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

Here’s various relevant threads in other open-source communities about job offers by Anduril, always met with the same criticism we’re seeing here:

I’d also like to highlight this:

all of our products boot Linux (NixOS, in fact)


Just read through the entire section here as It seems everybody on this platform is here and it kept popping up in my suggestions. I’m a newbie, I just started using NixOS recently, I didn’t contribute much and I don’t know if I have a say in the matter. To be honest, I’m not even that technically savvy, just a friendly linux enthusiast.

At first my thoughts were like - nah, I don’t care who is sponsoring FOSS, hopefully money will be put to a greater good these are resources for further FOSS development! But upon further inspection of the whole thread I was kind of surprised that some users think that receiving funds from military contractors from certain countries is somehow completely okay and receiving funds from other similar organizations is not, arguing that receiving sponsorship from military contractors from the ‘other side’ would be morally wrong and receiving from the ‘right’ side would be okay.

I mean, I want to reiterate again, I’m not against military contractors sponsoring FOSS, but the point about the PR backlash if a military contractor from Russia/China or any other entity (there’s probably some in Latin America, Africa or other countries and parts of the globe) decided to do the same is still a valid point. I guess it wouldn’t hurt for organization to have certain ethical policies if it intends to expand and develop internationally, and I do understand why this issue received backlash from so many users, especially during these tough times when so many military conflicts erupt world-wide at the same time.

Personally, I would like FOSS projects to unite people and provoke dialogue, cooperation and personal improvement not to divide people into ‘factions’ or ‘friends and foes’. I guess, if this sponsorship issue might deter a huge chunk of contributors, it would be beneficial for users to get some sort of official response. I guess keeping people in the dark just makes contributors and users unnecessarily nervous and come to some far-fetched conclusions.

P.S. I also made a research about Anduril (didn’t know too much about that organization), and really wouldn’t want to see myself or my relatives to be targeted by their products, considering the fact that I’m not living in a NATO country (not from Russia or China either). I guess, watching things they produce can make you paranoid these days.


Just to be clear: You would similarly welcome as sponsors arms dealers from Russia, China, and Iran?


Put me in the “yes” camp. I don’t believe one can meaningfully support the Ukrainian defence effort and oppose the existence of NATO defence contractors. Yes, ultimately this means killing people, but I believe state violence is necessary in this case, and supplying weapons and other military technology is valuable and necessary work.


From the outside, the actions of the foundation are interpreted as representative of the community’s values as a whole. And the issue being discussed now is not whether the foundation (speaking for the community, ideally) should endorse or condemn a defense contractor. It’s simply about whether “we” should endorse them or not.

In other words, the default action is to not accept a sponsorship, and express no particular point of view. To accept the sponsorship would be to take a positive action towards endorsement. A move that would directly contradict the views of so so many people in the community, as demonstrated so thoroughly in this very thread. In that light, I find it hard to see a justification for accepting such a sponsorship.

Not accepting would, if anything, express that the community’s point of view on defense contractors is “no consensus,” which, also looking at this thread, feels accurate.

Now if another company offered to pay for the foundation to explicitly condemn them, or if your view is that the foundation must accept sponsorship deals from defense contractors (which I don’t believe is the opinion of anyone here), then there would be an argument to be made in opposition of not accepting.

Taking action and choosing to endorse Andruil would be an insult to a very large portion of the community, which if nothing else, would be a violation of our goal of providing a safe and welcoming community. Especially when the default (no action) is so easy and so uncontroversial that it literally happens automatically.

If a decision really does come down to just the number of people that are against sponsoring Andruil, then please add my +1 to that number.


I oppose anything using the Nix/NixOS trademark from accepting a defense sector sponsorship.

A conference accepting a sponsorship from any company is not a politically neutral action; it is an explicit endorsement of that company. That’s literally the entire reason companies sponsor conferences so that the conference will endorse the sponsor (such as by prominently emblazoning the sponsor’s logo, for example) and improve the sponsor’s standing/image in the community. There is nothing politically neutral about that.


I don’t believe anyone in this thread has voiced opposition to the existence of arms dealers - NATO providers otherwise?

Nor has anyone suggested that NixOS do so.

The opposition voiced in the thread and elsewhere is to NixOS, through sponsorship deals, endorsing any arms dealer - regardless of which states and alliances they sell to.

Your confusion is understandable. There has been an impressive effort to deploy smoke to obscure that very distinction. Just as the foundation has failed to show the courage of their convictions and explicitly state the reality of the stance they are taking on behalf of the community.


I oppose any association with the “defense” sector.

I oppose helping, in any way, the military-industrial complex and, I think, their significant contributions to the perpetual wars we are in.


A sponsorship generally comes with the permission to broadly advertise as well, which can include advertising your job offerings


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.

1 Like

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.)