Today I wrote my state senator in support of NY Senate Bill 161 which aims to provide tax benefits for the development of Open Source Software. Here is a copy of the letter I wrote. Do you live in New York? I encourage you to contact your elected officials and let them know you support Senate Bill 161.
Dear Senator Squadron,
As a citizen in your district, I fully support the state of New York providing tax benefits to open source software developers. A 2006 study of the economic impact of open source software found that about 2/3 of all open source software is written by individuals rather than companies and that at the time, the” existing base of FLOSS software represents a lower bound of about 131,000 real person years of effort that has been devoted exclusively by programmers. As this is mostly by individuals not directly paid for development, it represents a significant gap in national accounts of productivity. Annualised and adjusted for growth this represents at least Euro 800 million in voluntary contribution from programmers alone each year…”.
A more recent study found that “The experience of schools in Kerala, as contrasted against schools of other states, shows a clear pattern of the impact of FOSS. The snowball method of training creates a do-it-yourself or maker culture and encourages users to experiment and try new things”. Open source software is a great agent to even out economic advantage. When I first began contributing to open source software, I was near the poverty line struggling to survive. Open source software provided me a path to employment and served as a catalyst to learn and grow as an individual.
If you would like to discuss open source software, please get in touch. I hope you are able to support S161.