Health of the Development Community

Good License and Legal Requirements Choices

Obviously, code that's not under a license that is both OSI approved and is not approved by FSF as a Free Software license is completely useless to us.

It would also be quite preferable if the code were under a a license that FSF has determined is GPL-compatible, so that code from GPL'd projects can be easily shared and GPL'd applications can be built on top of anything we build. Code not under a GPL-compatible license would face a high burden (i.e., the code would really have to be absolutely wonderful in all other respects) to dictate such a license choice.

If the project has a CLA other than inbound=outbound, or has copyright assignment, the beneficiary has to be a 501(c)(3) non-profit, as non-profit contributors may not be legally permitted to give away code assets to a for-profit entity or an entity with a different tax status.

Even for 501(c)(3)'s requesting a CLA or copyright assignment, there would need to be a confirmation that the missions of the orgs were sufficiently aligned.

Given that the project is going to solicit support and contributions from 501(c)(3)'s, this issue is particularly important.

Developer Documentation and Community

The right choice has to have an accessible codebase. Since no accounting package yet deals with the issues specific to non-profit organizations, this project will have to focus on bringing developers to the new project.

As such, the codebase needs to be accessible. Communication with the core developers should be possible and interactive. The project should be willing to accept new contributors who might want to make substantial changes to the codebase.

A project with just one or two active developers, or where all the current developers appear to be employed by one company, has serious community health issues. Building a community around such a codebase is an uphill battle. If we build on such a project, we should be prepared to become the maintainer of the project if we have to, since the company or few individuals could move on with short notice.