What "stack" of business/ comms/ collaboration tools are you using?

This is all fair comment on the largely uncooperative goverance of open source projects and their relationship with enterprise.

However, it is interesting to note that Open Collective - https://opencollective.com/ - who have a very deep base in the open source and free software funding world explicitly considered cooperatives as one of the sorts of parallel systems they saw an analogy with. Indeed I think people from the Enspiral ecosystem are now involved with their governance.

So there is plenty of space for advocacy there and the conversation that there might be some harmony between cooperatives and open source free software is live, even among open source contributors from large corporations. Indeed one of the purposes of CoTech could be to enter these spaces and make those arguments.


Open Collective are a C Corporation, I know nothing of US company legal structures but it appear to be a regular corporation according to Wikipedia.

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Yep, Alanna Irving is, at the very least.

Yes yes YES 100%, @Graham. I was struggling to respond with such grace and humility. I feel strongly, for myself and those I wish to advocate for – be they in academia, gov, nonprofits or equity-seeking communities – that I have a personal responsibility to pass through a point of using those proprietary tools on the way to the better world. And yes, that means sometimes for my own work. These closed tools are “winning” for a reason, and its not just by underhanded tactics, but because they’ve been tuned to assist people in easily meeting their daily challenges.

I have a friend who manages infra (god love him, he’ll prob log on here and read this eventually) who had criticized my cautious advocacy of Amazon S3 for some purposes, as traitorous and not worth using. But then he proudly claims to have never used it himself. I mean, heck, this thing is dominating mainstream business culture for a reason. Maybe we could build some project around it and better understand why it works for “5 nines” of people, and know what to expect/demand of the FOSS options? :slight_smile:

I co-facilitated a consensus-building workshop at RightsCon last year. It’s a digital human rights conf. We needed a single divisive prompt for catalysing an opportunity for tough consensus-building amongst the 30 technologists, privacy advocates and human rights workers. We chose “How should we decide which tools to favour in our work?” There were huuuuge divisions in the room. In fact, we chose the prompt because even in preparing for the session, we as the facilitators had clashed repeatedly over tools. (Fwiw, the frontline workers were much less likely to be impassioned about FOSS.) But the most memorable quote from a front line advocate was basically "How dare you presume to tell me what tools will best serve my community in doing its work?”

This is all to say: some co-ops may want to continue using these tools to stay grounded in the realities of those they aspire to serve.

I say all this with love, and I appreciate that we’re oriented toward the same destination :heart:


Most likely because no one from the cooperative movement was visible when they made the decsion. :slight_smile:


Sorry to be late to this thread!

Just to comment on the GreenNet stack - we are almost completely open source - servers, desktops, the lot. We’re very evangelical about FLOSS, self hosting and the independent infrastructure, and happily proselytise whenever/wherever we can!

  • We use mattermost (last couple of years, we found it easy to adopt & works v well for us)
  • and NextCloud (filestores, shared calendars)
  • Gitlab
  • good old Mailman
  • We’ve tried jitsi, mumble, pidgin and nextcloud talk, but unfortunately seem still to fall back to Skype :roll_eyes:.

We fully agree that Open Source is a model for cooperating and connects to the coop ethos as well as social justice … we’re working on our new neighbours - XR, who seem still to favour g**gledocs and slack!


This is something that anyone running a business needs to do regularly anyway.

You need to pay attention to what your competitors are doing, so you can see what works for them in the marketplace.

Yes, you can overdo it, as has been shown by the Microsoft strategies during the late 90’s where they were deliberately creating vapour-ware projects to distract their corporate competitors, but as long as you can avoid this trap, then you can look at the competition and learn from their successes and their mistakes.

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Have you tested Discord yet?

I found that their video-chat system was more reliable than Skype, especially in a low-bandwidth environments.

Yes, it’s proprietary software, but it’s worth a look.


Thanks for the suggestion, but no we didn’t try that yet!

I guess the other factor that supports skype is that folk are there already - lots of our customers around the world tend to use it, but we’d use jitsi or nextcloud if they were stabler

@edmaw @kawaiipunk curious about mumble. I understand it as an always-on voice server for gaming sessions. How do/did you use it at your orgs? Anyone else tried it (esp curious about remote orgs as substitute for colocation)

I’ve played with plumble app for android, and seems great for push-to-talk and threshold voice levels on mobile phone (with ability to have hardware buttons trigger push-to-talk functionality)

Would be down to jump on a server that someone offered for cotech folks to play on. Anyone have a mumble aerver kicking around that they’d be willing to share a few rooms in? I’d use it to try to get fellow cooperators at my org using, and being there might help us all be more in-touch easier in a personable way :slight_smile:

Re: discord. I’ve heard it’s really thoughtfully architected for organic distributed community-building. Permission system is even more decentralised than slack, with whole permissions sets being possible to “assign” by other permission sets. So as i understand it, you could create a role that can do x and y and gets badge z to identify them, and ppl with that role can be granted permission to assign another role that can do elevated thing x (or whatever).

On my list to try just to see how that works in practice. cc @edmaw

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Here’s a handy list of ethical alternatives to mainstream tools: https://switching.social/

Hope this helps!