Should organizations relating to the defense sector being able to sponsor NixOS?

Why would one wish to not “endorse” Anduril, while accepting sponsorship from some other company, organisation, or government?

Without a compelling answer to that question, I can’t see a reason to block them.

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This thread is full of offered answers to this question. Don’t be a sea lion.


I would also like to pose the question, are we creating a welcoming community for other sponsors?

Some groups within Google use Nix, would they want to sponsor with the potential blow-back around Nix “ethics board” looking into data privacy concerns?

Amazon, Google, Oracle, and Google provide DoD cloud services, will we reject their donations too?

I think you’ll find that very few in the established corporate world have their hands clean of any potential “wrong-doing”.

If the Nix Ecosystem ever wants to graduate from “hobbyists” to “force in the industry”; I think there will have to be some compromise about how industry gets involved with helping fund efforts.

The current state of NixOS is not sustainable, either we’ll need to severely cut back infra (compute, storage, CDN) or involve more entities.

In other words, do you prioritize a specific world view, or do you prioritize a technology? I think Nix should be concerned about promoting Nix first.


@jonringer I think that’s a bit of whataboutism. Those companies aren’t before us in this issue today. It’s not really reasonable to try and judge the entire category of the problem in order to address one part of it. And I think most people in this thread would consider Anduril to be in a whole other league of ethical concerns than those, due in part to the immediacy of Anduril’s relationship to conflict. It’s like a judicial system; you have to judge the case that’s actually in front of you, and set a precedent that is both effective and least likely to have unintended effects on other cases.


I’m also curious about this. Has Anduril broken some sort of community or foundation rule? Or does this boil down to “some people, comprising an unknown fraction of the ‘community,’ don’t like (what they imagine might be) Anduril’s products?”


Travis, this is hard to read as anything other than a bad-faith argument. Read the current thread, and this one, and this one for plenty of diverse opinions for and against, instead of pretending that you couldn’t possibly imagine what they are. No sea lioning, any of you.


This accusation is unfair, especially coming from a moderator. I was specifically replying to AngryAnt’s odd moral distinction between opposing the existence of arms dealers and opposing their NixOS sponsorship. I mean, if you’re OK with Anduril existing, why oppose their sponsorship?

But sure, let me throw it out there anyway, what is the specific objection to an Anduril sponsorship? Because it hasn’t really been fully spelled out.

Is it that they are ultimately involved in the business of killing people? But this is a necessary and good thing, in this case. Is it that this would be a political decision? Yes, but so what? Or is it that, regardless of the ethics of Anduril’s work, people just don’t want to be associated with even necessary and just killing? Or is it that we don’t wish to alienate people who are opposed to Ukrainian independence?


I am intervening in my role as a moderator.

It has. In several different ways. This comment is an example from two hours ago of spelling out why that commenter is opposed to any defense sector sponsorships. The comment immediately above it is an example of spelling out why that commenter thinks that sponsorships that spark a vocal controversy should be avoided. That’s just in the last three hours, on a thread with 100 comments, among two other relevant threads where many people have made a variety of different cases.

Don’t claim it hasn’t been spelled out if you can’t be bothered to scroll a dozen comments up to look for it. That is textbook sea lioning.

Next sea lion commenter gets muted.


I’ll agree. But in the eyes of a risk-adverse corporate entity, is there a meaningful difference? Who’s to say the line in the sand won’t move tomorrow? Effective and precise policy language may help in this regard, but multiple reneging on sponsorships doesn’t put NixOS in a “predictable and obvious marketing win” position.

I’m skeptical of a way to phrase: “We welcome everyone to participate and sponsor Nix. Unless you do the following: anything we disagree with” in a way which won’t push businesses away. If a company is awarded a large government + defense adjacent contract, would they have to re-evaluate their relationship to nix? Are they suddenly evil?

I’m aware this is a slippery slope argument, but I’m also concerned that “additive requirements” (e.g. Companies MUST also do X, Y, Z), will be added in the future. And then the “ethics committee” will need to ensure that each company is in compliance of those statues as well.

In other words, I would like to minimize the reasons for a company to “say no” when giving NixOS money, donations, sponsorships.


