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

Less of this, please.


Okay, hold up right here. Nobody has to dox themselves. Bias can be relevant but any of us could be working for the defense sector and so you have to argue against the argument, not the person.

No personal attacks, or this thread gets locked.

[Edited to add: patka requested that I delete the above comment. The admonition stands.]


Accepting questionable sponsors like Anduril these drives away more ethical sponsors and contributors.
The long term cost is simply too high to accept them.

This is effectively just like E.A. is trying to make money, by just being good enough to not lose customers completely.
We should strive to be better instead of stopping short of a sellout.


I would consider conflicts of interest highly relevant, actually. “Anyone could be working for a defense contractor” is not a good reason to deliberately shroud that fact in darkness.


It’s only a conflict of interest if they’re in a position of power over the situation. Asking someone to dox themselves is not ok in this forum IMO.


This is why Copyleft licenses were invented :yum:.

On a more serious note, I guess it’s been said often enough in this thread that sponsorship with its perks and other ecosystem contributions are different things. So I am fine with this part of your position.
Of course there are specific cases where I’d also hope the community or the respective maintainers are going to reject code contributions if possible. I’m thinking about companies like HackingTeam or NSO group which cannot be deemed to be trustworthy, when they’re mainly working on exploting vulnerabilities for their own good and making the whole software ecosystem a less safe place.
But these are very specific cases and not what we’re discussing here.

And I outlined why this might be problematic and has the potential to disrupt a community conference.
If they care so much about Nix they’ll find other means to contribute if they really want to. But if they’re just doing it for the perk of exposure, then they might not care that much. And we might to make a choice.
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.

Re doxing/ conflict of interests:
As a privacy advocate I share the concerns and agree that you cannot force people to dox themselfs.
But when it comes to conflicts of interests, it is the individual responsibility of everyone to declare their own (potential) conflicts of interests if there are any – or not take part in the discussions. Otherwise it is hard to have an honest debate.
If someone fails to do so and such conflicts are later revealed, that’s not doxing IMO.


Opinion noted. Don’t do it anyway. Message me if this is a problem for you.

I agree with this. If someone with hard power here—like a mod—is in your opinion using their power in a way that is influenced by where they get their money, that is an issue. The recourse available to you is to bring it up with a (probably different) mod, not to dox or ask others to disclose details they aren’t comfortable volunteering.

My DMs are open if you want to discuss this without the 1-hour waiting period.


Strong +1, and I will add that the foundation’s complete lack of care about ethics is making me reconsider how much I want to be involved with the project right now. This NixCon NA incident is ridiculous due to being an almost complete re-occurrence of the NixCon EU incident last year. The fact that the foundation decided it would be OK to approve this without having figured out where the community stands on this ethical subject makes me wonder whether they really have the health of the NixOS community as a top priority.


This is essentially asking to dox myself to clear my name in Nix the community.

I was hoping to keep my personal (Nix life) separate, as I consider being a Nix contributor very close to my identity (or at least had prior to Nov 2021, RFC 98). Actually fell into a deep depression while sorting myself out after having the perceived “loss” of the community. (Then again people are looking into my personal life for malicious intent).

My employment was not an influencing factor in any of this. I’m a recent hire, had no connection to Anduril during the 2023 NixCon “situation” (as labeled from the other thread). Took no part in securing the sponsorship, and the NixOS Foundation was not aware of my employment (this would have likely had no effect anyway, but felt like being transparent).

I’ve been a Nix member first for the past 5 years, in which I worked at 6 different institutions. I’ve been a Nix community member long before this job and will likely be a Nix member long after this job. Adopting policies like sponsorship criteria extends much further than the average stint in a particular position.

However, I don’t appreciate people looking into my personal life. You would have had to gone outside of any Nix platform to find the information. (I’m not trying to hide it, just stopped updating it outside LinkedIn).

To reiterate from the CoC:

Examples of behavior that contributes to creating a positive environment include:

  • Focusing on what is best for the community

Examples of unacceptable behavior by participants include:

  • Trolling, insulting/derogatory comments, and personal or political attacks
  • Public or private harassment
  • Publishing others’ private information, such as a physical or electronic address, without explicit permission
  • Other conduct which could reasonably be considered inappropriate in a professional setting

If the NixOS Foundation decides to filter their sponsors, then I will respect it and move on with my life. Whether they do or don’t get financial kickback is not relevant to me submitting or reviewing PRs to improve NixOS.


