KDE e.V. on the KDE League

There have been rumours recently about the financial situation of the KDE League, as well as criticism of its apparent inactivity. With KDE e.V., the KDE developers' organisational body which controls the KDE League, being recently resurrected, we will now be able to blow new life into the KDE League. [Ed: Matthias Kalle Dalheimer was recently elected a KDE e.V. board member and the KDE e.V. President.]

There has recently been gossip about the working and financial situation of
the KDE League. "News" sites with questionable reputation have run stories
about financial irregularities in the KDE League that entirely lack in
foundation. This journalistically irresponsible behavior is endangering the
reputation of both the KDE League as well as KDE e.V. and the KDE project as
a whole.

The Board of KDE e.V. has at this point and with the current knowledge
absolutely no reason to believe that there are any irregularities in the
bookkeeping of the KDE League. The Board of KDE e.V. does not believe it is
productive to disclose the books of the KDE League to the general public, but
is of course willing to authorize the KDE League to disclose the books to
elected KDE e.V. members (see below).

The Board of KDE e.V. acknowledges that the KDE League has been mostly
dysfunctional the last few months. This is partly due to lack of enthusiasm
on the part of the KDE League members, partly due to KDE e.V. having been
dysfunctional itself (since KDE e.V. has a huge influence in the KDE League,
it can, willingly or non-willingly, block the work of the KDE League).

The members of KDE e.V. are currently determining who will represent them on the Board of the KDE League so that a budget for the KDE League can be passed and the KDE League can take up its work again.


> I think you will be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is, and how clean the API is.

You could say the same things about GNOME/gtk, you know :-)

It's a wonder that the free software community has produced two great desktops.

By fault at Wed, 2002/10/09 - 5:00am

I disagree, I feel the GNOME/gtk API is splintered and messy but this is not a topic for this site.

By KDE User at Wed, 2002/10/09 - 5:00am

> but this is not a topic for this site.

Agreed. It's all about opinions, after all, KDE User.

By fault at Wed, 2002/10/09 - 5:00am

The heck with the money. I wish dre would just tell us what the KDE League has been doing the past two years to promote KDE. Or if it hasn't been doing anything, would he just tell us why. I think a good explanation would satisfy most of the people who are complaining. As long as he won't talk about that, it doesn't matter what he says on other topics like not-for-profit status, many people are going to be unhappy. But if he explained what the KDE League has been doing, that would settle for most people.

By Les Brunswick at Wed, 2002/10/09 - 5:00am

First and foremost,

I love KDE. It's a wonderful desktop, and genuinely filled with wonderful people.

I also have wanted to contribute (financially) to KDE since I'm not a programmer and can't really contribute code-wise.


Why haven't I?

Contribute to the KDE League? Hell no. Since its inception, I have never been educated on (a) what it does, (b) what it's purpose is, (c) what its plans are, and more importantly (d) what is has *done*.

Contribute to KDE e.V.? HOW? And I pose the same questions for KDE e.V. as I do for the KDE League (above).

I work hard for my money, and am fairly philanthropic when I can be. The American Red Cross, The American Cancer Society, The Dianne Fossey Foundation, the Democratic National Committee, and National Public Radio all get the majority of my donations each year.

For open source, I have (and do) contribute substantially to the Perl Foundation, dyndns.org, and to FreeBSD.

But why haven't I written one check to the KDE League or KDE e.V.? Because, unlike all the other organizations that I've mentioned above, neither of the two satisfies any of my criteria.

I'm not in the habit of willfully throwing my money away, and it doesn't matter is an organization is 501(c)(3) or not.

In my eyes, the KDE League is nothing more than a clique of KDE Developers who formed a group to raise money for themselves. Open your god-damned books if you want my money, damnit. I don't want to know a list of contributors, but an un-audited financial statement, done in accordance GAAP will more than suffice. I just want to make sure I'm not donating $500 to an organization that spends 80% of its revenue on the salaries for the freakin' board.


By Another KDE User at Wed, 2002/10/09 - 5:00am

Use http://www.kdeleague.org/contribute.php to contrib to KDE e.V (as well as the league).

By fault at Wed, 2002/10/09 - 5:00am

No question.

