EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

02.25.20

FSF’s Interim Co-President Alexandre Oliva on FSF Communication Policies

Posted in FSF at 10:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Original blog post by the FSF's interim co-president

E-mail communication

In yesterday’s inStallmant of the FSF Odyssey, I mentioned that guidance opposite to that of any board decision somehow got to FSF staff. Surely I, being acting president and then half-acting president, must suck as a manager. I probably do indeed, but it’s not so simple.

FSF operates with a lot of autonomy. Sometimes it felt like the board and the presidence are not even part of the FSF. Just to name two examples, I wasn’t even aware of the campaign to Upcycle Windows 7, or the awesome Shoetool Video, before they went public.

Shortly after I became acting president, I sent a letter to staff making myself available to any concerns they might have. I was then asked by chief of staff to route communications through the org chart rather than directly to staff. That made sense to me: having multiple bosses making conflicting requests to an employee is an unbearable situation. What I did not imagine was that staff would not be told about this arrangement, and might thus conclude that my abiding by the request, even when it came to staff I’d long known and interacted with, amounted to distancing myself, in contradiction with my stated availability.

There’s an internal wiki used to draft up posts, record meeting logs, document internal procedures, and also for plenty of informal internal communication such as personal activity logs, reading recommendations, and random thoughts and ramblings. I had been granted access to it early on, and welcomed to peruse it to keep up with internal ongoings. I did, for some time, and later I even thought I could use it for collaboration with staff and participate in activities!

Alas, that didn’t last long. I can’t tell whether it was because I extracted information from the logs that contradicted other information I was given, because I raised issues about information and plans I read there, or because I started storing in it drafts of plans and messages that affirmed board guidances and questioned deviations from them, but my I access was cut off without warning due to “misuse of the resource”.

Complaining didn’t get me anywhere. Part of the problem was that, by then, in computer networking terminology, we had a single point of failure mediating all public communication and all communication between board and staff, resisting to attempts to introduce alternate routes, at least ones involving myself. Richard predicted that problem the moment he heard about the configuration that enabled it. Stallman was right.

Meanwhile, the media storm that led to his resignation was long gone and I was eager to get back to public conversations on Free Software policies, but there was clear pressure for me not to do so. Don’t engage in conversations about the media storm grew into don’t talk to journalists, nor to anyone who might get published in a blog or social media; objections to talking about Richard’s political positions unrelated to Free Software expanded to talking about Richard, then to any public address; and even to complaining internally about deviations from board guidances and to telling Richard about plans that I knew he’d object to.

I joined the FSF as a voice for Free Software, eager to help it carry out its work for software freedom for all, but ended up grounded in virtual solitary confinement. But it’s not a coup.

(Julian and Chelsea, I apologize to you for the disproportionate comparison. The virtual version is unbearable, but the real thing is unfathomable. May we some day deserve the benefits conquered through the sacrifices you’ve made!)

So blong…


Copyright 2007-2020 Alexandre Oliva

Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this entire document worldwide without royalty, provided the copyright notice, the document’s official URL, and this permission notice are preserved.

The following licensing terms also apply to all documents and postings in this blog that don’t contain a copyright notice of their own, or that contain a notice equivalent to the one above, and whose copyright can be reasonably assumed to be held by Alexandre Oliva.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons License BY-SA (Attribution ShareAlike) 3.0 Unported. To see a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 30/3/2020: GNU Linux-libre 5.6, WireGuard 1.0.0

    Links for the day



  2. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, March 29, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, March 29, 2020



  3. Links 30/3/2020: Linux 5.6, Nitrux 1.2.7, Sparky 2020.03.1

    Links for the day



  4. The Fall of the UPC - Part IX: Campinos Opens His Mouth One Week Later (and It's That Hilarious Delusion Again)

    Team Campinos said nothing whatsoever about the decision of the FCC until one week later, whereupon Campinos leveraged some words from Christine Lambrecht to mislead everybody in the EPO's official "news" section



  5. Pretending EPO Corruption Stopped Under António Campinos When It is in Fact a Lot Worse in Several Respects/Aspects (Than It Was Under Benoît Battistelli)

    Germany's eagerness to keep Europe's central patent office in Munich (and to a lesser degree in Berlin) means that politicians in the capital and in Bavaria turn a blind eye to abuses, corruption and even serious crimes; this won't help Germany's image in the long run



  6. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, March 28, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, March 28, 2020



