ILoveFS needs your participation

Daniel Pocock daniel at
Thu Feb 11 07:40:07 UTC 2016

On 10/02/16 22:33, Max Mehl wrote:
> Hi Daniel,
> # Daniel Pocock [10.02.2016 @ 21:12]:
>> 14 February is typically a day when people are thinking about
>> their spouse/family, depending upon where they are in life.  I've
>> noticed that when people retire from some free software
>> communities or stop maintaining projects, they often cite "family
>> reasons".
>> What does this mean in practice though?
>> It would be interesting to look at the relationship between free 
>> software, volunteering and the family.  E.g. how does it compare
>> to other forms of volunteering that impact family life?
> Thanks for your input, Daniel. Sounds interesting, and it seems 
> reasonable to have look into that.
>> Maybe FSFE could survey this issue and publicize some of the
>> solutions on ILoveFS day 2017 (if this year is too soon)?
> For this year this is far too short notice indeed. And I wouldn't
> even say that we should make this an ILoveFS only issue but build
> it on a broaded foundation.
>> E.g. at DebConf this year there were many families who attended.
>> FOSDEM does a city-tour for spouses.  Free software developers
>> often don't receive cash for some of the voluntary things they
>> do, but there may be other ways their work could be more formally
>> recognized, allowing them to show some tangible benefit to family
>> members.
> As you noted, the first step has to be some kind of hard facts 
> collection. Do you have some rough ideas how to do that? Ask a
> small peer group for their experiences in detail, or make a broader
> survey?

There seem to be a number of universities that have free software (or
dare I say it, "open source") research groups looking at various
metrics from the free software world.  Maybe reaching out to some of
them and suggest it is a worthwhile thing to study, see if any have an

Other researchers (e.g. in social sciences, anthropology) may also be

> And do you, or anyone else, have other ideas how we could tackle
> this issue? What would FSFE be able to achieve? How could a
> solution for you personally look like?

FSF is updating their high-priority project list.  I wrote a reply
suggesting that the first group of things to address should be those
products that make the home environment run smoothly[1].  Maybe that
idea should be extended to include wider family.  Many projects in
this space seem to be constantly changing, that only causes irritation
for people trying to share these solutions with other members of their

Another thing that comes to mind is further education or
certifications.  It is a lot easier for people to explain to their
spouse that they have a goal, such as earning a masters degree or
postgraduate diploma and they are doing a bit of free software work in
their spare time as part of achieving that goal.  This could be much
easier to explain if the spouse has done something similar.  Maybe it
would be possible to build a public listing of courses or research
opportunities that involve active free software participation in some
way.  People tend to be most successful in education when doing
something they are intrinsically interested in.  As an example, if
they are already volunteering their time to work on something such as
software packaging tools, that would be a strong hint that this is the
area of computing that interests them most and they would be able to
complete a postgraduate diploma in software engineering process and
distribution practices, if they only knew where such opportunities

Going back to the research idea, research could also involve a
comparison against other hobbies, communities and volunteering.  This
might make it easier for us to identify ideas that could be
extrapolated from other volunteer-based communities.  For example, how
do amateur sporting clubs or charities involve spouses or families of
the people who participate?




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