Monday, April 27, 2009

Pro bono activities

Do any IT firms have explicit pro bono programs or open-source contribution programs which might mirror the pro bono activities of legal firms? The law industry obviously has a long-standing culture of engaging in pro-bono activities with the imprimatur of the corporation.

A few IT companies obviously house and/or champion open-source projects. However I'm not sure how these are really structured. Does 'the system' adequetly encourage and/or support these activities (beyond simple competitive-self interest, or enlighted corporate social responsibility)? Are there tax breaks for companies engaging in open-source or pro-bono activities such as ethical or charitable software development?

I just don't know. Perhaps the answer is very well-known, but I didn't turn up much in 20 minutes of looking. I just felt like blogging my curiosity on the topic...