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Open Source R&D Tax Credit?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the never-get-past-the-lobyists dept.


Dan writes "The Center for American Progress is proposing an R&D tax credit for open source development." From the article: "Subsidizing open source software development can also be justified on grounds of economic efficiency. Open source software development enhances the ability of other developers to create new products. It also enhances the development and dissemination of knowledge and ideas more broadly. Since the benefits to the broader software development community and the economy as a whole go well beyond the users of an individual software product, a policy that subsidizes open source development would increase economic efficiency."

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How appropriate (-1, Redundant)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960362)

Nothing for you to see here. Please move along.

There's your credit! :P

Re:How appropriate (-1, Troll)

Ziegenpeter (962467) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960462)

There's your credit! :P

And here's your debit! []

Re:How appropriate (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14960707)

Can somebody friggin' fix slashdot so I never have to see another post like this again?!?!?! It's getting god-damned irritating. Every moron who sees this has to make a "how appropriate!" comment like their the first to ever think of the concept.

Built In Tax Break (5, Funny)

rtb144 (456739) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960369)

Most open source software comes with a built-in tax break. No income, no income tax.

Free (barter) transactions are taxable as well! (-1, Troll)

Ziegenpeter (962467) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960508)

Most open source software comes with a built-in tax break. No income, no income tax.

I know this was intended as a joke, but this is not stricly true. Barter transaction are taxable [] . What happens is that the IRS will "estimate" the value of the service rendered or good manufactured, and tax both parties of the barter exchange on that. However, in most normal circumstances ("you fix my computer, and I give you a case of beer"), the value involved is far too small for the IRS to bother.

Re:Free (barter) transactions are taxable as well! (1)

wish bot (265150) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960543)

That's interesting actually - I wonder how much this security patch I've written for a server program that just happens to run...ohhh...60% of the web is worth =)

I wonder is the IRS views unpaid open-source web development as a type of barter?

Re:Free (barter) transactions are taxable as well! (1)

ajwitte (849122) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960651)

Probably not, unless you receive goods and/or services as a direct result of your contributions.

Barter vs. Volunteer (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960849)

While, FOSS would likely be considered 'volunteer' work, what about watching comercials. We have been told be media barons that skipping comercials is stealing because we have implicitly agreed to watch the comercials in exchange for content. If that is true, then the IRS should be going after the media barons for not paying taxes on the millions (billions?) of dollars worth barter they have had with the viewers.

Re:Free (barter) transactions are taxable as well! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14960863)

They do in my country for all industries I can think of, but I have not seen it for OSS development (yet). As a minimum, sales tax is rendered, but the value of the service is added as taxable income as well. With a tax rate approaching 50% and a sales tax rate of 25% this quickly adds up to big bucks.

However, if you are an amateur who don't know what you are doing, you don't have to worry about tax.

OSS people should be exceptionally pleased that there has not been taxes levied on development work. Proposing a tax break in such a situation is not particuarly smart.


Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14960724)

Contains a goatse link.


ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960777)

Yes, indeed. GP is talking out of his ass!

Funny though that it got moderated up as Informative...

Re:Free (barter) transactions are taxable as well! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14960824)

In many countries, the barter part is only applicable if the service is rendered by someone who is doing this in some professional capacity. Thus, if OSS development is purely done by amateurs with limited knowledge who don't make a living out of coding, that would be OK in my country tax-wise.

Now, if OSS development is done by qualified specialists who make a living coding, the whole tax-break article should be reversed. Any plumber working for free for his neighbour or children's school is performing an act og barter which is taxable even though no cash changes hands.

Re:Built In Tax Break (3, Insightful)

steelfood (895457) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960564)

This would probably be for developers who work other jobs on the side (like college students who have high-paying campus jobs), people who develop OSS for a living (e.g. people working at the Mozilla foundation), OSS authors who accept donations, or companies who develop or contribute to OSS (e.g. Redhat, IBM, and now Sun).

That having been said, there are a lot of issues with such a tax break. For example, what are the qualification criteria? Significant contribution? Lead developer? Credited developer? Also, what are the criteria for something to constitute as OSS? Non-viral licensing? Compiled/interpreted language? What about markup languages? Or things that are not code but are released under a creative commons license? What about patented methods where the patent holder is also the lead developer? Finally, while slightly easier to define than the above since there are already precedents set, what constitutes development costs?

Its been thought of (4, Informative)

akb (39826) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960379) []

Notice Al Gore was VP when this proposal was made.

Re:Its been thought of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14960417)

Notice Al Gore was VP when this proposal was made.

I know, your remark was meant tongue in cheek, but Al Gore never claimed that he invented the internet.

Thorough debunking of that UL here! []

You can already get tax breaks (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 8 years ago | (#14961218)

Here's how: Get an organisation to set up as a charity that wants some softwae developed. Programmers write code and donate this to the charity. The charity then gives the programmer a receipt for a charitable donation which can be used at tax time.

If Clinton could claim for the used underpants he gave away, why should programmers not get a break too?

Center for American Progress (2, Funny)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960392)

Center for American Progress

Where is the center of American progress? The president says the front of it is in Baghdad.

Re:Center for American Progress (4, Funny)

MAXOMENOS (9802) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960411)

Well, the center of it is probably somewhere over the ocean, since the ass-end is in the White House.

Re:Center for American Progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14960662)

You were doing good until you linked to dailykos. You might as well change your name to Loony McGroupthink.

We'll be RICH! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14960395)

Sounds a little too reasonable if you ask me..

Oh. I see, this wasn't proposed by the government.
Lets see more tax credits for relocating heavy industry to the moon. []

The upside is unlimited!

Donations (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14960399)

I don't know much about corporate tax law, but this is something I keep wondering about: Let's say you develop an open source application. Now let's say you donate the copyright to the FSF under the condition it be GPLed. That code is still of at least some worth to you, because you have GPL rights to it. But, legally you have just donated the code, a thing of worth, to the FSF, a nonprofit organization. Does this count as a deductable charitable donation?

Re:Donations (3, Insightful)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960953)

I'm quite sure it is. No one talks about it, but I'm pretty sure that IBM is writing off the cost of developing products like Cloudscape when they donate them to the Apache Group. Suddenly your millions of dollars of wasted revenue becomes a tax writeoff. It's brilliant. Corporate benevolance is almost always related to decreasing tax liability. See also Employee Stock Options.

Seems odd... (2, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960414)

I thought there were glorious financial advantages to open-source development? Seems odd that we need taxpayers to subsidize what is so obviously in people's economic self-interest in the first place.

Re:Seems odd... (2, Insightful)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960499)

Well a tax credit for products that will be freely available and better stimulate business and government growth could actually encourage lawmakers to put open source projects and applications at the forefront of adoption in schools, universities, government and military IT departments.

After all, if they are giving a tax credit, it would encourage them to adopt it to get their money out of it.

Re:Seems odd... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14960568)

R&D is what it is. Whatever you do with it, whoever paid for it, if it fits the guidelines for any tax deductions, there is no reason that the fact that it is Open would change anything. Now, of course, don't expect kickbacks for work performed freely. Unless it be charity work I guess, but R&D for a charity would probably be difficult to justify in any case. Now there is no reason why the Mozilla Foundation wouldn't fund research in Bayesian Filtering, for example, and be able to get tax credits for it.

If anyone can put those guidelines (for whatever country you come from), that would be quite helpful. Here is an excerpt for Canada's small businesses:

Will my company's work qualify?

If you are a Canadian small business that develops new or improved materials, products, or processes in Canada, you may be eligible to receive refunds for SR&ED if:

you have to try to overcome one or more technological problems;
you have to conduct trials, experiments, or analyses to solve these problems;
you required experience or technologies not commonly available to your company to solve these problems; and your work will result in a technological advancement. Even if your attempts prove unsuccessful, you may still qualify.
You also have to demonstrate that the work was done. You can use reports, models, prototypes, test results, logbooks, or photographs to help support your claim.

