08.09.20

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The Good and Bad of a (GNU?) BSD (not GNU/LINUX) Future

Posted in BSD, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 6:17 pm by Guest Editorial Team

2020 figosdev

BSD Linux
Chapter 17: The Good and Bad of a (GNU?) BSD (not GNU/LINUX) Future; Originally adapted/derived from "Au Revoir, GNU/Linux"

Summary: “The software industry now occupies Free software’s own territory. No longer is it Free software vs. Windows and MacOS, it’s Free software vs. GIAFAM-co-opted Free software.”

I might not have included this chapter, but other chapters promised an explanation — this will hopefully give a glimpse into the world we Free software advocates now live in. And also why GNU/Linux is probably doomed.

“This isn’t new; and it isn’t “old news” either, because although they’ve had this way of doing things… dare we call it a “plan?” It’s a little paranoid to assume that a large corporation does things according to any sort of planning, right?”I’ve made a handful of fairly accurate predictions about the future of the tech world, from rms being ousted to the Red Hat purchase, to USB sticks instead of floppies (I didn’t predict the interface, just the storage chips) and I’ve explained that the industry runs deep treads that make a lot of predictions non-miraculous. So while I’d be happy to be wrong, I don’t think what I’m saying is on the horizon is too outrageous — it only goes against marketing and hype. If you prefer marketing lies to unhappy news, you have a choice.

The software industry now occupies Free software’s own territory. No longer is it Free software vs. Windows and MacOS, it’s Free software vs. GIAFAM-co-opted Free software.

This isn’t new; and it isn’t “old news” either, because although they’ve had this way of doing things… dare we call it a “plan?” It’s a little paranoid to assume that a large corporation does things according to any sort of planning, right?

They just wake up each morning and try random things after an impromptu board meeting, with the hopes of controlling the several-billion-dollar ecosystem they have dominated for decades. Of course they go about this without any sort of planning…

But just to throw people off the scent I guess, they outlined their completely non-existent, totally hypothetical and anyway entirely-abandoned, irrelevant plan in the a group of memos now known as the Halloween documents more than 20 years ago.

The fact that everything the industry does today is was somehow predicted in that non-plan written by the very same companies doing the same things today is a complete coincidence.

The fact that IBM was doing it before Microsoft was doing it before Google was doing it is also a complete coincidence also — it doesn’t mean that each wannabe monopoly learned from watching the others before it. Play Steam and don’t worry — the whole reason that GNU/Linux was created was so we could have an Open Source video game platform for non-free games. WE WON! Linux Won!

For those who are trying to understand what the industry is actually doing, the Halloween documents continue to prove relevant.

I notice new examples all the time, and just shake my head. These people don’t have a lot of imagination; as long as some dumb old trick works on customers and delights the press, they have no reason not to use it. And these are dumb old tricks they’re using. I even explain how they get away with it — it’s really not that different from how compulsive liars in general get away with being compulsive liars. It isn’t rocket science.

But you have to hand it to them — the tricks still work. I mean, some Ubuntu fan is actually making the argument on his tech blog that we need an App-Store-like App Store with non-free applications to make GNU/Linux “for everyone.” Sure, I’ve heard this nonsense for years — but he’s talking about the future design of Elementary OS. Brilliant.

They use a locked-down version of GNU/Linux so that downloaded applications have more control over the computer than the user does. For the technically-inclined, this is only partly true — you can actually become root and take over the system again. It is just a lot more tedious than before.

Oh, and as it happens, “for everyone” means fewer choices too! Isn’t that the best? We are going to better help “everyone” by shoveling crap at them, somehow. And then telling them (repeatedly) that it makes them happy. That’s how marketing generally works — manufacturing contentment.

Simulated and symbolic takeover IS the first step in an effective takeover. You need the social change, the change in user expectation before it’s safe to implement the final technological locks — adding DRM to the mix so that not only is every program locked in by your package management / CRAPP store, that is further cordoned off by TPM or some other garbage. This is happening just as they’re adding DRM to Linux. Which is a kernel, by the way. But that’s increasingly unimportant as we wave goodbye to GNU/Linux.

There’s already a class of distros like this — called “Appliance-like distros” in the Librethreat Database.

Chrome OS, Endless OS, Android, plus now Elementary OS. They certainly do look good. The most efficient way to make people line up to eat a turd, after all, is to present it as Haute cuisine.

Hopefully, the current 2-YEAR-LONG coup within the GNU project led by Ludovic Courtes, Andreas Enge and Andy Wingo will fail and at least we will have GNU, but no kernel yet. As with init, few but Hyperbola are truly working for the future.

This isn’t to disparage other good efforts in the distro world; It’s not “wrong” to work on GNU/Linux, and MX and Antix are doing lots of the best work to keep systemd (IBM and Microsoft’s almost-proprietary Cuckoo OS) out of our software. It’s true, neither MX or Antix are fully free. But that’s pretty easily rectified — Devuan is not fully-free either and it’s a terrible shame that Dyne:Bolic is not up to date, but still there’s Hyperbola. And it is fully-free.

Forking Linux is still more practical than switching to BSD. The copyleft is irrelevant — traitor, hypocrite, liar Torvalds (still better than the people slated to replace him) sold us up the river from Day 1, so its hardly surprising that he sold out in the end. While the GPL made the kernel what it was last week, what it is today and what it will be (Zombie Linux) is thanks to Jim Zemlin and his Microsoftie second-in-command at the Linux Foundation.

