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Donor Spotlight: Togán Labs

by Karen Sandler on August 23, 2017

Conservancy depends on our Supporters and Donors.We rely on their financial support, of course, but they are also valued ambassadors who spread the word about Conservancy and the work we do. This is the first installment in a series featuring the companies and individuals who support Conservancy. If you're a Supporter of Conservancy and would like to be featured here please let us know!

We're kicking off this series by interviewing Beth Flanagan, CTO and Co-Founder of Togán Labs about why they have chosen to donate to Conservancy.

What is Togán Labs?

Togán (pronounced Toe-gawn) Labs Ltd. is a small startup embedded services provider based in Cork, Ireland. We are the creators of Oryx Linux, an embedded Linux distribution based around the Yocto Project and OpenEmbedded. Oryx incorporates a lightweight container runtime engine which brings the benefits of containerisation to the embedded sector without disrupting existing developer workflows. We are not just another startup. Our core philosophy is the belief that we can work, keep roofs over our heads and be responsible to our co-workers, our customers and our communities. It's not just an afterthought to us, it's designed into our company. Our board consists of 2/3rds women, our core development team is gender balanced, we require our co-workers to learn the Irish language (because without an economic basis the language will become even more endangered than it currently is).

We believe that our ethics make us a stronger company. And part of those ethics is our firm belief in open source, especially in copyleft compliance.

Why are you making this donation to Conservancy?

As IoT and embedded devices become more and more ubiquitous in our lives, it is vital that companies supplying these devices enable the consumer by providing them with complete, corresponding source. It's not just a legal obligation, it's a smart business decision. What happens when companies stop supporting firmware upgrades for devices currently on the market? We can't afford a billion devices out there with out of date firmware and no way for communities to provide community supported upgrade solutions. The work Conservancy and others do moves us towards better compliance in the embedded space.

As well, there are personal reasons I believe in the work Conservancy does. I don't have a university degree but have been a software developer for over two decades because of the existence of open source software. I learned to program because strong copyleft existed. Were it not for the ability to get source code, to understand how things worked under the hood, there is a good chance I would never have entered this industry.

Which of Conservancy's member projects do you rely on?

So many of them! As a company that provides an embedded system we certainly make a lot of use of git, uCLibC, coreboot, BusyBox, QEMU, Samba, boost and of course the kernel. As the original author of the Yocto Autobuilder, a BuildBot based CI solution for the Yocto Project, I made heavy use of BuildBot and Twisted.

How do you see the future of software freedom?

I believe we are at a very important crossroads and that it is vital that our communities, corporations and organizations start having open and honest discussions about what the future of open source looks like and what we, as communities, value. I believe in collaboration, both in open source development and open source processes. I want to see all stakeholders around open source compliance move forward towards that goal.

Why do you think folks should open up their own wallets and become Supporters of Conservancy?

I have built a career and a company around a few billion euro software ecosystem I downloaded 20+ years ago for free! This software was started and built by people who believed that software should be free and open and it is vital that this shared value is protected, both from a moral perspective and a business one. I believe that Conservancy is one of the many organisations working towards that goal and the work they do, from Outreachy to compliance activities, enhances and enables our ability to deliver on the promise that is open source.

Tags: supporter

FSF's Stallman Applauds Conservancy's Linux Enforcement

by Bradley M. Kuhn and Karen M. Sandler on May 11, 2017

In a blog post today, Richard M. Stallman of the Free Software Foundation applauds our work at Conservancy enforcing the GPL for Linux.

In his statement, Stallman reiterates the importance of the Principles of Community-Oriented GPL Enforcement and the need for lawsuits, but only as a last resort.

We thank RMS for his support of our work and for asking more people to become Conservancy Supporters.

RMS' blog post has links to LibrePlanet talks [1, 2] by both of us where we discuss Conservancy's work in this area.

Tags: conservancy, GPL, supporter

Why I Support Conservancy—and Joined Its Board

by Kate Chapman on February 8, 2017

When Karen first approached me about joining Software Freedom Conservancy’s board, I tried to think about when I first became aware of the organization. I think it probably involves some non-profit law geeking out somewhere at a conference. As someone who has started and been involved in a few non-profits in their early days I think the services Conservancy provides to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) projects are crucial. Many groups simply want to focus on developing software, rather than the legal and infrastruture tasks required to set up an entire legal entity. It adds another layer of complexity beyond simply organizing code and humans towards a common goal. This is one of the reasons I decided to join Conservancy’s Board of Directors.

One project I’m passionate that we provide a home to is Outreachy. I first became a user of FOSS in 2000 or so. I installed Mandrake Linux on my laptop and starting using it for everything. I was also a Computer Science student at the time. I spent much of that time feeling different while I sat in classrooms with almost entirely white men. I took a break from trying to use Mandrake when my computer ate my term paper and I moved over to studying Geography. I didn’t really return to free software again for 7 years. After graduating from college I worked primarily as a .NET programmer. I then started contributing to a JavaScript library, later got involved in OpenStreetMap and began working on FOSS full-time in various capacities. I think back and wish something like Outreachy had been there to help get me started. I’m delighted that I can support it today.

To make the “F” in FOSS truly free we need people to be able represent the groups making the software we want the world to use. The only way to do that is to get more people involved. Supported, paid internships is part of the way to make this happen. Conservancy is the home for Outreachy and a vital part of this work. I’m delighted I can support that, hopefully making it easier for others to learn and get involved than it was for me.

I hope you are able to help support us in our fundraising drive and can afford to give this year. Currently an anonymous donor is matching 150 Supporter sign-ups and we have plenty of spots left to go. Will one be you? My Supporter sign-up is already matched!

Tags: conservancy, supporter

LibreHealth’s Michael Downey on Why He’s a Conservancy Supporter

by Brett Smith on January 2, 2017

Michael Downey is one of the developers at the helm of our newest member project, LibreHealth. He was eager for the project to join Conservancy because, as he put it, the organization is “a really important player taking on responsibilties that are often neglected in our projects.” Join Michael as a Conservancy Supporter now to help us continue to provide these services to more projects.

Tags: conservancy, supporter, Member Projects

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