[Linux-aus] FOSS-as-a-service

David Lloyd lloy0076 at adam.com.au
Wed Jan 20 22:50:21 AEDT 2016


So a distributed source control system isn’t distributed enough?


From: linux-aus [mailto:linux-aus-bounces at lists.linux.org.au] On Behalf Of Tennessee Leeuwenburg
Sent: Wednesday, 20 January 2016 10:18 PM
To: linux-aus at lists.linux.org.au Australia <linux-aus at lists.linux.org.au>
Subject: [Linux-aus] FOSS-as-a-service


I would like to present a line of reasoning for constructive discussion and analysis. It's just one angle on a complex problem and I acknowledge its narrow focus.


There are many amazing online gratis tools, some of which are libre to some degree, but which are essentially single-point offerings from a company. Examples include github, slack, travis and many many others. I'm just noting some significant examples. 


Software is dead (or worse, boring). Servers providing services are king.


Essentially central-server designs seem to be meeting network/mesh/p2p designs. 


This is in some ways antithetical to FOSS principles, because whoever provides the services effectively controls the project. The nature of the software contract has changed in our ubiquitously networked world. The need to provide URLs for sharing, describing and connecting to particular content exhange points have resulted in an arising natural monopoly structure. 


One could imagine, for example, a kind of github-on-bittorrent protocol which provided the same 'get-it-from-anywhere' and support for exchange but didn't rely on funded entities to provide the central networked machine.


For some reason, we have opted to remove cost and risk from the individual by moving the infrastructure responsibility and legal hosting onto private companies. Do we need LA or EFF to host a gitlab instance in place of github and move FOSS hosting onto a truly libre platform? Should we all pay a tithe to an agnostic infrastructure hosting context in order to reduce the influence of money? Or, is the ability to draw a rent from hosting funding innovation into gratis tools, providing a genuine commercial challenge to the axioms of FOSS software in providing a gratis solution to users? 


I would like to take the trouble to provide a more coherent essay of the topic, but I thought I would like to get the thought exposed to criticism early. I'm not finished but I'm going to stop anyway. Thanks for bearing with me. 

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