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OSUOSL Frequently Asked Questions

How are you associated with Oregon State University?

The Open Source Lab is part of Network Services at Oregon State University. Our staff are all OSU employees, and our student employees are all OSU students. We receive many benefits from being a part of the University including office space, data center space, infrastructure, and a close tie to students who are interested in working with open source. We receive very little direct funding from the University, which is why we rely on external donations for our operations.

Are donations tax deductible?

The OSU Foundation is an IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, which provides many donors a tax advantage. Please contact your account or the OSU Foundation directly if you have questions about your eligibility.

What is the OSU Foundation?

The OSU Foundation handles all donations for Oregon State University. For more information on the OSU Foundation, visit their website at

I work for a company that has a donation matching program, how can I get them to match my donation to the OSUOSL?

Many corporations have programs which will match donations to educational institutions. The OSU Foundation has instructions for many companies listed here:

If you don't find your employer in that list, or have further questions, please contact your employer or the OSU Foundation directly to find out if your donation is eligible for a matching program.

How much money are you trying to raise?

Our annual expenses are roughly $1 million. Our goal is to raise at least enough to cover those expenses. The exact amount we need to cover with donations varies based on paid development work and grant-supported funding we receive. Any additional funding beyond what we need to operate during this fiscal year will go towards expenses beyond the current fiscal year.

What will you use my donation for?

Many of the services we provide for open source projects are provided for no-cost. We rely on donations to cover the expenses we incur providing these valuable services. Below, you can find a pie chart giving a general idea of our budget for the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

OSL Budget

Below are a few examples of where we have spent money in the past year and some of our plans for future spending.

Servers: we purchased three FTP servers to upgrade the space and download capacity of our mirroring infrastructure. We are now hosting one download mirror in Corvallis, one in Chicago, and will soon have one in New York (moving from Atlanta).

Bandwidth: We currently have a 10Gbit/sec connection out to the Internet from Corvallis. Our two remote FTP servers are hosted by TDS Telecom and are each allocated roughly 300Mbits/sec. This bandwidth allows us to support a large number of hosted projects as well as providing mirroring/download services for many Linux distributions and other open source applications. Our FTP mirrors serve over 6 terabytes of data per day.

Virtualization: Many of the projects we host are on virtual servers. Our virtualization offering has grown so much since it's inception that we recently deployed a new virtualization cluster which will help us scale more easily to provide stable virtual servers to our hosted projects. Our new deployment requires the purchase of servers, and RAM and hard drives to add to servers that have been donated.

Databases: Many of our hosted projects need an SQL database as part of their infrastructure. We have a number of servers running MySQL and PostgreSQL which we make available to our hosted projects. As the need for databases continues to increase, we will need to purchase more servers to continue providing this service.

What projects do you support?

The OSUOSL supports a large number of growing, high-impact open source communities. This includes the Apache Software Foundation, the Linux Foundation, Drupal, and many others. For a full list, please see

How is the OSUOSL run?

We have five full-time staff members and we employ about a dozen students at any given time. The full-time staff consists of:

  • An Operations Manager to oversee all activities of the lab,
  • A Public Sector Communities Manager to advocate and create government collaboration with open source and to lead OSUOSL's annual GOSCON conference,
  • A Project Manager to lead development on the ORVSD project,
  • A Lead Software Engineer to serve as our lead developer and to oversee work done by our student developers,
  • A Systems Administrator and Architect to design and manage our hosting infrastructure, and to oversee work done by our student system administrators.

The Operations Manager works closely with the OSUOSL Advisory Council, a group of experts from open source projects and industry, for suggestions and advice on opportunies and direction for the lab. The list of all Advisory Council members can be found at

What will happen if you don't meet your fund raising goal?

Our foremost goal is to continue to provide world-class hosting services to open source projects. Should we fail to meet our fund raising target, we will be forced to re-evaluate our priorities and eliminate some of the lab's activities. This decision, should it need to be made, will be discussed with the OSUOSL Advisory Council, and decided upon with OSU leadership.

Who else is supporting the OSUOSL financially?

The OSUOSL has many donors who generously support our efforts. Members of the OSL Alliance program are those who have given at least $10,000 annually. The full list of OSL Alliance members is available at We also receive support from many individuals, smaller companies and projects. Our Friends of the OSL program includes all of those donors, and they are listed here:

How do I donate to OSUOSL?

We accept donations online via the OSU Foundation's website. Simply select 'OSU Open Source Lab' from the drop-down list on where to direct your gift, or use the button on the right side of

You can also phone a contribution to the OSU Foundation at 800-354-7281 and specify that your gift is for the Open Source Lab in Information Services. If you'd like to discuss a large donation or a gift-in-kind donation, please contact the OSUOSL at or at 541-737-9900

What is your privacy policy?

The OSU Foundation privacy policy can be found at The Open Source Lab will only make your name public as part of our "Friends of the OSL" list if you request for us to do so (see the next question).

I am planning to make a donation and would / would not like for my name to show up on your public list of "Friends of the OSL". What do I need to do?

If you would like your name to appear on our website as part of the Friends of the OSL program, please include that information in the comments box on the donation form.
If you do not want your name to appear on our site, simply leave the comments empty, or enter "I do not wish to be listed on your web site" in the comments box on the donation form.

I am considering a donation which will qualify me for a t-shirt/hat/mug/etc. How do I request a particular size or other details?

Please use the comments box on the donation form to specify your T-shirt size if you are requesting a shirt. If you are requesting a hat or beer mug, simply state as much in the comments form. There is no need to specify hat size as they are adjustable “one size fits most”. We do our best to ship gifts out in a timely manner, however, this can sometimes take up to 2-3 weeks after your donation was processed.

I live outside of the US and would like to request a t-shirt/hat/mug/etc. in return for my donation. Will you ship it to me out of the country?

Due to shipping costs, please contact with any specific questions you have about international shipping.

I would like to donate hardware/software, or something else. Would that help the OSUOSL?

Please contact us at to describe what you are hoping to donate. We often have a need for hardware, but would need to know the details of any potential gift.

How can I contact OSUOSL to discuss a potential gift?

We can be reached at (preferred), or by phone at 541-737-9900.