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04.18.20

Free Software and AI Race Ever-Slowly Towards Self-Awareness

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 12:13 am by Guest Editorial Team

Article by figosdev

A squabble

Summary: “Free software has many important achievements, nearly all of which have greater substance than “open source–” Free software is more honest, less corrupt, more thoughtful, and will ultimately be more effective at fighting non-free software than its shill counterparts in the well-paid, often-bribed open-washing world.”

TO be aware is to be critical; to be self-aware is to be self-critical. It is not inherently negative — if you are critical of being too critical, then you will not be overly negative.

Free software has the other problem, it is underly negative.

Free software has many important achievements, nearly all of which have greater substance than “open source–” Free software is more honest, less corrupt, more thoughtful, and will ultimately be more effective at fighting non-free software than its shill counterparts in the well-paid, often-bribed open-washing world.

But it ignores its faults to its detriment, compromise and weakness. It suffers a coup and does little about it. It stays out of touch and fails to look outside its own window.

These are common critiques, often made by people who have nefarious corporate motives. And it’s one of those things where faults are dishonestly exaggerated for entirely political reasons, and I won’t support their re-writing of history. Though it’s also one of those things where the exaggerated dishonest critiques are based on a kernel of truth. It’s that truth I intend to address.

I don’t like talking to most Free software advocates, because it’s largely pointless. They parrot a bit too much, though that’s not as bad as when open source shills for monopolies and ill-gotten power over customers. Free software isn’t evil, but if it was, it would certainly be the lesser of two evils.

“Free software isn’t evil, but if it was, it would certainly be the lesser of two evils.”But the best people use self-reflection and self-critique to try to improve, and Free software is in not one rut, but several — any of which threatens to destroy the movement itself. And Free software largely does not care.

Some people say Free software is extremist. Torvalds said that, and he’s just a shill in my opinion. A horrible, lying shill. Free software is many things — abolitionist, orthodox — it plays Vegan to open source’s vegetarianism-with-beef (I’m neither, by the way) and sometimes, Free software advocates are Ultra-orthodox when they don’t need to be.

I have a theory about orthodoxy, and it goes like this — orthodoxy has done a great deal to preserve oral cultures in a way that nothing else has. Since I’m nothing remotely like a religious scholar, I don’t really know how sound that theory is. But I bring it up because I’m not entirely against orthodoxy.

I love reform movements, though Free software has every good reason to be sceptical, after being screwed over by Raymond and (to a far, far lesser degree) Perens. Not to mention IBM, Microsoft and GitHub, though Free software seems to be doing very little about this. They’re busy counting donations.

Unlike open source, I don’t think the Free software movement is corrupt, but its institutions could arguably be. Those coups coincide with money the movement was foolish to accept — money from its enemies, who have proceeded to do great harm.

“Those coups coincide with money the movement was foolish to accept — money from its enemies, who have proceeded to do great harm.”And for the most part, Free software doesn’t care about this. They aren’t acting like shills, they’re acting like sheep (at best, parrots.) And I get tired of trying to convince them of anything.

Make no mistake, there IS NO ALTERNATIVE that is really viable at this time. I’ve tried, and doubt any success in trying to rally people towards something stronger against modern threats.

And make no mistake, I’m very happy to say there are exceptions to this dark prognosis. I’m happy to say that (even if you feel otherwise) I thankfully can’t paint the entire movement with the same brush. I don’t want to, and the evidence doesn’t support it if I did. But it’s still bad.

These are unmistakably intelligent people. Intelligent people, who like many intelligent people, categorically refuse to consider the possibility of being wrong. They can debate, as long as the debate doesn’t produce any change or alter any detail of what they know. If it means they really are right about everything, no matter what, then they have no reason to learn or change or doubt a thing.

But the odds of that are staggeringly low.

Everybody should be wary of false compromise, of course. Compromise (the one-sided variety) is a hallmark of open source and their sale of Free software and user freedom off to IBM, Microsoft, GitHub and Google. Not to mention all the laughable “advocates” who talk about freedom while poking and tapping at iPhones and Macs. There’s a reason you’re not free — look right in front of you.

“Not to mention all the laughable “advocates” who talk about freedom while poking and tapping at iPhones and Macs. There’s a reason you’re not free — look right in front of you.”But while the Free software movement doesn’t need to ditch its mission as open source asks it “nicely” to (not really that nicely, niceness in the open source world is fake and contrived), it does need to question itself anyway.

I don’t think Free software is going to do that.

The result is that Free software will continue to be compromised, watered down, and hand itself over to IBM and Microsoft — as it already has.

Free software is not a good listener. And most of what people try to tell it is (to be certain) a lot of crap anyway. But that’s no reason for the rest of the world to fall on deaf ears.

Look in the mirror, look out the window, look inside, and look at the bigger picture.

I know the first reaction will be to turn it on me and say I don’t do those things. I don’t care about that. I’ve spent enough of my life (so far) on reflection and self-critique that I’m happy to tell other people about the importance of it.

“The result is that Free software will continue to be compromised, watered down, and hand itself over to IBM and Microsoft — as it already has.”We all have faults. Pretending we already get everything right is just stupid.

And I’m really, really tired of talking to people who don’t want to improve, who are happy to be taken over the way Free software is being taken over.

This has gone on for years, guys. I’m going to give up on you eventually.

I won’t give up on software freedom. But I might call it Free culture, if Free software can’t learn any new tricks while the war goes on — if they continue their fiddling while Rome burns.

Go ahead, ignore this.

And to those who have understood the more important parts so far, and likely will continue to — thanks. There aren’t nearly enough of you, but it’s still appreciated.

Why did I write this?

Sometimes, when a situation is hopeless, it’s best to just walk away. Not possible. Not yet.

But this is the best I can do for someone as stubborn as the sort of person I’m talking about. Maybe not Stallman — after all that people have put him through, I think maybe he’s done enough — creating the Free software movement and all that.

I appreciate orthodoxy (not extremism) to keep something intact for ages and ages, but we still need reform (which is not the same as walking away from our key principles) as an interface to the rest of the world.

“Just to be clear, to any open source gloaters — you’re still worse.”Free software isn’t a cult, but its members still need to be told — very firmly, that it’s okay to think for yourself. I can’t find a great deal of evidence that they know that. But I’d love for someone to prove that wrong. Please, by all means — make my day.

Just to be clear, to any open source gloaters — you’re still worse. They might not think quite enough for themselves, but open source parrots horrible people who think of themselves only. Your veneer of an “independent spirit” is a joke.

I know, I know, I sound like an asshole. So do you guys, sometimes. What can be done? If this is where you and I part ways, I understand, really. I’m never sure if we still have more to talk about.

I do know this — real friends don’t spend their lives trying to make each miserable, and they still look out for each other in good times and bad — they don’t have to sugarcoat everything. They don’t have to bullshit, because A. they care, and B. they’re sincere. It’s understood.

“I do know this — real friends don’t spend their lives trying to make each miserable, and they still look out for each other in good times and bad — they don’t have to sugarcoat everything.”But fake friends never hear you at all. They don’t care, it doesn’t matter to them. It’s a show — it’s a game, and it’s all about them. They say it’s not, but there’s no serious evidence of that.

As for Free software, this is important. I hope Roy will write a followup, saying why he thinks I’m wrong. No worries, Roy. I would love it if I am.

Long live Stallman, and Happy critical thinking.

P.S. I’ve written some boring-AF articles recently, I know I might be the only person that cares about those, and I swear this isn’t about that. Even I think they’re boring. Interesting subject, boring articles. I considered not writing the most recent one, and finally wrote it just to avoid explaining it more than once.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)

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