We are having an interesting discussion on Twitter with @danrabbit about how payments are handled with ElementaryOS.
Personally, I think it is wonderful that the ElementaryOS folks are soliciting money to help support their work, but in exchange for that, I would expect a report of how the money is used. @danrabbit assures us that this money is being used to pay developers.
I asked if they could produce a report and there is some reticence towards providing it for fear that it will result in and outlash from some Open Source folks. My view is that if you don’t provide the report, you may get an outlash anyway.
@danrabbit’s response to this is that these not donations, but that people are buying a product, thus a report is not required.
I am not sure I buy this: ElementaryOS is an Open Source project that can downloaded for $0. It is not clear to me that this is a product being sold by a company and that the product goes towards company resources. This is, however, a fine line: I get @danrabbit’s point about not getting distracted by line-item details in a report, but I feel like Elementary folks would like more transparency than this.
I was curious to solicit thoughts, and invite @danrabbit to discuss this too: Twitter was too low bandwidth to have a good discussion.
Before we get started, I want to be clear about something: I am not questioning the integrity of the ElementaryOS folks at all. I genuinely believe the money is being used for the right purposes: I just worry that fewer people will donate if it feels it is going into a black hole without transparent reporting.