On Tue, Oct 4, 2011 at 5:36 PM, Nathaniel Smith <njs@pobox.com> wrote:
[Does the group actually exist yet? Google says: "No groups match
fastecuhla." Replying here instead...]

I've been following discussions around non-profit incorporation for
FOSS projects for about a decade (including some years on the internal
mailing list for SPI Inc. -- Debian's non-profit foundation). My
strong recommendation is that we not do it ourselves. Setting up our
own non-profit takes an immense amount of energy, and keeping it going
requires continuing to jump through annoying hoops on a regular basis
(you must have a procedure for selecting a board; the board must meet
on some regular schedule, achieve quorum, and regularly elect
officers; each board meeting must have minutes produced and approved,
you must file taxes on time, ...), and it's expensive to boot (you'll
need a professional accountant, etc.). As a result, most projects that
try going it on their own end up with a horrible mess sooner or later.
It works okay if you're, say, Gnome, but most projects are not Gnome.

But fortunately, this is a solved problem: there are several
non-profit umbrella corporations that are set up to let experts take
care of this nonsense and amortize the costs over multiple projects.
The Software Freedom Conservancy is probably the most well put
together:
  http://www.sfconservancy.org/overview/
  http://www.sfconservancy.org/members/services/
  http://sfconservancy.org/about/board/
Many large projects with complicated legal situations like Samba,
Busybox, jQuery, Wine, Boost, ... have also chosen this approach:
  http://www.sfconservancy.org/members/current/

TL;DR: When it comes to legal matters: starting your own non-profit is
to joining an existing umbrella non-profit as CVS is to git. (And in
fact git is also a SF Conservancy member.)

My $0.02,
-- Nathaniel

All excellent points.

<snip>

Chuck