[License-discuss] OSI practicing what we preach

Bruce Perens bruce at perens.com
Thu Jun 6 12:37:24 UTC 2019

An ethically-operated for-profit is possible, but easier as a non-profit,
and has tax advantages if it operates for a charitable purpose.



On Thu, Jun 6, 2019 at 2:53 AM Henrik Ingo <henrik.ingo at avoinelama.fi>

> I was unaware that we preach that only non-profits can operate free
> software. From my point of view sub contracting such tasks is a great idea,
> if OSI has funds for it. Especially since list traffic is public anyway,
> the privacy risk is small. Obviously we should in any case select an
> operator that uses and contributes to free software.
> That said, I fully understand that a US based person may think about this
> differently than I do. OSI may want to consider using a EU based firm for
> email and other communications hosting.
> henrik
> On Thu, Jun 6, 2019 at 5:46 AM Bruce Perens via License-discuss <
> license-discuss at lists.opensource.org> wrote:
>> I agree with Rick that Free Software organizations, and that includes
>> OSI, should make use of entirely free software run for them by a non-profit
>> that contributes its modifications back to the projects. But I don't know
>> who that would be today. Should we be putting together crowdfunding to
>> create such a thing? I would certainly pay for such a service for my
>> company and personal use.
>> Thanks
>> Bruce
>> On Tue, Jun 4, 2019, 17:18 Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:
>>> Quoting Luis Villa (luis at lu.is):
>>> > People who have asked questions of the list have certainly been told
>>> that,
>>> > both explicitly and by implication ("well, it isn't written down
>>> anywhere
>>> > else, so...") Usually politely, but polite terrible news is still
>>> terrible
>>> > news.
>>> That's regrettable and it would certainly be better to be able to point
>>> to a summary in some suitable non-mailing-list ticket.  As with the
>>> example, there is a tendency to rely on an existing tool for unsuitable
>>> uses, if that's what is on hand, and I imagine people get lazy and don't
>>> want to spend time getting and providing the right per-message
>>> Pipermail archive URL.
>>> Well, at least this was not an OSI statement or (I gather) from an OSI
>>> Board member, which was the impression I got from your initial footnote.
>>> > https://github.com/OpenSourceOrg/ has existed, and been relied on,
>>> for some
>>> > time. And that's purely proprietary.
>>> Although past regrettable decisions are, in my opinion, best not used to
>>> justify future ones, I have the pleasure today of bringing good news:
>>> The proprietary GitHub service and the theoretically open source &
>>> self-hostable but extremely ponderous and overengineered GitLab codebase
>>> have, for some years, had excellent, modestly scoped, open source
>>> alternative codebases, fully suitable for self-hosting and devoid of
>>> bloat.
>>> In particular, _Gitea_ is excellent and increasingly in use by Linux
>>> distributions for their own code repositories, in managing their software
>>> development teams.  (If you want an example:  Devuan Project.  There are
>>> others.)
>>> https://gitea.io/
>>> So, today's the day OSI can start migrating that repo off proprietary
>>> software, and onto something less horribly overfeatured than is
>>> Microsoft's GitHub service, to boot, on any OSI static IP.
>>> (Administrative burden, you say?  But this isn't corporate bloatware, so
>>> please check the Gitea docs, and you'll see there's rather little.)
>>> > More generally, SaaS is a massive channel for open source these days,
>>> and
>>> > the org has very limited organizational bandwidth. It would seem odd to
>>> > insist on both avoiding one of (the?) predominant open source
>>> distribution
>>> > model, and imposing overhead on the org.
>>> Is is not the least bit odd to model the suitability of open source to
>>> be in control of one's computing infrastructure -- the way businesses
>>> control business risk by deploying autonomous open source -- by doing
>>> so.
>>> (Example:  A year from now, Civilized Discourse Construction Kit, Inc.
>>> advises that it's shutting down its free hosting.  Is OSI able and
>>> prepared to migrate everything?  To where?  Uh-oh.  Yes, theoretically
>>> the Discourse Web-forum software is open source hence migratable, but
>>> in practice it's about as vendor-locked-in as is GitLab data.)
>>> On the other hand, it's entirely impossible to compete with the zero
>>> administrative overhead of outsourcing to third-party hosted software,
>>> so if that's the criterion OSI wants to apply, then outsourcing will
>>> automatically win, every time.
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> --
> henrik.ingo at avoinelama.fi
> +358-40-5697354        skype: henrik.ingo            irc: hingo
> www.openlife.cc
> My LinkedIn profile: http://fi.linkedin.com/pub/henrik-ingo/3/232/8a7

Bruce Perens - Partner, OSS.Capital.
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