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From:  (James Botte)
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.announce,comp.os.linux
Subject: Announcing the OASG Linux Trust
Date: 25 Mar 1993 18:27:12 GMT
Organization: Cornell Theory Center
Lines: 213
Approved: (Matt Welsh)
Message-ID: <1osti0$lqc@fitz.TC.Cornell.EDU>
Keywords: OASG trust, money, money, money
Originator: mdw@db.TC.Cornell.EDU

I originally posted this proposal to comp.os.linux with the announcement
that I was bracing myself for the flames. I have received nothing but
extremely positive feedback (thank you all) and constructive criticism
(which I actually took into account for this new posting :-).

I have created a new channel on linux-activists called OASG-TRUST. To join,
send a message to with the line
"X-Mn-Admin: join OASG-TRUST" as the message (without the quotes...). From
that point on, to "post" to the channel, send your mail to and put the line "X-Mn-Key: OASG-TRUST" as
the first line of the message. [sorry to everyone that already knows this].

Exact details of where money can be sent in each country will be announced
in future postings as they "come on line". I am actively looking for
volunteers in all countries but the U.S.A., Canada, and Norway [I am
setting things up in France, but might want to abdicate at some point if I
don't keep getting contracts over here]. If you are interested, you can
send me mail via the linux-activists channel or at my friend's account
in Canada (


To help promote continuing Linux development, including work being done by
identifiable groups (such as the FSF, XFree, etc.) and individuals (Linus
and a cast of thousands), I have decided to create "The OASG Linux Trust".
The purpose of this zero profit "construct" is to gather money from
appreciative individuals and (hopefully) companies and to distribute it to
those who made Linux what it is today and what it will be tomorrow. There
are three main criteria for this "enterprise" to be successful:

1. People must be able to send money to a central point in their own
   country using negotiables recognized by banks in their country
   (cheques/money orders/direct transfers). This eliminates the hassle
   of currency conversion for small amounts and allows better rates to
   be achieved when distributing money.
2. The process of selecting who will get what percentage of the money
   must be made totally democratic to prevent the administrators of such
   a "fund" from abusing their position.
3. There must be a high level of accountability to the Linux community
   so everyone will know that their contribution is going where it should.

I am willing to "administer" the fund in general and will do so with no
expectation of recompense (conflict of interest otherwise ;-). I am
personally setting up central points in France, Canada, and the United
States and already have a volunteer for Norway. I am also investigating
what would need to be done in other countries to set up central collection
points, but will need volunteers (any takers?).

As with all other endeavours in the Linux community, if you like it, use
it! If you don't like it, then don't use it! But this would at least
provide an identifiable channel that could be used by those who wanted to
show their happiness to the community in general via cash. The area that
this concept can't handle is when someone wants a certain individual or
group to be the direct recipient of a donation: in this instance, you can
still send your tee-shirts, video cards, and money directly!

Central Collection of Funds:

Each country needs to have a Central Collection Point where people from
that country will send their donations to via the national mail system and
in their native currency. It is my hope that funds can be sent directly to
the responsible bank for deposit into the appropriate account so there is
no "person" intervening. This will render the setup secure and will
increase the ability to collect accounting information.

Ideally, the bank where everything was sent would not only deposit the
money into the account, but collect any letters sent along with the
donations and forward them to me (in Canada) once a month with the account
statements. This would allow me to post the names of the benefactors as
well as the amounts that they donated (unless of course the benefactor
requested anonymity). I know this is possible in both Canada and in the
U.S.A., but I am getting a lot of "c'est pas normal Monsieur!" trying to do
this in Paris... The account will be created, but it may not be ideal
(perhaps un citroen de France could investigate this further since I only
have a limited amount of time to set things up and I don't understand all
the intricacies of the French banking system).

It is important to have the names of the individuals who sent in money (or
"Anonymous" if they request it) so their donation can be announced
publically so they know that their money made it safely. Once a month, all
records will be "published" in an agreed upon forum (I am planning a
channel on linux-activists for this stuff).

Democratic Allocation of Collected Monies:

There will be a mail channel where determination of the recipients of
"funds" will be made through a democratic process. Individuals, groups, and
corporations will be "nominated" by the readers of c.o.l (46000 people
should provide a nice "cross section" :-) or via snail-mail [perhaps we
could get Unix World to announce the event in a press release?]. Once all
nominations have been received, a list of nominees is sent out. At this
point, the nominees have the option of declining or indicating an alternate
recipient. In any case, for a nominee to make it onto the final "ballot",
they must receive at least a certain number of "seconders" (five to start
with ?). At this point the list is sent over c.o.l and c.o.l.a for voting
[perhaps we can even convince a magazine to carry the ballot?] Voters will
rank any "nominees" with a percentage that they would like to see that
"nominee" get. All votes returned will be run through our favorite
statistics package to determine just what the collective mass thought what
percentage each nominee should get (everyone's a winner!!!). This
percentage of the "fund" would be sent to the lucky recipient.

