Bug 374 - add repo on github that points to git.libre-soc.org as a way to increase searchability
Summary: add repo on github that points to git.libre-soc.org as a way to increase sear...
Status: CONFIRMED
Alias: None
Product: Libre-SOC Website
Classification: Unclassified
Component: website (show other bugs)
Version: unspecified
Hardware: All All
: --- enhancement
Assignee: Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton
URL:
Depends on:
Blocks:
 
Reported: 2020-06-11 23:17 BST by Jacob Lifshay
Modified: 2020-06-17 14:59 BST (History)
4 users (show)

See Also:
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Description Jacob Lifshay 2020-06-11 23:17:31 BST

    
Comment 1 Yehowshua 2020-06-11 23:19:03 BST
Interesting idea.
I had considered setting up a Github mirror to do this.
Alain or Luke would have to configure it to push.

Yehowshua
Comment 2 Yehowshua 2020-06-11 23:19:46 BST
That is, our core repo on Libre-soc.org pushes to the Github mirror on every commit.
Comment 3 Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton 2020-06-11 23:47:28 BST
the idea came up in the virtual coffee call today: it is for searchability,
to indicate the existence of the project.  a single file with a README
explaining that libre-soc is a Libre Project (not an "Open Source" one)
with a single link to the website would achieve this.

if the project's source code is actually mirrored *on* github, it indicates
an implicit endorsement by the project that proprietary services are
acceptable.

this GNU page explains the criteria:
https://www.gnu.org/software/repo-criteria.en.html

and this page evaluates commonly available and commonly used services:
https://www.gnu.org/software/repo-criteria-evaluation.html

of course we cannot prevent or prohibit *individuals* from utilising github:
that would be completely inappropriate, and the GNU project goes to some
lengths to explain how best to communicate that effectively and respectfully.

if however we wish to properly demonstrate a committment to ethical principles,
i.e. actually *be* a Libre Project, then respecting the GNU guidelines is
a good example to follow.

grey area: i am... "okay with" the idea of putting a single page README - not in
any way under an "officially sanctioned" github username (registration of
github.com/libre-soc would be completely inappropriate) - under *personal*
github accounts, just to get at least something into github search criteria,
as long as it is just a single page, with a single link, and a short sentence
explaining that we are a Libre Project, following and respecting the GNU
Ethical Hosting guidelines.
Comment 4 Jacob Lifshay 2020-06-11 23:48:10 BST
If I recall correctly, Luke has an issue with hosting our code on GitHub since that implies we're ok with GitHub being based on proprietary software.

I was thinking of creating a repo that only has a README.md file with links to libre-soc
Comment 5 Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton 2020-06-11 23:50:21 BST
(In reply to Yehowshua from comment #2)
> That is, our core repo on Libre-soc.org pushes to the Github mirror on every
> commit.

sadly whilst very "convenient", this indicates that our project endorses github's
unethical practices.  this includes censorship and government sanctioning.

https://sanctum.geek.nz/why-not-github.html

https://www.gnu.org/software/repo-criteria-evaluation.html
Comment 6 Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton 2020-06-11 23:55:16 BST
(In reply to Jacob Lifshay from comment #4)
> If I recall correctly, Luke has an issue with hosting our code on GitHub
> since that implies we're ok with GitHub being based on proprietary software.

a decision was made for this to be an ethical (Libre) project, and for that
to actually mean what it says, rather than just use the word in a way that
leaves us open to accusations of being "Fake Libre" by people familiar with
the FSF and with the GNU project.

whether i *like* the inconvenience and the hassle that results from following
those ethical guidelines is an entirely different conversation! :)

> I was thinking of creating a repo that only has a README.md file with links
> to libre-soc

yeh, this, it is a "grey area".  i can see the sense in it, with people searching
online - exclusively on github rather than just typing "libre-soc" into a wider
search engine - it would be good to at least have something that points them here.
Comment 7 Yehowshua 2020-06-12 00:00:39 BST
> sadly whilst very "convenient", this indicates that our project endorses
> github's
> unethical practices.  this includes censorship and government sanctioning.

I disagree. Mirroring indicates that we do not endorse their practices.

But COLLABORATING on Github would be a different story.

And for that matter, I generally feel that Github has done a much better job at handling open source than SourceForge did.
I generally try to maintain personal projects in such a way that migration away from Github is possible and am careful with personal information.
Comment 8 Jacob Lifshay 2020-06-12 00:01:50 BST
if someone wants to create the readme file, I can put it on my github account, which is probably the best one to use since I'm the one who's been part of libre-soc the longest who has a github account
Comment 9 Yehowshua 2020-06-12 00:03:36 BST
> if someone wants to create the readme file, I can put it on my github
> account, which is probably the best one to use since I'm the one who's been
> part of libre-soc the longest who has a github account

Sounds reasonable to me.
Comment 10 Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton 2020-06-12 12:55:00 BST
(In reply to Yehowshua from comment #7)
> > sadly whilst very "convenient", this indicates that our project endorses
> > github's
> > unethical practices.  this includes censorship and government sanctioning.
> 
> I disagree. Mirroring indicates that we do not endorse their practices.

