Free software funding idea: Honorary employee

A company adopts a maintainer of a free software project as an honorary <some title based on company> so that they can continue their free software development full time..

An honorary employee doesn't report to any manager in the company nor is accountable for any of its goals. Their relationship to this company is only for tax purposes. The company does this because it depends on the free software project.

@njoseph_1 Sounds like a legal minefield and a difficult sell to shareholders, perhaps more than donations.

@njoseph_1 previous company has the “Apache Team” working full time on maintaining a bunch of Apache projects and helping other teams using them.

@njoseph_1 doesn't the donate > non-profit > draw salary relationship already cover that though?


i feel like this created the Linux Foundation and kept the kernel stuck on GPL2 though its day-to-day development 'technically' isn't being guided by microsoft

i can see some differences between it and mozilla taking google money (it wouldn't necessarily lead to useless ad/tracking/etc features in the software)
but the GPL2→3 thing where the software project can't take actions that add more user freedom seems like it could come up


although.... if "maintainer" just means a contributor to a project who can't make big decisions as opposed to the 'leader' of the project, i guess there's not as much of a risk

but at that point i don't see why they wouldn't just be a regular employee

@Valenoern I would consider appointing regular employees to help a free software project to be a different model from this.

By maintainer, I mean someone who has write access to the project, accepts and merges patches from others, maintains project infrastructure etc.

The maintainer won't be responsible for making money for the company. But I can see how it can get complicated when the company starts demanding specific features from the project (like embedding Google logins into chromium) 🤔

@njoseph_1 there are reasons why companies (should) pay for common needs through taxation instead of voluntary donations...

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