Older blog entries for slef (starting at number 857)

RISE Faces Demutualisation Threat at EGM

Photo of UWE Bristol

UWE Frenchay, Bristol: Venue of the RISE EGM

The RISE co-op is the sole shareholder in the Social Enterprise Mark CIC and its members have been called to an Extraordinary General Meeting during the lunch break of next Tuesday’s “Knowing and Growing” conference at UWE Bristol. The RISE board has proposed Four Special Resolutions that would dissolve the co-op and transfer all assets to the SEM CIC and a trust, ignoring RISE Ltd’s Memorandum of Association. software.coop is calling on other RISE members to attend the EGM and oppose this demutualisation attempt.

RISE is constituted as a common ownership co-op and its Memorandum of Association contains a pre-CIC type of asset lock, which directs the assets to be transferred to another common ownership social enterprise organisation if the co-operative is dissolved. However, unlike the CIC asset lock, there is no independent regulator enforcing it, so an EGM could possibly remove that lock. Also, unlike in many co-ops, there has been no requirement for new members to pledge to obey the RISE asset lock at an individual level and there has been no member education about common ownership in the last three years.

This demutualisation is the wrong solution for RISE because:

  • there are social enterprises which do comply with the asset lock that could really benefit from the legacy at this time of budget cuts;
  • the EGM is the day after the global launch of the United Nations International Year of Co-operatives, which is about promoting mutualism around the world and the RISE co-operative should support this;
  • many RISE members are mutuals, including the world’s largest consumer co-operative and demutualisation would be embarassing to them;
  • demutualisation should be discussed seriously, through a proper democratic process before the regular Annual General Meeting, not sprung from the board to members in a short meeting during the lunch break of another event;
  • the proposal has not been published on RISE’s website or email newsletter;
  • appointing the former directors of a dissolved co-op as trustees without member oversight seems unlikely to secure the assets in the long term.

software.coop will vote against the demutualisation, in favour of social enterprise, and calls on other RISE members to show solidarity with the co-operative and common ownership social enterprise movements.

Syndicated 2011-10-27 11:58:25 from Software Cooperative News » mjr

Stand up for your freedom to install free software

It’s been busy at our co-op but I’m never too busy to support calls for the freedom to install debian (or any other Free and Open Source Software Operating System) so I’ve signed the FSF-led public statement on so-called “Secure Boot”.

“This could be a feature deserving of the name, as long as the user is able to authorize the programs she wants to use, so she can run free software written and modified by herself or people she trusts. However, we are concerned that Microsoft and hardware manufacturers will implement these boot restrictions in a way that will prevent users from booting anything other than Windows.”

So please, read the full thing and consider signing it yourself. If you want to watch for further news on this topic, Matthew Garrett’s Journal seems to be the bomb.

Right, well, it’s another busy week this week, so it might be the weekend before I find time to blog again, but posts will be a bit more frequent next week: watch this space!

Syndicated 2011-10-24 18:11:19 from Software Cooperative News » mjr

Help Bring KohaCon to Edinburgh

Our co-op has put in a bid to bring KohaCon to Edinburgh in 2012. Edinburgh is a great Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) conference city, with libraries of national and international importance, a huge choice of hotels, restaurants and entertainments and good international transport links.

2012 is also a great time for our co-op to host, because it’ll be the International Year of Co-operatives and our co-op’s tenth anniversary.

So please, if you’d like a library FOSS conference here next year, head over to KohaCon2012 voting straight away. I’ll announce the result after the vote closes on Saturday 1st October.

Syndicated 2011-09-28 04:39:47 from Software Cooperative News

Six of the Best Podcasts?

I’m listening to quite a few podcasts recently. Here are my current favourites:

  • Cyberunions which covers the tech/work crossover space and is appearing as Ogg near the start of most weeks. I reviewed an earlier episode and it’s kept on improving. It’s under CC-BY-NC-SA, so you can share it, but it isn’t free software (FOSS) itself. Thanks to John Atherton for the tip.
  • The Command Line is more tech, but with a leaning towards activism too. This podcast is actually FOSS – sadly the only one of this round-up! It’s recently dropped to once a week on Sundays, which is a shame in one way, but suits me better. I don’t remember how I got started on this.
  • More or Less: Behind the Stats is about numbers in the news. Maybe my love of statistics influences me, but I think this is brilliant, puncturing the pompous politicians who try to mislead (figures don’t lie, but liars do figure). Imagine the FactCheck Blog with its own show and a sense of humour. It’s just gone on a break, but there’s plenty of recent episodes to catch up on.
  • Real Peloton is about pro cycling, by reporter-presenter Ned Boulting and journalist Matt Rendell. They probably should not be left alone to make podcasts, but it’s great that they do. They appear sporadically, depending on other work schedules of the presenters. The Banjo Cycles team including Matt Rendell won the IG Markets Hot Lap during the final stage of the Tour of Britain in London and the world championships are this week so maybe they’ll have something to say soon.
  • Answer Me This appears on Thursdays (although it has just gone on a month’s break) and gives right-but-sideways answers to listener questions.

And now for number six, what are you listening to? Anything you’d recommend?

Syndicated 2011-09-20 05:18:49 from Software Cooperative News

Tour of Britain: Cheddar Gorge-ous

Photo of Fans in the Gorge

Fans in the Gorge

So tired, but so happy. Well worth it as a day out. Yesterday I went to the Tour of Britain as it passed through Cheddar Gorge. It was a fairly social trip, riding along with two from Bristol on the way in (hope they got back OK – one bike broke crossing the orchard at Sandford, but I showed them Cheddar Cycle Store) and one from Milton on the way back.

