In my recent trip to PgConf Russia, a friend brought up the reaction of a Linux kernel maintainer to a patch submission by Baikal Electronics. The reaction has apparently shocked open source developers throughout Russia and I think perfectly encapsulates the dangers open source projects, including PostgreSQL, have to navigate today in the changing geopolitical context. I decided to write a longer piece on this controversy and the issues surrounding it because I don't want to see PostgreSQL, LedgerSMB, or other open source projects I work with go down a similar path.
I believe that we are entering into a new era in open source development and I hope we move forward with our eyes open rather than sleepwalk into disaster. Particularly as we move forward with dual-use technologies in Postgres, such as Transparent Data Encryption, we will face similar pressures and temptations. I hope we don't go down the same road.
Background: Baikal Electronics, Weapons, and Sanctions
Different Interpretations of Motivation: Weapons vs Civilian Use, or Geopolitical Enforcement
The Open Source as Infrastructure from the Unipolar Moment
Possible Responses from Non-Western Powers
Our Choice: To Be Global or To Be Western
I hope that the Linux community comes to its senses before it is too late. And I hope the PostgreSQL community never experiences such insanity, because this can be fatal. Of curse the projects that make this error will live on by other names, with other maintainers, and different committers, but the original projects are likely to die. And I don't want this.