Our history is exciting - like that of many other businesses in the IT and media sector. We have managed to adapt our mission and our framework according to the requirements of the market and the will of our members. In September 2006 we changed our name from PUBLIC VOICE Lab to OSalliance.
In 1997 and 1998, Hermann Böckle ran the PUBLIC VOICE media services KEG, supporting the building of our infrastructure. That company was shut down in 1999.
Working as a non-profit organisation from 1994 to 2002 forced us to focus on work of relevance for the greater public. It combined the flexibility of an association with the right of every member to participate in the decision-making process. Still, we were able to make investments and form many strategic alliances.
We have shown in a number of commercial projects that PUBLIC VOICE Lab performs like any other profit-oriented organisation. Even better: without the pressure of having to generate profits for investors, we did not have to fear being struck by an IT depression.
On January 1, 2003, PUBLIC VOICE Lab changed its legal form to a co-operative company with limited liability, with a number of radio stations as shareholders. The legal name is "Internationaler Medienverbund registrierte Genossenschaft mit beschränkter Haftung". This legal framework provides us with a better position when deploying research and development results on the international market. Still, any profit remains in the co-op and will not be taken out or sold. Thus we are committed to a business model which keeps all control among the co-op members.
The general assembly of the Internationaler Medienverbund reg. Gen.m.b.H. decided on January 9, 2003 that all running contracts from PUBLIC VOICE Lab are to be taken over into the new company.
After successful completion of four 5th framework IST-EU-projects in Vienna in 2004, we had found prosperous busines opportunities in Vorarlberg. Situated between mountains, rivers and lakes, a team of regional entrepreneurs and software developers offered to join their activities. A regional open source initiative, including extreme developers‘ sprint events with a lot of snow, we came up with a new perspective: The open source community seemed to require umbrella organisations, which manage complex projects and offer a set of methods and tools, including quality assurance. PUBLIC VOICE Lab could offer this, with a deep project experience in the backpack and a unique, grass-root organisational structure.
In September 2006, the brand name of the co-operative has been changed from PUBLIC VOICE Lab to OSalliance in order to communicate easier the core business: providing open source and open service solutions together with partners.
Summing up: In the role as an early adopter of new technologies with censorious reflection, we have created a number of networks and spin-offs. StreamOnTheFly for example is an exchange plattform for community radio stations. The education sector has become inputs by the InterMedia Lab Dornbirn or the Competence Network for Media Design, where several Universities of Applied Sciences are involved in.
The personal effort of single co-op members in applying the Free Software idea on different business branches works: implementing the Creative Commons License in the austrian law system by Österreichische Computergesellschaft, an institutional member.