On Tue, 2021-04-20 at 19:03 +0200, Ludovic Courtès wrote:
> > The FSF supports GNU development primarily in three ways:
by taking care
> > of copyright assignments (for the few GNU packages that require it), as
> > a [fiscal sponsor](https://www.fsf.org/working-together/fund)
for a few
> > projects, and by providing infrastructure like
> > [Savannah](https://savannah.gnu.org). For the most part, the FSF
> > “supports GNU development” in the same way that Microsoft “supports” the
> > development of projects hosted on GitHub.
> I think this is missing that the FSF is the projects legal guardian
> (copyright assignments is just part of that), there are various
> challenges that the FSF helps with (patents, copyright disputes,
> guidance one resources/code/specifications that can be used, being
> legal representatives for projects that need some service contract
> work for hire to be done, etc.)
Note “primarily” and “for the most part”; copyright assignment is
How can we keep it short while addressing your concerns?
The FSF supports GNU development primarily in three ways: As legal
guardian (copyright assignments, acting on legal disputes or legal
representation), as a [fiscal sponsor](
) for some GNU packages, and
and by providing infrastructure like [Savannah (
> Please just drop the Microsoft/GitHub analogy. The analogy
> accurate. It doesn't really make things more clear, just invites
> speculation how that analogy really works.
For context, there’s a widespread belief that somehow, the FSF funds GNU
development, which can even be seen in free software circles:
One project participant [Guix] in Outreachy's May 2021 round planned
to rely on FSF funding.
Guix funds are at the FSF, but Guix is not “relying on FSF funding”.
Right, but that is mixing the FSF being the fiscal sponsor for the GNU
project as a whole, with it not really working because of previous
leadership issues, so individual GNU packages working around that by
setting up their individual funding.
I understand your point that the fiscal sponsorship isn't really
working very smoothly, but that is a separate issue imho.
The FSF fundraising campaigns also fuel the confusion, because they
often mention support of the GNU Project in some way. The analogy above
is one way to acknowledge that yes, the FSF helps GNU development, but
“for the most part” it does that in a way comparable to Microsoft.
That said, if there’s consensus, I have nothing against dropping the
GitHub analogy; I thought it would be helpful but we can do without.
Please do, because I find it really inaccurate/misleading and it just
invites speculation what is really meant. And it makes the answer
shorter, which is always good.
> > # Is this backed by FSF/OSI/SFC/XYZ?
> > No, it’s not! The Assembly was founded by GNU maintainers and
> > contributors and receive no support, financial or otherwise, from any
> > three-letter-acronym organization. Evil Corp™ isn’t helping either.
> > # Is this _against_ FSF/OSI/SFC/XYZ?
> > Nope! The Assembly is not a _reaction_ to the three-letter acronym of
> > your choice—it’s first and foremost a _constructive_ project.
> > Is it at odds with the three-letter acronym you have in mind? Maybe!
> > But we’re interested in _building_ something more than in arguing about
> > what others are doing.
> I don't like the tone/wording of this. It is also vague what exactly
> the question is. First OSI is different from the FSF and SFC in that
> they are not an umbrella organization for Free Software projects. You
> might want to replace it with SPI (and drop the XYZ) then at least it
> is a consistent set of 3-letter acronyms.
> Then Evil Copr is "funny" but not really helping here either. Why is it
> even in there? Are you answering a different question?
To complement what Ricardo wrote, the accusation that this is driven by
Red Hat employees has been seen in the wild:
There’s also been other conspiracy theories that look equally funny to
me (literally), and I think it’s fine to make fun of it.
Making fun of conspiracy theorists doesn't help. It just invites more
But I see I misunderstood the entry a little. So I thought it was
asking whether we had picked a legal guardian/fiscal sponsor for the
Assembly already, or if we were relying on corporate funding. That is
why I took out OSI and put in SPI because otherwise the question didn't
make any sense to me.
But now that I better understand what question/answer you are really
looking for I think we should get rid of all the three-letter acronyms
and simply talk about organizations/foundations or corporations without
giving any specific examples.
> I think the question is something like:
> # Is the GNU Assembly and initiative of the FSF/SPI/SFC or a
> corporate interest?
I’d leave the SPI folks at peace. :-)
> No, it’s not! The Assembly was founded by GNU maintainers and
> contributors and receive no support, financial or otherwise, from
> organization at this time. We did talk to the FSF to get support,
> they have ignored us for the last couple of years. At the moment
> initiative uses the resources of the individuals listed. We will
> publicly list anybody or any organization that provides us with
> resources to be completely transparent.
I’d remove the “We did talk to the FSF” sentence because it would
more elaboration like Ricardo wrote, and because it doesn’t stick to
mantra of being positive. :-) (I mean, we _could_ write very
things about the fsf-and-gnu initiative in 2019 and generally how the
FSF handled this; but I don’t think anyone needs more drama today.)
Apart from this sentence, it’s fine with me!
OK, to make it a more generic and less negative, how about:
* Is the GNU Assembly and initiative of an existing Free Software
organization or is it sponsored by a specific corporation?
No, it’s not! The Assembly was founded by GNU maintainers on personal
title and receives no support, financial or otherwise, from any
organization at this time. At the moment the Assembly uses the
resources of the individuals listed. We will publicly list anybody or
any organization that provides us with resources to be completely