Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung article (in German)

Sofa, so goodA couple of weeks ago Mikael, Callum and I were interviewed by Marlene Göring. She was writing an article about hospitality exchange for a renowned German newspaper.

Here’s the article, it’s in German: Sofa So Good – Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (posted here by author’s request). And a big chunk of it is about Trustroots! It mostly looks pretty great. I just want to comment about this part:

Im Internet lässt es sich noch träumen. Im Moment melden sich auf Trust Roots etwa 1000 neue Nutzer im Monat an. Die Währung der Plattform ist Vertrauen: niemals Werbung zu schalten, niemals kommerziell zu werden. Die Versprechen klingen wie die, die Couchsurfing einst gab – und gebrochen hat.

Three remarks about this.

  1. The Trustroots Foundation has irrevocably dedicated assets to charity in its by-laws (as far as my understanding of the situation, happy to receive legal advice if it’s not true and even better: how we can improve it). We simply cannot sell the assets, they have to be given to another charity if the Foundation ever dissolves.
  2. It’s open source. Anyone can fork. And I hope we’ll have profile export functionality soon, so people can download their own data (and possibly import it into another website). This makes forking the Trustroots network easier than almost any other network out there.
  3. We have a track record of not selling out (and of getting upset about sell outs).

Read more details in our FAQ

Anyway, exciting times!

PS. Here’s a machine translated version of the article.

We’re now testing with Browserstack

Test driven development is great. Before you create new features or fix a bug you first write a test case that covers the specific issue. In the long run this means that you’re avoiding unforeseen side effects and that the entire code base is a lot more stable. Selenium testing is great in that you’re testing your web project in an actual browser. It’s a pain to run 38 different browsers on 7 different platforms though. Fortunately there’s a service that can handle that for you: Browserstack.

BrowserstackYesterday I started writing some Selenium tests for Trustroots. So the next step was to apply for Browserstack’s free program for open source projects. And within less than 12 hours we have a free Trustroots automate account. This will make the entire experience a lot more smooth in the long run, both for developers and users.

Ideally we’ll have a CI-ish setup (through Ansible) at some point, where when new code is pushed to the repository, this code will be pulled on our dev site, the tests will be run and new GitHub issues (with screenshots) will appear automatically. We’re not there yet but the first steps have been made. Contact us if you want to help with all these things, or even better, jump in directly on GitHub!



Announcing the Trustroots Foundation

the Trustroots Foundation

Exciting times! It’s time to give a little update about our legal status. From a legal point of view Trustroots has been a hobby project so far, but we obviously need a non-profit legal base for our project.

We now have the Trustroots Foundation.

We just set up a Limited by Guarantee (LBG) in the United Kingdom under section 60 exemption with by-laws that allow us to easily add the so called CIC status to our entity.

Some typical LBGs in the UK would be clubs and membership organisations such as workers’ co-operatives, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and charities. For example the OpenStreetMap Foundation, the Open Knowledge Foundation and the UK Hackspace Foundation are LGBs.

Why in the United Kingdom?

For a moment we had also considered setting up a Dutch foundation but finally we chose the United Kingdom. There are several reasons we opted for the UK.

  • All legal stuff is in English.
  • The UK is pretty advanced when it comes to allowing handling things online.
  • Incorporation is very straightforward and relatively low cost.

Why Limited by Guarantee under section 60 exemption?

  • It’s fast and relatively affordable to set up.
  • It’s possible to apply for CIC status, which is a special form recently created for social enterprises.
  • It is very flexible, this is why many NGOs and charities choose the LBG form.
  • Additionally, section 60 exemption from the obligation to have name ending with “limited” requires that:
    • The company purposes are for the public benefit.
    • It is a non for profit.
    • Assets are to be specially protected on winding up.
  • Using the word Foundation in the name also requires that any profits should be used to further the objects of the company and not paid to the members as dividends.

Could Trustroots assets be sold?

The guarantee of LBG under section 60 requires a clause where in case of Trustroots Foundation ceasing to exist, assets could be moved only to another non-profit entity where transferring assets is limited in the same way. CIC status would make this even more specific, but isn’t required for this.

Additionally our by-laws (articles of association) specifically prohibit selling the users database and specify that the company code will be licensed under an open source license.

Why not a charity?

There is a lot of regulation around charities that we do not want to deal with at this point. Charities are required to submit more complex (and costly) audited accounts, etc. It’s still an option though; if we ever grow big enough we can look at this option again. What is essential is to have a non-profit status,which we now have, to move ahead with the project.

How will Trustroots be funded?

We’re considering donations, government and European grants as well as merchandising.

Who are the board?

We: Mikael, Kasper, Carlos, Natalia and Callum.

Open and non-profit future

Legal form and by-laws are of course a very strong way of proving we are serious about setting this project onto an open and non-profit path. We also hope that with our backgrounds we can assure you we are serious about giving this project the best possible future imaginable.

What does the future hold?

There is still an awfully lot to do. Volunteering has to be organised and a lot of features need implementing. It’s amazing how many people already helped us or reached out to tell us they want to participate in the project. Thank you! Keep those messages coming and feel free to step up and help us in any way.

Please, ask any questions bellow and let us hear about any ideas you might have to make the Trustroots Foundation better.

This post was written collaboratively by the entire Trustroots team.

Trustroots Foundation’s Articles (pdf).

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