When I got there, I rode up the Gorge until I had to stop (or else fall off) and it was still packed with fans. It was a good half-hour before the race would pass by, but already almost every flattish piece of land by the road had either a spectator or a bicycle on it. I watched twitter for race news, posted an update @mjray, then put the phone away as the green-fronted police bikes came through just ahead of the racers. I tried videoing the race, but it’s only the second outing for the handlebarcam and I seem to have deleted the recording before hooking it up to the laptop. Thankfully, the itv4 coverage (repeated 13:00) is pretty good. (My back is on TV! Ahem.)

Now, today (Saturday) I will be mostly doing the work scheduled for Friday, but it was still worth it. Go along if you get the chance: Suffolk and Norfolk today, Westminster tomorrow. I suggested it to @enterprisehub’s #coopsweekend because the Rabobank team are doing well.

Syndicated 2011-09-17 05:34:10 from Software Cooperative News

Help with co-op development? Don’t ask here

The blog is back. We’ve moved it to our new blog hosting (please contact us if you’d like us to host your blog – or if you spot a problem with our blog), so the adverts are gone and I’m still correcting the plugin setup for the new version. Among the comments was this one:

“My small design firm needs to upgrade its software, which is very expensive. I am wondering what the legalities might be of putting together a cooperative of other designers to share the $4900.00 expense + additional seats.”

Legalities of a buying co-op for seat-licensed software? I can write reams about co-ops but I shouldn’t because:

  1. Our co-op doesn’t sell seat-licensed software and we’re basically opposed to that concept, preferring co-operative development of free and open source software (FOSS).
  2. This is a site about software, not co-op development. I helped set up our co-op, but I don’t know enough to help many others. For co-op development, our co-op is a member of Somerset Co-operative Services and Co-operatives UK who can advise far better on that sort of thing and publish the damn fine Simply series of guides. We refer enquiries about co-op development to them, Co-operative Assistance Network and the co-operative enterprise hub.
  3. Mentioning $ makes me think this is a US-based question, so National Co-op Business Association may be a better place to start. If it’s another dollar, the International Cooperative Alliance membership may show the right country. The legalities vary by country.

Anyway, now the blog is back, I’ll write about software more soon. If you’ve got questions about software for co-ops, co-op-made software and that sort of thing, please leave them in a comment.

Syndicated 2011-09-09 15:40:09 from Software Cooperative News

Back to Work

This is my first week back after two weeks off (I aim for three complete weeks off a year). Even if I had reached InboxZero (and ToDoZero and so on…), there was two weeks of requests, reports and rubbish piled on top of what was already scheduled. I wasn’t even completely offline this time and was forwarding urgent incoming messages to other members of our co-op, but the backlog is still significant.

How you deal with this? Basically, I arrive back and I feel like I’m already behind. The good feeling of being up-to-date seems like a distant memory. The clear day I allocated to dealt with things that arrived seemed inadequate. Was that just bad luck because a lot of stuff came in, or is there a rule-of-thumb for how much catch-up time to allocate?

3 Lessons Learned From 6 Days Off The Grid | Social Butterfly Guy offers a view on how to prioritise things, but it still looks like catch-up takes hours. Can you see any ways to make it more efficient but still please clients, collaborators and co-op members?

Syndicated 2011-08-12 04:24:46 from Software Cooperative News

Software in the Public Interest August 2011 – and election results

The SPI election results have been declared. Jimmy Kaplowitz, Clint Adams and Robert Brockway were elected to the SPI board. There were 75 voters, which is 16% turnout, up from the 13% in the last contested election, in 2009.

The next meeting is this evening at 20:30 UTC (21:30 UK) in #spi on irc.spi-inc.org and there are a couple of resolutions, inviting the Drizzle database and Arch Linux distribution projects to associate, so that SPI can collect and process funds for them. Please, pop in and see how the new board members perform.

Syndicated 2011-08-10 04:42:25 from Software Cooperative News

SPI Annual General Meeting 2011

Software in the Public Interest (SPI) will hold its Annual General Meeting today: Wednesday, 13th July 2011 at 20:30 UTC (21:30 UK, 22:30 CET).

SPI is the developer association that supports debian, OpenWrt and many other projects. SPI meetings are held on irc.spi-inc.org (the OFTC network). The agenda for the meeting is available at http://www.spi-inc.org/meetings/agendas/2011/2011-07-13/

There are currently no resolutions on the agenda, but there should be some annual reports.

Syndicated 2011-07-13 04:28:13 from Software Cooperative News

#coops14 continues: Guardian, Facebook, Cyberunions and Breakfast

Thanks to the Guardian for publishing Why co-operatives matter written by two members of our co-op.

Co-operative Congress 2011Also today, I’m pictured being given a share by Giles Simon of our national co-ordinating co-op on the Co-operatives Fortnight Facebook page. I’m not a big fan of facebook and I still want to try the more sharing alternatives that cyberunions reviewed.

Speaking of cyberunions, apparently they answer the criticisms from my review in episode six which I still haven’t found time to listen to yet – and there’s an episode seven out already. Maybe I’ll start to catch up later today (Tuesday), if I don’t go to the Bristol Wireless Annual Meeting. Tomorrow is another busy day, hopefully including the Koha Town Hall Meeting.

And there’s still half a week of Co-operatives Fortnight to go, so we’re not done by a long way yet! If you’d like to take part, there’s a Co-operative Business Breakfast in Weston-super-Mare on Friday morning at 9am – please leave me a comment if you’d like to come along.

Syndicated 2011-07-05 10:19:03 from Software Cooperative News

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