New Contributor Site Guide

Lunatics Project Virtual Studio

Project Guide for New Contributors

NOTE: This is a work-in-progress for 2024.

Welcome to the “Lunatics!” Science-Fiction Open Animated Series Project. That’s a mouthful, so we just call it “Lunatics Project“. For attribution purposes, we like to use the expansion: “Lunatics Project |” , incorporating the URL to help people find the project. Any work produced by the project may be credited this way as a shorthand, although crediting the individual authors of any part of it is appreciated, where it is known.

However, note that the legal attribution requirement for distributing or showing whole episodes of “Lunatics!” particularly in any formal context, such as broadcast, is to run the full beginning and ending credits for the episode.  Please don’t disrespect this requirement.

Our Physical Studio

This Lunatics Project site is also referred to as our “Virtual Studio”, as its purpose is to provide the services that would normally be provided by an animation studio, but all delivered online so that we can collaborate remotely on our work. Although we do officially have a “studio” address for Anansi Spaceworks in Texas, that is little more than a home office for Terry and Rosalyn, which if you’re interested, is a refitted ocean cargo container, and thus takes up about 320 sq ft:

Front entrance to studio: french doors with louvered vents on either side. The doors are white, the trim is purple.
Front door of the Studio.
Interior view of the studio library room. It's a long corridor, lined with bookshelves. There's also a desk and closet.
View of the interior just inside the front door.
Desk workstation with monitor, keyboard, mouse, and CPU.
The desk I do almost all of my Lunatics Project work at, as of July 2022.

Our Virtual Studio

Mostly of our resources are hosted online, using data center infrastructure. Hosting the project on-site is not practical, because our rural internet service is simply not up to the task.

Lunatics Project Contributor Portal
The Contributor Portal when logged in.

There are four main web applications used for the project:

  • WordPress, used for the Production Log and Documentation.
  • Nextcloud, for production source code, concept, and administrative documents.
  • Collabora, which is incorporated into Nextcloud to allow for editing ODF business documents.
  • Gitea, which is a Git-based source manager, used for our software projects.
  • PeerTube, which is a federated video-publishing platform.

We also run a couple of federated social media servers:

  • Pixelfed, which is a federated social image-sharing instance.
  • Misskey, which is a federated social microblogging instance.

These, plus our PeerTube instance, constitute our primary social media presence on the Fediverse (the federated social network, which interoperates with other social media platforms, including Mastodon, Friendica, Akkoma, Pleroma, Firefish, and so on).


As an active contributor, you will interact mostly with files in Nextcloud. This is where our primary production source files are located.


If you are contributing to a software project or web development, you may need to interact with our Gitea, which is based on the Git version control system.


So far, the Production Log has been primarily a vehicle for Producer/Director Terry Hancock’s posts. And most of those are just summaries of the articles posted on Patreon for project patrons. However, anyone with contributor privileges on the site can post to the Production Log. Naturally, this is subject to moderation, but any posts about work-in-progress or related news is welcome.

Misskey & Pixelfed

As a project contributor, you will have a Fediverse social media account on our Misskey server (which is microblogging or miniblogging — it allows 3000 character posts and up to 16 images per post, although only the first four will show up to Mastodon followers). I am considering replacing Misskey with Calckey, which is a fork containing some nice improvements.


You will also have a PeerTube account you can use to upload videos. This is great for uploading screencasts as well as demos and tests.

Contributions Needed!

We need help if we are to succeed. As of this writing in 2023, Lunatics Project has dwindled back down to founder, producer, and director Terry Hancock with a little part-time help from founder and writer Rosalyn Hunter.

My (Terry Hancock‘s) current goals are:

  • Complete production of episode 1 (“S1E01” or “No Children in Space”).
  • Stabilize our “Virtual Studio” so that other people can help.
  • Market and sell merch, including “Open Movie DVDs” of episode 1 to raise funds and visibility of the project.
  • Recruit some help to finish more episodes!

