"In October 2005, Axel Dörfler, one of the most prolific Haiku developers, became the first full-time paid Haiku developer, working via funds donated by the community. He worked on CD booting, SMP and other kernel and app_server work. Employment continued until December 2005, at which point the funds allocated ran out."
Laughing out loud. Well well, they just ran out, did they? Just like that?
Is a donation based business just a disorganized form of commerce? Is a donation based business just as risky as a real business, considering that funds can run out at any time? Yes, it is.
When is the last time you heard of a business hiring someone in October and then proceeding to fire them in December (two months later) because funds ran out. Well, it happens all the time in donation based businesses and some start-up companies. Yes, people or folks that accept donations are a form of business - they are a corporation - just a disorganized one, that's all.
There are donation based companies/websites out there who feel that they are not businesses at all - they are just charities with no intent of profit. The reality is that a donation based business or donation based website is a disorganized commercial business accepting money for its products and services.
When one accepts donations, it is the same as charging money for a consumer good - it is just less organized. A company or website that accepts donations is simply saying:
- We need money, we just aren't organized enough to charge for a product in a structured manner
- Without money, we wouldn't exist - therefore we are simply a disorganized business who needs money but has no structured way of accepting money.
Examples of a disorganized commercial business are:
- Wikipedia - hundreds of thousands of dollars are needed to keep their servers running. All the electricity costs, connection costs
- GNU software - hundreds of thousands of dollars are needed to keep their servers and FTP running
The disadvantage of being a disorganized business, is that if you run out of donations your business can go belly up fairly easily.
Don't fall into the trap and think that a donation based "non-profit" organization is not a commercial business. All donation based companies are out to make a profit too, despite the fact that they are called "non-profit. For if they were not out to make a profit, they'd have no way of paying their server bills! They'd have no way of upgrading their servers and upgrading their latest electrical outlets version. They'd have no way of paying the CEO of Unicef or Goodwill 5 million or whatever he makes.... it's FOR PROFIT in the form of CEO salaries, folks. It's a gigantic scam, in other words. Non profit My Ass.
The line between a for-profit business and a non-profit business is a very murky one.
Let's consider the wikipedia for a moment..
The wikipedia is called the "free encyclopedia" because it offers free speech - but with free speech, we must do commercial business. Wikipedia servers must be kept running by people who pay to use wikipedia. Despite the fact that wikipedia is claimed "the free encyclopedia" (as in speech), it is really not free at all in speech. If not enough people donate to the wikipedia, we become immediately restricted and no longer free - because the wikipedia servers will be shut down if they do not pay their hefty electrical and server bandwidth bills.
The only way to really have a true "free speech" wikipedia would be to power the servers off free electricity, such as solar/windmill/alcohol sugar plant power, and place the wikipedia servers on an island that is not owned by anyone (there are unclaimed islands that nobody owns). Somehow, the wikipedia would still have to connect to a backbone connection though - and i'm not sure how they do that free (in speech). A backbone company would have to run wires into the island some how and charge (both in cost and speech) the wikipedia for the connection. And if someone is going to provide a backbone to wikipedia, it immediately means we are no longer free in speech, because that backbone could decide that wikipedia is not paying their bills and it would be shut down (if not enough donations were made from visitors).
Now do you see why we have to PAY for free software, and we have to PAY for free information like the wikipedia, in both speech and cost? Do you see how COST and SPEECH are very tightly integrated and are not separated like the GNU website tries to claim? Do you see now why wikipedia is NOT a free encyclopedia? Do you see how all donation based businesses are actually disorganized commercial businesses?
There is really no such thing as a free encyclopedia (as in speech), since speech is so tightly integrated with cost.
This article goes against the popular opinion that freedom of speech is completely separate from freedom of cost. I hope you can see through anyone who advertises "free in speech" after considering this article.
Always connect freedom of speech to freedom of cost - they are very directly related. Even if 90 percent of the world tells you they are separate. Remember, whenever you visit the wikipedia, someone is paying for it through donation - and that is a form of restriction, which means it automatically disables freedom of speech. True freedom of speech should be completely free of restriction.
People and Companies That Make Donations Are Shareholders.
Repeat after me - people and companies that make donations are shareholders. The folks and companies that make donations to a non-profit organization are just disorganized shareholders! That's all they are. In a for-profit business, investors donate money into the for-profit company, and these folks are called shareholders. They own a portion of the company. In a non-profit business, the people that make donations are the shareholders! They are just getting shares without the share certificate, that's all.
The companies that donate more money into a non-profit organization generally gain more control and power over the non-profit organization. For example if IBM donates money into Linux, IBM will be able to make more decisions about the future of linux because the linux organization appreciates and recognizes their large donation. It's a less organized way of being a shareholder, but a non-profit business still acts like a commercial for-profit business - it's just a less organized business, that is all!
We Pay Money For GNU Source Code
Even though the GNU license states that one must not charge money for source code with a GPL license, many businesses donate money into the free software foundation for source code. Many businesses and folks appreciate the source code so much, that they offer a donation into free software foundation. The free software foundation does not receive money for "their server bills". The free software foundation receives money for their source code that they produce.
Let me explain why - let's say that Google or IBM downloads some database/server software that is released under the GNU license. They open up the source code and start hacking away at it, customizing it for their own needs. They then use the software successfully, and decide to pay GNU an honor of respect by making a large donation. IBM and Google are donating into the free software foundation because they appreciate the source code they were given. This is a payment for source code. I heavily doubt that if the free software foundation receives a donation for $10,000.00 into it's paypal account, that they first check whether the donation is for software code, or for server bills.
Whether google, ibm, or other companies that donate into free software foundation (and other non-profit organizations) are reimbursing for software code, or server bills - isn't it a reimbursment for software code, in the end?
No matter which way you look at it - making a donation into a software organization is paying money for source code one way or another. Somehow, you've got to reimburse those people who offered the source for free, whether it is directly paying them by purchasing shareware, or by making a donation! Buying shareware and making a donation into a free software (non-shareware) organization is essentially the same thing - just that the shareware is a more organized business than a free software business. But they are both commercial businesses in the end.
The line is very murky - some people decide to draw a steady and solid line. I don't. I see right through the murky line. I know who is reimbursing who for what.
Am I against GNU and Wikipedia? Well not so much wikipedia, I think it's a great idea to have a structured system of source code and articles. It's great to have open code to tap into, and open articles to tap into. I just think the public message that these organizations display are incorrect. Part of the problem is that some people aren't intelligent enough to understand why freedom of speech is so directly related to freedom of cost - it's not all our fault, we are all Pargent. See the GNG Website for info about why GNU and GPL are a load of horse shit.
I don't think the owners of wikipedia and GNU intentionally went out to try and harm us and lie to us by displaying all these ridiculous public freedom and non for profit advertisments. I think they just haven't quite understood or thought long enough about the deep relations between cost and speech.