Unions The way to hack society’s operating system

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Robert Lechte

Lots of people who make software want to make a better world.

We’re attracted to Linux and open source because we want community solidarity and because we want to build things in the interests of the common good rather than the interests of shareholders or short term profit.

And we all know that in software lies More than any other job, software developers have the power to shape the future.

And yet, we’re throwing away power because we don’t unionise and organise and stand up for our rights at work. Why let our bosses keep all the power? Why squander our ability to be a powerful political voice? Why let our bosses control the technology, make all the decisions, and take all the money the we software workers generate through our long hours of labour? Why do we allow ourselves to work unpaid overtime on projects and force us to sit in horrible open plan offices?

I’ll talk about the importance of unionising and organising, and how to build a movement that gives us real power against the bosses and the ruling class, helping us build better software, better communities, and a better future.

This talk was given at Linux.conf.au 2020 (LCA2020) which was held on 22-26 January 2020 in Sydney Australia.

linux.conf.au is a conference about the Linux operating system, and all aspects of the thriving ecosystem of Free and Open Source Software that has grown up around it. Run since 1999, in a different Australian or New Zealand city each year, by a team of local volunteers, LCA invites more than 500 people to learn from the people who shape the future of Open Source. For more information on the conference see

#linux.conf.au #linux #foss #opensource

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