Linux International and Openmoko

Jon 'maddog' Hall maddog at
Sat Jun 6 18:42:31 CEST 2009


I understand that there has been a discussion on this list about having
a foundation that would represent the community of Openmoko.

Fifteen years ago Linux International was created to provide services
for the Linux community.  It was started as a vendor organization, at a
time when there were not many vendors interested in Linux.  We handled a
lot of legal and business issues for Linux:

o Protected the Linux Trademark from people that would "kidnap" it for
various reasons
o Helped to start two certification organizations (we funded some of the
original testing work for LPI certification)
o Helped to start the Linux Standard Base project, which became the Free
Standards Group
o Helped to form what became Linuxworld
o Helped many local user groups start local events, most notably the
Atlanta LinuxFest and the Ohio LinuxFest

We tended to split off the groups we formed, afraid that one vendor
organization would provide too much power in a centralized organization.

For various reasons as larger companies started to show interest in
Linux, our membership went to form OSDL, which now is the Linux
Foundation.  Linux International as an organization has been dormant for
about five years.  I have still been spreading the word about Free
Software at conferences, through magazine articles and media interviews.

Recently I came up with the idea of reforming Linux International into
an "end user" organization, with the concept that no company could join
as a member, nor sit on the board of directors as a member.  Only
individual end users could hold membership, vote, etc.  Of course almost
everybody is an end user of some type of software, so the membership
would be quite "open".  I have been working to change the charter of LI
to reflect this.

Recently I started another project, not a phone, but otherwise similar
in its needs to Openmoko.  This other project will have a community, be
completely "open", and needs an umbrella organization to help with legal
work, etc.  I intend on forming a sub-group of LI for this project.

I could offer the same to Openmoko, to be a sub-group of LI.

Linux International is already a legal entity.  We are a
"not-for-profit" in the state of New Hampshire, U.S.A.  There are
reasons why LI is a "not-for-profit" instead of a non-profit (501c3 or
501c6) which have to do with ease of applying revenues, etc.  Nothing
stops LI from becoming a 501c6 (501c3 is very restrictive), and nothing
would stop the sub-group of Openmoko from becoming a non-profit, if that
is desired.

Likewise the plans for LI are to have country chapters, with separate
boards for each country chapter.  This was planned way before the
current issue with Openmoko, but you could take advantage of the planned
structure if you wish.

LI would solicit sponsorships to help fund its work which could come
from companies, but again the voting membership would be from
individuals only.  The things that LI does would be "Open" to all.  We
do plan on having some things we charge for, to cover costs.

If the Openmoko community is interested in pursuing this, I would be
happy to discuss LI's plans further with you, and how Openmoko could fit
into this.

Warmest regards,

Jon "maddog" Hall
Jon "maddog" Hall
Executive Director           Linux International(R)
email: maddog at         80 Amherst St. 
Voice: +1.603.672.4557       Amherst, N.H. 03031-3032 U.S.A.
Cell:  +1.603.943.6666       WWW:

Board Member: Uniforum Association
Board Member Emeritus: USENIX Association (2000-2006)

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