𝕭𝖆𝖘𝖘𝖕𝖎𝖘𝖙𝖔𝖑 📢

Boost this if you want to be part of an explicitly anticapitalist technology liberation movement.

@be honestly capitalism is beneath my range of concerns. freeing the means of production, so we all are enabled, is the visionquest i'm on atm. that happens to be anticapitalist right now but if capitalism becomes convenient to the moral cause then i might possibly reasses. liberate technology.

It's time to stop being held back by this libertarian bullshit that corporations might possibly be okay.

Why not. :)

@be I like this post on the subject: https://davelane.nz/toxicity-public-multinational-corporations

Corporations are like snapping turtles!

@be so if no corps exist where will people fulfill their needs for supplies? The federal government?

@jordan31 I have no energy to explain this to you.

@be OK.

@be Corporations aren't bad per say it's allowing companies to go private and do what every they want including breaking the law that's the biggest issue.

@koreymoffett At least in the United States, corporations are legally prohibited from spending money on anything that is not for the purpose of getting their shareholders more money.

@be I'm just saying that if they were held to the same standards as everyone else such as following the same laws everyone else does i feel like most of the issue would be solved

@koreymoffett Corporations are not people.

@be I don't really see what you are saying here, for example they should still pay taxes like everyone else even though they aren't people, of course the amount paid would scale.

So, what shall we call this movement? I think it would help to move past both the terms "free software" and "open source". Communal software? Solidarity software? Communal liberatory software?

@be If you choose solidarity software, (SS), you'll have to, eventually, stand in solidarity with people with disabilities, and any software that isn't accessible, you'll have to reject. Gnome won't like that very much (see the crappy accessibility of Gnome Shell), and KDE, well, you'd have to put them on hold. So yeah probably better to pick something else for the 99%. :P

@be More seriously, maybe communal software, to give the nuance of everyone working together. (CS without a need for a CS degree).

Let's come up with a term that creeps and fascists won't want to be associated with.

@be The Kitten Alliance!

@devinprater Well, we're already on the fediverse :P

@be communist software, contribute what you can and use what is there.

Now it will probably turn away more people than only fascists though :p

@sotolf @be yeah I think an approach similar to the Socialist Rifle Association and the International Workers of the World would be more pallateable.

@cyberfarmer @sotolf I think ideally the term would be a big enough tent for people to work together without needing to be in complete agreement in every aspect of their politics but narrow enough that it keeps fascists and creeps away.

@sotolf @be +1 for communist software. Bonus points for proving Balmer was right. 😂

@fedops @sotolf *throws chair across room*

@fedops @sotolf developers developers developers developers

@be @sotolf sometimes I hark back to the old days where microsoft was just an all-in asshole and proud of it. All this huggy-feely Nutella stuff is sickening, and so is them daily raking in the billions.

@be Fair Software Movement, was something I came up with a little while ago for a similar reason. It’s fair, everyone wins.

@joerebelloharley I think "fair" is too ambiguous. It provides a lot leeway for creeps and fascists.

@be How so? Socialist Software then?

@be Admmitedly, communal software fits better with my original vision.

@joerebelloharley @be I'll be interested to see how this discussion pans out. Note: a search of Usenet archives will provide you with a few hundred past examples of this exact same discussion.

@lightweight @be I’ll have to do that, I regularly trawl through the archives anyway, so I’ll have a look...

@joerebelloharley @lightweight Those could be helpful. On the other hand, I suspect a lot of those old archives is full of libertarian bullshit.

@be @lightweight Probably, tbh.

@be @joerebelloharley words are words, even if libertarians are writing them... :) I think it's more productive to think about people rather than abstract categories with very mercurial definitions that no one fully fits into.

@lightweight @joerebelloharley I want a term that Eric Raymond would be sure to stay far away from.

@be @joerebelloharley heh heh - on that we can agree... although, again, words are openly licensed (in generally)...

I am drawn more and more towards simply "communal software". It is simple and to the point without needing to bring in a lot of loaded political baggage. Sure capitalists might fund some of it, but I think it would be significantly more difficult for capitalists to co-opt "communal software" than the nebulous "open source" which has had its meaning intentionally diluted and stretched to absurdity.

@lightweight @be I agree fully.

I also like that "communal software" doesn't say anything about source code, which I think could be more welcoming for people contributing in ways that are not programming.

"Communal software" might not totally keep obnoxious libertarians away, but it I think it would do a pretty good job of preventing them from dominating the discourse.

@be Yup, that’s another point I’m making.

@be Hopefully, me a few years ago could be labelled as that, but I’m not anymore, well, at least not obnoxious, and skeptical of all political figures.

@joerebelloharley Yes I think it leaves enough leeway for libertarians to participate so long as they don't interfere with building community.

@be Yes! That’s the point! Thanks for getting it ;)

@be "Software of the Commons" to directly invoke the Tragedy of the Commons? Doesn't exactly roll off the tongue though.

@splatt9990 I think "commons software" would be too easy for corporations to co-opt for precisely that reason.

@splatt9990 "Creative Commons" has been co-opted. @lightweight can tell you more about that if you're interested.

@be @splatt9990 here's something I prepared earlier :) https://davelane.nz/arresting-slide-open-fauxpen - the CC bit is lower down.

@be muh, kinda given up on society as a whole.. let's just start over

@be @fedops @sotolf your antiperspirant is clearly far too effective.

Of course, capitalists will try to co-opt "communal software" too. But I think it would be much easier to defend a *communal* definition of the term, like any other word or term in ordinary language. If the defense of the principles relies on referring to some Important White Man's proclamation of what the term means, well, who cares? That's easy for a multibillion dollar company's marketing department to trample.

