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

06.13.19

Guest Post: Notes on Free Speech, and a Line in the Sand

Posted in FSF at 4:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Stuttering

Summary: We received this anonymous letter and have published it as a follow-up to “Reader's Claim That Rules Similar to the Code of Conduct (CoC) Were 'Imposed' on LibrePlanet and the FSF

I have never attended LibrePlanet. I have considered attending several times over many years, but I have always been turned off by the policies described around the event. These are not welcoming policies, they are stifling.

They are worded in a way that is difficult to find fault with — but what is not difficult is to figure out how they might be unfairly or unevenly applied to people.

“And yes, it is unreasonable to consider RMS a person who needs to be controlled.”I don’t mean that RMS (Richard Stallman) enjoys an unfair exception to the rules. If LibrePlanet’s rules are so stringent that Stallman runs afoul of them, then the problems are clearly with the rules themselves. And while the rules themselves have always steered me away from the event, I never thought they would be used to try to exclude Stallman himself.

There is no Free Software without Free Speech — the freedom to code is a subset of the freedom to self-express. And yet today, there are people from Debian, Red Hat, GNOME, Creative Commons and even the FSF itself who would throw away freedom of speech for the need to control people unreasonably.

And yes, it is unreasonable to consider RMS a person who needs to be controlled. He is a grown man, with problems like everyone else — in fact he has the exact sort of problems that your rules suggest you don’t want to discriminate against.

If you honestly don’t know what that means, I suggest you read “When Nerds Collide” by Meredith Patterson. It is the best article on the subject, and it talks about the stifling trend of controlling speech to the point of absurdity in geek-laden communities.

“It is talked about briefly in the biography once sold by the FSF, it was used in dishonest ad hominem attacks from both OSI president Simon Phipps and OSI co-founder Eric Raymond.”Stallman did not grow up in a time when he was likely to be diagnosed with his disability or condition. It is talked about briefly in the biography once sold by the FSF, it was used in dishonest ad hominem attacks from both OSI president Simon Phipps and OSI co-founder Eric Raymond.

While a disability is not a blank cheque for allowing unwelcome behaviour, it should at the very least not be a reason to discriminate unfairly against a person who created the very reason your Free Software movement exists.

What the hell is wrong with you people? If you wish to be anything but hypocrites, you would be creating a safe space for free speech, not a Trojan horse for unscrupulous people and narcissists to kick founders out of events hosted by their own organisation.

“Some of the same people participating in that debate have tried to pressure the FSF board of directors to stifle Richard Stallman’s contributions at LibrePlanet.”In 2014, Debian used a set of community guidelines to stifle a vital debate about the future of Debian. Some of the same people participating in that debate have tried to pressure the FSF board of directors to stifle Richard Stallman’s contributions at LibrePlanet.

Since that time, the quality, reliability and security of Debian have gone downhill. It was an operating system I had relied on, and raised funds for. But what Debian decided to do was hand over a major portion of its development to an arrogant, obnoxious, condescending German developer, who now works for a monopoly that assisted actual nazis in genocide — a monopoly who (unlike other such companies, such as Siemens) has never apologised for or admitted their thoroughly-documented participation in those atrocities.

This is a developer who won a Pwnie Award not just for his poor commitment to security, but his notoriously terrible attitude about it.

“This is a developer who won a Pwnie Award not just for his poor commitment to security, but his notoriously terrible attitude about it.”Well done, Debian! And you think you have a moral right to decide whether Richard Stallman is “safe” enough for LibrePlanet.

Obviously, the future of Free Software is what’s at stake here. If there is no freedom of speech, there is no “Free as in speech” either.

The future of Free Software is corporate policy, corporate control — and monopolies influencing development and silencing even the most important of critics.

This is not about who is “welcome” at events. It is about making valuable contributions unwelcome. How far along this doublespeak has gotten, to infect the FSF itself.

This is not about safety, any more than secure boot is about security. Like secure boot, this is about making these events safer for corporate sponsors.

“This is not about safety, any more than secure boot is about security. Like secure boot, this is about making these events safer for corporate sponsors.”As much as pointless, dehumanising nonsense like putting shoes on conveyor belts is security theatre, what you are doing is creating diversity theatre — you say you are doing it to be inclusive.

There was a time when everyone was welcome in Free Software, and all you had to do was decide to participate.

Today, it is about making people feel more welcome by kicking the most necessary voices out for saying things that might make someone uncomfortable.

You are fighting implicit and perceived exclusion with explicit and actual exclusion. And unless your desire is to silence people, you are doing a terrible job.

This goes against the foundations of education. Honest education cannot be determined solely by who is comfortable. Teachers must be free to teach facts regardless of whether people feel comfortable with those facts.

This goes against science. Facts cannot be determined by what people would simply like them to be.

“This goes against science. Facts cannot be determined by what people would simply like them to be.”This goes against freedom. If you only allow participation and communication from people you like, then there is no freedom– you are simply controlling everything.