@no_name please change your communication style if you want to take part in this discussion. I see you concern trolling, derailing into tangential topics and generally your arguments feel like made in bad faith. Your tirade of rhetorical questions feels overly aggressive. This is not constructive.

@johnny your point would be no weaker if you removed the ad hominem attack from it.


I personally don’t think any defense contractor should be able to use our platform and events for advertisement, if they wanna give us money, they can use the open collective and I have no problem with that. But if they expect us to give them publicity in return, then absolutely not.


Totally onboard with this. And there are enough baddies in the world. I am a bit surprised that not more got a proper wake-up call on the 24 February 2022. That militaries and the military industrial complex are needed and serve a purpose in such times.

I personally think that the argument, some people might feel intimidated by military sponsors shouldn’t be our problem. You could be intimidated by a lot of things. I could hold a crutch against e.g. determinant systems and maybe don’t come to nixcon because of that. Does that make determinant systems a bad sponsor? - no. The same goes for Anduril in my mind - people maybe don’t like them: (okay - their opinion) - but that doesn’t make them a bad sponsor.


I don’t think the sarcasm is appreciated. You are obviously well aware that people are referring to the development and sale of weapons.


considering that Anundril advertises its products with phrases such as “accelerates complex kill chains”, I have no doubt their business is killing people. I refuse to link their site in order to promote their SEO, but you can find it readily on one of their products’ pages.


I am also against sponsorships of this kind. I think this would not be much of a discussion if it was a Russian defense contractor we were talking about and I don’t think it matters a lot which imperialist government a company is selling arms to (at least regarding our community).
We cannot realistically prohibit them from using the software, this is just how FOSS works. But it has to be clear that those companies are not doing sponsorships for their deep love of the community, but to sell more weapons to kill more people. And I don’t think this is something we should support.


and this does in no way translate to Anundril killing people.

Anti-ballistic missiles are weapons, but what is their function?
For whom are the weapons being developed? Is Anundril pulling the triggers?

I agree. If you are “anti-defense” it would seem to me that you’d welcome their time and budget being spent on software of which we all benefit from.


Warfare has its own lexicon: The A to Z of military terms | The Economist

The kill chain refers to the process of identifying a target, making a decision over whether and how to attack it, and then attacking it using an “effector”, which can include a lethal weapon or a non-lethal tool such as an electronic jammer. America’s armed forces use the acronym F2T2EA: find, fix, track, target, engage and assess. Armed forces generally want to shorten the kill chain, to give targets less time to get away and to paralyse an enemy. The term “kill web” is sometimes used.

I would like to avoid unproductive arguments about language used, it’s a world likely to be unfamiliar to a lot of people. So it can be jarring for some. Any defense contractor would likely use similar language when attempting to describe products to customers.


This is not what it’s about, as it has already been said multiple times in this thread. A sponsorship is not a donation, it’s the foundation / the conference organizers receiving money in exchange for services. The terms of the sponsorship don’t seem to be public, but they at least include prominent advertising by the conference organizers.

Please don’t shift the goal posts.

(And me stating this obvious difference isn’t to be read as an implicit support of donations from weapon manufacturers either. This isn’t the question at hand here.)


In my eyes a sponsorship from a US defense contractor associates NixOS with the US military as a whole. I don’t believe NixOS should be associated with any government entities of any country. Political situations can turn at any moment and we could end up sponsoring a company that enables genocide.


Also I see some folks arguing that defense contractors are important for supporting Ukraine or the Western Military. Now this might be true and you might even consider good and/or important. However I don’t see the Nix community as a geopolitical organization and as such we would also have to ask ourselves if we would even be having the same discussion if it were for a Russian or Chinese Defense Contractor. It is important to keep in mind that this is an international community and as such the only plausible consequence is not to provide military or arms-related industries with publicity at all.

Also regarding the whole “Is Anduril really killing people?”: Their drones are reportedly built to be outfitted with cruise missiles. I am pretty sure those are in fact designed to kill. I would very much dislike the “This repo was used to fire a cruise missile in the middle east”-Badge on the nixpkgs Github repo. I think to some it does not seem to be clear that we are talking about real weapons designed to kill real people, not just quirky startups that fly their FPS drones around Silicon Valley.