What expenditures qualify?

You can claim many of the costs incurred for SR&ED during your fiscal year. These costs may include:

wages for staff doing the SR&ED work
costs of materials used in performing SR&ED
costs of new machinery and equipment purchased for SR&ED
costs of SR&ED contracted out
lease costs (excluding building leases, or rent)
third-party payments to organizations such as universities and colleges certain overhead costs related to SR&ED, or a proxy for these costs
Some work does not qualify, such as market research, research in humanities or social sciences, quality control and work done outside of Canada.

Even though the US tax code is 400 times larger than the canadian one, things should be relatively similar

Advantages for whom? (2, Insightful)

AlpineR (32307) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960642)

"Seems odd that we need taxpayers to subsidize what is so obviously in people's economic self-interest in the first place."
Huh? Open source software benefits the users, but it's still a drain on the resources of the individual who writes it. The writer might gain from having others contribute to his project, but users who neither write nor contribute have the best cost-benefit ratio.

Taxpayers subsidize work precisely because it benefits them. Patents are granted because we all gain from the disclosure of inventions. Copyrights are granted because we want to encourage the creation of art and knowledge. Research is funded because it leads to economic growth.

If open source software is an economic benefit for the nation, then it could be a good investment to encourage its production. The wisdom of the investment remains even if some writers are profiting already.

Note that the proposal allows deductions only for expenses (hardware, services) and not for the writer's time and effort. In my open source work, my contribution in time is far more valuable than my expenses so there would be little impact. My motivations are altruism and the improvement of my tools from the attention of many eyes.


Re:Seems odd... (1)

MSG (12810) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960809)

Taxpayers are already subsidizing commercial developers. This proposal is intended merely to extend the same benefits to individual developers.

Re:Seems odd... (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14961248)

Huh? Taxpayers subsidize commercial software -- business expenses are tax-deduxtible, as long as they are related to some source of revenue. All this would do is even the playing field for open-source software development, whose expenses are not tax deductible since there are no direct revenues.

A current way to deduct expenses relating to F/OSS is to produce it as part of a 501(c)3, which is not easy to qualify for, set up, or maintain the status of if you're doing F/OSS development in your spare time without direct contributors to maintain your funding and spending levels for charity.

To directly address your comment, F/OSS is not in people's direct self-interest if they have a competitive disadvantage of having their expenses raised 15-50% due to their taxable status.

Tax Credit? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960422)

Or tax shuffle? Never trust the government when they float the words 'tax credit'

not a subsidy (1, Insightful)

Kohath (38547) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960423)

A tax cut ("credit" in this case) is not a subsidy.

I also don't think we need the IRS to define whether a project is "open" or not.

Re:not a subsidy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14960469)

A tax cut ("credit" in this case) is not a subsidy.

Yes a tax credit is not a subsidy. But it is a "subsidy."

Profit!!! (0)

eviloverlordx (99809) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960440)

1. Get Open Source Tax money
2. Bribe Congress for more
3. ???
4. Profit!!!

Re:Profit!!! (3, Funny)

Firehed (942385) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960718)

Wait, give the congress money to convince them to give you money? Maybe both 3 and 4 should be "???" and profit gets bumped to step 5. Or maybe 3 should be 'WTFHAX?!1, ???' instead.

Re:Profit!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14960828)

You appear still to be posting with the same nonsensical sig [] . Do you not care that this exposes you as an idiot?

Great idea (1)

zpodcaster (951497) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960442)

Finally I see something from the accounting prospective that is justifiable. The government is using open source, why not give the developers a tax incentive? I think it's an excellent idea.

Great or not, it wouldn't fly (1)

WebCowboy (196209) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960833)

I think that tax incentives for open source development would be a great way for governments to "pay for" the open source software they use as well, but I think the pushback from closed software developers would be too much for such an idea to take hold.

Microsoft, either directly or through industry lobbyists, would argure that it represents an unfair subsidy of its competition. Yes, Microsoft would be able to participate in open source development to take advantage of the tax incentive just like everyone else, but MS wouldn't belabour that point. The big argument would be that Microsoft Research wouldn't be able to get tax breaks unless it distributed its source code the way the government tells it to do so, and that for the most part those distribution methods are incompatible with the MS business model.

I might (hopefully) be wrong, but I think this is one idea that'll die on the vine. If it does not, and such a tax break is implemented, count on it to define "open source" so broadly as to include any "source available" research projects, such as the "look but don't tough" MS Shared SOurce initiative, or even developers who only offer source code upon payment of a license fee and a signature on an iron-clad NDA. I suppose that would be better than nothing though.

Now the next hurdle to get over is the profound aversion to giving up tax revenue that most governments cannot seem to shake...

Re:Great idea (1)

Sqwubbsy (723014) | more than 8 years ago | (#14961112)

I think the last thing we need is another tax cut for the rich.

okay one more time today (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14960476)

Mark grabbed his substantial belly with both hands. Since his girlfriend Janey left for college, he'd promised himself to take ten pounds off his 260-pound frame, but it wasn't going so well. In fact, he'd actually put on weight since she left. He missed her, and in her absence found himself eating lots of "comfort food." He now struggled to button his jeans under his gut; he promised himself to go on a diet and lose some weight before he visited Janey at school.

Meanwhile, Janey sighed and looked at a picture of Mark on her bulletin board. How handsome he was, with a head of thick brown hair, intelligent eyes, and a tall frame. And he carried his weight so well, with a delicious belly and the beginnings of a double chin. At 260 pounds, he wasn't a small guy, but she still wished he were bigger, maybe 300...350...did she dare to dream of more?

She'd never told him how much she wanted him to put on even more weight, but she'd tried to get the message across. She gushed over how much she loved his body. She stroked his belly during lovemaking, saying how hot it was. At meals, she'd subtly encourage him to eat more: "Oh, you can't be full *yet*!" She'd say, urging him to clean his plate, or "I bet you can eat a *few* more," with a challenging glint in her eye. She'd talk about her favorite fat actors, emphasizing their sexiness. But he either didn't believe her, or didn't want to gain weight. She tried to give up the dream, but it never disappeared entirely.

Looking at the picture of Mark, Janey had an idea. She scanned it into her computer, then signed online. She found one of her favorite webpages, a gallery of pictures of enormously fat men. She downloaded a favorite shot into her photo program, of a man holding up his shirt to reveal his huge breasts, giant stomach, and love handles. She took the head from the Mark picture, and put it on the fat body. She made Mark's face more jowled, and added a third chin. There!

Janey surveyed the results, and felt herself grow warm. She'd done a good job, and it actually looked like her boyfriend had gained at least a hundred pounds. The idea of making love to *this* Mark, his blubber bouncing against her, made her incredibly hot. She masturbated right then and there, imagining how his rolls of fat would feel under her hands. She put the picture up as the wallpaper on her computer, so she could look at it anytime. Janey could hardly wait for Mark's visit in a couple weeks.

On the day he was to visit, Mark stepped on the scale, wincing. Every time he'd tried to diet, it had only made him hungrier, and his consumption of junk food had actually increased. He looked at the scale and groaned: 275. Great. She was going to take one look at his fat ass and lose all interest. Half his clothes didn't fit anymore, and the rest were straining at the seams. And they'd only been apart for two months!

Discouraged, Mark went into his bedroom and tore open a bag of chips. He munched away, and wondered what to do. He thought about his girlfriend, and it occurred to him that maybe she wouldn't notice. She'd put up with his extra poundage before, and sometimes he even thought...she *liked* it. But no, that's silly. How could she, he thought, unbuttoning his tight khakis for comfort. He reached for more chips, to find that he'd finished the bag. Oops, he thought, guiltily hiding the chip bag in the garbage.

