Re: Chime instead of Zoom, a modest proposal

Bradley M. Kuhn <bkuhn@...>

This would be a good time to note that folks who care about their software
freedom cannot effectively participate in SPDX, and not only because the
conferencing solution is proprietary software (although in the past I was
able to join non-video via a phone number using PSTN line -- this thread
indicates to me that feature might go away now).

In particular, the mailing lists silently one night a year or two ago changed
from GNU Mailman to a proprietary software service with almost no notice. (I
discovered later SPDX was apparently the "test list" that LF used when they
switched all their mailing lists wholesale from a FOSS solution to a
proprietary one, which is why SPDX switched first.) That new service
requires agreement to a proprietary license to interact with its web
interface at all (including to just manage subscription requests), which of
course installs proprietary Javascript on one's computer while using it [0].

I have invited FOSS licensing folks to the SPDX list who refused to join the
mailing list because they didn't want to agree to this proprietary license.
There are thus non-hypothetical examples of SPDX's lack of inclusivity
discouraging participation.

Meanwhile, with the slow move to GitHub for more and more SPDX items, SPDX
has slowly begun to cross the line into using proprietary-access-only GitHub
features. The CLI GitHub clients that use the API can interact with GitHub
issues somewhat. I think (although I haven't checked in about a year) that
GitHub doesn't require you to agree to a proprietary license just to make an
account and use the API. However, the standard web interface to most GitHub
features requires the installation of proprietary software.

So, while James' "must work on Linux" is of course a must, I think this would
be a good moment for SPDX to consider if it wants to dig even deeper into
being a project that has been for some time fundamentally unfriendly to FOSS
enthusiasts. The trend has been in a FOSS-unfriendly direction, and this is
a factor in why I've reduced my volunteer time substantially for SPDX in the
last 6-9 months. I noticed and read through this thread because the subject
line was related to that very issue, and it confirms that I should be
recommending that folks who care about software freedom will probably just
need to avoid the SPDX project.

[0] The only reason I'm still on this mailing list is that the GNU Mailman
subscriptions were auto-imported to the proprietary system, and I since
was a founding member of the inaugural FOSS-Bazaar-Package-Facts list
that became the SPDX lists eventually, I'm still on it. As such, I've
never actually agreed to Linux Foundation's new proprietary license for
its mailing list software, now LF is just sending me (now-unsolicited)
email that I happen to find in my inbox.
Bradley M. Kuhn - he/him

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