11.23.20

How to Put on Airs of Professionalism Like a Boss

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software at 3:30 am by Guest Editorial Team

By M. “Figos” Unruh

Suits in motion

Summary: “Boardroom suits are not meant to be flashy, but to conform. Simple lines and smart ties — the opposite of what Richard Stallman would wear, show that you are either a well-machined cog or a serious adversary.”

There are times, as the head of an organisation or representative of a project, that you want people who care more about appearance than substance to take you seriously. To those people, this is “all the time”.

Behind the scenes you might be throwing chairs across the office, yelling about how your multi-billion dollar corporation will “kill Google” or jumping on stage like a monkey, although you want to avoid this becoming your entire image. You’re still wearing sandals to work, so this is an opportunity to gain a few tips.

Gent selecting a suitThe first step is to learn how to dress like a professional. For the price of a top-of-the-line gaming rig or two, you can have two or three sets of professional wear that suffice for looking like you actually do something, rather than having just returned from your bar or bat mitzvah.

Boardroom suits are not meant to be flashy, but to conform. Simple lines and smart ties — the opposite of what Richard Stallman would wear, show that you are either a well-machined cog or a serious adversary. Most of you can even go for a little of both, just to keep people guessing. You certainly won’t need your best suit for every meeting, it depends on who you are trying to impress.

“Argue only when it is either strictly necessary, or when you have a sufficient degree of confidence — let’s say 80% — that your argument will come out on top.”Everything should be tailored, but if you go “casual” in a polo shirt you want it to fit well. Be certain all dress shirts fit properly, you can get them tailored as well.

It goes without saying that everything should be clean, everything worn out should be replaced, neatly trim and clean under your fingernails. If you are female, simply learn to do your makeup (however little of it you will actually use) like other powerful women.

If you are male and have long hair, pull it back like you work security at an expensive casino. People will tell you to cut your hair, lose the ponytail; they won’t tell anything to to Richard Branson. Just don’t let it hold you back.

Once you are in proper costume, the next step is to learn your speaking role. Argue only when it is either strictly necessary, or when you have a sufficient degree of confidence — let’s say 80% — that your argument will come out on top. Use short, sharp phrases; they are designed to sound undeniably true.

The rest of the time, nod as if an idea was your own, and use agreement as a way of getting others to put their guard down. This makes people like you more and want to agree with you, even if they hate you and everything you stand for.

“Smile, but only when deliberately portraying an amicable stance or when it will unnerve people.”Occasionally, you can use stilted language as a means of projecting superiority and causing frustration in people you want to assert dominance over. Egotists will do this all the time, revealing a weakness in true confidence if you know how to spot it. Tech geeks will also do this, sometimes because they are egotists and other times, simply because they are nerds who don’t practice speaking often enough. All the same, play to your strengths.

Learn to couch the true meaning of what you say in metaphors and corporate dog whistles. Remember this isn’t your job most of the time, that’s what PR and marketing people are for. You can simply borrow some of their “tools” for when they’re most useful. Don’t try this on actual PR and marketing people, it’s like trying to convince a cow that you’re another cow by saying “moo.”

“The meeting is a stage, the performance is part dance and part martial arts, and the goal above all is to look like you know exactly what you’re doing.”All of this takes practice, but you can have games of “Boardroom” with your friends or project members where you pretend to speak like yes men, upper management and CEOs. In fact a good example of this is an activist group who call themselves the Yes Men.

Above all, be serious, be deadpan, and be a little more aggressive than assertive. Never be the first person in a conversation to go full Tom Cruise, overdoing it is the sign of an amateur. Smile, but only when deliberately portraying an amicable stance or when it will unnerve people.

Some people go into a boardroom or other meeting with the idea that they are going to collaborate, learn something, or come up with a real plan.

The reality is something closer to going into battle. You want to be certain you don’t step on the toes of anybody who can cut your head off, but you are there only for the appearance of collaboration, learning, or a real plan.

“If you have any doubts, simply take a good look at the people who make it to the top. They didn’t get there by their intelligence, integrity or ability to work with others. They got there by walking over the weak and impressing the strong, with just the right amount of bowing to the right people.”None of those things happen in a board room; they happen whenever and wherever they do. The meeting is a stage, the performance is part dance and part martial arts, and the goal above all is to look like you know exactly what you’re doing. If you consistently fake that better than the others in your corporate class, you win.

If you have any doubts, simply take a good look at the people who make it to the top. They didn’t get there by their intelligence, integrity or ability to work with others. They got there by walking over the weak and impressing the strong, with just the right amount of bowing to the right people.

If this is not your ambition, be sure to exit this game while you still have your ethics and part of your soul. Otherwise you may find yourself gradually turning into one of these actors, and the actor becomes the role they were playing. Be sure to turn it off before the switch disappears.

© 2020 Figosdev All Rights Reserved. This article is available under a Creative Commons license: visit this page for details.

11.22.20

Cory Doctorow at Privacy Week 2020 on DRM, Freedom/Software Freedom, Regulation, Etc.

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Videos at 1:51 pm by Guest Editorial Team

“This presentation warrants increased attention,” a contributor said, “because he summarizes the issues so clearly in today’s context.”

Summary: “We Used To Have Cake, Now We’ve Barely Got Icing” by Cory Doctorow.

Back then, free software was icing on the cake. Then they stole the cake and left us hoping for a little icing every now and then. Now, software has eaten the world and shit out a dystopia.

When free software licensing was born, software copyrights were essentially nonexistent, software patents didn’t exist at all, terms of service weren’t enforceable and there was no anticircumvention law. In other words, you were legally permitted to clone or interoperate with any digital product. Today, we think of free software as a way for a company to say, “We probably won’t sue you if you write code that can interoperate with ours” – but when free software started, it was more like, “I know I’ve got the absolute legal right to reverse engineer all your code and make a competing product, but that’s such tedious work. Please, make it easy for me by giving me your sourcecode.” Back then, free software was icing on the cake. Then they stole the cake and left us hoping for a little icing every now and then.

This makes a huge difference because software has eaten the world and shit out a dystopia: a place where Abbot Labs uses copyright claims to stop people with diabetes from taking control over their insulin dispensing and where BMW is providing seat-heaters as an-over-the-air upgrade that you have to pay for by the month. Companies have tried this bullshit since the year dot, but Thomas Edison couldn’t send a patent enforcer to your house to make sure you honored the license agreement on your cylinder by only playing it on an Edison phonograph. Today, digital systems offer perfect enforcement for the pettiest, most bullshitty, greediest grifts imaginable.

11.20.20

Open Letter to Mogzagain (No Worries)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 11:13 am by Guest Editorial Team

Response by figosdev

Color feather

Summary: figosdev responds to a concerned reader of Techrights, who wants Free software to succeed

Don’t know who Mogzagain is; seems alright.

Can I call you Mogz?

People don’t usually have this many questions and comments — that’s no problem, it’s in response to a long article.

Let’s get to it:

“I’m really questioning why these are posted. Very demoralising, and this one seems to say overall that none of us are joining forces or investing assets/time/effort/support, but users should fix linux themselves.”

Let’s see — “users should fix linux themselves” is not exactly what I would say.

Linux is an operating system kernel. It takes skilled developers to maintain that. Skilled developers cover a very wide range of things, but I do not expect “users” (per se) to fix Linux.

What I had hoped was that the people already making it free (linux-libre developers) could expand into fixing other things. I actually thought this was possible — I’ve spent years polling people and trying to meet this team (or handful of individuals even) willing to take this on.

I don’t think that team exists. If there was any chance of that, I’d want to hear more details. They haven’t come up.

BSD, on the other hand, is demonstrably forkable. In other words, relatively small developer teams have simply forked BSD — kernel and all.