Janey couldn't wait for Mark to get there. She kept looking out the window for his cab from the airport. She'd cleaned her room and stocked it with all sorts of goodies, and was wearing her prettiest lingerie under her sexiest dress. Finally, she saw him pull up, and ran to the door. "Sweetie!" She shouted, throwing her arms around him. "Come in, come in!"

Mark paid the cabbie and they went inside, climbing the stairs to her room. Janey noticed that Mark was breathing pretty hard just from walking up the stairs, which excited her. Maybe he'd gotten more sedentary after she left.

As the door closed, he grabbed her and kissed her. "Oh, I've missed you," he murmured into her hair. They embraced for a long, long moment, then she pulled back and held him at arm's length to look at him.He seemed to have put on a little weight, to her delight. He had a clear double chin, and the buttons on his shirt were straining.

"You look great," she said honestly. "I really missed you, too." Mark blushed, glad she hadn't said anything about his recent weight gain.

"I have a little problem, though," said Janey. Oh no, thought Mark, here it comes. She's disgusted by me.

"I have a lab right now, and I forgot all about it," she said apologetically. "There's a no-absence policy, and I have to go. Will you be okay here for a couple hours?"

He was so relieved she hadn't mentioned his weight, he smiled. "Yeah, it's no problem. But hurry back, my little student! We have lots of catching up to do!"

"Thanks," she said, and kissed him. Was it his imagination, or did she brush her hand over his stomach? Hmmm. "Make yourself at home, there's the TV, and there's lots of food in the mini-fridge." He wondered if that was a subtle dig, then chided himself for being obsessed with weight.

"I love you, bye!" He called as she sidled out the door. He went to the computer, figuring he'd check his e-mail. As it loaded up, he was astonished at the computer's wallpaper. It was a picture of him, but it was like looking in a funhouse mirror! He was triply chinned, and his meaty arms held up his shirt. What he was revealing was two enormous breasts, and a vast blubbery belly that hung far over his huge pants. He was so big that even his hips and butt were fat!

Mark sat back, bewildered. As he looked closer, he realized that she'd put his head on a different body, but why? She hadn't known about him putting on weight. And this version of himself would weigh at least 400 pounds! Mark tried to imagine himself that breathtakingly fat, and found the idea too strange to contemplate.

Mark considered more seriously the idea that maybe, just maybe, his girlfriend actually wanted him to get fatter. She *was* always baking and buying him treats, and trying to get him to eat more. She *did* rub his belly lovingly all the time, and say how much she loved his body, chubby though he was.

Janey was pretty shy about her fantasies, and this one was so strange, he could see why she never brought it up with him. But Mark had an idea of how to see if she wanted him to put on weight.

Mark turned off the computer, and turned on the T.V. He opened the mini-fridge, and pulled out some ice cream, some pudding cups, chocolate milk, and some leftover pizza. He located a spoon, and dug into the ice cream. Good thing he was hungry--he made short work of a pint of ice cream, three pudding cups, a carton of chocolate milk, and three pieces of pizza. His stomach ached, but he was willing to deal with a little pain for this experiment. He opened Janey's pantry, and was happy to see a box of Pop-Tarts and a bag of chips. He started in on those, eating much slower but still managing a bite every now and then. He left the empty containers by his feet, so she could see how much he'd eaten, and didn't bother to brush the crumbs off his distended stomach.

Janey hurried back from lab, anxious to see her Mark. She opened the door to her room, and her eyes widened at the sight: Mark sat on the bed, crunching a handful of chips. An astonishing number of empty food containers were laid neatly at his feet, and it looked as if he'd cleaned out her fridge AND pantry. The buttons on his shirt were hanging on for dear life over his bloated belly, which was covered with food crumbs. There was a smudge of chocolate on his cheek. He looked up at her and smiled, brushing his greasy hand on his pants.

"Hi, honey!" He said brightly. "Had a little *BURP* snack while you were gone." Here was the piece de resistance, he thought, and pushed his stomach out as far as it would go. Two buttons exploded off his shirt and his stomach peeked through.

Janey stared, openmouthed, her pussy growing warm and wet. Little snack? He'd eaten enough for three people, and he practically looked pregnant, with his stomach hanging over his waistband. It was so hot. " sure did," she said. She kneeled on the floor in front of him, and kissed him hard. Mmm, he tasted like sugar and salt. "You are SO HOT," she said, unbuttoning the rest of his shirt and laying him back on the bed.

"Be gentle," he warned, "I'm really full." She deftly removed his shirt without disturbing his belly, but his pants button was trapped under a roll of fat. He undid the pants and slid them off. She pulled off his boxers, and his erection popped out from under the big belly. She slipped out of her dress, and he sighed his approval at her lacy bra and panties. Then she took those off, and they had the hottest sex they'd ever experienced.

Janey was nearly frantic with desire. She kept moaning, "God, look at you, you're so hot," and running her hands over his belly. As she came, she grabbed his love handles and squeezed. "Aaaaugh!" She screamed, her eyes closed. It was such a sight, he came shortly thereafter. Afterward, they lay close together in her narrow bed and he figured he had his answer. Janey wanted him fat, really fat. And if it would improve their sex life this much, he was all for it.

Janey didn't say a word, but there was a clear difference in Mark during his visit that weekend. At meals, he ate without apology, and when he claimed to be full, she'd egg him on. "Surely you can eat just one more bite," she'd say, smiling sweetly. Instead of protesting as he would have before, Mark would just smile back, clean his plate, and then have dessert, too! Watching him ingest thousands of calories at each meal was so arousing, Janey and Mark did little other than eat and screw that weekend. It was wonderful.By the end, Mark was using two safety pins to hold his pants closed, since there was no chance of buttoning them.

Janey kissed him goodbye, savoring the feeling of his slightly-bigger gut between them. "This weekend was much too short, sweetie," she said regretfully. "I hope I get to see a lot more of you at Christmas!"

Mark wondered if she realized her pun. A lot *more* of him. He decided not to mention it. "Oh, definitely, babe," he promised as he got in the cab. "I love you!"

Janey walked back to her room, musing over the wonderful weekend. What had piqued Mark's appetite so much? She hoped he wouldn't lose weight at home, but she wouldn't be there to encourage him, either. Oh, well, she thought. It was nice to see him pigging out for a weekend, anyway. Maybe I can encourage him to keep it up over the phone, she thought.

As soon as Mark got home, he went shopping for food. As he piled his cart high with both food staples and fattening treats, he planned a sort of reverse diet. By Janey's Christmas break, he'd have broken 300 pounds, at least, he decided. And since he'd put on a couple pounds just that weekend, he could definitely do it. It was only October, and he had nine weeks.

He plunged headlong into a decadent lifestyle. Since he worked from home, it was easy. Three giant meals a day, and plentiful snacks. He worked mostly on computer, so he sat most of the time. He stopped his sporadic visits to the gym, and spent his evenings watching TV and snacking.

Occasionally, he'd go out for a meal with friends, but it got embarrassing as his appetite grew. "Dude, are you going out for sumo wrestling?" One of them asked him as he finished a huge steak and ordered a banana split. "Your girlfriend goes away, and you start packing on the pounds!" He went with another friend took him out to the movies, and he actually found it difficult to squeeze into a seat.

Janey noticed that every time she called, he seemed to be eating. "Sorry, hon," he'd say, "Just finishing up dinner."

"Oh, what'cha eating?" She'd say innocently, hoping it was fatty and decadent.

It was. "Oh, one of those family buckets from the fried chicken place," he'd say.

Family bucket! "Wow, you were hungry, huh?" She'd say, secretly thrilled. "That's good, don't want my strong man to waste away while I'm gone!"

