Community Call: The role and value of open source in context of the Covid-19 Crisis

Notes from the “The dangerous rush into subscriptions vs the value of incompleteness” Call

Here are some hooks and notes to start the discussion with :

Right now the digital livelines are much more “visible” to most people than usual. At the same time, they are rushing into any subscription that promises “business as usual” without reading or considering what they subscribe to in addition to what they intend. Without considering that they have to learn how to use a tool, not just which tool to use.

  • How can we make people aware of/ teach the value of incompleteness?
  • People have to learn how to use a tool instead of what to use. No tool solves your problems, you solve your problems by using tools correctly and by completing them with your own abilities.
  • Be aware of the dangers of a subscription society that has no control over their lifelines
  • Open Source is made to be in control. It is not made for subscription models. What is the character of a subscriber? Discuss
  • …Do we need to teach different things/values in schools? To teach people to be creators instead of subscribers? How?
  • What are digital/social conventions/behaviour norms people need to learn and how do we teach them?

Check in:


Engineer from Italy now in Armenia is an entrepreneur developing topographic maps. Experience with tech startups.


  • Wants to find alternative and new ways of doing things that are independent
  • Wants to find a way of making a living using/contribution/in open source/alternative approaches.


Lives in a community in northern germany doing a lot of it stuff. Uses mostly open source software. He is an empowered user, able to use and contribute.


Mixed. Big chances but also risks in acceleration.

Point for workshop:

  • Platform and content are two things. Having education in the hand of capitalistic run companies. It is very problematic to give up infrastructure and content off to commercial sources.



Educontent, but you pay with advertisement and your information.

Other examples: platforms from companies.

This has always been the case a bit, but it increases. Companies will make the content more addictive. Competition is interesting for quality, but if it is about education, it should be in public hands at all costs, not motivated by biggest profit.


  • Beyond education. The livelines are so visible right now. So now we are all using so many services that are free, but essentially selling people’s information. It would maybe be good to inform more in the general public about that even so many here already know that.


There was a point in my life where open source did not matter for me. I came into it through a socialistic point of view, but I think an individualistic one would have been possible to. Many others certainly have not entered from a socialistic one.

Open source has very little to do with the economy.

I came to learn that there is a different scale in our society which is more important right now:

Authoritarian vs freedom.

It is a scale that is far more relevant today.

I am trying to compile that now into why I think it is so important what we talk about now.

It is a means of locking in knowledge. It matters to our society.

Big companies centralise a lot of knowledge in terms of software, while not contributing in the same amount as they are profiting.

If you subscribe to knowledge, you are not a participant, but a consumer in society. If you forget of the left and right-wing perspective but rather focus on the authoritarian vs freedom scale.


The scale of authoritarian vs freedom is also relevant in the corona response interventions.


Yes, right now it is a big argument to move into the direction of tracking. China is quite far there already but the west is also moving there, maybe we are having other discussions, but it is moving in the same direction.


If you want to be an empowered user, that is good, but many people do not aspiere to be empowered users, but rather want things to work, want to use things that work, such as dropbox. It works, I use it.

Open source is often a community of makers, thinking about how they could make new things for makers. But that is not all the communities.


If you approach popen source from a utilitarian perspective you could buy it. Therefore I think education is so important. The process itself, to learn something has important properties.

What would we promote in school?

Should we promote them to buy a well working tool or rather something they need to finish themselves.

How do we teach the “value of incompleteness”

If you teach students to just buy a product, you devalue the process.


Putting themselves in the imaginary company that provides this services to schools:

This company should include lessons for the teachers and pupils on how the things work (which you can only really show when using Open Source).


Where do you draw the line? Which tool is the “primary value”. I think the primary value is the process of learning. The results are secondary.


And what should teachers answer children when they ask: why should we learn this when we can just buy a program that does it?


Why would you learn anything that you can learn on wikipedia? Again it is the learning process!

What I tell my children: we have fun when learning. For example with countries. I think it is necessary to make the effort to learn even if they do not remember. Remembering the country’s names and the “outcomes” are just a .


