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12.12.19

We Support GNU and the FSF But Remain Sceptical and Occasionally Worry About an RMS-less FSF

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux at 2:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

From the FSF’s page. It’s there near the bottom of the page.

Tweets for sale?

Summary: Richard Stallman (RMS) is not in charge of the FSF anymore (it’s Stallman who created the FSF) and there’s risk the decisions will be made by people who don’t share Stallman’s ethics or the FSF’s spirit

THE FOUNDER of the FSF has left. He no longer controls the FSF. He still controls GNU, which given its relationship with/to the FSF makes the situation a little intricate. The relations of power may seem subtle, but they’re still there. We still don’t know who repeatedly defaced Stallman’s Web site, but we heard rumours. The site was edited to fabricate Stallman’s resignation from GNU (or stepping down from GNU leadership), accompanied by very nasty personal attacks in at least one of the links. We can’t just forget about it. That happened. An explanation was never given, at least not a full explanation.

“Someone recently brought up the FSF’s plans to facilitate “mobile” devices (i.e. tracking) in our main IRC channel and I asked about this in the FSF’s IRC channel.”In our IRC channels and also in E-mail/social control media I sometimes get asked about the situation. But I can’t give good answer. I’m just not sure. There’s no doubt things are changing at the FSF. Sometimes it’s big stuff, sometimes rather minor. Someone recently brought up the FSF’s plans to facilitate “mobile” devices (i.e. tracking) in our main IRC channel and I asked about this in the FSF’s IRC channel. The responses were quite reasonable. So no need for grudges over it.

However, one of our readers, a longtime FSF member, highlighted an issue to me earlier this week. I could not believe it at first, so I really had to double-check.

“The FSF is selling tweets and such,” the reader said. “So if I had money to burn I would have given to the FSF at a level where they would have to publish praise of RMS in their social control media channels.”

The reader also explained that “since I use the Internet Archive a lot, and TR (Techrights) depends on it more than a little, they got most of the money this year. It turns out they currently have 2:1 matching going on at this time too. They asked why I donated. So I included mention of the FSF and their mistreatment of RMS, in addition to the several major archival reasons and the excellent work the IA does.”

“…seeing that the FSF makes posts in exchange for payments, I am growingly uncomfortable.”I am personally connected to the FSF in social control media and have occasionally reshared their posts. I didn’t see anything dubious among those. But seeing that the FSF makes posts in exchange for payments, I am growingly uncomfortable. Isn’t there an ethical issue here? Also, is this a relatively new thing? Have we seen it before?

Jono Bacon has just published an interview with the Linux Foundation‘s (LF) events person (the chief). He gets money by posting tweets for LF event sponsors (he would do anything for money… even Microsoft reputation laundering).

As I stated a few hours ago: “If you don’t know that Linux Foundation sells keynotes, thank-yous and tweets, then you don't really know the 'Linux' Foundation…”

“The way I see it (personally, others in Techrights might not agree), the FSF is not the same without RMS.”I hope that the FSF will never go down a similar path.

The way I see it (personally, others in Techrights might not agree), the FSF is not the same without RMS. His supervision or his oversight likely deterred detrimental ‘expansion’. We previously talked or passively remarked on reluctance to criticise anything from Red Hat (such as systemd) with the elephant in the room being payments from Red Hat to the FSF. This can, at the very least, buy silence (self-censorship). That’s not a decent thing to be doing; it’s arguably indecent.

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