[ubuntu-us-mo] Incorporated / LLC

Matthew Copple mcopple at kcopensource.org
Wed Aug 15 21:55:29 BST 2007

That's an excellent question, Joe.

I'll begin with our mission. In general, the purpose of a LoCo team is
to provide a regional support network for Ubuntu users, administrators,
developers, etc., and to encourage the adoption of Ubuntu across the
LoCo's region.

That is a big job in a state with nearly 6 million people and about
70,000 square miles of territory. We have five major population centers
in the state -- the KC Metro, the St. Louis Metro / I-44 corridor, St.
Joseph, Springfield, and the Columbia / US 63 corridor down to the Lake
of the Ozarks.

We have talked about doing some pretty cool things -- working with area
vendors to get them to support Ubuntu, sponsoring some user-level
classes, encouraging LPI and Ubuntu Certified Professional
certification, and active participation with LUGs across the state.
We've talked about participating in, or even sponsoring conferences.

Doing these things will require resources. Let's talk about offering
user training. I have talked about offering training through
communiversity here in KC. Canonical is developing a curricula, but to
give the training will require the production of manuals and workbooks,
CDs, and possibly renting space somewhere to perform the training. That
takes money. Getting out there with vendors, or participating in
conferences and conventions, requires the production of marketing
materials, which again requires money.

They also require time, which is usually not cheap. Let's say a LUG asks
the LoCo for a representative to give a talk about Ubuntu. I'm not going
to ask you or Kent to drive to Springfield or Saint Louis for free --
you need some compensation for the expenses. Right now, we can't do

Kent brought up the very intriguing idea of soliciting sponsorships. A
great idea, except that we have to have a treasury -- and a treasurer --
to handle those sponsorships. We also need to be able to give potential
sponsors the confidence that we will be around for a while.

Finally, as we continue to grow, decision-making will become
increasingly difficult without a formal organization. Even Debian, that
most free-wheeling and democratic of all open source projects, has a
formal chain of command and operating structure to go along with its
social contract.

Putting together a formal organizational structure will help us perform
our mission more efficiently. One of the things that has kept Linux from
being really successful with the average home user is that there just
isn't any place most of them can go to figure out how to use it. There
is this myth that Grandma only uses her computer to surf the net and
read e-mail; therefore, the prevailing thought among many in the Linux
community is that as long as you have an icon on the desktop somewhere
that looks like it belongs to a web browser and an e-mail app, folks
will just use it.

Not so. Even grandma has a digital camera now, and she wants to share
photos of the family reunion. Uncle Fred maintains the family history,
and he needs to be able to keep track of the family (something I am
struggling with now). The kids, ages 8 through 21, need to write
research papers, use resources other than wikipedia to find sources for
their papers, and carry on their social activities. Mom and dad need to
be able to VPN into work so they can check e-mail and work on that big
presentation that has to be given tomorrow. 

*buntu, and by extension GNU/Linux, can do all that, but it isn't easy
to figure out how, especially if you are still struggling to learn the
difference between KDE and GNOME. The more experienced users amongst us
have, I believe, an obligation to help those who are less experienced to
get the most out of this amazing software.

Traditionally, in the world of Linux/Unix, one earns respect by not
asking questions and just figuring stuff out. For those of us who spent
our professional lives in the IT industry, that is just the price you
pay for admission. For those who are not computer geeks, it is like
having a big door shut in your face, with your big toe caught in the

It is the job of the LoCo to keep the door open. Not everyone who joins
the LoCo is going to want to spend his or her day helping n00bs, and
that's OK -- we're here to provide support for advanced users, too, and
there are probably going to be far more people interested in just
hanging around and enjoying the hobby than being an activist. But to
carry on our mission, we need an organization that enables the hobbyists
to enjoy the hobby while the activists bring in new members.

Matthew Copple
Team Contact
mcopple at kcopensource.org

On Tue, 2007-08-14 at 02:06 -0500, Joe Brouhard wrote:
> Okay.  I have to ask.. WHY?
> Why is this necessary or is deemed necessary?  More than half of us on
> this team barely have the time to keep up with *buntu, let alone be
> able to help run a LLC.
> Teams should be autunomous, away from the main *buntu development,
> within reason.  Forcing them down this road puts unneccessary stress
> on some of the volunteers, especially those like me and Matt who are
> already busy as hell.
> That, and I do not understand why this is even remotely necessary.
> Proxima Networks is filing for LLC to protect itself as well as my
> self from any possible financial problems, and I do not see one reason
> why the team should do this as most of our contributions are not
> financial, let alone be able to make money off of it.
> On 8/11/07, Kent Seaton <spr0k3t at gmail.com> wrote:
> > I've been speaking with Matt on IM as well as a few of the main team leads
> > with other LoCos and the general consensus is to file for Corporation/LLC
> > listing.  The initial involvement will more than likely be a 503(c)
> > corporation and later move to a 501(c)3 which is tax exempt.
> >
> > http://www.wikihow.com/Start-a-501c3-Nonprofit-Organization
> >
> > ^^^ 501(c)3 in a nutshell.
> >
> > We should have at least two interested parties attend the meetings for the
> > USTeams LoCo meetings as they are working to build upon this from there.
> >
> > Published iCal:
> > http://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=dDA2bGswMjEwdTJ0azltcWdhc3Z1YWxqc2tAZ3JvdXAuY2FsZW5kYXIuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbQ
> >
> > --
> > Kent Seaton
> >
> > --
> > Ubuntu-us-mo mailing list
> > Ubuntu-us-mo at lists.ubuntu.com
> > Modify settings or unsubscribe at:
> > https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/ubuntu-us-mo
> >
> >
> -- 
> Joe Brouhard
> jbrouhard at gmail.com

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