Well, because A.

But why is A a bad thing?

Because A will lead to B.

But why is B a bad thing?

Because B is a type of C.

But why is C a bad thing?

…Why… how could… I mean, C is just something I think most people really dislike?

A-ha! Mayyyyyybe this is just a thing you dislike but nothing is actually wrong!

Please convince me that this is not the argument you’re trying to have by clarifying what sort of reason would satisfy your questioning, because it seems to me that the comments I link do give reasons that just don’t satisfy you.

(Also, the topic of this thread is the defense sector, not Anduril specifically, so posters here are naturally going to avoid the subject of what specifically is their problem with Anduril if they want to stay on topic.)

Edited to add: Here are five more comments, this time selected from the first 20 in this thread, containing well-articulated explanations for why those commenters oppose defense sector sponsorships.

Read up! I’m not going to do any more of these round-ups. If these five don’t satisfy you either, read the remainder of the thread yourself; I’m sure you’ll find more, and read the other threads if you want even more than that.


(For anyone who’s not a fan of Lewis Carroll’s contributions to logic:

(a) What’s wrong with you?!

(b) This is supporting @rhendric’s point.

For anyone who is a fan but sees that Carroll’s making a similar but subtler point:

Yes, fair.)


The lines in the sand moving day to day is a part of normal business conditions. Now another question is whether the line in the sand is drawn anywhere at all, and I get the impression that opposing the idea of drawing it is popular in this thread.

I guess you could word it so that being rejected for not-stated-before reasons becomes just as advertisable as being a sponsor, but cheaper, so why not roll the dice?

I think «not pushing businesses away» is not universally accepted as valuable either, or maybe people expect some subset of businesses to be clearly accepted even if on the whole it does not look safe without policies (naturally, «not pushing all businesses away» is valued higher by physical event organisers and by Foundation who runs the infrastructure…)

In part Amazon is not in this issue because it has been accepted that actively soliciting sponsorship to Foundation from them is fine. And that giving Microsoft the power to memory-hole parts of our technical decision making (presumably this is more than endorsement via taking a sponsorship?) is OK.

So if we want to have interpretable precedents, asking about the line in the sand is very natural, and we shouldn’t forget that good cases make case law if not enough care is applied.

It’s simply about whether there is a single «we» or «community» around the project. Cohesive enough to make decisions without either writing explicit policies (and refining the drafts until the annoyance with them looks balanced) or accepting whatever suboptimal but more consistent decision a small group people with a demonstrated long-term commitment to the project will make.

(I personally is fine the Foundation mimicking Apache and adopting «ad-selling» standards here; I am not in favour of refusing to divert military resources to things that also have civilian uses but I agree that an explicit policy that can be applied universally will work; case-by-case vibe-based decision making is a way to redo the whole dance more times than makes sense)

I think some of the broader condemnations are very natural to interpret as opposition in principle to existence of the weapon manufacturers. Nobody has called to any active direct action against them, this I agree.


There are a lot of posts in this thread by now. It is quite understandable you would choose to skim most of it. Allow me to summarise the difference:

Setting aside host country/venue limitations, compare sponsorship endorsing a Chinese/Russian/Iranian medical company to doing the same for an arms dealer from those countries.

Seeing a banner with the company logo or perhaps some inspirational renderings of their products in pampflets at the event, would you imagine that regardless of the kind of company, an attendee from Taiwan/Ukraine/Israel would feel equally safe and welcome?

I didn’t know these companies were manufacturing military devices!

Wait where is my good sense gone ?

We should accept sponsorship from companies that are materially supporting Ukrainian sovereignty and Taiwanese self-rule.

We should not accept sponsorship from companies that are materially supporting the Russian invasion of Ukraine or the PRC’s threat to Taiwan.

Hope that helps!


I have no interest in continuing in this thread beyond what I have already mentioned, but felt it necessary to reply here.

How does one come to this determination? How do we decide which weapons dealers are acceptable? Do they have to be from your country? What about Russian contributors to NixOS? Do they need to be producing weapons for countries that don’t commit war crimes? I have bad news for you…

There are no good guys.

