Libre Graphics Association

BOF summary

Do we need an association ?

(Discussion between Alexandre Prokoudine and Camille Bissuel)

AP — As for perspective, yes — I do find this idea useful, but in very limited cases. I could elaborate on reasons why most needs mentioned at don’t really require an association, but I’ll just say that the only real thing an association could do, as I see it, is assisting teachers. Because just being able to teach is often not enough to start courses. Where I live you can’t just walk into a company that does IT courses and say “What ho, I know the Scribus thingie, find me a group of students for 50% share” 🙂 You need some sort of proof with a nice name on top of it. Right now we cannot even agree on the name of the organization. If things are going same way when the organization actually is officially started, I fail to see how it might work efficiently.

CB — How would it be useful for you on a daily basis ?

AP — I don’t see how belonging to any association is useful on a daily basis. It’s not as if we were trying to start a trade union, eh?

CB — Said simply : Do you need a LGA, or is it a waste of time and energy in your point of view?

AP — For teachers who are on their tods — yes, for the rest of the articulated cases — no.

Needs and goals

  • Fund libre graphics projects
Comments: (Louis Desjardins) I think this is really a prerogative of each project. I suggest to drop this goal for the moment unless we have a clear signal from various projects to raise money for them. This said, we could probably gather some resources on the website to help smaller projects get some sponsoring. This needs more thoughts.
  • Spread the knowledge about the libre graphics
  • Connect and create a network of LG projects and peoples (not only devs, but also designers, teachers, and users)
  • As an horizon line, we want to fund and get money for the Libre Graphics projects via a non-profit organization
  • The aim of the organization is to connect people in the Libre Graphics world. Members have been organizing the Libre Graphics Meeting for the last five years.
  • The organization will carry the spirit of the LGM to an organizational level by providing a central point of contact for developers, artists and donators. It will do so by:
    • Organizing Libre Graphics meetings
    • Providing a website that links to all Endorsed Projects and promotes the idea of Libre Graphics
  • Uses and protects the terms “Libre Graphics” and “Libre Graphics Meeting” as a trademark.
  • Brings together developers with potential donators/funders
  • Provides certificates for teachers and students of Libre Graphics software (needs clarification)
  • Provides a marketplace for artists and teachers of Libre Graphics
  • Furthers communications between users and developers of Libre Graphics software “

Here are things we may do with such an organization:

  • Be considered professional
  • Certificate teaching
  • Connect peoples and professions (developers, designers, teachers, users, …) through a web network
  • Promote and spread libre graphics projects
  • Pay devs with donation and incomes from teaching or content or membership to develop Libre graphics software (things like GSOC or maybe even full time jobs)
  • Fund projects similar to the 3 open movies the Blender Foundation have successfully organized (Krita have a project of comic for example)
  • Have company wide discussion (for example with Adobe to discuss standards, or with W3C to discuss drafts…)
  • Organize future LG Meetings


Put up and maintain a dedicated Libre Graphics Association website

What should be on the website? (No specific order)

  • Basic infos and links to LGM projects websites
  • Entry door to past LGMs, including all relevant links to videos and other archives
  • General infos for any person who wishes to know more about LG ecosystem
* How to participate in an Open Source project: contribute, code, translate, write documentation, tutorial, video, web or print, etc.
* How to reach the projects people, join IRC, the Mailing lists, etc.
* Explain the fundamentals and point people to the right place
  • Provide cutting edge info about workshops on various LG projects
  • Gather resources dedicated to LG project or LG issues
  • to be continued…

Basically what I have in mind here is take off the load of explaining all this over and over on each and every project website and give clear information on how to find the way in this environement. Also, clear the way with vocabulary issues that may prevent newcomers to simply get to us.

Organise the Libre Graphics Meeting every year

Help organise Libre Graphics Day around the world

Help organise Libre Graphics Workshop around the world


  • On or before Septembre 2010

(Alessandro Rimoldi) Personally i feel some urgency, yes. My experience has shown, that things that don’t get done right after the LGM tend to be discussed again the following year. Starting from zero. Last year (ie. in 2009) we were exactly in same situation as we are now. There were fewer people involved, but the ideas were very similar. So: i’d like to avoid discussing about that website again after the next LGM 🙂

Pros and cons of a formal organisation

(Dave Neary) “Create a simple association” implies a certain number of things in my mind: By-laws & statutes, a membership structure, a governing jurisdiction, a board of directors, tax returns, elections… basically, a formal structure, registered with some government somewhere, governed by the rules of that government (and if you want to give tax deductible relief to sponsors, or you want to not pay taxes on donations yourself, you have a lot of paperwork to do to justify your organisation).

