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Organization for Ethical Source Empowers Developers To Use Their Tech Talents For Social Good

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The creator of the Hippocratic License and Contributor Covenant today announced the establishment of a new nonprofit, the Organization for Ethical Source(OES).

The OES brings together open source maintainers and contributors, tech ethicists and advocates, licensing experts, human rights workers, academics, and more to strategize about ways to incorporate ethics into open source work.

Central to the philosophy of open source is the notion of software freedom, referred to as “Freedom Zero”: that open source software can be used for any purpose without restriction, even for explicitly “evil” purposes. The OES believes that the open source community must evolve to address the magnitude and complexity of today’s social, political and technological challenges.

Inspired by the work of Latinx and Chicanx activist organization Mijente and their #NoTechForICE campaign, the Ethical Source Movement launched in October 2019. Its first milestone was the March 2020 release of the Hippocratic License 2.1.

The license has already been adopted by hundreds of open source projects including the Ruby library VCR, mobile app development tool Gryphon, Javascript mapping library react-leaflet, and the entire open source portfolio of the WeTransfer corporation.

With a founding grant from the Omidyar Network, the Organization for Ethical Source is developing new programs that build on its initial work with the Hippocratic License.

The organization’s leadership team includes founding members Coraline Ada Ehmke, Don Goodman-Wilson, and Tobie Langel.

Elections for the Governing Committee are slated to take place in January 2021.