The voting procedure would take place once every three months (on the
solstices and equinoxes? This would place the first vote June 21st,
1993 which would hopefully be enough time to get at least a dribble of
cash...). The ballot would also always have a few "special" categories:

	1. The Free Software Foundation
	2. Linus Torvalds (Sorry Linus, no choice so don't complain! ;-)
	3. "Awards" of Excellence

The Free Software Foundation is one of the prime reasons why Linux is such
a fabulous development platform and is responsible for innumerable
utilities and other doodads. Linus wrote the lions' share of the kernel and
has been responsible for keeping it clean and organizing extensions. The
"Awards" of Excellence would have to be subject to a second vote (one and a
half months after the main vote?) and is intended for those individuals or
groups who have consistently made exceptional contributions to the Linux
development effort (Linus and the FSF don't qualify, they have their own
phylum above :). The voting on this one would be via a ranking system and
would be used to choose between 5 and 10 recipients (???) with a "first"
prize, "second" prize, and then a bunch of "third" prizes.


Each month, a list of all donations will be "published" on a
linux-activists channel along with general accounting information (just
how much was collected in total and where). This allows individuals and
companies that sent money to verify that the money was received
properly and for interested onlookers to nose around :). Also, once a
month, the summary will be posted to c.o.l.a (is this ok?).

After the voting has taken place, the results of who gets what and how
much will be posted to c.o.l.a (including how much is up for "grabs" in
the "Awards" fund).

There is a possibility that a detailed accounting of names will not be
possible for a Central Collection Point due to banking policy (for example,
if they want exorbitant service charges for the service or that "c'etait
pas normal"). In such a case, the individual amounts would still be posted
and people would just have to match the amounts up...

Arbitration and Problems:

Like it or not, this is the real world and problems will occur (lost
mail, disagreements, etc.); therefore, any decisions taken by The OASG
Linux Trust are final. Also, we cannot be responsible for lost or stolen
mail [this has happened to me in Canada :-( ]. Also, since this is a
private "construct" administered by myself on a zero profit basis, all
flames should be sent to /dev/null. This mail account will die a
horrible death March 31st when I head back to Canada, I will announce my
new account name around the beginning of April. Until then, you can send
mail to the OASG-LINUX channel on the linux-activists mailing list.

What's Next:

I need people to set things up in other countries... volunteers are needed
to deal with the banks there. See above for what is needed... please
contact me before you do anything though (through the OASG-LINUX channel
if nothing else).

I will announce the Central Collection Point for France in the next week
(I have to set it up while I'm still here!) and the Central Collection
Point for Canada in the first two weeks of April. By the end of April I
should have the CCP for the United States (will probably be in NY
state). Until then, the FSF is a good target if you have money that's
burning a hole in your pocket! They can be found at 675 Massachusetts
Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139 USA. You can even wire money directly to
their bank [First National Bank of Boston, 100 Federal Street, Boston, MA
02110 USA. The bank's ABA number is: 011000390. The account is: Free
Software Foundation, acct. #603-70213].

I will also be investigating the possibility of gettings accounts with the
global credit card companies that people could use to donate through no
matter where they are (Visa, MasterCard, Amex).

Constructive comments can be sent to until the end of March. 


1. The "OASG" is the Ottawa Advanced Software Group and it is the name
   of my (very small) company in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. I decided to
   prepend the name so others could also formulate "trusts" and give
   them their own names if it was necessary.
2. We are going to try and release a Linux distribution sometime over
   the next six to eight months. There is currently no potential conflict
   of interest. It is my goal however to continue the "Trust" even after we
   start shipping "product", I hope that the structure I proposed will be
   sufficiently "democratic" that there is will be no possibility of people
   accusing us of rigging things (I would go so far as to say that the
   company should be inelligible for "awards" from such a fund).
3. As far as actually sending money to a "recipient", there would
   probably have to be a floor set so it doesn't cost more to send the
   "award" than it is worth. This can't be set until we see the logistics
   of this thing in action.
4. I have considered making the XFree crowd one of the "special"
   categories on the ballot because of the major impact they have on how
   well Linux will be accepted by the "common" folk and the consistently
   good work they have done, but have been foiled by the lack of a
   single point where "awards" can be sent [this is a hint guys/gals].

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