Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the GNU Project, has formed a type of partnership with Crowd Supply, a crowdfunding company mainly focused on open source hardware and software projects, according to Ars Technica.
According to Crowd Supply founder Josh Lifton, the partnership is a natural fit. Lifton, a doctoral alumnus of MIT Media Lab and the former head of engineering at Puppet Labs, said,
The lines between hardware and software are blurring … It only makes sense to consider them jointly rather than separately.
Crowd Supply’s most well-known campaigns are the Librem laptop, a privacy-centered computer by Purism (currently, the Librem 13 is raising funds on the platform), and the Novena, an open-hardware laptop of sorts designed by Andrew “bunnie” Huang and Sean “xobs” Cross.
Here’s what the partnership between FSF and Crowd Supply entails, according to Ars Technica:
The GNU Operating System, sponsored by FSF, defines free software as follows:
software that respects users’ freedom and community. Roughly, it means that the users have the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. Thus, “free software” is a matter of liberty, not price.
- The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose (freedom 0).
- The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
- The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
- The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
[formally endorse] Crowd Supply as its preferred crowdfunding platform for free software and open (or “Libre”) hardware projects, and it will steer developers of hardware and software projects to Crowd Supply when they are looking to fund or sell their own work (or purchase products themselves).
Crowd Supply’s recently funded (and overfunded) campaigns include Cashstache, a tough, sophisticated slim wallet, and USB Armory, an open-sours USB computer stick for security applications. Stallman noted that FSF would happily promote the site because Crowd Supply,
respects people’s freedom while asking them to donate to projects.