"No chance of that, babe," he'd say, slapping his gut to watch it jiggle. "I'm going out for ice cream later." He could hear her breathe a little faster on the other end of the line, and smiled. He had weighed in at 285 that morning. She wouldn't know what hit her by Christmas.

He became a fantastic cook since he lived alone, creating huge feasts for himself, and alternating his own cooking with fast food and restaurants. He was such a quick study, he asked his mom what he could make for Thanksgiving that year (he always spent Thanksgiving with his family, three states away).

"Honey, you cook?" His mom said, astonished. "I never thought I'd see the day! Well, can you make pie?"

He laughed. Pie was one of his favorites, and he could eat more than one at a sitting. "I'll make a couple, Mom." Maybe he could use his newfound interest in cooking to explain his increased girth. It wouldn't be easy, last time he'd been at a family function he had weighed 260, and Thanksgiving morning he weighed in at 298. His pants size was increasing in leaps and bounds, and he found himself shopping for clothes almost as often as he did for food!

At Thanksgiving dinner, Mark tried to keep his dinner a normal size. He loved turkey with all the fixings, but didn't want to alarm people by taking thirds and fourths of everything. After everyone had gone off to watch football, Mark polished off most of the leftovers. He ate so much that he felt dizzy and had to go lay down.

As he lay in his old bedroom, unable to see over his huge belly, Mark imagined what Janey would have done if she were there, watching him eat slices of turkey, handfuls of mashed potatoes and stuffing, a dish of cranberry sauce, and nearly a whole pie with whipped cream. He imagined her spooning gravy into his mouth, cooing, "Oooh, just think how fat this'll make you! That belly's going to hang down to your *knees*!" The thought was so arousing that he masturbated, enjoying how his arm slapped against his fat stomach and made it quiver. Being fat was a great sensual pleasure, he thought, and drifted off to sleep.

The next morning he weighed himself, and lo and behold, 300 pounds. And it was only Thanksgiving! Just imagine what he could do by Christmas!

As he finished cooking breakfast, the phone rang. Janey, calling from her grandmother's house. "How are you, hon? I didn't wake you, did I?"

"No, babe, I've been awake for a while. But haven't had breakfast yet, so I can't talk too long--I'm STARVING!"

Janey paused. Then, coquettishly, "You can eat breakfast while you're on the phone, if you want. Just tell me what you're eating, so that I can pretend I'm with you, okay?"

"Sure, babe. Well, I'm starting off with cinnamon rolls and coffee..." They kept talking, he kept eating, and as they talked, he ate a plate of cinnamon rolls, a four-egg omelet, a pile of bacon, a bowl of fruit and cream, and several donuts. Of course, he only told Janey about the cinnamon rolls and the fruit...didn't want to give away the surprise!

Janey was thrilled, on her end of the phone. Mark had never been much of a breakfast-eater, and now he was eating something as rich as fruit and cream! Surely he could have put on a couple pounds while she was gone.

During the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Mark made his final preparations for Janey coming home. He bought her gifts (mostly online, because walking through the mall was too much exercise), bought himself some stylish "fat clothes," and bought a big water bed (no way he and Janey could both fit on his old one). And, he ATE.

It became a challenge to see how many calories he could take in and how few he could expend each day. He started having his gigantic grocery orders delivered to the house, as well as many of his meals. He found a way to mix 2,000-calorie weight-gain shake mix with several other ingredients to make something both tasty and *very* fattening. He'd started to get winded just getting out of his new waterbed in the morning, both due to his sedentary nature and his rapidly acquired extra poundage. Mark ate from morning to night--he'd spread an array of goodies around him where he sat working, and when those were gone, he'd make some more.

Finally, the day he'd waited for came--Janey called to say she was home and wanted to see him. He asked her to come over at 7:00 that night.

Janey wondered what he was planning, that he needed the extra time. She waited on pins and needles to see her handsome boyfriend all day. She did her hair, bought new lingerie, painted her nails, and put on a Christmas-red dress. Finally, she drove over to Mark's house, her heart pounding with joy.

When she got to Mark's there was a sign on the door that said, "Come in, Janey." The door was unlocked, so she did. The table was set for two, with candles and everything. The house smelled delicious. "Hello?" She called out.

"I'm in the bedroom, love!" Shouted Mark. "Just getting dressed!"

"Can I come back?" Janey called.

"Yeah, I need some help, anyway!" Mark called back.

Janey walked down the hall and opened Mark's door. Oh, wow. The whole thing was filled with candles, and Seal was on the stereo. As her eyes adjusted to the dimness, she gasped. "Oh my god, Mark."

He grinned. "It's the same thing I was wearing when I came to see you in October, but I'm having some trouble getting into it." Janey could see why. His face was much rounder, and he really did have three chins. The buttondown shirt barely allowed for his much-fatter upper arms, and the only button he could do up was the top one. Two fat breasts with big nipples pushed out throught the opening, and under that...oh, my. His stomach stretched out a couple feet in front of him, hanging down to his upper thighs. It was dimpled and jiggling. His rolls hung over the sides of his boxer shorts several inches. The pants couldn't even get all the way over his thighs and newly-flabby wide ass, not that it mattered. They were at least six inches away from buttoning. He pretended to struggle with the pants some more, and turned around so she could see that he'd ripped the seat out of his boxer shorts. He was sweating and panting with the effort of putting on these much-too-tight clothes. The effect was breathtaking.

As Janey stared, openmouthed, he smiled and walked over to the bedside table, where there was one piece of pizza left in a box that had at one time held a large pizza. He picked it up and began to eat. "Boy, that's hard work. I guess I've put on a few pounds since I wore these things last." He smiled to show that he was joking.

"Did you eat that whole pizza?" Janey squeaked. She just couldn't get over the wonder of her Mark, so gloriously fat.

"Baby, I can almost eat *two* whole pizzas," bragged Mark, grabbing one of his love handles and shaking it. His whole gut rippled in response.

Janey could take it no longer. She ripped off the comically small shirt to feast her eyes on that huge, gorgeous gut. She grabbed his breasts and squeezed. "Wow, these are amazing." Then she ran her hands over his massive torso. "But this is the best of all. Look at how FAT you are!" She made him take off the pants and boxers, and looked at him in all his naked, jiggling, stretch-marked glory.

"Oh, Mark, you are immense!" She said joyfully. She pressed herself up against his soft stomach, and they kissed insatiably. They fell back on the waterbed, and his whole form rippled in response to the mattress' motion. He tore off her clothes, and they had incredible sex. In the middle of it, with Janey on top, riding the waves of Mark's belly, he said, "Want me to be on top?"

Janey bit her lip and nodded. And with gravity pulling all his fat toward her, he looked even bigger. "You ready?" He said. As he entered her, and put his weight on her, she felt deliciously crushed. She could barely breathe under his new heaviness, which was incredibly exciting. She felt that tremendous gut, those flabby breasts, pressing on her. She tried to reach his butt with her hands, and couldn't get there.

She was in ecstasy. "Oh, Mark..." She whispered.

"Oh, I crushing you?" He panted.

"Ohhhhh, yes, with that huge, fat body! And I love it!" She screamed as she came. He came too, and rolled off her, so that she could breathe.

As she cuddled up to Mark's sweaty flab, Janey ran one hand idly over his belly.

"Do you like it?" Said Mark, knowing that she did.

"Oh, Mark, I love it! You're gorgeous! How big are you, anyway?" Said Janey, smiling.

Mark was excited to tell her. "322 pounds, as of this morning."

"Since October? How? Mark, that's 62 pounds!" She was astounded.

Mark thought. "Well, I put on 15 before I came to see you, 2 that weekend, and 45 after that."

"Were you trying to put on weight? I love it, but why?" Janey asked.

He looked at her pretty eyes. "I put on 15 without trying, and then when I saw the doctored picture of me on your computer I put two and two together..."

