The Lubuntu Team is happy to announce that we now have ways that you can directly donate to the project and purchase apparel. You can find quick links to all of the sites described in this post on our Donate page.
Why does Lubuntu need donations?
Lubuntu is a community-developed project that relies on support from the community to continue development. There are specific costs we would like to address to take the burden off of specific contributors, their employers, and the Ubuntu project as a whole. Specifically, Altispeed Technologies has graciously provided hosting support for our Phabricator instance, forum, and other pieces of critical Lubuntu infrastructure. We would like to eventually move off of Altispeed’s infrastructure, or be able to pay for the infrastructure ourselves.
Additionally, Lubuntu Developers attend several major Linux conferences each year, specifically LinuxFest NorthWest, the Seattle GNU/Linux Conference, SouthEast LinuxFest, and others. Lubuntu would like to be able to support some of these conferences and trips to these conferences without relying so much on e.g. the Ubuntu Community Donations Funding.
Rationale for each platform
We have accounts on four different platforms set up thus far: Patreon, Liberapay, PayPal, and Teespring. All four of these serve a specific purpose, and are meant to provide a variety of options for donation.
Patreon is, by far, the most popular recurring donations platform existing today. Donations could either be per-release or per-month; we selected the per-month option to best suit our users. In exchange for high visibility and ease of use, Patreon takes 8% of the donations per month, plus any additional fees that may arise. While this isn’t ideal, it works best for many people.
Liberapay is meant to provide a reasonable alternative to Patreon. Not only does it not take such a large percentage of donations, the platform is free software. The downside is that they previously had issues with one of their payment processors, and they have less visibility. However, it is a preferable option for people who wish to avoid Patreon.
We created a PayPal account for the purpose of one-time donations and payment processing for Liberapay temporarily. The advantage is that this allows for many types of currencies, and PayPal is a large platform which has a fair amount of visibility.
Teespring allows indirect donations via apparel purchase. Once purchases begin, we will publish a full breakdown (from our perspective) of what portion goes to Teespring and what portion goes to Lubuntu. The “profit margin” varies per-product, and we will publish all of that as purchases come in.
Accountability and transparency
We have observed with some other open source projects that accept donations that accountability for purchases and transparency in general is lacking. When Lubuntu accepts donations, it is essential to us to publish exactly where money is flowing and how it is being used to help further the project. While the decision-making process is limited to the Lubuntu Council and official members of the Lubuntu project, we see no reason to hide where the community’s money is going.
We plan on publishing updates to our donations process, reports on where the money is going, and all other pertinent information directly on the Donations page. Check there for regular updates.
Are you aware of another platform we should utilize? Do you have further questions about how we plan on using the money? Leave a comment below or contact the Lubuntu Council.