And yet, the problem we are discussing here is that many contributors do not want their work being used to advertise the sale of weapons and tools of war. That is the only ask here and, seemingly, that request is too much for some to even consider.

EDIT: this is primarily in response to Should organizations relating to the defense sector being able to sponsor NixOS? - #110 by AshleyYakeley


You know what? I am plenty fine if the Nix ecosystem “can’t” graduate from “hobbyists” to “force in the industry”, if the cost is making “a compromise” (but actually compromising) my deeply held moral beliefs.

And, uh, the Nix ecosystem can definitely and will definitely “graduate” [assuming like you imply it hasn’t] without having to stoop that low.


I really don’t understand the point that is brought up frequently that some people may not feel welcome. Thats why there are geographically different events. And the Chinese / Russian can also set up their own conference where they accept their corresponding MIC sponsors. At the end, I think it should be up to the organizers to decide which is a good sponsor / bad sponsor of that particular event. And I personally would love to see Anduril at Nixcon NA, because they are one of the key innovators in that space and really build meaningful and impactful technologies. That help us in the rough waters ahead. And if people are butt hurt about it, consider just setting up the pacifist nixcon NA.


I’m not influential enough to make a statement and have everyone think about it but here are a few thoughts. Before that, though, let me preface it by saying, I am not and will never be affected by any outcome/result of this discussion, whatsoever. I am not an employee at any defence company, nor will receive a single penny if the sponsorship goes ahead, nor will I lose anything if this sponsorship is dropped.

Given the following, I don’t think it’s “unethical” to accept sponsorship from Andruil, or any other such company. “We” here refers to the Nix users, community members and people in the foundation.

  1. We do not, even in the slightest, mention or encourage the use of weapons. By Andruil, or anyone else.
  2. We are not getting involved with [the packaging and/or maintenance of] any software made/designed specifically, or with the intention of causing physical harm to a living being.
  3. Everyone’s (not just Andruil’s employee’s) presentation(s) in conference(s), or contribution(s) to any Nix and/or Nix-related project, in any way, shape or form, does not involve talking about, and/or inclusion of, any such software or system that is used to injure/kill a living being.

That said, I have a few questions. Think of it as a “moral check.”

If you quote-answer one, quote-answer all questions. Don’t half-ass it. I will not be engaging with any quote-answers that do not answer all of my questions.

  1. Since we are not funding the “war,” does it make a difference?
  2. Since we are not providing any services [firsthand] about creating any weapon used in “war,” what difference does it make?
  3. You do realize that defence isn’t just about pouring money in, right? That “blood money” given to Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Andruil always comes back into the economy. The employees pay taxes on items they buy + income taxes. Is using that money (indirectly coming out of MIC) okay?
  4. What level of indirection (or changing hands, as one might say) of “blood money” is okay for you? Don’t say ‘none.’ there is none.
  5. Would it be okay to accept sponsorship from another big [tech] company, say Apple or Tesla? If yes, which ones?
  6. Speaking about Apple and Tesla, there is proof that both of these companies make incredibly, and shockingly excess use of child labour, in even more ruthless conditions. Almost every battery-powered device (other than the fair trade ones) in your home/office has a sweat and tear of a child who mined that lithium that went in your battery.

This isn’t whataboutism or a rant that says “Oh look bad things happen everywhere so we should just ignore it.” Quite the opposite, I just want to know where you draw the ethical line.

Is this bad? Absolutely. No doubts about this.
Is this a “necessary evil?” I believe so, yes. But, this answer still doesn’t mean that we accept their money, though.

The only difference in rejecting this sponsorship is making an active choice of declining one such instance of funding/getting funded by defence money. If that’s your stance, I’m with you. If you feel like accepting the sponsorship, I’m with you on that too.

End note, repeating myself once again: I don’t have a ball in this game other than being a good citizen to my country and a hobbyist (+ frustrated) Nix user.


I would like to remind everyone that militaries receive orders from governments and are financed by governments. If a government chooses to misuse the military to start a war, and the defense contractors are fine with it, then I would be opposed to having any connection to said government and its arms manufacturers. Until then, I have no issues with either.