11.25.20

The Non-Technical (or Lesser Technical) Software User That Wants Software Freedom

Posted in BSD, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 12:44 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Open Letter to Figosdev from Mogz (a reply to this one)

Duck with Slinky

Summary: Assuming that Free software should care about what users — not only developers — really want (and need) it’s important to understand how they view the current situation (with growing waves of corporate takeover and compromises, even expulsions)

First, thank you very much for posting your open letter, and for registering my genuine concern that free software succeed, and for apologies. I really appreciate that a lot, and thank you for taking the time to respond in detail. I apologize also, for the delay in response (ill health delayed me finding your letter). Very interesting to also read your commendable history of contributing, and past posts. Reading the quotes and your responses is bringing more clarity to my questions and concerns, so thank you for that.

For example, I realise that I need to make it clearer that part of what I’m addressing is a resource loop-hole, non-tech users who deeply care about privacy/freedoms. More about that later.

Winter Fun seriesI understand what you’re saying regarding [Alex] Oliva [who] won’t fork, thus Linux won’t be fixed, and that integral large packages (perl, python) can’t be forked, and too few devs to fork halfbuzz, plus the Gnu Project aren’t making the effort to fork what they could. It was actually a relief to read things in your response that nobody else ever says, such as most devs don’t care about users/freedoms, about having contributed to bad projects, who is fine with mixing with github … that makes the list a lot shorter regarding who/what to give energy and time to, also. I don’t find it depressing to have a clear bullet-list that shortens my own list, so I can double down on what IS positive. Stopping paying attention to users/devs who ignore problems, who don’t take things seriously, for example, is very uplifting to realise further, too; no more writing to some main linux youtubers (nb not gardner) and receiving no responses, for example! To read that you too are fed up with the attitude to users is very heartening, as nobody says this stuff. No longer feeling like some kind of lone crazy person, lol. And when people see mirrored their own real feelings, they definitely feel they can relate, and it can move them to be part of things.

“I see BSD is being pointed to as the ‘bunker’, but that is a big step for any non-tech people.”There’s been an unnerving journey of realising what’s going on, but, if the only people talking about this stuff are saying it’s all too rotten to fix, that has to be looked at seriously, along with my own experiences, observations and concerns to date. A main thing I live by is that there’s a time comes when stepping out and away from something becomes critical; that frees up energies for what is timely and important to move onto, and to not step away would jeopardize what CAN be safeguarded and built in the new space. As long as everything’s been examined and understood fully before taking such a clear step, better to observe from a distance and be doing something positive with life, rather than go down with the ship.

You asked directly what sort of hope I want to see … really clear bottom-line summary about how things are, which the letter from you is already covering more. Also, what people can do, and HOW (for non-techs), in order to maintain the freedom/privacy/values that are so important.

I don’t mean about coddling infants, as you reference, but those who don’t have any tech DNA yet want to get on the BSD ship/into the new place, to support free software, respect, privacy, care about users, but know they just can’t get their head around that without clear instruction. The corporate are dumbing people down by the year, ‘bread and circuses’, ‘leave it to us’, ‘we make your life easy’ (as we siphon off ALL your data and make money) … they want people’s energies, power, everything, whereas what I mean is what empowers people, the ladder that can get them into that place, where they can then do what they do best, contributing in other ways. You can’t give a jet to someone and expect them to fly it, but if they’re a passenger on the jet, they could be a doctor, a lawyer, anything non-tech, but still play a critical part.

“If the talk all the time is about values and who/what cares about users, then let’s care about the users, actively and practically, helping them to find a ‘bunker’ and batten down those hatches, as they wait for the albeit large tornado to pass, and meanwhile can do what they can in the ‘bunker’ to hatch something new.”I see BSD is being pointed to as the ‘bunker’, but that is a big step for any non-tech people. Can there be a beginner series on running an easily installable BSD, to get non-tech people started? Are there a few people willing to do that? Are there any very beginner tutorials anywhere already, all in one place and up to date? How many non-tech users, who deeply care about privacy/freedoms, read Techrights? Are most of them lurkers, since privacy/being offline is so important to them? I have many questions, lol. If a series were done, it could be shared all across the Linux places? So even non-techs, who could number far more than realised, can take part? adding important numbers of people who really care. There’s a very vocal part to Linux, and it tends to be those pushing for Wayland and the corporate and gaming … no wonder those who care about the freedoms, or are non-tech, may often be found increasingly offline, but will be reading articles, and wondering HOW to function and, in parallel, how to add to the numbers actively making important shifts.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m talking about bringing more on board those who care about the values. I have no ability or desire to code, or become more tech … I want only to support the freedoms, values, respect, the space where people can be themselves and as happy as possible. That is the only reason I crossed over to Linux. I leave the technical aptitude to those who practice that so well, who have that DNA, while I do what I do best.

