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

Mark Janssen dreamingforward at gmail.com
Thu Jul 3 20:30:23 CEST 2014

On 7/3/14, Avinash Sonawane <rootkea at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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?

Probably accept the first, but deny the second.  The key is to be in
charge; that is, don't sacrifice your principles.   If there is no
open source alternative to the second option, for example, you might
be supporting the overall community.

You aren't selling out if your don't let them into your "inner
circle", the place where you are protection the mission.

> 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?

Not recommended.  It means you aren't really partnering with them at
all, and they'll probably feel it as being "equally proprietary".


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