How the hell are NATO and other large orgs not funding Matrix? Blows my mind.

A particularly amazing real-life example of this came from a certain Ministry of Defence last week, whose procurement department (on being asked to help fund core Matrix development, given their operational dependency on Matrix) said: “You have to understand, we’re responsible for taxpayer money here. We can’t just make a donation to your open source project.” Apparently if we had built the same tech as a proprietary product, paying for it would apparently have been an infinitely better use of taxpayer money.

I… don’t know what to say.

Anti Commercial AI thingyCC BY-NC-SA 4.0


You‘re as spot on as always. Why do I always read the most sane comments and then find you there? Btw your new signature is fire. Have a great day.


Thank you 🙂 Very kind.

You have a good day too!

Anti Commercial AI thingyCC BY-NC-SA 4.0


So a public subsidy for big tech to get free code?

slacktoid, (edited ) avatar

Big tech is already getting free code. This would simply fund the devs for the critical infrastructure. also if we force tax payer code to be GPL code it would force big tech code to also be GPLed. Which would significantly improve the current scenario.

thejevans, avatar

I work for a US state agency that funds FOSS projects, and all projects that I write in-house or fund in the future will be GPL.

slacktoid, avatar

More of this, please. Have you dealt with any pushback?

thejevans, avatar

Not on the stuff I write in-house. I haven’t had any new external projects funded since I started here. I have asked for some current projects that are MIT to switch to GPL, but that’s a can of worms, and none have pulled the trigger yet.

slacktoid, avatar

Gotcha, that’s unfortunate. Fingers crossed, soon, and you’ll be able to GPL that shit from the start! I hope you are successful in converting some projects to GPL. I have heard of some people going the other way from GPL to BSD because of their idea of what “freedom” means.


If the public are paying for it, then it becomes a subsidy.

And good luck getting the US government to require the code to be GPLed. That’s even less likely to happen than a public subsidy for OSS at all.

They typically do the opposite and require “commercialization” to ensure the benefit of the publicly-funded technology is captured by their donors.

This is how it basically works in biotech, for example. Government grants to study the medicine and then when the scientists actually find something important it becomes a “public-private partnership” often without even a royalty for the public let alone making it a public good.

That’s not how government funding works in a modern democracy, unfortunately. It would amount to a cash transfer to big tech to make the public pay their R&D costs.

slacktoid, avatar

If the public are paying for it, then it becomes a subsidy.

I agree. And its a public good. It should be

And good luck getting the US government to require the code to be GPLed. That’s even less likely to happen than a public subsidy for OSS at all.

true but thats how it should be.

i agree. It’s a problem but not doing anything just harms the FOSS ecosystem. We can help foster FOSS ecosystems while trying to cutrail big tech. Cause corporations gonna number line go up.


Most foundational research was state funded and then privatized.


Element is literally a private, for-profit company. And they’re asking for donations and public funding?


but it uses an open api, i think thats their point


and open source


yeah thats what i was trying to say, thank you


Private, for-profit, and let’s not forget antagonistic to the GDPR.


The is Community Interest Company registered in UK, and its full name is THE MATRIX.ORG FOUNDATION C.I.C., please, consider this as a proof proof.

Given this information, I would guess it’s relatively safe to donate/give funding to the because its financial flows should be protected by UK law.

BUT, it seems they never made a full report of incomes/spendings, the first one is expected in April 2024. But it’s already April 2024, and I don’t see a report. Anyway, it’s better to read original Issue in regard of such things, I might understood it incorrectly

tcit, avatar

This post is by the Matrix foundation, not Element.


This post was made by the CEO and founder of Element

tcit, avatar

And ? Obviously it’s not the for-profit structure which would benefit from donations. VC money is one way of financing things (which has the cash burn rate issue), public money and donations is another, why would changing from one model to another be something bad?


Why is it obvious? See

Literally only the last comment gives any real data about how that money is being spent (and the annual report mentioned hasn’t been published yet).

I think the change is positive in general, but they really haven’t done a good job w.r.t transparency, and the Matrix ecosystem is still reliant on a for-profit company.

andrew1412, avatar

I can already picture it

“you don’t want to open a government backdoor? No more tax money for you”

“your foss project needs to be verified by the government to be selectable for founding, you don’t want to? Well, no tax money for you”

“For your foss project to be created we need to verify it now that by law all foss projects receive tax money, you don’t want? Delete everything”

And this is how you will own nothing and will be “happy”. You can’t escape the surveillance by using foss, go live in the woods before it’s to late, and don’t forget to carry your tin foil hat, be safe.


