06.03.20

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We Need to Use the F Word (Freedom) to Promote Adoption of GNU/Linux

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 9:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“People get the government their behavior deserves. People deserve better than that.”

Richard Stallman

THESE times are good for nobody. Nobody. “Subscriptions have definitely fallen off a bit in the last few months,” LWN wrote the other day (and the paywall for this week has just lapsed), “and we’ve had subscribers dropping off with a note saying that they had lost their job and needed to cut expenses.”

Many of these subscribers are GNU/Linux users and developers. Let’s face it; nobody is immune.

“Now, let’s say that the growth in the number of GNU/Linux users (which begets broader OEM support for the platform) is related to free time and need to reduce expenses…”We’re not going to boil down to politics and politicians’ names at this moment; instead we’ll just allude to the bigger picture. The United States isn’t the only country facing an unprecedented crisis right now; in the United States it is a lot more visible however and there’s violence (both from the state and against it, and that includes armed militias taking on/over Federal buildings). This isn’t so much a “left versus right” thing; there’s growing unrest and dissent because the system is sort of crumbling. The economy might still be OK for the oligarchs at the top, but starvation is growing, even in the richest country in the world. Daily Links have some reports to that effect…

Now, let’s say that the growth in the number of GNU/Linux users (which begets broader OEM support for the platform) is related to free time and need to reduce expenses…

“To properly organise for meaningful change one cannot rely on proprietary software. Some tried; and we know how they ended up…”Let’s just make this assumption… not a scientific assumption, but nevertheless.

Advocacy of GNU/Linux can adapt accordingly. There are (have have been) typically two ways to promote Free/libre software; one is related to costs (immediate or longterm) and another related to freedom, however one perceives it…

Freedom is one of those things people take for granted (like voting rights) until it’s lost.

Right now, in my personal assessment, it’s not entirely clear whether there will be a 2020 election (or a functional election). Right now surveillance is on the rise (it is bipartisan by the way; seems like Democrats are absolutely OK with Donald Trump expanding spying powers) and it seems more or less related to social control (not terrorism and definitely not white-collar crimes such as tax evasion).

“Reading Microsoft ‘news’ is nowadays amusing at times.”So, in my humble opinion, we can start taking more and more about the “F” (freedom) and not just the “$” (cost savings). GNU/Linux isn’t guaranteed to improve one’s privacy but it’s certainly helping and it is a step in the right direction. To properly organise for meaningful change one cannot rely on proprietary software. Some tried; and we know how they ended up…

The mainstream media is trying to tell us that GNU/Linux is surging (the numbers they cite are misleading), so we’re already accomplishing what we wanted. Microsoft is meanwhile reporting (but spinning) layoffs and announcing mere vapouware. Reading Microsoft ‘news’ is nowadays amusing at times. They cannot even patch their own operating system without breaking it! To the point where they now block their own updates! As for WSL, it has been a total failure, but Canonical seems eager to help it. Says a lot about Ubuntu in 2020…

Speak to family, contact friends. Tell them to give GNU/Linux a try. There was never a time this good for learning new things.

“Geeks like to think that they can ignore politics, you can leave politics alone, but politics won’t leave you alone.”

Richard Stallman

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