On the other hand, if everyone intuitively has a sense of what the term "communal software" means, even if they aren't intimately familiar with the history and philosophy of the movement, they could much more easily identify when a capitalist is doing some shady marketing to set their own agenda.

Can ordinary people who haven't read the Great White Mens' definition of "open source" tell the difference between what the Great White Men say it is and what Google and Microsoft say it is? Unless they think the issue is somehow important enough to spend their time researching the issue, I doubt it.

@lightweight @be @splatt9990 Yesterday, I went on a bit of a rant about this same topic (https://social.finkhaeuser.de/@jens/105943742804743427 if you want)

I'm all for "communal software". What I'm more concerned with, though, is how we define that.

Problem is, I *like* the four freedoms, I just don't think they are enough. The "communal" term suggests the right direction.

I struggle a bit to define the necessary other communal aspects in a similarly concise form.

@lightweight @be @splatt9990 I figure the UNIX approach of one tool, one job is closely related to the "toolkits over frameworks" kind of thinking. To me, both enable freedoms because they allow much more varied re-use, being less prescriptive to users.

But it's hard to put them into a license - not that I particularly want to - this would have to be more of a manifesto. And then it's still a fuzzy enough thing that people can interpret it differently.

@jens @lightweight @splatt9990 I don't think it's a great idea to mix engineering best practices into a political philosophy.

@be @lightweight @splatt9990 Well, I understand that point of view. But as activists of all kinds like to say, everything is political.

If I start with the idea that engineering is political, then engineering has to aim for certain goals, in the context of our conversation here communal goals.

I do think that there are more exclusionary engineering practices that have nothing to do with unsound design; one is to subsume a lot of separate concerns into one system.

@jens @lightweight @splatt9990 I generally agree with you that our motivating principles and the real world impact we want to have on actual humans should inform the technical decisions we make. But I don't think any particular techniques of accomplishing those goals should be coupled to a political philosophy. So I think your point works better as an abstract principle rather than a specific prescription of "this is the best way to design software".

@be @lightweight @splatt9990 Oh, absolutely! The only way to do that well is to go for an abstract enough definition!

I harp on about reusability and toolkits and so forth because it's a good example, and whatever definition one comes up with should encourage that.

Maybe reusability is the key term here. Applicability in a diverse range of use cases. Good words elude me for now!

@jens @lightweight @splatt9990 My understanding is that's what made Emacs so popular.

@be @lightweight @splatt9990 Emacs is a funny example here. It's very extensible, which makes it reusable. But it isn't as easy to use emacs in something else.

That's essentially the difference between toolkits and frameworks, which is leading in deciding how something is used: the user (toolkit!), or the software (framework!).

I think this discussion digresses a little bit, though, fun as it is. Communal software sounds good.

@jens @lightweight @splatt9990 And yet, Stallman actively obstructed Emacs from becoming more useful for writing C & C++ by integrating with Clang... because Stallman reasons. https://lwn.net/Articles/583390/

@be what or who are "The Great White Men"?

@mab Richard Stallman and Bruce Perens in these cases.

@be I guess I don't get the White Men thing. Is that a racial comment? If so, why does Their race matter? If not, then what's it mean?

Something the term "communal software" could be used to defend against is Android. I would not call it communal software if it is developed (largely) behind closed doors and public input into development processes and priorities is not considered. A company doing their own thing then dumping a bunch of source code on the Internet without working with other people is not communal.

@mab It means that it's problematic to treat a few privileged people as the ones who get to decide what words mean.

Similarly, I don't think it is "communal software" if it is a fork that is made without any input from the community of the original software, for example Streamlabs' OBS fork.

@be why is everything about race these days? Someone has to decide what words to use and if someone else doesn't like those words, they can lobby to change them. But making it a racial issue when it isn't only furthers any preexisting racial divide or creates one where none existed prior.

@be @jens @lightweight @splatt9990 Considering that the linked conversation happened more than a half decade ago and nothing has changed is telling.

@be can we use it to scare away people who hate communism?

@be as a documentation specialist, I am here for this.

To be clear, I think forking software can be great. Sometimes different subsets of a community have such different priorities that it is best if they split and work on different software. But let's prefer to work together wherever practical.

Another similar case would be Vital versus Vitalium. @unfa @falktx

@be Are you going to make a website outlining this philosophy, so that we can link to it?

If so, I can do web design and I can totally help out.

@josias Let's do it.

@josias How about Codeberg Pages?

@be That sounds like a good place to get started.

@be Should I make an organization and add you to it? (or vice versa)

If so, what should it be called? Ideas: CSF (Communal Software Foundation), or just CS (that's available), or CommunalSoftware, or whatever you think of.

@josias How about just "Communal Software"? I personally am not trying to establish a legal institution myself. I hope others gather around this and take it further though. IMO part of the point is to decentralize and democratize who gets to decide what it means.

@be I agree.

I just made https://codeberg.org/CommunalSoftware and invited you to it.

@josias Do you have a preference for a static site generator? Or does Codeberg Pages require a specific one? I'm fine with whatever as long as it is simple to use.

@be I prefer Zola because I'm used to it and am already using it for two other websites.

I think the pages repo has to be the site you want published, so if we aren't using raw HTML, I think we'd have to push the generated "public" directory to the pages repo.

@josias If you could get the static site generator set up with Codeberg Pages, that would be great. I will work on it a bit later.

Not sure you were given what we've written below, but have you heard the term .

It describes a cuulture shift away from .

Anyway, we thought why not combine '' with '' to get, ?

Again though its not sexy, not a pun (those are gold) but its something to consider as an option.

@dsfgs I don't think that would be a good term because you started your post by asking if I knew of the word.

We asked if you'd 'heard the term', not the 'word'. The word, 'covivial' is well-known, to mean 'happy together'.

