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

Paul Boddie paul at
Thu Jun 14 09:51:28 UTC 2018

On Thursday 14. June 2018 08.01.04 Alessandro Rubini wrote:
> Context: Daniel Pocock writes in his own blog that he will repost at
> the next GA meeting a motion that did not pass at the previous GA
> meeting. Unchanged, seemingly.

To give Daniel credit, he did state that the text might be improved. That's 
one reason why I posted my message.

> Paul Boddie:
> >>> 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.
> Voting against by a large majority doesn't mean it was "strongly
> opposed".  There was discussion and we agreed it's better not to have
> it.  A vote just reflects the balance of pros and cons made by voting
> members.

Yes, unfortunately we don't see the nuances of the discussion in a 
presentation of the voting numbers. But in terms of those numbers the motion 
was strongly opposed.

[Practical aspects of deploying Free Software]

> The problem is "probably" and the vagueness of where the right to exercise
> is there or not. You also note sometimes it's possible but not reasonable
> to demand.
> And about (2) above:
> > I agree that the potential impact on volunteers would be problematic.
> So it seems even you (paul) acknowledge that the proposal is not
> "obviously right" when we face the real world, even if it clearly was
> designed with the aim to do better.

Of course. There is a need to define the scope of such a proposal, and here 
you give an example of how some initiatives have chosen to do so:

> Oh, and what about firmware? I personally shall be damned because I
> download binary blobs to my hardware's RAM (instead of having it in
> flash memory).

Then again, I did mention that one might confine the scope to the tools used 
to provide the FSFE's campaigning and collaboration platform, which would rule 
out the office phones in Berlin (or wherever).

> > But did no-one see any merit in the idea? Maybe one of the many
> > other, non-Fellow/member/supporter Assembly members might share
> > their thoughts with us.
> I am a member, and I think Max well explained the reasoning. But I see
> one more: we do not need to publish a "hall of shame".  It would
> mostly help internal frictions, or attacks by anybody who wants to
> paint himself as holier than us ("himself": women are usually more
> intelligent than that).

I didn't ask for a "hall of shame" and I don't recall Daniel asking for one, 
either. The merit I see in such a proposal is that it shows people how various 
kinds of activities can be performed using Free Software. Personally, I don't 
see that as a big demand for a Free Software advocacy organisation, even if we 
might discuss whether the demand is formulated in the right way.

> > But did no-one see any merit in the idea?
> Daniel Pocock I suppose. So much as to claim he will post the same
> motion again without further arguments. I can't avoid thinking
> he wants to lose the vote again in order to complain again on his blog
> and increase his own halo. I'd love to be proved wrong.

I get the impression that we are possibly encountering some other 
interpersonal issues here.


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