NetBSD was doing some things that some of its developers wanted to drastically change — the changes weren’t welcome, so they just forked it into OpenBSD. It would be nice if Linux had that, but it doesn’t seem to. I’m really not trying to project a bias or be a “pessimist” about this one. I’d also love to be wrong.

“…not meaning to be unpleasant, but it’s taken me half an hour to calm down enough to hopefully contribute something that might lift things”

Sorry about that. Hopefully some of the things that upset you were misunderstandings. Don’t get me wrong, there are people I’m willing to upset. As far as I can tell, you weren’t one of the people intended.

“if rms/oliva joined forces, steering things with a strong hand, small numbers, and refusing big tech, there could be hope”

Yes, “if” — but rms doesn’t code anymore. He mostly nitpicks things, but they’re often important nitpicks. A fine example was when he made a big deal in 2015 about parts of the GNU Project moving to GitHub. He was against it, he listed reasons. Some of the GNU developers didn’t listen. Now it’s controlled by Microsoft.

Not all nitpicking is a bad thing. It won’t produce code, but it might prevent code from doing things that harm user freedom. The GNU Project was designed to give freedom, not just to produce code.

Oliva is not going to fork Linux. Without a fork, I do not think Linux is going to be fixed. But if I thought Oliva was even going to try to fix Linux (you might think he would be the sort, I would too), then I would reevaluate the statement I made about it. Again, “if”.

“and they have the experience and ‘clout’, so it seems wrong to say the little ppl should be achieving what they could, without that support”

That’s really not what I meant or said. I totally appreciate that you got that from what I was saying, but since it doesn’t sound like you’re happy about it, I hope it helps that I didn’t mean that.

“no idea why 5 github-linked packages aren’t forked, seeing as oliva runs the libre kernel”

Let’s look at those 5 packages (there are actually more) — Perl, Python, zlib1g, libFFI, HarfBuzz

Perl and Python could be mirrored — that would help if it was an official GNU mirror. They’re going to have a difficult time justifying that when there are other parts of the GNU Project like Bison and GNU Radio that have moved there.

Nonetheless, Perl and Python are both used in build tools.

Automake for example, relies on Perl. In fact at least 54 different projects use it.

But GNU clearly isn’t going to fork Perl or Python. They’re enormous.

If we are realistic about the GNU developers, there are probably not enough people to fork HarfBuzz. But let’s be optimists and pretend that’s a sure thing.

LibFFI allows other languages (like Python) to interface with C. I’ve never used it, I’m really not sure how it works, but it seems to be required by nearly everything. Basically every graphical library brings in either LibFFI or zlib1g — and any program that uses PNG graphics brings in zlib1g.

It would be a really good idea to fork or at least mirror LibFFI and zlib1g. But the GNU Project isn’t showing the will to do this — they don’t think it’s important enough to not have things like this controlled by Microsoft.

I don’t know how familiar you are with the linux-libre project. It’s simpler than forking these projects. If you ask Oliva, I’m confident he will tell you, it’s simpler than forking these projects. I’m not underrating his skills — in fact I’m not rating his skills at all, I’m rating the amount of work he’s going to do on this.

I don’t expect Oliva to do this anyway. The only reason he comes up with regards to this is he does linux-libre.

“figosdev should consider that telling others to fix linux isn’t going to work when you tell ppl the leaders won’t unite and nobody’s really doing anything”

I don’t expect you to be familiar with the things I’ve written, but in the past I’ve talked about upgrading the Free Software movement (in much more positive terms) and then I talked extensively about saving the FSF —

I warned people that rms would be ousted. I’m not taking all the credit for that, others warned that as well. But those warnings were still written in a way that suggested we could stop it from happening.

Now he’s out, and all the points I made years ago about making certain the movement continues are more relevant and more urgent.

Maybe this approach won’t change anything, but I’ve tried being more positive in the past.

A note: Oliva himself gave feedback on my article. I won’t pretend he loved it, but he did seem to like some of the points made. He also corrected something that I would address the correction of in the article I wrote the next day.

“if rms/oliva prefer the fsf, why is figosdev writing saying users should fix everything, alone”

That’s really not what I expect them to do.

“can’t weaken a monopoly by being part of it”

I strongly agree. And this is what bothers me about GNU getting closer to Microsoft. It’s deadly, and self-destructive. The developers don’t seem to care, and that’s worrisome.

Oiaohm is absolutely correct that most projects don’t have enough manpower. I don’t expect everybody to “learn to code”, but we should at least try to teach everyone how — not only so more people can contribute, but because it’s the easiest way to increase computer literacy (as well as user confidence).

I wrote a programming language specifically to make that easier. A lot of people would probably argue that it wasn’t necessary, but they don’t know how it came about.

I was already trying to come up with ways to teach Python or JavaScript or Bash to anybody. I made lots of observations about the things that slowed people down that are NOT fundamental to coding, which I removed to create my own language.

I also took a lot from the easiest educational languages ever written.

Whether this is helpful or not, Free Software needs more people who can code. And if more people were interested in coding, it would be a lot easier to explain the importance of Free Software.

Free Software is important whether you code or not, of course — and even if you don’t core, having freedom makes it easier to do things when you can hire a person or find a friend that does know how to make changes.

But it’s a lot easier to explain that to someone who does know how to code, so even if they’re not making changes to the GNU Project, it’s easier to promote Free Software if more people are coders.

If everybody is on GitHub though, it’s sort of moot — those people are interns for Microsoft one way or another. And Microsoft doesn’t play for freedom, it plays for keeps (and control of the ecosystem).

“if rms/oliva joined forces, forked the 5 packages, and gave ppl some hope, surely a far better way to spend time and inspire users”

That really isn’t going to happen. I don’t think I implied that (ordinary?) users would do that, but certainly someone who is trusted by the GNU Project would have to do it. Some of the GNU developers trust GitHub, so their opinion isn’t going to help determine if the mirror is in a good place or not.

Even the new FSF president trusts GitHub.

“why write articles saying users should fix it all when every response is so demoralising and depressing”

Right now people are ignoring so many problems, it creates an existential threat for the GNU Project. Not taking this threat seriously could cause more trouble than being demoralising.

If people are going to continue feeding Microsoft’s monopoly, the GNU Project will not achieve its purpose.

People mark a species “endangered” in hopes of people making an effort not to kill it off, not to depress people. the result is worse if they insist on pretending things are alright when they’re almost certainly not.

“ppl need some hope, and surely rms/oliva uniting is doable and would be something really good”

‘What sort of hope would you like to see?’ Is a good question for you to be answering right now.

Hope may truly be needed, I agree. Though I don’t think it’s the only thing that is needed.

“surely it’s a waste of time to have anything to do with the fsf; they were behind rms being ousted, so have made it VERY clear which side they’re on”

I agree, but I also understand the sorts of things that might keep people there past the time that it’s reasonable. I suggested to Stallman that he should create a “more grassroots / less corporate” Free Software movement. I don’t think he’s going to, but I think it might really be necessary.

I suggest the same to anybody who thinks it’s a good idea. There are caveats with that approach, of course. There are always caveats with any decision that is very big.

“but ppl need hope, and others to be positive, so, yes, that article does have a responsibility to contribute something positive, not demoralising”

I do not consider it my responsibility to give a pep rally when there are problems this big. The problem goes beyond morale, and the solution needs to go beyond morale.

“plenty of users have helped and donated, and suddenly everyone talks like that never happened”

I have donated as well — generally to causes that were disappointing.

I’ve donated money and equipment to developers. I don’t regret spending the money or giving up the equipment, though I can at least think of better projects now — none of the projects I tried to support before GitHub was sold or Stallman was ousted have continued to help.

A lot has changed. Debian is the biggest disappointment on the software front. I worry for Python. I wish I’d given the money to PyPy, but one of the developers I gave it money to did a lot for me, I don’t really blame him for what happened.

“so why doesn’t figosdev be realistic, and thankfully brief …”

I am being realistic, you’re asking me to sugarcoat things.

Brevity is irrelevant. You decided to read my article. You could have skimmed or ignored it, you know.

“nobody’s going to work together or help; you’re all on your own, regardless of how much you may have contributed”

It’s not my fault if (too many) developers stop caring about users. If I call them on it, it’s not to depress the users.

“watching ms all day is not going to save linus”

“I would say plenty of users have donated, bugfixed, helped in countless ways, over many years … but everyone talks like they do nothing”

I think it’s more likely users have given too much support to projects that don’t care enough about their freedom — this is nearly the opposite of saying that users have done nothing.

“there weren’t issues until big tech was allowed in; now users are ‘lazy’, ‘greedy’, should fix it all themselves, and no talented leaders will combine to do anything.”

You’ve read a lot of things into what I said that I simply didn’t say.

But we seem to agree that big tech is the problem here.

“whether short of resources or not, demoralisation and lack of effort is what is preached?! if rms had that attitude 30 yrs ago, no freedom or gnu would have happened”

I can’t really improve on what Oiaohm said: “its not exactly lack of effort. the words is more those looking at the problem and seeing that the amount of work/effort going in is not enough.”

Where you get that I blame the users more than the developers, I don’t follow. I can understand why that would be upsetting, but not why you think that’s what I meant.

“if a non-optimist can achieve the incredible things he did, I suggest he wasn’t a non-optimist for real”

I would suggest that you assume that pessimists fail where optimists succeed.

Stallman is not an optimist. He is quoted as calling himself a pessimist in general.

He is a stubborn pessimist, and so am I. You might call a stubborn pessimist a non-non-optimist — but a lot of people would still think (and often complain) that Stallman sounds very negative.

Let me give you an example from my own advocacy — you tell me if this sounds like pessimism or what:

I wanted to share GNU/Linux with people. So first, I spent more than 10 years learning how to use it. I tried more than 50 distributions, easily (I’ve tried more than that). I learned Bash scripting (for some value of Bash scripting) and I told everybody I know about it, wrote about it, tried to give people copies of it.

I talked people into dual-booting. Sometimes that went alright, mostly, not great. It’s not that dual-booting is all bad, it’s that the people I talked into trying it didn’t like it.

So I stuck to installing it on machines that people didn’t want anymore. Only they still didn’t want them after that.

I set up a homeless shelter with machines running GNU/Linux, and went in on a regular basis to do all their updates over SSH (on the LAN because nobody had the user and password for the AP to configure a port, and I didn’t want to reset it for them as I didn’t want to be responsible for their network as well).

Finally I found a way to give people GNU/Linux that actually made (everyday, self-proclaimed “non-computer people”) happy: when they had computer problems, I would take a free computer and say “you can use this one if you want — if you like it, you can keep it”.

If these (particular) people had a computer and I removed software and installed GNU/Linux, they would think it was broken: “Windows looks wrong, can you fix it”. “That’s not Windows”. “Why did you break Windows?” “I didn’t, I put something else on”. “Why didn’t you just fix Windows?”

But if I give them a computer that wasn’t theirs, they don’t care what’s on it. No frame of reference as to what “broken” is. This is how a lot of people think (sadly) and they’re not interested in learning the facts. The facts aren’t any less important, and I do try to tell them.

Eventually the platform I was using became unreliable, so I created a tool to remaster distros automatically…

It’s not like I just complain. But when I spend years working around what I consider unnecessary and deliberate bullshit — yes, I’m going to call bullshit!

“the devs that are going more corporate-favouring, infecting distros and the kernel, and getting the ms dollars, is no help, but surely rms fought that 30 yrs ago, and forged a path”

And for 20 years, Microsoft has fought against him.

I think they knew that he would be a problem for them with GitHub (among other things) so they finally used an old plan from OSI to get him out.

They say it was because of some MIT emails, however they were pulling the same shtick one year before at LibrePlanet. Over a couple of interruptions, including one question for the speaker by the president of the organisation.

The emcee tried to assert their authority over the president of the organisation, and the president (Stallman) didn’t go for it. So they tried to say that made LibrePlanet “unsafe”, which is some of the most fantastical bullshit I’ve ever heard.

Point being, this is all super-rotten. But you seem to already be aware of that, which is good.

“countless ppl have stepped up and helped”

I’m really not disputing that. A lot of the things I write heap up qualifiers to every broad statement I make: “of course this doesn’t apply to everybody”. To be honest, the fact that countless people have helped doesn’t change what I’m talking about: the saboteurs we both seem to be aware of.

If we agree they exist, what’s the problem with talking about it? And if I talk about it, why do you (seem to) think I’m blaming you?

“only free software guts and determination will win this, as rms did 30 yrs ago”

I strongly agree. But if the statement “only free software guts and determination will win this” is not itself demoralising, I don’t think you should interpret my article a lot differently.

“ppl who are naturally complacent do that, but not those who care about freedom/privacy etc”

I think you believe I wrote about the people who actually “care about freedom/privacy etc”. The thing is, I was talking about the people who are naturally complacent.

“it’s so frustrating that ppl LET things be infiltrated”

Yes, it is.

“…red hat disgust me, how they leapt onto the fsf the morning after rms was kicked out”

‘We think our advice could help the FSF find better people to work with, you know, for diversity. By the way, we worked with Hitler!’

“so those saying ‘I had to take big tech money’ are shams and didn’t care about freedom/users”

Bingo.

“but where do those NOT harming linux/others go is the critical question”

Exactly. If I want users to do anything, it’s to create that place — because right now, it really doesn’t exist.

Why do I want users to do it? So that users are in control of it.

We could ask the developers to do it — but as Oiaohm correctly points out, they’re spread very thin already. And it doesn’t leave users with the autonomy they deserve. Both are real problems that I didn’t make up. I encourage users to work on those, and I provide ideas as to how.

No takers yet.

“again, what can be done for linux users who care about privacy/freedom, and rapidly are having no island to inhabit”

That is a better summary of what I was talking about in the first place.

“rms started from very little and achieved incredibly … surely we need to take him as the inspiration if we hope to get back what matters”

Again, I agree.

“those of us who care about privacy/values need an island, preferably with rms/oliva there, something like that”

That would be cool.

“…back to my point about the article, telling users to do the work, without any support/inspiration or the rich experience of e.g. rms/oliva”

I don’t recommend “without any support/inspiration or the rich experience”. Oliva is still around. So is Stallman, though he’s very quiet.

By all means, people should draw what inspiration from them that they can. I encourage people to learn more about the history of Free Software especially — because the history shows what a sham Open Source turned out to be, and because learning more about how Free Software worked from the beginning will help people understand how to “reboot” the movement. History is very informative about that sort of thing.

And as far as learning about Stallman goes — the history is very inspiring.

“I’m the least tech person on linux probably, lol, and do art, only, but used to donate LOADS, until I go so fed up with the attitude to users”

Frankly I am also fed up with the attitude towards users. A person I used to talk to wanted to set up a new organisation specifically for users of Free Software. He wanted me to be the president, I said I would be happy to work with the organisation if it existed.

“but where [are] the leaders who care, who make an effort, who value freedoms and users, instead of constantly saying ‘you fix it’, when you can’t alone”

What is really needed is a new community (an island as you put it, though I’m not sure an island is what you want per se) or I prefer larger (not too large) networks of smaller communities — so that the small communities can be self-policing and have autonomy and self-advocate.

