It has taken a while for the paperwork and stuff to work through, and I’m sure people who followed the discussion on our mailing lists will have almost entirely forgotten about this by now – but today’s big news is that Bongo is now officially a member of the Software Freedom Conservancy. This is strangely exciting – it’s another step forward for our project which re-affirms our commitment to what we’re trying to achieve.

Being part of the Conservancy will make it clearer to everyone that we’re dedicated to a free software stack. Indeed, if we did anything non-free, we would probably get thrown out, since it would jepardise the tax status of the overall organisation.

We’re also going to be under the same umbrella as some seriously cool free software projects: Samba are a well known member, but the related OpenChange project (attempting to implement the Microsoft MAPI mail APIs) is also there – and the Conservancy strongly encourages its member projects to interact and help each other.

In terms of what you can expect from the project and how it operates, basically nothing will change: it puts our project on some kind of official legal footing, being part of a US 501©(3) organisation, but the project will continue to operate as it has done. Pat Felt and I are the contacts with the SFC itself, but that is really an administrative thing.

It does mean that we can accept tax-deductible donations from Americans now. At some point, I will set up a donations link on the website, which will allow any one to send some money our way. I’m not under much illusion that we’ll be getting much any time soon, but it will be interesting to see what happens. Having a little money about would actually help a great deal – for example, membership of standards organisations like CalConnect (who run a CalDav interoperability workshop each year) would cost Bongo a minimum of $2500 annually. Realistically, if we wanted to send developers to a workshop, we’d actually be talking about double that or more. Getting sponsorship for that is well within the realms of possibility, and that’s the kind of thing I see us spending money on.

If you have any other questions about our membership of the Conservancy, please drop me a line either privately or on the lists.