What we do
And why we do it
Welcome to The Commons Conservancy
A home for technology efforts in the public interest
What we do
And why we do it
We are a foundation
But not an entirely normal one.
Today, technology determines the course of society. Our not-for-profit infrastructure helps to create and foster technology "commons".
Established in 2016
What we have to offer
A light-weight and flexible governance infrastructure
We offer a simple solution that will allow many projects to not waste time and start discovering what is out there in the world for them to achieve. You get a virtual not-for-profit organisation to run the Programme, an infrastructure for decision making, and through our partners you will be able to receive tax-friendly donations.
Grow your project
Create a mature environment
Maybe you are considering starting a separate foundation. That has worked for many projects, and will continue to do so in the future. If your project has very specific requirements, it may be the best way to go. But not every project can afford the time and cost involved.
Having ones own full-blown legal entity solves some issues, but may create new ones. Such as responsibilities which can become somewhat of a burden - like filing quarterly taxes, publishing annual reports or obtaining charitable status to make donations more attractive.
For something given away without the intention to make money, the 'opportunity cost' in lost hours that could be spent on the project can be pretty high.
Solve what needs to be solved
Keep it simple
[The Commons Conservancy] is the result of people questioning the need for having a separate legal entity per project. It is designed as a shared legal infrastructure designed for multitenancy, which can be reused by open source/free software projects at no cost. It is not a panacea but aims to solve a number of issues people normally start foundations for pretty well - and arguably in some cases does a better job. It is a very nimble and flexible solution, allowing eligible projects to benefit without setup cost or a lot of arguing over details.
a home for technology efforts in the public interest
Organisations that start free software/open source projects sometimes find themselves in a position where they need to loosen their relationship with the project in order to allow it to mature and to live up to its full potential.
Valuable contributors from the outside may need to be able to get more responsibility. The community may be asking for an open and trustworthy governance model for clearing and assigning copyrights to be more future proof.
Others want to contribute in other ways — for instance by donating money. But to whom? What about taxes? Scaling up a project often means a lot of additional overhead, and several unknowns that suck up time.
If you are a creator, make sure your project is not hindered by lack of copyright transparency.
(but that doesn't mean you should waste time)
In it for the long haul
Copyright lasts 75 years or more...
Unlike other organisations you may have looked at, we do not handle money directly. We believe that this makes things a lot easier and safer. You can of course receive donations, but this is handled through a specialised and established charity.
How many foundations created this year will be around in twenty years from now? What will happen to their assets? We aim to stick around, and because of our unique model — we can.
Simple & Secure Large File Transfer
FileSender is a (self-)hosted service that allows people to securely share large files with anyone. It works through your web browser and you can send a file to anyone with a mail address. FileSender was originally created with the needs of scientists and researchers in mind, which means that it scale to extreme file sizes.
Private instances of FileSender are currently in use by many nation research networks and scientific institutes across the world.
Modular security for the web
The Redwax Project provides a number of small and modular security tools to make it easy to build security services on the web. These can be combined to form various types of certificate authorities, issuing certificates with SPKAC and SCEP, servicing certificate revocation with CRLs and OCSP, and creating timestamps.
The aim of the project is keep the security footprint and the number of dependencies as low as possible.
Safer connections for everyone
Virtual Private Networks are an important class of technologies that enable secure and private use of networks (such as wifi hotspots) even in the common case where the trustworthiness of the network is hard to establish. The use of untrusted wifi networks is as common as it is risky, and without protection potentially exposes users to all kinds of attacks. However, setting up VPNs is traditionally a very cumbersome task. eduVPN is an effort to make VPN technology commonly available, by building better and more user-friendly tools.
The foundation strives for a fair and balanced global information society in which individuals can collectively scrutinise, reconfigure and improve upon the technology and informational resources they depend on; and to make that technology and those resources secure, reliable, transparent and inclusive and to enable human innovation at the widest possible scale, with the express intention to strenghten the individual in their humanity and to enable them to participate in all facets of modern life -- whether social, cultural, economic, private etc. -- under conditions of their own choosing, and in full understanding of and control over its workings, and all that relates to the beforementioned or could be beneficial ot it, all in the broadest sense of the word.
but that doesn't mean you should waste time