Linux International and Openmoko

Jeremy McNaughton jeremy.mcnaughton at
Sun Jun 7 07:29:03 CEST 2009

On Sat, Jun 6, 2009 at 12:42 PM, Jon 'maddog' Hall<maddog at> wrote:
> Hello,
> 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)
> (R)Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in several
> countries.
> (R)Linux International is a registered trademark in the USA used
> pursuant to a license from Linux Mark Institute, authorized licensor of
> Linus Torvalds, owner of the Linux trademark on a worldwide basis
> (R)UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group in the USA and other
> countries.
> _______________________________________________
> Openmoko community mailing list
> community at

Thank you Jon for this wonderful offer.  As a semi-regular user of the
Freerunner and up till now mostly a lurker in the community, I'm
interested in knowing more about what you have in mind.

I've been involved with a few grassroots (unincorporated)
organizations and having an incorporated group for incubation can work
really well.  Eventually the community will probably need its own
separate incorporated body, but having an incubator lets us take our
time to get things right.

Even if the community decides not to accept your offer, I'd be
interested in hearing more about your plans for Linux International as
an end-user organization.  I checked out the website but it looks like
you're still putting things together.

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