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Re: Debian contributor Register of Interests

Tollef Fog Heen writes ("Re: Debian contributor Register of Interests"):
> Indeed.  I also think there's a hang-up about financial conflicts of
> interest in the discussion, but for at least me (and I suspect others),
> money is a pretty weak motivator.  I generally have enough that it's
> something I don't need to spend much mental energy on.

That makes sense.

But these things can change.  If you don't have enough money then it
can be a very powerful motivator.  Worry about (say) losing one's job
can be pretty significant.  For me, being employed to work on free
software means an inevitable tension between the interests of my
employer, and my own views.  Indeed such difficulties contributed to
my need to depart from Canonical.

>From Debian's point of view: I think that anyone who takes prolonged
employment with an organisation which takes an active interest in
their Debian work, to the extent of taking an interest in what they
say about Debian and Free Software, ought to declare that.

Contracting is a bit different.  I wouldn't expect a contractor to
declare the names of all their clients.  OTOH if a client's scenario
motivated a particular software change, I would expect that to be
mentioned even if the name of the client is not.

The main reasons why money is different seem to me to be:

 * Money-related situations often involve significant power imbalances
   where the individual is subject to the opinions of a payer.

 * Money-related interactions are often kept secret.

>  An example of what I do think could cause conflicts of interest is
> where I'm part of some community (free software or not) and my
> interest is in ensuring I have a good standing or status in that
> community and this colours judgements I make in Debian.

Most of the communities like that I am part of, are either
sufficiently remote from software that they wouldn't care, or are
themselves technology projects.

In the latter case, most of the information is already public.  It
would be impractical and pointless to ask everyone to collate it.

I don't intend to declare my membership of political pressure groups
etc., unless I get appointed to lead one or made a political party's
election candidate, or something.  But those folks don't really have
an opinion about my Free Software work.

That I'm a GNU maintainer, upstream for various other programs, the
operator of chiark, and so on, is all public anyway.  A register of
interests ought not to be a list of everyone's software projects, nor
of all of their hobbies.


Ian Jackson <ijackson@chiark.greenend.org.uk>   These opinions are my own.

If I emailed you from an address @fyvzl.net or @evade.org.uk, that is
a private address which bypasses my fierce spamfilter.

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