Gemini version available ♊︎

What It Means to be a Free Software Operator, Not a User or Consumer

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, IBM, Microsoft at 4:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Digital Dream

Summary: A lot of people lack control over computers (or small computing devices) that they purchase and it’s getting worse over time

THE word “user” (in relation to software, not drugs) has long been mildly problematic because it lessens the role of a person operating some piece of software. Or sometimes a whole computing device. Large technology firms, typically monopolists in some respective domain, try to tell us “master” is a highly offensive word (an opportunistic distortion of this word's meaning and origin) but the word “master” accurately describes what they are to those so-called ‘users’ of their so-called ‘products’, ‘solutions’, ‘suites’ etc.

“It’s about social control, ‘dressed up’ or spun as safety (or health, more so during a pandemic).”First, let’s examine a little bit of background and recapitulate. It’s important to understand the extent to which “users” or “consumers” (who merely buy things) lose control of what otherwise can be general-purpose computers. It gets worse rather rapidly, over time…

Nowadays it’s no longer clear who truly owns a device. Is there a right to repair? To modify? If a buyer of some device lacks the freedom to do as he/she pleases with that device, is that buyer merely footing the bill for a device otherwise truly owned and controlled by the seller, the manufacturer (or the firm putting its brand on the device)? To use a more practical example, when one buys a “Chromebook” (a ChromeOS-running laptop, with an OS based on Gentoo GNU/Linux but controlled remotely by Google), is that just a laptop of Google whose production cost is partly covered by the buyer? Or even wholly by some ‘consumer’ that consumes ads and provides Google with personal data?

A lot of people never think about those things. They ought to.

Years ago, Microsoft and Intel plotted to make it even harder to boot on a computer any operating system other than “approved” ones (approved by them, not the person who supposedly owns the computer). Then, last week, Google and Red Hat (IBM), which played a big role in the Microsoft and Intel plot, worked to achieve the same at a software level. Fronting or relaying their malicious and self-serving intent through a thing misleadingly named Linux Foundation, they took a step towards that goal. Remember this is the same Red Hat which works for and with the NSA. And Google which famously (or infamously/notoriously) put ‘weakened’ – i.e broken — NSA encryption inside the Linux kernel. Google recently pretended to be championing security in Linux, but don’t fall for it. As a famous book puts it, “Google Is Not What It Seems” (it’s vastly worse; it’s also a trolling operation which bribes people).

“Nowadays it’s no longer clear who truly owns a device.”Notice we’ve not yet even mentioned Apple and Microsoft. We assume readers are already aware of the problems associated with them. They even deny users' right to repair their own devices/computers (which they paid for).

Suffice to say, moving away from Apple and Microsoft operating systems may not be enough; there are many operating systems out there that do not respect users’ freedom (or, they treat owners and buyers as mere “users”). We’ve already mentioned ChromeOS, but the most widely user-side (yes, user) operating system is Android. Unless devices are ‘jail-broken’, they will only operate within the artificial limits imposed by Google and its “store” monopoly (Apple’s is even worse and a lot more restrictive in that regard).

Digital DreamSo what does that mean to free (as in liberate) oneself from all those limitations? Being able to boot one’s operating system of choice, install and use one’s software of choice, repair one’s machine, modify/enhance it etc.

National security, often abbreviated as just “security” (to confuse us, conflating one thing with another — a contradictory concept), is a pretext for back doors, surveillance, and censorship. It’s about social control, ‘dressed up’ or spun as safety (or health, more so during a pandemic).

Based on what we’re hearing, the EPO‘s management now uses the pandemic to impose more oppressive (and sometimes illegal) software on staff. Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos, the real criminals, are promoting fake encryption. Together with Microsoft they break the law, not just when it comes to granting European software patents (we already leaked evidence of favourable treatment for Microsoft) but also when it comes to violating privacy of EPO workers, as well as everyone those workers interact with.

