How FSFE is organised

Bernhard E. Reiter bernhard at
Thu Oct 10 08:45:48 UTC 2019

Am Mittwoch 09 Oktober 2019 15:16:23 schrieb Paul Boddie:
> I am sorry for the confusion here. In fact, I wasn't referring to the FSFE
> with my remark

Thanks for clarifying. I think it is clear that FSFE volunteers have other
professional lives and need to earn their living. Many of them are still 
related to Free Software and thus FSFE may report on their activities
and these lists can be used to chat and talk about all Free Software 
activities. If someone mails here, it can be completely unrelated to FSFE 

> Although I wasn't referring to the FSFE, I do wonder whether anyone else
> feels that there are certain common themes involved. For instance, a lack
> of transparency and a lack of responsiveness to genuine concerns.

In my observation the FSFE tries to address all genuine concerns and
does get a grade B ("good" over the average) on transparency compared
to a large group of organisation and charities. We can and should improve.
In addition our balances are checked by the tax office, we must use the money
for our constitution.

What we do *not have to do* is: 
 * Bring in specific decision processes (e.g. ones that are too heavy)
 * Let everbody join
 * Record and publish everything that is said or written
  for our decision processes.

Coming to opinions need protected spaces (even in governments), not everybody 
likes this, but the majority in FSFE and democracies in Europe do.

Most of our supported - as I take it - do not want the FSFE to become
an organisation that has elaborate public decision processes, they want us to
to campaigns like "public money public code", support that Free Software can 
be written, used and people, organisations and government are educated about 
it. We also are a counter weight to commercial interest lobbying that serves 
interest of single individuals.

> > The conference is mainly a meeting of the legal network, see
> >
> > and we report on it each year.

> The problem when reconciling this activity with an organisation seeking to
> cultivate some kind of membership, community or broad support is in
> convincing this latter group that such an activity, from which they are
> largely excluded, is working in their interests and deserves to be part of
> the same organisation.

The people participating in the legal network are not necessarily members
of FSFE (association and social group). FSFE provides a space for them to 
exchange, while at the same time FSFE can participate, which is a bit of 
influence. So we get a bit of influence without costs about what legal 
experts that have an interested in Free Software are talking about and what 
their organisations (if they represent them) are taking a focus in.
To me this sounds like a good thing.

> In other words, when told that the organisation has "got this" (meaning
> that it is providing some kind of solution), the supporters can only assume
> and trust that the outcomes will be beneficial to them. 

Or read the reports and look at other actions of FSFE close the the legal 
field, like:
Router Freedom Rooting keeps your 

> Meanwhile, other organisations with arguably less "democracy"
> pursue such activities transparently and let their supporters know 
> what they have been saying and doing.

Please make an example here.
FSFE publishes more and more stuff over the years as far as I observe.
(Because this is also a matter of bandwidth.)

> The impression this leaves is that there is the VIP track, with all the
> benefits and a degree of opacity within which conflicts of interest could
> easily develop, and then there is the ordinary supporter track. 

The "VIP track" is called "volunteer". :)
Go to one of the local meetings, help with a booth,
join the social group FSFE and you see that you'll learn much more details
about the many things that we do.

Best Regards,

FSFE -- Founding Member     Support our work for Free Software: | contribute
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