Tor Project 2008 Tax Return Now Online

Julie C julie at
Tue Aug 17 16:05:27 UTC 2010

On Mon, Aug 16, 2010 at 10:31 PM, Gregory Maxwell <gmaxwell at>wrote:

> This is neither fair nor reasonable.
> When Wikimedia broke into the top _10_ most popular sites, with
> something like 100 million unique viewers in a month the annual income
> was comparable to the tor project. It only broke 1m in fundraising at
> the very end of 2007. It takes time to scale up an organization so
> that it is able to spend large amounts of money in an efficient and
> responsible way.
> The Free Software Foundation 2008 990 reflects 1m in income and the
> FSF has been around for 25 years and supports many initiatives.
> Mozilla Foundation's 2008 990 reflects 1.2m in income (this isn't the
> whole story, Mozilla's finances are greatly complicated).
Wow. This is news to me, which I probably should have reviewed before my
post, to get more perspective. Thanks for offering it up, Gregory.

However, I see that there is a fundamental, relevant difference here between
the Tor Project and Wikimedia, FSF, and Mozilla Foundation. Who needs them?
What is their value to the institutions who have money? Governments, law
enforcement, military, enterprises, media, and others. I would speculate the
Tor Project (and you) probably thinks of itself as similar to these 3 other
organizations. But why not think of themselves as much more than them?
That's my controversial point here.

They are much more than a homeless shelter too, for example. They are much
more than a friggin database, and yet what was MySQL bringing in before it
sold for $1B to Sun about 3 years ago? Tor is much more than an operating
system, and yet how much has IBM and Oracle and others poured into Linux
over the years?

I apologize for hurting feelings on this point. But this issue is much more
important than that as well. I have listened to and followed Roger and
Andrew and Nick and others over the years, enough to know they are all top
quality guys.

But from an organizational, big picture view, I think it is clearly time for
them to bring in some evangelical fundraisers to move the Project forward.
There is a great base to build on. There is a great story to tell. But think
about it this way - how far is the Project going to go, how successful will
it be, with the inspirational leaders spending most of their time fixing
bugs, doing commits, living in the code, and such.

Also if you are challenging me to speak up, well here I am, and here I will
continue to be. Personally I am also looking at what part of the Tor
software I can work on myself as part of my upcoming thesis term at school

Julie C.
julie at
GPG key 06D32144 available at
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