Nadia Eghbal on Open-Source Infrastructure


Hi Hellekin,

I read the post regarding your NL Foumdation application: Free Software in Europe -- Position Paper and would like to ask you if you know Nadia Eghbal( and her video how the open source community works:

She is interested in researching open source trends and infrastructure, and proving its importance for the society. You could see in her publications some facts, which could be useful in your project:

She is interested also in funding open source projects, and establishing non standard micro funds for people with good ideas. See how her experiment is going:

Maybe it’s good to invite her here?



I know Nadia by her works, never actually met her. Although I appreciate a lot the work she puts into examining open-source, I have a couple of issues with her that I think require that before we invite her here, we advance the project a bit more.

First point is that she’s not in Europe. Second point is that she’s working for Github, and shares their alignment regarding open-source and free software. For example, in her otherwise excellent Lemonade Stand Guide you can find (emphasis mine):

Sometimes, projects offer an identical codebase with two different licenses: one that is commercially-friendly, and one that is less so (ex. GPL). The latter is free for anyone to use, but companies pay for the commercial license in order to have legal peace of mind.

As with Github’s guide to licensing, this is a completely misleading statement about the GPL that pretends it’s an anti-commercial license with no legal value. It contributes to disinform people about what the GPL is really about, and what ‘commercial-friendly’ or ‘permissive’ licenses really mean : the right to capture other people’s work without giving back to the community.

I think that when we have the consortium ready, we can think about inviting extra-EU people, and I’m sure Nadia’s perspective and contribution can become useful. But before that stage, I think she would waste her time and we would lose focus.

What do you think about sharing this discussion with the rest of the group?


Maybe she doesn’t have enough case studies about the opposite side of what she thinks is a good licensing practice and what can be improved?
Maybe a pillar article about it, linked to her article would be a good start of a conversation, which will let us know what are the bottlenecks we should target here in Europe, too.

My reference to Nadia’s work was mainly because of the value she underlines the open source had to the industry.
I’m okay if you move this conversation publicly :slight_smile:



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