By putting yourself under an existing umbrella organisation, you avoid that – informal elections or nominations of the people who will deal with the umbrella folks would be useful, but you don’t need to have legally water-tight statutes & by-laws, AGMs, treasurer reports submitted to the IRS every year, etc. You’re getting all the benefits and none of the down-side.

Plus, in general, the only reason to create an association for a free software project is a bank account, some kind of co-ordinated marketing/branding campaign, and elected representatives. You don’t need an association to do the 2nd & 3rd.

(A.Vox) You also need a legal entity to own trademarks. My idea of an umbrella organization is that the LGA would be an umbrella for existing organizations. It would provide a brand and a communication structure (network). The heavy lifting should still be done by its member organizations (accounting, handling tax reducible donations, organizing big events like LGM). The nice thing about doing LGA projects would be to pool capabilities: different member organizations could raise tax-reducible donations from several countries, another could employ developers, others organize events etc. Similar to the way LGMs are run now, just with an umbrella organization providing the brand. Such an umbrella organization would not need elaborated statutes and membership structures, since all important decisions are negotiated when the projects are defined. After all we don’t want an LGA to control things, but to facilitate things, right?

(Femke Snelting) Combing through this thread, and after some intense discussions with Louis Desjardins, Pierre Marchand and others here in Brussels, I propose:

  • Libre Graphics Association* [LGA]

In parallel, let’s keep inventing slogans. It is a way to propose, discuss, play, re-phrase what Libre Graphics mean to us. But we should by all means avoid getting locked into a definition debate.

Re-reading Dave Neary’s original description of LGM is one way to understand why sticking to Libre Graphics is more than the easy way out.

Some more arguments:

  • Libre*

– The only hard criteria for projects that we like to bring together, is that they contribute to a Free, Libre and Open Source ecology. The name of our organisation should refer to what sets us apart from proprietary tools – Needing to explain what Libre means, is a feature – The non-English “Libre” hints at international in a non-jetset way

  • Graphics*

– “Graphics” can both refer to technology (colormanagement, curves, …) and to form (illustration, type, …) – It is a unobtrusive way to name a common interest of designers, artist and designers – It acts as a point of reference rather than a definition

Not having the domain is annoying but not a reason to change the kind of organisation we need. The part of the name that matters to me most:

  • Association*

– The Libre Graphics community is a network.

We should not want a Foundation.

The work of the Libre Graphics community brings together very different goals, ideas, flavors, methods and perspectives. The energy buzz of LGM is about seeing work that none of us could have imagined on our own. At LGM we discuss standards and workflows for example. Not because we want to constrain creativity, but because we want to participate in interesting interfaces between developers, artists and devsigners.

Now LGM is growing away from an informal network, we cannot avoid imagining some form of organisation that supports Libre Graphics or the Libre Graphics Meeting long term. But however it plays out, we need to take care of the diversity that drives this community.

A foundation exists to define and converge; an association can support a network. I think it is a mistake to use this term for Libre Graphics, even (or even more so) the organisation is legally set up as an association.

Suggestions for a Name

  • Libre Graphics Association
  • Libre graphics Network
  • Libre graphics Foundation
  • Create Foundation
  • Create Lab
  • Free to Create (or Free2Create) Foundation
  • Create Freedom Foundation
  • Libre Artists (Association)
  • Free Design Foundation
  • FLOSS & graphics
  • Image and code creators
  • Associating code and image / code & image association
  • Developers & creators association
  • Creating visuals and codes united
  • Artists and coders united
  • Reclaim your tools
  • Create Foundation: Make Your Tools
  • C.R.E.A.T.E. = “Create and REclaim grAphics Tools freEdom”
  • Libre Graphic
  • Libre Graphix

About names

From the mailing list (G. Pittman): Something to keep in mind, which was discussed at the meeting the other day is that there is a lot to the name. The idea was to have a name with suggests some official capacity, some resource for not only the various projects, but also users, individual users of course, but also collective commercial users like some corporation or maybe even governmental organization to look to for help in adopting FOSS in whatever graphics workflow(s) they may engage in. Finally, one must have a name which has some intuitive meaning for potential donation sources.

