The Call for Participation for the Internet & devroom at was published 🎉 It would be great to receive proposals from a diversity of people.

Please boost widely !

@loic I'm keen to put in a presentation for consideration. About rethinking websearch.

I've already started filling in your forms.

@loic Thanks Loïc, just moved my submission to your track.

@loic FOSDEM 2018 had one of the world’s largest surveillance capitalists as its primary sponsor. Who are the sponsors this year?

If Google is sponsoring again, there is no way either I or @indie would take part.

It’s time events that purport to be about freedom stop legitimising and whitewashing surveillance capitalists. And it’s time those of us with legitimacy in this area stop being complicit in that practice.

#FundingMatters #SurveillanceCapitalism

@aral @loic @indie

I think it's important that we take notice of this situation, and prepare for a move away from FOSDEM in case this issue is not addressed. That said, I also think it's important to work issues from inside the community. Boycotting this edition might not be best: instead we can promote our issues to the FOSDEM community, then see what we can do altogether.

@aral, had you not come last year we probably would not have this conversation now.


@aral @loic @indie

FOSDEM needs to change on more than one accounts. Funding sources is only one of the issues. More important issues IMO are gender and politics.

At the DI&P devroom we're trying to address both -- from within FOSDEM.

Two things I'm personally sure of:
- if FOSDEM does not address these issues, I'll find other places to do it
- Google has been a sponsor of FOSDEM for years. I do not attend the beer event, but still want to meet with the people there.


@how @aral @loic @indie they have debated this several times I think.
It was already hard to get the "F" into "FOSDEM" at the beginning… Because they are only interested into the technical matters and don't want to touch the politics/ethics of it, which exists regardless if it's accounted for or not.

@mmu_man @aral @loic @indie

This is a general problem in technical circles. We like to think we're spearheading the "immaterial economy". Like if computers did not require metals.

I think the 'decentralized people' are a bit more conscious about politics: maybe I'm wrong, but mostly choosing AGPL is already a sign of it.

@aral in 2018 @framasoft presented their initiative to de-googlize internet during the decentralized part of the devroom. And the project presented technology to evade surveillance, Google included during the afternoon dedicated to privacy. As an organizer I did not feel any kind of pressure, explicit or implicit. I can assure you that if there was even the slightest I would be very vocal about it 🙂

But I acknowledge that promoting Google by accepting them as sponsors is wrong.

@loic @aral @framasoft

I want to ensure that these topics are addressed at FOSDEM 2019. We already talk with a few people that we could make another event. But it's always better said than done, and I find it important to communicate important questions among the community before splitting up.


@loic @aral @framasoft

Unfortunately a lot of open-source developers do not identify with free software politics or gender issues, and it became obvious that many people think 'neutrality' is good, when it's only a facade to ignore reality: power asymmetry makes 'neutrality' plain collaboration with power.

Check out 'green energy': everybody likes their solar panels and wind turbines, but nobody likes to see the human tragedy, ecocide and global carbon footprint behind it.

@loic @aral @framasoft

The 'green energy' metaphor illustrates well the situation with open-source and free software. While the dominant narrative is that transition towards 'green tech' is good, the fact is that Occident externalized pollution to the mining operations and claim being green.

Now that the GAFAM embraced open-source, they can claim being green, while they're far from it. They're doing green washing.

But many among developers simply like to think it's genuine.

@how @loic @aral @framasoft I think the question of whether it's genuine depends on what you want accomplished.

Certainly they are benefiting by embracing FOSS more, but they still want to keep it away from their bottomline.

I think of this as an affront to their customers.

@alcinnz @loic @aral @framasoft

I can't understand your position from what you wrote. "Embracing FOSS"? Do you mean, like a boa constrictor? "Keep it away from their bottomline"? Do you mean green washing? "An affront to their customers"? Are we talking about technology production or consumerism?

I'm confused.

@how @loic @aral @framasoft I'm saying I can see people saying "They're using our software, benefiting a lot from it, and contributing back to it. What do you mean it's not genuine?"

Personally what I care about is if they pass that software freedom on to their customers. If they provide the source code for all their client-side software.

Which ofcourse they haven't done.

To other confused readers: "GAFAM" is short for "Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft", it's not some new company you never heard of. 😀


@how @loic @framasoft Well, that’s that then. I won’t have anything to do with FOSDEM or any events organised under its (and Google’s) banner, that’s for sure. Pretty sick and tired of being the only one taking a stand on this, by the way.


@aral @loic @framasoft

It's not about not taking a stand. It's about making it visible to the community that needs it most. I think it's important that we attempt, as a community, to bring this to FOSDEM this year, as a warning: if this is not addressed, then we'll go elsewhere.

If this step is not taken, FOSDEM will go on untouched, with people enjoying their fries & beer without questioning the presence of Google, and then Microsoft, and then Palantir...

Come and join us on that topic!

@how @framasoft @loic @aral If anyone is giving a talk at FOSDEM next year you might want to consider giving a little preamble about how it's a bit concerning that Google are the main sponsor and perhaps that should not happen anymore, because [first slide]. Doing this even for 60 seconds denies them the good PR and hence hiring possibilities they're expecting to get from a conference like this.

