Daniel.Pocock's blog

Happy St Patrick's Day, IFSO AGM and meeting sock puppets

Happy St Patrick's day (17 March)

In February, we had an annual general meeting (AGM) of the Irish Free Software Organization in Dublin.

If you are in Ireland, please consider joining IFSO or making a donation.

The sock puppet next door

There is a very interesting story about how this meeting came about.

The risks of secret punishments in online communities

While the controversy over the integrity of elections in free software communities is significant, a far more serious issue for all communities right now is the spectre of secret punishments and other practices that involve shaming people. Debian has recently experimented with these reckless practices and it would be wise to ensure they are not repeated or replicated in any other community.

How does this help free software?

Have you ever caught somebody in the act, committing an act of character assassination?

I simply couldn't imagine myself writing an email like the example below about another volunteer. Maybe that's why people are fighting tooth and nail to keep me from running for Debian Project Leader.

But it now appears that there has been more than one case where a member of the Debian community has been the target.

What does democracy mean in free software communities?

Yesterday, the message below was posted to the debian-vote mailing list.

Censors blocked it. It wasn't received by list subscribers and it isn't visible in the debian-vote list archive.

Can you see any possible way that this message violates the code of conduct used by this free software community?

In many free software communities, we accept that we contribute without the promise of anything in return.

How does Debian handle tragedy?

Film Review: In the Name of the Father, 1993, Brexit and Toastmasters

In the lead up to St Patrick's Day and Brexit, it is a great time to catch up on Irish history with a little help from Hollywood. Having spent many years as an expat in the UK, my sympathies are with all those IT workers, especially contractors, who are struggling to plan for the future under the uncertainty. And let's not forget the British expats many of us interact with on a daily basis in so many other great European countries.

Google's influence over the free software community: a culture of threats, sanctions and bullying

People have been asking me about this on a daily basis, leaving me little choice but to write down the details about what really happened. The increasing public scrutiny of these issues is one of the sad consequences of a leader failing to talk to people and failing to resolve a sensitive issue fairly and privately.

SFK, OSCAL and Toastmasters expanding into Kosovo

Back in August 2017, I had the privilege of being invited to support the hackathon for women in Prizren, Kosovo. One of the things that caught my attention at this event was the enthusiasm with which people from each team demonstrated their projects in five minute presentations at the end of the event.

Safety or a fake community?

Back in the heyday of Tony Blair's New Labour, an undercover journalist went to work for the party, producing a goldmine of material for the Dispatches documentary Undercover in New Labour.

It tells us a lot about the problems facing large free software communities today.

Debian's human rights paradox

It all started with a non-native-English speaker choosing the wrong pronoun in reference to a developer who identifies as non-binary. What, then, is the basis for this concern? Why do we give a damn about it?

Is it because Sage Sharp is a great friend of Debian? Or is it because we would have the same concern for all LGBTQ+ people? In other words, is it about egos or is it about principles?