[OpenAFS] Funding the formation of an OpenAFS Foundation

Jeffrey Altman jaltman@your-file-system.com
Wed, 26 Sep 2012 13:00:51 -0400

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On 9/26/2012 12:12 PM, Troy Benjegerdes wrote:
> Has someone formed a legal organization, and filed 501.c3 paperwork,
> or not? What are the charitable goals? If they have, where do I send=20
> a check for my $50 tax-deductible charitable contribution.

On the www.openafs.org site there is a "Donate" link which takes you to:


which describes how a 501c3 tax deductible donation can be made to the
Usenix OpenAFS Fund.  The page reads:

[begin quote]
USENIX is accepting donations on behalf of The OpenAFS Project through
the OpenAFS Fund. Donations can be made by sending a check, drawn on a
U.S. bank, made out to the USENIX Association, to:

  OpenAFS Fund
  USENIX Association
  2560 Ninth St., Suite 215
  Berkeley, CA 94710

Your contribution may be tax-deductible as allowed by law under IRS Code
Section 501(c)(3). Check with your tax advisor to determine whether your
contribution is fully or partially tax-deductible.
[end quote]

OpenAFS itself does not exist as a legal corporate entity.  The OpenAFS
Elders represent the community as an unincorporated association.   There
are significant legal and financial hurdles that must be addressed
before an OpenAFS Foundation can be formed.   Most open source projects
do not have their own legal entity but work under an umbrella
organization.   OpenAFS is complicated because the IBM Public License
1.0 is unique and is in conflict with the requirements of many of the
umbrella orgs.  In addition, OpenAFS ships kernel drivers which
increasingly require digital signatures and umbrella orgs are loath to
be responsible for signing.  In addition, the licensing of the source
code itself is not as clean as one would like.  Not to mention the
trademark and protocol compatibility issues that IBM has never fully

Finally, running an organization requires money.  You need to pay for at
least a part time executive director, accountants, lawyers and possibly
insurance.  Then there really should be funding for the gatekeepers, the
system administration and web site management.  All things which up to
this point have been donated in kind but which have substantial costs.
A bare bones Foundation that does not but maintain the status quo will
cost a minimum of six figures and that does not begin to address the
development of new features or functionality.

Finally, any organization requires a business plan.  When I wrote the
plan for the MIT Kerberos Consortium the plan outlined seven years of
budgets and goals along with fund raising targets, how contributors
would benefit, and what the minimum financial commitments were for
formation, etc.

In 2008, the OpenAFS Elders and the community were working on a plan.
The announcement of the plan was made on 6 May 2008.


A follow up providing details was made on 24 Sept 2008:


The details are available at http://www.openafs.org/foundation.

After a year of work it was concluded that for a variety of reasons the
plan to incorporate could not move forward.  The reasoning was detailed
in an e-mail sent on 18 Aug 2009:


All of this information is publicly available.   The OpenAFS Elders have
continued to work with IBM on the trademark and other legal issues
without coming to a resolution sufficient to meet our needs.  Umbrella
organizations such as the Software Freedom Conservancy have continued to
discuss options with us but the legal issues are a significant challenge.=

The OpenAFS Elders continue to evaluate options for moving forward.  In
the meantime, if you would like to donate money, you can do so via the
Usenix Fund.  If you would like to donate code, you can do so via

Jeffrey Altman

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