Also, has Palantir ever sponsored FOSDEM? Microsoft are bad, but Palantir have actual blood on their hands.

@aral @loic @indie don't be so harsh ...they need some money to organize that large conf and it is free of charge

i argued with the organizer why there is GSoC coz its a clear Recruiting tool but on well known helper told me the Uni management want their students to get jobs so they are tolerated

It's not in any regards a valid excuse.

Google and similar companies are bad actors. Yes they contribute to Linux and other oss but again it's not an excuse to accept there money.

I'm fine to pay my ticket not to whitewash google and co

I totally support Aral position.

@indie @loic @aral

@dfeyer @yukiame @indie @loic @aral At some point, everyone is a bad actor. You can't work in Telecom, Medical or even a University without some questionable ethics. Hell, the components in your computers are made in Malaysia/China, many by low-income and impoverished people. If you denied every questionable company, you'd have little to no sponsorship.

Is it okay to take the sponsorship and do something better? Where is the line? How else would you raise funds? It's a complex question.

It's a complex question, before you think about your own ethics.

Robin Hood took the money from the rich to help the poors, that's fine and a good idea, but never Robin Hood as a nice Logo on her flags to promote one of the rich "donator".

We need to move away from this "everything needs a sponsor", we should think how we can as a community create sustainable events. Maybe our current events are juste too big to be fully supported by the community. Maybe parts of the refexion need to be done here.

We are slave of the "free" everything. It's a trap, everything as a price, if you pay with money, your time or whitewash someone... at the end you pay the price.
@aral @loic @indie @yukiame

@dfeyer @djsumdog @aral @loic @indie @yukiame

> at the end you pay the price.

This is Capitalist brainwashing at work: you are interpreting everything according to the economical assumptions of

We should fight this cultural hegemony.

And a good starting point would be going to the sources of our reasonings.

Take #RobinHood for example: it was invented by jesters at the court of Great Britain, during middle ages.

It has never been a revolutionary.
Less than ever after Disney.

@dfeyer @djsumdog @aral @loic if we can't create events as a community, how are we ever going to build the roads?!

To build roads, we create community taxes, and then we build public roads. So we don't have to deal with "roads sponsorship".

Now we need events, but the cost to organize events is too big compared to what people want to pay to attend. Solution: smaller and affordable events, current solution: corporate sponsors.

Our addiction to "always go global and big", is a recent addiction.

If we want to go global, with international speaker, the cost is high, what if we focus on small local event, share the video, works with local sponsors... If global is the goal only global companies will support. Global is not sustainable, out of control in too many aspects.

@loic @aral @djsumdog

@dfeyer @aran @loic @aral I went to Ruxcon back in 2012 in Melbourne. Registration was expensive (over $400 AUD), but I do distinctly remembering there weren't any huge rooms of swag booths and barely any vendors.

@dfeyer @aran @loic @aral @djsumdog So well written ! I am organizing / "sponsoring" an IndieWebWeek right before FOSDEM ;) in Vlissingen a small community in the Netherlands ;) Wrote to VVV, the library and the major to invite the Zeeland people and everyone is very welcome.

@dfeyer @djsumdog @aral @loic @indie @yukiame I don't know if it's transferable to a "normal" tech conference but I like how the Chaos Communication Congress is run by volunteers, but still charges a (comparably low) ticket price. They even offer the standard ticket at a rate that doesn't cover the costs. It's definitely doable, even at scale. #c3 has more than 12k attendees.

@fap @yukiame @indie @loic @aral @djsumdog @dfeyer

and around 10% of those paying people are working before, during and after the event to keep it happen

@dfeyer @djsumdog @aral @loic @indie @yukiame Correction, this year will be 16k attendees and about 2k angels/volunteers.

@dfeyer @djsumdog @aral @loic @indie @yukiame Robin Hood 'stole' from the Sheriff of Nottingham... he stole the taxes the Sheriff had taken from the serfs, and gave the taxes back to those serfs to use as they wish. He was an anti-tax-man.

If organisations are no longer to sponsor events they'll have more money to pay their staff/consultants to buy tickets to the events they care about.

@dfeyer @djsumdog @aral @loic @indie @yukiame I agree with you here. #FreeSoftware for example is not about gratis/price, it's about the freedoms of the software.

@yukiame @dfeyer @djsumdog @aral @loic @indie i was once tempted to say that "they are the same" but order matters in this case: first come the software's freedoms, through them is the possibility to provide freedoms to the people that use the program. This is important since you'll hear some people supporting a "freedom -1", and generally opposing #copyleft and community-oriented enforcement.

@adfeno @aral @yukiame @loic @djsumdog @indie Is it called linux? or is it said gnu? or is it BSD? ... I saw  nginx, webRTC, puredata, phantonjs, mumble, tor, CherryPy, chromium, ... is not under GPL for example.
GNU / Linux
GNU / Linux / BSD
GNU / Linux / BSD / MIT
GNU/ Linux / BSD / MIT / Apache 
...It is a total mix. Not only linux and gnu live free software currently. I think
@djsumdog @aral @loic @indie @yukiame @dfeyer There is no ethical consumption under capitalism, but this does not mean that we can't practice harm minimization.


