brainwane: My smiling face, including a small gold bindi (Default)
"Comparing codes of conduct to copyleft licenses": written notes for a talk by Sumana Harihareswara, delivered in the Legal and Policy Issues DevRoom at FOSDEM, 31 January 2016 in Brussels, Belgium. Slightly better notes, including a photo, are now on my main blog. Video recording arriving around March 2016. Condensed notes available at Anjana Sofia Vakil's blog.


Good afternoon. I'm Sumana Harihareswara, and I represent myself, and my firm Changeset Consulting http://changeset.nyc/ . I'm here to discuss some things we can learn from comparing antiharassment policies, or community codes of conduct, to copyleft software licenses such as the GPL. I'll be laying out some major similarities and differences, especially delving into how these different approaches give us insight about common community attitudes and assumptions. And I'll lay out some lessons we can apply as we consider and advocate various sides of these issues, and potentially to apply to some other topics within free and open source software as well.

My notes will all be available online after this, so you don't have to scramble to write down my brilliant insights, or, more likely, links. And I don't have any slides. If you really need slides, I'm sorry, and if you're like, YES! then just bask in the next twenty-five minutes.

Text of my notes )
brainwane: A silhouette of a woman in a billowing trenchcoat, leaning against a pole (shadow)
I am trying out a bunch of thoughts on what some different approaches to software are... beyond waterfall/agile, free software/open source, and FLOSS/proprietary, and beyond shrinkwrap/internal/embedded/games/throwaway....

* Deliberately ephemeral
* Accidentally ephemeral (like some Minecraft mods or personal one-off scripts)
* Enterprisey, scale-centric
* Artisanal/personal/couture
* Educational (as in, writing source code specifically to be read as an aid to learning, as in a presentation, test, blog post, or textbook)
* Angry, competitive, insulting
* Cheery, collaborative, complimenting
* Innovative
* Stable
* Mimetic (copying functionality/approach of other existing software)
* Particularly amenable to any one of the Felder-Silverman engineering learning styles (and not to its opposite)
* Social norms (especially around permission, redistribution, reuse) taking the place of copyright when in a copyright grey area
* Voluntary
* Paid
* School project
* Taking donations, but passing some of them to upstream
* Gift culture
* For-profit proprietary
* For-profit open source
* Copyleft licensing + charging extortionate fees to license differently
* Corporate non-profit open source
* Free software
* Specifically playful, alternative, queer free software
* Copyright abolitionist or nearly so
* No license out of neglect/convenience (the "GitHub License", sort of formalized as WTFPL)
* Piracy, open and proud
* Piracy, furtive and/or (interally seen as) hypocritical
* Grey market (like Minecraft mods)
* Despotism by founder
* Willingness to hand maintainership over
* Benign neglect by owner/maintainer of core infrastructure
* Monolithic
* All the different ways "not monolithic" can look (plugins, APIs, scriptability, portability, content/logic/presentation...)

I'm brain-dumping this as I think noodly rambly thoughts about open source software communities and abstractions we might borrow from other software communities. I absorbed some assumptions fifteen to thirty years ago, of how to use and make software, how open source citizens should act in open source communities, about what the rules are, and about the sets of expectations we have about how we talk and work with each other. And I'm wondering what a genuinely different approach would look like.

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