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

If I understand the calculation being made here, displaying advertisements for weapons manufacturers is apparently more essential to the long term future of the Nix project than the goodwill of a substantial portion of the people actually doing the work.

Seems to me like we’re gambling away quite a lot of volunteers just for the opportunity to attract more… Western Imperialism fans(?) to the project. I hope they like writing docs.


The very point of open source software is that one shouldn’t judge on where contributions comefrom.

SELinux came from the NSA? Huawei wants to make contributions to the networking stack in the kernel? Some random defence start-up wants to contribute a patch to a webserver? Cool, does it improve the project for everyone? Awesome then, onto the next PR.

And at the same time, anyone can use the code for whatever purpose they want to. And if anyone can use, anyone can pay people to then go and make further improvements (in theory at least).


This has exactly zero to do with the issue at hand. Don’t derail the conversation please.


Are commits to nixpkgs the measure of how to have your voice heard in the nix community? I’ve spend countless hours in chatroom talking to people about nix, getting them oriented in the ecosystems, helping troubleshoot problems. Are these contributions worth less? Do they diminish the value of my voice compared to those with high commit counts?

Then is there really a need for discussion here after 160+ posts? If this is the feeling, then shouldn’t this group just take their next action?

It seems sort of odd that that a large minority of people would expect a foundation that represents a huge diversity of view points to adopt their specific political stance. There probably won’t be much that most people can agree on, save that the foundation should work to advance the use and functionality of nix.


(post deleted by author)


Apparently there still is to many people here, but for those who just want to move on with it work is happening in a different thread: NixCon NA 2024 is getting sponsored by Anduril, what to do about it

So far it looks like I’m the only one to have made a concrete proposal (next to @tomberek’s initial work from a couple of months ago), but feel free to join me and add yours.

Quoting @thufschmitt on Matrix:

[…] there’s an open call next Wednesday to discuss a lightweight short-term policy that we can use right now (I’m personally leaning towards having something that requires publishing a tentative list of sponsors early enough in advance so that people can voice their potential concern, but as I said, that’s something to discuss there).

we should have something ready to show by then.


Quick heads-up (this was already mentioned in other related channels, but making sure that folks don’t miss it):

  • There’s an open call next Wednesday which will be the occasion to discuss a lightweight short-term policy that we can use right away (I know you just mentioned it @piegames, but it’s easy to miss as it’s hidden within a quote, so I’d rather make it more visible);
  • Several people asked how they could make sure that this was followed-up on and wouldn’t just die-off once the tide is over. Beyond the general discussion (which risks to die-off indeed), I think that the best way forward is to open a a pull-request to GitHub - NixOS/foundation: This is the home of the NixOS Foundation with a draft proposal.

And asked for precise changes.

What the individuals who signed do, or don’t do, about this situation is a personal choice.

I am of the opinion that leaving the project at this point is simply giving it on a platter. It is better to keep being involved, and observe how this turns out.

This week, we’ve shown that there is a proportion of the community who wants to see change on this topic. The silent do not necessarily agree. I (too) have received private messages from people who privately support the overall sentiment. I also know of people who didn’t sign because it did not go “far enough”.

This is not the total sum of displeased people, but a sample of those who keep up-to-date with the happenings in the broader community, and have the luxury and privilege to be able to voice their shared interest.

7 Likes writes:

Very sorry about the Russians comment; especially since they contribute so much to culture, science and technology, and nixOS (thanks! we love you). Nothing against “Russians”, just the war they started. “The Russians” is a sloppy, but idiomatic, way of saying “Russia” in the context of war. …

There’s a simple solution for that: just state how it really is by inlining definitions, then your

When my kids, or kids’ kids, are conscripted to fight the Russians etc. I want their tanks running nixOS and not stuck in the mud due to some Chinese trojan living undetected in a hacked OS till activated at doomsday.


When nomenklatura (Nomenklatura - Wikipedia AKA the political class) holding the bridles of power in my country conscripts my kids, or my kids’ kids, to fight the Russian kids conscripted by the nomenklatura holding the bridles of power over there, I want their tanks running NixOS …

And now you can deliberate whether you would really prefer that over, for instance, tactical-nuking nomenklatura’s bunkers instead of letting them play toy soldiers by enslaving children to kill other children (and let’s be honest, 18-21-year-olds are children regardless of what the laws say, forceful military draft and military mobilization are types of slavery, slavery is a crime against humanity).


Now, having signed the “against MIC advertisements on NixCon” petition, personally, I think above stated principle should be applied to all NixCon advertisements.

I.e. I would prefer it be more granular so that NixCon sponsors could freely advertise and hunt hires into projects that respect and protect individual freedoms but can’t do those things for projects that exploit and/or kill innocent people. (Yes.)

In cases where company’s main products are all dystopian and so the simple association is counter-productive I would prefer NixOS foundation to only take donations instead of sponsorships, yes.
(And yes, for me that means that I would rather both Google and Microsoft not be sponsors anytime soon. And, yes, I was against staying on GitHub after Microsoft bought it.)

I.e., in the case of Anduril, my problem is not with the tech itself. I just highly doubt that they sell any of their tech (that one could not replicate with off-the-shelf components) to any non-nomenklatura private individuals.
The state of the world where all The Presidents and Prime Ministers are safe but all inconvenient investigative journalists and whistle-blowers are assassinated by AI-controlled micro-drones running memory-safe dependently-typed Haskell code running on purely-functional NixOS Linux distribution (all the things to which I’m an eager contributor to) seems disheartening and demotivating to me.

Also, yes, code contributions are donations, kind of. But let’s not pretend that contributing a chunk of code to a FLOSS project is a purely selfless act, it also eases your own maintenance burdens.

Also, if “but they contributed such and such chunk of code to Nix community” is an argument for allowing advertisements on NixCon then I propose that all individuals who contributed code to Nix should also be allowed to advertise whatever they want on NixCon website and in official materials in proportion to their past contributions.
(Like, if we are doing that, I – who happen to be on-and-off contributing to Nixpkgs since SVN days — would love to see advertisements for, which I like very much, and my own latest baby over-project Own Data Privateer · GitHub both of which are virtually unknown, highly useful, and respect your freedoms.)
Let those evil advertisements drown in stuff useful to more than the “top” (generously speaking) 0.00001%.


Fair enough. I have changed my mind. I actually think that the nixOS board should seek consensus and if there is a problem they should get rid of the problem. We all need to work together and show the monopolistic data thieving mega companies how it can be done. I would rather that they pull the advertising and forgo the cash to keep as many good techies on board and avoid political disputes - irrespective of the “right” and “wrong” or “majority” view - we should just have as much as possible in common. One thing is for sure though, open source cannot be prevented from helping the bad guys and the good guys - so we are truly apolitical really. Even the Chinese are helped by FOSS… so be it…


May I formally register my explicit refusal to endorse this goal as stated? (I have nothing against explaining more in direct messages or in a thread where it would not be offtopic)

A purely procedural/logical observation: the board of the foundation has repeatedly, consistently taken position on various topics (not only the sponsorship) that it does not consider itself to have a mandate to make a case-by-case judgement call without having an established policy to follow. This is in fact why interim sponsorship policy mimics Apache’s one, minimising case-by-case judgement calls. At the same time, we have approximately zero precedents of succesful decision making «by community» without rather involved process policies. (Hmmm, can it be because we don’t really have and cannot have in any healthy way a cohesive community given the diversity of interests?). What I want to say is — if you start by assuming that a consistent foundation board position is bad judgement, uhm, maybe stop calling for them to make judgement calls with zero policy guidance?

I think the current board position is reasonable, but proposing a policy, assuming it is actually a policy text that can be generally applied, to be applied to new decisions since its finalisation but not retroactively, is also reasonable decision making. Some outlines of possible policies here look like they can indeed be finished.

In contrast, demanding case-by-case judgement calls from people whose judgement call has already been made as «we are not in a position where making case-by-case pure judgemenet calls would be proper» might achieve or not the direct result desired, but it is definitely not leading us to a place where we have decision making compatible with reason.

An observation on conflict of interest: strictly speaking, not only people linked in one way or another to companies with large contracts with the military have a conflict of interest here. The interpretation of sponsorships as more of an advertisement sale or more of an endorsement is also relevant to companies who estimate their chances of being kicked as low.