Janey blushed. "Oh my gosh! And you gained 45 pounds so that I'd find you more attractive?"

"Well, you have to admit, the fatter I get, the more of an animal you are in bed." He chuckled, and his fat rippled.

"You are gorgeously fat. But you know, you're still not as fat as that picture on my computer..." She said teasingly.

He grabbed the half-piece of pizza on the nightstand and started munching away. "Not yet, baby, not YET!" He said.

thanks asshole (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14960827)

It'll be months before I can get hard again.

Interesting (2, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960486)

I'm wrapping up my school education, my house will be paid off soon enough, and the interest on my student loans is not going to be enough to off set my income. Yup, I'm going to need to find a new tax shelter in another year or two.

"we are proposing a 20 percent tax credit for qualified out-of-pocket expenses for open source software developers."

Well let's see what "out-of-pocket" expenses are defined as. Because my 'Home-Office' is paid for out of pocket. So that roughly 100 square foot room represents about 1/10th of my house's square footage. Figure the cost of the house minus the land, that's like $140k, which means I should be able to claim 20% of $14k for that expence. And then their are the numerous PCs, the custom built desks, the wiring, the internet connection... I bet I could pull enough expences out of that room to fully clear my taxes for a year, and enough residuals to help cut down from there on.

I wonder what limitations there are on this, if I could put a dent in my income tax by switching some game mods and tools to open source, I would switch them in a heart beat. 8 hours a week on a pet project to cut down on taxable income, a deal too sweet to pass up.


Re:Interesting (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960565)

You paid off your house before finishing your education? That's unusual. I take it you went back to school after some other career?

Re:Interesting (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960667)

Nah, my house will be paid off in about 6-7 years, my education should be completed by the end of this year. I was a software developer in the military and then a consultant just after the .Com bust. Spent a few years floundering for work, and finally went back to school on my VA benefits. Picked up a CS Assoc and a new job about 2 years ago, and I should be wrapping up my CS/Tech Management dual bachelors this year.


Re:Interesting (1)

GlassHeart (579618) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960949)

I wonder what limitations there are on this, if I could put a dent in my income tax by switching some game mods and tools to open source, I would switch them in a heart beat.

I wonder the same thing. No offense intended, but I would hate to have my tax money subsidize game mods.

Re:Interesting (1)

Crisses (776475) | more than 8 years ago | (#14961026)

If you use that space or those computers to do anything BUT run your business, the home office deduction is disqualified.

Fun Fun!

Everyone would need a separate computer to play (insert name of game, including Tetris or Solitaire), answer personal email, pay the household bills, look at pr0n, etc....

So -- start building that separate home office. :P

{Don't mind me, I'm just jealous that you own a house.}

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14961253)

If you own a $1.4 million house, I suggest you just continue paying your fair share of the taxes instead of shuffling it off onto the rest of the middle class like the rest of the rich losers.

This or Reform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14960494)

Though I think this would be nice for open source developers, I think most would prefer the government and these progressive PACs spend their time and engery pushing for software patent reform and at least a partial rollback of the DMCA.

One for all. All for one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14960496)

"The Center for American Progress is proposing an R&D tax credit for open source development." From the article: "Subsidizing open source software development can also be justified on grounds of economic efficiency. Open source software development enhances the ability of other developers to create new products. It also enhances the development and dissemination of knowledge and ideas more broadly. Since the benefits to the broader software development community and the economy as a whole go well beyond the users of an individual software product, a policy that subsidizes open source development would increase economic efficiency."

The same could be said for science. Do scientists get tax breaks? How about other fields? Let's take this idea to it's limits.

Here's what will happen (1)

linguizic (806996) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960500)

Every company will put linux on a machine and have the user use bugzilla. Then they'll try to claim the tax credit.

Re:Here's what will happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14960634)

You missed the point. The article said open source "developers" not open source "users". And I'm pretty sure the government is smart enough (god, this statement alone is gonna yield so many jokes) to know the difference between a person who writes a 10 line script, releases it, and waits for his refund; and a group of hard-working individuals who come home and program for several hours a day on their own spare time inorder to release a high quality, open application. As for this tax-credit, I say its about time! I really doubt its going to happen (isn't the US just a little bit in debt?) but if it ever did, it would be a huge incentive for developers to work on OSS. I'm sick and tired of people assuming that people see open source and 'free' (as in no-money, not as in beer) software are equivalent, and thus bash open source developers for having "no source of income". At the very least, this would put those (or at least some of those) outcries to rest. /rant

Re:Here's what will happen (1)

linguizic (806996) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960697)

At the very least the tax credit would be an enormous boon to open-source software development. But I think you place way too much faith in the government. It would be somewhat hard though to prove the work that OSS developers do to the IRS. Without some heavy discussion and consideration on the part of the IRS, which seems to go out of it's way to not look into corporate taxes and would rather pick on the little guys because it's easier, this would open up tons of loopholes. I think it's a great idea, but this government is too corrupt and inept to innact in a useful way. Perhaps this will change after 2008, and maybe after mid-term elections, but the Democrats still seem to be trying to out republican the republicans.

What it boils down to for me is that this isn't the right political climate for such a bill right now.

Re:Here's what will happen (1)

BrianUofR (143023) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960944)

I believe the tax credit is for development/production but not usage/consumption of OSS.

Solution in search of a problem? (1)

fortinbras47 (457756) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960512)

Non-profit foundations that develop open source are already tax deductible.

I hate to be the one pouring cold water on this proposal, but it sounds more like an abusable deduction that would allow any programmer to write off 20% of all their computer equipment purchases. If I wanted to abuse the system, couldn't I just write a hello world program, say I spent 2 monthes writing it, throw it on my website, and claim a fat deduction on everything? Would the government have to get in the business of deciding what's worthwhile open source?

Heck, I'm a programmer so this proposal is probably good for me, but stuff like this is why the complete Interal Revenue Code is 3.4 million words, literally 7500 pages long, and filled with loopholes.

Re:Solution in search of a problem? (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960598)

I hate to be the one pouring cold water on this proposal, but it sounds more like an abusable deduction that would allow any programmer to write off 20% of all their computer equipment purchases. If I wanted to abuse the system, couldn't I just write a hello world program, say I spent 2 monthes writing it, throw it on my website, and claim a fat deduction on everything?

To put it another way, the amount of effort you'd have to expend on accounting probably outweighs any benefit you'd get. Basically, if you buy something and use it for >50% open-source development and if you fully document it, you can get 20% back. I can't see too many developers getting much out of this.

Re:Solution in search of a problem? (1)

stunt_penguin (906223) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960608)

Loopholes? Like:

10 taxes = new.civilresponsibility ();
30 goto 20;
Damn, I can't be bothered coming up with something funnier than this. Must be getting near midnight.

Subsidies as a cure for "economic inefficiency" (3, Insightful)

Ogemaniac (841129) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960531)

There is always one glaring flaw with this plan, even if there is a real market failure that could be addressed by the subsidy - taxes are economically inefficient. Typical estimates of the inefficiency of our standard taxes (income, payroll, sales, and property) run between 10 and 60 cents on the dollar collected, with 20 cents being a conservative average. In other words, the government has to remove $1.20 from the economy to collect a dollar. Or, you could say the government pays for everything at a 20% premium.

Even if there is some sort of market failure with respect to open source (it is probably the same one that is cited for R&D in general), trying to cure it with another market failure is not the answer unless the R&D failure is much larger. I once saw a presentation by someone from NSF on this very topic (The Economic Case for Basic Research), and when I pointed this problem out to him, he actually didn't have an answer. I was surprised, given that most of us learned about the inefficiency of taxes in Econ 101.

Re:Subsidies as a cure for "economic inefficiency" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14960681)

You mean the goverment has to remove $1.25 from the economy to get $1, assuming 20% is wasted during collection.

