Frequently Asked Questions

This section lists the most frequent questions you ask us.

If you do not find the answer to your question, please contact us.

General questions

The association was declared to the official journal on January 25, 2019. On May 2019, after five months dedicated to the development of our website, 42l.fr, the activities started and we opened the subscriptions.
Brume, the co-founder, came up with the idea and designed it, as well as many illustrations on our website.
42l is an association that promotes free software, raises awareness among students and anyone who is not familiar with this little known yet important field. In order to do so, we organise events at 42, where we invite external people who introduces the stakes of free software, or digital ethics in the broadest sense, to our audience.

We also host workshops, debates and stands to promote our activities and free software culture. When the opportunity arises, we also organise our activites outside 42.

Finally, as a member of the CHATONS community, we host free services that respect your privacy.

We chose 42 to link our identity to the school of the same name, and the letter 'l' for libre (free, in French). The 'l' also refers to a bird's wings (ailes, in French). It is pronounced the French way, "\ka.ʁɑ̃t.dø.zɛl", not forty-two-l, 421, 42i, A21, A2i, etc.
In November 2019, when we (Neil & Brume) integrated school 42, we noticed that many conferences were regularly held at the school, mostly by giants (GAFAM, CAC 40 firms, banks, etc.), and often to promote their business and to recruit students during their schooling.

42 students are from very different backgrounds and few students have heard about free software. We wanted to share this culture with our peers, not to "compete head-on" with the giants, but to bring a different, sometimes critical, perspective on the technologies that our peers are led to use in their future job.

Relations between the 42 school and the 42l association

Absolutely, we have many student memberships as a result of our activities. On average, about 50 students attend our conferences, a number that is almost in line with other conferences.

42's staff also provides moral support and encourages us in our activities.

We also have memberships and support from outside people.

No. We often need to repeat this, but we are in no way affiliated with Xavier Niel.

We do not receive any grants or any form of financial assistance from Xavier Niel or 42.

When you send a message on our contact form, you are not contacting Xavier Niel nor 42, but us, students members of 42l that has its own legal structure and independence.

No, we have the legal status of an association under the French law of 1901. Hence we are totally independent from our school. Neither our statutes, nor our internal regulations, nor any form of contract binds us to our school.

We communicate on our own behalf, not on behalf of the school, and vice versa: a decision taken by the school is not taken by us.

The only document that binds us to the school is our certificate of accommodation, which allows us to set our headquarters at 42 in order to receive our mail there.

No, we do not receive any grants or financial assistance from our school nor Xavier Niel.

42 does not lend us servers. We have our own servers and only authorized members of our Administration Council have access to them.

That said, 42 lets us use its premises free of charge for our activities, including its amphitheatre for our conferences and its meeting rooms.

We get on well with the school staff and students, we have already received positive feedback and moral support from them regarding our activities.

When it organises events, 42 often asks the student associations to suggest activities. For example, we hosted a privacy workshop for LaTechPourToutes event in February 2020, and we ran a booth during Born2Hack in 2019. This is a fantastic opportunity to increase our visibility and to raise awareness among different audiences.

Support us

You can follow us on Mastodon or Twitter, and use our RSS feed. You can watch our interventions and conferences when broadcast on our PeerTube channel.

Finally, we have a calendar in which we indicate our upcoming events, available on agenda.42l.fr.

If you are a 42 student, you can also be informed of our next events on the school intranet.

You can join our association to support us financially and access our member services!

If you are a 42 student, you can join our Slack channel #42paris_club_42l.

You can also join our Matrix channels, on which we organize our events together (#general:42l.fr). If you do not have an account and you are a 42 student, you can create an account on our instance. Otherwise, we invite you to create an account on other instances.

You can join the association by creating an account on our website. You will need to provide a name / pseudonym, an email address and a password.

The annual membership contribution is up to you, starting from 10 €. We also accept the free cryptocurrency Ğ1, as from 15 DU.

Your membership to the association allows us to finance and develop our activities and it gives you access to our exclusive member services.

Thank you for your support!

As a public-interest organisation, we do accept tax-free donations up to 66%, if you live on French territory.

It means that a 100 euros donation will only cost you 34 euros, the rest will be deducted from your income tax.

We send tax receipts during March by email, before your tax return. Should you need to receive your tax receipt earlier, or if you wish to receive it by post, please contact us.

If you have not received your tax receipt in April, please contact us.

Memberships are annual and allow you to access our services for an indefinite period of time, regardless of the membership status that lasts a year. You can also participate in our General Assemblies.

Donations do not give you access nor priviledge, but may be tax-free (see question above).

We accept the following means of payment:

  • Credit card through the 'HelloAsso' online payment platform;
  • Cash, in person (on our stands for example);
  • Bank transfer, we can send you our bank account details by email.
  • Cheque (by post or in person, payable to "Association 42l").

In order to send cheques, here is our postal address: Association 42l, 96 boulevard Bessières, 75017 Paris.

For a donation or a membership in Ğ1 cryptocurrency, here is our address.

Thank you again for your support!

Our events

No. Our events are open to everyone. Most of them take place at 42: in Holodeck for a conference, in E0 or Terre du Milieu for workshops, and in Valhalla in case of a debate.

For the vast majority of our events, we offer external people the possibility to attend them through an invitation to the school. In those cases, we give you the instructions to follow (generally sending us an email or a message on Mastodon).

The attendance to our events is obviously free of charge, apart from exceptional circumstances (?).

Yes of course! If the subject of your activity is related to the free culture or ethics in general, we can put you in touch with the school and promote your event within it. You can contact us via Mastodon or via our contact form.