“National security, often abbreviated as just “security” (to confuse us, conflating one thing with another — a contradictory concept), is a pretext for back doors, surveillance, and censorship.”Based on what we’ve read, it’ll get a lot more difficult for EPO workers to not use Microsoft malware inside their homes, which they share with other tenants. Usually loved ones, such as close family…

But we may have digressed somewhat.

To use a less specific example, many people out there are still under the false illusion of freedom or free will. Their world is superficially being limited, e.g. by what Microsoft considers to be “legal” code in GitHub (i.e. not harmful to Microsoft’s business agenda), what Twitter and Facebook consider to be ‘permissible’ viewpoints (something advertisers benefit from or at least tolerate), what Google and Apple consider to be “good” software (or apps), and what Amazon deems “good actors” (they deplatformed Wikileaks for exposing US crimes a decade before doing the same to Parler for other reasons).

Technology should be and remain decentralised to the degree which is possible. Anything else is ripe or destined for abuse. A lot of people overlook all those issues until it’s too late to do something about them. Even Let’s Encrypt poses such a dilemma [1, 2]. It creates a sort of monopoly and it’s indebted to imperialistic hands.

“Let’s help or at least strive to free as many people as we can, turning so-called ‘users’ into operators of their own machines.”If you are reading this on a “Mac” or a “Chromebook” or some sort of “PC” (this is a euphemism for a computer controlled by Microsoft; it’s typically possible to liberate such a computer without buying a new one), look at gnu.org and study the historical importance of digital/computing freedom. It predates “Linux” by nearly a decade and still pitches the right principles/philosophy. A lot of what was written back in the 1980s is still highly relevant today.

Let’s help or at least strive to free as many people as we can, turning so-called ‘users’ into operators of their own machines.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New

  1. IRC Proceedings: Friday, November 26, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, November 26, 2021

  2. 38+ Years of GNU and 19+ Years of FSF Associate Membership

    “On November 25, 2002,” Wikipedia notes, “the FSF launched the FSF Associate Membership program for individuals.” As the above video points out, it all started almost 40 years ago.

  3. Gemini as a Platform for Gamers

    Contrary to what people often assume (or are led to assume), even without client-side scripting Gemini can accomplish a great deal; early adopters, many of whom are technical, test the limits of the very minimalistic (by design and intention) specification

  4. Improved Workflows: Achievement Unlocked

    Today we've completed a bunch of small projects that can make us more efficient (e.g. more Daily Links per day, more articles); the above video was recorded many hours ago to accompany the outline below

  5. Links 26/11/2021: New Complaint About Microsoft Competition Crimes in Europe, EuroLinux 8.5, GhostBSD 21.11.24, and Kiwi TCMS 10.5 Released

    Links for the day

  6. Links 26/11/2021: F35 Elections, Whonix, OSMC's November Refresh With Kodi 19.3

    Links for the day

  7. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, November 25, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, November 25, 2021

  8. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, November 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, November 24, 2021

  9. Links 25/11/2021: PHP 8.1.0 Released and Linux 5.15.5

    Links for the day

  10. IBM as Master of Hypocrisy

    Free software projects and Free software developers have long been humiliated by corporations of Western misogynists, falsely claiming that the Free software community isn’t inclusive enough (these are shameless projection tactics; as a matter of public record, the exact opposite is true) and even the eradication of supposedly offensive language isn’t something IBM takes seriously

  11. Links 25/11/2021: LibreOffice 7.2.3 and Mesa 21.2.6 Released

    Links for the day

  12. [Meme] So Desperate That Edge Cannot Even Exceed 4% That They Block Rival Web Browsers

    Linux/Android/Free Software/GNU (they go by very many names/brands) may continue to grow to the point where Windows is as irrelevant as Blackberry; this means that Microsoft’s grip on the Web too has slipped — to the point where Microsoft frantically uses 'bailout' money to hijack LinkedIn, GitHub, etc. (it also rebrands almost everything as "Azure" or clown to fake a perception of growth)

