NixCon 2023 Sponsorship Situation from the NixOS Foundation

Separating out yet another discussion thread, because I think that it deserves attention on its own without getting drowned in the Anduril pro/contra: NixCon NA 2024 is getting sponsored by Anduril, what to do about it

I am pretty disappointed and also a bit disillusioned that the discussions I had with several folks at NixCon23 and also the discourse of the wider community did not bear any fruits. These discussions felt really nuanced. But now this feels like same :poop:, different continent.
It might be a different continent with slightly related values in the local core organiser team, but it’s still the same NixOS foundation, still the same more-or-less global Nix community that such events are tapering towards.

But I guess we could’ve seen that coming: In this thread, several people tried to frame the NixCon 23 issue about mostly-to-exclusively being caused by the venue policies. No matter whether this was their honest believe or not, it is a very good excuse to act as if nothing happened when you’re in another venue.
But the civil clause of the venue was just one of the contributing factors. Several organisers and volunteers were really concerned about Anduril as a sponsor, both due to them being a manufacturarer of killing devices as well as due to the rightwing ties of the company’s founder. Some marginalised folks I talked to really felt uncomfurtable and threatened by the presence of such a sponsor. I am also aware of some other sponsors that were rather unhappy about being listed next to Anduril.

This is why I hold the strong opinion that throwing out Anduril before NixCon23 was a good and correct decision. Of course that topic was still discussed at the venue, but not as a central issue and only by those who were interested in such discussions. At the same time, it avoided major community tensions at the conference.
To be fair, throwing out Anduril was just the 2nd best course of action – because never accepting them as a sponsor in the first place would’ve been even better.

The thing is, I myself as a part of the community am not that hyped to become a blanket of them buying their way into being normalised by popping up everywhere at a community conference.Because this is part of what they’re spending the money for.

Note: I deliberately posted this into this thread, as this post is mainly about my experience at NixCon 23


Why does anyone’s political views matter in nix? are you saying we should be anti-rightwing as a community doctrine?

If you want to build a vibrant community that can cooperate on projects with combined efforts, but also profiting from their various experiences and perspectives, then yes, you better position yourself in such a way – which is inherently anti-right-wing.

Regarding the political views:
Over at the other thread I elaborate my point that for some community members, it might indeed just be about a conflict with their personal political stances. But there is a group of people for whom this is not about plain discomfort, but it is about not feeling welcome, safe, or even being threatened and re-traumatised.

We need to be aware that even a welcoming conference always ostracises some people. There are the active decisions like dropping problematic sponsors, those may be the loud ones.
But then there are the silent non-decisions through which we cause people to avoid community spaces. Those might feel like passive ones, but they are not, as we can know what we’re allowing to happen there.
If I need to choose between the marketing effects for a sponsor and the well-being of several community members, I know which choice to make.

Additionally, what we build is political: It is shaped by our perspective on the world, is used by political actors and this usage might influence its further development. The software we build also again shapes the cases where it is used. Code is law.


Can you elaborate to how being right-wing is antithetical to having “vibrant community, cooperation, and sharing experiences” ? Thank you :man_bowing:

In fact, given the international nature of our community, it might make the conversation healthier if we only talked about support for specific policies or ideals rather than labels like left or right wing, which can not only confuse many distinct ideas together but also mean different things in North America versus Europe, for instance.


Left and Right are fighting words.


So like, if it was legal it would be fine? Yikes.

In the specific context of Anduril, an American company with ties and sympathies to the policies of Donald Trump and Mike Pence, I feel like we can reasonably consider right wing the North American variant.

Generally speaking, specially with the aforementioned consideration of North American right wing policies, the racist, sexist, homophobic and transphobic policies advocated under such right wing groups very much run counter to an cooperative and vibrant community.


We can, but my point is that not all of our readers are going to be equally familiar with what that means. It’d be helpful and clearer to talk about specifics. The list of adjectives is probably not much more productive. We’re talking about the founder of Anduril, right? Surely there are some specific things that the founder of Anduril supports or does not support that can be used as direct evidence for the claim that his politics put him in conflict with the goal of ‘vibrant community, cooperation, and sharing experiences’, as requested? Generalities are just preaching to the converted and evidence to the unconverted that there’s no there there.

I’m trying to maintain a shred of responsible impartiality here or I’d offer some additional thoughts.


Perhaps we ought to sort by controversial.

I suspect, given the differences between the US and Europe, let alone the current US political climate, that this sponsorship situation is a scissor statement, dividing the formerly mostly-unified community into two halves that don’t particularly like the other. :scissors:

As a raised by Mennonite person, I deeply value peace. My three children all have names that refer to “peace.” When I find peace, I treasure it. :dove:

I’ve come to realize in adulthood that the mentality that refuses to wear buttons isn’t due to the buttons themselves. Yes, soldiers wear buttons; yes, weapons cause incredible harm. But the peace-seeking initiative inside also wants to assert things that only those with weapons can assert.

Let me be more clear: I’ve learned, as an adult, that weapons can cause peace. And good effective weapons in the hands of those who seek peace can cause more peace than ineffective weapons in the hands of those who cannot seek peace.

What I want from this community is two fold:

  1. Don’t confuse the making of weapons with the making of war.
  2. Don’t allow those who mean to make war, and to use what we’ve made as a weapon, inside.

It’s two “don’t” statements. That means it is inherently confusing. Sorry.


I say that if you tried to give an example of «there is some case everything agrees being legal is not enough», these are not this example, and «everyone agrees» kind of does have have something to with whether EU succeeds at imposing sanctions too.

Considering the Open Letter Against MIC, I decided the other side’s voice should also be able to sign their support of the military of Western governments. Even if this view was traditionally a minority in tech, I am not so sure it’s still a minority opinion in tech communities, even if not as vocal. Especially as this is beyond NixOS, it reaches towards the whole tech sector’s attitude towards working with the military and for governments. This anti-military and anti-western gov sentiment could be seen as somehow naive yet good-hearted for many years. Still, it’s harder and harder to ignore it when Western values respected worldwide we take for granted are being questioned as the West is declining.

Anyone who actually would like to voice their support towards society standing behind the military and our governments, feel free to sign here via PR: GitHub - nixos-users-for-western-mil-and-govs/

1 Like

Why only Western military stuff?


This whole governance debate is extremely tiring. Good thing the NixOS Foundation is deliberately not taking a stance thanks to Eelco and leaving it to the communities to sink or swim on their own, it may drive away anyone who’s disinterested in armchair forum moralizing and internet drama otherwise, lol. Excellent compartmentalization of damage, and a great reason to continue using NixOS.

Without authority, rules have no strength. The community founders and main contributors are its de facto authority. If they abuse this position, they lose contributors and the project dies or gets forked under different rules. -Pieter Hintjens


This is the type of inflammatory comments that start drama… and surely the Pieter Hintjens quote counts as “forum moralzing”…

Makes sense you’re still here :stuck_out_tongue:


Why only Western military stuff?

Thanks for helping to illustrate the point. :slight_smile:

Great reason to stick with Eelco’s “just do what you will with Nix” stance and not take sides.