One answer is: this way you can found your own company! You do not have to work for google, you can make your own google.


Are we talking just about tech education or all of it? For history it is not important to know the software the tool runs on but the background.

If I want to connect to my family I can use whatsapp or signal. If I don’t care I will just use what app and it works, if I care I will maybe use signal.


If you use your sources in history, how are you being critical towards your source. So the value of learning the process of learning and critical thinking is still relevant.


We agree. But I think it is important to be clear that it is not just about it and being able to build your own software. It is relevant to other fields as well and we need to make this clear!

People using things only see how good something works, not how transparent it is.


Right now people plunge into proprotory platforms to keep work and school running.

There will be a time to do that more after the crisis.

General consensus:

NOW: How to convene to different communities/fields?

How can we find ways of communicating this to other communities and fields. Right now many people meet online that are not usually meeting. So I think we should push for this interdisciplinary conversation now.


Every community has its own challenges. Even Edgeryders as a very techy community does not have all types of online meeting platforms.

Most communities are not primarily interested in the tech part, but into what they want to be doing. The danger in many communities is that they do not weigh in the dangers of not using open source.


This is why I thought it so interesting when Matthias made this initiative to get people “off google and amazon” by offering alternatives. This way you could get people off while still functioning.

I think this approach is relevant in this day and age.

“You can have this and it costs you this” or you can have this and it costs you your date> I found this approach very interesting. If you can go to a company and can bring them step by step into a new system you can explain it step by step while also keeping it running. Same with operating systems.


You are touching on some very important points: It is easy to look at anything that you are doing and to find a tool that is doing it for you. Today we usually have subscription models. PEople sign up and it can get dangerous. It is awesome that it can be so easy, however, some of these subscriptions are doing things with you that you do not want to happen and it fosters the idea that subscriptions take care of things for you. Down the line things might happen. For examples: you are stuck with your dropbox, even if you can not pay for it anymore because you are dependent on it.

We need to speak about the meanings of entering into a subscription.


Here it could be good to explain different models to people. There are different models. In social media it seems to work with some alternatives where you can explain the upsides of using protocols not products (like email).


I gave this lecture in front of young people asking them which subscription I could just shut down X,Y,Z subscriptions. I Asked facebook, icloud, etc, including your bank account. They had not been aware that some of those things were subscriptions.

Maria: SUB-ED, like SEX-ED, sex is good when done with informed consent and precaus=tions, same with subscription?

Webinar idea:

SUB-ED webinar.


Examples in the introduction: paypal, skype etc. one needs to make the research to show people who people are giving their information to.

You can jumpstart with something very practical.


Try to ask also: what if you were denied subscription? How would that effect you? You can not even perceive that that could happen.

  • What if you were denied a cell phone account
  • What if you were denied a bank account
  • What if…

We can discuss china as a society who have gone quite far inthis development with their social credit system.


It is a good example, but at the same time one needs to be very careful there. There are some very positive reports were people argue from the other side that it actually improves their lives.

You can disagree with that, but you can not deny their perspective.


This is where we come back to the scale of authoritarian vs freedom. It is not really about technology. It is about the context of how things are used. Even if the intentions are good, and I think we are headed in a similar direction, but I do not want to live in such a society. And that is why I think it has to be a discussion about values.


I agree that ist is absolutely relevant, but it is more far from the problem we now want to tackle. Therefore I would not put the chinar social credit example into that webinar topic/discussion at this point, even if we want to have that conversation in the long run.

Felix: list of paypal data connections: Searching a visualization of that that I have seen a year or so ago, was a very nice graph showing the connections. Got it I think: How PayPal Shares Your Data

Wrapping up:

Maria: Next steps?


In regard to the webinar, if you leaf it to people to read the text it will not happen. THere is a tool I remembered that did something where it evaluated subscription agreements on if they are good for you or for the companies. (will add later)

(general feedback by all and discussion, including the question if to focus on online webinars instead of in-person workshops for the time being (corona)))

These calls will take place now every Tuesday evening 18:00. They are on a regular basis. Maria will send out a reminder 2-1 days ahead. Nobody is required to come, it is an offer. We can use these calls for open conversations or develop something like the “Submission-education” webinar as needed.

