02.27.23

Gemini version available ♊︎

Things That the Free Software Community Needs to Replace/Counteract

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 10:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The world is changing and Richard Stallman‘s message adapts accordingly (the latest gadgets). A talk scheduled one day after his 70th birthday!

RMS 2023 talk

Summary: 5 of the things that will hopefully change over the next 5 years; today we give a short list

Free Software (or free-as-in-freedom projects) faces all sorts of obstacles. Those obstacles change a little over time, as new brands, companies, and trends (or cargo cults) emerge. Today we’d like to name just a few of them. The list will change over time and there this crude (in-progress) graphical overview in our wiki.

So without further ado, let’s begin.

Software Patents

“Some prefer to keep their code secret, usually because the code is ugly, messy, and unappealing.”Copyrights cover code. This has gone on for nearly half a century and it is not likely to change (if it does, it will be condemned as “plagiarism” — which is exactly what Microsoft seeks to achieve with GitHub/Copilot). There is no need for any patents on algorithms. Ask almost any software developer, either proprietary oR not, and the answer will be the same. Coders don’t want patents on their code. Copyrights are sufficient. For some, reciprocity in changes (copyleft) is sought and for others it’s about attribution. Some prefer to keep their code secret, usually because the code is ugly, messy, and unappealing. Nobody would wish to reuse it anyhow.

GitHub (and Other Centralised, Proprietary Code Forges)

GitHub is by far the worst thing that happened to Free software in recent years, even before Microsoft took this whole thing, exploited the newly-acquired control to harm the competition, and then laid off a lot of the staff (because there’s no money in it).

Useful alternatives to Microsoft GitHub:

In our case, we locally host Git and we wrote our front end for the Gemini Protocol.

Centralisation of ‘Trust’

Human beings who lack a sense of morality are trying to tell our geek buddies that Microsoft controlling the boot sequence (and many other things) is “OK” for GNU/Linux and for BSD. They’re self-serving liars whom we should learn to ignore, irrespective of their passive-aggressive bullying (and playing the “victim card”). We’ve covered this subject extensively since 2012.

The following year, in 2013, Edward Snowden unleashed lots of NSA leaks onto the media and — by extension — onto the world. As a result, many Web sites frantically rushed to adopt HTTPS (to appease perceived public demand). On the surface this may sound like fantastic news, but there were caveats. For instance, it was soon made known that certificates would be rendered free, with action from the Linux Foundation before Microsoft et al got deeply involved. The founder of this initiative died last year and what happened in recent years wasn’t his fault. His intentions were good, but this would open a new can of worms — a can nobody in the media wants to speak about frankly. In our experience, people who speak about these issues are subjected to smears and false equivalences (like “antivaxers”).

“The following year, in 2013, Edward Snowden unleashed lots of NSA leaks onto the media and — by extension — onto the world.”So let’s put in very simple terms what the issue we deal with here entails: Let’s Encrypt (LE, controlled by the so-called ‘Linux’ Foundation, i.e. monopolies and raiders of the Commons) is not security but mostly another increase/increment to the existing (very steep compared to Gemini/Gopher) entry barrier. If security was the true goal, it would be implemented differently. At the moment it compels people everywhere in the world, even non-technical folks, to rely on misleading Web browsers that impose US hegemony (scaring users if not outright obstructing/blocking them for disobedience), it makes self-hosting extra hard (in turn begetting further centralisation, i.e. censorship and surveillance against everyone), and for people who blog less than once every 3 months it makes no sense to rotate certificates every 3 month or pay annual fees to GoDaddy et al. Reliance on GoDaddy in in itself a security and safety risk, as GoDaddy can go for years without telling staff and clients that it suffered a serious security breach. GoDaddy isn’t the only one. Outsourcing “trust” is generally “risky business”. LE is the wrong way to solve a real problem, or a solution to a problem not Internet users were having but rich censors and media magnates had. It also makes hosting more expensive (support-related tickets ultimately increase).

“Let’s Encrypt was a good step but only one step in a direction,” an associate explains today. “Unfortunately Mozilla and Google have headed that off by preventing self-signed certificates.”

Because it’s “free” to be in the CAs everyone must do this now, right? ‘Democratisation’ is the fasionable buzzword (even crackers can get a free LE certificate and seem “legit”). No excuses to not support this ‘trust cartel’, which will one day be weaponised for political censorship of Web sites (through mass revocations; some people already viciously push to do this to Russian sites; it would be a slippery slope breeding distrust and suspicion of CAs’ true motivation/purpose).

Maybe we’ll elaborate some other day…

Buzzwords Pandemic

“Now they pretend that people need not search for authoritative Web sites and reputable pages on the Web, and all this because of the alleged sophistication of lousy chatbots — neither new nor innovative but Microsoft pays the media for a massive hype campaign during mass layoffs.”Buzzwords need to be replaced with substance. In the case of the EPO, we already see how “HEY HI” (“AI”) gets misused to grant loads of European software patents. And to borrow the above example of GitHub/Copilot, we see how mass violation of the GPL (copyleft) is facilitated, rendering compliance/enforcement virtually impossible. This is intentional. Outside the domain of code, some developers and Web sites seek to strip both attribution and licensing from various creative works, ranging from videos/multimedia to art and literature. There are many legal cases already (more than we care to count) dealing with this ‘pandemic’ of plagriarism-spun-as-HEY-HI (the OSI even took bribes from Microsoft to help promote this malicious spin). Here is the source code aspect, “but the same applies to all the works it is used to rip off,” an associate explains. “Each violation is a violation and due a large fine independently of any other violations.”

Call a spade “spade” and call plagiarism what it is, not “HEY HI”. It’s already shoehorned into other agendas, software patents being just one example (as noted before). Now they pretend that people need not search for authoritative Web sites and reputable pages on the Web, and all this because of the alleged sophistication of lousy chatbots — neither new nor innovative but Microsoft pays the media for a massive hype campaign during mass layoffs. “LOOK OVA’ THERE!”

Attack on the Internet

“The policymakers are in the pockets of several cabals of companies (different sectors), so one way to bypass their demands is to take the Net out of the hands of any particular companies.”There is an “ongoing net neutrality” disinformation campaign, an associate says, taking stock of “news” sites (conflict of interest!) helping the cable companies (often the same companies that own these reporters). They’re embracing the disingenuous and misleading labels for opposition to net neutrality and these are lousy attempts at double-billing (if not triple-billing). The articles latch onto hate towards G.A.F.A.M. and frame that as a fight wherein those who support net neutrality are in fact defending Microsoft and Google (nothing could be further from the truth). There are several ongoing attempts to decentralise the Net (IPFS is one notable effort) and we thankfully see more activity in Gemini this week — some of which praises GNUnet as well.

The policymakers are in the pockets of several cabals of companies (different sectors), so one way to bypass their demands is to take the Net out of the hands of any particular companies. The water supplier does not regulate how you use the water that you consume, right? it doesn’t even know how you use it.

The topology of the Net needs to change. It ought to be more peer-to-peer-like. The media likes to conflate such stuff with fake (‘cryptocurrrency’) coins and “dark web” (crime), but don’t fall for these bogus narratives from any hostile media company that doesn’t disclose its rather obvious conflict of interest.

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. Links 08/06/2023: Istio 1.18 and FreeIPMI 1.6.11

    Links for the day



  2. Gemini Links 08/06/2023: Sourcehut, Gemini Identity, and BBS Comments on Cosmos

    Links for the day



  3. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, June 07, 2023

    IRC logs for Wednesday, June 07, 2023



  4. The Need to Evolve on the Internet

    Tux Machines is one year away from its twentieth birthday and its increased focus on protocols aside from HTTP/S is paying off; Tux Machines also weaned itself off all social control media, including Mastodon and Diaspora (they're not the future, they're the past)



  5. EPO Management is Still Bullying the Staff (While Breaking the Law and Violating the European Patent Convention)

    Overloaded or overworked EPO workers are complaining about further deterioration at the workplace and their representatives say "this management style may well contribute to feelings of disengagement, depression, or even burn-out"



  6. His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Not Responding After 20 Days (Well-Founded Report of Tax Fraud) and British Police Pretending Not to Exist