So many new users have come over in the last year. People who care and want to contribute tend to want a clear list to get on with, to know how serious things are, at the same time as beginner instruction on HOW to exit from Linux. They’re the sort of people we want, who care about privacy/freedom/respect/values, so how do we get them to the ‘bunker’, even if that ‘bunker’ is e.g. at first a non-ideal BSD install, but at least a starting place to learn, and with clear tutorials as a main priority? Get everyone who cares to the best place possible, where they can function and have a foundation that doesn’t feel like shifting sands; then the new can come through when possible.

“Those good at tech can do an incredible contribution by distilling what they know into a simple clear set of tutorials.”I can’t possibly be the only privacy-conscious and non-tech person on Linux?! So please don’t mistake any of what I say as me trying to get personal help for me; I know ‘go offline’ is my answer, if there’s no other way, but I’ve believed for a long time that there must be many users similar to myself, but who won’t speak up or ask … that’s been a theme in my life, and anyone’s life who can’t stand by and say nothing, when it comes to the crunch … and there’s always others afterwards who say they agreed! Those people can read and ACT independently, no head above the parapet stuff, via clear tutorials, and that shifts things away from the negative corporate who treat Linux as their resource to mine, and it really matters that the corporate, and corporate-supporting, lose the numbers and influence, and any kind of attention. Providing very clear tutorials would end up being very low-maintenance overall, once the tutorials are done. Gathering those in one place is also very important, rather than lots of bits everywhere that may be old or new, accurate or not. I understand you will have your own life and commitments, so my question is an open one, about if there are people who would do tutorials.

To jump to covering the depression part a bit more … it is definitely not about avoiding the real truth, which ends up freeing people up to go where IS positive. If others are reading messages mainly pointing out what is depressing, they can get the message nobody else is going to do anything, and everything’s too difficult, which makes their fight harder, and makes getting involved just about impossible. It can seize them up. ‘Let’s all be depressed together’ doesn’t work, in this instance, except briefly at the start, to know we’re all on the same page.

Just to reference the ‘not enough work/effort is going in’ too … that can’t be where things stop, and is certainly not what’s written on my page. If the talk all the time is about values and who/what cares about users, then let’s care about the users, actively and practically, helping them to find a ‘bunker’ and batten down those hatches, as they wait for the albeit large tornado to pass, and meanwhile can do what they can in the ‘bunker’ to hatch something new. Rolling over and saying we’re defeated is what the corporate want … no freedoms, privacy, respect, happiness, stable space to function, etc. There’s loads can be done about shifting across to BSD, that can bring in a lot more people that normally can’t, or have tried, to be involved in the movement. Such articles can add to the already very good truthful articles, and inspire people, and article writers, helping to generate momentum in shifting across to BSD, making it doable, if that is the definite consensus about where we all need to be going.

Those good at tech can do an incredible contribution by distilling what they know into a simple clear set of tutorials. Just as with drawing on how many non-tech users there are out there, those with tech ability not sharing what they know would be a big loss. It’s uncomfortable to be asking regarding doing this initial outlay, but if it brings in lots of non-techs who care about what matters, and the move across to BSD can gain big momentum, that could buoy everyone up and really achieve something productive. I’d rather it be me rattling off all the tutorials, but that’s a complete non-starter. I can follow very clear tutorials and be part of the shift, supporting the freedoms, caring about users, and I can contribute art to the cause. There’s no way I would put these ideas on the table if I wasn’t willing to contribute something in kind, and I know I would regret it later if I didn’t ask now.

Would expanding the range of articles be something useful to do? … focusing on other things e.g. those stepping away and how they’re doing it, those dropping big tech and how great that is, those who left working for big tech and how they’re doing better things now, how hyperbolaBSD is coming along/interview … after the critical tutorials about how to cross over! Articles from non-techs who’ve been able to go to BSD via the tutorials? How many more users does BSD have this year? By all means, the clear truth, but also articles that cover the features of the better place we all want to inhabit. Just throwing out some ideas, in case anything is useful.