There’s no way around self-advocacy. If you can’t do that, (hint: you’re self-advocating when you bring up these complaints of yours) other people will do it for you. When they fail to understand you, or even fail to care, you’re right back to needing self-advocacy. So that’s a must.

A lot of people are coming out of the (corporate) woodwork to say users are more helpless than they really are, and need to be coddled like infants — I’m not talking about software! I’m talking about the ways communities are run.

It’s all a sham to put corporations in charge of communities — or put another way, to eliminate community and replace it with corporations. And it’s working.

Sadly, only users can stop this. And if they join together, WE will help them in whatever way we are able. But we can’t do it for them, it just doesn’t work that way. There are too many problems now, for the organisations that existed before to solve this — and that is precisely the point of the corporations doing it this way.

It is, to put it simply, the “advice” IBM gave to the FSF after Stallman was ousted, writ large. And that’s rotten.

You know that years before this was about terms like “blacklist” and “master”, it was about putting dollar signs in Micro$oft? That was their original objective: to get communities who hated abuse from monopolies to start treating their corporate “masters” with respect.

That article became exactly 10 years old on Wednesday. All this political correctness was already in motion a decade ago, but it wasn’t about diversity, it was about bowing to Big Tech.

Diversity is great. They’re hijacking it to move corporations above criticism (International Blaxploitation Machines…)

“going offline more, using rss, having thought that was at least better than being on the browser”

Awesome.

“have tried SO much online, but there’s so much unpleasantness, lack of commitment, unfair criticism, and I have made stands, and you just get shunned”

Hopefully you do not feel shunned right now. Here we can disagree. It isn’t mandatory, but it is an option.

“I could only teach art!”

Art is very useful to the movement. Personally I am disappointed that Lessig did not have greater success encouraging Free Software to pay more attention to Free Culture.

To me, the people who really get both of these concepts are of the greatest service to each movement. If you’re an artist, and you add some free-as-in-freedom work to what we do, that’s a help. I’m hardly the only person who thinks so.

“I’ve contributed fully painted professional wallpapers, offered stuff, etc”

Cool.

“unbelievable that ppl donate to mozilla etc”

Indeed. Telling people to “donate to mozilla” is almost as silly as telling them to send donations to Microsoft!

“if you want something done, let me know now”

Maybe hang around Techrights a little more (IRC is fine) until something comes to you? (Or comes to us?)

There’s a lot going on, and (I don’t speak officially for) Techrights needs people that care about these issues.

“what can happen? … back to figosdev’s article, which may as well have said ‘you’re on your own’, as rms/oliva won’t be there, etc”

Really not what I meant.

“what are ppl to do, when the most inspiring ppl aren’t collaborating, those who have rich experience?”

I write about that too. I could just start talking about it here, though it might be redundant.

“figosdev says there’s no real point creating groups, as big tech will just take over”

Not at all, I was talking about creating groups that are more resistant to big tech. And those groups need people who understand the things you do — or who can learn them.

The idea of the groups being plural is part of the resistance to big tech — which wants to consolidate everybody (via things like GitHub, Twitter, Facebook).

Fediverse is sadly all on GitHub. Most of the tech is on GitHub — I blame the people who aren’t trying to move.

I focus mostly on the treachery of “neutral” devs and actual shills, but ultimately it’s the users who must find the will to boycott and/or salvage as much as possible that is currently controlled by GIAFAM.

“he did an article saying is it Tiny distro is best, but increasingly these solutions become more technical, beyond non-technical users, etc, or nothing will work, etc”

Everything really is tied into GitHub at this point. That’s the problem. A tiny distro is best, but only if it’s not developed on GitHub.

People who are on Windows or Apple can upgrade by moving to ANY sort of distro. Hopefully they will avoid ones with systemd, as that is another trap (also GitHub-based).

Most of the systemd-free distros are GitHub-based as well. I won’t go into the serious problems Devuan has right now, but I don’t recommend it to anybody. You know what happens if I recommend Devuan to you? I’ve done you a disservice. I’d rather do Devuan a disservice than you, and I don’t even know you.

The reason I recommend a tiny distro is it has the fewest problems to solve. It’s honestly much closer to impossible to fix something like Debian at this point than build a community around fixing up a smaller distro.

However, I’ve stopped using GNU/Linux and focus on BSD. Same logic as that which went into using a tiny distro, really — it’s a bit farther from the problem.

The computer term “booting” (you may well know this, but I’ll say it anyway) comes via the term “bootstrapping”, from the phrase “pulling oneself up by their bootstraps” — a humourous and impossible / paradoxical image of progression.

I don’t suggest we simply take users and drop them in the middle of the forest to fend for themselves. However, hard times lay ahead whether we do nothing and wait, or try to do something. It won’t happen unless more users are up for an adventure, for trying new things, for taking an initiative (just not the Open Source Initiative, please).

Users are the only people who are qualified for some of this stuff. And it’s hard to find devs who haven’t sold out already.

But you’re not alone, in fact, we are — relatively speaking, there aren’t enough of us yet. And when there are, we aren’t going to agree on everything. So we need a way to disagree on some things and still make progress on the important things.

“truth-telling is important, but the message seems to be we’re f*cked, sort it yourself”

You seem to already be as disillusioned with the FSF as I am. Consider the possibility that what I was going for isn’t “it’s up to *you*” but rather up to *us* (and you…) not up to the people who say “Support The FSF! Join Today!” Because the latter is indeed hopeless. I think you said so yourself.

However, to put it that would be even more negative. Maybe it would be clearer though…

“we’re all depressed and fed up, yes, ms buying github and red hat selling out, is really crap, but is the only solution ultimately offline?”

I was hoping for groups both online and offline — like websites and usergroups. I mean, it doesn’t have to be websites and usergroups, but that’s what I think of.

Usergroups were created to help people become familiar with stuff that now so many people are familiar with. In that regard, they may not be as popular as they were before (or perhaps they are. I’ve only been to one).

There is a lot of unfamiliar territory ahead. We have much more to tend to than what’s become mainstream.

“nothing personal, just really concerned and hope something constructive can emerge.”

That’s exactly what I would say to you, sincerely:

Nothing personal, just really concerned and hope something constructive can emerge.

Long live rms, and Happy Hacking.

(You didn’t have to read the whole thing, by the way. You could have even used grep — or CTRL-F, or hit PgDn a random number of times, although Mozilla… you know what they’re like).

11.19.20

Nettle and Sequioa for Encryption (as GnuPG Alternative)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 5:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

RIAA insideSummary: Concerns about GnuPG’s Koch facilitating or allowing practices that aren’t secure and are even proprietary raise concern among privacy and security specialists; alternatives exist already

AS PER this previous post about integrity of encryption, we’ve decided to explore alternative encryption projects that are not Microsoft-controlled (in GitHub) and not participating in awkward schemes that are proprietary.

“Sequoia uses Nettle as the crypto back-end. The PGP goes on top of the crypto primitives [and] PGP is just a message format,” we were told.

“…we’ve decided to explore alternative encryption projects that are not Microsoft-controlled (in GitHub) and not participating in awkward schemes that are proprietary.”“Nettle is on self-hosted GitLab,” it was noted. “Nettle isn’t PGP though. It’s a generic crypto library [written] in C.”

“GnuPG develops in its own servers, I believe, [whereas] Sequoia is on GitLab”

Sequoia — already with a slightly bad sign being the choice of host (centralised Gitlab) — “looks like the only viable alternative right now,” one person told us. “It lacks smartcard support but that should not be too much of an issue right now. The people behind Sequoia seem like genuine people that care about the user more than anything else. [...] I think Koch’s actions are what made them break away from GnuPG in the first place.”

It’s important to remember the signature on this letter. A large number of these people work for companies that push non-free software and also develop on Microsoft servers (GitHub, NSA PRISM).

Guix signatures and Koch

11.18.20

Organisations Are/n’t the Problem

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, OSI at 5:40 pm by Guest Editorial Team

By figosdev

Cross

Summary: “Our goal has to be for Free Software to outlive its founder.”

I used to think the FSF was salvageable. Now I’m pretty confident it’s not. The mission of Free Software, at least, is to give their user control over their computing.

The FSF has failed at this in spectacular ways. It is also not accountable to users — but it has made itself accountable to its enemies above all else. The FSF is subjugated, but wants you to believe it can fight for your freedom.

“More than 20 years ago, Microsoft made their plans to overthrow Free Software by overthrowing Open Source.”The greatest assets of the FSF are the Free Software Definition, the GNU Project, the GPL 2 and 3 licenses (2 because how you are going to fork GNU/Linux without it? But you can thank Microsoft and Linus for that snafu) and Stallman himself.

Clearly, the FSF has failed to manage these assets with regards to their mission. Unfortunately, they are still locked up with the FSF — The exception is the GNU Project, which is locked up with Microsoft GitHub via Perl, Python, libFFI, zlib1g and HarfBuzz. These 5 projects are controlled by Microsoft and yet are vital to the GNU Project.

Figure of Virgin Mary. Image taken in Seville, Spain.Like many others, I sought to alleviate this problem simply by creating another organisation. One of the two main purposes of that organisation was to help salvage the Free Software movement, and to work to rally other organisations to that purpose.

The most promising and rewarding collaboration along such lines has been with Techrights, albeit on a completely unofficial and informal basis. I have also tried to encourage other people to create Free Software organisations for specific purposes (typically their own) but so far nobody wants to do that kind of work. I can’t say I blame them. I have tried to show how to make that work easier.

If you can’t save the FSF, the best you can do is recreate it. When you do that, you start with the same problem the FSF had; namely that you cannot prevent the hostile takeover of a non-profit organisation without playing every single card right, year after year.

More than 20 years ago, Microsoft made their plans to overthrow Free Software by overthrowing Open Source. I don’t think there’s a single person on this planet (and I’ve spent years looking for such people) who could have done a better job than Richard Stallman in thwarting those takeover plans. But I believe the FSF started to fall apart around 2015.

“Our goal has to be for Free Software to outlive its founder.”The successes of the FSF are many, and inspiring. The majority of non-profits do not succeed as wildly as the FSF did. Stallman did not expect to do as well as he did. There is a myth that people learn how to create the perfect organisation, and then they just go and do it by some book — the reality is that people end up learning by doing, and most fail.

Our goal has to be for Free Software to outlive its founder. We know numerous attempts were made (sincerely or otherwise, sometimes it’s hard to tell) to extend the geographic and organisational reach of the FSF. We know there is a Free Software Foundation India (FSFI), though not much happens with that. There is a “Free Software Community of India” which is more active. There is not only a Software Freedom Law Center, associated with the co-author of the GPL, There is a Software Freedom Law Center India.

There is an Irish Free Software Organisation. In France, there is April. My favourite is still FACiL in Québec; their platform is the closest to mine of any Free Software organisation. If I had a mountain of assets (alas…) that I needed to put into non-profits right now, I would split it among the OpenBSD Foundation, the NetBSD Foundation, Hyperbola GNU(/BSD) and FACiL — probably not in that particular order.

“SFC may have started in sincerity, but it is traitorous.”I do not know the real motivation for the creation of the Open Source Initiative, only the official narrative and the overall trajectory and outcome. From the latter, I believe OSI was created out of jealousy, and quickly turned into a weapon (as a pawn or collaborator, perhaps even both) against Free Software. We may never know for certain, but that is no reason to be charitable. Open Source has not just attacked Free Software but all of us, relentlessly. In the past when I had more faith in Ben Mako Hill, it was due to personal dealings, writings of his, and the fact that he said at not-so-LibrePlanet that we should probably distance ourselves from Open Source. That would have been a good idea.

SFC may have started in sincerity, but it is traitorous. I would not give anybody from SFC the time of day. FSF Europe is traitorous and even dubious. We have talked about these things in detail many times, but in this article they are little more than a footnote. It is important to note however, that at some points (maybe even now) FSF Latin America has relied partly on the FSFE for some of its infrastructure. As I consider FSFLA more viable than FSFE, this is troubling. I’m not sure if it remains accurate, and I hope not.

FSFLA of course is the home of linux-libre, as well as Alexandre Oliva. Regarding both Oliva and the previous article I wrote, he brought it to my attention that I probably mixed up two conversations we had about copyright and Free Software, leading me to paraphrase him saying that those two things have nothing to do with each other.

“Stallman remains the original founding member and creator of this movement.”I do not have a copy of the original conversation, so I can’t simply quote what he did say. However, we went over what he more likely said, and what likely got misconstrued, and I have no reason to think that he is mistaken. I won’t deliberately misrepresent him, and I make a fair effort to get such things right, but this is a situation (one of many) where I would prefer to be mistaken, and I’m pleased to be.

Free Software needs leaders, and over the years I have tried to keep track of the most likely successor for Richard Stallman. I can honestly say that Geoffrey Knauth was never on this list, and I would not vote for him now or at any previous point in time. He may just be the best person the FSF can put in charge under the present circumstances, but those circumstances are still bullshit.

When Knauth says of the movement Stallman created, “What a noble idea, but one person cannot do all this” I really don’t know what that’s supposed to mean. A movement, practically by definition, is more than one person. In my opinion, he might as well say of Einstein’s theory of relativity, “What an incredible idea, but one person cannot do all this.”

“Most offshoots of the FSF have gone badly.”No, Einstein did not do “all” of it. The foundations of science were already there, and (with the unlikely exception noted in protest by — Nikola Tesla? To whom we also owe a great deal, of course) credit was given where it was due. But I think too many people have tried to take credit for Free Software the way that Steve Jobs might be given credit for the MP3 player (or Torvalds might be given credit for the GNU Project — hypothetically, of course!)

Stallman remains the original founding member and creator of this movement. He is still relevant, but the (metaphorically) drunken stewards of the FSF have seen fit to stand between the movement and Stallman, allegedly for the sake of the former. If you ask now, perhaps for the alleged sake of the latter. Whatever works, eh?

As far as I know, the leadership of FACiL is doing alright. SFC is corrupt, OSI is led by Microsoft, FSFE has an atrocity at the helm, Knauth is as tepid as John and FSF India has said very little for years. My candidates for successor included Oliva, Ben Mako Hill, Kat Walsh and Denis Roio. I am probably leaving someone out, but it was a short list and Oliva would have likely ranked highest, though I assumed geography was a problem (it’s not). So when Oliva was made Vice President I felt a bit vindicated, though we both agreed that the circumstances were depressing and unfair.

“But first, it’s important to point out that the goal is NOT to replace Richard Stallman.”Most offshoots of the FSF have gone badly. At this point, so has the original. But if you’re going to fork the FSF, one thing you should probably do in preparation for the day when it gets co-opted is to make your fork more forkable. That’s what I tried to do, but I was somewhat aware that most people probably wouldn’t want to go through the trouble.

I abandoned the idea of a forkable organisation designed to lobby the FSF for the sustainability of its own mission (at least for my own trouble) and kept what I felt are the best ideas from along the way: a library of 4-freedom Software and Cultural works (Free Software works and Free Culture works, no freedom-limiting -ND or -NC clause licenses) and an organisational alternative I refer to as a "Freedom Lab".

The idea of a freedom lab works metaphorically like this:

Suppose you have a very large office building. This office is set aside for an umbrella cause, such as Free Software and Free Culture and Free Hardware — note that my affinity for FACiL comes from the fact that like many Free Software advocates, including former FSF board member and 2016 presidential candidate Lawrence Lessig, I am also interested in Free Culture — and FACiL combines these into what they call “Free Computing”.

