Just found this article about Greenpeace becoming an 'open source' organisation. Quite ironic, since a few months ago I met one of their principal IT managers, who openly mocked our efforts to use and IT in-house. Greenpeace relies 100% on Google's Gsuite. Any comparison with fair trade coffee was met with a "yeah but this is easier, we just don't care about Google's dubious side."

@Gina Interesting. You'd think if they can hit two birds with one stone they'd go for it, metaphorically speaking of course. Straight out mocking anyone trying to make a change is pretty low, but finding open source alternatives to proprietary solutions should be fun for an IT manager.

@vancha Well, I sort of get their point too. Greenpeace is a large organisation. And opensource / foss is hard. If you can just let someone else deal with all the IT for a non-profit price, why not do it? At the same time, as a world bettering non-profit I feel you also have some sort of obligation to critically assess all products and services that you use.

@Gina of course, no one forces them to use anything. It's just the mocking that seems out of place. If the conversation ended with "thank you for your advice, but we don't have the time or money to implement open source technologies to replace the software we already use", the situation would have been a lot different :)

For them Google is probably just a tool and Open has a different meaning then most of us use/see it.

I nearly worked for them many years ago. Their office in Amsterdam was in need of a tech guy/girl. Problem is that at that time they payed internship workers some 70K and they offered me a lot less. The choice was made, I moved to a different company.

If you really wonder then ask the office there to explain what they mean with open and ask them why visitors are being tracked by Google and a company like​

@hansw wow why would they offer you a lot less than the interns?

@Gina It's a unique feeling, to discover that Lancelot is into scat. ;)

Want to tell me who? I speak truth to power. Pushing open at Greenpeace has been a challenge. There are people at Greenpeace, just like any other organization, who don't get it. And there are people who do. I am an idealist, a believer, a woman in tech. I want Greenpeace to be better. I'm working my ass off trying. I won't apologize for that dude, but I will say - not everyone at Greenpeace agrees with that f'd attitude.

@epilepticrabbit @jwildeboer hi Laura, it was the main IT manager at the Greenpeace office in Amsterdam. This was in November last year (as opposed to this year, I apparently have no sense of time) during an NGO IT Cafe about digital collaboration tools. No idea what his name was.

@Gina @epilepticrabbit November last year is quite some time ago. Let’s just agree things might be changing and that needs to be checked but not disqualified on possibly outdated experiences:)

@jwildeboer @epilepticrabbit are you saying that Greenpeace will be moving away from Gsuite?

@Gina @epilepticrabbit No. but is moving to more #OpenFTW limited to that? Is using Gsuite the only thing Greenpeace does? IMHO Laura et al pave the way for cultural change. Reducing that to Gsuite being used or not is not really the only important point IMHO.

@Gina ,

I do not know, it was on tv years ago (199x).

@Gina the author of that piece is part of a co-op with "open" in the name but their daily driver for collaboration is a Slack channel :/ It's not like there aren't free code alternatives, both hosted and self-hostable:

@Gina @strypey They probably do many cool things even though their philosophy is inconsistent. Many people do. 😀

@clacke of course. Not writing them off. Just being a #TechVegan ;) Also, I really like to hate on Slack in particular ;)

@strypey That's a great overview, thanks for writing and maintaining it!

I wanted to make an HPR episode on Slack alternatives way back when I first started using Matrix, but I never took the time to evaluate them.

We have Mattermost in the office, and I don't miss anything there that we were doing with Slack in my previous offices.

However, as we also have Skype for Business (The Application Formerly Known As Lync) that we use with other departments, and it's better at interrupting people, we more often tend to create an ephemeral chat there instead. 😕
@strypey @Gina I work for a company who's product is free software, but internally we use Slack for communication too. It's very sad, but the reason for using it is that we *don't* want it self hosted. We operate our own infra, and if it ever goes down, it'd be highly inconvenient if our main form of communication would go down with it.

There'd still be better alternatives, I'm sure, though I haven't tried looking around yet.

@tyil @strypey wouldn't outside hosting solve that problem?

(Although a hosted SaaS product might be easier and cheaper in that case)

@Gina @strypey That would move the problem, and increase complexity for me. Suddenly I have to keep track of a number of VPSes that aren't maintained like the rest of them. It's just not worth the added effort and complexity.

@tyil what about just using a SaaSS that uses free code under the hood, instead of #Slack? Something like:
* - gratis, owned and hosted by #GitLab
* #Wire - free for personal use, with extended features for paying enterprise users.
* #Zulip - gratis hosting for free code and open source projects

@strypey @Gina I think a big factor in choosing Slack is that everybody knows it, so nobody needs to be taught to use it. I'd personally like to see alternatives based on free software, but I doubt I'll be able to convince the boss to hop over to an alternative, now that the entire company is using this already.

One benefit I personally see in Slack is that I can use it with my favourite terminal chat client, WeeChat. I know should also work in that regard, but Wire and Zulip both don't have integration with WeeChat as far as I know.

We do use GitLab for our code repositories and CI right now, so perhaps Gitter would be a possibility, but I'd have to make a strategy in how to nudge people towards it first, and that will take time.

> everybody knows it, so nobody needs to be taught to use it.

Classic #NetworkEffect problem ;) The only way out is for some brave and forward-looking users and orgs to lead the charge.

> I'd have to make a strategy in how to nudge people towards it first, and that will take time.

Of course. The longest journey starts with a single step :)

@strypey @Gina Convincing the developers is going to be very easy, but getting the rest of the company on board is the hard part.

Consultants aren't very technical, and they like their shiny mobile apps. And there's many others of varying technical skill levels.

It's at least worth a shot, though.

> One benefit I personally see in Slack is that I can use it with my favourite terminal chat client, WeeChat

I wouldn't count on that lasting. Slack have taken a number of steps to force users to use their Electron monstrosity, including cutting off IRC and XMPP (classic embrace, extend, extinguish):

If Gitter doesn't already support #WeeChat integration, I'm sure they'd accept a PR.

@strypey @Gina I'm not counting on it to last, but I have something that works right now. I believe it uses the Slack HTTP API, so all data they're trying to gather they can probably still gather.

I know very well that you can't trust a proprietary platform to act in the best interest of its users, and that they will always move towards pushing people towards their own harmful ecosystem.
@strypey @Gina @tyil

#Keybase - Free, open source end-to-end encrypted communication, storage, and git repos. Best public key management I’ve seen anywhere. Join with one device. Add devices only by verification with another already-trusted device.

@clacke ooh, good question. When GitLab acquired Gitter they said:

> we will open source the whole of Gitter

It's important to hold them to that. Their repos are here:

It seems like code for all the user apps is available under free licenses, but I'm not sure if the other repos there constitute the full backend yet or not.

@Gina @tyil

@strypey @Gina @tyil TIL Zulip offers free hosting. Checked Mattermost and it seems they don't. Does anyone know of any third party service that offers paid Mattermost hosting?
@Gina And they use medium to communicate in a « new and meaningful way » !
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