Jun 4, 2020

Opinion: Open Source should stay away from all kinds of politics

What's happening since last few months is unprecedented in the history of open source. When open source began its life, it was an attempt to escape the clutches of proprietary and monopolistic companies like Microsoft and Apple. It carved a way for the plebeian to have access to the computing domains which these walled gardens typically controlled access to.

While that certainly involves a left-leaning political stance, open source projects had remained largely bipartisan when it came to national politics ongoing in the country. None of the original founders of large FOSS projects had openly displayed any preference towards democrats or republicans.

But now, I'm seeing a totally different and toxic kind of behavior by many open source developers who's twitter feeds are filled more with anti-Trump rants and support for democratic party initiatives like BLM than anything technical or programming related. Why are technologists so openly vocal in support of one particular party instead of staying bipartisan or neutral? Do they think that democrats are more left leaning and thus supportive of open source than republicans? Or is it the case that open source projects and initiatives thrived a lot more during Obama's regime than Trump's? Even thinking about such a possibility seems hilarious!

From what I've been observing on social media lately, it is most likely due to the constant bullying by the far left of their own. Most social media influencers only started putting BLM hash-tags on their profiles and supportive tweets after they were bullied heavily by the left. Those who didn't do that and decided to stay neutral were heavily criticized and cancelled until they succumbed to the collective pressure. But does social media support and sympathy gained out of such bullying and coercion really mean anything?

An open source project should be first and foremost about serving their users and the collective common which consist of all their users and contributors irrespective of their political stances. It shouldn't be that only democratic party supporters should feel welcome in a project and not others. By staying bipartisan and neutral on a political stance and focusing more towards the development process, a FOSS project will appear to be more genuine and credible to everyone.


  1. "While that certainly involves a left-leaning political stance..."

    Actually that description sounded decidedly libertarian.

  2. So pretty much the same old "stay in your lane" argument, that has been thrown at athletes or artists alike for ages now -- "just shut up and serve your public". Thankfully people (and corporations) are doing the exact opposite and choosing to no longer remain silent.

  3. IMHO they do not support one party. They support basic human rights...

  4. Well, one party supports basic human rights, one supports authoritarianism, groupthink, and conspiracy theories.

  5. I find this article quite close minded, I would suggest:

    1/ Facts:
    1.1/ Open-source (OS) grew as opposition against Apple/Microsoft
    1.2/ No FOSS founders have political side
    -> StallMan clearly had a political view [0], not taking side at the time could just mean that digital topics were less central on the debates at the time.
    1.3/ Tweeter get filed with anti-Trump posts
    -> Examples? Which Topics? Why so much posts and what can you say about those?

    2/Opinions (from what I understand from your post)
    2.1/ Technologists should stay neutral?
    -> why?
    2.2/ Obama did as much as Trump
    -> Such as?
    2.3/ Media pressure

    I truly thing that the web neutrality is a diversed and fascinating subject. You can (and will) find various opinions and positions on this topic.
    It means that arguments have to be carefully picked and described in order to avoid confusion. Those following subjects might help you to develop your approach:
    * Open-source vs FOSS: why is the difference? What does it mean regarding freedom?
    * Since you describe OS as a GAFAM opposition, does the OS radicalisation could mean that GAFAM became more than technological companies? (capitalism...)
    * What about other countries, does you study can be expanded?


  6. exactly this idea that "Technologists should stay away from all kinds of politics" makes the World worse....

    do you develop something just for fun, making money, becoming famous, to be another Mr. Musk? if yes, then stay away from the reality (I mean politics)

    there are basic problem we have to solve in our World: humane right, environment, to name a few. It is however really really pity that smart people care nothing but his/her self Ego...