Rubinius, Inc - A Benefit Company

I’m excited to share with you that I’ve formed Rubinius, Inc, an Oregon corporation designated as a “benefit company”, to focus on building excellent programming language tools and sustain the development of the Rubinius platform.

You may be wondering, What is a benefit company?

Generally, it is a statutory designation that allows the business to consider the general social benefit and the environment when making decisions, rather than only focusing on revenue impact. The designation does not affect the tax structure for the business, and typically requires the business to publish an annual transparency report about the company’s impact on society and the environment.

I elected to form a benefit company, rather than a foundation or non-profit, because I believe it provides the lowest administrative overhead while building a sustainable economic model to support Rubinius as an open source project. A portion of the shares of Rubinius, Inc are dedicated solely to sustaining Rubinius.

Open source is the future, but we need to innovate around the economics of open source. Many very profitable companies enjoy tremendous cost savings and generate significant revenue by building on the free contributions of many, many people. At the same time, many software-related businesses have chosen a predatory, adversarial relationship with their customers, locking them into proprietary technologies and milking them with support contracts.

But we are not limited to these existing structures. We can imagine a more collaborative future where companies have an array of opportunities to contribute financially and customers enjoy the flexibility to pursue the value they need within their own individual circumstances. This is not far-fetched. We are already seeing this evolution in the rapidly developing “cloud” technologies. Exploring this new, better, world of business is an important focus of Rubinius, Inc.

Rubinius, Inc will enable me to focus on two things that have become very important to me over the past nine years while working on Rubinius: helping to develop the Rubinius community, and working directly with customers to help them solve problems as they build and grow as well.

There is much more to come, but I’ll leave you with two things for now:

  1. I have a new email address and I’d love to hear from you: brian@rubinius.com
  2. Please take two minutes to tell me: What is your biggest pain point with Ruby?

Thank you!

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