Re:Subsidies as a cure for "economic inefficiency" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14960690)

That doesn't make any sense at all. There is absolutely nothing that says that government invested money (collected by taxes) is any less "efficient" than private investments. In fact, your whole argument is mightily absurd because it can be used against all forms of taxation. Please do not try and claim that your political agenda (neo liberalism) is a science (economy).

You do not understand my point (1)

Ogemaniac (841129) | more than 8 years ago | (#14961134)

While I would defend the point that government R&D is a waste compared to private R&D (I am a scientist, btw), I said nothing of the sort in my previous post.

Instead, what I said was that taxes are inefficient. The logic is pretty simple. Most taxes we collect (income, payroll, sales, property) are taxes on productive behavior. It is common sense, and easily measurable, that when you tax an activity, you get less of it. Hence, raising taxes causes you, me, your cousin Tony, and just above everyone else to shift their behavior away from doing productive things like working, building homes, or buying and selling, and towards less productive activities. The estimate is that we lose about 20 cents of productivity for each dollar we collect. In other words, society has to pay a buck twenty in order for the government to collect a dollar, at least by the normal route. And this is not counting such costs as the IRS, tax compliance, and the costs of politics itself. As I said, this is Econ 101 stuff.

Re:Subsidies as a cure for "economic inefficiency" (1)

MSG (12810) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960823)

It's not a "cure" for anything. Commercial developers and businesses that develop in-house software get to claim credits on development costs. This proposal extends the same benefits to individual developers. What's good for the goose...

Re:Subsidies as a cure for "economic inefficiency" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14960825)

It's interesting you are against this proposal, as it is actually about _lowering_ taxes. It's a tax _credit_ after all, remember? So what do we get from this now? Lower taxes = lower deadweight costs. + more OSS. Looks like a win-win situation to me...

Of course we could go into the problems of quantifying the benefits and costs of R&D and the taxes needed to finance it, but this article is very clear-cut from this perspective. Of course we could start wondering where the government will get the missing money, or on what will it spend less. Then we would get back to a quantification problem again. Is OSS creating enough benefits for the economy that it grows enough to pay for the lower level of taxes needed to keep it up --- in the long term? That might be a question to think and argue about.

Re:Subsidies as a cure for "economic inefficiency" (1)

theodicey (662941) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960834)

A tax subsidy removes the market-distorting effects of taxes, it doesn't introduce new ones. This is because coporations are deciding how to allocate their capital, the government isn't doing it for them.

Companies are currently underinvesting in R&D (relative to recent 1950s- American history). Part of this is because the money they spend on R&D is taxable at standard rates, while there are other investment choices with lower tax cost (e.g. buying depreciable cubicles). When R&D taxes are decreased, R&D spending moves towards its natural equilibrium level.

I disagree, companies are not underinvesting (1)

Ogemaniac (841129) | more than 8 years ago | (#14961167)

Rather, R&D is providing less bang for the buck. It takes far more people, money, and equipment to get far less novel and exploitable information that it did 50 or 100 years ago.

Re:Subsidies as a cure for "economic inefficiency" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14960885)

In other words, the government has to remove $1.20 from the economy to collect a dollar

Uh. That is rather naive a statement: the overhead govts have (just like any human ventures) does not just evaporate into space. Generally that money goes back to economy, just not in its intended target. There are exceptions, of course; during war time effort spend on ammo, for example, indeed tends to blow up in the sky. But usually everything from bribes to cost overruns find their way back into the general economy, filling pockets of some enterpreneur or other.

Besides, tax credits are not meant to reduce any inefficiencies, but to try to guide development into desired direction (which is based on various factors, sometimes economical, sometimes not).

Yes, it does "evaporate into space" (2, Interesting)

Ogemaniac (841129) | more than 8 years ago | (#14961156)

because no one ever earns the money in the first place. That is the tragedy of the dead weight loss, where a win-win exchange is averted because the government tries to take a bigger cut than the net gain between the two traders.

Re:Subsidies as a cure for "economic inefficiency" (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960958)

You've made a very important assumption. The assumption you're making is that the breakdown goes like this:

government removes $1.20 from the economy through taxation

$0.20 lost as "waste heat" somehow
$1.00 spent on economically useful projects

$1.00 + $.20 = $1.20, and everyone's happy.

The real problem is that by definition, a governments activities contrary to an efficient market. If they weren't, those activities would already be taken care of by said market. The social merits of those activities are irrelevant to this discussion. The simple fact is that government action hurts the economy regardless its other benefits.

I believe the real equation goes more like this:

Government directs $2.00 of the economy's output/feedstock.
$1.00 of this is accounted for on-the-books through taxation
$0.80 of this is accounted for between-the-lines through debt service
$0.20 of this is accounted for by inflation due to out-and-out printing-too-much-money

The distinction between debt and moneyprinting is a bit fuzzy, and plenty of accounting tricks are used to hide the various means. Accounting tricks used by accountants paid out of the $2.00 btw. However, redirected wealth recognized as debt does serve to reduce inflationary pressure. Also, counterfeiters remove wealth via the third option as well. However, it could not be said that their activities have any socially redeeming value whatsoever, and are a separate entity from government and irrelevant to discussing government's effects.

so, some conclusions: Government spending removes wealth from the economy regardless of how it is accounted for simply by redirecting efforts. Governments do not need to tax anything at all. They could simply print all the money they need and allow inflation to take care of the value removed from the economy. Therefore, the tax plan serves two purposes:

1) reduce inflation by keeping the money supply constant
2) direct the lost wealth at specific individuals/ classes of individuals to avoid accountability.

note that (1) is good for lenders, but not so good for borrowers on an individual scale

Re:Subsidies as a cure for "economic inefficiency" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14961027)

"the government has to remove $1.20 from the economy to collect a dollar"

I don't think it's quite correct to say that government removes from the economy. It doesn't generally add to the economy directly, but that would be true of any service-based business, wouldn't it?

Isn't government just a part of the service sector?

The details. (1)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960535)

The value of an individual's donated time would not qualify|similar to the way charitable contributions are treated. However, out-of-pocket costs, such as fees for web hosting, the depreciated cost of capital expenses such as computers, travel to development-related conferences, and other expenses would qualify for a 20 percent refundable tax credit. We chose 20 percent as the amount of the credit after an examination of the literature surrounding the historical value of the Federal Research Tax credit. ...

There is no formal, systematic evidence on the amount of out-of-pocket expenses by individuals for open source development. Informal evidence suggests that half of all developers have no out-of-pocket costs; and for the remaining half, the expenses average $500.21

What a stupid idea. Lets make the tax system even more complex, for what?

I dont know 'bout you guys (0, Troll)

creeves1982 (880009) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960539)

I think that this is a creat vicroty for the OpenSource commumnity. Encourageing OS development turns the heat up for the closed source developers (Microshaft). Giving them more incentive to develop means that we are going to see more companies giving up there source code and thus inceasing the quality of the product.

Re:I dont know 'bout you guys (1)

Expert Determination (950523) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960615)

If you like open source, you'll love this [] . I recommend you use it.

Re:I dont know 'bout you guys (1)

creeves1982 (880009) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960880)

Oh yes I love that. Normally I just use for spell checker

This is a bad idea in my opinion (2, Insightful)

BigBuckHunter (722855) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960551)

Any tax break of government subsidy is a bad thing. It gives the government control over the direction of any FLOSS that takes the money (just like schools that take federal money). It also puts you in a strange position if the software that you are developing violates one or more of your countries laws. I'm not willing to change the direction of my projects just for a subsidy.


Re:This is a bad idea in my opinion (1)

jasonditz (597385) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960628)

Here's just a random idea off the top of my head, but what about not applying for the tax credit if you don't want it?

Having the government steal slightly less of your money because you spent some of it developing open source software probably doesn't seem like a bad idea for a lot of us...

