Submissions/The WMF's Free Software Advocacy Group and how you can help

From Wikimania 2014 • London, United Kingdom

This is an accepted submission for Wikimania 2014.

Submission no. 2522
Title of the submission
The WMF's Free Software Advocacy Group and how you can help
Type of submission (discussion, hot seat, panel, presentation, tutorial, workshop)
Author of the submission
Greg Grossmeier ()
E-mail address
Special:EmailUser/Greg G
en:User:Greg G (personal) mw:User:Greg (WMF) (work)
Country of origin
Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
The Wikimedia Foundation
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

Practically 100% of the software that runs the projects (the entire stack, from the network to user interface) is Free/Libre/Open Source Software (FLOSS). The number of proprietary pieces of software in use can be counted on one hand. In addition, all of the software in use, including our patches, is publicly viewable and forkable. Even our server configuration is public for all to read, study, and use.

But how does this reflect in the staff's use of software at the WMF? The very first section in the WMF Guiding Principles document "Freedom and open source" is called out as an important part of what the community community believes and how the organization strives to use Free/Libre/Open Source Software (FLOSS) over proprietary tools.

There is substantial wiggle room in the guidine pinciples: they are only a guide and only principles not rules. And the FLOSS principle provides an 'escape hatch' for situations where "there is currently no open-source tool that will effectively meet [the WMF's] needs." Confusion and (good hearted) disagreement is common within the organization when we try to ground that phrase in reality. Where is the line and where does it vary by person or department and why?

This past year a group of staff members started the Free Software Advocacy Group in order to help deal with that inherent problem. The group aims to evaluate non-free software use at the Foundation, determine options for replacing non-free software, and present those options to teams and departments who could benefit from them. It is meant as a small step towards more closely following the Wikimedia Foundation Guiding Principles.

This talk will give the community an overview of what this group has learned and where we are still lacking cross-organizationally useable Free Software solutions (ie: where you can help!).

  • Legal & Free Culture
Length of session (if other than 30 minutes, specify how long)
30 minutes
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
Slides or further information (optional)
Special requests

Interested attendees

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  1. I won't be there in person, but I'll follow along remotely if possible. --MarkTraceur (talk) 16:53, 1 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  2. I'm not going to Wikimania but I'd like to watch the streaming or recording of this talk --Larjona (talk) 17:01, 1 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Likewise, I won't be present but am super excited to follow along remotely. I'd love to see more about WMF's free software involvement. Sounds exciting! # Cwebber (talk) 17:08, 1 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Quiddity (talk) 22:40, 12 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  5. Your name here!'