There is a comic by Randall Munroe, which implies rather plainly the ridiculous argument that freedom of speech isn’t threatened unless the government is doing it.

Let’s be serious — if there is no culture of free speech, if the people will not stand up for the rights of others to speak — then the government certainly isn’t going to either.

You are engineering a future with no freedom, with no philosophical foundation for Free Software.

LibrePlanet isn’t Libre — it is subjugated by the desire to make speech “safe” for everyone.

“LibrePlanet isn’t Libre — it is subjugated by the desire to make speech “safe” for everyone.”Freedom of speech is not safe. And as Benjamin Franklin said, “[t]hose who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither.”

I am confident that Franklin would not be welcome at your events either.

That only makes a complete sham of your event — and people should rightly boycott it and just enjoy the (very nice) videos made there.

Through your content policy about the LibrePlanet videos, others may comment and participate in a way that you don’t control. That would probably be a better option than funding LibrePlanet at this point.

This trend does not bode well for the future of Free Software, or the Free Software Foundation. They have made admirable efforts (KIND) towards guidelines that are less likely to exclude someone with Stallman’s disability and gifts.

“Without diversity of opinion and diversity of personality, there is no freedom of speech (nor reason for it).”We should continue to try to make LibrePlanet more inclusive again. But only if we are honest about what inclusion really means. Our efforts to do so must not allow narcissists to exclude the most important critics and philosophers from sharing their points of view — all we will achieve is to steer the conversation towards something that could be very wrong.

Without diversity of opinion and diversity of personality, there is no freedom of speech (nor reason for it). These codes of conduct are about uniformity and control, they are not about safety. You should be absolutely ashamed of your dishonesty and manipulation — and your attacks on freedom.

You are hypocrites as well as liars, and you will destroy Free Software if people are foolish enough to cede control to you.

It would not be possible to say these things at LibrePlanet. And that is precisely the problem.

No free speech, no Free Software — FREE RICHARD!

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

2 Comments »

  1. Canta said,

    June 13, 2019 at 6:16 pm

    Gravatar

    I understand that writting about this issue is hard (you mention it on the linked post from April), but frankly is also hard to understand what are you talking about.

    “There was some kinda-secret CoC on LibrePlanet, with bully enforcers, and that was yet another move towards big corp culture.” That’s what I understand from both posts.

    Given that it’s you bringing the issue, I believe it. But is really weird so much secrecy around that CoC that should be very easy to get by now: just everybody that opened their mouths in front of a mic on LibrePlanet must have it. How is it not everywhere already?

    I say this because I feel there may be a valuable debate in the reader’s feelings (most likely shared by you) about free speech and its relation to… well, lots of things. But without the CoC in question the whole thing is just not serious.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Maybe the issue is being addressed a year too late.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

What Else is New


  1. Links 18/6/2019: CentOS 8 Coming Soon, DragonFly BSD 5.6 Released

    Links for the day



  2. 'AI Taskforce' is Actually a Taskforce for Software Patents

    The mainstream media has been calling just about everything "HEY HI!" (AI), but what it typically refers to is a family of old algorithms being applied in possibly new areas; patent maximalists in eastern Asia and the West hope that this mainstream media's obsession can be leveraged to justify new kinds of patents on code



  3. Patent Maximalism is Dead in the United States

    Last-ditch efforts, or a desperate final attempt to water down 35 U.S.C. § 101, isn't succeeding; stacked panels are seen for what they really are and 35 U.S.C. § 101 isn't expected to change



  4. Links 18/6/2019: Linux 5.2 RC5 and OpenMandriva Lx 4

    Links for the day



  5. Weaponising Russophobia Against One's Critics

    Response to smears and various whispering campaigns whose sole purpose is to deplete the support base for particular causes and people; these sorts of things have gotten out of control in recent years



  6. When the EPO is Run by Politicians It's Expected to Be Aggressive and Corrupt Like Purely Political Establishments

    António 'Photo Op' Campinos will have marked his one-year anniversary in July; he has failed to demonstrate morality, respect for the law, understanding of the sciences, leadership by example and even the most basic honesty (he lies a lot)



  7. Links 16/6/2019: Tmax OS and New Features for KDE.org

    Links for the day



  8. Stuffed/Stacked Panels Sent Back Packing After One-Sided Patent Hearings That Will Convince Nobody, Just Preach to the Choir

    Almost a week ago the 'world tour' of patent lobbyists in US Senate finally ended; it was an utterly ridiculous case study in panel stacking and bribery (attempts to buy laws)



  9. 2019 H1: American Software Patents Are as Worthless as They Were Last Year and Still Susceptible to Invalidation

    With a fortnight left before the second half of the year it seems evident that software patents aren't coming back; the courts have not changed their position at all