> There is no ethical consumption under capitalism

Can you elaborate?

What do you mean?

@Shamar There are a few aspects to it. The coercion of market competition. Competition for survival having secondary effects like stratification of the workforce and systematic undervaluing of zoneable demographics. The primitive accumulation or "accumulation by dispossession" which underpins capitalism and the concealing power of money or contracts (i.e. inability in many cases to have a complete audit trail for any commodity).

So as a practical example, I might think that I'm being ethical in running only Free Software, and to some extent that's true, but if I were do to enough research and investigative journalism on the hardware I'm using then I'd find all kinds of horrible practices lurking just below the waterline of consumerism. Things like forced labor, slavery, colonial land grabs, sordid crimes of various kinds, offshore tax havens, war profiteers and so on.


Go back in time, and remember all those free services that let us do our thing without paying a cent? Those were google, twitter, facebook.

Look at us now. There's no such thing as a free lunch.

My position is, NEVER trust corporations when they want to "donate" to free causes.

@dfeyer @indie @loic @aral

@yukiame @indie @loic @aral GSoC is one of the few good things that Google still do. Maybe it is a recruiting tool for them, but various good things have come out of it and I don't see any of the other tech companies doing anything comparable.

For example, OMEMO came out of GSoC.

@aral I agree that having Google has major sponsor and promoting internet decentralization is bit strange.

But boycotting because of this sounds wrong too. I prefer thinking about how to make things better? Fosdem is one of the place where decentralization is promoted.

How much sponsor brings to the event? Is it material, money? What kind of good sponsor can help the project?

@loic @indie

@valvin @loic @indie I suggest we have the Saudi royal family sponsor FOSDEM. How about some neo-Nazi sponsorship? Is there anywhere you would draw a line at and say “I’m not taking that money?” If so, why are you not drawing that line at surveillance capitalism and corporations that exist by violating our human rights?

@aral @loic @indie You are using a BSD because the Linux kernel is heavily sponsored by Google, right? And boycotting Linux, right? Right? 😉

@js I'm using the Linux kernel. Google Free Software contributions do not excuse their actions in favor of software patents, collecting private information about their users etc. But I also do not advertise or recommend the Linux kernel as a project because I don't approve of its governance. However I'm ok with using it despite of that. It is difficult to draw the line between what's acceptable and what is not, I give you that 🙂

@loic I think contributing to the Linux kernel and giving money to FOSDEM are both not bad things. It's no reason to either boycott FOSDEM or Linux. Neither Linux nor FOSDEM promised anything in return or did anything bad in return.

@js In 2018 FOSDEM agreed to prominently display Google's logo in exchange for the support, that's something. It is explicitly supporting them and implicitly agreeing that their actions (not just their Free Software actions) are ok.

Thanks to FOSDEM policy, their presence is very light during the event itself. During other events, such as which I attended this year, Google had a large room with personnel to groom journalists. This is what they do, if you let them.

There's a big difference between contribution to an open-source project, anyone can contribute that's how oss works. But sponsoring an event it's marketing, your event represent the company, it's a service you sell and they buy it. I will never boycott a software because I disagree with some contributors. I will boycott an event that promote bad companies.

@js @loic @indie My using the Linux kernel does not legitimise Google. My standing in front of Google’s banner at an event that purports to be about “freedom” does.

Also: yes, the mainstream is fucked up and yes, these are the companies of the mainstream that have the money/power and their tentacles in everything. I’d evaluate whether you are punching up or down when you defend trillion-$ companies against those who criticise their abusive practices and point out institutional corruption.

@aral @loic @indie You are not criticizing Google, you are calling for a boycott of FOSDEM. At the same time, you are not calling for a boycott of Linux for doing the same thing, because that would inconvenience you because you use it. That's quite hypocritical.

@js @loic @indie Yes, man, I’m the hypocrite here. Have a lovely life.

@aral @loic @indie If you were serious about this, you would also boycott Linux and use a BSD. It's not like there are no alternatives. But that would inconvenience you, so you don't.

@dada @loic @indie Yes. And, to be honest, it infuriated me. It felt not much different to a Microsoft conference in Vegas (which I’ve also been to) in its focus on business and almost total lack of interest in the ethics/freedom of what we do (it was OSSDEM, the F was an afterthought). The only redeeming aspect of the trip was getting to talk to the @Purism and @gnome folks and to @how and his crew. But the next time I need to do that, I can do it not under a Google banner.

@aral @dada @loic @indie @Purism @gnome

I totally understand your position. I also told myself that this involvement with the Decentralized devroom was my last attempt at bringing back politics to free software. I already spent a lot of energy doing it, and if there's no way to make technicians realize the situation and understand their power and responsibility, then so be it, I have other things to do in my life than fighting lost battles.

@how @aral @dada @loic @indie @Purism @gnome The important thing is to not give up, as activists we can together make small steps towards a good scenario.

@aral @indie @loic Since they're the biggest logo at the top I bet they supplied most of the sponsorship. Is Fosdem transparent about its accounts?
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