The whole idea of copyleft is to prevent exactly what is happening now, but it’s happening anyway.

What I’m not saying is that copyleft is useless; far from it. Zombie Linux will quickly prove how valuable copyleft was to the kernel when it is finally stripped away, similar to the way that AIDS proves the immune system is an important thing to have. What I am saying is that un-enforceable copyleft, like the copyleft on the Linux kernel in the near future, is practically the same as none-at-all.

I know you guys saved OpenOffice from Oracle. Nice work there. I don’t think it’s impossible to save the Linux kernel in a similar fashion, just so you know. But nobody will — feel free to prove me wrong, I’ve asked around. The Linux kernel is not getting forked. Tux, this is where we soon part ways.

But the entire concept of GNU/Linux is being attacked by corporate trolls and Elementary OS. And Endless OS, and Android, and Chrome OS.

The GNU operating system is about freedom. Elementary OS is about control. Endless OS is about control. Google is about control.

Github, systemd and Flatpak (both of which are controlled by Github) unfortunately, are about control.

So what happens if enough people migrate from GNU/Linux to Zombie OS? Simple. We basically run 20 years BACKWARDS in terms of freedom, while using freely licensed software.

The culture of users having control over the computing will be over, and Open Source will have won.

That’s the goal, at least. The real story is that people are still fighting, but people who think they care about Free software are arguing with them for standing for the same thing said people (Trisquel) USED TO stand up for.

“Fully free” Trisquel is an absolute parody of its own mission now, Much like the FSF itself. But to be fair, any effort to do better than the FSF (or Trisquel) is struggling pretty hard, and chest-beating won’t help much.

It’s no small loss that Linux has no future in the world of Free software. It’s the biggest loss yet, and we really ought to stop just letting these things go like it’s nothing. But alas, the FSF won’t say anything because they’re bought and paid for. Honestly, the FSF gave up before GNU/Linux did.

The funny thing is, even a VERY small number of people at the FSF are beginning to get clued in about all this. And that’s nothing less than awesome. Its not enough, but its awesome. We WOULD benefit from having allies there, if they’re there.

Whether there are enough to still rescue the FSF Titanic (or build a new one) depends on how many more allies join in the fight — I don’t mean joining the FSF, because that’s useless.

Your money won’t help them until they stop taking bribes. They’re lying and pretending that they need your money to stop them from being “pwned” by corporations, but they’re already pwned. Your “support” is worth more than your donations, because apart from adding to the coffers you legitimize the coup with your membership. What people should be doing at this point is withholding until they get results.

Of course its too late for that, but it’s still the right thing to do. You’re either standing up for freedom (and rms) or you’re handing everything off to an organization that has abandoned both its mission and honesty.

Can the FSF be salvaged? I think it’s too late. But can it be salvaged by joining and asking the people currently in charge to care?

Absolutely not.

But this bit of rambling aside, the point of this chapter is to point out that Linux isn’t going to be Free software anymore. It’s done, and increasingly done each year that goes by. The trajectory of GNU/Linux is Zombie Linux, GIAFAM and DRM. The Trajectory of GNU (no thanks to Andy) is Free software.

The future isn’t BSD because BSD is ideal for our purposes, it’s really not. My feeling about BSD for years is that it’s a Superior kernel, but only in a limited (still significant) context.

It’s actually a really wonderful thing. I am thoroughly convinced that the reason we use the Linux kernel with GNU is that it’s more practical for more people. BSD is extremely practical — just not for quite as many people.

So if you gave me a cool billion and said “Hire people, Fix the GNU project” we would probably fork Linux and get to work on that. That’s probably the best way to do it.

That’s just not relevant if people instead use BSD. I like BSD, I’ve really always wanted something like HyperbolaBSD, and I’ve tried Debian KFreeBSD.

I was hoping for it as an option, though — next to, in addition to the GNU/Linux option.

Since the GNU/Linux option is being left behind, the future looks a lot more like GNU/BSD. Thanks anyway, Linus.

“There are ‘extremists’ in the free software world, but that’s one major reason why I don’t call what I do ‘Free software’ any more,” says the original Linux author.

There are lying hypocrite sellouts in the Open Source community, that’s why I haven’t supported Open Source in years — because its a lie and a scam and a way to sell out Free software.

Ironically, the Open Source Initiative which (as part of Open Source) sold out rms to Torvalds, then Torvalds to Microsoft was founded by two people, the less principled of which said more roughly two decades ago:

“I also expect a serious effort, backed by several billion dollars in bribe money (oops, excuse me, campaign contributions), to get open-source software outlawed on some kind of theory that it aids terrorists.”

Whatever — but thank you for the Halloween documents. You may have tried to oust rms years ago, but there was a time (however long ago) when you seemed like one of our best allies against Microsoft.

Funny how OSI just ended up being another vehicle for their takeover of the computing world though.

Hey, I’m not laughing — it’s “funny” enough how the FSF is the same.

To those who know better: keep fighting. You can still win, but I’m afraid that there are more Wingos and Raymonds than ever, and rarely enough Stallmans or Roios.

If Foss Farce has trouble gleaning the point of this chapter, here’s a tip — its right in the title. But what’s the point of a tweets worth of text if details mean nothing? Superficiality reigns supreme in Open Source, and that’s why the freedom they can offer you is superficial.

Licence: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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