Libertarian Opinion

The Free State Project is NOT “Open Source”

The FSP (Free State Project) is an open source solution for how to achieve more liberty. – Carla Gericke

New Free State Project (FSP) “president” Carla Gericke posted on Facebook today that the FSP is an open source project, or something. That is simply false. An open source project can admittedly take many forms but it must be producing something for release under a liberal license that permits reuse and remixing.

What about Free Keene (FK)? They produce videos and blog posts and pamphlets that anyone can use as they like. Amen. FK qualifies. But it’s not part of the FSP. FSP central planners are very clear. The FSP does nothing in New Hampshire except the winter Liberty Forum and summer PorcFest.

And the FSP elite religiously refuse to release budgets for these events or for the whole FSP corporation. Lack of transparency is not something I expect from a good open source project. Also, at Liberty Forum, if not PorcFest, videotaping of the event is discouraged. Free videotaping of speakers is one remixable receivable of value the FSP could deliver. This should really change.

What does a real liberty-oriented open source project look like? Check out the previously-mentioned Free Keene. I humbly submit my Op Common Sense project as well. Individuals are invited to participate and the deliverable is the pamphlets. They’re fully remixable and reusable.

We need more open source ethos on our path to liberty. But let’s not toss around the term like a buzzword. Let’s make it really happen.

By George Donnelly

I'm building a tribe of radical libertarians to voluntarize the world by 2064. Join me.

10 replies on “The Free State Project is NOT “Open Source””

Slight correction.

All events at liberty forum were allowed to be videotaped. One speaker requested ( and a contract was signed). Requesting that the speaker’s talk not be filmed. The contract and the request were honored.

At LF 2009, anyone could record. At LF 2010, there were signs posted saying you needed special permission. Paul was recording some again, but otherwise recording activity *seemed* to be down quite a bit. IIRC Seth got a little upset at someone for recording. I, for one, certainly felt chilled. And, IIRC, the “official” videos only came out months later.

The signs at LF2010 were about that one event.
People could record.
And many did.
The official videos have never come out as far as I know for 2010.

Chris, wasn’t there also an insert into the registration package about this no recording thing? You would know better than me but I got the impression that no recording was allowed.

Maybe I’m thinking of the LF 09 videos.

the packet had a notice about no recording the Judge’s speech… and we asked that if/when people took video that they put the FSP URL.. no one was denied access to filming…

Seth never did anything with the footage he had :(

The Free State Project is “open source”. It’s just an idea. No one owns it. Right now, anybody can do anything they want to promote it, package it, and sell it.

Free State Project, Inc. is corporate entity that has been the de facto shepherd of the Project for several years. Nearly all of the records are open. To suggest we “religious refuse” to release information is nonsensical.

Though it is very true: FSP Inc. is getting harder to operate because of disorganization and a lack of volunteers.


“anybody can do anything they want to promote it, package it, and sell it.”

This is quite simply false. See:

Open source projects have one or more deliverables that can be used and remixed under a fairly liberal license. Just an idea doesn’t count. Can you name any open source project that is just an idea?

The religious refusal to share information is ongoing in the area of budgets and policies. The PorcFest budget. The FSP, inc’s budget for the last 2 years ( and imaginary policies about who can post what on the new FSP Facebook page.

Instead of getting out your whitewash bucket, why don’t you just recognize the problem and then fix it. You are on the Board of Directors of FSP, inc, aren’t you?

*yawn* None of that defeats the simple, conceptual distinction of the Free State Project as an idea, and the Free State Project, Inc. as separate legal entity.

If you want do something of your own, go for it.

And so far as “religiously refusing to release budgets”, what are you talking about? Budgets and minutes are supposed to be posted online. Many–probably most–of them are. But we’re all unpaid volunteers and getting anyone to do anything at any specific time is pretty darn difficult. Have you ever, um, asked to see a budget that you couldn’t find? Can’t imagine why it would be withheld. Don’t attribute to malice what is adequately explained by stupidity.

It sounds like you’re not really sure, Brandon. Whereas I researched the topic of budgets and minutes and talked to several insiders about it. At the time of the publication date of this article (at least) my comments were 100% accurate.

If you’re going to assume a negative attitude and claim I’m mistaken, shouldn’t you at least – in the name of your own personal credibility – do some research first? Especially when you’re on the board of directors of said corporation?!

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