@dsfgs I actually was not familiar with the word either.

Its not a terribly common word, but we think 95% would've come across it surely.

Maybe it's more a British/Australian word, hmm…

How can we test this?

Here is a first draft to articulate what a communal software movement could be. Let's continue the discussion on Codeberg: https://codeberg.org/CommunalSoftware/website/pulls/1

@be Great! I'll give it a read! I'll make sure to put it up on The DNG Project page when it's at a useable stage.

@be I'm happy with it! I'd put my name to it.

@alcinnz I intentionally left authors' names out of it. I don't want this to be a petition.

@alcinnz It's a starting point for discussions, not an end unto itself.

@be my only concern with such approach is with license proliferation, if we can avoid that, good. :)

@anarcat That's why I explicitly say we shouldn't do that in the document

I'd appreciate contributions to make it look nicer. I've been focused on writing the text so currently it's just a plain wall of text.

@be For a quickstart, here's some basic stylesheets: https://github.com/dohliam/dropin-minimal-css

I'll need to choose which I want Haphaestus to fallback on...

@alcinnz Would you like to open a pull request on Codeberg to add one?

@be I suppose so...

@be I'm working on it.

"Towards A Communal Software Movement" is now online! What do *you* think about it?

Big thanks to everyone who has participated in the discussion in this thread. I don't intend for this to be an immutable document. Let's keep improving it, add more links, make it look nicer.

@be I wonder what it means for single developer projects, regarding all the non-code contributions like bug reports, feature requests, .... And is GPL a proper license for communal software?

@weirdconstructor A single developer working alone obviously isn't a community, but it can become one if the license permits that.

@weirdconstructor My computer doesn't run on little side projects written by one person. It runs primarily on large, complex software developed by communities. That's not to diminish the importance of small projects because obviously every software starts somewhere.

@weirdconstructor An interesting current example is PipeWire. It is mostly coded by one person. But he worked with lots of people who would be impacted by the project to plan its design. Now lots of people are helping with testing and reporting bugs. I'd say that's community software.

@weirdconstructor I want to reiterate that I don't think we should focus on binary judgements of whether software meets specific requirements to decide whether to call it communal software. Instead, ask if it is consistent with the principles.

@weirdconstructor That will allow the term to remain flexible to address the challenges that will come in the future that we're not even thinking about now.

@lightweight @be @splatt9990 beautiful article.. theres a thing to push on @mozilla

I had an interesting conversation about how "communal software" would be best translated into Spanish. I learned that "communal" in Spanish has connotations of helping, somewhat like "charity" or "welfare" in English. My friends suggested "software cooperativo" instead.

That got me thinking about using "cooperative software" in English too. I think I like it better than "communal software". "Cooperative software" feels more inviting to participate. If you don't consider yourself part of a community, "communal software" may not seem as inviting, as you may think it is for other people. What do you think?

@be I like both, but I agree that cooperative software sounds more inviting. I think someone a couple days ago offered, in one of these threads, "technology" instead of "software".

I like that because it is encompassing of the entire system that allows for the experience of a person interacting with a digital reality.

What about "cooperative technology"?

@be Hmmm... I wouldn’t mind it, but it means I have to change all the docs *again* 🤣🤣🤣

FWIW, I asked my friends what they thought "software libre" meant in Spanish. To my surprise, they talked about getting the software for no cost without getting in trouble. So I think that "libre" isn't even a great term in Spanish. IMO emphasizing individual liberties misses the point just as emphasizing practical advantages or zero cost miss the point. The point is people working *together* to meet their own needs.

Who is attracted to discourse about individual liberties? Libertarians, unsurprisingly.

@xerz I'm curious about your thoughts on this.

@be oh, that’s also something I talked about yesterday, and I do tend to think of the community part as weighting the most on what people value

a bunch of Spanish nonsense

@xerz My friends (who are from Columbia FWIW) also suggested "software público" but we thought "software cooperativo" was better. They immediately associated it with cooperative enterprises, which is great!

@be keep in mind, “communal” specifically does have very strong left-wing connotations, but then again I think some people see that as an upside blobcatderpy

and then “community” as an adjective may also evoke a sense of nonprofessionalism

@xerz Does "cooperativo" have strong left wing connotations in Spanish?

@be cooperatives are relatively commonplace and were also supported by fascists at the time, so I don’t think it’s a particularly divisive thing here

@xerz I think "cooperative" may not repel capitalists as much as "communal", but I think it could still be an effective tool for challenging capitalists when they try to coopt it for the private profit of a few over the community.

@xerz I'm not trying to entirely push corporations out, but reframe the discourse in a way that makes it hard for them to dominate.

@be that’s what I understood, sure enough I agree blobcatpopcorn

@xerz @weirdconstructor what do you think about the term "cooperative software" in regards to the awkwardness of applying "communal software" to small one person projects?

@be is this actually what all this drama in the FOSS scene is about right now? I’ve heard about this RMS letter but it seems like a load of drama and I like to stay out of drama. But my curiosity is getting the better of me.

@aspie4K This discussion is trying to figure out a better way forward now that we can stop being held back by Stallman.

@be this is obviously a whole thing, I don’t know what Stallman was “holding back” to begin with.

I finally got around to watching all of Revolution OS last night. That made it very clear that pushing the term "open source" really was about emphasizing compatibility with capitalism. Bruce Perens repeatedly talks about venture capitalists' reactions.

Stallman couldn't effectively challenge what was happening with "open source" because he didn't directly critique capitalism. He just dug his heels in, got more dogmatic about insisting on *his* term and insisting that everything keep going his way instead of reflecting on how his tactics were failing and adapting to meet new challenges.


