What do we have to do to set up an *independent organisation* in Europe with an endowment from our (EU taxpayers’) money to maintain a free/open, private-by-default web browser that we legislate must be included in all operating systems made available in the EU?

We would likely fork Firefox, remove all the Silicon Valley/commercial bullshit, and hire engineers from Mozilla and elsewhere who want to work somewhere where they have the freedom to work on a browser for the common good without any Silicon Valley/commercial interference.


The challenge here isn’t technical; it’s funding and independence.

To succeed, any such organisation must be free of political interference and its funding must be guaranteed via an endowment and not privy to the whims of short-term political posturing.

@aral the #EU is full of political interference, and not in a good way so this aproch has its own problems.

I have been working with them a bit for the last few years...

@witchescauldron @aral

Ahem, an independent organisation lobbying for a public-funded web browser is technically just as much “political interference” as Google lobbying for the opposite. Any government or international structure such as EU is the sum of political interferences, and it’s only a problem when these are not balanced or some stakeholders are not represented.

Exactly. That's why this idea has great potential as a much needed counterweight to the current interessts tugging on webbrowsers, as they are mainly driven by the ad industry.
@witchescauldron @aral

@xro @kravietz @aral it's a good/bad path, people would be pushing on a open door at the #EU to folk Firefox at mo... Would need a soughted crew and likely in the end get to the same #NGO place that we are in now. A good outcome could do something in the "space" a move like this would open a "commons" for a while #OMN

@witchescauldron @aral In Germany the public media is separated to some degree from short-term politics by separating financing from government decisions. There are people who rally against this, but it is one of the reasons there’s a minimum standard for quality of news that the privates don’t dare to undercut too much. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Televisi

@ArneBab @aral we used to have the "public broadcasting" in the UK which your Germany system was likely modeled on after WW2.

It's mostly swept away by the last 40 years of #deathcult worshiping over here. So you have the same pressure?

@witchescauldron @aral Yes, we have pressure, since this year even from a mainstream "conservative" party, but the public television still has majority support.

@ArneBab @aral try and keep it, its better crap or worst crap. The is SOME value in social democratic systems in the face of "common sense" #deathcult worshipping.

@aral@mastodon.ar.al have a call to action once you dissociate with big corporations. Ask the community of people to fund, ask them and the content creators to promote.

We all want the same thing, so we can achieve it.

perhaps nlnet could help with something. if not funding then at least helping to set things up?

@aral sth like the financing of the public broadcasting system (in GER). but without politicians in advisory board but technical and social experts for #sufficience

@aiquez @aral wish i could just redirect my money paid at GEZ to a good cause

just the reporting on Covid has been very false balance which has not exactly helped with the government's abysmal communication and response.

@aral Funding is the issue. I however lean in the direction that software should be crowd funded. That way, actual people are in the control of the project as opposed to organizations.

We need a paradigm shift. We expect everything from the internet to be free. But we need to normalize to give back to creators. We need systems that makes it easy, secure, private and convinient to tip. In a way that preserves autonomy.

@vega If only there was a concept where we could all give a portion of what we make to crowdfund things for the common good… I don’t know, we could call it Raxes? Saxes… ? Something like that ;)

@aral @vega

look, I think I understand you argument

but it's a purely theoretical arguments

We all knwo what taxes are, this soesn't make this idea more feasible

This is something that needs to be hacked through, I'm afraid

there are no shortcuts

Sorry if I sound pessimistic

@aral @vega

this is why I look at Gnome, Kde, Enlightment, any other desktop anv

AND to clw's work

because if we have hte data, we can also support the mantaining of our GUI layer (whatever that is)

In order to have a sustainable frontend, you need the ability to flood it with data

That's the hack we suffered with the web

We should do it again

@aral @vega

this is ot to say that political campaning has no place

It has its place

But political campaining alone won't cut it, I'm afraid

We need to build some mass from an absolutely unfair position

The key word is normalize. It should be so easy to tip that once you have set it up you can donate by clicking a button on the webpage/ browser.

But that would require control. So no automated donations.

@vega @aral How do you prevent crowd funding from going the kickstarter-bow-to-the-rich-premium-backers route?

There are real ways (like co-ops, where members are only allowed to own the same part as the others), but all this is a pretty big organizing effort.

@aral The challenge is also very much political, as well as it is societal.

EU is not that far from openly asking for the same tools/level of control and means to track its 'users', once upon a time called citizens. Maybe not to make gigantic piles of money but that doesn't change their willingness to access and use the exact same tools. And have them developed if need be.

The tracking (as much as our willingness to live with it) is the issue, more than it being commercial or not. Imho.

@aral You are absolutely right, funding is the most challenging part. And you need it for two things - one is development, the other is basically lobbying or campaigning. You can start with either, but will need the other eventually:

if you secure initial funding, hire devs, and create a fork, you'll need to eventually invest in some form of monetization or marketing to convince EU citizens and/or politicians to fund the project.
if you secure initial funding and use it for lobbying/campaigning, you might eventually have enough funds to maintain the project in the long run but will then need to start hiring devs.

In either scenario you'll also have to overcome the overall community's reluctance to invest in the marketing/campaigning/lobbying part.

If you want it to be a robust, sustainable project, it's more about organizing and leading the effort than forking the code.

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Aral’s Mastodon

This is my personal Mastodon.