Software Libre Stiftung
Admittedly, these questions have not all been asked. Most of them are questions we anticipated or bits of information that had no other logical place. "faq" is however the common name for such a document.
I've got a question, but it's not answered in here
It might be that your question is not a generally asked question. Still, if it's gnu, linux or free software related, we're happy to try and provide you with an answer, so mail it. If it's general enough we'll include it in this faq.
So you are basically an Open Source company ?
Not quite. Although we use Open Source software, and admire the Open Source Software community, there are fundamental differences between Open Source Software and Free Software.
Open Source is a name that came into use to distinguish between the ethical aspects and the technical aspect of Free Software . It was used to gain foothold within larger corporations, some of which might have negative connotations with the word "free" or "ethical". Because of this the ethical nature of the software was played down and it's technical merits were stressed.
We have no problems with presenting the nature and origin of Free Software, and find it an odd assumption that anyone would object to making our society a better and more social place.
I like what your project. How can I donate ?
We do not accept donations or any sort of gift that might be misconstrued.
We want to make it absolutely clear that our project is not a scheme to enrich ourselves pretending to be a not-for-profit.
We understand why people would be sceptical about a business that on the surface seems to altruisticly give away money. The understanding is however, that we return an investment into something that is not a singular entity. This entity is a loosely spread global community of which our project is a sublimation into the services market. We are not supporting a community, this community is supporting us, regardless of who we are or what we do. It is in our own best interest to help this community prosper and grow. So it's not all a selfless act. It could be called, if one is so inclined, a business model, just a very unusual one.
What is a Zero Profit company?
A Zero Profit is a term we coined ourselves. It to distinguish ourselves from no-profit foundations that rely on gifts and donations to function. Basically we are an ordinary company except for the fact we use the profit derived from business to reach our goal.
Don't you guys want to be rich ?
Ofcourse we do :)
However, we find it important to establish a daily livelyhood in an ethical way. Also, it is important for us to support the software we rely on.
Perhaps it's easier to think of it as a business which invests 100% of the profit it earns into R&D and a little marketing.
Are you guys are all volunteers ? What do you do for a living ?
No, we (the people who work at Software Libre) are not volunteers. Software Libre pays salaries to its people, and we charge normal rates to our customers. Some of us are part-time, some of us full-time and some as contracters.
The board however does not get payed for being in charge.
You are a foundation, but you also are profitable, how can that be ?
We understand that most foundations exist to pursue some sort of noble cause. These foundations must rely on donations and gifts, since it is hard to earn money with the activities they must undertake to pursue that cause.
Implementing and deploying Free Software, is a cause which can generate revenue. This means we can pay people to further our goal.
It might not be exactly how the law expected the concept of a foundation to be filled in, but we fulfill all the criteria and there's nothing illegal about our activities.
It is a "hack" to the concept of a foundation as layed down in the law, so to speak.
How can you get payed ?
Actually, lot's of people get payed to work for a foundation. Most bigger foundations have full-time people taking care of the administration, professional designers and even marketing people.
These people get payed to indirectly help achieve the goal of that foundation.
We have a cause which allows us to directly make money with it. We can pay our people and take any profits we make and use these fulfill our obligations.
How does the community know you're not secretly ripping them off ?
First of all. There's very little benefit to having a foundation instead of a a bussiness with shareholders. We still pay income-tax for our exployees, and pay all the taxes any normal bussiness is required to pay.
Practically the only advantage of having a foundation over a shareholder company when one has a services company is brownie points and warm fuzzies :)
We have to publicly expose and specify where our profits go to. We can't just secretly give our board of directors huge bonusses and claim no profit has been made this year. (btw. all positions on our board are honorary).
There are far easier ways to be fraudulent and abuse the goodwill that is inherent to a foundation.
If you're still not convinced, mail us, call us, or even visit us, so we can answer whatever question you might have concerning our integrity.
What's Linux ?
look at the linux section for information about linux. If your question isn't answered there, mail us so we can include your question here
What's GNU ?
look at the gnu section for information about gnu. If your question isn't answered there, mail us so we can include your question here
What's an overbooking ?
Overbooking determines as to what amount the connection will be shared. It is not as simple as a dividing the total amount by the number of users. If none of the others users are at that time using their bandwidth, your server will have full access of all the bandwidth, otherwise it might be lower, but never less then the amount of bandwidth divided by the maximum number of concurrent users.
What's GNU ?