Because... CSAIL partially depended on donations from capitalists. Such as Epstein. Epstein was Minsky's patron, and it was defending Minsky's relationship with Epstein which allowed RMS to boil himself in hot water."

Stallman was supportive of the early free software businesses like Cygnus. He didn't like what the "open source" people were doing by begging venture capitalists for investment and forming publicly traded corporations with VA and RedHat. But because he didn't critique capitalism, he couldn't articulate what the problem was in a way that many people found appealing. He just dug his heels in.


Because... CSAIL partially depended on donations from capitalists. Such as Epstein. Minsky was the first person at MIT taking money from Epstein, as far as we know, and Minsky was RMS patron at CSAIL. It was defending Minsky's relationship with Epstein which allowed RMS to boil himself in hot water."


Because... CSAIL partially depended on donations from capitalists. Such as Epstein. Minsky was the first person at MIT taking money from Epstein, as far as we know, and Minsky was RMS patron at CSAIL. It was defending Minsky's relationship with Epstein which allowed RMS to boil himself in hot water.


Because... CSAIL partially depended on donations from capitalists. Such as Epstein. Minsky was the first person at MIT taking money from Epstein, as far as we know, and Minsky was RMS patron at CSAIL. It was defending Minsky's relationship with Epstein which motivated RMS to boil himself in hot water.

@be yeah, “cooperative enterprises” is the first thing that also comes up to my mind as a Spaniard lmao

@xerz I think "cooperative software" could be a good term for pushing back against "benevolent dictators for life" as well as corporations.

Dictators for life are a problem. "Open core" is a problem. Proprietary relicensing is a problem. Corporations determining the agenda for software development is a problem. Supporting ICE is a problem. The rhetorics of "open source" and "free software" both fail to articulate how these are problems.

@be @xerz "communal software" really sounds like communism. Maybe "cooperative software" is better. I have no idea. I see the problem with "free software" confusion, and the muddy business with "open source". What about "public software" - thats closer to "public domain"?

@weirdconstructor @xerz I thought about about "public software" briefly but I don't like it as much as "cooperative software". "Public" doesn't communicate the values about how it is made. I think it communicates that the software is available to anyone, not very different from "open source" or "software libre". So I think it would be just as easy for capitalists to coopt. Also, at least in the US, "public" could imply that it is a government program.

Stallman's response was "tell people that it's really GNU so they learn about why we started GNU". That ship had already sailed years before. People called it "Linux" already and trying to call it "GNU/Linux" at that point came across more as a selfish attempt to take credit than a principled stance for a political agenda. It's also an obviously ineffective communication strategy. If you need an hour long lecture to explain what you're talking about, few people are going to care.

What if Stallman's response was to start calling it "cooperative software" or "communal software"? Maybe more people would have cared to pay attention to what he was saying. But instead he tried to put his ego all over it and generally people didn't care.

@be @xerz I will focus on what I do best: write software and tinker with stuff.I will publish my software under AGPLv3 (or any later). All I really know about are his views on free software, and I share them.And I know that the published some good licenses for supporting those views.I will continue using the licenses as long as they are compatible with my views and goals. I want to spend my days on earth writing software, have nice interactions with devs and users and not with drama.

The recent drama is unsurprising from this perspective. Stallman's response to the challenges of capitalists coming to free software were increasingly futile attempts to retain control. As time went on, I think his assertions of power became increasingly reactionary and absurd. And so it culminated last week in the explosive announcement that he was back in control of the FSF and he didn't care what anyone else thought about it.

@be Don't really think calling it Communal or Cooperative would have been any different than referring to it as Free Software. A simple rebranding wouldn't have fixed the underlying issues.

@bpepple Of course simply rebranding it wouldn't solve all the issues. But maybe it would have attracted more people to take principled stances and fight for them than chase quick fortune in the dot com bubble.

@be I’ve been working this angle for a bit, specifically around cooperative source; IP held in a semi-permeable membrane where human people can run it however they like, as well as entities formally structured as Rochdale coops.

the missing link is in community development on both the user (consumer) and maintainer/contributor side; as well as developing mutually beneficial socioeconomic relationships between consumers and maintainers.

@zee That's a really interesting point. Would users be more likely to financially support developers directly without depending on begging capitalists for funding if it was called "cooperative software" rather than "open source" or "free software"? I think it could be considerably easier to make models like Krita and Ardour work with the label "cooperative software".

@zee To be clear, I don't think it's a good idea to try to keep corporations from doing horrible acts with software we write through copyright licensing. I think that's a worthy goal, but I think the negative side effects of making it hard to combine software in novel and useful ways outweighs the benefit and ironically gives capitalists an easy way to divide and conquer the movement.

@zee I think a more effective tactic will be shifting the discourse towards "cooperative software". That way, when corporations come with their tainted money, hopefully more developers will have the courage to say "well, maybe I'll take your money. But we have to put governance structures in writing to ensure the community interests are put before profit, or fuck off with your dirty money."

@zee I think capitalists would have a hard time arguing that they're acting cooperatively if they're getting contracts from ICE.

@zee or even arguing they might do business with ICE (if their competitor didn't already have the contract) https://gitlab.com/gitlab-com/www-gitlab-com/-/merge_requests/30656

@be Which kind of license would you see as fitting for this movement? I believe copyleft licenses like the GPL or EUPL are an important part of making sure that corporations can't simply fork a project without contributing back and without having an open governance, thereby defeating the whole idea of the movement.

This of course makes the license incompatible with some other projects, which you also mention you don't want to happen. But without copyleft, the whole idea is to easy to destroy.

@be Which kind of license would you see as fitting for this movement? I believe copyleft licenses like the GPL or EUPL are an important part of making sure that corporations can't simply fork a project without contributing back and without having an open governance, thereby defeating the whole idea of the movement.

This of course makes the license incompatible with some other projects, which you also mention you don't want to happen. But without copyleft, the whole idea is too easy to destroy.

@Jbb I wholeheartedly support copyleft! And the AGPL. And the efforts to think beyond the AGPL. I'll leave the lawyering to the lawyers though. https://sfconservancy.org/blog/2020/jan/06/copyleft-equality/

@zee I think the "open source" and "free software" discourses focusing on individual liberties discourages a sense of collective responsibility to contribute: https://fosstodon.org/@be/105967709264002602

@be +1 for the cooperative software name btw.

communal to me (from a German language background) sounds more like a local area project, like for a specific town or so

@Jbb That's what my Columbian friends said about "software communal" in Spanish too.

I'll work on significant revision to the "Towards A Communal Software Movement" essay and renaming it to "Towards A Communal Technology Movement". I might not have time today, but hopefully in the next couple of days.

a painting of Louis XIV with Richard Stallman's head captioned "I am the Free Software Foundation"

@tychi @be this has the advantage of turning into the nice short phrase of coop tech

@be agree, which is why I’ve been working the angle for the last two years and literally formed a maintainer and contributor owned software coop to steward product and service development.

@be I was literally reading through this thread and about to respond suggesting "Cooperative Software" when I got to this. Then you can tap into all the values of the co-op movement that already exist, and it sounds like that's what you have in mind. Something along the lines of the 1995 Statement on Cooperative Identity, except for software: https://www.ica.coop/en/cooperatives/cooperative-identity

@sam Thanks, I'll look deeper into that! Maybe I'll add a link to that statement when I revise the essay.

@be yes this thank you for finally articulating this!

@be i think it's got to do with rms's very concept of what freedom is and why freedom is good is fundamentally united with the ego that he'd never allow something like this to be done with his idea of free software

@carcinopithecus Right, Stallman was and is focused on freedom *for himself*. He does talk about community, but it is not the emphasis of his discourse and he doesn't effectively communicate what that means. I read Stallman's essays years before I learned to code much. The point about community was largely lost on me until I actually participated in one beyond the occasional bug report.

@carcinopithecus I think most people don't consider that they could possibly have influence over what their technology does because they don't know how to code and they're used to a world where a company just makes something and says take it or leave it. If they do try to get a company to change something about tech, the response is usually a condescending "lol not our problem", "lol that's just how it is", or "because fuck you, that's why".

@carcinopithecus Having a say over what your technology does should not require knowing how to code. And also, I believe an introductory coding course should be a requirement in high schools so that people believe they actually could change the code themselves.

@bob @carcinopithecus I'm not saying Stallman is a strict individualist, but his rhetoric does not emphasize community and does not effectively communicate the communal aspects to people who have never participated in such a community. This made it easy for capitalists to coopt "open source".

@bob @carcinopithecus Stallman talks about being able to hire someone to change the code for you, which again, is stuck in a bygone era of computing. Of course, plenty of custom software is still written for businesses, but most people don't have the means to hire someone to change an application on their personal computer.

@bob @carcinopithecus What Stallman does not talk about is working together cooperatively with the developers of the software to reach a consensus about how the software should be changed. This is a much more meaningful message for average users than saying you could hypothetically hire someone to change an application on your personal computer if you're super rich.

@bob @carcinopithecus He does, but he is so out of touch that he doesn't realize this is pretty much meaningless to most people because they don't understand what collective control over the software could mean. He doesn't understand what it's like to be a normal person in today's world who doesn't know anything about programming.

@bob @carcinopithecus He doesn't understand this because he doesn't try. Instead he shames people for using proprietary software.

@carcinopithecus Oh and actually getting a real, in depth answer from people who know what they're talking about because they made the thing? Forget about it. They hire a barrier of support personnel who only know the bare minimum of how to deal with the most routine problems.

I am the stallman? I am the rms? I am the richard? What the fish is this supposed to mean?

@weirdconstructor @xerz @be
I am probably working along similar lines (except I ignore RMS completely) and I think you could be interested in adding the commons in general and netCommons in particular to your cognitive map.

I see great potential in two-way osmosis between sociopolitical and technological spaces (they actually merge in every one of us, and no denial can change it ;-) ).
Concepts of the commons, stewardship, mutual aid and open licences (Creative Commons my favourite) have largely informed big part of IT community. On the other hand, decentralised infrastructure, localised data and the whole interoperability paradigm, the Fediverse is built upon, is slowly seeping into the political imagination of self-organised communities (with a minuscule help from me).
It bears the potential of significant synergy to push humanity towards a more cooperative and less confrontative way of living (provided we avoid emergency shutdown due to climate disaster, of course)

@petros @xerz @weirdconstructor Yeah I think it's a huge failure of the "free software" and "open source" discourses that FOSS is not the norm in activism. I've avoided a lot of activism in the last year because it required using Zoom 😞

@petros @xerz @weirdconstructor I think it'll be a lot easier to build consensus that this is important for political organizing by using the discourse of "cooperative technology" rather than the jargon of FOSS.

@petros @xerz @weirdconstructor This discussion got me thinking that I want to split the essay into two. One will introduce cooperative technology to a general audience and the other will be targeted at people familiar with FOSS and discuss how it relates to the history of FOSS.

@be Oh this is perfect. I found myself the other day saying "community-run free software" and "corporate open source" to describe the distinction between Gitea's model and GitLab's model for people who may not tie the same connotation to the FS and OSS terms as I do, but this captures it perfectly while being punchier and avoiding the ambiguous term "free". 👏


I'm with you so far, but then what about Free/Libre Culture? Communal Culture?

