LinuxPPC Goes Nonprofit

by Leslie Proctor

This has been a big month in the .org world. I think some of the most interesting news (in full below) is the migration of LinuxPPC from a for-profit company to a nonprofit .org. LinuxPPC was originally conceived as a nonprofit, but the market dictated for profit, and now the timing is right to make the move back to its original vision. The principals will no longer need to worry about path-to-profitability issues.

I think it begs the question that has been asked hundreds of times: can for-profit companies succeed in Linux? The answer lies in how well for-profit companies interface with the .org world. Those that have very active community efforts seem to be thriving, while many who pop on to the scene without an understanding of what the Linux community is really all about are swimming upstream. A solid community outreach program should be an integral part of any project's strategy. The need to be hooked into the .org world has never been stronger.

Profile— ( raises capital to fund high-quality Linux projects by issuing an affinity MasterCard. The project is headed by Benjamin Cox who describes himself as “the financial world's version of a hacker”. In eighteen months, has issued more than 5,000 credit cards and looks to fund two or three projects per month.

Any project in the world can apply, but they must be completely open source and help the development and direction of open-source software. The organization is currently funding fewer projects per year at $3,000 per project but are looking to spread the fund wider by offering more $1,000 grants. They are actively seeking projects to endow. They'd also like to eventually be a source to find information on interesting open-source projects. does not solicit or accept donations. The sole source of their funding comes from the affinity credit card. Cox feels that the card acts as an ambassador for Linux. Nearly every time he uses it, someone comments on the card, Cox said. is actively looking for projects to fund. Submissions can be posted on-line at the organization's web site, They are also always in the market for web development help.

News Briefs

LinuxPPC Becomes a Nonprofit Organization: LinuxPPC ( announced plans to become a nonprofit organization (NPO). The NPO will focus on the development and promotion of the Linux operating system on the PowerPC processor. Jeff Carr, LinuxPPC's founder, originally registered the domain with the intention of creating a not-for-profit organization. However, it was officially created as a for-profit corporation because it was less difficult and less expensive than creating an NPO.

The organization states that since many of the ideas and principles of nonprofit organizations perfectly match the ideas and principles of the free software movement, the company calls the move “a natural step in LinuxPPC's evolution”. The transition is expected to take several months and will not affect the services offered by the organization. LinuxPPC is headquartered in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Free Software Foundation (FSF) Award for the Advancement of Free Software: The Free Software Foundation ( bestowed its third award for the Advancement of Free Software to VA Linux employee, Brian Paul. Brian was given the award for his work on the Mesa 3-D graphics library. The award, a one-of-a-kind handmade quilt, was presented by Richard Stallman at the Linux Expo in Paris.

Brian was selected from three finalists who were all honored at the award ceremony. The other finalists were Donald Becker, nominated for his network device drivers for the GNU/Linux system and for the Beowulf Project; and Patrick Lenz for his work on, a vital site for news and information on free software.

GNOME Foundation: The GNOME Foundation announced that RedFlag Software Co., Ltd. has joined the foundation. RedFlag will spearhead an effort to localize GNOME into Simplified Chinese.

“With the localization of GNOME, businesses and individuals in China can enjoy the power, cost-effectiveness and ease of use of free software,” said Havoc Pennington, GNOME Foundation board chair. “In addition, talented programmers in China will be able to utilize the modern architecture and design of GNOME for application development.”

RedFlag will lead GNOME Foundation efforts in China, focusing on education, support and marketing. It will also join the volunteer efforts of more than 500 of the world's most talented software designers and programmers who are currently working on GNOME or GNOME-compatible programs.

Leslie Proctor is an active participant in the .org community and has acted as a consultant for a number of .org organizations around the world. Send mail to
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