Webinars like for a wider reach with more preparation will be announced 2-3 weeks ahead on top of that and prepared well ahead.

GOAL for now:

Develop a “submission education” webinar in 3 weeks time.


18:15:28 Von Edgeryders Community : open source call notes - Google Docs

18:18:36 Von Erik : Elo

18:18:53 Von Edgeryders Community : open source call notes - Google Docs

18:20:27 Von FelixWSL : open source call notes - Google Docs

18:25:49 Von Edgeryders Community an Alessandro Mambelli(Privat) : thank you for your point allesandro. I am trying to sum it up in the notes, feel free to adjust to it if you want

18:57:24 Von Erik :

19:02:25 Von Alessandro Mambelli : A good podcast about Tristan Harris:

19:02:57 Von Alessandro Mambelli : This TED Talk

Tristan Harris: How better tech could protect us from distraction | TED Talk

19:03:43 Von Alessandro Mambelli : This is what he does (possibly among other things)

19:26:38 Von FelixWSL : + How PayPal Shares Your Data

@nadia How would we approach this best?

Yep, I have some nextcloud-admin-hours under my belt, too. Feel free to reach out.


Interesting. I’d be happy to hear about the experiences made in another thread. I did indeed write my claim based on the assumption that it is standard “vanilla” WebRTC without transcoding, muxing and stuff.

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Zoom is being sued right now for secretly giving people’s personal info away to Facebook. Talk is increasing out there as to why one should continue with so dishonest a service.

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hey, do you guys really want to call it submission education? You might get a lot of people who think they are going to a talk involving ropes and stuff :smile:


What do you think could be a good, minimally disruptive way to do this that also cares for confidentiality of some of the stuff we have in there with e.g our personal addresses/id data? Any suggestions @erik_lonroth @felix.wolfsteller @matthias?

:wink: just the working Titel for now as a joke to liken it to sex-education where you also learn about consent, precautions and setting your own limits :wink:


General rule: Minimize the stuff you collect that cross relate with real persons. Is it possible to be anonymous? Great.


  1. Keep material, text and databases in a place in your organization ownership control. Encrypt backups if you have it external to your owned systems. Use gpg for this purpose. Host a key signing party for the persons which are to be trusted with the content of this data.

  2. Have a procedure in place to destroy all or parts with short notice and keep encryption keys for backups offline and hidden.

  3. Have a process to resist exporting the content to authorities. Be nice, but don’t be complicit.

  4. Confidential content should be very little and definetly not attached to a social / office platform at all. This is not trivial.

Have a separate system for such things is a manageable way perhaps. I think this all depends on what this confidential material is, which I don’t.

  1. Sefeguard against cryptolocking by testing backup/restore cycles automatically.

  2. Don’t use anything but open source software for security/integrity related software. Who knows who might be listening if you can’t tell what goes on?

  3. Keep shared passwords and keys in a safe place. For example with keepass2 or perhaps consider using ‘vault’ by Hasicorp. I have no experience with vault yet though. All other components is what I use and/or adopt personally.

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Reminder to everyone interested in joining/continuing this discussion:
The next iteration of this call is tomorrow, 7th of April, 18:00.

  • We are still using the same zoom room for now (Launch Meeting - Zoom), but if you are up for it I would suggest that we could also use this as an opportunity to try out two potential alternatives (Edgeryders test customers for Jitsi servers - #18 by MariaEuler) which are currently discussed. But we would need to invite some more people in to properly stress-test those tools. Could you maybe ask some friends to tune in for 15 minutes or so?

  • The other topics on the agenda would be to plan the Subscription Education Webinar more in detail, decide on the length, date, who to invite and what to put on the agenda.

Looking forward to seeing you!

ping @erik_lonroth, @felix.wolfsteller, @Emile, @Alessandro, @unclecj, @matthias, @hugi, @mattias

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Reminder to everyone interested in joining/continuing this discussion:
The next iteration of this call is today, 14th of April, 18:00.

  • We are still using the same zoom room for now ( ) but am in the process of developing and testing our own alternative call tool which we can hopefully switch to in a few weeks time.
  • The other topics on the agenda would also still be to plan the Subscription Education Webinar more in detail, decide on the length, date, who to invite and what to put on the agenda.

Looking forward to seeing you!

ping @erik_lonroth, @felix.wolfsteller, @Emile, @Alessandro, @unclecj, @matthias, @hugi, @mattias

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Notes and summary from last call will follow here soon together with a draft for the webinar anouncement! :slight_smile:

The next iteration of this call is tomorrow, 28th of April, 18:00.


  • The upcoming next could webinar:
  1. “Own Your Cloud” on 8th of May, 17:00 - 19:00 is a discussion of the ethical and legal implications of subscription services for clouds combined with a hands-on workshop helping everyone in the webinar to set up their own nextcloud, a free and open-source cloud that you will own yourself!
    Learn more & join the rsvp list here:Own Your Cloud - webinar/nextcould setup workshop 8th of May
    at least one hour before the call. Afterwards you can join via this link:
  • How to set up more similar events
  • Edgeryder move away from Zoom to our own tool
  • David Graeber notion of “Ductaper’s” in coding development (see "Bullshit Jobs)

To join the call comment here and I will add you to the rsvp list. (will already add those in this thread who have been at calls before, so you are free to join) .

Looking forward to seeing you!

ping @erik_lonroth, @felix.wolfsteller, @Emile, @Alessandro, @unclecj, @matthias, @hugi, @mattias


Is it ductaper or duck-taper (I know ducktaping from ruby, unfortunately :wink: )? And: At the link, I couldnt see the relevant pages (viewing limit reached). And: I added a comment now, please add me to the rsvp list although I am not sure if I’ll join. Thanks.

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this is correct.

will add you to the list

Notes from the last biweekly call on the 28th of April

After cycling through a few different tools and technical problems with the current very much under development now.edgeryders call tool we settled on a jitsi call for now.

The call started with a discussion of the planned webinar “own your cloud” on the 8th of May and the learning for the planning of future events from the very positive reactions and signup rate between @erik_lohnroth and @mariaeuler.

Later @mattias joined the call and we discussed his experiences at a Cryptoparty event he went to the previous friday and what projects cryptoparty does in general and how initiatives could be connected:

  • last time they showed them how to set up their own jitsi servers
  • Did similar for passwords

After Mattias talked about his personal journey into open source tech and through multiple organizations Erik and Mattias started discussing how to change 100 year old culture moving from proprietary to open source. BOth these structures as well as personal changes from corporate to opensource is very important for both of them.

Mattias was also interested in how to run communities through edgeryders. Future conversations as well as this 📗 Community Management Manual can give insites here.

Erik offers to help Mattias and others interested in Sweden to connect with key figures in the open source community in sweden.

Especially with the NGO Mattias is working with some collaboration with eriks connections and edgeryders involved involved could be interesting.

The discussion also touched again on the need for change in perception of open source as it happened in the last 10 years and how similar would need to happen for crypto currencies:

“People think there is a conflict between open source and earning money

10 years ago people thought that open source is for pirates

It will be the same with the crypto economy . Until it becomes a fundamental factor in life.”

Finally we discussed if we could team up with Cryptoparties for another webinar. Since they already did an event on password safety and the plan was to do something similar next in the same way as the “own your cloud” event.

We would like to invite people who have been involved with the password safety event by cryptoparty to the next biweekly open source conversation call on the 12th of May to discuss the possibility of creating the next webinar together and looking back together on experiences from the real live event as well as our webinar from the 8th.

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@erik_lonroth and @mattias, did you invite anyone for today? Otherwise, we would like to pause community calls this week to have some time sorting out some tech issues. + I am participating in A MIcrosolidarity online course this week which is always from 18:00 to 19:30.

When would suit you instead?

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I need some more time to prepare.

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No problem for me with cancelled call, I could not attend unfortunately. I think the next regular opportunity every other week works best for me.

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