Attendance of the AI Assist Committee on Tuesday 2022-03-22

Bradley M. Kuhn bkuhn at
Wed May 25 21:02:26 UTC 2022

Ian, we announced the Committee members in the original announcement:

One Committee member has been added since the 2022-03-22 meeting; we are
verifying that Committee member is willing to be public identified as serving
as well, and will note here once they agree to being publicly identified as
on the Committee.

Ian Kelling wrote:
> Who attended this meeting? It is normal for minutes to explicitly say
> who is in attendance.

Meanwhile, to answer your underlying question of why the minutes are

Frankly, more than one committee member asked that the minutes not include
any account of which points were made by which committee member.  While
perfect transparency at the level of detail you're asking for would be ideal,
we are also appreciative that our Committee members are taking professional
risk in serving on this Committee.  Microsoft and its GitHub subsidiary both
wield tremendous power in the technology industry, and this Committee
ultimately questions the anti-copyleft status quo that Microsoft and GitHub
have (collectively) spent decades building.

Meanwhile, while we on the Committee are striving to talk about the problem
of APAS's in the *abstract*, there *is* currently only one APAS on the market
(Microsoft's GitHub's CoPilot).  So, anything the Committee seems to be
saying that's critical of the “APAS industry” really will be (reasonably)
taken as directly critical of Microsoft and/or GitHub.

In the past, I have personally witnessed Microsoft engaging in political
efforts to negatively impact someone's career whose work threatened their
anti-copyleft/anti-FOSS agenda.  While those efforts did seem to backfire for
Microsoft, they created observable acrimony and stress for the individual in
question.  My recent discussions with a confidential source who has carefully
followed Microsoft and its behavior over the long term indicates to me the
aforementioned professional smear campaign was, in fact, the tip of a much
larger iceberg.  As such, I am both extremely grateful to the Committee
members for agreeing to serve, and also very sympathetic to their concerns
that they'd prefer their statements at meetings to be anonymized.

This is also likely one of the reasons why most of the Committee members have
chosen not to participate in this parallel public discussion on this list.  I
am however taking it as a personal action item to make sure discussion here
is brought back to the Committee for consideration.

I am also personally writing up the Committee minutes, as I did for the
2022-03-22 meeting.  I will stake my personal reputation that I am doing my
utmost to assure those minutes are an accurate representation of the

(BTW, tangential note of interest: a GitHub executive has already requested
participation in the Committee itself, which we declined and encouraged them
to instead engage in conversation on this public list — a suggestion which
they completely ignored.  Probably obvious, but: my view of including
Microsoft and/or GitHub folks in the Committee is that it's akin to having
the fox help guard the chicken coup.)
Bradley M. Kuhn - he/him
Policy Fellow & Hacker-in-Residence at Software Freedom Conservancy
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