[Numpy-discussion] A Foundation for the support of NumPy and SciPy

Nathaniel Smith njs@pobox....
Tue Oct 4 18:36:44 CDT 2011


[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

On Tue, Oct 4, 2011 at 1:58 PM, Travis Oliphant <teoliphant@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi all,
>
> At the recent US SciPy conference and at other times in the past I have been approached about the possibility of creating a foundation to support the development of SciPy and NumPy.
>
> I know there are varying opinions about that, but I am generally very supportive of the idea and would like to encourage it as much as I can.   It would be interesting to have a public discussion of the issues, but these discussions should not clog the main list of either NumPy or SciPy.
>
> As a result, there has been set up a public mailing list for discussion of the creation of a Foundation for the Advancement of Scientific, Technical, and Engineering Computing Using High Level Abstractions (FASTECUHLA).     The list is fastecuhla@googlegroups.com
>
> This is a place-holder name that can be replaced if somebody comes up with a better one.     Please sign up for that list if you would like to contribute to the discussion.
>
> The items to discuss include:
>        * where to organize
>        * what the purposes should be
>        * who should be members
>        * where should money come from
>        * what other organizations exist that we could either piggy-back on or emulate
>        * what are the pitfalls on starting a foundation to support NumPy and SciPy versus other approaches
>        * who has time to participate in its organization and maintenance
>
> One important feature is that I see this foundation as a service opportunity and obligation and not as a "feather-in-the-cap" or something to join lightly.   I'm hopeful that it can be a place where people and organizations can donate money and know that it will be going directly to further the core packages for Scientific Computing with Python.
>
> Thank you,
>
> -Travis
>
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>


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