Thinking Of Starting A Foundation?

Meshed Insights Ltd

Open source projects are increasingly opting to form an independent entity – a “Foundation” – to form the core of their community, rather than relying on goodwill or corporate oversight. Foundations often hold shared assets such as money, trademarks and copyrights, provide infrastructure, and sometimes employ staff.

The idea is seductive, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. A Foundation can’t solve your community problems; it can only make firm the solutions you devise, by providing a canvas on which to paint the trust and governance you have all agreed and to guarantee it for future generations of your community. You need to solve the problems first.

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How to increase donations to an open source project

“I wanted to share these results with everyone so other open source projects might be able to learn from our experience. It was a relatively simple change. Ask for a donation when the download is occurring not when a user is browsing the project site.

Ian Skerrett

Lots of open source projects raise money from their user communities by soliciting donations.  Most open source projects will have the ‘Support’  or ‘Make a Donation’ button on their home page or download page. At Eclipse we have had the Friend of Eclipse program for a number of years to solicit financial support for our community.

Earlier this year, we started looking for ways to  increase the number of users making donations.  We have millions of people downloading Eclipse but very few making donations.  Inspired by Ubuntu’s new donation page and Mozilla’s download page we changed where and how we asked users to make the donation.

The first step was to create a simple and graphically appealing thank you page that requested the user to make a donation.  Next we changed where we asked for the donation. We presented the new donation page right after the user started to download…

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Joining Open Invention Network

First client for the new venture…

Meshed Insights Ltd

Open Invention Network is a novel company formed to operate patent defenses for open source developers. It owns a portfolio of patents relevant to key open source technologies, runs a defensive publication scheme and operates a patent cross-licensing network of well over 500 companies. I’m pleased to announce that Meshed Insights has joined the Open Invention Network as a licensee in that network. This move both demonstrates our commitment to minimising patent risks throughout the open source community and also offers us some protection against patent aggression.

We have also reached an agreement with OIN to represent them at mutually agreed events and to assist clients in themselves becoming Open Invention Network licensees. If you are interested in becoming a licensee, which you most likely will be able to do free of charge, please contact us.

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Speaking At OSCON

I’ve received confirmation this week that my talk for OSCON 2013 – entitled “Can Evil Corporations Embrace Open Source?” – has been accepted. See you there!

Nokia Attacks

I remain bemused by Nokia’s attack on the prospects of the VP8 video format becoming an open standard. I can’t see what they & their shareholders get as a benefit, but I can see the harm it does to Nokia in the eyes of pretty much anyone who values open source and open standards. Read more in my InfoWorld column today.

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