This is where the supply chain metaphor — and it is just that, a metaphor — breaks down. If a microchip vendor enters an agreement and fails to uphold it, the vendor’s customers have recourse. If an open source maintainer leaves a project unmaintained for whatever reason, that’s not the maintainer’s fault, and the companies that relied on their work are the ones who get to solve their problems in the future. Using the term “supply chain” here dehumanizes the labor involved in developing and maintaining software as a hobby.

I see many of articles and blog posts were people use commercial metaphors when describing free software. These simply do not apply to free software and use of them will just confuse everybody and make them to render incorrect conclusions. Free software is sufficiently different from anything that capitalism produces and requires use of its own metaphors to be understood correctly.

Nonetheless, the concept of supply chain applies perfectly.

Free software is sufficiently different from anything that capitalism produces and requires use of its own metaphors to be understood correctly.


Actually, we encourage people who redistribute free software to charge as much as they wish or can. If a license does not permit users to make copies and sell them, it is a nonfree license. If this seems surprising to you, please read on.

From what I understand, the GNU philosophy around selling dates from when distribution costs were substantial. Picture manufacturing and distributing CD’s full of packages. It’s just a totally different world now in terms of how software is distributed, free or otherwise.


Yeah, I’ve noticed that I’ll occasionally hesitate to click on that “Publish” button for a new software project, because I’ll think to myself, if someone starts using this, they’re fucked.

At the same time, I don’t want to put a disclaimer into every README stating that it’s hot garbage. Like, it’s a repo. Of course, it could contain software which is still in early development or unmaintained or whatever. And I’d rather tell what I’d like it to do someday rather than what ridiculous requirements it won’t fulfill.

I’ve kind of started to revel in my previously-not-really-strong decision to put my code up:

  1. as AGPL, which for example deters Google from ever using it, and
  2. on Codeberg, where it won’t get seen as much and it’s more at the heart of the open-source community rather than on this commercialized platform where most people only go to download released software.
The Cobra

@jokeyrhyme nodejs “programmers” are in remiss
there was never a statement more detrimental to their career than this

Seems like just a way to criticise companies using free software without contributing anything back. Could be just that instead of going around on terminology which distracts from the main point.

Call it the transitive dependency tree instead of supply chain then.

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