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FINkers United – Beyond the Obvious

by Ioana Guiman

 

Last week Allevo ran its 24th User Group meeting. These are biannual events where we invite people in the operations, business and IT areas of banks, people who work on a daily basis with good old qPayIntegrator, and also people who could be interested in using our solution. They get the chance to interact with us, their solution provider, and with their peers in the industry, share their experience in using the various features of qPayIntegrator (due to its modularity, one can choose to use only the needed features) – in one phrase strengthening the community gathered around qPayIntegrator. Our target line for the next period is to convince them to join us in the FINkers United community formed for the successor of qPayIntegrator, FinTP.

 

We may well have a good lever for this: even though attendees of these meetings currently use or may get to use qPayIntegrator, they won’t be doing this for much longer – as the solution will be migrated to FinTP.

 

We talked a lot about FinTP in the past – like qPayIntegrator, it is an application for managing and processing financial transactions, but what makes it special is its open distribution model, which brings all the benefits of open source software under one hood. FINkers United is a co-creation space we set for these types of open projects, specifically designed for banks and financial institutions. It is hosted online on www.fintp.org.

 

In this user group meeting, we brought a new dimension to the debates regarding our open-source project, focusing on the legal perspective, as an extra insurance for banks and financial institutions to feel safe about welcoming FinTP on their platforms. For this purpose we invited the lawyer currently advising us in founding the FINkers United association, to present open-source software legal aspects to our User Group guests, as she is one of the very few Romanian attorneys specialized in intellectual property related to software in general and open-source software in particular. Just a small thing to brag with: this association is the first of its kind in Romania.

 

Some basics: FINkers United guarantees copyright, which protects, among others, three things we consider to be of outmost importance: source code, binaries and documentation. All these are the property of the contributor who initially published them. The license actually represents how this copyright is configured by its owners. In the case of FinTP, the initial copyright owner is Allevo, who chose an open license (GPL v3) as means of distribution. This gives the right to use, distribute and make changes to the initial application within the community’s boundaries. What can any of the solution providers interested in distributing this software do under these circumstances? We can show a way, by revealing what Allevo is going to. We are prepared to pull the source code from the community version, verify and validate it, compile it and then distribute it based on a multi-level subscription model. In front of our customers we bear the responsibility of the code’s accuracy and security, as long as the version we deliver is not tampered with. Conversely, whenever new developments are added by Allevo developers, these will be pushed into the community version regularly or on event-triggered basis.

 

Another thing FINkers United guarantees is trademark. Trademark protects the identity (the brand) of he who offers services for the copyrighted solution. There is a Trademarks section on fintp.org, which in essence says: FinTP®, the FinTP word design, the FinTP design logo, FINkers United®, the FINkers United word design, the FINkers United design logo, either separately or in combination […] are trademarks of Allevo.

 

All this is to say Allevo have put this community in place from a legal perspective too , making sure any contributions are properly attributed to each individual or institutional contributor, whipping out any possibility of conflict of interest and making it easy and safe for people to contribute within FINkers United. Developers will own the original code they publish, business or operations people will own the new ideas they contribute (for new features for example) and so the community will become a reliable escrow agent for any user of FinTP.

 

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