Blind and Low-Vision Unix Users Group

Welcome to BLVUUG, the Blind and Low-Vision Unix Users Group. We are a not-for-profit association of people working to improve and promote greater accessibility of free Unix operating systems for the visually disabled. The group is founded on the principles of mutual aid and cooperating to advance the social good. There isn't much here yet. The rest of the page is an informal charter. If all of this sounds exciting to you, please subscribe to the mailing list:

Abstract Goals

  • To promote communication among blind and low vision Unix users and to connect them with potential sighted allies.
  • To foster collaboration among people working on Unix-based adaptive technology for people with visual disabilities.
  • Eventually, to serve as a vehicle for funding development of said technologies.
  • To enable community members to promote products or services generally useful to the blind Unix community.

Concrete Goals

We'll be adding a code forge (a la github and other code hosting sites) to be a home for accessibility related projects. We promise that it will be something that is usable from a text mode web browser and with command-line tools. In other words, it will be aggressively interoperable and fluff-free.

We will also add a forum for communication among the community. Again, the promise of aggressive interoperability is made for the forum. It should be usable from email, web, and hopefully NNTP.

We will have a "classified ads" section on the site or as part of the forum. Out of principle, we will never accept paid advertising. The purpose of the classifieds is to connect and enable, rather than foster mindless consumerism or profiteering.


In the US state of Oregon, where BLVUUG's founder resides, this group is considered a "not for profit association" under Oregon law. Here's a little blurb cribbed from Nonprofit Association of Oregon, discussing what this means and comparing nonprofit associations and nonprofit corporations.

Oregon nonprofits can be either unincorporated associations or corporations. If you do not file Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State, your organization will be an unincorporated association by default. An unincorporated association is defined as a group of people who come together for some purpose other than to do business, such as book clubs, small hobby groups, etc.

The positive aspects of associations are:

  • There are no registration or reporting requirements to the Oregon Secretary of State or DOJ
  • There is greater flexibility in how the organization is run
  • Change in membership doesn’t impact the existence of the organization

The negative aspects of associations are:

  • There is no protection for the members. Everyone involved is equally and personally liable for the debts and lawsuits
  • It is not possible to open a bank account because the association cannot obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Anyone in the association can open a personal bank account on behalf of the association, but this can blur the line between personal and association assets

Unincorporated associations are often most appropriate for groups with smaller budgets. They are a poor choice if your organization will be engaging in any activities with potential financial risk or that might result in physical or emotional injuries. Corporations, on the other hand, provide a much higher degree of legal protection for the individuals involved. They are also subject to more reporting requirements and to ORS 65. The legal liability protection is often enough reason to choose this structure.

At some point, especially if we start connecting projects with funding, it might be advisable to incorporate. That's a problem for another day.