Organization for Ethical Source

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Organization for Ethical Source
FormationDecember 2020; 2 years ago (2020-12)[1]
Typenon-profit organization
Region served
LeaderCoraline Ada Ehmke

The Organization for Ethical Source (OES) is a non-profit organization founded by Coraline Ada Ehmke in December 2020, to support the ethical source movement, which promotes that "software freedom must always be in service of human freedom".[2] The organization is dedicated to "giving technologists tools and resources to ensure that their work is being used for social good and to minimize harm". It develops tools to "promote fair, ethical, and pro-social outcomes for those who contribute to, or are affected by, open source technologies".[1]

The organization aims to support the ethical source movement, promoting ethics and social responsibility in open source.[3] The movement has facilitated a new kind of license, the Hippocratic License,[4] inspired by the medical Hippocratic Oath. The license has been criticized as non-enforceable and non-open source,[5][6] including by Bruce Perens,[7] co-founder of the Open Source Initiative and author of the Open Source Definition. The license has triggered debate within the open source movement.[8][9][10][11] The Hippocratic License has been classified as non-free by the Free Software Foundation,[12][13] while the Open Source Initiative stated, on Twitter, that the license is not an open source software license and that software distributed under such license is not open source.[14]

During the 2021 controversy around Richard Stallman returning to the FSF board, after his resignation in 2019, the OES issued a statement against it, and was one of the signatory organizations of an open letter with thousands of signatures.[15][16][17][18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Announcing a New Kind of Open Source Organization". Organization for Ethical Source. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  2. ^ Vaughan-Nichols, Steven J. "Ethical-source movement opens new open-source organization". ZDNet. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  3. ^ "Looks Like New: Can Software Handle Ethics?". KGNU News. January 29, 2021. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  4. ^ "The Hippocratic License 2.1: An Ethical License for Open Source". Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  5. ^ Prakash, Abhishek. "The Great Open Source Divide: ICE, Hippocratic License and the Controversy - It's FOSS". Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  6. ^ Vaughan-Nichols, Steven J. "You can't open-source license morality". ZDNet. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  7. ^ Sorry, Ms. Ehmke, The "Hippocratic License" Can't Work, September 23, 2019, It's this one that makes the Hippocratic license not Open Source, not that I am clear its proponents care about that.
  8. ^ Fussell, Sidney (January 3, 2020). "The Schism at the Heart of the Open-Source Movement". The Atlantic. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  9. ^ "An Open Source License That Requires Users to Do No Harm | WIRED". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  10. ^ Doctorow, Cory (October 4, 2019). "The Hippocratic License: A new software license that prohibits uses that contravene the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights". Boing Boing. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  11. ^ "Open source licence series – Tidelift: Ethical source-available licenses challenge open source - Open Source Insider". Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  12. ^ Various Licenses and Comments about Them, Free Software Foundation
  13. ^ Robertson, Donald (April 7, 2020), A roundup of recent updates to our licensing materials: November 2019 to April 2020, Free Software Foundation
  14. ^ Open Source Initiative [@OpenSourceOrg] (September 23, 2019). "The intro to the Hippocratic Licence might lead some to believe the license is an Open Source Software licence, and software distributed under the Hippocratic Licence is Open Source Software. As neither is true, we ask you to please modify the language to remove confusion" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  15. ^ Francisco, Thomas Claburn in San. "Free Software Foundation urged to free itself of Richard Stallman by hundreds of developers and techies". Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  16. ^ "This Week in Programming: Free Software Can't Exist without Richard Stallman?". The New Stack. March 26, 2021. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  17. ^ "Why (Almost) Everyone Wants Richard Stallman Canceled". The New Stack. April 13, 2021. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  18. ^ "An open letter to remove Richard M. Stallman from all leadership positions". Retrieved October 6, 2021.

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