This is mostly about the fun and sense of achievement. I can’t honestly promise this will be lucrative, though we do have a plan to share profits with contributors.

There have already been several other major active contributors on this project, notably:

Keneisha Perry: Character Modeling, Rigging, and Animation.

Chris Kuhn: Mechanical Modeling and Rigging.

Bela Szabo: Character Modeling for Principal Characters.

Daniel Fu: Character Design and Model Sheets.

Sathish Kumar, Travis Souza, Johnathon Wilson: Set Modeling.

And additional modeling and artwork was created by: Andrew Pray, Cosmin Planchon, Vyacheslav Yastrebcev, Gorka Mendieta, Guillaume Cote, Timothe Giet — who all contributed to our (paid) Summer 2012 Sprint.

Of course, we had the voice actors, who recorded their lines for the pilot arc in 2012:

Karrie Shirou (Hiromi), Ariel Hancock (Georgiana), William Roberts (Rob), Paul Birchard (Josh and Allen), Veronika Kurshinskaya (Anya and Flight Controller), and Lex Quarterman (Tim).

The pilot arc (“No Children in Space”,  “From the Earth…”, and “…To the Moon”) also feature: Sergei Oleinik (Sergei), Melody Spevack, Miki Matsumoto, Jami Cullen, Sophie LeNeveu, Kristina Ponomarenko, Karen Jagger, and Maurice Thomas. There are also brief appearances by various friends of the project: Terry Hancock, Janet Hancock, Sylvan Hancock, Nadezhda Dmitrieva, Shamil Aminov, and David Jordan.

No music has yet been commissioned or written specifically for Lunatics, but Elaine Walker, J.T. Bruce, and the band Distemper all gave permission to release some music tracks under our CC By-SA license, along with our production.

We also have a variety of art and music elements from passive contributors who simply released their work to the public under licenses compatible with our CC By-SA release license. Notable free-licensed music in the pilot is by JMF, AK1974, Butterfly Tea, Lulo, Yunus, and Insignificance. And there are a lot of free sound ambiance and effects, also from passive contributors, notably: Dmitry Urupin, Fabian Klenk, Leandros Ntounis, Sonu Kapoor, Gustavo Hernandez, and Acoustic Space Lab (Sound Transit); timlaroche, Benboncan, TinyJiro, Razzvio, stratcat322, mansardian, Kevinflo, klankbeeld, LG, decembered, ERH, engreitz (; and then also Wikipedia, Alex Lep,,, Timm Seuss (Chernobyl Journal), and NASA Videos.

Notable art includes the generated real-stars sky by Paul Bourke, and a large amount of NASA imagery.

Also, aside from the many wonderful free software programs we’ve been fortunate to have access to, we’ve had active code and technical design help from: Konstantin Dmitriev (Consulting and Software), Morevna Project (Software Packages), Elsa Balderrama (WordPress theme development), and Katrina Niolet (Early KitCAT mock-up development and art printing).

So, give or take a few, based on exactly how you divide that out, we have about three-dozen active contributors and three-dozen passive contributors, so far. Most are small contributions, while a handful of people have put in the bulk of the work on the project.

Production Software & Skills

By far the most outstanding need at this time is for a character animator, familiar with animating Rigify-based character rigs in Blender. We could also use help with mechanical and set models. But we could use production help in many areas.

Blender: 3D modeling, animation, rendering, and compositing.

Kdenlive: Video editing, effects, transitions, compositing.

Audacity: Audio sound effects, ambience, recording, and voice.

Ardour: Audio mixing and editing.

Papagayo NG: Lipsync timing.

Inkscape: Vector graphics, decal textures, set diagrams, planning.

GNU IMP (a.k.a “Gimp”): Image processing and creation.

Krita: Digital painting and processing of 16-bit color depth imagery.

Aegisub: Subtitle editor.

DVD Styler: DVD mastering.

LibreOffice Writer: Scripts and documentation.

Software Development / Skills

We have a number of specialized programs and scripts that we maintain, which require programming language knowledge to maintain and/or create. Some of these projects are on hiatus or delayed simply because we don’t have the skilled people to do the work. If it interests you, please contact Terry Hancock (digitante at gmail dot com) about helping to create some more free / open-source software tools!

My preferred programming language is Python, so most of these projects are based on using Python. The projects I’m actively working on include:

ABX (Anansi Blender eXtensions): a catch-all Blender extension package to help with our production, including pre-configured compositing tools and animation aides. Python and bpy (Blender python API).

LunaGen: a static web CMS we use to generate our public-facing series release pages. Python, YAML, Jinja2, HTML, CSS, and Markdown.

Bunsen: a DVD and Blu-Ray BDR disk burner that is controlled through a web interface. Also includes some data backup features. Python, Flask.

However, in some cases, the language is dictated by the need to use an existing solution written in a different language (notably: Ruby, PHP, C/C++, Javascript, and/or Java). That’s a big area I could use help with, since I have only a very tenuous grasp of most of those languages! This is a major reason the following projects are on-hold at the moment, since I’m pretty much of out of my depth with them:

KitCAT Application/Plugins: Python, Lua, PHP.

ResourceSpace, WordPress, Website customization: PHP, HTML, CSS.

Lib-Ray: a Blu-Ray/DVD/DCP replacement based entirely on free software components. Python, C, C++, VLC, LibRocket.

I also have an as-yet-unnamed concept for an improved “federated e-commerce” system, with a lot of undecided elements. I have identified a few starting places for it, but not a solid plan. Nevertheless, I’d be very interested to find programmers who’d like to work on this, or on other merchants who’d like to contribute financially to developing it (i.e. to pay programmers).

Business, Administrative, and Marketing Skills

There are many other areas we could use help with, besides production and software development. Soft skills and other business and organizational skills are often overlooked, but without them, we’ll be in a lot of trouble! The ability to work remotely, using Internet groupware, video and audio conferencing software, and a good ability to write, to communicate, to organize, and to persuade is extremely valuable.

Social Media Manager / Moderator.  Misskey, Calckey, Pixelfed, WordPress

Accounting. LibreOffice Calc, Gnu Cash, Nextcloud.

Copyright/License Clearance. Nextcloud. Knowledge of copyright, licenses, and trademarks.

Contributor Agreement

As a contributor to the project, you will need to agree to certain terms, primarily concerning licensing and attribution (this applies whether you are an “active contributor” producing content directly for Lunatics, or if you are a “passive contributor” who released your content under a free license — if the latter, you are simply checking and confirming the license terms that we have on file for your contribution). If you also want to be eligible to receive a share of profits made through subscriptions, sponsorships, and  the sale of merchandise and physical media, then you will also need to provide us with some financial and contact details in order to pay you, as well as agreeing to the terms of payment distribution.

Payments will be bundled into larger payments, at intervals still to be decided, but not longer than two-years after release (each contribution will be associated with a particular episode release, and as long as the amounts are small, they’ll be sent out on an annual basis).

The fractions of profits due to any given contributor will be published at the time of an episode release as a spreadsheet document. You can think of this as a big pie chart, with every contributor’s cut defined. There’s a top-level pie of departments, with each slice subdivided according to rubric that fits that department. And finally a list of payouts to each contributor by “credit name” (the name that appears in our credits roll). Your legal name, address, and payment credentials will be kept in separate, private documents. These will be used to transmit your share, and provide essential updates to your account status. They will not be used for marketing or shared with third parties, except as necessary to fulfill our obligation to you.

The actual Contributor Agreement documents will be available in our Nextcloud project business folder when they are ready [a link is coming!].


The nature of our project calls for some specialized naming conventions for roles and elements of the project. We’ll use these terms extensively, so you should know what they mean:


Most project roles will be familiar to anyone from the film, animation, or computer game production industry: Director, Producer, Writer, etc. A few can be expanded on a bit for our particular situation:

Script Editor

The script editor is a key part of the writing team. This person is responsible for soliciting, reviewing, editing, and modifying scripts for production. They may also write an extensive amount of the scripts themselves. Currently, the Script Editor is Rosalyn Hunter, and she’s also the writer for all the episodes currently planned. This may be expected to change in the future, if the project is successful.

Source Manager

This person is responsible for making sure the production files that are checked into the project source tree are consistent and up-to-date. Currently this is simply part of the role of the Producer (Terry Hancock), but will likely be delegated, if project activity picks up. On software projects, this role is sometimes dubbed “code captain” or “code librarian”. It’s essentially the same thing, but for production files, which generally are not program code, but other authoring formats, such as Blend files, Audacity projects, images, sound recordings, and so on.

Core Contributor

A regular, trusted contributor to the project, who has full privileges to check out and check in production files, access to the private services run in the studio. Typically a core contributor will have a full copy of the source tree downloaded, and thus can make changes and push them to the production server. Given the size of the production files, this is a fairly high commitment of time and effort. It requires some skill with the studio software (not just the authoring tools), and there is a measure of trust involved, since it’s possible to break things.

Guest Contributor

A guest contributor submits their work via a core contributor to the project, who is then responsible for checking the work into the Git repo. The guest contributor needs to understand the production tools that they are using, like Blender or Audacity or Krita, but they don’t need to work with the virtual studio tools. As such, they don’t have commit privileges, and don’t have access to the entire virtual studio site, but just the parts they actively use.

Active Contributor

An active contributor is anyone who has done original work specifically for the project. Typically, most active contributors are either “guest” or “core” contributors.

Passive Contributor

Since this is a commons-based project, under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, we are legally able to incorporate work from people who are not associated with the project and may be completely unaware of it (or in some cases, no longer living, since we have used some older public-domain works). Nevertheless, these are important contributions to the project. In many cases, such as musical artists whose work has been used in our soundtrack, these contributors will also share in profits from sales of our work. This may seem odd to people accustomed to proprietary business models, but it becomes clear, when you understand the nature of our sales and business model.


The nature of our project as an open-source project, also brings in some concepts that may be unfamiliar to those coming from a film or television background. Some of these get fairly legal and nit-picky! I’ll try to focus on just the distinctions that matter for our project. Also, I specifically want to avoid popular controversies between the various factions and advocacy organizations and their supporters. I understand you may feel strongly about these things, but please keep such discussions away from our project’s communications channels, particularly if it makes no material difference to us.

Free Software
Open Source Software
Free-Licensed Open Source Software (FLOSS)
Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS)
Free/Open Source Software (FOSS)

These all mean the same things, for all practical purposes (Do NOT waste project time arguing this point, thank you!). They are software packages which are not only unrestricted to use, but also provide source code and other requirements to make sure that development can be picked up and continued by anyone who wants to volunteer to do so. For the most part, these software packages will be under one of the following free software licenses:

  • Gnu General Public License (GPL), versions “2” (GPL2), “2 or later” (GPL2+), or “3 or later”  (GPL3)
  • Gnu Affero General Public License (AGPL)
  • Lesser (or “Library”) General Public License (LGPL)
  • Mozilla Public License (MPL)
  • Eclipse Public License (EPL)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology License (MIT)
  • Berkeley Standard Distribution License (BSD)
  • Apache Public License (APL)

There are others, but this covers most of the stuff we’re likely to use, and these licenses are all approved for our purposes.

Note that we do not have an absolute requirement that all software used on our project be free/open source software. The precise requirement is that the source files be checked in in a format that open source software can load and process. This often implies the other, but not always. We have accepted content produced from non-free authoring software, such as “Garage Band”, “Adobe Illustrator”, and so on. We do prefer that free software is used, and that is what we document. Please don’t feel you have to lie about what you actually used!

