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

Alessandro Rubini rubini at
Fri Jun 15 08:49:23 UTC 2018

I'll go back for the last time to Daniel's proposal to document use
of non-free software within FSFE.  (Thanks Reinhard for reminding that
it doesn't happen). I'd better explain the "hall of shame" idea.

Carsten Agger:

> [...] AND, we're not talking "hall of shame", we're talking
> transparency and documentation.

Paul Boddie:

> 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.

Not really, rather what "is not" performed using free software.

3 different proposals could be made, towards the same stated goal:

1- We are aware we may sometimes use non-free tools during our activity,
and we make a point of taking note of any "unclean" activity, so to be
able to improve based on that internal record.

2- Most if not all of our work is done according to our principles, so
we make a public page where we document how to achive in freedom what most
other people think requires proprietart tool X or service Y.

3- Probably not all of our work is done according to our principlese, so
we make a public page with names and activities where we fail to.

I would be positive to 1, positive to 2 if we have resources to write and
maintain it, but I'm definitilely against 3. Let's get the exact text as
quoted by Daniel himself from

   [...] FSFE will maintain a public inventory on the wiki listing the
   non-free software and services in use, including details of which
   people/teams are using them, [...]

This, in my view, *is* an hall of shame: "Stephan made a phone call with
a politician using service Froboz, in his FSFE activities"

And, in my opinion, the will to repost the same motion makes no sense.
If the motion has a reason, the proponent should explain such reason
and discuss within the voting group, to draft a proposal that would pass.
For example option 2 or 3 above.

We usually have large majorities in our votes, because we discuss about
the issues beforehand. I'd personally retire a motion if the discussion
shows an amble majority against it.  Unless I want to play the victim.

Paul again:

> To give Daniel credit, he did state that the text might be improved.

The text (the way it is worded), not the proposal. Exact wording again:

   If you can see something wrong with the text of the motion, please
   help me improve it so it may be more likely to be accepted.

Finally. Paul is right here:

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

Yes, I'm really upset by this blog post. The motion didn't pass, and
the proponent goes to a different audience, using his ouput-only
channel, to complain and say he'll do it again, because he is right.
My expected outcome: loose, complain, repeat.

And it's not the first time I get on fire for similar reasons.
Repeating over and over, not listening, wasting everybody's time in
endless loops, flooding discussion with irrelevant nitpicking and
theoretical problems...

And for me it's over. I thank both Paul and Carsten for the positive
attitude but this proposal is going nowhere positive, unless the
proponent changes attitude.

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