“And, as you rightly say, covering the difference between open source and free software is very important; another tutorial!”Let’s also remember that the corporate psychopaths have many blind spots, not caring about or being able to recognise the things we do, thus not able to come up with the appropriate solutions either … yes, they read and watch, and their answer to everything seems to be ‘shut them down’/’invade their space’, never dialogue or connect, but there are far more non-psychopaths in the world than psychopaths, otherwise there wouldn’t have been 30 years of Linux before this corporate/psychopathic stuff started to rear it’s head. The tech sites that promote the corporate etc want us to believe there aren’t enough good people out there to make a difference, and such as Red Hat, showing their cards the very next morning like that, wasn’t very bright, so not crediting them with lots of real wisdom seems a wise thing to do!

Interesting to read the work you’ve done. I too worked with the homeless, but in non-tech ways. Background of lots of carework, then art (digital). I didn’t know about your remastering tool! It would be great to see the article about that, and maybe others reading, or just finding, TechRights don’t know about it also.

“Art can certainly lift people, get things expressed, be very unifying (in the traditional pre-PC/diversity way), and literally brightens up the world.”Thank you again for your response, and it’s refreshing to dialogue and get clearer on things, my wish being that all kinds of users can be involved, including non-techs, as, beyond all the ‘stuff’, I’m certain there are doable things that can really shift things along more in the direction we want to go, and the more numbers the better and faster things can shift.

The more I think about this, the more I think creating that place we need involves bringing in all types of user and very clear and basic documentation, as numbers and the how-to are integral to that creation. Potential new users today, who’ve just realised they need to make a shift, could see a set of BSD tutorials that are actually easier to understand than Linux documentation, and just go straight to BSD, for example. People need to be informed, included, and to have the tools, then the numbers just keep rising, along with those good at tech, and that new space takes shape. And, as you rightly say, covering the difference between open source and free software is very important; another tutorial! lol.

I agree that a non-corporate community/usergroup(s) is very important; no egos, no diversity, no PC, but just basically be decent, which I think would be there, when people are making effort to do something because they care about people being free and are all working together on the same page. None of your ‘giafam’s okay’ half-hearteds! It would also need to be solidly private/encrypted, so no big tech can get in and threaten or harm people. Maybe we’re all watching to see which of the new communities pan out better, but there needs to be one secure one we all know of and go to, yes? Gathering information, tutorials, whatever is the ladder to get more people on board, and into a new space. Information and energy frittered everywhere doesn’t seem to be working for Linux as well as it could now, so one central place is definitely important. Some direction on that I feel is important too, so users know what is the best place, where are people at, etc. I can’t access the Slated site, but understand what you’re saying about big tech’s agenda and the ways they try to take people’s freedom and power.

“My conclusion, when trying various non-systemd distros, was that it was all about enclaves and either deliberate or broken-tech barriers, which, despite relating to them wanting their own space, made it impossible to take part in moving away from systemd.”I haven’t heard Free Culture spoken of, and need to look up Lessig, for sure, so thanks for pointing me that way. Art can certainly lift people, get things expressed, be very unifying (in the traditional pre-PC/diversity way), and literally brightens up the world. Creative people tend to have plenty of ideas and inspiration to draw on, to apply to real world issues, too, so I look forward to reading more about Free Culture and what others are doing with that at this point. Great to hear that there is openness to free-as-in-freedom art being a good contribution, too! I need to balance what I do with health issues, but am used to working around that, and would be able to reliably contribute art, for sure; my pleasure.

I couldn’t agree more about Devuan too. My conclusion, when trying various non-systemd distros, was that it was all about enclaves and either deliberate or broken-tech barriers, which, despite relating to them wanting their own space, made it impossible to take part in moving away from systemd. Every non-systemd distro I tried that week ended up the same. So thanks for not recommending Devuan, lol. I run Anarchy and Mate, not ideal but as lean as possible, at this point, so fully agree with tidying up a small distro. Debian seems a massive monolith, and definitely looks like an overwhelming amount for anyone to take on. Getting away from the problems is definitely good. Am up for the adventure, for getting away from the dark, to somewhere where things can get done, in freedom and stability.

From this self-advocator, who will never stop championing what enables people to have choice and freedom, and who doesn’t feel quite as out in the forest as I did, thanking you again for not being one of those who shunned, and instead is refreshingly direct and fair, signing off for now.

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