Instead of having a very conservative top-down approach, like the one the FSF has, this metaphorical office building rents out office space to any group of people who are interested in the umbrella cause. These groups then act like mini-organisations under the auspices of the umbrella organisation. Not-so-LibrePlanet seems to almost operate like this within or with regards to the FSF, although it would be nice to have a better example.

“If Richard Stallman was abducted by aliens tomorrow and Free Software needed a new leader in a pinch, Oliva is probably the closest thing we have.”Here’s the kicker — instead of renting office space in a literal office building, these groups simply form at will under this umbrella cause, and are encouraged to both compete (as in explore different options or methods) and collaborate on ways to advance free software. Instead of competing in a business sense, think of competing theories, advancing science towards a better overall understanding. Hence “labs”.

You do not need to register to become a scientist — you do it by practicing science. Obviously there are credentials you can attain through education, but we aren’t trying to make Free Software into a hard science in the first place — rather the idea is to have something a bit closer to scientific exploration in its approach than just relying on a guru like Richard Stallman to lead.

And here is where it’s very important to point out that this approach has lots of downsides — OSI is a perfect demonstration of those downsides, and this idea would not be complete without some effort to mitigate and account for those.

“Without both people and the will, it really isn’t a movement.”But first, it’s important to point out that the goal is NOT to replace Richard Stallman. If we had a second guru on standby for the day when he finally stops fighting, we could simply let that guru take over where Stallman left off. I’ve explored that option for years, and it counts on a lot of things that might never happen. The closest thing we probably have to such a figure is Alexandre Oliva. If Richard Stallman was abducted by aliens tomorrow and Free Software needed a new leader in a pinch, Oliva is probably the closest thing we have.

This may sound like an endorsement, though I am more reserved than that. Oliva is objectively and most likely the closest thing we have to Stallman, other than Stallman himself. If you can think of a more Stallman-like individual anywhere on earth, who is as passionate about Free Software, I defy you to produce this person.

And yet, Oliva has advanced to the level of vice president and then lost the (official) leadership role nearly as soon as it began. I blame the FSF for this, not Oliva. But although he (like Stallman) will probably fight for Free Software as long as he lives, as a leader he may not be as much of an unstoppable force as Stallman is — and we need an unstoppable force.

“One of the ways in which the FSF has failed fundamentally is that it has taken away Stallman’s platform, under false pretenses.”The point here, is that you cannot actually replace Richard Stallman. We don’t have the parts, the technology, or the budget for it. On most days I don’t think we even have the will to — and without that, all this talk of organisation is moot. A movement needs people in order to work. Without both people and the will, it really isn’t a movement.

At best, we could try to build a Stallman alternative, in much the way that vegetarians try to build a burger that people who actually like meat (per the metaphor, or meataphor — people who actually want the user to be free) would want to eat, albeit one made without the actual thing it is alternative to.

As long as Stallman lives of course, he is still (and really always will be) the father of the Free Software movement. One of the ways in which the FSF has failed fundamentally is that it has taken away Stallman’s platform, under false pretenses. That is not the official narrative, but I firmly believe (and we needn’t go into evidence here) that the official narrative is bullshit anyway.

We may not be able to restore a platform for Stallman, because although we can offer him greater welcome and more sincere respect (let’s call it fairness) than what’s left of his own organisation, we can’t force him to make use of it — Stallman’s lack of a public platform was plotted and executed by others, but remains at least partly self-imposed. But we could certainly offer it, and I believe we would do ourselves a disservice not to. It would be a lesser good for Stallman to have only a symbolic platform, but the symbol is still worth something if his place is reserved in sincerity (not only in rhetoric).

We still know that the movement will eventually lack a leader with all of Stallman’s traits, and thus eventually it will have to continue without him one way or another. When that ship has finally sunk, do we go down with it or do we build a fleet of our own?

“Science works best when it makes things as simple as they can be.”Having a somewhat federated organisation, we then move on to the business of autonomy. Having an all-seeing, all-powerful umbrella organisation at the top of these “labs” creates the same weakness that the FSF has — the ability for corporations to buy in and take over. Apart from the ability to explore different options for advancing the movement, these labs could also provide a degree of redundancy for the organisation that exists overhead — a degree of forkability.

If Richard Stallman is the father of the Free Software movement, and Free Software itself is his child, as he has said himself — then these labs could be his grandchildren. Of course grandchildren are generally raised by the parent, not so directly by the grandparent, with exceptions. But the goal here is to continue the family line.

I am in favour of cloning Stallman. I have long used two metaphors for this process — clones, and parrots.

Stallman specifically tells people not to give him a parrot. He means it literally, I will use it this way: it is better to clone Stallman than to simply parrot him.

“Watchdogging, collaboration and the evaluation of other labs is built into the structure. This is a way to mitigate the fact that some labs will ultimately turn traitor and try to sell out to sponsors or whatever.”Parrots may not be stupid creatures, but when they speak they do not use it to communicate exactly the way we do — they are mostly just repeating sounds. I’m no expert on birds, I think you might be able to train some parrots to say “Coffee’s Ready!” when they smell it brewing, but what you couldn’t do is get them to form their own sentences and justifications or reasoning about coffee. They will not philosophise with you — they just repeat what they’ve heard, sometimes on a loop.

I think that if you literally cloned Stallman, those clones would not simply parrot what he says. They would form their own logic, they would (as Stallman most notoriously does) think for themselves, even if that thinking is unconventional.

This is what I think of supporting Stallman — understanding his work to the best of our abilities, and probably agreeing on the things that matter most. Also demonstrating integrity. OSI did not do these things, and it dishonestly sabotaged (misrepresented) both Stallman and us. Stallman’s response was overly charitable; Ben Mako Hill had (though does not seem to have followed) the right idea.

Once you have a boatload of Stallman clones, they would argue among themselves as philosophers already argue with the self. If you cannot argue with yourself, you have no business arguing with other people. So the question becomes if we create even a brigade of Stallmans (like Dumbledore’s Army, but for software freedom), then what do we do with that? How would we manage such an unruly force (that is, ourselves) without stifling it?

“There is no way to completely prevent a group of people from acting like OSI — sometimes we can only address it when it happens.”Perhaps it is impossible, but again, we are taking inspiration from science. The way you determine the impossible is not by pooh-poohing the question, but by impartial analysis and experimentation. First we create these grandchildren of Stallman. If we fail at that first step, the question of managing such a crew is moot. If we succeed, we move to the next step.

Science works best when it makes things as simple as they can be. Some problems are complex, or perhaps everybody would be a scientist. But science also starts with the universe, and reduces it to the simplest rules possible for the entire universe, per our present level of understanding.

To make certain that umbrella organisations remain the servant, not the master of these freedom labs, I have written what I call the THRIVE guidelines.

“It is also incredibly flexible, but with simple, down-to-earth mechanisms designed to maintain integrity in the face of corporate meddling.”These are instructions for cats that want to be self-herding. If they prefer to travel alone, there is nothing you can do to change that. An individual can contribute to Free Software, and a group can contribute to Free Software, and not every individual absolutely has to be part of a group. But we can (as we do for Stallman) still have a place for individuals who choose to assist us. If they do not appreciate our assistance, or vice versa, perhaps another part of our network can better cater to them.

You notice that I say “umbrella organisations” in the plural. This doesn’t mean that there has to be two or more umbrella organisations at the same time, though there is no reason that some labs cannot act as an umbrella to others. The idea of an umbrella is to assist coordination and education (be informative), not to rule from above. Technically, any lab can do this for other labs (if they are inclined).