it sounds reasonable, doesn't it?  simply mirror the code, therefore
we're not actively endorsing unethical practices.

unfortunately, this is a false correlation, that takes some time to unpack.
normally i would explain it in detail, however unfortunately with whitequark
and many many other people who are prominent free software developers
with respected positions and responsibilities believing that i am ordering
people about, dictating to them what to think and what to do, i'm not going to
do that, because if i do so, it would seem like i am simply trying to force
my quotes beliefs quotes onto you.

so i'm going to leave this one to you to work through, to work out what the
false correlation is.

i will however give a starting point, with some questions, and a scenario.
this is something that i do all the time: i deploy reverse-engineering
skills - developed over a 25 year period - to *people*.

this skill is something that many people find alarming and scary (hence
the *real* reason why they think i am quotes ordering them about quotes).


imagine that there is a person, technically capable, who hears of libre-soc.
this imaginary person, they are both ambivalent and also completely unaware
of the ethical aspects of "Libre".  nobody has ever had a conversation with
them about the unbelievably damaging aspects of arbitrary application of
technology without thought.

nobody has ever discussed the Hippocratic Oath as adapted to Technology
and Engineering with them.
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_the_Engineer#Oath)

now let us imagine that there are thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds
of thousands of such people.  given that github probably has tens of millions
of users by now, this is not unreasonable.

however the reason for mentioning it is because that implies that there
are thousands to hundreds of thousands of engineers out there who will
see our project and have *NO IDEA* about the ethical responsibilities that
are associated with software and engineering in general.

thus if we have any way of influencing that, we achive a far larger impact
than we might otherwise have expected.

so that is background.


now let's ask some questions.

1. when these hypothetical (ethically ambivalent) people come to a straight
  *MIRROR* of our code, on github, what will they see?

2. what *ACTION* will they take?  in GUI web-development terms, what will
  their browsing profile look like?  what landing pages will they go to?
  what pages will they click through?

in particular - bear in mind that you (and others) have been advocating that all documentation - basically the entirety of the wiki - be moved to a "docs" directory, because "this is how github does it".  so this should be taken into consideration as part of the answers to the questions.


now let us move on to what we would *like* their browsing profile to look
like:

3. where would we *LIKE* them to be browsing?

4. what pages and services would we *LIKE* them to be looking at?


so here is the key:

5. do we want these people to remain 100% on the github pages?

6. do we want them to be on http://libre-soc.org and http://systemes-libre.org?


so, let me know.  (6) is really important.  we might *actually* want people to completely fail to come to our websites.  we might actually want to send out the message, "hey, we are completely technically incompetent, we are unable to find the technical skill and take the responsibility for hosting our own material, we completely abdicate that responsibility to an outside third party known by the name 'github'."

whilst this may sound completely ridiculous and over-the-top, i *genuinely* and honestly don't know, Yehowshua, because you keep advocating that we should use these services.

so please note: there's no "demands" here.  these are *open* questions that people need to decide *for themselves* whether they should be discussed and evaluated.

or ignored.

i have, personally, gone through these questions over a period of about 20 years and come to my own conclusions.

however it is clear to me - and continues to be clear - that many people simply *do not* go rigorously through this process of evaluation.

i cannot force *anyone* to go through this process.  that is not how it works.
Comment 11 Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton 2020-06-12 12:55:37 BST
(In reply to Jacob Lifshay from comment #8)
> if someone wants to create the readme file, I can put it on my github
> account, which is probably the best one to use since I'm the one who's been
> part of libre-soc the longest who has a github account

good idea.  we'll be able to do that when there is consensus.
Comment 12 Cole Poirier 2020-06-16 19:56:13 BST
(In reply to Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton from comment #10)

> it sounds reasonable, doesn't it?  simply mirror the code, therefore
> we're not actively endorsing unethical practices.
> 
> unfortunately, this is a false correlation, that takes some time to unpack.
> normally i would explain it in detail, however unfortunately with whitequark
> and many many other people who are prominent free software developers
> with respected positions and responsibilities believing that i am ordering
> people about, dictating to them what to think and what to do, i'm not going
> to
> do that, because if i do so, it would seem like i am simply trying to force
> my quotes beliefs quotes onto you.
> 
> so i'm going to leave this one to you to work through, to work out what the
> false correlation is.

In my reflection on this I came to the conclusion that it is indeed a false correlation because *mirroring* our code there disassociates *our* work from *our* organization and development practices. The difference between open-source and libre development is fundamental in understanding this. We are not merely open so that others can use our code, we are open with libre principles so that others can use our code but do so without harming others. Open-source says "have the code we don't care if you use it to harm people." Libre says "please have our code but understand that this code is being provided to you with the expectation and responsibility that you will continue the ethical practices that this code was developed by. So by merely putting a README on github for searchability that points to our *libre conformant* development and development resources we will have the benefit of maintaining the whole purpose of our project, "to bring ethical hardware and software into the world by adhering to ethical development principles and practices" while having the benefit of gaining greater visibility through appearing on github.
 
