Software Freedom Conservancy

Handshake Provides a Leg Up

Conservancy has been gifted $200K

August 22, 2018

Handshake has recently awarded funds to many critical free and open source software projects. In particular Conservancy has been gifted $200K for our ongoing work to support software freedom by providing a fiscal home for smaller projects, enforcing the GPL and undertaking strategic efforts to grow and improve free software. Outreachy, the organization offering biannual, paid internships for under-represented people to work in free software (itself a member project of Conservancy) has also been awarded $100,000 from these funds.

"We are grateful for this donation that will allow us to continue supporting people from underrepresented backgrounds in gaining focused experience as free software contributors and shaping the future of technology," said Marina Zhurakhinskaya, Outreachy Organizer. Donations to the Outreachy general fund support program operations and increasing awareness of opportunities in free software among people from underrepresented groups in tech.

Handshake is a decentralized replacement for the root zone file, which leverages blockchain technology to make DNS-based spying and censoring more difficult. Purse.io and Private Internet Access provided Handshake with the funding to launch decentralized market for Internet names. The Handshake organizers said that they received much more than they needed to get started and so decided to reinvest $10.2 million dollars back into free software by gifting it to FLOSS developers and projects, as well as non profit organizations and universities that support free software development.

From Handshake, "The Internet, and civilization as a whole, would not be where it is today without the hard work of the free software and open source community and the projects that they work on. The Handshake blockchain will start with an initial supply of 1.36 billion coins, of which 77.5% will be gifted to FLOSS developers and projects, as well as non profit organizations, universities."

"We're glad to be included in this list of organizations that are so important to the Internet and to free and open source software." says Karen Sandler, Executive Director of Conservancy. "The funds will make a big difference in our ability to support and defend free software and ethical technology."

As a small organization, we are always working to do the most with what we have. The Handshake grant allows us to tackle some of the work that we would have otherwise had to put off to a later date. Unfettered donations give us the freedom to say yes to hiring contractors to help with tasks that we don't have expertise for in house, they help us move up our timetables for critical infrastructure and they enable us to spend less time fundraising. These kinds of gifts are absolutely critical for Conservancy and for our frugal sister organizations in the free software community.

"...Handshake has everything we need and that capital is better deployed by the FOSS organizations to which we have pledged to contribute it. In the spirit of free software and radical gifting we’ve taken the validation value from this project and shared it with the world."

We hope others are inspired to support the free software commons on which so many modern businesses and essential platforms rely. If all the amazing work done by free software developers over the last 30+ years has put you in a situation where you have "extra money" feel free to reach out to us! We can definitely help you with that. Thank you again to Handshake for your generous leadership!

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