Watchdogging, collaboration and the evaluation of other labs is built into the structure. This is a way to mitigate the fact that some labs will ultimately turn traitor and try to sell out to sponsors or whatever. If we consider GNOME part of this broad network, then we already have one example. There is no way to completely prevent a group of people from acting like OSI — sometimes we can only address it when it happens.

“That is a function that Stallman provided, but in the FSF this mechanism has failed spectacularly without an adequate replacement.”In a way, this cat self-herding is not unlike kernel self-Hurding. Where the FSF is monolithic, we are talking about microkernel Free Software organisations.

It is more complex in practice, but here the components are actually simpler than the alternative. The idea is not to create a perfect or flawless top-heavy organisation, but a network with nodes that anybody can work to form more quickly and easily (and with relative autonomy) compared to the FSF.

It might not work. And without people with the will to fight for your freedom, as the FSF still claims to do — it would never happen anyway.

The advantage of doing it this way is that it does not require the level of up-front resources (or authority) that we have relied on the FSF and Richard Stallman for. It is an idea borne of the relative loss of both.

It is also incredibly flexible, but with simple, down-to-earth mechanisms designed to maintain integrity in the face of corporate meddling. That is a function that Stallman provided, but in the FSF this mechanism has failed spectacularly without an adequate replacement.

“Doing it this way also resists censorship — it takes a lot more effort to censor people like Richard Stallman (or even Oliva) when things are designed this way.”It is an idea that lets you, the user — go about building a platform for self advocacy (for you or for yourself plus others) within a week or so, if you can find people interested in working with you — even a small handful of people. And if two or more groups of people do this, it is designed in anticipation of that and provides a way to create ad hoc networks of such groups. They do not all need to work exactly the same way, so you can actually explore designs and strategies you think might help. In turn, we can observe your efforts and note possible success or ideas we can adapt to our own advocacy.

People already do this all the time when they create applications, but it is applied less often to organisations. We have a mythology that says that applications don’t exist until there is a larger organisation associated with them, though so many Free Software projects start with a single developer or small groups. It may be possible to rebuild the Free Software movement in a similar fashion.

Doing it this way also resists censorship — it takes a lot more effort to censor people like Richard Stallman (or even Oliva) when things are designed this way. We will not make the mistake that the Fediverse makes and pretend that censorship is impossible or can’t exist within this scheme. The number of separate organisations that have already been taken over by corporate interests demonstrate the folly there.

“Instead of just having such a network attacking our base, it would be ideal to have a similar network defending our movement — turning the design to a positive goal.”When they collaborate, as SFC and GNOME may have — we have some reason to think this is possible — to undo our advocacy, they are using a similar process to fight us that we might use to fight back. Their advantage (assuming we are correct) hurt the FSF substantially.

If this does not apply to that particular combination of organisations, it certainly applies to other pairs or groups of organisations. Instead of just having such a network attacking our base, it would be ideal to have a similar network defending our movement — turning the design to a positive goal. The alternative seems to be to just watch Free Software die.

You can’t create a censorship-proof design — you fight censorship with a combination of good design and on-the-ground defence of free speech. The Fediverse has the former, but it is found lacking with regards to the latter. Freedom requires the will to defend freedom, not just good design.

But a good design can certainly help those who have the will. Today, the FSF actively resists the will of those who would create the sort of technological and political reform that Richard Stallman founded the FSF to organise. We can build the internet to rival the FSF’s Ma Bell.

“The internet was strictly non-commercial until the advent of the Web. It became, not unlike Free Software itself, a mix of non-commercial and commercial space.”It really depends on what sort of people we are, though. Open Source worked to decentralise Free Software as well, critiquing the “Cathedral” and advocating the “Bazaar”. In time it replaced high tech cottage industries with technofascist mega malls, and those were all bought up by surveillance capitalist monopolies.

The internet was strictly non-commercial until the advent of the Web. It became, not unlike Free Software itself, a mix of non-commercial and commercial space.

Free Software by definition, includes both the commercial and the non-commercial; it is a false dichotomy to characterise it in any other way. But being controlled by multinational corporations is not any kind of freedom. The purpose of Free Software is to give control of computing to the user.

“The purpose of Free Software is to give control of computing to the user.”If the FSF cannot keep that promise, we do need to build something — if we wish to keep the promise of free computing for the user alive.

My feelings about that are strongly opposed to building something that’s identical in every fashion, just to have it taken over by monopolies like GIAFAM again. The FSF’s IFF systems are clearly malfunctioning — and if nothing else, we need to find a way to rebuild a better one of those.

Long live rms, and Happy Hacking.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)

11.17.20

OIN is Lying Because It’s Not Helping GNU/Linux and Not Defending the Community, It’s Only Defending Software Patents From Activists and Actual Developers

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OIN, Patents at 8:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Not too shockingly, the toothless (barks only) OIN isn’t developers and isn’t for coders; it’s just diplomats and lawyers in “Linux” clothing (they don’t even use Linux)

Just come closerSummary: The ‘suits’ running the Open Invention Network (OIN) have done nothing for software freedom and programmers’ safety; 15 years down the line they have almost no accomplishments to show, just a massive patent pool that hardly protects anyone, only the status quo

WE recently wrote about — albeit without mentioning names (in order to avoid negative impact on an ongoing dispute) — GNU/Linux distros being shaken down by patent trolls.

“As we recently noted, without naming distros or the patent trolls that attack those distros, there’s a campaign of patent extortion underway.”We heard from a well-known community member about this matter. It’s a real problem.

Hours ago the Open Invention Network (OIN) released another lousy press release merely celebrating its existence. The headline is a lie. OIN is not protecting us, it is protecting software patents from our scrutiny. It uses terms like “Open Source” (which are themselves inherently dishonest) and so far nobody covered it except ZDNet‘s OIN parrots, who wrote about this non-news. It’s just some lousy anniversary of a corporate front group (for corporations with massive troves of patents). The thing we must remember about the so-called ‘Open’ Invention Network is what Bruce Perens keeps remining us. They protect IBM et al (software patents proponents) but not the community or community-centric distros… just as was intended all along. Patents are instruments of monopolisation and the ‘Open’ Invention Network helps monopolies (including Microsoft now, just like the so-called ‘Linux’ Foundation). It’s not new that ZDNet is a megaphone of Open Invention Network and LOT propaganda (those two groups have overlaps) — in essence promoting the software patents agenda. Snakeoil vending for monopolies…

For the rest us? Nothing.

As we recently noted, without naming distros or the patent trolls that attack those distros, there’s a campaign of patent extortion underway. The developers reach out to us, but they don’t want us to say too much. “Did OIN offer any help with this?” I asked one of them. “If not, I’d like to write something about that…”

It has been a fortnight now and no reply.

“I would appreciate any advice that you have,” one of them said. “I am not responding presently [to the patent trolls] and if it comes to it, I intend to fight this. It is making me very anxious however and I suspect this is their intention. Settling is another problem: if I do so, I have effectively admitted that their patents are valid and this queues me up for a long line of encounters with [redacted], other [redacted] codecs etc.”

Yes, it’s about codecs, i.e. software patents.

“I’ve contacted Jean Baptiste-Kempf (VideoLan) president and Ben Henrion,” (FFII) the developer added. “Both have told me that the patents are not legal.”

What has OIN done to help? Nothing. “I’ve been a member of OIN for years,” the developer noted when asked about it, “but haven’t contacted them yet. I plan to do so later this week.”

It has been over a month. “I was wondering if it’s worth getting in touch with United Patents,” said the next suggestion (for Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs), “although they seem primarily focused in the US.”

They started tackling software patents in Europe as well not too long ago. EPO-granted patents…

A month ago I said: “This will be interesting to follow. It will be very important to see if OIN even lifts a finger to help.”

