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PaySwarm-based Debian donations (was: Re: KickStarter for Debian packages)

Thanks to everyone that has participated in the discussion thus far. :)
I think there have been a number of solid concerns and issues raised,
which I'm going to try and wrap into a proposal below.

I think it might help simplify the donations goal by framing it in the
following way:

Ultimately, where to send a donation is the decision of the person or
organization doing the donation (the benefactor).

Package maintainers, software developers, and project organizations can
lobby for where they'd like to see the money go, but it's the benefactor
that decides where they'd like to send the money in the end. Given that
premise, all a package maintainer, software developer, or organization
can do is make suggestions to the benefactor.

Let's assume that there is a file named DONATE that is included with
source distributions of Free Software. Its use is analogous to a README.
A DONATE file lists a PaySwarm-compatible list of financial accounts
(and percentages associated with each account) that should be the target
of donations to the particular software project.

This file can also be included in the debian/ subdirectory. When placed
in that directory, it lists donations that the package maintainers feel
should be performed on top of the upstream authors' DONATE file (if it

Finally, this file can also be included in the /etc/ directory (or maybe
/etc/donate.conf?) to specify a list of donations that the distribution
feels should be performed on top of all other donations.

The files are composed together to suggest where donations should go to
the sender. They are composed in this order:

1. Upstream project's DONATE file.
2. Package maintainers DONATE file.
3. System's DONATE file.

So, when a benefactor types 'apt-donate apache2 $5', assuming 90% goes
to ASF and 10% goes to Debian, they are provided with the following

Of your $5 donation:
  1. $4.50 will go to the Apache Software Foundation
  2. $0.50 will go to the Debian Project

If you would like to adjust the amounts, enter the number beside the
amount that you'd like to adjust.

Do these amounts look good to you? (y/n)

At this point, the benefactor can modify amounts or choose not to
perform the donation at all.

Things that are currently not provided in the proposal:

1. The format of the DONATE file.
2. How these DONATE files are installed onto the system, or
   discovered by apt-donate.
3. Whether or not these files should specify "for-hire" or
   "bounty board" URLs.

This proposal attempts to address a number of concerns raised related to
package maintainers having a variety of differing opinions on how we
should handle donations. After reading through the proposal above, are
there any issues or concerns that remain as a high to moderate risk?

-- manu

Manu Sporny (skype: msporny, twitter: manusporny, G+: +Manu Sporny)
Founder/CEO - Digital Bazaar, Inc.
blog: Meritora - Web payments commercial launch

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