By now, you have nearly all the skills needed to create a secure online store. But there is a deeper more enduring issue that remains. That issue is what the future will be like for online store owners. In this article, we will review some of the dangers of owning an online store as well as some hopeful signs.
Dangers to Small Online Store Owners
The greatest danger to the future of online stores is the mega monopoly system which has a vested interest in destroying all competition. They will do everything in their power to prevent your online store from succeeding.
Have you ever wondered why our public schools pay millions in licensing fees to Microsoft and Google when they could have more secure open source programs for free?
It is because those in power understand that the students of today become the business owners of tomorrow. The goal of those in power is to get our kids addicted to monopoly programs and monopoly social networks.
In this course, we have described series of online security tools. These security tools began with creating a Linux Debian laptop and obtaining a Linux Debian server. We then installed a Hestia Control panel and used it to create a Joomla website to which we added even more security tools. But real security is an evolving process. If we are to have these security tools and more in the future, we need to all do everything we can to encourage our family, friends, schools and community to learn about and use open source security tools.
But beyond this, we need to keep learning and seeking out open source options to closed source monopolies. Here is one more example of what I mean.
Introduction to Libera Pay Donation System
Over the years, many students have asked me why I do not have a PayPal or Patreon Donation button on my educational websites. The answer is that PayPal and Patreon as closed source programs that have draconian policies.
Both of them have repeatedly canceled donation programs for some of the world’s leading writers and researchers just because those people told the truth and spoke out against the entrenched power system.
Morally and ethically, I can not and will not support any organization that refuses to respect our First Amendment right to free speech under the US Constitution. In addition, the code of these programs is closed source. This means that it cannot be inspected and therefore can include all kinds of malware and spyware.
Thankfully, a new option has recently emerged. It is called Libre Pay. They are a French non-profit that offers a less expensive and more ethical way for donations to be made and received.
Here is a link to their website. https://liberapay.com/
Libre Pay is a free open source donation program. You can review their code on their Github page:
Here are some quotes from their home page:
Are you a creator of commons? Do you make free art, spread free knowledge, write free software? Or something else that can be funded by recurrent donations? Yes? Then Liberapay is for you! Create your account, fill your profile, and ask your audience to financially support your work.
People who contribute to the commons need you to support their work. Building free software, spreading free knowledge, these things take time and cost money, not only to do the initial work, but also to maintain it over time.
LiberaPay's recurrent donations system is designed to provide a stable crowdfunded basic income to creators, enabling them to keep doing great work that benefits everyone. Ready to contribute? Then let's get started. Find someone you want to give money to, then choose an amount, a period (weekly, monthly, or yearly), and a renewal method (manual or automatic).
On Liberapay, donations are funded in advance. You have control over when and how much you pay. Sending more money at once usually results in a lower percentage of transaction fees. We will notify you whenever a donation needs to be renewed. If you've opted for automatic renewals, then we will attempt to debit your card or bank account as agreed. The maximum you can give any one user is $100.00 per week. This helps to stabilize income by reducing how dependent it is on a few large patrons. The full amount of a donation is immediately transferred to the recipient.
Liberapay is designed for long-term stable funding and only supports recurring gifts. You can stop your donations or modify their amounts, periods and renewal modes at any time through your “Giving” page. Stopping a donation doesn't trigger any refund, it merely cancels future renewals.
Liberapay does not take a cut of payments, the service is funded by the donations to its own account. However there are payment processing fees. Liberapay works well with Stripe but can have major problems with PayPal. See this post for a description of some of the PayPal problems https://github.com/liberapay/liberapay.com/issues/2142
LibrePay distributes funds using a free open source program called Payday that we run every Wednesday. It executes donations and notifies donors and recipients.
How to Set up a Donation account on Libera Pay
It is important to set up a bank account connected to a Stripe account before setting up your Libre Pay donation page. Otherwise your donors will be subjected to the abuse of PayPal which not only charges more than Stripe but creates major problems for donors and the projects they are trying to support.
You can create an organization account or an individual account
Matrix is an example of how Libre Pay works. You create your own web page or module on your website with a button that links to your Libre Pay page. The Libre Pay page has a Donate button which links to a Libre Pay Donation Options page:
You can also choose automatic or manual renewal.
Select a payment option and click Manual Renewal to receive an email. Then click Donate to go to their registration page where you need to enter an email address.
Then click Go.
