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FOSDEM or FOSDEMerica?

Matthias Kirschner, FSFE, harassment, bullying, women

Summary: There's still too much American (and corporate) control over the 'European' FOSDEM, but the grip is -- on least on the surface -- slipping slightly

A READER has informed us that the FSFE is now at FOSDEM's legal devroom, citing this message from SFC. "FSFE has now 2 people as organisers of the legal fosdem devroom," the reader said, whereas "before it was organised by only 5 Americans."



Sounds like a step in the right direction (FFII used to complain about this too).

"The good news is, not 100% of the co-organizers are Americans."But FSFE is largely sponsored by an American company, Google. It also takes money from Microsoft and it has a bunch of other issues, as we've covered before. Kuhn and Sandler too are taking money from Google and Microsoft. Richard Fontana works for IBM, not Red Hat (as it says below). It emphasises diversity.

Under "Diversity Statement" is says: "The organizers of this DevRoom are committed to increasing the diversity of the free software movement. To that end, our CFP process takes demographic information into account in order to build a program that features as many different voices and perspectives as possible. If you are comfortable doing so, please share any demographic information about yourself in the "Submission Notes". Such disclosure is not mandatory by any means."

Most of them are US citizens (60%), still:

The co-organizers of the FOSDEM 2021 Legal and Policy Issues DevRoom are (in alphabetical order by surname):

- Richard Fontana, Senior Commercial Counsel, Red Hat

- Matthias Kirschner, President, Free Software Foundation Europe

- Bradley M. Kuhn, Policy Fellow and Hacker-in-Residence at Software Freedom Conservancy

- Alexander Sander, FSFE Policy Coordinator

- Karen M. Sandler, Executive Director of the Software Freedom Conservancy, Adjunct Lecturer-In-Law Columbia Law School


The good news is, not 100% of the co-organizers are Americans. For a change. But still, notice a lack of community. Kirschner is also directly involved in spite of recent scandals, never mind the whole cause of diversity.

We're sadly seeing that many NGOs become corporate outposts disguised as voices of the "community" (we mentioned OIN last night); whose community? Follow the money...

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