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Re: Turning GNU into a bottom-up organization

From: František Kučera
Subject: Re: Turning GNU into a bottom-up organization
Date: Tue, 22 Oct 2019 10:16:05 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:60.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/60.9.0

Dne 21. 10. 19 v 17:08 Mark Wielaard napsal(a):
> In practice GNU already is mostly a bottom-up organization, where the
> GNU hackers that do the actual work shape the project, but it would be
> nice to make it more formally so.

The problem with this approach is the risk of hostile takeover. There
are corporations (e.g. those that profit from proprietary
software/cloud) or governments of countries like China, Russia or USA
(with their secret services and agencies) that have almost unlimited
(from our point of view) financial and developers resources – which
allows them to bend such organization according to their needs.

In this context, it is also important to mention, that it is not
required to „agree with the GNU Project's free software principles, its
goals or its policies to participate in the GNU Project“
i.e. there is no guarantee that contributors are faithful to free
software ideas and that they always work for the benefit of users and
their freedom.

So if this is to have a chance of success, there must be a rigid
(immutable) constitution which guarantees the principles in the long
term. (Sure, immutability has its pitfalls, but if the principles are to
change, it is necessary to come up with a new name – the words like free
software, FSF or GNU must not be reused for a different purpose).

We have the GNU Manifesto <> and
the Free Software Definition
<>. Maybe they should be
transformed into a constitutional document (while retaining the original
meaning, of course).


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