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

Carsten Agger agger at
Thu Jun 14 10:06:09 UTC 2018

On 14-06-2018 11:51, Paul Boddie wrote:
> 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).
I think Daniel's proposal makes sense and could be a good and 
constructive approach if the scope is defined properly, as Max pointed 

I would think of it like this:

The FSFE is an organization that works for software freedom and for the 
adoption of free software on all levels.

As such, the organization wishes (and no-one doubts this) to use free 
software on all levels in its operations, i.e. for administrative tasks, 
communication, collaboration, accounts.

I'd limit the scope as such:

* We're talking of the software used by *the association* as part of its 
*operations*, i.e. not about the personal choices of employees or 
volunteers in their spare time.

* We're talking about software used by the organization in its *own* 
operations - not that of vendors and other third parties (e.g., 
designers and accountants - if the designer prefers to use Gimp for 
images that's fine, but they *are* a third party)

* We're talking about *tools*, i.e. mostly userspace software. We should 
include proprietary JavaScript - so using Twitter or Google is not 
"using proprietary software" because the service is proprietary, but 
because they use non-free JavaScript (I mention this to align with the 
FSF's position). Anything proprietary installed on staff computers for 
work purposes would be listed, e.g. Skype, if someone were using that 
(which I have reasons to believe is not the case)

* We're not talking about firmware.

AND, we're not talking "hall of shame", we're talking transparency and 
documentation. We, as a free software organization, would like to use 
only free software in our operations, but are currently unable to do so 
100% because of these gaps.

I think such a thing makes eminent sense.

Incidentally, does anyone know what the FSF's position on their own 
possible use of non-free software is?

>>> 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.
> Paul
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