Note that one can agree with that line of thought, and still be of the opinion that companies like Anduril should not sponsor NixCon or any other NixOS-Foundation related events.

In the case of Anduril, one further argument against them is that their founder, Lucky Palmer, has been suspected to have fascist ideals, or at least openly associated with fascists before.

On a different note, I feel like many people in this thread don’t understand that Travis Whitaker is lead of one of Anduril’s software development teams. This makes it clear why he’s trying to derail this thread like he does. He’s not incapable of following arguments, just trying to put a spin on things.


Completely agree with you, and thank you for the reply. I don’t know enough about this specific company and their leadership to endorse them, my comment was a response to arguments in this thread that assume the universal default opinion that making weapons or engaging in war is unacceptable. In my understanding, such isolationist or pacifist approaches enabled fascism in the past - both recent far - and likely will again in the future.

The one issue, that I see the most critical, is the public perception.

I do consider the scenario, that open source outlets, Youtuber and that like, at one point, get wind of an endorsement of a defense company (to call it politely) and thats the end of NixOS as a choice for many, many people.

We will never get rid of this, and this will be our equivalent of the Amazon catastrophy and we will never shake this off.

People will forever assosiate us with murdering, sociopathical companies, who also develop anti-immigration tools and are strongly connected to Donald Trump.

So completely irrelevant, if you think, NixOS is not a political project - other people think it is, and judge it accordingly.

No matter if you think, that matters, it definitely puts us into a light, that will lead to many people leaving, and a ton not joining because of that.

If we like to take that risk - for 5000 $ - I think we deserve to fail.

This is a very clear decision. And that we have such a long discussion over this, is deeply concerning in regards to the secure attachment towards the rest of the community.

We dont want to become outcasts.


@TravisWhitaker, I totally missed this series of comments. I think it’s only fair that you get a response.

That sounds like a good outcome. In particular, it’s good for us in the community to know that, when we come together in solidarity, we can cow Anduril.

These snowclones are cute but missing the point; it’s not about offense, it’s about bodily harm to civilians.

As it happens, your whataboutism is orthogonal to the issue in front of us, so such labels would be quite astute.

It wouldn’t change my position nor remove my signature from the open letter, no.

At this point, I think it might be worthwhile to share a recent anti-war poem; I don’t think that it’s a bad thing that your argumentation is analogous to “crawling,” being “on [your hands and] knees,” or “begging [for] mercy.”


I attempted to edit to the past post, and waited an hour to do so.
It seems to be impossible with the current settings, so I enlarge my post hereby.

Completely regardless on your stance on this topic - I am pro ban of MIC, and this doesnt matter - this is a complete catastrophe, if it comes into the media.

If you want the perfect recipe for destruction of NixOS,
you will be served well at the current political climate.

And the storm will hit us maybe way more, than we theoretically deserve.
So no matter what you think on the matter: You have to consider this very real possibility.

This is a very clear decision.

Our image is over, if we become the warmongering, right extremist party supporting distribution.
Lots of people do not want to be associated to that, and either leave or not come in.

On a further note, I think this is the reason why, we, as the community can only go one step further to increase the clarity of our position.

I think first, that the acceptance of the first sponsorship should be enough reason, to call in the whole foundation and question these people onto the matter.

And so far as I am aware, did this happen.

So far as I am aware further, did the foundation not consider taking the necessary steps towards clearly distancing us all from defense contractors/MIC, and so far as I am concerned should this result in the immediate and exemplary removal of the foundation members.

At least of those, that defend this position.
I call for that now, and even more than I would had at the previous point.

We have gone the slippery slope even further since then, and some people
seem to prefer to dance salsa on this slope. :roll_eyes:

Second, I think it is not enough, considering the eminent danger due to the split within our organisation, to simply a) do nothing, and b) ditch MIC as potential sponsors.

Those are both no sufficient actions, in the face of this admittedly imagined scenario, that is considerably informed on controversies within the open source community in the past.

We do complain about such issues loud and clear, and many people are very passionate about that, and will do everything in their power, to shut a project like this down.

Make no mistake, this is a serious situation in more than just the personal preference, in my humble opinion.

In order to protect the project, I think simply going back to square one is considered to be a half-assed at this point, and the people who see this topic critical, can possibly think that we truly do support those issues further, and just retreat for a second, still the storm is over.

As this is usually the case, in such situations. :slightly_smiling_face:

My proposal is to go one step further, and re-license the components of NixOS to make them require, to behave in a humane and peaceful way, in order to use our services.

In simple terms, I imagine the infrastructure that NixOS provides, to be explicitly available (in legal terms) only for companies, persons and any other entities, that comply with said license.

I know this would be tricky to enforce, and as you can imagine, is this another can of worms, that is to open and dissect, before we move on. For now, just consider this as an obvious talking point.

Completely regardless on your stance on this topic - I am pro ban of MIC, but this doesnt matter - this is a complete catastrophe, if this comes into the media.

This is a way - the only way that I see - how we can make crystal clear, that we decide, as community, to play no part in anti-immigration technology, discrimination, and ultimately even issues like ethnic cleansing, and genocide.

I know this is a difficult topic, and yeah: There are also other industries and entities, that we currently provide services to, and I am aware that the arms industry is only one of many, and we facilitate many other atrocities this way currently, and that we all like to do better.

If its not too late already.


I strongly oppose the MIC sponsorship of NixOS/NixCon.

I am from Peru. In December 2022, the US sponsored the regime change of a democratically elected president. Causing massive protests.
I participated in the protests in Andahuaylas, one of the poorest regions of Peru, and I personally saw the military shot into a crowd, where there were children and women. My sister was beaten. My brother beaten and arrested for participating in peaceful protests. It was one of the few times I genuinely feared for my life.
The balance was 69 deaths and thousands of injured.
All with the full support of the US.

Likewise, in the ongoing genocide in Palestine, US is providing unconditional support to Israel’s genocidal atrocities in Gaza. Anduril, led by a crypto-fascist troll, is using Gaza as testing ground.

I just want to show you that these debates have a real impact on the lives of real people.
I know it can be difficult to see this from the perspective of the oppressed and colonized people.

I contribute to NixOS out of love, I am not paid in any way.
I was deeply disappointed by Anduril sponsorship of NixCon 2023, and I’ve explored migrating my stuff to Guix, and it’s doable.

If the NixOS Foundation, despite the request of multiple users/contributors, aims to allow MIC sponsorship. I’ll immediately abandon any form of contribution. I don’t plan to be an accomplice.


This approach, which clearly is to intimidate based on personal political views, could send a discouraging signal to potential contributors, ultimately harming the NixOS community. I suggest reconsidering your position with the broader community’s wellbeing in mind.


More than 25% of last years nixpkgs contributions came from people on the open letter, let’s maybe listen to current contributors first. If anything, I know several people who have been turned away from nix because of anduril, I also know part of my reasoning not to want nixlang wiki stuff to be “official” is because of things like anduril still being a problem despite the strong community backlash.

The board doesn’t listen to the community because Anduril has money and power, and the NixOS foundation is run by companies with a profit motive that seems fine sacrificing community goodwill to improve their market position.

But we’re not here to give free commits to the companies of the board, and I’m sure most of the community isn’t looking to turn NixOS into a commercial product. So why should we accept that the wishes of the community aren’t respected?

I think the ultimate question isn’t whether or not the community is harmed, it’s how harmed the relationship between the community and the board are, and where that lands will determine whether the project should even be seen as a “community” going forward IMO.

If the communities wishes aren’t respected, then they’re just being used.

Anduril is not the community.



If you want NixOS to actually be successful (which I would imagine is the main mission of the community)

i don’t see the foundation’s statutes on the site or github (while the chamber of commerce paywalls it), but i for one am not cheering for more military equipment to switch to NixOS, so i do wonder if that is (or should be) its goal.


We do complain about such issues loud and clear, and many people are very passionate about that, and will do everything in their power, to shut a project like this down.

technology is not neutral, NixOS included. in a scenario of drones vs civilians (as is currently a reality), NixOS seems more likely to aid the side operating the drones, not unlike how Anduril is running it already.

although one might frame measures hampering bad impact as counter-productive (as with the sponsorship), at some point, measures (perhaps including such a hypothetical split) might be justified, if not necessary, if not insufficient - we may need to actually consider the impact of our technology overall if not on the level of specific pull requests.