Re:This is a bad idea in my opinion (1)

BigBuckHunter (722855) | more than 8 years ago | (#14961224)

what about not applying for the tax credit if you don't want it

It would be like not declaring charitable donations. All is well till audit time comes up, then they're like, "why didn't you declare these tax breaks", and you're like, "I do not feel it is prudent for the government to subsidize private industry". You'll get an awkward 10 second pause, followed by the worst three months of your life as they audit you for the last 5 years income.


We don't need more tax loopholes (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14960552)

You know how many pages of tax code would have to be added to define open source? Assuming that lawmakers don't mangle it into something that supports the industry even more. And it's not like all open-source is actually useful, either.

Re:We don't need more tax loopholes (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14961163)

You know how many pages of tax code would have to be added to define open source?

I count two [] .

And Microsoft ... (1)

ignavus (213578) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960554)

And Microsoft would immediately apply for its "Shared Source" to be granted a tax break.

Would you want the US Congress determining the meaning of "open source"?

You can get tax breaks for closed source NOW (3, Interesting)

HippieJoe (632993) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960562)

Why wait for a proposal to pass when you can get HUGE tax credits for writing closed source software NOW? For example, Ohio gave a closed source company $82,386 to keep it's 11 employees in the state! ( 7.asp [] Third example, tax break + grants) Thats $7489 per employee now, not in some proposed future.

sounds great (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960580)

So all we have to do is put our totally unusable by any one else source code into open source, and suddenly we can write off our development costs!

Keep your freakin tax credit and give back my SSI (3, Insightful)

argoff (142580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960586)

The truth is that all too often the government taxes people too much, and then they find themselves needing to give "tax credits" back to spurr innovation, retirement savings, house savings, college savings, and medical savings. Well bullshit. All that does is give the government more controll in my life to decide what is a priority and what is not.

How about if they quit freakin taxing me so much to begin with. A nice start would be SSI, anyone under 40 must surely know that they'll never see a peny of it anyhow (unless the dollar is hyperinflated out of existence). Not only that, but we pay for it twice: once before you get your paycheck, and then it's deducted again after you get your paycheck. I especially resent using that number that dog tags me and makes it a cakewalk to steal my ID, I resent being forced into a ponzi scheme, and especially resent coercing my kids to pay for my retirement.

Re:Keep your freakin tax credit and give back my S (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960939)

It's ironic that the system designed to protect us from centralized power and its abuses has effectively just created a multi-tiered tax system. Between federal, state, and local taxes, many people are paying almost half their incomes in tax, and no one level is particularly accountable to any other. So the states can claim that they need their 7% income and sales tax, the city can claim their property tax, and the Fed can claim their ~30%.

But, at least they're responsible with our tax dollars, maintain a balanced budget, don't go into debt, and serve as the model of efficiency.

get a clue (1)

penguin-collective (932038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960965)

A nice start would be SSI, anyone under 40 must surely know that they'll never see a peny of it anyhow

Unless people like Bush manage to turn back the clock to 19th century conditions with people starving in the streets, one way or another, the government will provide minimal food and health care for old people. After all, old people vote.

I especially resent using that number that dog tags me and makes it a cakewalk to steal my ID

If right wing nuts didn't keep interfering in the deployment of a secure national ID system, you wouldn't have to worry about that.

I resent being forced into a ponzi scheme, and especially resent coercing my kids to pay for my retirement.

Your kids will pay for your retirement--it doesn't matter how you dress it up: privat retirement accounts, social security, whatever. Even if you stuff money under a mattress, when you use it to buy services once you're retired, you're still depriving your kids of the same amount of goods and services. It's not a "Ponzi scheme", it's a simple economic truth.

The only difference between SSI and other plans is that SSI makes sure everybody is forced to create a minimal income they can live on, and that's good thing. Because if we don't force everybody to do this, people like you would just have a party with their money or invest it poorly and the state still would need to take care of you when you're old, because we don't actually let people starve. Maybe we should, but we don't.

Re:get a clue (1)

spencerogden (49254) | more than 8 years ago | (#14961092)

"people like you would just have a party with their money or invest it poorly and the state still would need to take care of you when you're old"

Ah yes, classic liberal attitude. "Other" people are stupud, so we must protect them from themselves.

I fail to see how the inefficiency of the system are outweighed by the benefits of forced spending.

Social Security was created to protect people from unfortunate economic luck in life. But maybe it has removed some incentive for people to plan and invest for the future?

Re:Keep your freakin tax credit and give back my S (2, Insightful)

KingJoshi (615691) | more than 8 years ago | (#14961179)

Insightful? Off-topic! and incorrect.

We don't have a Social Security crisis. It's all crap propaganda. It definitely needs to be tweaked, but the politicians are just trying to rile people up and divert attention from real issues. And they're succeeding.

We have a surplus of SS money for at least until 2040. The projections go out for 75 years and sometime before then, we start having a debt regarding SS taxes coming in and money going out. Congressional Budge Office (CBO) studies show that if we don't extend Bush's tax cuts after 2009, we'll have SS surplus until 2050. So at worst, we'd have to reduce SSI handout out if we don't increase the retirement age or increase the budget towards SS. But a temporary debt is okay because population levels fluctuates. After the baby boomers die, our SS situation will be fine again.

Including health care costs for wounded soldiers, Iraq war and occupation could top $2 trilion [] . How about those tax cuts [] ? I saw a NY Times article [] stating CBO projections estimated a difference in revenues of $1.7 trillion over the 10 years. A San Francisco Chronicle article [] mentions a difference of $737 billion. The difference could be due to when the projections started and ended. This doesn't include reports of the economy improving slower then from any previous recession and being short on the administration's projections of jobs by millions (just think of the revenue difference there).

If even a portion of those funds went to social security, we would have not debt for social security for 75 years! The fact remains, the US government takes out enough money from taxpayers to pay for Social Security for the forseeable future.

The problem isn't the social security system. It's the men and women of the Executive and Legislative branch that balloon the deficit with pork barrel spending. Even if we remove the SS blanket, there's no gaurantee that these people wouldn't spend the money elsewhere. Before we talk about changing social security, we need to have people that would be fiscally responsible.

Re:Keep your freakin tax credit and give back my S (1)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | more than 8 years ago | (#14961216)

anyone under 40 must surely know that they'll never see a peny of it anyhow

And everyone over 40 surely knows that the only way they'll see a penny of it is if they keep taxing those of us under 40.

Never underestimate the power of the AARP in actually getting people to the ballot box.

No thank you (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960653)

A government that has the power to raise or reduce taxes to benefit open source ALSO has the power to raise or reduce taxes to benefit huge corporations with a heck of a lot more money to give for campaign contributions... who do you think this type of economic intervention will wind up benefitting more? Sorry, but I'm a flat tax advocate -- the government shouldn't be mucking with the economic system at all through preferential taxation. If open source is to succeed or fail, it must do so on it's own merit. (P.S. Yes, I'm also against the mortgage interest tax credit, even though it benefits me to the tune of thousands of dollars per year.)

Fair enough... (2, Insightful)

Mr. Funky (957139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960717)

But be careful !
I am a coder long enough now to know good programming is a form of modern art and thus should be appreciated accordingly.

But... If they just hand over the money, I see some problems on the horizon.
I mean, as long if it is OSS most people just code for fun and fame, but if money gets involved people get greedy (don't we all?) + every Billy-Joe-Bob would become an 'OSS-developer' all of a sudden.

Instead they'd better sponsor resources such as PC's, servers, hosting, free fat pipes for developers etc. and monitor that.

Another alternative. (1)

jd (1658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14961240)

Instead of doing tax breaks, I'd prefer to see either a Department of Open Source (DOS?) that could officially sponsor specific projects and pay for them the same way all such contrace work is paid for, OR have them set up an Open Source X-Prize for projects that meet specific community needs.

