Public Money Public Code: a good policy for FSFE and other non-profits?

Paul Boddie paul at
Tue Jun 12 19:53:21 UTC 2018


A few days ago, I saw Daniel's article about the use of proprietary software 
and services by the FSFE:

This follows up on a long discussion last year, starting here...

...and ending here:

Firstly, I like the idea of awards to organisations who actually use Free 
Software to achieve their objectives. These days, it is far too easy for 
people to use "off the shelf" proprietary services and wave away objections 
about privacy, surveillance and control. Those who persist with Free Software 
and who improve it should be acknowledged and rewarded.

Now, I understand that even in the Free Software universe, people do not 
always want to be bothered to deploy software, especially if the act of doing 
so is not a familiar one. It seems that more and more expertise is required to 
deploy software in a secure, defensible fashion. But unless there are people 
who do so and who are willing to share their expertise, then it will become a 
less widely practised act with fewer able to benefit from the control and 
independence that Free Software offers.

I was surprised that Daniel's motion to document the FSFE's proprietary 
dependencies, and to describe ways of eliminating them, was so strongly 
opposed. Is it because admitting such dependencies is embarrassing? Or are 
there other reasons why no-one else was willing to support it?

Many of us commit to using Free Software exclusively where the right to 
exercise this control has been given to us. Actively using and developing such 
software is just as important as promoting it, arguably more so. If I were to 
use proprietary software to advocate Free Software usage, it might be said 
that I would merely be indulging in a hobby, that I do not lead by example, 
and so on.

Is it not right for the FSFE to be held to the same standards?


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