April 5, 2007

ChangeLog: Linux Fund loses its funding source

Linux Fund, an organization founded to fund open source projects through financing from affinity credit cards, is losing its affinity card provider. Linux Fund cardholders received official notice from the Bank of America recently that the program is being discontinued. According to the letter, "the provider of your Linux Fund credit card and Linux Fund recently agreed to discontinue the existing credit card program effective June 30, 2007."

David Mandel, executive director of LinuxFund.org, says, "Linux Fund and Bank of America (formerly MBNA) agreed to terminate the Linux Fund card a few months ago, but we could not say anything because of non-disclosure agreements we signed with MBNA.

"Many people have asked if Linux Fund is going to offer a card through another bank or if I know of an alternative to the Linux Fund credit card that funds FOSS. I cannot say anything about Linux Fund's future with any other bank; and I do not know of any alternative to the Linux Fund credit card. I suspect there aren't any. I can say that the banking industry has changed and it is much more difficult to set up a program like the Linux Fund card than it was in 1999 when we started the program."

LinuxFund was born in 1999 and hyped at the 2000 LinuxWorld in New York City. After falling into a period of disarray and neglect, it was revitalized in 2005, and channeled funds into important FOSS projects such as Blender, Debian Linux, Gentoo, and OpenSSH.

"Linux Fund will continue to exist, although it will look very different than it does today," Mandel says. "Linux Fund is hoping to be able to provide the open source community with the information and tools they need to intelligently channel funds and other resources to open source projects."

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