Started as a passion project by three ambitious guys back in 2011, Manjaro has evolved rapidly to establish itself as one of the most popular and well-known Linux distributions available today. Likely one of the main reasons for its success is a unique balance between a wide variety of an ever-growing diverse community and the consistency of a small and closely connected core team.
Today, many thousands of users are relying on the constancy, stability and security associated with Manjaro daily. The development and maintenance have become considerably more time consuming and a much larger task than can be managed by a few people in their spare time.
For some time, Philip has been investigating ways to secure the project in its current form and how to allow for activities which can’t be undertaken as a “hobby project”, and, along with the rest of the team, a plan of action has been created.
Most importantly: Manjaro itself is not changing and the project will continue to run in its current form.
The two main changes are:
To transfer donation funds to a non-profit “fiscal host” which will then accept and administer donations on the project’s behalf. This secures the donations and makes their use transparent.
A new established company, Manjaro GmbH & Co. KG, to enable full-time employment of maintainers and exploration of future commercial opportunities.
This new structure should enable Manjaro to reach the next level, for example:
- enable developers to commit full time to Manjaro and its related projects;
- interact with other developers in sprints and events around Linux;
- protect the independence of Manjaro as a community-driven project, as well as protect its brand;
- provide faster security updates and a more efficient reaction to the needs of users;
- provide the means to act as a company on a professional level.
The whole team agrees that nothing should change for the running of the project or its relationship with the community. It will remain open and welcoming for all users and contributors.
Manjaro as the Community and Project
The mission and goals of Manjaro will remain the same as before – to support the collaborative development of Manjaro and its widespread use. This effort will continue to be supported through donations and sponsorship and these will not, under any circumstances, be used by the established company.
To secure the existing project funds and future donations, Jonathon is in the process of establishing the project with fiscal hosts (CommunityBridge and OpenCollective). Team members will then be able to approve the use of donations to fund project-related expenses, for example:
- Sponsorship for upstream events and local Manjaro team and community events;
- Local community costs (e.g. shipping of equipment to Manjaro team and community members);
- Travel (e.g. coverage of full or part of the expenses for attending an event);
- Hardware and hosting costs.
There will be many other possibilities where community initiatives can be subsidized to help grow the Manjaro project and community.
Manjaro as a company and legal entity
In order to effectively engage in commercial agreements, form partnerships, and offer professional services a legal construct has been formed: Manjaro GmbH & Co. KG (wiki explanation).
On July 8th, Philip and Bernhard met together with the CEO of Blue Systems to officially found this business entity. As a result, Bernhard and Philip will now be able to commit full-time to Manjaro, while Blue Systems will take a role as an advisor.
The company will be able to sign contracts and cover duties and guarantees officially, which the community cannot take or be held responsible for.
One of our main goals is to improve our infrastructure and continuously work on the essentials and requirements of our distro as a professional endeavor. Our hope is to soon be able to include additional contributors on a paid basis.
The long-term goal of the company's commercial activities is to become financially self-sustaining, thereby securing the viability of the whole project, and the community. The company will also hold the registered trademarks for the EU and the US and act to prevent unauthorized use of Manjaro as a brand.
The company's statutes ensure that the name Manjaro can always be used freely by the community while preventing harm to the project by associating wrongfully or under false terms with Manjaro and exploit its good reputation.
With these changes, Manjaro is better placed for financial security, building ties with businesses and other organizations, and recognition as a serious player in the Linux world.