Formalizing the UBports Foundation: the final step to become an official foundation
We all know UBports is still not an official Foundation, but we are excited to be able to announce that we are moving towards the final step to becoming one! All of the paperwork has been submitted, and we are just waiting for the green light. In this blog we would like to share some insights about the process so far.
The UBports Board of Directors (BoD) is excited to announce that UBports has officially sent (June 19th 2018) her formal request for approval to the local government in Berlin. This brings us very close to a new UBports milestone; we expect to have the formal UBports Foundation established in August/September 2018.
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When was the idea raised to let UBports become a Foundation?
The idea evolved over time. It makes no sense to answer this question before shining the light on the history of the project and involvement of the UBports structure. So let's start with a short summary:
In 2015, Marius Gripsgård got an itch; he felt that the Ubuntu Touch project (at that time maintained and developed by Canonical) should be available for everybody. So he forced himself to start porting the OS to a “secret device”. During this period he had first contact with a potential sponsor, who was interested in this “secret device”. Not much later UBports was born. Marius explained his ideas, like porting Ubuntu to each mobile device, and establishing a Foundation for this purpose. Here he awakened the sponsor’s interest! And first donations to assist Marius became real. Small criteria was agreed on, and the “secret device” was to be ported as a daily driver.
In November 2016, Marius went to Ubucon – Essen. There he met his sponsor in person. At that moment the project became more serious. The plans that Marius explained to a bigger audience persuaded the sponsor. He decided to make financial resources available with the aim of establishing a Foundation. However, the time was not right to take that step. Ubuntu Touch was still supported and developed by Canonical.
From February to March of 2017, a team, including Marius, was invited to join Canonical at Mobile World Congress 2017. From this moment the dream was there! How could we join forces, or how should we get on with porting Ubuntu to the mobile devices.
Not much later there was some shocking news. In April 2017 Canonical stopped developing Ubuntu Touch and Unity 8, its "phone and convergence shell". Unity 8 was central to Canonical's efforts to have one user interface across all devices. At that time a small group of people started to discuss the opportunity to restart the development of Ubuntu on the mobile devices. UBports made its first steps!
Each member of this small team took a role in preparation to “fork” Ubuntu Touch. Meanwhile discussions about the name and logo took place. As you all know now, the brand Ubuntu Touch has seen the light and as of today it is still called Ubuntu Touch.
Operating as the UBports Community
Since the UBports community took over the full development of Ubuntu Touch, new steps needed to follow. UBports needs to reach its full potential and there was (and still is) the belief that an official foundation be setup up for the the purposes of UBports.
Jan Sprinz and Ewald Pierre took the task to prepare the required documents and Foundation structure. To do this correctly, a first visit to an accountant took place at June 28th 2017. On the side, lawyers took care of the legal parts, including the correct use of the logo and finalizing the foundation documents.
When requested, an experienced partner (LibreOffice) helped us out.
Answer to the question
The idea of forming a foundation has been a process over a long period of time, and we are happy to announce that the idea is getting closer to becoming a reality.
Where should the Foundation reside?
This was an easy choice. Berlin – Germany. Solid, experienced with Foundations and reliable!