Rocky Linux Foundation

Would it be a good idea to establish a non-profit Rocky Linux Foundation?

With a foundation, companies and individuals who depend on Rocky Linux could add financial support to the project.

That would allow:

  • the ability that companies and individuals have a way to donate
  • to speed up development if needed
  • independence from specific companies (neutrality)
  • to guarantee the stability and longevity of the project

Would that make sense?
Toni

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Hi,

Sounds like a good idea. And I run a hosting company with loads of infrastructure available. If needed I would love to support with virtual servers.

Just let me know.

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That’s a “must-do” thing. Supporting it.

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That’s a great idea! I am not sure much about legal issues for it, but I hope someone from Linux Foundation or FSF would help :slight_smile: or any other FLOSS foundation

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Make sure to have some defences against rogue ‘members’ or external entities that for whatever reason try to acquire ‘ownership’ over the project.
A decent governance is in place.

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Agree. People behind the project need funding. Companies that rely on the OS will be willing to support it as their infrastructure depends on it.

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We need something similar for Germany. I know a couple of companies that are really pissed by CentOS decision.

They are willing to donate – but only if it is tax deductible.

Anybody willing to help? Need 7 people to start.

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I think you should only bother with a foundation if you can prevent certain large corporations from doing another corporate capture of the ‘board’. Any non-profit should be governed strictly by a single page document and automate all donation->payment pipeline for services (no people).

Maybe a pipe dream, but otherwise how do you prevent someone from RH from getting on the board again and destroying REL?

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I spent several years in nonprofit administration from that it has been my experience that forming a foundation/nonprofit is critical to successful long term projects that aren’t designed to remain centered around a single person or groups of people. This kind of infrastructure can also open up options that don’t exist for “groups” and provide stability and continuity in the face of someone disappearing or becoming incapacitated.

There are many ways that a foundation could be made to work for Rocky Linux, and chief amongst them would be having a clear, adopted, and enforced conflict of interest policy for anyone with voting powers, with annual disclosures. The content and terms of such a policy can generally be up to the organization, but the idea here would be to catch and remediate situations where a theoretical Rocky Linux Foundation Board started to become heavily weighed with employees of any given company, for example.

(To be clear I’m not an attorney, and this isn’t intended as legal advice.)

I’d be glad to discuss getting involved, for what that is worth.

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You can’t. See how corrupt the ICANN is just to name one example. Most non-profits are only that in paper. People are still people and any organization will only work as good or bad as the people behind them. Same for a private corporation, makes no different if the organization is for profit or not.

You just need to trust the leadership behind it and make sure no single entity can take over.

Without a non-profit, it will be impossible to obtain adequate funding to keep the project alive long term.

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Do we have consensus on the following so far?

  1. it is a good idea to establish a way that allows donations/funding
  2. it should be a non-profit organization
  3. there is a need to prevent hostile attacks on the project (is this requirement related to donations/funding?)
  4. it is unclear who is supposed to administer (own) the non-profit organization
  5. it is unclear whether the form should be a Foundation or another maybe simpler form

Did I forget something?
Toni

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1: I am not even sure it’s a good idea more than a requirement, as unless there is a distributed computing build and storage system, there is no way to actually build or deliver the product.

Re: 3: yes, it would be related to funding as often those who bring funds gain power.

Good summary of the situation so far, though. Thanks.

On the subject of protection (3.), I have added a new idea in this forum:

Maybe there are better ideas? Please share.

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  1. it is a good idea to establish a way that allows donations/funding

Yes. From a sustainability standpoint a distinct legal entity is a must-have.

  1. it should be a non-profit organization

For the purposes of this discussion I assume this entity would be based in the U.S.? (That’s where my experience is domiciled). To be clear, in the U.S. there are a few different kinds of nonprofits, and Foundations and nonprofits aren’t necessarily interchangeable. A Foundation usually denotes a nonprofit organization that sources contributions from a smaller pool of funding, for example one or two companies, a family, a single donor. So I think we ultimately are talking about forming a nonprofit versus a foundation?

  1. there is a need to prevent hostile attacks on the project (is this requirement related to donations/funding?)

This has a lot to do with #2. Funding of the organization is a tactical control consideration (e.g. if the money dries up, the bills can’t be paid this month), but strategically, protecting the Board from unwanted influence is the strongest protection for the organization. These are two tacts that work together.

Board members by default in many U.S. jurisdictions are required by law to put the best interests of the organization first, which is why it’s important for them not to be conflicted, and having a larger board helps to ensure that the board is empowered to prevent rogue members from becoming detrimental.

For example, strategically if doesn’t matter where the money comes from if the board itself “gets bought” and tactically it doesn’t matter what the board decides if we can’t pay the bills and our vendors close our accounts.

  1. it is unclear who is supposed to administer (own) the non-profit organization

I sort of assume Greg Kurtzer would be an initial incorporator of the legal entity, but that is obviously up to him. Thankfully nonprofits are not exactly owned, so once a board is elected, whatever governance structure we put into place, if well executed, will safeguard against that kind of attack.

  1. it is unclear whether the form should be a Foundation or another maybe simpler form

See above for my other point about this.

Regarding the Community protection by Democracy ideas, these are good starting thoughts. Generally an organization can arrange how its decisions are made in any way it likes that don’t interfere with whatever requirements are set in the relevant jurisdictions’ laws on how nonprofit organizations may function. It would be important to get legal advice in how the board is structured and what other groups have what kind of power, so that down the road we don’t end up outsmarting ourselves.

My original disclaimer applies.

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I’m willing to help on this effort

What exactly do you want/need to start? Something like eV?

Bin dabei / Let’s do this.

There should be a provisional financial section for the organisaton page:


maybe a crowd funding project as well?
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I wanted to point out that @Leigh has made some good points in the related thread by @ToniFeric, Community protection by Democracy, that, if I may be so bold as to paraphrase – these are important things to think about, but we still have a lot of work to do before we have something worth protecting.

I expect that active discussion of these kinds of concerns will start to form in the #rocky-legal channel in Slack over time, so I’d encourage everyone with their eyes on this to join in there and when those conversations happen in Slack, we can discuss in-the-moment too. I’m not in any way trying to end this conversation, I just wanted to bring what was happening elsewhere into this thread. :slight_smile:

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