My code belongs to everyone. There’s as bug. You should probably fix that.


Our code


“We give you money, so that you don’t put a backdoor from another country in your software.”


That’s fair.


Don't we already have this exact same system but any result is owned by a legal entity?

Hand out to Intel comes to mind or COVID vax research etc


I applaud your skepticism, though I do feel that having the source open does help make that harder.

Every time I see tinfoil references I often wonder if people realize the relation to tinfoil and blocking radiation or alpha particles, as they come in different sizes.

Hell people wear leaded vests at the dentist to block radiation from oral xrays.

Should we* start another silly club, Lead+Tinfoil? We all talk shit on the web but it seems like the majority is always the dumb masses getting scammed and duped and the weird guy in the corner gets ahead.


Backdoor? Even if it isn’t blatantly obvious - some autistic kid will notice a program runs 0.05 seconds slower and will work it out.

At the very least if you’re going to be backdooring your code you might as well add “back door goes here” to your PR so we can easily cut it out when the hard fork happens without the backdoor included.


Why the fuck does everyone keep referring to Andres Freund, the skilled Microsoft engineer who discovered this as an “autistic kid”? Can everyone doing that please fuck off?

Even if he is autistic, which I am not finding anything suggesting he is, this shouldn’t be a part of the conversation. He protected the Linux community from a major exploit, just give him the credit for a job well done.


Sorry you’re right. I’m actually not across the matter enough to comment and have only heard the “autistic kid” part through like third hand knowledge.

Although everyone is on the spectrum somewhere, especially in the IT space.

But you’re right, the take away from this is I should learn about the topic better.

Ferk, (edited ) avatar

“you want a government backdoor on GPL licensed code? publish the backdoor for everyone to use, see and exploit/check for themselves. And/or watch as people simply take a version of the software built from a more reputable source without that backdoor instead. Thanks for the money!”

“you want to force all foss projects existing in the global internet across countries to get paid by you or close? enjoy your logistic nightmare as you pay to be made fun of by all other countries while I fork projects with one click”

RobotToaster, avatar

Imagine having NATO, one of the largest organisations in the world, leeching off your open source project, lol.

poVoq, avatar

That’s not what the article says, but I was also confused at first. They fund New Vector directly it seems.

slacktoid, avatar

I mean the fact that they are scrambling for funding while being vital infrastructure to them i think is the larger issue. Like at this point i dont care if its new vector or matrix (tho ideally matrix) they shouldn’t be begging for money when you supply NATO.

poVoq, (edited ) avatar

They have been burning through 50 million euros of VC money in less than 10 years (and that wasn’t their only source of income). I think most governments do not consider a glossy chat service to be worth that much, and they are probably right.

And yes I am aware government burn a lot of money on other IT projects but that’s besides the point.

P.s.: to my knowledge the security relevant communication within NATO still happens through a special XMPP based system. This Matrix system seems to be only for business contacts what ever that means in the case of NATO.

chebra, avatar

@poVoq but that analogy would only work if the government was the only customer, footing the whole bill. More appropriate perspective is looking at how much would they pay if they got the same service from say Microsoft, or Slack.

poVoq, avatar

Indeed, and they probably pay a similar amount.

My point was mainly that Element got used to having too much money and doing stupid things with it and now that they start having to operate like a normal software vendor they cry that it isn’t enough.

I would be more sympethatic to their argument if they were actually developing an open standard like XMPP, but they run their own little incompatible fiefdom like all the other commercial vendors.


Imagine Apple making you agree to not use iTunes to make nuclear weapons… oh wait…

demesisx, avatar

Music to my ears. Tax money should go to open source projects.


And all tax funded tech should be open source.

demesisx, avatar


slacktoid, avatar

This should also include tech used on and on the behalf of tax payers.


Who’s tax money?

demesisx, avatar

Any first world nation.


Sounds good in principle but realistically i can’t see it happening because there will be disputes about how much each state contributes, government politics will be brought into it, and I guess they’ll be expectations of some form of ownership and exclusions. Sounds like a nightmare and a hindrance for a project.

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