The registered Dutch non profit stichting Autonomous Software Foundation (ASF) is on a mission to stimulate, promote and protect the existence and use of autonomous & open source software. It does so by organising events, discussions, lobbies, legal support, organise project grants and support projects in publishing.
In this increasing digital age open source and autonomous software, typically owned by the public as a common, form an important basic layer for our personal freedom.
As most open source and autonomous software can not act as a legal entity by itself, for active community members and the software itself to be shielded the ASF can help for purposes of protection, promotion, support and publishing. It can also help in applying for open source project grants and in the fair allocation of those funds.
The ASF has the mission to support and protect valid digital alternatives to the products of corporates and governments which are aiming to take full control over our digital lives. Autonomous and open source software is the counter weight needed to ensure there is a digital life outside these systems of control. We think there should always be a free and open alternative.
As we have seen with the rise of the internet, open source and ‘free software’ played a crucial role in the openness and accessibility of the internet for the general public. Think of crucial free software and open source systems as Linux, Apache or DNS software. The associated licenses provided a legal framework for copyright and consumer issues so these systems and the internet could thrive.
However, there are threats as autonomous and open source software is vulnerable for ‘tragedy of the commons’, malicious actors, patents, lack of funds, regulations and criminalisation.
Tragedy of the commons
Aristotle: ”For that which is common to the greatest number has the least care bestowed upon it. Everyone thinks chiefly of his own, hardly at all of the common interest; and only when he is himself concerned as an individual.”
The ASF is here to help by creating awareness, organising discussions and meetups, setting up lobbies, supporting in legal stuff and helping in the publishing of software and content.
Autonomous Software is part of the commons. We should take good care.