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. The Fall of the UPC - Part IX: Campinos Opens His Mouth One Week Later (and It's That Hilarious Delusion Again)

    Team Campinos said nothing whatsoever about the decision of the FCC until one week later, whereupon Campinos leveraged some words from Christine Lambrecht to mislead everybody in the EPO's official "news" section



  2. Pretending EPO Corruption Stopped Under António Campinos When It is in Fact a Lot Worse in Several Respects/Aspects (Than It Was Under Benoît Battistelli)

    Germany's eagerness to keep Europe's central patent office in Munich (and to a lesser degree in Berlin) means that politicians in the capital and in Bavaria turn a blind eye to abuses, corruption and even serious crimes; this won't help Germany's image in the long run



  3. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, March 28, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, March 28, 2020



  4. Links 28/3/2020: Wine 5.5 Released, EasyPup 2.2.14, WordPress 5.4 RC5 and End of Truthdig

    Links for the day



  5. IRC Proceedings: Friday, March 27, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, March 27, 2020



  6. The Fall of the UPC - Part VIII: Team UPC Celebrates Death, Not Life

    Team UPC plays psychological games now; it is trying to twist or spin its defeat as good news and something to be almost celebrated; it is really as illogical (and pathetic) as that sounds



  7. Links 27/3/2020: GNU/Linux Versus COVID-19 and Release of GNU Guile 3.0.2

    Links for the day



  8. When Your 'Business' is Just 'Patent Portfolio'

    Hoarding loads of patents may seem impressive, but eating them to survive is impossible if not impermissible



  9. LOT Network is a One-Man (Millionaire's) Operation and Why This Should Alarm You

    The ugly story of Open Invention Network (OIN) and LOT; today we take a closer look at LOT and highlight a pattern of 'cross-pollination' (people in both OIN and LOT, even at the same time)



  10. Faking Production With Fake Patents on Software

    The EPO with its illegal guidelines (in violation of the EPC) can carry on churning out millions of fake patents that European courts would only waste time on and small companies be blackmailed with (they cannot afford legal battles)



  11. With the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Out of the Way Focus Will Return to EPO Corruption

    Expect the European Patent Office (EPO) to receive more negative attention now that the ’cause’ of UPC is lost and there’s no point pretending things are rosy



  12. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, March 26, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, March 26, 2020



  13. Links 27/3/2020: qBittorrent 4.2.2, Krita 4.2.9, pfSense 2.4, Bodhi Linux 5

    Links for the day



  14. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, March 25, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, March 25, 2020



  15. Still Work in Progress: Getting Those 2,851 Pages of Police Report About Arrest for Pedophilia in Home of Bill Gates

    It’s extremely difficult to get those police records, which were requested exactly one day before the media started attacking Richard Stallman (associating him with pedophiles based on a deliberate distortion)



  16. Links 26/3/2020: Plasma Bigscreen, New Kubernetes, Fedora's New Identity and Bodhi Linux 5.1.0

    Links for the day



  17. Guest Article: Window Managers, Github and Software Disobedience

    "Walking away from monopolies is the essence of freedom"



  18. Links 25/3/2020: LLVM 10.0.0 and UCS 4.4-4 Released, WordPress 5.4 RC4

    Links for the day



  19. 'Team UPC' Last Week

    The looks on Team UPC's faces 5 days ago (before and after the 9:30AM announcement)



  20. The Fall of the UPC - Part VII: Lies and Revisionism About the Reasons for the UPC's Ultimate Demise (to Leave the Door Open for More Failed Attempts)

    The media was lying in a hurry, in a coordinated effort to distort the meaning of the FCC's decision or belittle the impact of this decision; Techrights will carefully watch and respond to these lies



  21. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, March 24, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, March 24, 2020



  22. Linux Foundation Became Anti-Linux, Run by Microsoft People to Serve Microsoft's Agenda

    Microsoft is taking over the bodies of healthy projects, infecting the hosts in order for them to become slaves of the proprietary parasite; there's still no (known) cure, but we're familiar with the symptoms



  23. Microsoft Continues to Attack and Steal From the Open Source/Free Software Communities

    Microsoft cannot be trusted and there's no "new Microsoft," as another fairly new story serves to show



  24. Targeted Attack Leveraging FSF Servers

    Targeted by a determined and persist perpetrator, I've received over 20,000 E-mails. And the weapon of choice was the FSF's infrastructure, remotely misused against yours truly.



  25. If We Weren't Silencing Founders, Critics and People We Just Don't Like

    "In the long run, history is rarely very kind to tyrants, especially the ones who did little more than lie to people and demand things that served no real purpose."



  26. The Fall of the UPC - Part VI: Drowning in Material

    We're starting to see few good reports on the subject of UPC being rejected by the constitutional court of Germany; we also have a rapidly-growing 'buffer' of rather blatant examples of disinformation (which we'll tackle as best we can)



  27. FFII: EU Software Patent Court Stopped by Constitutional Court, Patent Industry Will Try Again

    The third attempt to validate software patents in Europe via a central patent court (UPC) has been stopped by the German Constitutional Court. The Unified Patent Court (UPC) would have given the keys of the kingdoms to the patent industry, and the last word over software patentability. FFII predict that the patent industry will continue to push for an UPC v2.0.



  28. Links 24/3/2020: Alpine 3.11.5, MythTV 31.0 and Tails 4.4.1

    Links for the day



  29. IRC Proceedings: Monday, March 23, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, March 23, 2020



  30. Links 23/3/2020: Linux 5.6 RC7, Audacious 4.0, and Git 2.26 Released

    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