Also, the one thing I liked about Open Source (and to be sure there wasn't a lot) is that it conveyed the idea of source as the proffered distribution. I wonder if that can be captured somehow?

@emacsen If you emphasize source code, first you have to explain to people who have no idea how computers work what source code is. It's a distraction.


What about the other topic, of personally more interest to me, about software and/vs culture?

@emacsen I don't know. Call it "cooperative culture" if you want? 🤷 It's related but kinda tangential.

Imo, "capitalism" isn't the problem here, "trade" is. Take a look at this post - https://fosstodon.org/@futureisfoss/105972234864449536

@futureisfoss I think you're missing the point. The problems you decry are the result of people following the incentives that capitalist institutions create to get as much profit as possible for a small group of owners regardless of the consequences.

@futureisfoss Also the term "trade-free" will almost surely get confused with "free trade".


shames, or patronizes

@bob @carcinopithecus

I was just sharing my opinion. You're right that capitalism makes the effects of trade much worse, and that capitalists wouldn't exist without trade.

But the root cause of these problems lies with trade itself, its what drives people to make more money/wealth. Also its impossible to have equality in a trade-based world. It can be little hard to grasp this idea, but if you're genuinely curious about it, I recommend you this book - https://www.tromsite.com/books/#dflip-df_6562/1

Yeah, that can happen with anything. People always misinterpret stuff as time goes on, lol.
I just wanted you to know that such a thing exists. They have a directory full of trsde-free stuff at https://www.directory.trade-free.org/. And there's already a lot of FOSS software/projects listed there. Whatever app you're creating, as long as its trade-free, it can be added on that list. This way, the free software or communal or whatever movement can peacefully coexist with this one :)

@koreymoffett @be actually, I'd argue that private companies *can* be good. They don't have the "maximise shareholder value" as their single incentive like *public listed* corporations. I'd say the latter are inherently in a race to the bottom, ethically speaking. I've written about it here: https://davelane.nz/megacorps

@splatt9990 @be like "Trickle-down economics" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yzeOqV7eKI ) the "Tragedy of the Commons" has been debunked quite thoroughly, for what it's worth... https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/voices/the-tragedy-of-the-tragedy-of-the-commons/

@lightweight @koreymoffett Right, the point is incentives.

@koreymoffett @be oops - "public listed" is redundant. Public corporations, which have "person status" in many jurisdictions, are the real problem in my opinion.


cooperative tech 💜 i think i like it moar than “communal tech” but only because i the connotations of “cooperative” strike me as… less convoluted in the languages i speak.

also this thread is 😻

21 miaou salutes!

@lightweight I wasn't saying private companies are bad, I'm saying at least in the US when companies go private they seem to be able to just do what every they want including ignoring laws. My point was if we were to hold companies to the same standards as everyone else meaning follow the laws of the countries they are in I think that would fix a large portion of the issues

@koreymoffett I think every private company has to be judged on its merits, but every listed corporation, as it grows, ends up evil. It's inevitable.

@koreymoffett they become big enough to influence the regulatory environment in which they exist, and in many cases (like the Frightful Five) rewrite the laws that regulate them, because they effectively control gov'ts, like the US'.

@be @lightweight @splatt9990 @jens This comment is what prompted me to think about how good engineering practices would contribute to user freedom and that's why I wrote the maturity model draft https://libranet.de/display/0b6b25a8-3060-61f6-28df-cae554943983 basically just to see where I put them.

I put them last.

In Open Source, engineering practices basically come out on top, topped only by the licensing.

Little did I know you had already written your manifesto. I was shown to it after I finished my list and my chin fell to the floor. The zeitgeist is strong with this one.

I talked with a friend about these issues the other day just before I learned about the rms surprise.

"this comment" being the one about mixing philosophy and engineering best practices

@clacke @lightweight @splatt9990 @be I feel like there's a streamlined text waiting in between that manifesto and your list. I'm going to let both simmer for a bit, maybe I'll come up with something. Either way, highly interesting stuff.

@clacke @lightweight @splatt9990 @jens Yes, I think the zeitgeist is ripe for new terminology and philosophy to replace the old. I'm pleasantly encouraged how much support there is for this right now.

@jens @clacke @lightweight @splatt9990 Yeah, I want to integrate @clacke 's list when I revise the essay, but do so from a perspective of presenting a set of guidelines for making the principles practically meaningful, not presenting absolute legalistic criteria handed down from the mountain that is treated as holy commandments which may never be modified to meet future developments.

@be @lightweight @splatt9990 @jens Yes, I blushed when I read that part of your manifesto and you are absolutely correct, haha.

But pretending that this gatekeeping framework is real has been helpful for me to sort my thoughts at least.

I would be absolutely devastated if anyone ever sold communal software certification services and I threw up in my mouth a little just typing that.

@clacke @lightweight @splatt9990 @be I don't think a framework is bad, as long as it's clear enough that it's guidelines rather than rules. It helps people who want to do things right think about the bases they should cover.

@be i've already started

@jens @lightweight @splatt9990 @be Licensing plus governance structures. The C4 captures some of it, but like how the four freedoms are not the GPL or any other particular license there might be a generalized definition that could describe what e.g. the C4 is without insisting on a particular implementation.

I'm sure @webmink has a summary somewhere on the community governance principles he grills every project on whenever he is on FLOSS Weekly.

@jens @lightweight @splatt9990 @be The level definitions are subjective enough that it should be fodder for internal discussion on what to work on enhancing rather than binary gates for certification.

But that also means maybe they aren't actually levels, but parallel aspects, as @bookwar hinted at in https://fosstodon.org/@bookwar/105975107813450240 .

@clacke @lightweight @splatt9990 @bookwar @be I do believe they're aspects, but not strictly parallel. Call them dimensions?

