I think for event organizers this is a tricky problem to deal with.

But simply following decisions can be taken by analyzing the situation.

We organize an event to promote Free Software, so no matter we promote fedora, openSUSE or any other. As long as we promote the word free and related products the objective seems fulfilled.

Then Microsoft came to the scene. They can offer two sides. 
1) spend some money as a CSR
2) spend and promote their brand.

The 1st one is ok as long as there is no brand promotion or any promotion for Microsoft but in 2nd we cannot agree with their expectation because promoting Free Software and Promoting Closed-Limited Software are two ends.

Therefore if we can get their support with no brand promotion I think there is no problem of taking the chance but if they want to shows their brand in Free Software event i think its not good.

Rejecting funds because microsoft is providing is not a good ground. AS long as they help us to promote Free Software with no expectations would be reasonable.

> I feel I am in a difficult situation right now. One Microsoft
> representative in Nicaragua has started an approach to the free software
> community at large in Nicaragua. He is offering sponsorship for
> freesoftware activities like events.
> As a summary, he is willingly to invest small amounts on events without
> any logo or promotion if the community talks about interoperability.
> Bigger support will requiere banners and logos.

This is a tactic employed by Microsoft for quite a while, they are
buying credibility. If some years ago it was unimaginable, now their
presence as many FOSS events is seen as "normal", they managed to
position themselves from "the competitor" as "a partner".

I have no idea if this is also a goal of their tactic, but no matter
what your decision is, expect your community to be divided, the
"idealist" would feel the ideals of Free Software were betrayed and will
complain about the mixed message, the "pragmatics" will be happy about
money and the possibilities they enable.

> I think that if the community at large (which includes a few distros,
> and other free software groups like drupal) agrees with that, then it
> will be going with the majority. For instance, if the community
> celebrates Software Fredom Day, it is a big event in which fedora in
> Nicaragua contributes. If the event has sponsorship, that does not goes
> directly to one group endorsing all sponsors. I am tricking my self?

You have direct control over the events you organize, if you are invited
at an event where Microsoft is a sponsor, you have to choose the lesser
evil: endorse Microsoft with your presence or skip it and make Fedora's
voice unheard. My choice is to keep the balance and be there (but I
won't involve Fedora's money if Microsoft already paid something), while
I see some merits in the opposite approach too.

> I think it is not needed for fedora events. Talking about any other
> stuff that is not fedora or freedom is out of place. We tend not to
> even mention others distros, because we have a topic. Do I am being to
> narrow minded? I think that resources is besides the point as Fedora
> backs up Fedora activities. Or do I should try to use their money and
> save Fedora money for other things?

In the Romanian community we agreed we don't need and don't want money
from any entity not sincerely involved in FOSS. But we have a healthy
collaboration with local communities from other distros: invite them to
our release parties, go to theirs, organize events together, work on
common projects... the FOSS way.

nicu :: http://nicubunu.ro :: http://nicubunu.blogspot.com/
photography: http://photoblog.nicubunu.ro/


Buddhike Chandradeepa Kurera
The Editor in Chief - FOSS User Magazine
Fedora Ambassador - Sri Lanka