I work in the non-profit world, and we see a HUGE number of abuses in this area, the organizations with constant exuses usually turn out to have some ugly laundry.

They use their money to promote themselves, hire folks who work with them on other projects, subsidize offices they use for other business and the list goes on.

One sees these issues even with established groups like the United Way and the Red Cross.

The common excuse of privacy of our donors is also surprising, since anyone who has taken Accounting realizes you can disclose a basic set of financial statments without destroying donor confidentiality. It's even possible to file a form 990 which avoids exposing anyone, and a 990 is a lot more than anyone is asking.

Such a shame that KDE is associated with this type of crummy behavior.

By Anonymous at Wed, 2002/10/09 - 5:00am

I agree with you that we don't know what the KDE League and the KDE ev have done in the past, and that I wouldn't put my money in here to support KDE.

However, I completely disagree with you when you say:
"In my eyes, the KDE League is nothing more than a clique of KDE Developers who formed a group to raise money for themselves."

I don't think there are many KDE developers inside the KDE League. It seem to have been formed to provide a way of promoting KDE by very big companies. I dislike their lack of transparency on their actions, but they never pretented that they would be transparent. And more importantely, nobody ever asked _you_ to put money in.

Now the KDE ev seems to be shaping good. So if you want to support KDE financially, it looks like a right place to me.

By Philippe Fremy at Wed, 2002/10/09 - 5:00am

> In my eyes, the KDE League is nothing more than a clique of KDE Developers
> who formed a group to raise money for themselves.

Oh! This is an outrageous accuse and I have no respect for somebody throwing mud like this. The only KDE developers that are directly connected with the league are those appointed by the KDE e.V. (thus by the KDE community) to veto on the KDE League board about how KDE is promoted using League's material means.

The league was created at the initiative of KDE-connected businesses, in order to offer a practical way to promote KDE. There's nothing in there related to KDE development. The league's only role is to _promote_ KDE, nothing more. No sponsorship for development, no luxury jets or cars for onerous developers, nothing else than PR!

I personally don't care if you contribute to KDE with code, money, sheer friendship or you don't. I don't even care if you hate KDE as a concept. But you have no right in this world to throw mud at me.

Sheesh! This world is so full of crap!

By Inorog at Wed, 2002/10/09 - 5:00am

If KDE League is all about promotion and has done no wrongdoing, why is it so hard for them to disclose what they've spent the money on? That can be done without disclosing who the donors of that money are. Why, when asked about it, does the KDE League basically come out with a "no comment"? If they aren't paying large amounts to executives, then what part of your expenses can't be exposed? Even a hint as to why things must be kept secret would be nice. If all of the money really did go to promotion of KDE (through pamphlets, events, booths, etc), then just say so instead of saying "none of your business".

Since most people don't even know what the KDE League does, it would be a positive PR move to educate the community about what the League really does. The mud flinging and bad PR articles would disappear really fast if there was nothing left to speculate about. To most people right now, it appears that the only publicity the League has done for KDE is through their mention in the Linux and Main articles (and no, any publicity isn't good publicity in this case). If the KDE League is really about good PR for KDE, then they'll do their job and fix this mess, whether the mess is their fault or not.

By anon at Wed, 2002/10/09 - 5:00am

There has been alot of talkas about what the League does and what it could do. I agree that we need more information regarding it's activities and plans for the future.

I think that besides promoting KDE in trade-shows and the like, couldn't the League actually sponsor KDE-developers financially? Take for example Mosfet. He had to cut down his work on Linux because he needs a job that pays his bills. What if League sponsored him (and other developers) so that he could work on KDE full-time?

By Janne at Wed, 2002/10/09 - 5:00am

I doubt there is enough money to pay developers. And Mosfet is the most unsteady one.

By Anonymous at Thu, 2002/10/10 - 5:00am

Well if the kde league was supposed to get good press for kde, and only succeeded in getting bad press for itself, it certainly has been a failure. The PR situation for KDE is rather disastrous at the moment. apps.kde.org has been down for a long time. linuxtoday no longer reports kde apps, only gnome apps.
KDE for all practical purposes just lost one distribution, Redhat. They cannot come out and say outright that they are dropping kde because they have too many customers using it, but the purpose is completely clear, witness that the only KDE-developer they had left in protest.

By Erik K. Pedersen at Wed, 2002/10/09 - 5:00am

Red Hat HASN'T dropped KDE and it's NOT their intention nor is it in their interest to do so. OSNews.com have some pretty good articles about this. IIRC Havoc Pennington also explained on people.redhat.com why they made the changes they made to KDE.
Sure they made really dumb mistakes, but they are not out to get KDE.
In my mind, they do a better job with KDE than SuSE and Mandrake do with Gnome.

By Fabrice Colin at Wed, 2002/10/09 - 5:00am

These "sites with questionable reputation" have made the following points, that are not being addressed by the above statement:

- the KDE League is legally non-existent because it has missed to pay some fee

- the KDE League as a non-profit organziation seems to be obliged by law to open their books to ANYONE who wants to have insight. (additionally, there seems to be no legal difference between "non-profit" or "not-for-profit"!)

Could anyone with credibility please make a final statement on that?

At last, my personal question:
During the period of "dysfunctionality", has any of the League's money been spent?

Best regards,

By Heiko Stoermer at Wed, 2002/10/09 - 5:00am

See Dre's responce where he addresses (and generally settles/appropriately dismisses) all of these:


By Scott Wheeler at Wed, 2002/10/09 - 5:00am

Do I have credibility? I don't know.

But, there are no laws broken.

I do have some experience as I was treasurer of a small 501(c)(3) corporation for 3 years.

If you are a non-profit corporation in Arizona, you need to fill out a one page form and send them (then) $10.00 each year.

It is my understanding that it is similar with Deleware. This isn't a big deal and they had already filed it (late). When this was cleared up, their status as a corporation was restored.

There is no proper legal definitions for: "non-profit" and "not-for-profit" but there is a clear difference between "non-profit" and "tax-exempt".

A ordinary (non-tax-exempt) non-profit coproration is about the same as a for-profit corporation except that they were not organized for the purpose of making a profit to be distributed to their shareholders. They have no reporting requirements other than as stated above and they must pay State and Federal corporation tax.

Then there are tax-exempt corporations that qualify under IRS 501(c). Such corporations are exempt from State and Federal taxes except for tax on "unrelated business income".

The other reporting requirements apply only to tax-exempt non-profit corporations.

In addition, 501(c)(3) corporations (like the Free Sofware Foundation) are considered to be "public charities". Contributions to such corporations are tax deductible. They must provide financial information which is publicly available.

But, since the KDE League is not tax-exempt they have the same public reporting requirements as a for-profit closed corporation. Which is NONE.

There is one small question that I don't know the answer to. Is the anual filing with the State public information?


By James Richard Tyrer at Thu, 2002/10/10 - 5:00am

please sent me these articles

By Rob Cradle at Fri, 2003/03/07 - 6:00am

It's true what Erik K. Pedersen says. To the outside world it looks like things are coming appart here, Redhat is following the same old trick of software firms .... Embrace, extend, extinguish in order to make crappy Gnome the dominant desktop.

One thing that I've got to say is that linuxandmain.com is a pile of shit ....
they hardly scratch themselves to put up a story unless it's one that's badmouthing KDE.

It's funny the way people react though, everyone would prefer to sulk and bitch
rather than take the initiative ... Why don't we create Redhat rpms that work
the way KDE is supposed to ! Give Redhat the 2 fingered salute that the wholeheartedly deserve and stop KDE from being a second class citizen !!!!!

Kindest Regards


By bryan at Wed, 2002/10/09 - 5:00am

This whole controversy du'jour is getting out of control. People are trying to build ski-slopes on molehills. Fact: KDE League appears to be dysfunctional. So what? They don't have any of your or my money. Fact: KDE League was late in one filing. So what? I was one day late with my electric bill yesterday.

By David Johnson at Wed, 2002/10/09 - 5:00am

Not so! The KDE League has funneled money to its dysfunctional organization. Now if The KDE League didn't exist, that money would have flown into the KDE Project by setting up something like the GNOME Foundation. The GNOME Foundation has transparent discussions and decisions, and has elected officials. It also arguably enriches GNOME by having an area where major contributors to GNOME can meet and work towards similar goals for the project. KDE needs an organization like this. Not one that takes thousands of dollars away from developers of KDE.

