[OpenAFS] Re: [OpenAFS-devel] An open letter from the OpenAFS Council of Elders

Jason Edgecombe jason@rampaginggeek.com
Sun, 11 May 2008 14:40:19 -0400

Rodney M. Dyer wrote:
> At 11:42 AM 5/11/2008, Esther Filderman wrote:
>> There have been mechanisms in the past to directly fund OpenAFS; the
>> AFS & Kerberos Best Practices Workshop raises money for OpenAFS, and
>> there is a fund through Usenix, to take advantage of it being a 501c3.
>> As it's own 501c3 corporation OpenAFS would be able to accept
>> donations without a third party, something that would probably make it
>> easier -- and more comfortable -- for many sites to do.  Additionally,
>> there are resources that neither company can always directly provide,
>> especially things like hardware.
> I have personally donated to OpenAFS, but quite simply, as I am not 
> independently wealthy, my donation isn't worth more than a few hours 
> of consulting.  My point was that if any IT shops are like ours, we 
> can't just "donate" money.  Especially as a state funded institution, 
> we can only "buy" products or services that fulfill our needs.  When 
> it comes to OpenAFS consulting, we actually need to create a 
> justification.  OpenAFS, as open source software, is competing against 
> commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) software, the traditional "cost" in IT 
> computing.  Maintenance contracts are typically purchased with the 
> COTS software which is implied justification.  Consulting costs are 
> much easier to push through purchasing channels in most companies than 
> donations.
I think there is a subtle but important difference in the two cases 

1. There are some sites that want maintenance or support contracts, but 
others may want to have support contracts for the support and to help 
OpenAFS. Some of these sites, as Rodney described, cannot make donations 
for the sake of donating.
2. There are other organizations like google that can and do give 
straight donations. This is the case where the OpenAFS consortium would 
make things easier.

For support and maintenance contracts, I would think that sites would 
continue to contract directly with Secure Endpoints, Sine Nomine, or 
someone else, unless the contracts were too big and needed the OpenAFS 
non-profit to sign the contract and subcontract the work to both Sine 
Nomine & Secure Endpoints.

In addition to donations, the non-profit would also help as a central 
place to consolidate shared resources like hard
ware, the website, and trademarks. This saves individuals from taking 
the burden on themselves of hosting these resources.