Introduce Yourself: New Member Monday [September]

Hello community :wave:

This is a thread to welcome all of our new Baserow members. Maybe you are new to the community and still figuring it out, or maybe you’ve been here for a while but haven’t had the chance to say hello! Either way, we want to welcome you into our family of tinkerers, so don’t be shy — pop in and introduce yourself! We’re already happy to e-meet you :hugs:

Don’t know what to tell? Use the template below:

  • My current role is:
  • My current location is:
  • You can ask me about:
  • I use Baserow for:
  • I like Baserow for:

:question: New members! Please reply below to introduce yourself and tell us: What was the first database you created about?

Hi there! I’m Aaron, and I decided to try Baserow trying to get a usable, not-too-technical, flexible, and most of all Free/Libre/Open (FLO) way to manage all sorts of things but particularly contacts.

For years, I’ve been complaining about how social-media puts all the contacts and connections information into the hands of advertising companies instead of being managed privately. The tools for even simple personal address books are really lacking.

Because I see enormous problems with the power dynamics of proprietary technology (and proprietary limitations in other areas too, e.g. in music — my background mainly), I really hesitate to get locked into SaaS tools or even proprietary local apps.

So far, I see Baserow having enormous potential, it’s really usable. I’m a little scared about the direction of taking VC investment. While tools like this can only be great with dedicated, funded teams, I worry that the VC path will force Baserow to eventually compromise on FLO values. I hope the project will do everything it can to eliminate even the possibilities (which amount to temptations) to undermine the 100% FLO direction it has at this time.

I understand the challenges though. I have struggled for a decade as a volunteer putting in time and money working to solve this economic dilemma itself, and our efforts (me and a team of other volunteers) at Snowdrift.coop still has not produced a usable solution for the world (though we still have not given up). It’s a wicked problem.

Anyway, glad to be here. Glad to see the use of Discourse for the community (more fully-FLO set up!), so far so good…

Misc FLO-concerns

I hope anyone reading this can have some patience with me complaining. I don’t blame Baserow in particular, I just want to be a voice for higher-standards and consciousness-raising.

I don’t like how the Baserow blog article “how-to-organize-automate-startup-processes” pushes Google Analytics! Stop that! There are FLO analytics tools. Also Slack and Discord, :angry: there are FLO options like Matrix. And you push Mailchimp… And Trello… all these proprietary tools.

And the other blog article “baserow-is-open-source-whats-in-it-for-you” mentions some good alternatives, if only they were mentioned in the other blog article.

Except that post also says that FLO “boils down to contributing to the industry”, and that implies not giving a darn about the public about citizens, it’s an internal tech-oriented upstream focus. I would urge looking a bit further at why FLO matters for an ethical and democratic society.

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I see my worries are largely too late actually. Baserow is not fully-FLO already, it’s open-core with proprietary stuff. I was thinking that the limitations for the free-of-charge stuff was limited for the free hosting but that the software was still FLO. Nope. I was wrong. How unfortunate. I started exploring competitors, but nothing is perfect. I’ll see. Not sure if I’ll stick around. I’d much rather be part of and support and pay for 100% FLO project that doesn’t have the weird power dynamics and anti-community issues that open-core brings up. At least data is portable enough.

Hello Aaron, apologies for not getting back to you sooner. First of all, welcome to the Baserow community :wave:

Baserow is an open source project, funded using an open-core business model. The majority of our time, we spend on developing free, open source features. But we also work on the Premium offering, as this model funds our team and ensures we release new free features quickly. We are not hiding it and we clearly communicate which features are available in which version. We can also openly give a promise that any feature present in the free open source Baserow project will always remain free and fully open source.

We understand and respect your position as being FLO activist and advocate. Besides, we are also fighting against the vendor lock-in problem with Baserow. We believe open source is extremely valuable for business continuity independent, and we want our users never to be faced with the risk of our company disappearing, being acquired, or changing the pricing strategy.

The premium Baserow plugin’s source code is available for everyone to view and vet in the same repository as our main code-base. Our main code-base is all licensed under the MIT License which allows you to modify and build on top of Baserow. And we always welcome our community for open participation in product development trying to build honest and transparent relationships with our active members.

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Love the mission behind Snowdrift @wolftune :raised_hands:

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