12.15.09

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Freedom is Not a Religion

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FSF, FUD, GNOME, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 2:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Santiago de Compostela cathedral

Summary: Attempts to dethrone Free software supporters are fueled by disinformation and slurs

PREVIOUS posts described the events that led to a vocal confrontation between GNU and people who have always disliked GNU [1, 2, 3]. Some of them are not even GNU/Linux users, but that’s another story.

As Mono-Nono puts it:

Coincidence is an amazing thing.For example, it can surely only be pure coincidence that the cast of characters making the most noise attacking RMS and calling for a vote on GNOME leaving GNU was among same cast of characters that made the most noise attacking RMS and calling for him to be banned earlier this year.

[...]

Now that’s The Spirit of Fauxpen Source™ in action!

It is truly amazing when Free software people are told off by those who are new to the Free software world and are not even supportive of Free software. They do this in Free software territories. It’s like the Twilight Zone or revisionist occupation, wherein they try to overthrow the ‘natives’ though proximity and assimilation.

“It’s like the Twilight Zone or revisionist occupation, wherein they try to overthrow the ‘natives’ though proximity and assimilation.”People supportive of such an attack on GNU are sometimes being misinformed by those who try to dethrone GNU. Others just never supported Free software to begin with. For instance, Thom Holwerda from OSNews has been hostile towards GNU/Linux and supportive of Mono/.NET for quite some time, so it is not surprising that his post on this subject is tilted in favour of Fauxpen Source™ people, who strives to exclude GNU. “I don’t like OSNews anymore,” tells us one reader, “they ignored my submission for this “[...] It seems like RMS is oblivious to this change in perspective.”

“[They] completely ignored what I submitted, probably because I wasn’t attacking RMS,” he added, “they’ve pulled other stuff I wrote.”

It was also rather disappointing to see that Sean Michael Kerner distorts the FSF’s views as though they are a “religious” stance. Terms like “religion” are routinely used to smear passionate Free software proponents [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], which only leads to it being further misunderstood. Kerner writes:

The issue with GNU has always been its religious stance on Free vs Open.

There is nothing “religious” about it; there is Freedom and there is visibility of code, which are not mutually exclusive but are not the same thing, either. The FSF strives to protect control by the user of a program so that someone in a distant island, for example, will be in complete control of his/her digital computing experience. Autonomy has absolutely nothing to do with religion (quite the opposite in fact!) and the religious parodies from Richard Stallman are in this regard similar to the ones from Richard Dawkins.

GNU has not changed its basic goals since the 1980s and this is commendable (modifications and alterations are mostly clarifications). To compromise is to accept a defeat and to give up the inherent goals, which means loss of one’s freedom in an ever-increasing complexity of digital universes. The FSF stands in the way of some very rich and powerful people, so the attacks against it are nothing new and definitely not the last.

“Copying all or parts of a program is as natural to a programmer as breathing, and as productive. It ought to be as free.”

Richard Stallman

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9 Comments

  1. powered_by_tux said,

    December 15, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    Gravatar

    Associating religion and freedom is a clever maneuver of freedom opposers given the modern trend of anti-religiousness which is especially present on the internet, isn’t it? Oh wait, what was the name of that big company waging a ‘jihad’ against Linux again?

  2. NotZed said,

    December 15, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    Gravatar

    “Associating religion and freedom is a clever maneuver of freedom opposers given the modern trend of anti-religiousness which is especially present on the internet”

    Failed attempt at sarcasm aside, I don’t know if there’s anything clever about it, it’s been used (often playfully) since the dawn of the internet to describe opponents who do not share a frame of reference over an argument (and since not all frame of references are equal, it is often justified). Thus they see their opponents as `irrational’, like all religion must be.

    If anything it’s use is pretty un-clever, and simply used as a catch-all since there is no substance to the argument – like the global warming `sceptics’ who call the science `religion’ in a childish mis-understanding of language and how science works. And they haven’t come up with this idea on their own, it’s a deliberate tactic utilised by energy interests to undermine the politics of dealing with the science.

    Calling the support of freedoms for individuals a ‘religion’ seems pretty hard to argue for in any rational and reasonable debate. Having strong convictions likewise does not a religion make of itself either. Without any real argument with which to counter the point, lets just call them a religion and make them look silly eh?

    Also remember, ‘jihad’ came directly from internal Microsoft emails.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Yes, I have seen at least 2-3 separate E-mails where Bill Gates talks about “Jihad” against the competition, There are surely more instances.

    Remember that Mono proponents call Boycott Novell “software Taliban”.

    Religion is sometimes not strong enough a slur, so they mix it with some racial aspects and “terrorism”.

  3. Robotron 2084 said,

    December 15, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    Gravatar

    Roy does some nice spin here, but I have to admit it’s amusing to see him bothered by this.

    The “religious” behavior comes not from the GNU project itself, but from some of it’s user, like Roy and those who chat in the IRC channel. They have a firm belief that using proprietary software is wrong/evil/immoral. Not only that, but they insist that everyone else yield to their same beliefs. Similar to Christianity, followers go about telling others they are in danger, or in this case their freedom is in danger. Fear is used to motivate someone to support an idea. Do you value your freedom? Do you want to burn forever in eternal damnation? Of course you don’t, then follow us.

    I don’t believe Jesus was the son of God, but I know I won’t burn forever in a lake of fire, even though Christians have warned me. I don’t believe their fear.

    I enjoy purchasing and using proprietary software, but I know my freedom is not in any danger, even though FOSS zealots have warned me. I don’t believe their fear.

    If you can reject fear, you can see things for how they really are. There is no freedom in fear.

    your_friend Reply:

    This is one of the historic shifts of focus non free software owners must apply to deflect their guilt.

    They have a firm belief that using proprietary software is wrong/evil/immoral.

    It is not immoral or evil to use non free software, any more than it is immoral to be robbed, raped or enslaved. The crime is the attack against freedom which non free software owners must make for their business model to survive.

    Robotron 2084 Reply:

    There is no guilt because from the perspective of both the software creator and user, no wrong was done. For the same reason that I find nothing wrong with eating pork, though some followers of certain religions forbid this. You feel it’s wrong because of the beliefs you hold, others do not.

    It’s preposterous to state that it’s not immoral to be robbed, raped, or enslaved. What is the purpose of this backwards logic? Obviously the labels “evil” and “immoral” ONLY apply to the perpetrator, not the victim.

    Once again, there is no crime here because normal people do not believe a crime was committed, or believe any wrong was done. People with a different set of religious, political, or philosophical beliefs may feel differently.

    your_friend Reply:

    You pretend to be deceived into a state of happy slavery. “Normal people” generally hate their “normal” non free computers, usually without understanding why the experience sucks and a pathetic few think there could be nothing better in the world. Their deception is just another part of the non free software crime. If you mean what you say, you remind me of the abducted child who thought it was “normal” to live in a shed and bear children without medical assistance or pain killers. The ignorant victim was not in a position to judge her abusers. I doubt you are as ignorant as you say you are.

  4. Needs Sunlight said,

    December 18, 2009 at 10:28 am

    Gravatar

    Bill Gates, Miguel de Icaza and the other software taliban are not *new* to FOSS simply because the are *not part of* FOSS. Some of the individuals may have recently started interfering in projects, but just because they come in and try to sabotage FOSS projects does not mean they are part of the project.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    It’s problematic when “contribution” becomes money and not code. It means that corporations can become owners of software they exploit rather than develop. You see this in GNOME, for example.

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