    The crimes of Sirius ‘Open Source’ have helped unearth a profound problem in the British law enforcement authorities; What good is a monopolistic taxman (called after the British Monarchy even in 2023) that cannot assess its own tax abuses? Or abuses connected to it via a contractor? Meanwhile, as per what I was told, the police is not responding to my MP and that’s ANOTHER scandal (police not only refusing to act against crimes, committed against many people, but moreover not responding to elected politicians)



  7. Links 08/06/2023: Cinnamon 5.8 and Leap 15.5 Release Mature

    Links for the day



  8. Gemini Links 08/06/2023: Emacs and Thoughts on Bubble

    Links for the day



  9. Links 07/06/2023: Reddit Layoffs and OpenGL 3.1 in Asahi Linux

    Links for the day



  10. Gemini Links 07/06/2023: Jukka Charting Geminispace

    Links for the day



  11. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, June 06, 2023

    IRC logs for Tuesday, June 06, 2023



  12. NOW LIVE: Working for the Public — Universities, Software and Freedom - a Talk by Richard Stallman at Università di Pisa (Italy)

    As noted a few hours ago, Richard Stallman is delivering a talk at Università di Pisa this morning



  13. Richard Stallman's Talk is in Two Hours and There's a BigBlueButton Livestream

    Dr. Stallman is in Italy to give talks at universities this week; he will soon give a live talk, accessible in his site or directly at the source



  14. Links 06/06/2023: Angie 1.2.0, New EasyOS and EndeavourOS Released

    Links for the day



  15. Gemini Links 06/06/2023: OpenKuBSD, GrapheneOS, and More

    Links for the day



  16. Links 06/06/2023: OpenSUSE Plans for Leap

    Links for the day



  17. Gemini Links 06/06/2023: Bubble 4.0, Neutral News, and Older Bits

    Links for the day



  18. IBM's War on Open (Look at the Pattern of Layoffs at Red Hat)

    By abandoning OpenSource.com and OpenOffice.org/LibreOffice IBM sends out a clear signal that it doesn’t understand or simply does not care about the community of Free software users; its siege against the FSF and other institutions never ended and today we look at who’s being laid off or shown the door (the work environment is intentionally being made worse)



  19. Links 06/06/2023: IceWM 3.4.0 and Liveslak 1.7.0

    Links for the day



  20. Gemini Links 06/06/2023: Apple Might Kill VR, Tea Tea Deluxe 1.2.7 and Tea Land

    Links for the day



  21. IRC Proceedings: Monday, June 05, 2023

    IRC logs for Monday, June 05, 2023



  22. Links 05/06/2023: Debian 12 Almost Ready, Hong Kong 'Cannot' Remember Tiananmen Massacre

    Links for the day



  23. Gemini Links 05/06/2023: New Ship in Cosmic Voyage, Stack Overflow Moderator Strike

    Links for the day



  24. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, June 04, 2023

    IRC logs for Sunday, June 04, 2023



  25. Links 04/06/2023: Unifont 15.0.05 and PCLinuxOS Stuff

    Links for the day



  26. Gemini Links 04/06/2023: Wayland and the Old Computer Challenge

    Links for the day



  27. StatCounter: GNU/Linux (Including ChromeOS) Grows to 8% Market Share Worldwide

    This month’s numbers from StatCounter are good for GNU/Linux (including ChromeOS, which technically has both GNU and Linux); the firm assesses logs from 3 million sites and shows Windows down to 66% in desktops/laptops (a decade ago it was above 90%) with modest growth for GNU/Linux, which is at an all-time high, even if one does not count ChromeOS that isn’t freedom- or privacy-respecting



  28. Journalism Cannot and Quite Likely Won't Survive on the World Wide Web

    We’re reaching the point where the overwhelming majority of new pages on the Web (the World Wide Web) are basically junk, sometimes crafted not by humans; how to cope with this rapid deterioration is still an unknown — an enigma that demands hard answers or technical workarounds



  29. Do Not Assume Pensions Are Safe, Especially When Managed by Mr. EPOTIF Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos

    With the "hoax" that is the financial assessment by António Campinos (who is deliriously celebrating the inauguration of illegal and unconstitutional kangaroo courts) we urge EPO workers to check carefully the integrity of their pensions, seeing that pension promises have been broken for years already



  30. Links 04/06/2023: Why Flatpak and Wealth of Devices With GNU/Linux

    Links for the day


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