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OpenBSD funds appeal bears fruit

The OpenBSD Foundation has received a big response to its appeal for funds and has raised three-quarters of its target for 2014, according to one of its directors, Bob Beck.

It may be recalled that a few days back iTWire published a story about OpenBSD founder Theo de Raadt having issued an appeal for funds to pay the energy bills, and pointing out that the project was in a state where it would be forced to down shutters if donations did not come in.

Beck said the appeal had resulted in a flood of donations coming in.

"When I posted the shot across the bow to the user community that the project could shut down, it was very serious," he told iTWire. "We had a 20K shortfall to cover from last year in electricity costs, and $41,000 in the bank.

"This would leave us cancelling essentially all our planned events for this year in an attempt to keep the lights on - and even then by the time the (very expensive Canadian) networking costs (another 15-20K) and 2014 electricity (likely another 15K) were covered off we were circling the drain at the donation levels we had been seeing."

Beck said the story had gone viral and "our poor ignored PayPal donation page was discovered by many people when linked from news stories, and in addition a lot of the people we have approached for corporate sponsorship stepped up to the plate - this happened while we were scrambling a bit to get any sort of organised fund-raising campaign out the door, and acknowledge our corporate donors. So many of us have been scrambling to get pages up and talk to potential sponsors. We are still actively working with a number of potential corporate sponsors."

He said the project had received more media attention when MPEx - the BitCoin stock exchange - donated 20 BTC. "We do accept BitCoin donations and lots of people thought that was cool - especially us, as this donation alone would cover our electrical shortfall. However, a number of other corporations have also given us generous donations."

At this time the "precious metal level" sponsors are MPEx Bitcoin stock exchange, genua mbh, SEPPmail AG, Google, Facebook, Snabb GmbH, and ForeTell Technologies.

Beck said discussions were ongoing with a number of other companies. "Going forward, we are hoping to be able to move to where we are at a sustainable level of $150,000 yearly - which would ensure we can fund the things we need without potential disasters," he added.

The Foundation's fund-raising campaign can be found here and donations can be made on this page.


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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.