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

06.30.19

The FSF Has Become Too Passive to Tackle Some Emergent and Growing Threats

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GPL at 9:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Savannah or the Safari of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) loses some safeties

Wild animal

Summary: In this “ecosystem” which the FSF does not want to talk about (not in these terms anyway) there are predators who thrive in apathy; there ought to be more discussion about newer threats to society’s freedoms in the increasingly-digital age

THE “Librethreat Database” (composed by an anonymous contributor earlier this month) speaks of new attack paradigms/vectors which weaken the freedom associated with Free software. We recently noted that even Richard Stallman was being marginalised, just like Linus Torvalds. More corporations-friendly (controlled by large corporations) people like Jim Zemlin of the Linux Foundation emerge as “heroes” and become the “stars of the show,” supported by corporate media which is meanwhile demonising the likes of Stallman (this has gone on for decades) and more recently Torvalds, causing him to even take his first-ever longterm break from his own project. How dare Torvalds speak of feces?

“If publishers aren’t entirely sympathetic towards Western hegemony, then the fast-and-loose tactic would be to accuse them of being willful (or “useful idiot”) ‘agents’ of Russia/Putin.”Disciplinary measures or precautions against the founders of GNU and of Linux should not be taken lightly. It’s generally an apparatus of leverage. If this can be done to them, it can be done to just about anyone. We could go on naming a bunch of examples (high-profile people), but that would distract from the key point.

A weapon of defamation and smears that we recently brought up was Russophobia, seeing how it was leveraged not just in the technical world but also in the world of journalism. If publishers aren’t entirely sympathetic towards Western hegemony, then the fast-and-loose tactic would be to accuse them of being willful (or “useful idiot”) ‘agents’ of Russia/Putin. We’ve seen this tactic leveraged against a whole bunch of publishers in recent years — to the point where Google started deranking/delisting particular news sites, based on misinformation about those sites rather than misinformation coming from these sites.

“Copyleft, or the GPL with its four essential freedoms, was once the protective shell of Free software.”One recurring theme we’ve witnessed in social (control) media sites is that the FSF should do more. There’s this bunch of new threats, including but not limited to Microsoft entryism, which the FSF mostly ignores/overlooks. Sure, there’s also the attack on GPL/copyleft, there’s DRM, UEFI ‘secure boot’ and to the FSF’s credit, it does deal with these issues, at least verbally (if not by technical means).

Earlier this year we asserted that “Linux” world domination without any of the associated (or assumed) freedoms would not be a big accomplishment. We wouldn’t end up better off than the ‘old order’. Why? Because listening devices (marketed as “smart” “assistants”) proliferate, tinkering with hardware and software becomes harder (if not impossible as well as legally verboten) and there’s a whole bunch of other factors.

“The GPL is no ‘rhino’ layer for those who refuse to ‘wear’ it (and Microsoft’s takeover of GitHub further contributes to that).”This isn’t a harsh criticism of the FSF, with which we have far more in common than most; we just hope that the FSF will at least recognise that, based on what we have been reading, there’s this sentiment or general impression that more must be done. There will soon be a long Techrights series to that effect.

Copyleft, or the GPL with its four essential freedoms, was once the protective shell of Free software. These types of licences, however, are under constant attacks (a smear campaign) from Microsoft partners that we habitually mention, probably not as often as we should. The GPL is no ‘rhino’ layer for those who refuse to ‘wear’ it (and Microsoft’s takeover of GitHub further contributes to that).

Another wild animal

To end on a more positive note, we very much support the FSF and its mission. We view ourselves as complementary rather than alternative to it. If there are certain issues and concerns that the FSF is unwilling to talk about or does not regard as worthy of entertaining, so be it. At least the FSF, unlike the OSI, did not take Microsoft money and does not have Microsoft staff on its Board.

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

A Single Comment

  1. Canta said,

    June 30, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    Gravatar

    I don’t think asking the FSF for more is the way to go. Of course, that depends of what “asking for more” means. But I’m talking about “extend its reach” kind of claim.

    Sure, many things (as the ones stated in the librethreat database) are dangers to software freedom. I, as a programmer myself, agree almost fully with that database. But most likely if/when the FSF talk about anything outside their primary scope, it will be noise. Like when Stallman speaks about systemd (telling us that is ethical software because is free software).

    I believe software activism/militancy needs its own heterogeneity, and not just a single sole point of hight density mass like the FSF. That’s just too frail of an structure. There are different debates, and asking a single organization to respond for all of them ends up, when sucessful, in what today we know as political parties: big organizations, more focused in persisting some kind of status quo and realpolitiks than defending some basic principles.

    I say we embrace heterogeneity. And with that I mean “create multiple organizations, not exactly all the same”. Take a look at gender and feminism, for example. It’s been generations of work in that field, and against all odds its gaining a fantastic momentum all around the world. And that is being done whithout a single organization leading, and with a cluster of small but intense (and constantly conflicting) ethical organizations. A single feminist group does not accounts for all women problems. And that way, you can have women like sucessful business leaders and marginal anti-system radicals marching hand to hand on the streets when it’s about women rights.

    And not everything they do is ok. It’s not about being always right. It’s about changing something that is funtamentally wrong. And thing is, for that, power is needed.

    Entities like Microsoft are leeches for power. Business corps in general are. They’re good at that. What I feel we need to do is focus in that power dynamics, instead of trying to close our eyes and cover our nose when it appears: we seem to be losing Mozilla that way, and Linux.

    Free software movement is in a very special historical position: it’s no longer a theory, and it has huge impact in society. Informatics is also a very young discipline, and tech changes happens way too fast for anybody to fully grasp it on time. Those are unique and difficult problems in the history of humanity, and I don’t find it healthy to ask for solutions always to the same people: they’ll burn if we do. There has to be leverage in other organizations, parallelizing the debates, and making that way software freedom as an everybody issue.

What Else is New


  1. Nothing Has Truly Changed Since Netscape and Antitrust

    The same old crimes persist, as well as the blatantly anticompetitive behaviour



  2. When the Monopolists and the Patent Litigation Industry Hijack the News They Control the Narrative

    Money buys perception and litigation firms have certainly 'bought' the media coverage, which fails to convey the issue at stake and instead paints a rational court decision as tragedy for "innovation" (by "innovation" they mean monopolies on nature and on life)



  3. Links 25/1/2020: OPNsense 20.1 RC1 and DXVK 1.5.2

    Links for the day



  4. The Linux Kernel is No Longer Free Software?

    Gardiner Bryant, the creator of The Linux Gamer as well as The Off Topical Podcast, reacts to our articles about DRM in Linux (he even pronounced my name correctly)



  5. Sometimes Proprietary Software is Proprietary (Secret) Simply Because It is Not Good and Obfuscation Helps Hide Just How Ugly It Is

    Why nonfree (or proprietary) software generally fails to catch up with Free/libre software — at least on technical grounds — and then makes up for it with marketing and FUD offensives (discrediting perfectly-functioning things, based on their perceived cost)



  6. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 24, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, January 24, 2020



  7. Links 24/1/2020: GNU/Linux in Russia and More New Openings

    Links for the day



  8. When EPO Press Coverage Boils Down to Lobbying, Press Releases, EPO Lies, and Bribery

    Any attempts to properly assess and explain what happens in Europe's patent landscape are being drowned out by EPO-bribed and law firms-connected media; to make matters worse, the EPO's bribes have expanded to academia, so even scholarly work in this domain is corrupted by money of special interest groups



  9. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 23, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 23, 2020



  10. Links 23/1/2020: Qubes OS 4.0.3, EasyOS 2.2.5, GhostBSD 20.01

    Links for the day



  11. Passion of the Microsoft

    A rough timeline of Microsoft’s interactions with Linux and the Linux Foundation since 2015



  12. The Patent Microcosm is Really Panicking as European Patents on Life and Other Spurious Junk (Invalid Patents) Are Successfully Rejected

    European Patents (EPs) may be revoked en masse if what we're seeing is the gradual emergence of 'European Mayo' (and maybe soon 'European Alice')



  13. Distractions From Microsoft's Gigantic Tax Evasion and Contribution to Denial of Climate Science

    Microsoft (connected to oil companies) wants us to think of it as a "green" company; not only does it contribute to climate denial but it also evades tax, which is a serious crime that costs tens of billions of dollars (the public pays this money instead)



  14. Confirmation: System1/Startpage Offered Pay to People Who Pushed for (Re)Listing in Privacy Directories

    The debate is now settled; those arguing in favour of listing Startpage as privacy-respecting are in fact secretly 'compensated' by Startpage (in other words, they're Startpage 'shills')



  15. Vandana Shiva: “Bill Gates is Continuing the Work of Monsanto”

    A recent interview on what Bill Gates is really up to in that sham ‘charity’ of his



  16. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 22, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 22, 2020



  17. Extending Linux With DRM, Azure and exFAT

    An insufficiently 'conservative' Linux ceases to be freedom-respecting



  18. Linux Foundation (LF) Now Dominated by Lots of Microsoft People and LF Chiefs Join Microsoft in Smearing GPL/Copyleft

    We continue to see additional evidence which serves towards reinforcing our view that the so-called 'Linux' Foundation is actually hostile towards many things that are associated with Linux (unlike those looking to exploit/hijack Linux for proprietary ends)



  19. Links 22/1/2020: Wayland 1.18 Alpha, ODF 1.3 Approved

    Links for the day



  20. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 21, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 21, 2020



  21. Poor Excuses for Granting Poor (and Often Illegal/Invalid) Patents

    A quick look at some of the latest examples of software patents advocacy (not by actual software professionals, obviously) and why it's deeply misguided (or guided solely by greedy law firms)



  22. A Simple Plan For a Universal Free Software Community

    "For software to be free as in freedom, we need more people to care personally about software freedom."



  23. Links 21/1/2020: Wine 5.0 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2 Beta

    Links for the day



  24. Startpage/System1 Almost Definitely Pay for People to Lie About Their Surveillance

    A longterm investigation suggests that there are forces in the debate that aren't objective and are being super evasive and dodgy; this typically happens only when somebody has much to hide



  25. The Internet is an Appalling Medium for News and It Has Only Gotten Worse

    Something ought to change in the way people gather and assess news; at the moment — as proper journalism runs out of steam (and budget) — things only deteriorate and quality suffers; this rapidly exacerbates as people come to rely on — and then relay — hearsay, not fact-checked bodies of work



  26. Media Reactions to the EPO Coming to Grips With Fake Patents That It Granted (Spoiler: the Media is Controlled by Lawyers of Monopolists and EPO Partners)

    Appalling quality of reporting and truly awful bias in the media, primarily owing to the fact that it is dominated/manned not by actual reporters but the firms looking to patent life itself; they use their lawyers and operatives who are literally funded by these lawyers (wearing "journalist" badges to mislead)



  27. Links 21/1/2020: EarlyOOM Fedora Decision and AMD Zen 3 Microcode

    Links for the day



  28. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 20, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, January 20, 2020



  29. Links 20/1/2020: MNT Reform, Linux 5.5 RC7, KMyMoney 5.0.8

    Links for the day



  30. Mansion of Pedophilia – Addendum: Accessing and Assessing Court Documents

    How anyone out there can do the job the media failed to do (after an apparently unprecedented arrest at the home of Bill Gates)


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