Brief: Manjaro is taking things professionally. While the Manjaro community will be responsible for the development of the project and other related activities, a company has been formed to work as its legal entity and handle the commercial agreements and professional services.
Manjaro is a quite popular Linux distribution considering that it was just a passion project by three people, Bernhard, Jonathan and Philip, which came into existence in 2011. Now that it’s one of the best Linux distros out there, this can’t really remain a hobby project, right?
Well, here’s good news: Manjaro has established a new company “Manjaro GmbH & Co. KG” with Blue Systems as an advisor to enable full-time employment of maintainers and exploration of future commercial opportunities.
What is exactly the change here?
As per the official announcement, the Manjaro project will stay as-is. However, a new company has been formed to secure the project and allow them to make legal contracts, official agreements, and other potential commercial activities. So, this makes the “hobby project” a professional endeavor.
In addition to this, the donation funds will be transferred to non-profit fiscal hosts (CommunityBridge and OpenCollective) which will then accept and administer the funds on behalf of the project. Do note, that the donations haven’t been used to create the company – so the transfer of funds to a non-profit fiscal host will ensure transparency while securing the donations.
How does this improve things?
With the company formed, the new structure will help Manjaro in the following ways (as mentioned by the devlopers):
- 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 Manjaro team also shed some light on how it’s going to stay committed to the community:
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.
More about Manjaro as a company
Even though they mentioned that the project will remain independent of the company, not everyone is clear about the involvement of Manjaro with the “community” while having a company with commercial interests. So, the team also clarified about their plans as a company in the announcement.
Manjaro GmbH & Co. KG has been formed to effectively engage in commercial agreements, form partnerships, and offer professional services. With this, Manjaro devs 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.
So, with this move, along with commercial opportunities, they plan to go full-time and also hire contributors.
Of course, now they mean – “business” (not as the bad guys, I hope). Most of the reactions to this announcement are positive and we all wish them good luck with this. While some might be skeptical about a “community” project having “commercial” interests (remember the FreeOffice and Manjaro fiasco?), I see this as an interesting move.
What do you think? Feel free to let us know your thoughts in the comments below.