  13. Windows Vista Service Pack 11 (Vista 11) Has Failed to Curb the Growth of GNU/Linux

    Windows market share continues to decrease in spite of billions of dollars spent bribing the media for fake hype, especially in light of a new Windows Service Pack (SP), Vista SP 11

  14. Links 25/11/2021: Proton 6.3-8 and Linux Mint Compared to Ubuntu

    Links for the day

  15. 3.5 Years Later the 'Master' of Fedora is Still Microsoft and IBM Cannot Be Bothered to Alter Git Branch Names (Refuting or Ignoring Its Very Own Directive About Supposedly Racially-Insensitive Terms)

    Today we demonstrate the hypocrisy of IBM; years after telling us that we should shun the term "master" and repeatedly insisting it had a racist connotation at least 65 Fedora repositories, still controlled by Microsoft, still use "master"

  16. Changing the Arrangement While News is a Bit Slow(er)

    I've made it easier for myself to keep abreast of things like IRC channels and networks (incidentally, a day ago Freenode reopened to anonymous logins) and I've improved monitoring of the Web sites, Gemini capsule etc. (this video is unplanned and improvised)

  17. Links 24/11/2021: Alpine Linux 3.15 and Endless OS 4.0 Released

    Links for the day

  18. [Meme] Jimmy Zemlin Loves Microsoft

    It’s funny, isn’t it? Lying for a living and sucking up to the liars pays off; you get to plunder actual Linux users while leaving Linux morally and financially bankrupt

  19. Links 24/11/2021: PHP Foundation and Flatpak Criticisms

    Links for the day

  20. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, November 23, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, November 23, 2021

  21. Links 24/11/2021: Rust Crisis and Team UPC Still Faking 'Progress'

    Links for the day

  22. Links 23/11/2021: New GNU Parallel and Memories of David H. Adler (Perl, Raku)

    Links for the day

  23. In Light of Fast-Accelerating Deterioration -- Sometimes Weaponisation -- Getting Off the World Wide Web (to the Extent Feasible) Makes You Saner and Less Susceptible to Manipulation, Lies

    Almost no sites are speaking about it (probably because they have no presence on the Internet except on the Web), but it's time to motivate more people to get off the Web, for their own good and for society's sake...

  24. Black Friday SPAM on the World Wide Web: A Reminder That the Web is a Dying Platform, Languishing Due to Marketing and Misinformation

    The junk that overruns the Web this 'Black Friday' week (consumerism 'on steroids') is a good reminder that the Web isn't healthy for the mind anymore; it's mostly spying on people, trying to compel them to buy particular things or vote a certain way

  25. Microsoft-Led Misinformation Campaign About Germany and Munich Reminds Us That Microsoft Hates and Actively Undermines GNU/Linux Adoption

    Regarding the latest moves to GNU/Linux in Germany we have 3 points to make

  26. Links 23/11/2021: Libreboot 20211122, Deepin Linux 20.3, Amazon Linux 2022, and Mabox Linux 21.11 Released

    Links for the day

  27. IRC Proceedings: Monday, November 22, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, November 22, 2021

  28. Links 22/11/2021: EasyOS Dunfell 3.1.11, Microsoft 'Extends' Mesa for Windows

    Links for the day

  29. Microsoft's GitHub is Hugely Toxic and It Censors Critics of Corporations or People Sceptical of Those in Power

    Sociopaths have taken over GitHub and control over GitHub (by Microsoft) is being shamelessly misused, just as we’ve warned all along; GitHub is social control media/network for code, asserting control over projects and developers by means of censorship and other sanctions

  30. EPO Staff Engagement Survey Predates the Pandemic and Provides False Assumptions for EPO Policies or Policy-Setting

    The EPO ticks a box for "surveying the staff", but is it actually listening? Is that done often enough? It was last done almost 3 years ago...

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts