EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

01.27.19

Just Because It’s Linux Doesn’t Mean It’s Free (as in Freedom)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Patents, Site News at 11:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

One does not follow or imply the other

Sand freedom

Summary: The corrosive effects of technology on human rights and freedom will again occupy more of our time, bearing in mind that it’s a growing issue and high priority

TWO decades ago I became aware of “Linux”. I was in high school back then. I didn’t know about GNU, which had already been around since the early/mid eighties. The concept of “Open Source” was still associated with intelligence-gathering activities (sharing thereof) and “free software” typically meant freeware or warez and gamez — things one could share over floppy disks, compact disks, the Web, or BBS (depending on the year).

“Technology has in many ways turned against human rights and Linux powers just about everything (except most laptops), so it is integral to the workings of society or the operations of corporations.”Techrights has several types of readers and among those are patent professionals (e.g. examiners) and GNU/Linux enthusiasts, who are often themselves scientists and engineers, so there’s an overlap. This post is not about my childhood but about my interpretation of how technology develops. I worry greatly seeing how Linux gets ‘adopted’ — as in “winning!” — in drones, listening devices, surveillance-intensive back ends and so on. Technology has in many ways turned against human rights and Linux powers just about everything (except most laptops), so it is integral to the workings of society or the operations of corporations.

Several weeks ago I remarked rather briefly about the issue of freedom (not in the Libertarian sense) as it pertains to cars, which are now being spun as “smart” or “self-driving” or “computerised” and whatever…

“My personal belief is that the Linux Foundation just serves the Linux Foundation (i.e. its nontechnical staff) and by extension its sponsors; there’s no concept of “community” there and it is entirely detached from a moral compass.”Over the years we wrote many articles about GNU and we have, with little restraint, warned about the growing corporate influence in the Linux Foundation. My personal belief is that the Linux Foundation just serves the Linux Foundation (i.e. its nontechnical staff) and by extension its sponsors; there’s no concept of “community” there and it is entirely detached from a moral compass. Money talks. Money also gags (self-censorship). This is a problem.

More than half a decade ago, even when we harshly criticised Florian Müller, he said that we were more independent and purer than the FSF. He said this after he had pointed out corporate ties that jeopardised independence. We’ve managed to maintain our independence all these years; we recently moved to hosting in an environment that was offered to us free of charge by a GNU/Linux developer, ensuring our continued independence. Hosting would otherwise cost us about $10,000 for 3 years (we checked).

“At the end of 2018, seeing the site was becoming a tad repetitive in its position against software patents, we made the decision (after consultation with some longtime members) to focus again on GNU/Linux, with the usual emphasis on freedom.”But I digress…

The main point to make here is that it’s easy to lose sight of the original goals as put forth 35+ years ago by the GNU project. It is easy to be lured into the idea that to “win” is to gain a lot of “market share” or attract a lot of corporate funding — the very toxic (or intoxicating) trap many have fallen into. Persistence with one’s core values and pursuit of software freedom or societal solidarity (e.g. privacy, sharing) is the thing to strive for. Back in 2007 people wrongly assumed that we were tied to the FSF or were an FSF project, perhaps conflating Techrights with the FSF because of the strong stance on software patents.

At the end of 2018, seeing the site was becoming a tad repetitive in its position against software patents, we made the decision (after consultation with some longtime members) to focus again on GNU/Linux, with the usual emphasis on freedom. The month of January has thus far showed no signs of regressions on the 35 U.S.C. § 101 front. This will hopefully help clear time for more technical posts, at the expense of legal(ese)-oriented ones. And no, it won’t be blind cheerleading for “Linux!” but sceptical scrutiny of underlying issues and various players (like we did Red Hat yesterday). If some feathers get ruffled, so be it.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 26/4/2019: Best GNU/Linux Laptops and More

    Links for the day



  2. Research Into Who's Putting DRM Inside Linux

    Back doors may be hard to detect (requires understanding a lot of underlying code), but how about malicious 'features' or antifeatures that are put in the kernel to serve Hollywood at the expense of the kernel's users?



  3. "Dia da Liberdade" in Portugal -- Wilted Carnations in EPOnia

    "Reliable sources report that the discontent continues to simmer among the EPOnian peasantry and that the steam is slowly but inexorably building up inside the pressure cooker," tells us a guest writer



  4. The Quality of Patents is Connected to the Quality of Life of Patent Examiners

    EPO staff is not happy (a new President has not changed things) and the problems associated with low quality of patents become more visible in courtrooms



  5. American Patent Courts Keep Narrowing Patent Scope, No Matter What Few Politicians Are Doing on Behalf of Litigation Firms and Patent Trolls

    Acts of desperation in the patent microcosm of the United States, where judges now overwhelmingly reject software patents at all levels (tribunals, lower courts, higher courts)



  6. Links 25/4/2019: Rancher Labs Releases Slim OS, OpenBSD 6.5 is Ready

    Links for the day



  7. Links 24/4/2019: Chrome 74, QEMU 4.0 Released

    Links for the day



  8. Supreme Court of the UK, Which Habitually Throws Out European Patents, May Overturn Troublesome Unwired Planet v Huawei Decision

    A lot of European Patents are facing growing scrutiny from courts (Team UPC, including Bristows, publicly complains about it this month) and "greenwashing" of the Office won't be enough to paint/frame these patents as "ethical"



