits of being a tax-exempt corporate entity without having to do any of the work.”

More information, including details about how to join, can be found at the Conservancy's website.

The SFLC was founded in February of 2005 as an independent legal center chartered with providing free services to eligible open source developers and projects.


 
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