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Linux Advocates and Freedom Advocates

Posted in GNU/Linux at 7:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Free as in Freedom

Summary: How causes such as censorship/free speech relate to advocacy of GNU/Linux

Some Linux advocates have had the bitter experience of being labelled “faux” advocates and dismissed as being invalid advocates who must be ostracised. People who are Linux advocates arrive from a wide spectrum of backgrounds, either political, philosophical, or whatever. Some Linux advocates engage in parallel activism in the areas of feminism, government transparency, censorship/free speech, and science, to name just a few. Those do not interfere with the goal of advancing Linux, or GNU/Linux.

It is disheartening to see and I regret to say that some Linux advocates get muzzled because to them, GNU/Linux advocacy needs to accompany a broader agenda, which may or may not convey some of the same principles adhered to by GNU/Linux luminaries.

It is fair to say that Linux is apolitical because the project’s founder rarely mixes his technical work with political burden. But if by “Linux” one refers to a broader system, for instance GNU/Linux with some vast desktop environment like KDE, then it is fair to say that freedom advocacy deserves plenty of room. KDE and GNU both market themselves as being pro-freedom, more so than Linux.

When Linux advocates argue that freedom takes precedence over power (as in the power of a program), they should not be dismissed as “radical”, “extremist”, etc. It is most likely that these people actually represent the views of many Linux developers, where by “Linux” they refer to a system far bigger than a kernel. Whether immersion of politics in software contributes to infighting, division and alienation of corporate participation is a subject which merits debate. But open discussion is definitely compatible with the underlying strengths of Free and Open Source software.

Originally posted in Linux Advocates

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A Single Comment

  1. NotZed said,

    April 8, 2013 at 1:56 am


    You can’t be an “apolitical advocate”, it’s an oxymoron.

    “linux advocacy” and “Free Software advocacy” stem from two separate political groups, and often (but not always) the linux (or ‘open source’ if you will), are opposed specifically to the freedoms that free software provides users. On the flip side, free software advocates don’t care how popular linux is.

    There may be some overlap but trying to pretend they’re the same thing is when the problems start.

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