We do occasionally publish software tools that we develop in the course of our work. Where not otherwise required, we generally will use the GPL license for these works. We will occasionally release under MIT license, if we mean not to restrict the work at all (for example, if we’d like to encourage its use, even in proprietary software, or if we feel that the basis for copyrighting the work at all is questionable — for example, if the work is primarily just a database, which is not eligible for copyright under US law).

Free Culture
Open Source Culture

More generalized terms for the same general concept: works (not just programs) that are released under licenses allowing anyone to pick them up, modify them, and make further works. For works other than software, the “source” concept can be exceedingly fuzzy, and so most free culture licenses do not specify a source requirement, though it is considered “good form” to provide works in an easy-to-edit format. Some licenses go so far as to require that no intentional obfuscation of the material has been made: that is to say, no “Digital Rights Management” (DRM) or “Technical Protection Measures” (TPM) have been used. These are the terms used by the proprietary industry to describe these practices. Critics have invented alternate expansions, which you will no doubt hear, but we will refer to these practices by the terms their advocates use, even where we regard the names as deceptive.

Free Creative Commons Licenses

Only some of the CC licenses are acceptable for our project. These are:

  • CC Attribution-ShareAlike License (CC By-SA)
  • CC Attribution-Only License (CC By)
  • CC Zero Public Domain Declaration or Assertion (CC 0)

The CC-0 document is not strictly a “license”, in legal terms. It is a disclaimer of ownership over the work. As such, it removes all requirements for distribution. Nevertheless, it is our practice to attribute these works where authors are known, and where they have not specifically asked not to be credited.

The CC licenses also have versions, which may be relevant. You will encounter versions 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, and 4.0. There are subtle differences, but the CC licenses all include an “upgrade on derivation” clause, which means that using the work as part of a new work allows the new work to be released under a later version of the same license.

The CC By-SA 4.0 license is the one we use for our own releases. This incorporates a “weak copyleft”,  insisting that derivative works also use this license (or, strictly speaking, an approved alternative). By using this license, we also participate in the commons of other By-SA works, which we can incorporate.

To be clear, the following Creative Commons licenses are NOT compatible with our project: By-NC, By-ND, By-NC-SA, By-NC-ND. The only way any of these can be used is as reference material (same as ordinary proprietary licensed material), which is to say, via “fair use”. That means you can look at it or listen to it, but you can’t incorporate any of it into the project.

There are a few other licenses or statuses of works which are compatible with our use:

  • Free Art License or License Art Libre (FAL or LAL)
  • Public Domain (PD)
  • Copyright Free (CF)
  • BSD, MIT, APL Software Licenses

The Free Art License (originally License Art Libre, because it is French), is a competing free-culture license with a similar weak copyleft to the CC By-SA license. As with By-SA, these licenses have a clause for “upgrade on derivation”, and they now allow conversion to CC By-SA 4.0 (or later) license (not to earlier versions, however). I believe this is reciprocal, but that hasn’t been a concern for our project.

The copyleft software licenses, like the GPL, do NOT allow conversion to CC By-SA for technical copyleft reasons. This is rarely an issue, except for occasional assets that were designed for use in games and put under the software license as a result.

However, the non-copyleft “permissive” software licenses (BSD, MIT, and APL) have occasionally been used as art licenses in the past (mostly before 2002, when the Creative Commons was founded), and are believed to be compatible, as they put no restrictions on the work and do not conflict with terms of distribution for By-SA works.

There is no real legal difference between “Public Domain”, “Copyright Free”, and “CC-0” for our purposes, although it’s worth noting their different origins:

In addition to being the general term, Public Domain is usually used to refer to works whose copyrights have expired — which means these are generally very old works, especially as copyright terms have been extended many times. It will sometimes be used for works which are ineligible for copyright for some other reason.