(Helen Varley Jamieson) “create” is a meaningless word these days, it is totally overused by people who have little idea about creativity other than that it’s a trendy word/concept at the moment. “create foundation” says nothing about software; it says nothing about open source; it says nothing about who/what/why this group is & does. maybe it’s an organisation to help others create foundations? Of course, a good name doesn’t have to describe what the group is – that can come with association, with a descriptive by-line, a useful web site. a good name also doesn’t have to exactly include & encompass everything that the group is; but it should manage to convey the shared essence. “create foundation” does not convey to me the group of diverse, imaginative, inspiring thinkers & makers that i met at the LGM. My understanding of what’s shared by everyone is the floss ethos & the coming together of artists/users, programmers & others; this should be there in the name somehow. words like meeting, unite, bridge, & agnez’s ideas below are interesting & useful words to play around with. Some people have expressed a sense of urgency at getting a name, getting a domain, getting on with it. but if it’s going to be a good name that lasts, that people already in the group like & that can help to attract new people, then it’s worth spending a bit more time on it. maybe a smaller group could have a real-time brainstorming session in something like etherpad, then come back to the list with a few proposals.

Charter prototype

0. Libre Graphics

Libre Graphics is a term that describes the idea that people use floss tools to create and distribute free content. (needs expanding)

1. Name

The name of the organization is Libre Graphics Network (TBD)

2. Aim

The aim of the organization is to connect people in the Libre Graphics world. Members have been organizing the Libre Graphics Meeting for the last five years. The organization will carry the spirit of the LGM to an organizational level by providing a central point of contact for developers, artists and donators. It will do so in

– organizing Libre Graphics meetings
– providing a website that links to all Endorsed Projects and promotes the idea of Libre Graphics
– uses and protects the terms “Libre Graphics” and “Libre Graphics Meeting” as a trademark.
– brings together developers with potential donators/funders
– provides certificates for teachers and students of Libre Graphics software (needs clarification)
– provides a marketplace for artists and teachers of Libre Graphics
– furthers communications between users and developers of Libre Graphics software

3. Membership

Members can be any person or organization. Each member has one vote. Decisions need 3/4 of the votes, elections to the board need 1/2 of the votes. (TBD)

4. Endorsed Projects

Projects in the spirit of Libre Graphics can become an Endorsed Project. Endorsed Projects are listed on the organization’s website, are promoted by the organization and can receive funding from the organization. Endorsed Projects are encouraged to become members, also.

5. Funding

Membership fees are supposed to cover only the administrative costs of the organizations. Membership fees are not forwarded to Endorsed Projects or members or any other organization. The organization also collects donations and sponsorships. These are used conforming to the specification of the sponsor/donator. Unspecified donations can be used for administrative costs, forwarded to Endorsed Projects or to achieve any of the goals of the organization.


  • Agnez
  • Kai-Uwe Behrmann
  • Cyrille Berger
  • Camille Bissuel
  • Craig Bradney
  • Jan Claeys
  • Dave Crossland
  • Elisa de Castro Guerra
  • Hong Phuc Dang
  • Louis Desjardins
  • Marcos Diaz
  • Máirín Duffy
  • Cédric Gémy
  • Tobias Ellinghaus
  • John Haltiwanger
  • Pierre Huyghebaert
  • Jake
  • Ricardo Lafuente
  • Alexandre Leray
  • Tor Lillqvist
  • Pierre Marchand
  • Robert Martinez
  • Dave Neary
  • Jon Nordby
  • Igor Novikov
  • Pierros Papadeas
  • Jon Phillips
  • Gregory Pittman
  • Boudewijn Rempt
  • Alessandro Rimoldi
  • Femke Snelting
  • Joao S. O. Bueno
  • Stani
  • Helen Varley Jamieson
  • Hiran Venugopalan
  • Andreas Vox
  • Thorsten Wilms
  • Please add yourself in alphabetical order (family name)