  7. Links 28/3/2020: Wine 5.5 Released, EasyPup 2.2.14, WordPress 5.4 RC5 and End of Truthdig

    Links for the day



  8. IRC Proceedings: Friday, March 27, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, March 27, 2020



  9. The Fall of the UPC - Part VIII: Team UPC Celebrates Death, Not Life

    Team UPC plays psychological games now; it is trying to twist or spin its defeat as good news and something to be almost celebrated; it is really as illogical (and pathetic) as that sounds



  10. Links 27/3/2020: GNU/Linux Versus COVID-19 and Release of GNU Guile 3.0.2

    Links for the day



  11. When Your 'Business' is Just 'Patent Portfolio'

    Hoarding loads of patents may seem impressive, but eating them to survive is impossible if not impermissible



  12. LOT Network is a One-Man (Millionaire's) Operation and Why This Should Alarm You

    The ugly story of Open Invention Network (OIN) and LOT; today we take a closer look at LOT and highlight a pattern of 'cross-pollination' (people in both OIN and LOT, even at the same time)



  13. Faking Production With Fake Patents on Software

    The EPO with its illegal guidelines (in violation of the EPC) can carry on churning out millions of fake patents that European courts would only waste time on and small companies be blackmailed with (they cannot afford legal battles)



  14. With the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Out of the Way Focus Will Return to EPO Corruption

    Expect the European Patent Office (EPO) to receive more negative attention now that the ’cause’ of UPC is lost and there’s no point pretending things are rosy



  15. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, March 26, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, March 26, 2020



  16. Links 27/3/2020: qBittorrent 4.2.2, Krita 4.2.9, pfSense 2.4, Bodhi Linux 5

    Links for the day



  17. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, March 25, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, March 25, 2020



  18. Still Work in Progress: Getting Those 2,851 Pages of Police Report About Arrest for Pedophilia in Home of Bill Gates

    It’s extremely difficult to get those police records, which were requested exactly one day before the media started attacking Richard Stallman (associating him with pedophiles based on a deliberate distortion)



  19. Links 26/3/2020: Plasma Bigscreen, New Kubernetes, Fedora's New Identity and Bodhi Linux 5.1.0

    Links for the day



  20. Guest Article: Window Managers, Github and Software Disobedience

    "Walking away from monopolies is the essence of freedom"



  21. Links 25/3/2020: LLVM 10.0.0 and UCS 4.4-4 Released, WordPress 5.4 RC4

    Links for the day



  22. 'Team UPC' Last Week

    The looks on Team UPC's faces 5 days ago (before and after the 9:30AM announcement)



  23. The Fall of the UPC - Part VII: Lies and Revisionism About the Reasons for the UPC's Ultimate Demise (to Leave the Door Open for More Failed Attempts)

    The media was lying in a hurry, in a coordinated effort to distort the meaning of the FCC's decision or belittle the impact of this decision; Techrights will carefully watch and respond to these lies



  24. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, March 24, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, March 24, 2020



  25. Linux Foundation Became Anti-Linux, Run by Microsoft People to Serve Microsoft's Agenda

    Microsoft is taking over the bodies of healthy projects, infecting the hosts in order for them to become slaves of the proprietary parasite; there's still no (known) cure, but we're familiar with the symptoms



  26. Microsoft Continues to Attack and Steal From the Open Source/Free Software Communities

    Microsoft cannot be trusted and there's no "new Microsoft," as another fairly new story serves to show



  27. Targeted Attack Leveraging FSF Servers

    Targeted by a determined and persist perpetrator, I've received over 20,000 E-mails. And the weapon of choice was the FSF's infrastructure, remotely misused against yours truly.



  28. If We Weren't Silencing Founders, Critics and People We Just Don't Like

    "In the long run, history is rarely very kind to tyrants, especially the ones who did little more than lie to people and demand things that served no real purpose."



  29. The Fall of the UPC - Part VI: Drowning in Material

    We're starting to see few good reports on the subject of UPC being rejected by the constitutional court of Germany; we also have a rapidly-growing 'buffer' of rather blatant examples of disinformation (which we'll tackle as best we can)



  30. FFII: EU Software Patent Court Stopped by Constitutional Court, Patent Industry Will Try Again

    The third attempt to validate software patents in Europe via a central patent court (UPC) has been stopped by the German Constitutional Court. The Unified Patent Court (UPC) would have given the keys of the kingdoms to the patent industry, and the last word over software patentability. FFII predict that the patent industry will continue to push for an UPC v2.0.


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts