Microsoft Sponsoring EuroPython 2020

I dislike corporate influence on conferences. Advertisements, booths for attracting fresh talent and sponsored talks are just distasteful to me. To be fair, venues are expensive and organizing conferences is a lot of work, so the money has to come from somewhere. That's why corporate sponsorships exist.

This year's EuroPython was sponsored by many companies, including Microsoft. I think accepting Microsoft as a sponsor crossed a boundary that better stays uncrossed.

Microsoft has repeatedly displayed unethical behaviour over a span of many years. This includes repeated attempts to squash open source and open protocols ( "Embrace, extend, extinguish" ) and recently a contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Taking money that was obtained by unethical means from a company is one thing, but even actively advertising the company by allowing them to do a sponsored talk and by naming a conference track after them is another.

I can't see how Microsoft's transgressions can be combined with the values of the Python community: inclusiveness, diversity, empathy.

Posted on Jul 24, 2020 by Martin Natano