Copyright Free is the expression that is generally used by United States government sources to describe works which are ineligible for copyright protection, due to being produced by government employees in the course of their work. That is, they are produced by the US government and go directly into the public domain. Documentation of this often mentions a requirements about not using the works to imply government endorsement. This is not actually a copyright requirement, it’s just the usual issue of “personality” rights, which applies regardless of copyright. This one has a particular interest to our project, as it covers most NASA publications, including commissioned “artist concepts” as well as photographs from space missions.

There are a few exceptions, where the work may actually belong to a contractor, under special circumstances. It should be appreciated that employees of these government agencies do not always understand this legal status, and there have been some confusing cases of conflicting messaging, but the ineligibility of government-owned works for copyright is established law in the USA. This is NOT the case for all countries, however, and other terms may apply to works published by ESA, JAXA, CNSA, or RosCosmos!

CC-0 works are those works which have been legally disclaimed by their authors: they have intentionally released them to the public domain (or some cases, argued that they were already and that they have verified this). Where possible, if there is a CC-0 “Public Domain Dedication” or “Public Domain Assertion”, the term “CC0” or “CC-0” should be used, rather than the generic “Public Domain” or “PD”.

Open Movie Sources

An Open Movie is one which not only allows free redistribution and modification, but also makes an effort to make its “source” materials available to the public. There is a “source” release of the movie, in addition to the regular video release. This is a hard concept to pin down in any legal sense, so it isn’t really a legal term. There is no generally agreed upon rule about what the “source” for an Open Movie must include. However, here are some of the Source Files we try to include in our Open Movie releases:

  • Blender files
  • Audacity Project Files
  • Ardour Project Files
  • Kdenlive Project Files
  • Inkscape SVG Files
  • Gnu IMP XCF Files
  • Krita KRA Files
  • Footage Video Files (Generally for Live-Action)
  • Isolated, “Dry” Sound Recordings (Voice, Music, Sound Effects, etc)

Note that in general, we regard the “source” files as “those pieces of data which are actually rendered into the completed work”.

Concept Art

In addition to the sources, there are additional elements and artworks, which we produced along the way to help artists working on the project to remain consistent during the production process. Although our source releases will often include elements of these works, they are regarded as “extras”, and may be incomplete. Concept Art is originally produced by us, however. Some of this material may be non-free or be published under more restrictive licenses by us for fund-raising purposes.

Reference Art

There are also works which we do not produce, but may have found through research. Much of this material is not going to be available under free licenses, although some of it is.


There are a few companies and organizations we’ll refer to a lot, so let me specify who we’re talking about here.

Anansi Spaceworks

Anansi Spaceworks is a general partnership founded in 2001 by Terry Hancock and Rosalyn Hunter for our business enterprises. It has gone through a lot of permutations over the years. Our main project since 2012, though, has been hosting the Lunatics Project and more recently, the Film Freedom Project. You can think of Anansi Spaceworks as a publishing company, of which Lunatics Project and Film Freedom are imprints. We may be expanding our services to other projects, in which case the distinction between the company and the projects will become more relevant. For now, it’s kind of an accounting detail. Since Anansi Spaceworks does invest material resources into hosting the projects, we have decided to charge a flat percentage “overhead cost” of 20% to recoup our material investment (mostly web hosting, rendering, and equipment costs). This arrangement prevents the “Hollywood accounting” problem of the publisher sucking up all the profits, by limiting it to a specific and predictable amount.

Lunatics Project

This is the specific project associated with producing the Lunatics series. It can be regarded as an “open source project”, or as an “imprint” of Anansi Spaceworks.