By chris felton at Thu, 2002/10/10 - 5:00am

I demand you publish the books of the GNOME foundation immediately. I call your bluff. The GNOME foundation discussion is nothing but a bunch of crock, you won't have me believe this is really what happens there? Have you even read those "discussions"? I didn't think so. You have a selective memory as to how the KDE League spent the money, the KDE developers don't.

By ac at Thu, 2002/10/10 - 5:00am

Why don't you. Quote from GNOME Foundation

"Love GNOME? Want to give back to the community of mostly volunteer developers who have worked so hard to make GNOME the powerful, flexible, friendly, fun desktop that it is? Don't miss out on this unique opportunity to be part of GNOME. Becoming a Friend of GNOME is easy.

Become a Friend of GNOME. Your donation goes to the GNOME Foundation, helping provide development, education and promotion for GNOME worldwide. Events such as the GNOME Summit are supported through the generosity of our Friends of GNOME.

GNOME Foundation is a tax-exempt, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and all donations are tax-deductible in the USA"

By chris felton at Fri, 2002/10/11 - 5:00am

> The GNOME foundation discussion is nothing but a bunch of crock, you won't have me believe this is really what happens there?

I don't think so-- the GNOME foundation has worked pretty well for it's lifetime.

But anyways, the grandparent poster was wrong; a gnome foundation for KDE would probably not be a good thing. KDE is much more decentralized than that, and it works well. GNOME has a steering committee in the GNOME foundation, and it works well for them.

The grandparent poster was also wrong in comparing the KDE league with the GNOME foundation. The GNOME Foundation pretty much works as a controller of GNOME _and_ the equivalent of KDE e.V. The KDE league, on the other hand, is mostly a buisness league and has no buisness (heh) in the development of KDE itself. Most discussions in the KDE League would be about finance related issues, while most discussions in the GNOME Foundation are about development and the direction where GNOME is going (read the minutes of the GNOME Foundation).

Anyways, I was a doubter about the effectiveness of the KDE league up until a few days ago. It _has_ done many things, and although somewhat inactive the last few months, is still important. It could, however, issue more press releases about what it's actually doing. Shameless self-promotion is never bad for corporations; it might even get the league more sponsors.

By fault at Fri, 2002/10/11 - 5:00am

The KDE League bylaws http://www.kdeleague.org/bylaws.php clearly state that it is a nonprofit, and the article makes the case that it is not a 501(c)(3) organization. Is it, then, a 501(c)(6) organization (a business league)?

If so, there are, indeed, public disclosure requirements imposed by the IRS. See http://www.irs.gov/charities/article/0,,id=96103,00.html and read the last paragraph. Yes, this page applies to all nonprofits, including business leagues, as http://www.irs.gov/charities/business/index.html makes clear. If, in fact, the KDE League is a "business league", Dennis Powell (no matter how much of a jerk you or I might think he is, and believe me, I'm not a fan) was within his legal rights to ask for disclosures. He is not be entitled to the full books, but he is entitled to "the last three annual information returns".

If the KDE league is not a 501(c)(6) either, then I don't see how it can be a legal nonprofit at all, in which case they owe Delaware filing fees that haven't been paid.

You can't just say that you're an ordinary corporation that doesn't expect to make money. With such a status you have to pay filing fees to the state of Delaware, and Delaware is now saying that the league doesn't owe them. So which is it? Either KDE League has to pay Delaware or they have to give Dennis Powell their annual information report. One or the other.

If I'm wrong, then it must be the case that the KDE League has some alternate legal status that I'm not familiar with. If so, what is it?

I'm not saying this to attack KDE. KDE and the KDE League are distinct entities, and I'm not seeing any evidence that the KDE League is serving the interests of KDE's developers or users. Any responses should leave the personality or beliefs of Dennis Powell out, as they are irrelevant.

By Sir Bard at Thu, 2002/10/10 - 5:00am

It has been cleared, read slashdot. DEP is pretty humiliated right now! :-))

By Anonymous at Fri, 2002/10/11 - 5:00am

It's far from clear.

By Anonymous at Tue, 2002/10/15 - 5:00am