That's the problem: in many cases it doesn't matter to them that it aligns with their values. So how to provoke the desire for alignment in this sphere?
This is the best I have found so far: https://degooglisons-internet.org/en/#enjeux
I think we will need to write something.
Part of the problem is that most of the cooperatives I have known have a necessarily limited "mission" aka goals, and they think that broadening their efforts could detract from the mission.
If they saw themselves as part of the organization of a larger cooperative economy, and we created open source software to help them do that, and wrote about that, it might help.
@bhaugen @Matt_Noyes @ntnsndr @aral @FreeScholar @Framasoft @tierra_comun
There are certainly arguments to make that supporting open source also aligns with concern for community (makes it available for other orgs) and education & training (the source serves as training material for other devs), but I'm kind of flabbergasted by Matt's comment that they dgaf about their values. I'd expect that from nonprofit industrial complex, but cooperators should be firing those boards
It's been mixed in my experience. Some people in some cooperatives are committed to and promote some or all cooperative values, and some cooperatives do likewise, but it's spotty and so are cooperative values in general. Like one consumer cooperative helps and trades with other cooperatives but got help from UNI consultants to defeat a worker union organizing campaign. I know of another co-op that did the same.
With all due respect, it's not a matter of not sharing the values, in my experience, but rather because of practical considerations that they see as being vital to fulfilling their mission. With things like FB and it's the question of reach and discoverability. But with a lot of OS/libre projects, the problems are mainly technical - bad UX and lack of functionality being the biggest culprits. 1/
When the open source alternative is well designed and easy to use, (like Framadate) I haven't had problems getting people to use it. But trying to switch from Gdocs to NextCloud was a disaster because of the unintuitive interface and design choices that left even the more tech savvy among us confused and we gave up on it. 2/
We tried using meet.coop instead of zoom for one project but the lack of a US dail-in number made us revert to zoom for concerns of equability and accessability.
Also, there's the issue that not everyone is super tech savvy and switching to something different is a real difficulty for some people. So the new thing needs to look & act a whole lot like the old thing & *ongoing support needs to be offered* 3/
Without that last part, it doesn't matter whether it's OSS or not, adoption of the new thing will fail. People use what they use because that's what they already know how to use. We can't just tell people to learn how to use something new without offering support in the learning process. Picking this stuff up isn't as easy for everyone else as it is for ppl on this thread, you know? My two scents...
Josh is raising the key issues -- people with strong co-op and solidarity values resist OS/Liibre/Coop bc of practical considerations that they see as being vital to fulfilling their mission, including reach (existing network effects), UX, and functionality, lack of learning support. And I want to call BS on all of them. ;-) 1/
Mission: Isn't the cultivation, nurturing, and mutual support of alternative tools, networks, institutions our mission? FB, e.g., is not only impractical, it is hostile to that part of our mission. The critique of surveillance capitalism needs to be taken seriously. What Josh is saying about mission makes sense if the mission does not include transforming tech and all that implies.
Reach: seems like the most compelling point. I still use FB because of it. But, I want out and am constantly trying new tools (mobilizon, BBB or Jitsi, etc).
Also, aren't we in the business of creating new forms of reach? Potential networks of solidarity and collective action? Tactically speaking mixed use makes sense, but strategically we need to weave our own reach and FB is impractical for that.
UX: Google Docs?? Some OS platforms/tools have great UX, some are comparable, and some are wanting.
1) that's why we need to support projects like Framasoft by our patronage (use/funding) especially when they are still developing,
2) is UX just immediate consumer satisfaction? I had to do a work shift at PSFC, but not at Krogers, which is the better "UX""?
Intuitiveness: In most cases intuitiveness just means I already use it. So, again, OS becomes "intuitive" when we use it and the more we use GAFAM the more intuitive it becomes --- especially bc it's their business model! We need to become maladjusted to their intuitiveness. Where intuitiveness is real usability, OS needs to constantly improve, but that requires support and inter-cooperation.
Learning: Of course, co-ops etc should take the lead introducing new tech and helping people build new intuitions, with an emphasis on learning by using. The first step is to do it ourselves. So why we do the opposite? We are constantly having to tell people how to use Zoom, GDocs, etc. People, not just techies, learn new tech all the time. And there is support: e.g. the OFN manual, forum, etc.
I think the only way to make open software and economic cooperatives go together if for the software people to work with the co-ops. Maybe in a broad multistakeholder co-op.
I'll follow this toot with some true stories of trying to do that.
True stories of developing open software for and with economic cooperatives part 1:
We (me and @lynnfoster ) developed software for and with several cooperatives and cooperative-like organizations.
We developed for and with 4 cooperative food networks. 2 succeeded, one failed, and another never got started.
True stories of developing open software for and with economic cooperatives part 1 continued:
The most successful of the food networks was http://www.fifthseasoncoop.com/
It's a multistakeholder co-op where the members are farmers, insitituional buyers like schools and hospitals, a distributor, and the co-op workers.
It's a difficult coordination problem. We developed their first system...
True stories of developing open software for and with economic cooperatives part 2:
So we developed the first coordination software for Fifth Season, but after awhile the distributor, a member of the co-op, offered their software for the co-op to use. All of the institutions were already using their software. It was a great fit. We advised them to adopt it, and they did.
True stories of developing open software for and with economic cooperatives part 2 continued:
So that part of the story, where Fifth Season adopts the distributor's software, explains why cooperative economic software is a network coordination problem.
Can y'all see that?
P.S. after that, we met #OFN and advised everybody to use their software because it was better than ours...
True stories of developing open software for and with economic cooperatives part 3.
Sensorica is not a legal cooperative, but they follow a lot of the same values and are devoted to open source hardware and software.
True stories of developing open software for and with economic cooperatives part 3 continued...
Sensorica is a network, and the software we developed together is focused on network coordination and contributory accounting and income distribution (which has influenced a lot of other organizations, including @disco_coop which is a co-op).
True stories of developing open software for and with economic cooperatives part 4:
Here's where it gets more interesting from a Fedi perspective.
Sensorica was a network composed of multiple organizations. The NRP software that we created together was a platform, not a network. We want to move from a platform to a networked system, matching the organization. Continued...
True stories of developing open software for and with economic cooperatives part 4 continued:
We derived a vocabulary called https://www.valueflo.ws/ from our previous experiments and contributions from all of these people: https://www.valueflo.ws/introduction/contributors/
We're implementing that vocabulary in 2 or 3 kinds of distributed software. One being Fedi, using @bonfire
1) I will copy and paste all of these toots, since there is good material here.
2) Case in point - look at the required skills... https://www.idealist.org/en/consultant-job/b3e6a8f3f19d4fbab456fb07e73f4e03-project-coordinator-upside-down-consulting-llc-chicago
The big list of software skills required isnt so unexpected- pretty much a standard modern org toolkit
Mailchip particularly annoys me. Loads of orgs use it for their newsletter so Mailchimp see all the different newsletters which you subscribe plus every link in them tracks your clicks (same with links in Google Docs)
Super interesting thread! Thanks for sharing all of your experiences @bhaugen.
I think an article that lays out these arguments would be great. I know @ncoca has similar views and has done a great job of streamlining the tools he uses.
I think it is unfair to not acknowledge that this will require commitment that stretches capacity though.
I wrote about quitting Google a few years ago - I've using several different tools now, but this was my take back then - https://thenextweb.com/news/how-i-fully-quit-google-and-you-can-too
A Fediverse instance for people interested in cooperative and collective projects.