Monthly Archives: February 2014

Debian Administrator’s Handbook

Cahier de l’admin Debian, first published in 2004 by Eyrolles, was a best-selling French guide to running the Debian operating system. Five editions have been published, later ones designed for specific Debian releases. The authors, Raphaël Hertzog and Roland Mas, launched a campaign aiming for €15,000 with the goal of translating the book to English. At the same time, however, a second campaign ran that aimed to raise an additional €25,000 to publish the English book under a free license. Donors could contribute to both goals by donating above and beyond the stated “reward” levels of the first campaign.

The original campaign succeeded only in the first goal, although some post-deadline large donors helped make the second one a reality as well.The authors later (mid 2013) ran another successful campaign to publish the original French text under a free license as well.

As Eyrolles would own the copyright of the French text, Hertzog and Mas made an agreement with the publishing company to enable both creating the translation and publishing it under a free license (which is why community translation would not be a legal possibility).


  • Campaign: Independent ( and self-hosted)
  • Campaign date: 2011-11-27
  • Campaign status: successful
  • Campaign backers: 677 (original campaign)
  • Campaign raised: €24,345 of 15,000 (original)
  • Project type: existing/translation
  • Project license: dual-licensed CC-BY-SA, GPL


The campaign aimed to fund two authors spending three months full time translating the 450-page book. The book took five months to come to complete fruition, and was published in May 2012 as a paperback and in several e-book formats.



In early 2013, Geary asked for $100,000 to build a mail client and stalled. Six months later, Mailpile did the same and the world could hardly hand over money fast enough. The difference? Edward Snowden.

…OK, there are a few other differences. Like Geary, Mailpile promised a Gmail-ish sleek design with fast search. While Geary is a GNOME app (which is not necessarily an exciting prospect for Windows or Apple users), Mailpile is a web-based client.

The Mailpile team of 3 is based in Iceland. Their fun campaign certainly struck a chord, as they reached their target well before deadline. During their campaign mail host Lavabit shut down rather than comply with a request to turn over their private security keys to the FBI.  They had so much money pouring in that Paypal froze their account. Undoubtedly the extra coverage from that event didn’t hurt, either. As well as hundreds of individuals, Mailpile won support from many companies as well.

From the start the Mailpile team had their eyes turned towards the long-term. Donating $23 or more made one a member of the Mailpile community. These members

get to have a say in the long term direction of the project. When we aren’t sure what features to work on next or need to make some other major decision, we will seek input from the Mailpile Community…. This is the Mailpile business model. As long as members of our community are willing to fund development (we will ask you to renew your membership in a years’ time), we will dedicate ourselves to Mailpile and build the secure web-mail client you want.


  • Campaign: Indiegogo
  • Campaign date: 2013-09-10
  • Campaign status: successful
  • Campaign backers: 3639
  • Campaign raised: US$163,192 of 100,000
  • Project type: prototype
  • Project license: AGPL, Apache


Their website lists the current status of development of various features. Their roadmap written shortly after the close of the campaign listed January 2014 as the goal for an “alpha release”. Their alpha release was launched on February 1 at FOSDEM (although it still requires installing from source) and on their website have hosted a demo.