Click Card. The next page confirms that this account has been properly set up with a Stripe payment account. The page notifies you that one penny has a very high fee percent charged by Stripe. They recommend depositing ten euros to keep the charge down. You then put in your debit or credit card name and number. Then click Initiate the payment.
Create your Libre Pay Donor profile.
After you have created your Social Purpose Corporation, gotten your bank account and set up you Stripe account, fill out your Donor Profile form. Explain what you do, why you've chosen to ask for donations, what the money will be used for. Then contact people who benefit from your work and ask them to support you.
To see examples of what to write on your Donor Profile page, go to the Organization page
and or the Individuals page:
You can connect your account to your website, your Github page, your Gitlab page and or your Mastodon page.
Here are two examples of Donor descriptions:
Keep Open-Source open for everyone!
Codeberg is a Non-Profit Organization, with the objective to give the Open-Source code that is running our world a safe and friendly home, and to ensure that free code remains free and secure forever. Our ambition is to provide developers with a free and Open-Source repository version control platform and management user interface.
The development of Free and Open Source Software is experiencing an unbroken boom, due to the general availability of the internet and the resulting social network effects, multiplying communication, exchange of ideas, and productivity each and every month. The number of developers and projects participating in the Open-Source movement is growing exponentially. Only new software tools and collaboration platforms made these dynamics possible and manageable.
While all successful software tools that enabled this development were contributed by the Free and Open Source Software community, commercial for-profit platforms dominate hosting the results of our collaborative work. This led to the paradox that literally millions of volunteers create, collect, and maintain invaluable knowledge, documentation, and software, to feed platforms driven by closed commercial interests, whose program is neither visible nor controllable from outside. Considering the fate of formerly successful startups like SourceForge, we need to break the circle and avoid history repeating.
The mission of the Codeberg is building and maintaining a free collaboration platform, for creating, archiving, and preserving code and document of its development process. Dependencies on commercial, external, or proprietary services for the operation of the platform are thus decidedly avoided, in order to guarantee independence, and reliability.
We thank you for your trust and your support. Join us at https://codeberg.org!
Here is another:
We an open source project building an open network for secure, decentralized communication.
Imagine a world where it is as simple to message or video call anyone as it is to send an email, where you can communicate without being forced to install the same app, where your data is secured by end-to-end encryption, where you can choose who hosts your communications! We provide the tools to build real-time communication applications and services which are not controlled by single corporations (like Facebook or Google), but by the users themselves.
So if you've always wondered how you could help freedom of speech, safety, privacy, user choice and usability of communication apps, this is your chance! By supporting Matrix.org you’re building the future of communication, a future where users can make their own decisions about how to communicate and who to trust. And if money is a problem, don’t worry: there are other easy ways to move the needle such as: spreading the word, using Matrix apps (e.g. Riot.im ), building on top of it yourself or even contributing code!
Welcome to the future!
Here is the Donor page summary I will be submitting soon:
The Better Future Network consists of several free open source projects intended to help us and our children build a better future. We believe that helping more people learn how to use free open source programs is the key to a better future. The missing link seems to us to be a shortage of well organized documentation for many key open source projects. Too often, documentation is written by folks who may be good programmers – but poor teachers.
We think that easier to understand documentation is the key to broader adoption of free open source tools. Combined, we have more than 60 years of experience in helping others learn how to use complex tools with a simple step by step approach. We make a special effort to include not only words but also images during the learning process.
Our primary project, College in the Clouds dot org features 12 free courses, each with hundreds of pages of instruction and including hundreds of images. The topics covered include Libre Office, Linux Debian, Linux Virtual Private Servers, HTML and CSS, Joomla Content Management, Phoca Cart online stores – and even how to use Libre Pay! We hope to add videos on each of these topics in the near future.
If you would like to support our work in creating a Better Future, then consider making a donation. Your support means a great deal not only in terms of money… but in terms of letting us and others know that you also support our mission to expand the use of open source tools to more people.
Hopeful signs for the future
The draconian government lock downs of the past two years and the extreme censorship of Google, Facebook and others has helped an increasing number of people become more aware of the need for both security, privacy, independence, freedom and liberty. This has led many new people away from the clutches of Microsoft and Apple and into the community of free open source information sharing tools.
My hope is that you and others will continue sharing this new knowledge with your family friends and neighbors. Together, we can and will make a better future!
As always, I look forward to your questions and comments.
David Spring M. Ed.
Davidspring at protonmail dot com