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Speaking for my LUG, I side with Biju.... money matters *do* matter.... on 3rd September, last year we organised
Linux-Interact. It was a fair success with people turning up from at least 7 different districts of west bengal.
1. Coming to the hurdles we faced, we had recieved sponsership pledges from certain corporate entity that we would be
reimbursed in cash on presenting the bills. We spent "x" amount of money from our (mostly ILUG-Cal core-group members)
own pockets, we are yet to be reimbursed after one year.
REASON -- The COO of the company (Indian subsidiary of an US-based Foo.Inc.) is no longer with the company and the
pledge/clearance was a verbal one.
The question right now is --
Q: "Of-course we will pay, but *to whom*???
A: Indranil Das Gupta, Co-ordinator, ILUG-Cal.
Q. How/What is ILUG-Cal?
2. We also got assurances from certain well-known h/w vendor for sponsership of equipment for the demos (2 server class
m/cs and 6 nodes). These were to be handed over to us 2 days before the event. The vendor had a change of heart because
our organisation was none like he had known or ever sponsered. The machines never showed up.... Somehow, we managed to
put together 3 PCs (home systems belonging to our members), one IBM laptop and networked using equipment stripped out of
my home network. Even though the event was successful, we couldn't do all we wanted to do when we started the planning.
One particular IT company from the Calcutta STP wanted to sponser up to Rs. 15,000, but only in cheque, which we
REASON -- We didn't have a bank account, because we weren't a legal entity of any nature.
3. The Computer Bookshop (the O'Reilly distributors in India) franchisee in Calcutta "Millienium" participated in
Linux-Interact by putting up a stall, the space was provided to them free of any charge, but they had to make their
display/stall arrangements. They did a brisk business during the course of the event. The bookshop owner announced that
they will provide special discount rates for ILUG-Cal members. Till date, no member has been able to avail of the offer.
REASON -- We don't have a membership register and therefore photo-identity cards (which the bookshop requires) can't be
4. Besides regular/annual auditing of whatever funds in the hands of the LUG needs to be done, otherwise you can expect
that sometime down the line there will be whispers about what is happening/being done with the voluntary contributions
made by the members. This had happened once in our case. Interestingly the issue was raised by someone who had never
come forward to contribute anything. FYI, the persons with questions about "transparency" wrt funds with the LUG were
pointed to our list archives where complete details had been posted, and these questioning voices died away, but not
before enuf b/w had been wasted by a needless flamefest.
5. We wanted to participate in a large annual IT-fair, the stall charges could have been waived/sponsered.... but we
needed to show ourselves as a recognisable legal entity to avail either options, which we were not.
I would also like to know what is the status of contributions/donations made to non-profit organisation? are these
contribution if made by any person exempt from taxation in anyway?
Just my 2p on behalf of my LUG.
DISCLAIMER.... About myself....I do have commercial interest in the success of Linux/Opensource-based technologies among
commercial users of IT products and services, and I am trying to build my own small pile ;-)