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

Mat Witts mat at
Thu Jun 14 10:45:57 UTC 2018

> For me, I think until the FSFE abandons what seems to me to resemble a
> kind of 'watered-down' market-led ideology at the highest level and
> fully adopts a more appropriate political philosophy and (as
> importantly), culture - I predict many years of in-fighting, confusion,
> missed opportunities and personal hurt ahead for all involved at that
> level of organization?

> I think the FSFE doesn't have *one*  ideology. We are an organisation
with as many ideologies as people being part of it.

You may find it surprising to hear how many non-profits I have worked with that believe they are more diverse than they actually are Max.

The percentage is 100%. That is my experience and although the FSFE could be an exceptional case, it actually doesn't appear like that to me.

It appears to me like it apologizes for the proprietary software it uses, in which case a more formal apology would be consistent with it's aims and ethics.

Another tendency I see is leaders personally identifying with the non-profit brand too much, they take a criticism of the brand as a personal criticism, and this anxiety seems to be demonstrated in
the confusion between what might be listed under proprietary dependencies and what to excuse.

The personal software of GA members doesn't seem to be at all relevant here for example, (that is a matter form them - no one else) and so the items on the list seems to me to be defined by the features of the infrastructure of the FSFE only (whatever that is) - in other words - what the FSFE is using members funds for, servers, routers, software etc.

This much seems obvious to me, and I think is a commonsense approach.

The anxieties about presenting a 'chocolate box' image of the FSFE is not something I feel is in the long term interests of the FS movement and is a troubling cultural feature.

FS demands the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about it's role, purposes and consequences for users in my opinion.

> And isn't this the great thing about Free Software? It has benefits for so many areas and political standpoints, from philosophical, political, ethical,
commercial, environmental, educational and many more points of views.

Not really, that's only a functional perspective which itself opens up the discussion to then, what is the FSFE trying to do with FS exactly?

The FSFE seems to be remarkably apologetic about proprietary systems considering it's objectives?

> the bandwidth of our activities and campaigns represents this diversity.

Well, you could also say the scope of the FSFE's activities and campaigns admits features and aspects that ultimately weaken it's position?

> Forcing everyone to agree on the one and only ideology would surely create more fights and demotivation.

Forcing anyone to do anything is problematic isn't it? But assuming my analysis is accurate, and the FSFE does represent a kind of confluence of ideas: libertarianism, socialism, capitalism, neoliberalism then the suggestion of narrowing things down a bit may be useful, otherwise the FSFE is only representing a single ideology, which is the ideaology of whatever has already been historically established, which if things are going well is seductive of course, but when it encounters dissent it tends to do what the FSFE has done here... stifle change to mitigate corporate neuroses.

> If you feel that another organisation (who I guarantee to have similar internal conflicts :P) fit your standpoint better, please support them.

I am not at all starry-eyed about FSF, but one thing they do get right that the FSFE struggle with is the differentiation between FS and everything else, and although that strategy also has problems, it has the benefit of offering everyone a clear position to either defend or criticize.

Until I know what the FSFE stands for, and the way it is going about doing that - it's hard to criticize it, (which may be deliberate) but it also makes it hard for people like myself who have thought hard about the importance of Free Software to support it too.

> But I think to know even more people who value the diversity and tolerance of viewpoints the FSFE

The concepts of diversity and tolerance are not the things. Many people have been hurt and many lost lives in the name of diversity and tolerance, which unless evidence provides are vacuous buzzwords.

I don't observe much diversity or tolerance in the way this motion was defeated for example?

Do you?

/ mat

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