Towards A Cooperative Technology Movement

The history of computing in the past 23 years have validated critiques that the term « open source » is insufficient for communicating the values behind it. The term « open source » and the ecosystem of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is today used by powerful companies, governments, and other institutions to harm people on enormous scales through surveillance and violence. These institutions use FOSS to minimize economic costs by benefitting from decades of work done by others, much of which was done by unpaid volunteers motivated by curiosity, passion, and the ideals of the FOSS movement.

We propose the term « cooperative technology » for this movement. By « cooperative technology », we mean technology that is constructed by and for the people whose lives are affected by its use. While this builds on the Free and Open Source Software movement, we aim to apply the same principles to hardware as well, although the criteria by which we evaluate hardware and software will of course not be identical. It is not sufficient to narrowly focus on the people who directly interact with computers.