I read the below when it was posted at some point last week, but wrote the above before re-reading it. Upon finishing the above comment I reviewed what Luke had outlined below and it turns out that I think I've responded to each of the six reflective questions pretty precisely :)

> imagine that there is a person, technically capable, who hears of libre-soc.
> this imaginary person, they are both ambivalent and also completely unaware
> of the ethical aspects of "Libre".  nobody has ever had a conversation with
> them about the unbelievably damaging aspects of arbitrary application of
> technology without thought.
> 
> nobody has ever discussed the Hippocratic Oath as adapted to Technology
> and Engineering with them.
> (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_the_Engineer#Oath)
> 
> now let us imagine that there are thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds
> of thousands of such people.  given that github probably has tens of millions
> of users by now, this is not unreasonable.
> 
> however the reason for mentioning it is because that implies that there
> are thousands to hundreds of thousands of engineers out there who will
> see our project and have *NO IDEA* about the ethical responsibilities that
> are associated with software and engineering in general.
> 
> thus if we have any way of influencing that, we achive a far larger impact
> than we might otherwise have expected.
> 
> so that is background.
> 
> 
> now let's ask some questions.
> 
> 1. when these hypothetical (ethically ambivalent) people come to a straight
>   *MIRROR* of our code, on github, what will they see?
> 
> 2. what *ACTION* will they take?  in GUI web-development terms, what will
>   their browsing profile look like?  what landing pages will they go to?
>   what pages will they click through?
> 
> in particular - bear in mind that you (and others) have been advocating that
> all documentation - basically the entirety of the wiki - be moved to a
> "docs" directory, because "this is how github does it".  so this should be
> taken into consideration as part of the answers to the questions.
> 
> 
> now let us move on to what we would *like* their browsing profile to look
> like:
> 
> 3. where would we *LIKE* them to be browsing?
> 
> 4. what pages and services would we *LIKE* them to be looking at?
> 
> 
> so here is the key:
> 
> 5. do we want these people to remain 100% on the github pages?
> 
> 6. do we want them to be on http://libre-soc.org and
> http://systemes-libre.org?
> 
> 
> so, let me know.  (6) is really important.  we might *actually* want people
> to completely fail to come to our websites.  we might actually want to send
> out the message, "hey, we are completely technically incompetent, we are
> unable to find the technical skill and take the responsibility for hosting
> our own material, we completely abdicate that responsibility to an outside
> third party known by the name 'github'."
> 
> whilst this may sound completely ridiculous and over-the-top, i *genuinely*
> and honestly don't know, Yehowshua, because you keep advocating that we
> should use these services.
> 
> so please note: there's no "demands" here.  these are *open* questions that
> people need to decide *for themselves* whether they should be discussed and
> evaluated.
> 
> or ignored.
> 
> i have, personally, gone through these questions over a period of about 20
> years and come to my own conclusions.
> 
> however it is clear to me - and continues to be clear - that many people
> simply *do not* go rigorously through this process of evaluation.
> 
> i cannot force *anyone* to go through this process.  that is not how it
> works.
Comment 13 danleighton 2020-06-16 22:18:50 BST
It also feels right to me to acknowledge that, while Github is not perfect (for all kinds of reasons) it's a lot better than what was happening before... It feels only fair to recognise that it's better to have people doing things half right than all wrong, perhaps. The mathematician Blaise Pascal wrote a treatise on this, rather nicely summarised in this article.

https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/05/20/blaise-pascal-pensees-persuasion/
Comment 14 Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton 2020-06-17 13:15:07 BST
(In reply to Cole Poirier from comment #12)

> In my reflection on this I came to the conclusion that it is indeed a false
> correlation because *mirroring* our code there disassociates *our* work from
> *our* organization and development practices.

that's the general summary, yes.

however by walking through and answering the questions, step by step, it
hammers home the seriousness and the full detrimental implications to our
*business* objectives in a way that simply writing a summary does not have.

the questions are not rhetorical in any way.  they are genuinely intended
to be answered and walked through so as to be able to initiate a discussion
surrounding our business objectives and whether to take our *business*
committment to Libre seriously.

Libre / Open communities are known for being hyper-intelligent and have a
significantly enhanced sense as to whether a Corporation is trying to bullshit
and lie.

we get *one shot* at being genuinely committed to Libre.  any kind of compromise
and we are done - period.
Comment 15 danleighton 2020-06-17 14:55:32 BST
I will happily volunteer to write a starting point for a Readme with a good positive inclusive tone for the Github page. Would that be helpful?
Comment 16 Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton 2020-06-17 14:59:53 BST
(In reply to danleighton from comment #15)
> I will happily volunteer to write a starting point for a Readme with a good
> positive inclusive tone for the Github page. Would that be helpful?

yes that would be fantastic.  when we talked yesterday the respectful phrasing
you used which acknowledges microsoft's contribution yet clearly indicated why,
sadly, there is a fundamental mismatch between our goals and theirs, is something
that fits very well with the Libre-SOC Charter.