Saturday, September 19, 2009

Open Source Accounting

An entry over at linux magazine discusses some of the financial side of the Gnome and KDE open source projects and how both organizations might be spending their money.  It, for myself, is interesting to think about because not very often is the financial side of big open source projects considered.  I say big open source projects because the smaller projects generally don't have a financial side to them.  In fact, many large open source projects do not have a financial backing.  Does this mean they are of lower quality than the projects who put money where their mouth is?  I think not.  They are just different.  Besides, for most end users of most open source projects, the financial situation of the project is of little to no importance.  The software is free.

Another notable aspect of Gnome and KDE specifying where their money comes from is that most people don't care who the big corporate sponsors of the project are.  And, even the ones who do care, the acquisition of such insight is unlikely to influence them positively toward the project.  Big open source projects should advertise the fact that the smaller contributions of users are what matter.  They are more influential toward other users making a similar small donation.  I think both Gnome and KDE do a good job of this.