SPI and the Linux Debit Card

Todd Lisonbee toddlisonbee at fastmail.fm
Thu Sep 16 20:58:57 UTC 2004

hello SPI,

I have started a project called Linux Debit Card that may go nicely with

the url is, http://www.linuxdebitcard.org/

Here is the basic jist of my project:
What is the Linux Debit Card?
The Linux Debit Card is a way to generate revenue for Linux and other
Open Source Projects.  It is a secure PIN based debit card that attaches
to your current checking account.  The Linux Debit Card both generates
revenue for Linux and is powered by Linux.  Every time you use the Linux
Debit Card six cents goes towards supporting Open Source Software. 
Linux Debit Card is a non-profit organization.

What does it cost?
It does not cost anything to sign-up or to use the card.  In fact, while
generating revenue to support Open Source projects the card can also
help merchants save money.

How is this possible?
Whenever you use a Debit or Credit card at a merchant location the store
pays a fee.  With the Linux Debit Card, instead of your bank collecting
the fee, money goes towards supporting Open Source software.  Debitman,
the Linux powered debit network, connects the Linux Debit Card to your
checking account.


6 cents per transaction doesn't sound like much but when you do the math
it can work out to quite a bit:
100,000 cards * 5 transactions/card/month * $0.06/transaction =

50,000 cards * 5 transactions/card/month * $0.06/transaction = $540,000
over 3 years

Even with 10,000 cards, which is not very many at all, you can still do
10,000 cards * 5 transactions/card/month * $0.06/transaction =

Most of the details are explained pretty well in the website,


And now the purpose of this email,

As I understand it SPI is an umbrella for several organizations. Could
the Linux Debit Card possibly fall under that umbrella?  If it is a
possiblity, how does that process work?

The Linux Debit Card is not a software project but its goals seem very
compatible to those of SPI.

I believe for the Linux Debit Card to be successful it will need
partnerships with other organizations (or to even be part of another
org). Right now I could post some articles and press releases at various
websites like newsforge, these would generate a lot of hits to
http://www.linuxdebitcard.org/ resulting in so many cards issued.  After
the news article is gone though there would be nothing left to promote
the card.  

I think the best way for the card to succeed is for it to be attached
with specific projects.  The money generated from the card goes towards
specific projects and those projects help promote the card.  Without
these kinds of partnerships I think it is unlikely the Linux Debit Card
will be successful.  Partnerships will add longevity in the promotion of
the card and add credibility to the project itself.  Also, people will
trust the Linux Debit Card if it is attached with an organization they

Any feedback about the website or this idea as a way to generate revenue
will be appreciated.  For instance, what would it take for you
personally to sign-up for a card?  Does it seem like a scam? Why?  Does
this seem compatible with SPI?  Does this sound like a crazy idea or do
you think people would buy into it?

Good questions to ask in evaluating this project are: 

          Would people sign-up for the Card? 


          Would people use the Card?

If the answer to these questions is yes then this would be a very easy
way to generate a lot of revenue.

Anyway, maybe some of these possibilities could be discussed a little on
this list and then later maybe the subject could be brought up at an SPI
meeting or looked at by a committee (or however it should work exactly).

The Linux Debit Card project is live so you can fill out an application
and get a card to see for yourself.

I am happy to answer any questions.  

Have a nice day,

-Todd Lisonbee

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