  10. As European Patent Office Management Covers up Collapse in Patent Quality Don't Expect UPC to Ever Kick Off

    It would be madness to allow EPO-granted patents to become 'unitary' (bypassing sovereignty of nations that actually still value patent quality); it seems clear that rogue EPO management has, in effect, not only doomed UPC ambitions but also European Patents (or their perceived legitimacy, presumption of validity)



  11. António Campinos -- Unlike His Father -- Engages in Imperialism (Using Invalid Patents)

    Despite some similarities to his father (not positive similarities), António Campinos is actively engaged in imperialistic agenda that defies even European law; the EPO not only illegally grants patents but also urges other patent offices to do the same



  12. António Campinos Takes EPO Waste and Corruption to Unprecedented Levels and Scale

    The “B” word (billions) is thrown around at Europe’s second-largest institution because a mischievous former EUIPO chief (not Archambeau) is ‘partying’ with about half of the EPO’s all-time savings, which are supposed to be reserved for pensions and other vital programmes, not presidential palaces and gambling



  13. Links 15/6/2019: Astra Linux in Russia, FreeBSD 11.3 RC

    Links for the day



  14. Code of Conduct Explained: Partial Transcript - August 10th, 2018 - Episode 80, The Truth About Southeast Linuxfest

    "Ask Noah" and the debate on how a 'Code of Conduct' is forcibly imposed on events



  15. Links 14/6/2019: Xfce-Related Releases, PHP 7.4.0 Alpha

    Links for the day



  16. The EPO is a Patent Troll's Wet Dream

    The makers of software and games in Europe will have to spend a lot of money just keeping patent trolls off their backs — a fact that seems to never bother EPO management because it profits from it



  17. EPO Spreading Patent Extremists' Ideology to the Whole World, Now to South Korea

    The EPO’s footprint around the world's patent systems is an exceptionally dangerous one; The EPO amplifies the most zealous voices of the patents and litigation ‘industry’ while totally ignoring the views and interests of the European public, rendering the EPO an ‘agent of corporate occupation’



  18. Guest Post: Notes on Free Speech, and a Line in the Sand

    We received this anonymous letter and have published it as a follow-up to "Reader's Claim That Rules Similar to the Code of Conduct (CoC) Were 'Imposed' on LibrePlanet and the FSF"



  19. Links 13/6/2019: CERN Dumps Microsoft, GIMP 2.10.12 Released

    Links for the day



  20. Links 12/6/2019: Mesa 19.1.0, KDE neon 5.16, Endless OS 3.6.0 and BackBox Linux 6

    Links for the day



  21. Leaked Financial 'Study' Document Shows EPO Management and Mercer Engaging in an Elaborate “Hoax”

    How the European Patent Office (EPO) lies to its own staff to harm that staff; thankfully, the staff isn't easily fooled and this whole affair will merely obliterate any remnants of "benefit of the doubt" the President thus far enjoyed



  22. Measuring Patent Quality and Employer Quality in Europe

    Comparing the once-famous and respected EPO to today's joke of an office, which grants loads of bogus patents on just about anything including fruit and mathematics



  23. Granting More Fundamentally Wrong Patents Will Mean Reduced Certainty, Not Increased Certainty

    Law firms that are accustomed to making money from low-quality and abstract patents try to overcome barriers by bribing politicians; this will backfire because they show sheer disregard for the patent system's integrity and merely lower the legal certainty associated with granted (by greedy offices) patents



  24. Links 11/6/2019: Wine 4.10, Plasma 5.16

    Links for the day



  25. Chapter 10: Moving Forward -- Getting the Best Results From Open Source With Your Monopoly

    “the gradual shift in public consciousness from their branding towards our own, is the next best thing to owning them outright.”



  26. Chapter 9: Ownership Through Branding -- Change the Names, and Change the World

    The goal for those fighting against Open source, against the true openness (let's call it the yet unexploited opportunities) of Open source, has to be first to figuratively own the Linux brand, then literally own or destroy the brand, then to move the public awareness of the Linux brand to something like Azure, or whatever IBM is going to do with Red Hat.



  27. Links 10/6/2019: VLC 3.0.7, KDE Future Plans

    Links for the day



  28. Patent Quality Continues to Slip in Europe and We Know Who Will Profit From That (and Distract From It)

    The corporate media and large companies don't speak about it (like Red Hat did before entering a relationship with IBM), but Europe is being littered and saturated with a lot of bogus software patents -- abstract patents that European courts would almost certainly throw out; this utter failure of the media to do journalism gets exploited by the "big litigation" lobby and EPO management that's granting loads of invalid European Patents (whose invalidation goes underreported or unreported in the media)



  29. Corporate Front Groups Like OIN and the Linux Foundation Need to Combat Software Patents If They Really Care About Linux

    The absurdity of having groups that claim to defend Linux but in practice defend software patents, if not actively then passively (by refusing to comment on this matter)



  30. Links 9/6/2019: Arrest of Microsoft Peter, Linux 5.2 RC4, Ubuntu Touch Update

    Links for the day


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

Recent Posts