Here's how it works on sourcehut:

You pay us the subscription fee of your choice and you get access to our services. We spend it on maintaining and upgrading the hardware, and paying for staff to handle development, operations, support, and on-call.

Because we don't take money from investors, we're only accountable to users, and if we aren't working in your interests, we lose our revenue. We are incentivized to work for you, not to generate a return.

Because we're running 100% free software, we're held accountable because anyone can take our shit and run it on their own servers, or even bootstrap a competing company using our own software. We've made it easy to run out out of business if we lose your trust.

We also don't have any incentives to do things like accept contracts with military institutions, ICE, etc, unlike some of our competitors.

I want you to ask questions like "what is the ultimate goal of this business" and "to whom does this business owe its incentives" of the businesses you rely on, and from that make predictions about how they'll behave in the future. And I think we have good answers and our competitors don't.

@sir if ice would publicly acknowledge running an instance would you do anything about it?

@af @sir ignoring someone running your libre software, which they can, as long as they stick to the license terms != accepting contracts to do custom work for them

@af @sir that isn't how FOSS works and is essentially the attitude behind ethical licenses which are *NOT* open source licenses.

@sir playing devil's advocate here but couldn't someone bootstrap a competing company using your own software even if you do everything right

@druide yes, and I encourage them to do so. We could help hold each other accountable and share improvements to the software with each other (it's AGPL, so they'd be required to publish their changes).

But I don't think that would be a fatal blow for sourcehut, because we would still have the trust in that situation. We have assets you can't easily reproduce, like a few tens of thousands invested in server hardware, plus human resources like development expertise and familiarity with the systems, and the demonstrated ability to provide a performant and reliable service.

@sir @druide as a sourcehut user, even if another service came along that was free I honestly wouldn't switch because (1) I'm already set up on sourcehut and (2) what are those other guys up to

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