A new Free Software project starts this month, with an ambitious goal: software forge federation. In other words, make it so Free Software developers can participate in projects hosted anywhere without being forced to agree to the Terms Of Service of any specific forge (think GitHub or GitLab and, for instance, the exclusion of users based on their geographical location).
The name of the project is fedeproxy and it is a tiny seed. It does not have any major corporation or even large Free Software project behind it. What it has is a clear goal and a few core values: diversity, horizontality, inclusion. But these core values only exist when concrete actions are undertaken to uphold them. I won’t go into the details of horizontality and inclusion, although I’d be very happy to discuss them
I’d like to ask for advice on what was done regarding diversity. In a nutshell, the project has its first story to tell. A user research meeting will happen next week and the participants diversity is much, much better than what is usually observed in Free Software projects. This did not happen by chance and maybe there is story to tell, for other projects to get inspiration from. And for participants from under represented minorities (and majority) to get a better understanding of the efforts that are made towards diversity.
Even with the best intentions, mistakes are made and many things need to be improved. In the spirit of transparency, all is discussed in public in the diversity category of the fedeproxy forum. Do you see something missing? Is something going in the wrong direction? Please speak-up: your advice is much needed to start on the right foot.
Last but not least, two people are funded to work 50% of their time on fedeproxy as of this month and for the next nine months (the budget spreadsheet is public). How does that happen in a horizontal community? The short answer is: with a EU grant and the longer answer would require a separate discussion, which I’m happy to have (all the documents for the funding application to the last detail are public). There must also be funding specifically for the work required to improve diversity: volunteering is not enough, it takes time and money. Are there other Free Software projects similar to fedeproxy in size, age and funding from which one could get inspiration in that regard?
Very much looking forward to your comments and guidance