Website, server and services

Our web platform is written in Rust with the Rocket framework. We would like to rewrite it little by little with the Actix framework, still in Rust.

We use the Bulma CSS framework for the frontend.

We are proud to have made a JavaScript-free web platform.

We offer free and open services, accessible to everyone, as well as some services reserved for our members.

You can find the list of services in the "Our services" tab.

Member services are demanding more resources (disk space), and some of them could be misused for spamming purposes, especially the mail service.

For technical reasons, we cannot afford to grant access to those services to everybody without risking the saturation of our server and a wrongful and dishonest use of them (e.g. bots sending ads from 42l email addresses).

We do not take the risk to selfhost, and 42 does not lend us a server. Proxgroup hosts us: a French association with servers located in Nanterre. In the near future, we will have a second server that will be host by the student association Rhizome in Compiègne.
All information related to the characteristics of our servers is available for consultation in our technical report.

Bank, insurance et accounting

We have an account at Crédit Mutuel. We have no loan and we do not benefit from any sponsorship in case one of our member subscribes to this bank. To keep it simple, we also took out our civil liability insurance at Crédit Mutuel.

42 requires us to have an insurance in order to organise events at the school.

We use a free software called Garradin. It allows us to manage our members' subscriptions and keep track of all our expenses and revenues.

The software is host locally on our side.

The subscriptions as well as the donations cover most of our expenses. They constitute a financial support that allows us to carry on our activities. We also have other revenues: we sell T-shirts related to free culture, designed by Brume.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of our expenses:

  • The association servers (please refer to our technical report) ;
  • Our administrative formalities (bank account, insurance, etc.) ;
  • The travel expenses of our speakers as well as ours during conventions ;
  • Expenses on material resources used for the organisation of events ;
  • Possible registration fees of the association to conventions related to free culture, within reason;
  • Possible meals, snacks, drinks offered to our guests during debates ;
  • Possible goodies (t-shirts, stickers, badges, business cards, etc.) in order to promote our activities.
For the t-shirts we have asked a company named Monproduitdecom. We placed an order at Pixartprinting for the tarpaulin and the business cards. Finally, we asked Stickers-en-ligne and then Stickermule for our stickers.

Free culture

An open-source software has its source code (the "recipee" of the "cake") freely accessible to everyone.

A programmer who is able to read the source code can get how the software works and know whether it performs actions without the users knowing.

Publishing a software's source code is a matter of trust and transparency : "proprietary" software, whose source code is not public, often take their users for products by selling their personal data and using the latter without asking the users' permission, or without giving them a choice.

Beware:

  • An open-source software can still include trackers. Only it will be easier to find out for its code is public.
  • An open-source software may be subject to software patents that prevent anyone from copying and modifying the software.

We all use free software on a daily basis without knowing it: Mozilla Firefox, VLC, Android phones, Audacity, GIMP...

A free software is an open-source software that, besides its transparency, respects a certain notion of ethics in favor of the digital freedoms of its users.

It is made by responsible programmers who have become aware of the ethical dimension of software development, and who has adopted a politically committed approach in the software's design.

  • A free software does not track its users nor it sells its personal data.
  • If it creates files, they are said to be "interoperable", which means they can be opened with other compatible applications.
  • It is not subject to patents on its code or design process.
  • It is possible to copy its code and to modify it to adapt it to our needs, and then distribute the modified versions.
  • As far as possible, it works on its own and does not depend on services of third-party companies to run, especially the GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft). Thus it plays an important part in the decentralisation of the Internet.

These concepts of ethics are defined by a set of ideas rather than a set a clear rules, therefore they can be different from one person to another. We gave you ours, but someone else might have a different outlook.

It is a decentralised, free and federated alternative to Twitter. This service is part of the Fédiverse, a federation that connects other applications, usually of the social network type, which can interact with each other using an interoperable (compatible) protocol.

The fact that it is decentralised means that anyone can host an instance, and that if an instance ever closes, not all of Mastodon closes, and few people would be affected. In comparison, if Twitter was to close, then all users would be affected, which would be quite problematic.

Most of us use proprietary software (with closed source code), such as Windows, Mac, Google Chrome, Photoshop, Gmail, YouTube, etc. In these cases :

  • Users do not have the means to check that the software they use does not perform unwanted actions without them knowing: ad tracking, registration and resale of personal data, etc.
  • The security of proprietary software is not verifiable because their code is unaccessible ;
  • Programmers can impose their choices on users (voluntarily restrict their software, make it obsolete to force the user to pay more, etc.);
  • The software patents prevent other programmers from using their technological advances, which significantly hinders technical progress,
  • Developers can make the user become dependent on their software by making it incompatible with others ;
  • Proprietary software that is no longer maintained by their development team ends up abandoned: because their code is private, it cannot be independently taken over by a new team.

Proprietary software is generally defined as a commercial product while free software is a shared commodity.

Nowadays accross the world, proprietary software is used where free software should have been prefered: among public services (schools, town halls, hospitals, etc.) and on everyone's laptop and smartphone ; their users are reduced to products as their personal data are sold to serve private interests (political, economical, etc.), and they endanger the government security.

We organise awareness-raising campaigns so that everyone can understand the implications of a daily and systematic use of proprietary software.

Free software is protected by legal texts called licenses. Here are a few examples:

Find a non-exhaustive list of licenses on this page.

Most of the licenses apply not only to the software but also to all kind of creation, whether it is musical, multimedia, literary, scientific, etc.. Therefore free software is only a subset of free culture, which is much broader and affects other fields than digital, but has very similar values of sharing related to the Commons.

The notion of copyleft is often associated with the free culture movement and reflects the same values.