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Re: LGPL module linked with a GPL lib

I wrote:
> ....  There's a lot of money to be made in this
> area (although it's a pretty hard life if you have close friends and
> like your home); and if RMS had a way of laundering the money ("don't
> give it to me; but donate to the FSF if you like") so as to appear
> saintly, he wouldn't be the first.

If there's any "laundering" going on (hmm, I picked an explosive word,
didn't I?), that's not how it's done.  I took a quick look at the most
recent IRS Form 990 I could find for them (fiscal year ending Sep
2003).  Apparently no director (those two included) receives any pay,
only one person (the Director of Communications) is paid more than
$50K, and there isn't room to hide much of a back-door in the numbers
the CPA signed off on ($631K expenses excluding COGS, $346K of which
is salaries and the rest of which is accounted for to my
unqualified-because-I'm-no-accountant-either satisfaction).  Without
going to the trouble of more than spot-checking prior years' reports,
I'm inclined to say that the FSF per se is fiscally clean (insofar as
"donation" is really the right word for some of those non-sale

Sidetrack:  It's very interesting to see that donations doubled to
almost $400K in the 1998-1999 fiscal year, without cutting into
product sales; but then the revenue mix shifted abruptly towards
donations in fiscal 2000 -- a one-year spike, perhaps (I'm guessing)
composed of corporate "donations" related to the KDE/GNOME brouhaha. 
Fiscal 2001 (Oct 2001 - Sep 2002) was a hard year for the FSF, as it
was for almost all US non-profits; but unlike many, the FSF seems to
have rebounded nicely.  Good for them.

On the other hand, no speaker fees appear in the FSF's fiscal 2003
revenues (unless they're inside the $584K in donations or $243K in
product sales) -- maybe they go through some other non-profit instead
-- and any money received directly by Mr. Moglen from the likes of
Vidomi and Fluendo in his capacity as an attorney would be off the
FSF's books.  Something pays Mr. Stallman's rent, and I'd be pretty
surprised if a 1990 MacArthur (nominally given in his capacity as
President of the League for Programming Freedom) stretches that far. 
My skepticism remains less than completely cured.

I'm not an investigative journalist, I'm not out to do a hatchet job
on the FSF or the individuals involved, and I don't really care how
they make their money unless there's something genuinely extortionate
about it (for which I have no evidence).  There are a lot of things
about RMS and the FSF that I respect and, with reservations, even
admire.  But I repeat that, if you want to know what actual law
applies to the GPL, uncorroborated assertions by heavily interested
parties are probably not a reliable indicator.

- Michael

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