  9. German Federal Patent Court Curbs the Patent Maximalism of the EPO, Which Promotes Patents on Nature and/or Maths Every Single Day

    European courts are restraining the EPO, which has been trying to bypass or replace such courts (with the UPC); it certainly seems as though European Patents rapidly lose their legitimacy or much-needed presumption of validity



  10. Any 'Linux' Foundation Needs to Be Managed by Geeks, Not Politicians and PR People

    Linux bureaucracy has put profits way ahead of technical merits and this poses a growing threat or constitutes risk to the direction of the project, not to mention its ownership



  11. Links 23/4/2019: Kodi 'Leia' 18.2 and DeX Everywhere

    Links for the day



  12. Code of Coercion

    Entryism is visible for all to see, but pointing it out is becoming a risky gambit because of the "be nice!" (or "be polite!") crowd, which shields the perpetrators of a slow and gradual corporate takeover



  13. António Campinos Would Not Refer to the EPO's Enlarged Board of Appeal If He Did Not Control the Outcomes

    António Campinos and his ilk aren’t interested in patent quality because his former ‘boss’, who publicly denied there were issues and vainly rejected patent quality concerns as illegitimate, is now controlled by him (reversal of roles) and many new appointees at the top are "yes men" (or women) of Campinos, former colleagues whom he bossed at EUIPO (as expected)



  14. Links 22/4/2019: Linux 5.1 RC6, New Release of Netrunner and End of Scientific Linux

    Links for the day



  15. USPTO and EPO Both Slammed for Abandoning Patent Quality and Violating the Law/Caselaw in Order to Grant Illegitimate Patents on Life/Nature and Mathematics

    Mr. Iancu, the ‘American Battistelli’ (appointed owing to nepotism), mirrors the ‘Battistelli operandi’, which boils down to treating judges like they’re stooges and justices like an ignorable nuisance — all this in the name of litigation profits, which necessitate constant wars over illegitimate patents (it is expensive to prove their illegitimacy)



  16. IRC Proceedings: January 27th, 2019 – March 24th, 2019

    Many IRC logs



  17. IRC Proceedings: December 2nd, 2018 – January 26th, 2019

    Many IRC logs



  18. Links 21/4/2019: SuperTuxKart's 1.0 Release, Sam Hartman Is Debian’s Newest Project Leader (DPL)

    Links for the day



  19. The EPO's Use of Phrases Like “High-Quality Patent Services” Means They Know High-Quality European Patents Are 'Bygones'

    The EPO does a really poor job hiding the fact that its last remaining objective is to grant as many European Patents as possible (and as fast as possible), conveniently conflating quality with pace



  20. A Reader's Suggestion: Directions for Techrights

    Guest post by figosdev



  21. Links 20/4/2019: Weblate 3.6 and Pop!_OS 19.04

    Links for the day



  22. The Likes of Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA), Team Campinos and Team UPC Don't Represent Europe But Hurt Europe

    The abject disinterest in patent quality and patent validity (as judged by courts) threatens Europe but not to the detriment of those who are in the 'business' of suing and printing lots of worthless patents



  23. The Linux Foundation Needs to Change Course Before GNU/Linux (as a Free Operating System) is Dead

    The issues associated with the Linux Foundation are not entirely new; but Linux now incorporates so many restrictions and contains so many binary blobs that one begins to wonder what "Linux" even means



  24. Largest Patent Offices Try to Leave Courts in a State of Disarray to Enable the Granting of Fake Patents in the US and Europe

    Like a monarchy that effectively runs all branches of government the management of the EPO is trying to work around the judiciary; the same is increasingly happening (or at least attempted) in the United States



  25. Links 19/4/2019: PyPy 7.1.1, LabPlot 2.6, Kipi Plugins 5.9.1 Released

    Links for the day



  26. Links 18/4/2019: Ubuntu and Derivatives Have Releases, digiKam 6.1.0, OpenSSH 8.0 and LibreOffice 6.2.3

    Links for the day



  27. Freedom is Not a Business and Those Who Make 'Business' by Giving it Away Deserve Naming

    Free software is being parceled and sold to private monopolisers; those who facilitate the process enrich themselves and pose a growing threat to freedom in general — a subject we intend to tackle in the near future



  28. Concluding the Linux Foundation (LF) “Putting the CON in Conference!” (Part 3)

    Conferences constructed or put together based on payments rather than merit pose a risk to the freedom of free software; we conclude our series about events set up by the largest of culprits, which profits from this erosion of freedom



  29. “Mention the War” (of Microsoft Against GNU/Linux)

    The GNU/Linux desktop (or laptops) seems to be languishing or deteriorating, making way for proprietary takeover in the form of Vista 10 and Chrome OS and “web apps” (surveillance); nobody seems too bothered — certainly not the Linux Foundation — by the fact that GNU/Linux itself is being relegated or demoted to a mere “app” on these surveillance platforms (WSL, Croûton and so on)



  30. The European Patent Office Does Not Care About the Law, Today's Management Constantly Attempts to Bypass the Law

    Many EPs (European Patents) are actually "IPs" (invalid patents); the EPO doesn't seem to care and it is again paying for corrupt scholars to toe the party line


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts