The Tool Factory closed its doors on 31st December 2009.
As you may remember, our co-op is one of few LLP co-ops and we mentioned 2amase LLP in our case study as one of the others. 2amase were closely linked to The Tool Factory LLP.
Their goodbye message lists multiple reasons for the closure, but a key part seems to be a dispute between members about the copyright of their proprietary Business Plan Writer tool. I think there’s a strong resonance between cooperative principles and free and open source software, so I’m not suprised that proprietary software development has contributed to failure of a co-op, but it’s still a shame. Goodbye and best wishes for the future to The Tool Factory workers.
I hope to promote links between cooperatives and free software more in 2010. New Co-operatives UK head Ed Mayo mentioned it in his first speech, so the time seems right. If you’d like to help put on some co-op FOSS events, leave a comment here or get involved in this open co-op discussion, please.