@jens @lightweight @splatt9990 @bookwar @be Is there some degree of foundational support from the lower numbers? So that maybe it makes sense to work on things in parallel, but maybe it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to go sky high on aspect n+3 until you're pretty high on aspect n?

@clacke @lightweight @splatt9990 @bookwar @be Something like that. It's still a bit fuzzy to me while I think about other things. Entirely in the abstract, maybe we'll need to class items into less dependent dimensions, but find some order to them per class.

But I also don't want to overcomplicate things. It's just that sometimes that kind of structure makes sense.

Here, I really need to let it bubble a while.

This essay discusses many of the same issues. I especially like this part:
"The modern browser is nominally free software containing the trifecta of telemetry, advertisement, and DRM; a retro video game is proprietary software but relatively harmless."

@be I like "communal software". "Cooperative" sounds like it's insisting on a certain form of organizing the work.

Sure, "kommunalprogramvara" in Swedish would mean "municipal software", but this is English. Let's translate it to the proper terms in other languages.

open source > What can you do with the code
free software > Why do you want the code and why was it written
communal software > Who is affected and who benefits

I used "community-driven software" just the day before I discovered your term, maybe that's why I'm attached to your term because it says the same thing but shorter and better.

If you really want to scare away the fascists, ancaps and corporations maybe you could go with "collective software". 😁

Correction: The term I used was "community-driven free software" because I was using the free software term but wanted to emphasize what it meant to me and why the distinction was relevant for that particular piece of software.

@clacke @be that’s my issue with “communal” too. 🤜🤛 “cooperative” works in 5/5 languages i know, “communal” get’s convoluted or diffused/confusing in 2 out of 5. But i’m fine with both.


@jordan31 @be Companies that are not limited liability and not owned and controlled by faceless shareholders, e.g. family-owned businesses. Cooperatives. Sole proprietors. We had supplies before the corporations where invented 400 years ago. We'll just have to use our imaginations.

So, cooperative software -- ambiguous as it is -- seems to be good enough for me. General meaning around co-ops is not about getting something without paying (while it is possible upon agreement) but about people being paid fair and just money for their work and not extracting rent.

@petros Right, see this part of the thread https://fosstodon.org/@be/105968264493315269

@be BTW, if it may help, I am happy to provide Mattermost space for more practical/structured conversations.

@petros Maybe Discourse?

I renamed the essay to "Towards A Cooperative Technology Movement" and moved it to https://cooperativetechnology.codeberg.page/

@bob Good point. Do you have suggestions how to explain that better? Feel free to open a pull request https://codeberg.org/CooperativeTechnology/website

@be thank you, this is wonderful

Discourse is for discussion, Mattermost is for teamwork.

@be well now I need to watch it again. I was in a different mindset when I watched it.

@be also, here's this link so you don't have to use youtube:



"Cooperative" is certainly a good term, as in fact is "community". I might point out, though, that limiting the scope to "software" presents a difficulty of its own. After all, even just within the scope of information technology (which is far from being the only technology which shapes our lives), if the hardware is locked down, it doesn't matter what software freedoms you may have. If the hardware is unrepairable, you have to keep going back for whatever "they" want you to have now.

@publius Yes, that's why I changed the title of the essay to "Towards A Cooperative Technology Movement" and the URL to https://cooperativetechnology.codeberg.page/


Once more I fall into the trap of replying before reaching the bottom!

Here is Christine Peterson's story of how she came up with the term "open source": https://opensource.com/article/18/2/coining-term-open-source-software

It's very interesting that "cooperatively developed" software was discussed as an option for a new term in that same meeting but "open source" was favored by the group. I am not sure why "cooperatively developed software" was not favored by the group, but Eric Raymond's comment says that "open source" was "perfect for our propaganda needs - ideologically neutral".

That is consistent with what I was saying before. Eric Raymond wanted an "ideologically neutral" term that capitalists would find nonthreatening. "Cooperative software" is not ideologically neutral, which is why I am now advocating its use.

FWIW, Christine Peterson did not invent the term "open source". Caldera was using it in 1996 and possibly a little earlier. I believe that Christine Peterson was not aware of Caldera's use of the term and she likely thought of it independently. Caldera's motivation for using the term seems to be the same as the group discussion that lead to the start of the OSI, namely rebranding "free software" with a term that capitalists could accommodate.


@be https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26510010

It doesn't matter who invented. It only matters who made everyone say it.

@be https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26510010

It doesn't matter who invented it. It only matters who made everyone say it.

@be Tim O'Reilly often gets omitted from this open source origin story, but he had a huge part in it. He was the one funding the conferences and the one who gave OSI all of the megaphones to broadcast "open source".

@JordiGH 'O’Reilly’s PR genius lay in having almost everyone confuse the means and the ends of the free software movement. Since licenses were obsolete, the argument went, software developers could pretty much disregard the ends of Stallman’s project (i.e., its focus on user rights and freedoms) as well. Many developers ... stopped thinking about broader moral issues that would have remained central'

@be Yeah. Although i kind of wonder if there isn't some grandiloquent hyperbole here. I don't think everyone really cared about software freedom and stopped when O'Reilly started doing his PR work.

@JordiGH No, but they were overshadowed by the new people, money, and marketing hype of "open source".

@be That I can agree with.

More from Eric Raymond about that meeting:
'We discussed the vexing issue of labels, considering the implications of “freeware”, “sourceware”, “open source”, and “freed software”. After a vote, we agreed to use “Open Source” as our label. The implication of this label is that we intend to convince the corporate world to adopt our way for economic, self-interested, non-ideological reasons.'

@be Comware, Commiware, Breadware, Socware.