Film Freedom Project

In the process of developing Lunatics, we have, of course developed a lot of materials that are of general interest to film-makers, and especially those who want to make free culture films and/or use free software tools for film making. We could put all of this under the “Lunatics Project” umbrella, but it creates some complications, and it’s probably not the best name, for anyone not familiar with our show or the project to support it. So we decided to create an alternative for more general production of tutorials, behind-the-scenes content, and services that we might share with other productions.

Morevna Project

We have no direct affiliation with Morevna Project, which is an open-movie and open-source animation project founded by Konstantin Dmitriev, and operating out of Gorno Altaisk, Siberia in the Russian Federation. However they have been an important resource for open-source film-making and animation, and maintain several important open source software packages of use to animators, and good friends. They have also produced animated episodes for their original (and namesake) series “The Beautiful Queen Marya Morevna” which is described as a cyberpunk retelling of a Russian folktale (known alternatively as “Marya Morevna” or “Koshchei the Deathless”). In addition, they are hosting a project to produce a “motion comic” style animated series based on David Revoy’s “Pepper & Carrot” open-source comic.

Blender Foundation
Blender Institute
Blender Cloud
Blender Studio

Likewise, we have no direct affiliation with Amsterdam-based Blender Foundation or its various projects, but their work is very important to us, as they are not only the maintainers of the Blender 3D animation open source software package, but also maintain community resources, and host open movie and open game projects. Under these various imprints, they are responsible for: Elephants Dream, Big Buck Bunny, Yo Lenny!, Sintel, Tears of Steel, Cosmos Laundromat, Spring, and more. Using the Blender Studio platform, they have also hosted a number of 3rd party productions. We are primarily just users of their software products.

Creative Commons

The Creative Commons is a legal and advocacy organization for free-culture works which promotes a series of “Free” licenses as well as “Non-Free” licenses, which they regard as a kind of halfway point or gateway to producing free culture.

Free Software Foundation (FSF)

The FSF is the original publisher and steward of the Gnu General Public License and the Free Software Definition which consists of the Four Freedoms. It was founded by Richard Stallman, as a host organization sometime after he created the Gnu Project, but is now a larger organization with a more complex governance. We have no direct affiliation with this organization, but do owe them a lot for the software license and foundational concepts for free software and open source software (though they disclaim the latter).

Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE)

The FSFE is a fully-independent advocacy organization in Europe, which shares much of the same mission as the FSF, as far as promoting the use of Free Software licenses.

Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC)

The SFC is primarily concerned with enforcing public license compliance, in addition to promoting the use of free software.

Software in the Public Interest (SPI)
Debian Project

SPI is the parent non-profit organization for the Debian Gnu/Linux operating system distribution. They are very important as the upstream maintainers for Debian, which is not only the operating system we use on our servers, but also the basis for Ubuntu and Ubuntu Studio, which we currently use on our workstations and desktop computers.


Framasoft is a French non-profit organization which maintains a number of important free-software tools, mainly to replace corporate proprietary software-as-a-service alternatives. Of greatest interest to us is that they are the maintainers for “PeerTube”.

Ubuntu Project
Ubuntu Studio

Ubuntu is a commercially-managed Gnu/Linux distribution, derived from Debian, and released on a regular cycle. It tends to be more up-to-date than Debian’s “stable” release, incorporates some original packages, and generally provides easier access to non-free elements (such as codecs) that the typical user will need to run with the purely-free Debian operating system. Canonical is the company behind Ubuntu, which provides commercial services based on it. Canonical is based in South Africa.

Recently, Ubuntu has been moving more packages to the “Snap” packaging system, which is supplemental to the APT package system provided by Debian.

My current plan for 2024 is to migrate my workstation to “AV Linux”, which is also based on the Debian upstream distribution (via “MX Linux”).

Red Hat

Red Hat is the original commercial Linux company, with a business model based on commercial support for its enterprise software. It was the original source of the Fedora Project, which is the Gnu/Linux distribution based on their work and RPM package system. We don’t make any direct use of these, but they do manage some multimedia tools that are of interest.