Coalition for access

A few of the posts/threads here and around the web have raised an idea of limiting usage to certain ideals, be them political (e.g. no-ICE usage only, progressives only, anarchists only), or technical (e.g. open/libre-sourcers only), however much like how code of conducts do, so far the initiatives seems focused on publishing openly, then restricting usage for honest people (dishonest people don’t care about the restrictions, and will use it unrestricted regardless).

However, this still gives the most valuable resource, the source and consequently the binaries, including the awareness of the source and binaries, away to those who can just reverse engineer your work, or just use it dishonestly against the creator’s restrictions.

I’m thinking instead it would make more sense, for open-source communities to act more like companies, or rather, coalitions. Where you sign an agreement, then you get access to all the software of the coalition while you uphold the agreement.

For political coalitions, there would be a governing board that would certify one’s conduct, and if they violate, then they get booted from access, or fined or whatever, according to the coalition’s contract.

For technical coalitions, such as for open/libre-sourcers only, such governance could be zero-trust and automated, such as logging into your github, and checking the open-source to private repository ratio for your active organisation; and if say a piece of the coalitions software appears inside a private repository, then they are revoked or fined or whatever, according to the coalition’s contract.

This would ensure that access and collaboration remain restricted and empower only trusted actors; which is that, of returning the benefit of closed-sourcers (keeping secrets) back into the libre-source community, such that the playing field levels, and so the libre-source world aren’t just taken advantage of by the secret-keepers.

Philosophically, it seems a lot of the trouble of the current landscape has been a lot of the early cyberpunks (the founders of FLOSS) had an individualistic hope that seemed to assume that FLOSS could defend itself organically because individuals overall want to manifest such ideals, and as such could defend itself against collective threats; which seemed reasonable until the last 15 years of so of intense monopolisation of everything. This would at least be a way of “fighting back” in a fair fight; so that individual software developers can defend themselves together for the ideals they wish to spread; against other collectives who wish to spread other ideals; rather than just being used without return.

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Sounds interesting.

Would restricting access require withholding the rights to distribute modified and unmodified copies?

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Correct, all modifications would be under the same license/contract/nda/code-of-conduct (whatever is the appropriate way of implementing it), so would be constrained to the coalition too.


For how it could be implemented, a github organisation representing the coalition, of which all the repos are private, that prevents forking, yet allows repo creation, would be such a way.

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These arrangements, often called “consortia” or even “user groups”, have cropped up in the past. They aren’t as widely noted, as a consequence of them being closed. They may have websites describing that they exist, but as a random Internet passerby, you can’t actually see into the project or get much excited about its potential.

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Apropos of nothing: https://writing.kemitchell.com/2020/10/18/For-All-the-People.html

Quote from a book on coops, communes, unions, &c.:

The concept of openness started out as a strength but eventually turned into a weakness. Open communes proved to be generally unlivable in the long run because they were too unstable. Since people did not all choose each other, they were often not committed to each other. Not every two people can share the same bathroom and kitchen in peace. The communes attracted not only people willing to work for their survival, but also people looking for free trips.

Within a couple years, all the open communes decided to set population limits, declared the land closed and began taking in new members by invitation only.

But the momentum was not lost and a new wave appeared by 1968. These were mostly closed from the beginning. A similar progression had taken place 140 years earlier: New Harmony had been open at first and had attempted to go to the extreme sharing of a commune; when this proved an unworkable combination, they retreated to closed cooperation. The second wave of communities in both the earlier and the present movement ranged from full communes to land cooperatives.

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