The Lino vision

The basic long-term idea behind the Lino project is developed below in a few steps:

  • We believe that software must be free because proprietary software inevitably leads to vendor lock-in.

  • While the free world has an operating system and an office suite, there is no serious free solution for organizations who want to develop a customized database application. The market for this business is currently dominated by a few proprietary giants.

  • The Lino framework has the potential of becoming a solution for this problem.

  • This potential is currently merely visible. Some important features are still missing or unfinished. There is much work to do to bring Lino to the next level so that it can grow from a project with a handful of developers into a reliable international infrastructure.

  • Rumma & Ko as the current motor of the idea wants to remain a family-sized dynamic team of creative developers. They don’t have the human resources for bringing Lino to the next level. Even if they would decide to become big and do this job, this wouldn’t be a solution because a private corporation with limited responsibility is not a valid candidate for this job. The role of bringing Lino to the next level must be played by a non-profit organization.

  • That’s why Lino needs a foundation or some similar non-profit legal person, inspired by the PSF or the DSF.

Sustainably Free Software

We believe that proprietary software is not a sustainable option for a free human civilization. We believe that the future belongs to sustainably free software. This belief is not naive. There is a growing list of organizations devoted to free software 1. Many developers feel that free software is fundamentally better than proprietary software 2.

A legally free software product cannot be sustainable when one of its components is non-free. Documentation is an important part of a software product. An otherwise free product is not sustainable when documentation and expert knowledge about it is controlled by a single actor.

What seems obvious to many developers is obviously less clear to investors. Many business models in software industry still rely on some proprietary part for generating revenue. Some carriers of free software products gain control over the usage rights on some part of the product like an installer or a front end. Such attempts are quickly disclosed and lead to a free (but weakened) fork in the best case, or to the death of the product in the worst case.

Objective : Why we exist

The sustainably free world has already an operating system, an office suite, several good frameworks for developing web and desktop applications, and many other projects that are steadily gaining users.

But until now there is no sustainably free solution for developing customized database application. This market segment is still dominated by a few proprietary giants.

We believe that the Lino framework has the potential of becoming a solution for this problem.

At the moment this potential is merely visible to investors and stakeholders. There is much work to do to bring Lino to the next level.

Who should do that work? The motor behind Lino is currently Rumma & Ko Ltd, a small private corporation who wants to remain family-sized. But Lino actually needs a reliable international organization as carrier.

Even if somebody would convince Rumma & Ko Ltd to become big and bring Lino to the next level, this wouldn’t be a solution. Sooner or later they would turn Lino into something which is no longer really free. A private corporation with limited responsibility is not a valid candidate for the job of bringing Lino to the next level. This role must be played by an organization that does not have any private interest.

That’s why Lino needs a foundation like the PSF the DSF or the WMF, or a similar legal person.

The objective of the Lino Software Foundation is to act as the promoter and carrier of the Lino framework in a sustainable way and based on above ideas.

Advantage : How Lino is different

Primary target users of Lino applications are organizations who need a customized application and do not have their own in-house developer. Such organisations are traditionally doomed to agree to some level of vendor lock-in. Lino applications avoid vendor lock-in because both the source code and documentation are published under a permissive Free Software license.

The advantage of Lino versus other frameworks is a reduced total cost of ownership. Most parts of a development project become easier and cheaper for the site operator. This includes analysis, writing a prototype, adapting your application to changed needs and long-term maintenance. Lino applications are “more reliable and maintainable than MS-Access for cheaper than SAP”.

See also Business model.



See List of free and open-source software organizations


See Why Open Source misses the point of Free Software