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02.25.20

Guest Article: LibrePlanet Attendees Should Demand a Partial Refund

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux at 3:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

By figosdev

Antarctica wildlife

Summary: What we do know is — that the FSF is no longer “Free as in Speech!”

LibrePlanet is NonfreePlanet, though I am a big fan of Brewster Kahle. If I were Kahle, I would pull out of the event in protest of the despicable actions by FSF and/or the people running the event. I do not know exactly who made the decision to censor LibrePlanet.

I also know that the Internet is the greatest library that humanity has ever built, and that librarians are some of the world’s fiercest opponents of censorship. As one internet librarian to another, I urge Mr. Kahle to consider pulling out of the event in protest. But that’s only a side point to this article.

We do know the motivation that’s behind this injustice. We were told Stallman resigned from the FSF to be helpful. That is probably true, but it isn’t the whole story. We know from the Vice President the intentions of the board — vs. the staff:

“…the FSF board never made any decision to distance the FSF from Richard, to criticize him, or to celebrate his departure. Quite the opposite, if you look carefully at statements issued by the board”

That’s the board, but then there’s this:

“Somehow, despite the decision by the board to stay the course after Richard left, the notion that got to FSF staff was that we were to move away from him, silence his supporters and support his silencers.”

We know that for a while, the mailing list was being censored of pro-Stallman messages. These members were paying to be silenced, against the decision of the board. This is an organisation that has long touted the phrase “Free as in Speech!”

But NonfreePlanet is being censored this year:

“I submitted a speech proposal, but I didn’t even get a response. I’m told by people in the know that my speech was selected, but that there was concern I might speak in favor of the canceled person instead of the proposed topic”

That isn’t some random internet troll being cancelled, it’s the FSF’s own Vice President!

He’s not being censored for the contents of the speech he submitted — but out of FEAR that he might say something Respectful about the founder — who still heads the GNU project!

This is the New FSF Regime, and it’s not following the decisions of the board, nor is the FSF standing up for the founder’s freedom, the vice president’s freedom, nor ours.

When they censor the most distinguished guests, they aren’t only shortchanging the guest. They are diminishing their own standing as an organisation, diminishing their own message and their own advocacy, and they are shortchanging YOU, because they are denying you some of what you would have been allowed to be there for.

They are controlling what you witness and censoring your own experience, not just the guest’s opportunity to speak.

Since the full LibrePlanet experience is not available, you should DEMAND A DISCOUNT or for members, a partial refund — of (at least) one U.S. dollar. You will only be getting a fraction of the LibrePlanet experience in 2020. You shouldn’t have to pay full price.

Tell the FSF you want a refund! While they celebrate their 7th year (6.5 with Stallman as President) celebrating the transparency that Charity Navigator measures, they are being very opaque about where the LibrePlanet money goes. Yes, it goes to the event, or it goes to whatever they say it goes to — but they don’t tell you that you’re only getting PART of the event you paid for.

Every guest should pay less money for less of an event. Is this the first NonfreePlanet, or did they censor a perfectly suitable guest before?

What we do know is — that the FSF is no longer “Free as in Speech!”

As to a second protest worth considering, you might decide show up to the event with duct tape on your mouth, or possibly standing outside with Free Root Beers! (Distributing Free Beers might draw legal complications, and besides, it’s important to be able to get Root on your own system.)

After all — if LibrePlanet is no longer Libre as in Speech, it should at least be Gratis as in Beer! Plus you can drink to the guests who can’t be there, or can’t speak because they’re stifled and subjugated and controlled by an illegitimate coup!

Will they have ushers ready to put a bag over their own Vice President’s head and pull him out of thet even if he should say something Evil and Seditious such as “I love Richard?”

Who knows? Maybe in this New FSF Regime, they’ll have Tasers to stop such acts of free speech!

It’s sort of like the Free Software Song goes:

Join us now and, MMfff mmfff MMMmm-ware
You’ll be mmmfFFFFF mmm Mff!!
You’ll be… MMMfffmmmm…

I don’t know, man, it’s just my opinion. I’m not — Oh hi, guys! What? No! Stop! What are you doing?!

I —

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)

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