Why does Humane Tech need to be open source?

I really like this list, but with my new product FriendTime.co I’m not planning to make it open source, although it is very much aligned with Humane Tech values. Why can’t I be on this list? Why has it to be open source?

It is certainly not the case that all humane technology needs to be open source, of course. Not at all. But for the criteria of that specific curated awesome list this was set as a precondition. This community has positioned itself along an axis of solution-orientation, with a strong focus on the technologists building humane technology projects and products. So having open source code as an example, and projects where anyone can contribute to improve further was the starting point. Also the restriction to OSS entries in general fits well to what Github is mostly about (though Github is now suffering ever more of the problem of becoming an overly dominant tech player themselves).

Lastly proprietary products are often much harder to vet in terms of revenue model, security & privacy practices, ads and trackers, and the like.


Okay, I understand, thanks!

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Some of us actually think that proprietary software inherently creates a very undesirable power imbalance, which makes it prone to almost inevitable inhumane uses (exploitation of users and developers alike)… I’ve written this to explain the thinking behind that: https://davelane.nz/proprietary - I personally think that only open source software (and, in particular, Copyleft licensed open source software) is protected from that sort of “predisposed to unethical behaviour” power imbalance.


Welcome to HTC, Dave! Very happy to have you around :blush:

A great write-up in your article. Recommended reading.
(PS. Is there are reason why you do not use OpenGraph metadata on your blog posts?)

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“it is easier to avoid temptation than to resist it” — Dan Ariely

This applies to so much. In this case, making software copyleft open source (and taking contributions from others under copyleft licenses too, so that no one person can unilaterally change the license) is the strongest way to remove any potential temptation to abuse the power that comes with developing software others use.

We don’t need to assume that proprietary software developers are actually malicious to recognize that the power of proprietary software can create temptations to abuse that power.

It’s separately true also that proprietary software can disappear when it stops getting developed for whatever reason, and then nobody can adopt it and continue development.


Interesting @aschrijver - I’m not aware of OpenGraph metadata! Keen to be informed :slight_smile:

They are just some META tags to be included that make link previews look good, i.e. with proper title, preview image and description text. How they can be added depends on your software in use. A quick DuckDuckGo search should yield enough info.