[hackerspaces] Proprietary Product Company as a sponsor of FOSS event

Avinash Sonawane rootkea at gmail.com
Thu Jul 3 12:52:54 CEST 2014

We are a bunch of hackers at Hacker's Den (http://hackersden.org) who
believe in sharing and openness. We give these values an utmost
importance and do not use/support any proprietary product at all. We
are going to organise a FOSS event in coming few days. But at the
moment we are kinda puzzled over sponsorship for the event.

1) To have a proprietary product company as a sponsor of FOSS event is
it morally right? I mean there will be banners, flyers of that
proprietary company all over the venue. In an event we are promoting
FOSS and on a venue we are promoting/marketing proprietary product
company. Isn't it contradictory behaviour?

But if we deny the sponsorship aren't we depriving that proprietary
company of doing a noble deed (of supporting a FOSS event)?

2) What about proprietary *service* company?  I mean the one which
serves it's client with say system administration or building a dbms
system (which is closed source suppose) for the client e.g. Infosys
(http://www.infosys.com/), Wipro (www.wipro.com), Persistent
(www.persistent.com) etc. Is it something different with the
proprietary service company compared to proprietary product company?

Should we accept the sponsorship or deny it?

3) A solution?
Accepting a sponsorship from a proprietary company (product/service)
and placing a large banner at the entrance of a venue as well as on
the website saying "We do not necessarily support any of our sponsors'
products or philosophy." as a countermeasure, will work?
Or is it similar to printing "smoking is injurious to health" on
cigarette packets and continuing the cigarette production at the same
time and later on denying any responsibility saying "We warned you"?
Personally I think printing a warning on cigarette packet is a big
joke; because if you really cared for the health of society you would
have stopped the production itself.


Avinash Sonawane (RootKea)
PICT, Pune

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