10.07.20

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The Messages That Likely Got Eric S. Raymond or ‘ESR’ Banned by the OSI (Which He Co-founded) and Why That Still Matters

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, OSI at 11:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Familiar tactics with familiar outcomes? Does one have an obligation to be empathetic towards suspected provocateurs?

DARVO explained
DARVO explained

Summary: Trouble-making in the Free (and Open Source) software world leaves leaders bruised; they seem to be falling into traps when they speak out, responding to provocative moves which then cast them as aggressors who are rude

“With whatever moral authority I still have here,” ESR wrote earlier this year, “I say to all advocates of soi-disant “ethical” licensing not just “No” but “To hell with you *and* the horse you rode in on.””

We now know more about why the OSI banned ESR. It’s not the message people often quote, in which some insults were added. Well, he publicly spoke about it. An anonymous Techrights source quoted the above. “Here is one thing ESR said,” the source noted, adding the part where he said: “I am not fooled. You are mounting an ideological attack on our core principles of liberty and nondiscrimination. You will not succeed while I retain any ability to oppose this.”

“We now know more about why the OSI banned ESR.”“Other quotes from the chain by ESR about Eric Schultz,” noted observers, are: “Because that way he couldn’t use our prestige to advance his goals. He couldn’t use OSI to pretend to be pro-freedom while actually being against freedom.”

“Both of these messages are hostile, assume bad faith and (as noted by some supporters of ESR’s position) unhelpful for resolving the issue,” said one commenter.

But not everybody agreed. “They do not assume bad faith,” said the next comment. “They define ‘liberty and nondiscrimination’ in a particular way that the other person, Eric Schulz, objectively opposes. Schulz would probably disagree about the definitions of those terms that ESR is using, but it is not an assumption of bad faith.”

“Our source wished to bring this to our attention discreetly.”The last comment said this: “They don’t assume bad faith, they are accurate depictions of what Schultz wanted to do. I mean, would he even disagree with that? The original proposal was for a license that’d allow anyone except US ICE to use the software, for example. That’s ideological. It’s pretty clearly different from the non-discrimination policies open source licenses normally have, that’s why he had to propose the license to start with. And he wanted to use the OSI to endorse his new license as being open source, whilst it didn’t meet the original criteria. In some issues there’s no way to helpfully resolve them. What sort of meet-in-the-middle do you propose here, exactly? Either open source licenses as determined by the OSI don’t discriminate against particular users, or they can, and that’s a values based decision. There’s no real way to be ‘helpful’ about it: no is no.”

Our source wished to bring this to our attention discreetly. We need to at least have a better grasp/understanding of what happened. It is a pretty big deal because for the OSI to oust a founder and former leader, then become a Microsoft 'proxy' of sorts, is a sign of collapse or at least defection. Monopolies and Open Source aren’t contradictory anymore; when the whole ‘open source’ and OSI ‘thing’ is just an openwashing veil for proprietary software (which is where we’re at in 2020) we know it’s a lost cause. It’s sellout complete with software patents, as per yesterday’s Facebook post from OIN. All Things Open (ATO) is now stacked or controlled by (and sponsored by enemies_ of Free software. It props up patent boosters/cartels and the types who don’t even use Free software themselves (they use Windows and “Macs”). Whatever our thoughts may be about the political views of ESR, it’s clear he wasn’t as bad as those people. The ousting of a founder and former leader (like at the FSF) helps weaken/eliminate the ability to morally resist corporate takeover/entryism. Moral authorities were also driven out at Python two years ago; look who's stacking the deck these days

Look what happened to Apache when ASF got stacked by Microsoft; the whole thing was outsourced to Microsoft's proprietary software prison (GitHub), just like the OSI.

“It’s almost as though some people at the OSI was pre-conditioned to get rid of ESR one way or another.”Microsoft apologist Jim Jagielski (ex-ASF) responded to the above with: “FTR, I find the final part of that sentence uncalled for. I also disagree with the idea of “ethical open source”, but it adds NOTHING to the debate and discussion to disparage those who are speaking their PoV for it. I, for one, can certainly understand and appreciate what their goals and intents are, and in some way, I even agree with them. But on one hand to damn them for speaking their mind, while at the same time defending (for lack of a better word) those using our software to oppress fellow human beings by “allowing” them to continue using our software to do so seems hypocritical. Please show better restraint.”

Many people agreed; temper issues aren’t being denied, but many disagree with the harshness of the punishment. It’s almost as though some people at the OSI was pre-conditioned to get rid of ESR one way or another. Unlike Perens, who resigned weeks earlier without throwing a slur.

At least we now know which messages were considered in violation of the CoC and acted upon quickly.

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