@ff0000 Commiware 😆

@josias @be What are you using to run the generator and push to the static site? Or do you do that manually for now?

@clacke @be I'm doing it manually. I don't know what the best way to automate it would be.

@be and if you sell merch it can be called: Commiwear. ;)

@josias @be A lot of people running CI with Codeberg seem to be hosting their own Drone CI.

In terms of not-self-hosted services that are free software and are not run by VCs, there's SourceHut.

@JordiGH Here is Eric Raymond praising Ayn Rand: "Perhaps I would, if Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche and Ayn Rand had not already done an entirely competent job (whatever their other failings) of deconstructing `altruism' into unacknowledged kinds of self-interest."

Why have we given this guy's ideas a platform? 🙃


@decentral1se @bob Yeah, I think that is better language to communicate the idea without getting confused with saying that anyone should have unlimited access to any server. Could you make a pull request on Codeberg to change that? https://codeberg.org/CooperativeTechnology/website

@JordiGH Evidently the term "open source" as applied to software goes back until at least 1990: https://www.arp242.net/open-source.html

@be The phrases existed, in scattered use, inconsistently applied, with dubious meaning and sometimes the phrase appear in what doesn't seem to be about source. Just like if the phrase "red fruit fly" appears it doesn't meant that people are talking about red fruit, sometimes people are talking about "open source code" in some of those instances without meaning "open source".

We wouldn't all be saying "open source" if it weren't for OSI. They're the ones that made us all say it.

@JordiGH Yes, and OSI's ideas have never fully defined the term. Its lack of inherent clarity makes it a perfect capitalist buzzword (buzzphrase?) that is trivially easy to coopt and conflate with unrelated things for marketing purposes. For example, consider GitLab calling itself an "open core company": https://about.gitlab.com/company/

They could not do that without the meaninglessness of the "open" buzzword. How absurd would "cooperative core" sound?

@JordiGH @be Yes. The current definition and use originated with them for sure. Just some interesting historical spelunking, not really challenging that influence.

@be @JordiGH I don't think Open Source is ill-defined; It's very well defined, but intentionally narrowly scoped.

I agree with you that the choice of terminology reinforces the goals, and that was officially the whole reason behind the Open Source term too.

@clacke @JordiGH My point is that I agree with this blog post.


No person nor organization has the authority to unilaterally define what a term means. That's not to say the OSI's criteria don't have value, but IMO it's absurd to say that people using the term "open source" differently are incorrect. They're not incorrect, they're using a meaning that isn't consistent with the OSI, and that's the OSI's fault for using such a vague term.

@be @clacke And my point is that you're not as free as you think you are. We're saying "open source" because OSI said we should say it.

You're wearing clothes that designers chose for you. There are ramifications that echo through culture because a select few want them to proliferate.

Regardless of how most people use it now, "open source" wasn't our idea. It was OSI's idea to make us say it. They did such a good job at picking a term that sounds so natural, that we think it's our idea.

@JordiGH @clacke Of course, the OSI's intended meaning for "open source" predominates. But that doesn't mean other uses of the term are incorrect.

@be @JordiGH Of course, in a descriptive view of language you can't say any use of a word is incorrect. But you can say it's misleading and confusing to the people you are trying to communicate with, which amounts to the same thing in practice.

@clacke @JordiGH Yes, and it proves and opportunity for malicious actors to be intentionally misleading. There are also plenty of people who simply don't really know what other people mean by the term and use it in a different way.

@be Name it communist software 🤔 but then probably a bunch of tankies will come

@x44203 😬 trading libertarians for tankies sounds just as bad

@be Ah I got it, Libertarian Communist Software

@x44203 I've settled on "cooperative technology": https://fosstodon.org/@be/105983348184637951

@be Hmm yes, the thing libertarians hate and tankies sometimes pretend to like but don't actually...

1. I am going to provide Polish translation as soon as I am up and at my laptop.
2. I believe Solarpunk movement can be a valuable ally, too.

@petros Awesome. I have not set up any translation.

@petros @josias do you know how to handle internationalization with Zola?

@be like a while ago


a tesselation of fractal organizations kicking ass and making the world a better place.

@be @petros Yes. You do filename.fr.md for example.


Technology is not just software.

The algorithms expressed in software, were originally expressed in hardware, and are continuing to be discovered in biology. :D

"Co-operative Infrastructure" might be a better way to describe it.

What sort of shared map do you see as being used as the axioms?


The basic shared map that i work from is expressed in the 6 Ways To Die! problem-space. :D


And the range of solution-spaces depends on the number of people that your solution is designed to help.

The ROEI-Per-Person for each solution will vary according to the number of people involved. :D


More details here,

http://resiliencemaps.org/ :D

@BillySmith @be It does say cooperative technology, not cooperative software.

@clacke @be

Yes, but i was initially responding to the Toot about "communal software". :D

Always a problem with async comm's. :D

@clacke @be

Also that too often when discussing technology, we think about how we use the components we have access to from the industrial supply chain, and not about how there's a large amount of complexity hidden by this level of abstraction.

Look at Aluminium, for example.

Louis 14th had a special set of cutlery used by honoured guests, that was made from Ally, when Ally was expensive and rare.

As soon as Ally became cheaper to make, it stopped being a luxury material. :D

@clacke @be

But the level of technological development that was required for the price-drop to take place was large and hidden by the supply chain.

The combination of geothermal energy, next to the bauxite deposits in Iceland, or the use of energy from the Hoover Dam in the USA, lead to the availability of Aluminium increasing. :D

@clacke @be

Another good example is plywood.

It's just used like sheets of timber, but all of the complexity is in the manufacturing. :D

@be this is a very refreshing approach to a lot of the problems with free and open source software paradigms!