LibrePlanet 2021 Logo

What is LibrePlanet?

LibrePlanet is the annual gathering of the Free Software Foundation (free as in freedom; not as in beer). The 2021 conference was completely virtual.

Unlike many conferences and conference platforms that put up pay and subscription walls, LibrePlanet runs on 100% free software. Anyone, anywhere can view the talks live, while FSF members get a few small perks like private IRC rooms.

Takeaways

  • A directory of FLOSS (free/libre and open source) economic infrastructure tools are available: monetizeyourcode.com
  • The Free Software community has excelled in creating technical and legal (GPL) infrastructure, but our economic infrastructure is much less mature.
  • The primary models are contractor and micro-subscriptions (opencollective.com, snowdrift.coop, liberapay.com)
  • Private companies, focused on the monetization of open source, are a double-edged sword. If ethically governed, they can build sustainable revenue models; if they fall prey to unethically capitalist incentives, they can destroy communities. Here’s looking at you tidelift.com and xscode.com to do right by our communities.
  • There is hierarchy of Concepts (e.g. version control) > Competencies (e.g. git) > Capabilities (e.g. collective action).
  • Commercial boot camps focus on Competencies specific to getting a job, ignoring Concepts (including history) and “non-market” Capabilities (sharing, collective action, advocacy).
  • Because of it’s commitment to free software and political education, Tech Learning Collective offers more depth, more breadth and much lower tuition (1/10th the tuition, ~$1,300 instead of ~$13,000).
  • It’s not your fault (we’re all victims of software that does’t respect our freedom.), but both individual and collective action can help.
  • It’s virtually impossible to rid your life of unfree software, and that’s o.k. as long as we’re making progress.
  • Organisations like FSF serve as our “north star”, in that they remind us of our values and demonstrate the art of the possible. Yes, it is possible to run a 100–1000 person conference on free software. Yes, some in the free software community have eliminated 99% of unfree software from their live. They remind us of our values.
  • Small orgs don’t need to self-host; try Spark.
  • There’s probably a plugin for your use case; check before rolling your own.

[1] The irony of writing about LibrePlanet on an utterly unfree platform like Medium isn’t lost on me. It’s 100% laziness on my part. If you have a recommendation for a free hosted solution that can import from Medium, please let me know.

Software for life-sciences and health IT. Basic Income. Solidarity Investment.