(For example, there's a major lack of Open Source educational software. So, either offer a grant of X amount for one set of Open Source developers to produce it, or offer a prize of X for the first team that can meet some specific criteria.)

I'd say that for some projects - such as educational software - where initial investment is going to be steep, it would be better to work through grant-based projects. PROVIDED they were handed out to people who can and will achieve the goals. If they're just going to be handed to the rich and well-connected, there's no point. Not only do such people not need help with the initial investment, it's doubtful they'll do the work as Open Source (if at all) anyway.

For other projects - say producing KDE or Open Office translations for those Native American languages that have an accepted written form - there is minimal overhead and an X-Prize-like race for each such language might offer definite advantages. Particularly as the money is likely to end up helping poorer communities who could do with the cash. It would also help all people who do not speak English as a first language, or only do so because internationalization is still exceedingly crappy.

Another sponsorship one might be to get the whole of X or the GNU utilities audited and secure to the point where they're usable in mission-critical situations (ie: where someone can get killed if there's a coding error) or in classified networks (which is less important for Government than it is for e-commerce, which is taking a hammering from insecure systems being compromised).

Another prize might be to write a fully compliant IPv6 stack, now that WIDE has abandoned the KAME effort and USAGI seems to have faltered. (KAME and USAGI were fairly compliant stacks, but still a LONG way short of fully compliant with the TAHI tests, and an unknown distance from completion in all areas TAHI doesn't test for.)

A third grant might be to produce a set of diagnostic tools for the Linux kernel, calling each syscall() in turn, or loading kernel modules into a testbed, running a specific series of tests to determine the correctness of the module. Ideally, this would be coupled with the Linux Test Project, as it would be good to have a coherent set of test tools in the same place, but it's possible that would not be the best way to do it.

A third prize could be to add extensible grammar-checking tools to an existing editor, where the team had to demonstrate grammar-checking in an informal language (such as English), a semi-formal subset (such as that used in a legal document or a scientific paper), and a formal language (such as a programming language).

Three possible prizes, three very reasonable grant-based projects, the combination of which would maybe not revolutionize society, but at the very least make technology far more reliable, far more accessible and far more valuable. The benefits to the Government would vastly exceed the costs in a relatively short time.

Personally, I'd like to see the Government sponsor Open Source through grants and prizes (but NOT tax credits, as that only really benefits programmers who are making a lot of money elsewhere already, rather than drawing more people in), provided it was not at the cost of - say - education. There's no point in enhancing society if you then deprive said society of any understanding of what the enhancements are for. That's another reason I don't want tax breaks. Tax breaks are usually paid for by cutting from politically expendible areas such as education, which is a Big No No in my opinion.

I'd much rather the Government provide sponsorship with the aim of paying for such sponsorship through the indirect revenue generated from the products that result. (Calculating that could be hard, though.) The way I'd do it is to run a fairly reasonable set of grants & prizes for a fixed number of years, then from thereon out, take a fixed percent of the revenue generated from those projects to perpetuate the cycle.

That way, if the idea is as big of a benefit as I believe it would be, it'll pay for itself and even grow. But, if it's really a dead-end approach, the scheme would kill itself. Furthermore, Open Source developers would have some influence over which way things went, rather than feeling as though they were at the mercy of that week's political persuasion. (I believe apathy in Government programs is because some projects get funding, no matter how bad they're doing, and others get cut, no matter how valuable and productive they are. Put Open Source in a positive feedback loop and there will be far less room for apathy.)

Even better approach... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14960778)

Maybe a better approach is to help subsidize the cost of retraining programmers that lose their jobs because their commercial product got displaced by open source software. I'm not saying that open source is bad--I'm just coming up with one possible way to help negate a drawback.

Sure, open source also helps small businesses and also creates jobs--I'm not demonizing it--but it sounds like helping the few that are directly impacted isn't such a bad idea.

If lawyers open sourced legal forms, then the demand for lawyers would diminish and they'd see their incomes decline. Maybe that is why we don't see them following the footsteps of programmers...

Money!!! (1)

wetfeetl33t (935949) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960790)

I have a coffee machine that runs linux. Can I get a tax credit for that?

No thanks! (3, Interesting)

Zarxrax (652423) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960816)

Instead of supporting the further degeneration of a broken tax system, how about supporting a better one altogether? [] []

And in other news... (0)

alexhs (877055) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960840)

... Bill Gates is planning to write an open source VB .Net version of his old hit, gorilla.bas .

OSS has already paid for itself here (4, Informative)

hacker (14635) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960845)

As an OSS developer, I can say that working on Open Source code/projects has already paid for itself in tax deductions many times over in the last decade.

Those donations you get from the "Paypal" button on your project homepage? Deductable as gifts, not income.

Those hard drives you upgraded to house your OSS code through RCS on a RAID system? Deductable as a business expense.

The space in your house used to develop/work on that OSS code? Deductable as your "workspace".

In my case, I also host and house dozens of projects for the OSS community, mailing lists, web space, torrent trackers, and lots of other things.

That broadband bill? Deductable. Power to keep servers running 24x7? Deductable.

I also have a "regular day job", and I work at the home office, so that too, is deductable, since it is a dedicated section of the house specifically for that.

Being a long-time OSS developer and supporter has definitely paid for itself many times over in deductions alone, not to mention the Google ad revenue that helps fund the websites I maintain and support, out-of-pocket upgrades to storage, servers, etc.

Having a clueful CPA? Priceless .

Re:OSS has already paid for itself here (1)

mzwaterski (802371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14961177)

Deductible gifts? I hope that you mean you exclude them from your income... You might consider them deductible if you report the income and then deduct it? Does PayPal report your receipts as gifts or something? Otherwise, you would not report or deduct the income if it is properly considered a gift.

Awesome ! (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960864)

Now if I could only get Uncle Sam to let me slide on doing my taxes untill this goes through. =P

Horrible Idea (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14960881)

How about letting market forces (you know, that little supply and demand thing) determine how/when/why a product is adopted instead of using community resources to pad it? Successful OpenSource projects are successful because they are forced to COMPETE, often much harder than their proprietary counterparts. Weighing the game in favor of OS does as much damage as IP does for proprietary software.

Furthermore, just because software is OS doesn't mean it's good. Why give tax credits to those who don't deserve them? Better instead to force them to compete by being good, and, therefore, deserving of profit.

This makes sense... (2, Funny)

swelke (252267) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960905)

This proposal makes an incredible amount of sense. The open source model is an excellent way to develop high quality software on the cheap. Large scale open source development would help the economy in a number of ways.

Therefore it will never be approved.

Stupid and pointless. (5, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14960990)

Just ask anyone who's tried to organize a 501 (c)(3) corporation. We do NOT need IRS involved in deciding what is or isn't open-source software.

Lobbying for little tax breaks here and there simply perpetuates the problems of the tax system being used as an instrument of policy.

There's a better way. []


s/Open Source/Public Domain/g (2, Interesting)

iamacat (583406) | more than 8 years ago | (#14961071)

If I already paid for programmer's time with my taxes, I should be able to use the source in any way I want - without giving away my own work, acceditation or any other trouble whatsoever. By the way, the same goes for patents received by university stuff/students, software written for a government contract etc.

If you want to impose GPL on me, do it on your own time/dime.

Yes my pretties. (1)

fatduck (961824) | more than 8 years ago | (#14961090)

It's okay, tax breaks aren't tax dollars, they're tax [i]undollars[/i].

I for one welcome our new congressional overlords...oversight.

Requirements (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14961093)

Sounds like a good idea but there should be additional requirements. For example, the code should be readable by others. It would be easy to write code and intentionally not comment it (or even withhold the comments) so that it is only usable to the author.
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