[IAEP] [Sur] [SLOBS] "New Co" / Nueva Empresa

Martin Langhoff martin.langhoff at gmail.com
Wed May 23 20:35:08 EDT 2012

On Wed, May 23, 2012 at 1:07 AM, Caryl Bigenho <cbigenho at hotmail.com> wrote:
> It has been 7 months since the "Bumblebee" brainstorming group had its
> discussion in San Francisco. I'm not sure what we thought would work for us,

My recommendation is to let each group do their own thing. It's their
name, their reputation on the line.

If the original SF Bumblebees run a successful deployment in X, an
unrelated group in New Zealand has no business using the Bumblebee
name (potentially asking for money or goods). They should use their
own name -- build their own reputation.

There are some specific cases where the _services_ of a non-profic org
are extremely useful. Software for the Public Interest (SPI) comes to
mind -- it helps administer money from various conferences and events
related to FOSS projects.

You'll note that Debian conference organizers ("debconf") make use of
SPI's services, and that saves them a ton of time. Each year debconf
happens in a different country, and is managed by a different group.
Setting up a non-profit in a different country every year is madness.
SPI's help is used every year by a different group.

But SPI is not an umbrella of any kind, and nobody operates in their
name (except the few people actually part of SPI). In a case I am
familiar with, the "Debconf Helsinki" team used SPI's bank accounts
and legal entity to handle receipt of donations, payment of bills,
importation of gear into Europe, sponsorship of visa applications...

These "service" non-profits are very useful (they require a lot of
work too!). OTOH, I am extremely wary of any "umbrella name" or
"umbrella organization", and I believe you should be too.

I've sat through plenty of talks and presentations where people were
asking for material help (money, equipment, services) based on the
good work of someone else entirely. Makes my blood boil and, besides
my personal ethics, it does not lead to good outcomes.


 martin.langhoff at gmail.com
 martin at laptop.org -- Software Architect - OLPC
 - ask interesting questions
 - don't get distracted with shiny stuff  - working code first
 - http://wiki.laptop.org/go/User:Martinlanghoff

More information about the IAEP mailing list