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

Daniel Pocock daniel at
Fri Jun 15 10:12:12 UTC 2018

On 15/06/18 09:11, Reinhard Müller wrote:
> Hi, Carsten!
> Am 2018-06-14 um 12:06 schrieb Carsten Agger:
>> 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.
> That sounds like a reasonable scope to me, except for JavaScript, which
> I would regard debatable. And if I am not mistaken, apart from
> JavaScript, FSFE does not use any proprietary software within this
> scope. Actually I'm not even sure about JavaScript, since the services
> you mention might also run with JavaScript turned off.
> No proprietary software runs on any of FSFE's servers in userspace, and
> of course all software developed by FSFE staff or by contractors paid by
> FSFE is free software.

So what is Jonas referring to in his blog[1]?

> Anything further doesn't seem very reasonable to me: I would, for
> example, not want our volunteers to spend their time with documenting
> which web pages they visited where JavaScript was required.

If it is part of any significant FSFE-related process it should be
documented in the process and then it should be obvious to any volunteer
who reviews the documentation.

If volunteers have non-free stuff that they use for unrelated purposes
then I don't expect that to fall under the scope of a motion passed in
FSFE's General Assembly.

On the other hand, I would contend that people who want to be in
leadership positions in the FSF / FSFE family would have a burning
desire to make such a list and work constructively to shorten it and
they wouldn't be able to sleep at night without doing this exercise.




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