Ubuntu Donations And Community Funding

Some time ago a form was added to ubuntu.com in which users can donate money to the Ubuntu project.

Jono Bacon, the Ubuntu Community Manager, has recently been working to finalize a fair and transparent plan for how the money raised from the community, upstreams, and flavors sliders can be used to benefit the most valuable projects and efforts within the Ubuntu and flavors community. Jono prepared a plan and reviewed it with the Community Council who were happy with the programme he proposed.

In a nutshell, it works like this:

  • The donations are broken into six month cycles. As an example, from 12.10 to 13.04 we collect donations and they will be spent in the 13.04 cycle. When the 13.10 cycle opens up we will then spend the donations from the 13.04 to 13.10 period.
  • There are three pools of donations (one for each community-orientated slider on the donations form): Community, Upstreams, and Flavors. The funding for each slider will be reserved for that part of the community. Budget figures will not be published upfront as we feel this could cause people to want to game the system. Full budgets will however be published in the report at the end of each funding cycle.
  • Any Ubuntu Member is welcome to apply for funding for projects that will benefit Ubuntu and/or our family of Ubuntu flavors. Funding requests cannot be an arbitrary amount of money for a person or team (e.g. $100 for Joe Bloggs or ubuntu-foo LoCo Team) but are instead intended to pay for things (e.g. $100 to pay for train travel to exhibit Ubuntu at FooConf).
  • Those wishing to request funding will fill in a form that captures the application and details of the request.
  • The Community Team will then coordinate and review these requests and solicit any additional details from the applicant and/or from our governance boards to determine the validity of the request and either approve or reject the request.
  • At the end of the six month funding cycle a full report will be published providing (a) a summary of the available budget (b) a list of items where money was spent with the dollar amounts, and (c) any remaining budget that will be carried over to the following funding cicle. This report will be made available to all on the web and published every six months. This will provide a good overview of how the money was spent.

This programme should provide a simple, transparent, and efficient way of ensuring the funds are distributed well to many different projects and teams within our community, and to ensure they are as evenly distributed as possible. We want the donations to benefit as many different teams and projects as possible and to bring real value to our wider community, as the original donors would have originally intended.

You can read full details of the programme here on community.ubuntu.com where you can also read how to apply in more detail.

Contributed by Jono Bacon

5 Responses to “Ubuntu Donations And Community Funding”

  1. Adam Says:

    Wow, people often say that Canonical are ignoring the community but no, this will show exactly where the community’s money is going and there is now a clear sub-domain of the Ubuntu website that is dedicated to the community and what we can do. Even the decisions are made half by Canonical members and half by community members. It’s a brilliant combination of commercial and community and that’s what makes Ubuntu so amazing.

    Thanks so much for such a great OS and default set of programs that has saved my old laptop in the form of Lubuntu, and has saved my Desktop from Vista in the form of Ubuntu LTS and has meant that I will probably never have to ever pay for software, which is how it should be, and I can contribute to something easily myself.

  2. Chris Says:

    Is there anyway to setup a monthly/recurring donation? I want to donate, but I don’t want to be bothered to manually do it every N weeks. I just want to set it and forget it. This model seems to work well for NPR.

  3. joseeantonior Says:

    I don’t think it’s possible right now, but maybe in the future we’ll see something like that.

  4. Nick Praed Says:

    I am part of a family business which uses Ubuntu Linux because it is a good operating system and it avoids us having any difficulties wwith licenses. However, it seems that the only way we could contribute financially towards Ubuntu is by making individual donations. It would be far more appropriate (and, let’s be honest, tax-efficient) if the company were to make the donations. I’m not sure a company can have a pay pal account, and companies making payments apparently to directors always gets taxmen excited. Is a way for the company to make such donations directly?

  5. Silver Slimer Says:

    It would be great if the fact that we donated was shown on the web page somewhere. Linux Mint has this and I have to admit that it encourages me to donate simply because I feel like I’m part of the project in a way.

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