Apple: (still) hostile to nonprofits

Lots of nonprofit technologists are unapologetic Apple fanboys (and girls).  I’ve owned and used Apple products over the years, and while some have been fine, they rarely make me swoon.  I think of Apple as just another mega-corporation that sometimes makes nice computer hardware, not some extension of my personal brand identity.

Apple is hardly a friend to the nonprofit sector.  In addition to being notoriously tight-fisted with hardware and software donations, I just read on ReadWriteWeb that they have no plans to allow charitable donations via the iPhone’s new in-app payments system.  That is incredibly lame.

Though Apple introduced in-application payments last month, the feature is only available to paid apps (Public Radio Player is free) and charitable contributions through the iPhone are strictly prohibited. They can’t even be talked about, Shapiro says, because Apple doesn’t want to deal with the possibility of charity scams, there’s tax complications, the platform’s standard 30% fee for payments isn’t tenable in a non-profit context and Apple has no financial incentive to solve this sticky complex of problems.

links for 2009-07-10

Sabbatical!

I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be taking a sabbatical from ONE/Northwest, beginning around July 20th and lasting through early November!

After 13 years at ONE/Northwest, I’m feeling a little fatigued. Worse,  I feel like I’ve become disconnected from the wellspring of inspiration that makes social change work possible.  I need to simultaneously unplug and reconnect.

I plan to use this time to relax, recharge, do some hiking, take some photos, read a bunch, talk with lots of folks and refill the idea-tank that has sustained my journey in the environmental and open-source movements over the past decade.   Of course, I don’t expect to find much of that inspiration in my navel, so I hope to be buying many of you coffee, beer and/or ice cream in the next few months, or at the very least to hit you up on Skype.[1]

I’m profoundly grateful to ONE/Northwest for getting a sabbatical policy in place and allowing me to beta test it.[2]  Time to recharge is an incredible gift, and it’s an amazing feeling to be part of such a supportive team and to know that the work will be in such great hands while I’m gone.

A few logistical notes:

  • My ONE/Northwest email will continue to work, although I will be checking it much less frequently.  Please feel free to email me (jonstahl at gmail.com) if you need to reach me.  I’m eager to hear about what is exciting and inspiring you to change the world.
  • Dave Averill is ONE/Northwest’s main point of intake for new work, so if you’re not sure who to talk to at ONE/Northwest about something, he’s a great starting point.  (davida at onenw.org)
  • Plone community friends: I’ll continue to serve in my role as Plone Foundation board president, and I look forward to seeing you at Plone Conference 2009 in Budapest this October!

Be seeing you!

[1] If that plan sounds a little vague, you’re right!  My plan is to have no plan for at least a few weeks.  I know many of you have taken sabbaticals: if there’s something I absolutely must do (or avoid doing), I’d love to hear about it!

[2] I hope we follow in the footsteps of Sightline Institute and make sabbaticals mandatory.  That’s hardcore sustainability!

WordPress Themes are GPL

WordPress released an opinion from the Software Freedom Law Center today confirming that WordPress themes must be GPL, although the images and CSS in a theme don’t have to be.

This is substantially similar to how Plone and Drupal have always thought that GPL applies to themes and add-on products, and it’s nice to see a project as large as WordPress putting its heft behind this common-sense interpretation of the GPL.