Getting into politics?

Matthew Copple mcopple at
Thu Jan 22 02:38:02 GMT 2009

On Sat, Jan 17, 2009 at 5:08 PM, Szilveszter Farkas
<szilveszter.farkas at> wrote:
> Hi,
> I'm looking for your advices regarding a pretty tough question: is it
> okay for a LoCo to get into state politics?

There is no particular rule for or against (unless your own country
has such rules), but generally, it is probably not a good idea to get
the LoCo involved as an organization in political activities.

The mission of the LoCo is to get Ubuntu users active in supporting
and advocating for Ubuntu. The LoCo structure is not designed for
political advocacy; it is designed for community building. While most
free software supporters will likely agree in principle that free
software should have a level playing field to compete with proprietary
software, you may find that putting that principle into practice
divides your team more than it unites -- especially if you have a
lively partisan system (such as that found in the U.S.). Members may
be all for protesting to the government, as long as that government is
not run by the party they happen to owe allegiance to -- in which
case, you may find them much colder to the idea. Worse yet, many
countries have rather inscrutable laws on political influence and
lobbying which are difficult to understand, but relatively easy to
break (especially if you are a political opponent of the party in
power). Finally, you may find that while you are successful in forcing
this issue, the bureaucrats you have just browbeaten into compliance
may find other, less savory ways of retaliating against your
organization. Even if they don't retaliate, you may find them less
willing to work with your organization in the future.

If your membership wants to get involved, I recommend encouraging them
to make their feelings known individually, or through Free Software
advocacy organizations such as the FSFE.

Matthew G. Copple
mcopple at

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