It has not. I’ve kept this in my notes for a while. And OIN has done nothing to help. So when the ZDNet propaganda says (hours ago) that OIN is our friend it’s pretty clear that it bothered talking to nobody outside OIN and its circles. It’s just parroting press releases and PR, quite frankly as usual.

Regaining Control Over Infrastructure With Decentralisation and Trusted Encryption

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 11:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Clown computing isn’t about security but lack of it (you’ve been compromised the moment you migrated to ‘the clown’)

Cloud Mass / rain is coming

Summary: Considering some recent developments in the GnuPG project, there are growing reasons for concern; recently we’ve been studying what alternatives to it already exist and are sufficiently mature; there are other betrayals or cases of divergence from a strict trust model and the issue needs to be brought up a lot more often

SOME of ours readers are security folks. They mostly agree with what we’ve published about conflating “fake trust” (authorisation from monopolies) with the user’s trust (in effect not outsourcing trust to some dodgy, military-connected firms) and the idea that encryption between node and server (e.g. Facebook user and Facebook servers) is somehow “privacy”, never mind if Facebook abuses all the data it gathers and moreover sells this data. This isn’t privacy. This is a joke. The media helps these monopolies mislead the public, leaving people utterly confused about what privacy even means. Google says it’s improving GMail privacy/security while harvesting, scanning and sharing with governments contents of E-mails. Is that privacy? Microsoft puts back doors in Windows (there’s evidence), but at the same time it claims to deliver “security updates”. What does security mean in this context? National security? As in US access to all of the files and communications of innocent people? Even on their own desktop/laptop?

But that’s where it gets even worse. Years ago the father of Linus Torvalds said very publicly that his son had been asked by the NSA to put back doors in Linux. Not only did the son not deny this; he turned a question about it into a joke, refusing to explain if he agreed or not. This is no way to establish or regain trust.

Bison comingRecently, in light of the Guix petition, we’ve received some mail alarming us about GnuPG (it is among the signatures there, in effect seeking the ousting of Richard Stallman from the GNU Project — a project that he founded).

“GnuPG is showing signs of compromise by outsiders,” a reader recently told us. “I think we need to start looking at alternatives before the spyware starts to (inevitably) creep in. If [Werner] Koch can accommodate Yubico, he can accommodate the NSA and friends.”

The Yubico Authenticator is developed on Microsoft (NSA/PRISM) servers with proprietary software and the product itself isn’t trustworthy; it's proprietary itself. Yubikey is expensive snakeoil which raises the access barrier, both technically and fiscally (how many in poor African countries would shed a grand or two for a bunch of glorified “keys”?). Who stands to benefit? Probably the deep-pocketed (state-subsidised) surveillance giants that have redefined “security” and “privacy” their own way (they want us to assume they’re guardians of both, not agents or facilitators of digital imperialism).

In the coming days we shall be writing about, then exploring, a plethora of alternatives. They do exist, not many people use these, and the media certainly isn’t giving them the publicity they deserve. A lot of media coverage is nowadays up for sale; those who raise more money can dominate publishers or even so-called ‘influencers’ in social control media (to get paid-for ‘endorsements’).

The Real Richard Stallman is Not Coming Back

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, OSI at 3:09 am by Guest Editorial Team

By figosdev

Coming down

Summary: “Free Software was created to defend the freedom of every user, not to coddle monopolies or excuse actions taken against users in bad faith.”

Many people have worked to end Richard Stallman’s career, and the good news is that he will continue fighting.

While his career with the FSF has ended (he has no real authority left there, mostly people pretending to help him and others working against him directly), his activism continues behind the scenes, encouraging other parties to respect the freedom of users. We know this for a fact, and I take some comfort in it.

But while he will continue to fight, much unlike the watered down new FSF, there are things the “Real Richard Stallman” would do that this one will not.

Free Software was created to defend the freedom of every user, not to coddle monopolies or excuse actions taken against users in bad faith. It does not excuse mass surveillance, controlling users or silencing activism.

Open Source has excused and literally promoted all of these things.

And while people complained that Open Source was not promoted by Stallman, that he refused to endorse its wishy-washy corporate entryism, refusing corporate entryism was exactly what Free Software needed to do to survive.

It failed.

“Open Source doesn’t love anybody, they only love when you don’t show integrity.”Open Source does not make exceptions for its sycophants; when you cave to Open Source, you are dealing with bait-and-switch scams and shell games. Open Source pretends it is Free Software, while saying it is also something else. This “something else” is an attack on users as well as freedom. It’s much too easy to find examples of this, just say: “OK Google, violate my privacy”.

Open Source pretends to be neutral and both Martin Luther King Jr. and Desmond Tutu have spoken about the side that neutrality takes in oppression, but either way it suffices that the neutrality of Open Source is nothing more than sheep’s clothing; Open Source joined the war on users that Microsoft declared in internal memos decades ago and they also sought to rebrand Free Software so they could redefine and control it.

The tech press (which even ESR spoke disparagingly of with comments in the Halloween documents) paints this as a paranoid conspiracy theory, but even in OSI (which ESR co-founded) Microsoft has too many people in control today, and some want to literally redefine the Open Source Definition.

This is not a theory.

But we know this about the Real Richard Stallman. He has never supported Open Source as an alternative to Free Software. He even said that Open Source people “treat him like shit”.

It's comingBut as I was saying, Open Source does not make exceptions for sycophants. Torvalds promoted Open Source and slighted Free Software for years, pandering to corporations who don’t care about freedom. For Torvalds, and Open Source, this is just a development methodology. He has recited Open Source’s mantras for decades, but despite his lack of integrity as a person overall, there is one thing they couldn’t get Torvalds to do: make sacrifices in the way he maintained the kernel. This is his one good point, and it is the reason he had to go.

It’s not really because Torvalds is an asshole. All the people who control Torvalds today are assholes; they’re bigger liars and they’re slowly destroying and co-opting the Linux kernel, just as “Linux” co-opted GNU. If you talk to them, or even watch the way they’ve treated Linus, you can tell that even if Torvalds is a scumbag, these people are corporate bullies who treat Linus like shit.

Open Source doesn’t love anybody, they only love when you don’t show integrity. No exceptions are made, not even for Linus; bow to Corporate or GTFO.

If you matter to Open Source, it certainly doesn’t matter if you’re an asshole. Steve Ballmer is a HUGE asshole. It never mattered. The only “crime” of Ballmer’s that Microsoft cared about was him losing money. This is business, they care about results, not personality. IBM thinks we could do better in terms of a leader, but they happily and literally worked with Hitler. Obviously the right amount of money can buy a LOT of understanding.

Torvalds has stood year after year in the way of backdoors and other bad moves for the kernel, so credit where credit is due. But this is why Torvalds is not in control anymore. And that brings us to what they’ve done to Richard Stallman.

For a while I referred per comments made on another article to Stallman as “rms”. Today, I will do that in the past tense.

RMS was Stallman’s hacker name. Richard Stallman is, I think, when he referred to it as his “mundane name”.

RMS is dead, but Stallman is still fighting.

We know rms is dead, because he was outspoken, did not bow to false compromise, and never stopped fighting.

So at least one part of rms still lives on, because Stallman is still fighting. That really is better than nothing.

But he is no longer outspoken, and we really need him to be. The things that are happening now are just as atrocious as when they were mere outspoken (and seemingly hyperbolic) warnings. It seemed hyperbolic to equate SOFTWARE with human rights. And yet today we are being showered constantly with examples of how very basic human rights (as in the Constitution or the more globally relevant UDHR) are eroded and/or threatened by technofascist gizmos that are too popular for George Orwell not to rise from the dead and yell “WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!” Old George is coming back, folks, any day now.

“So at least one part of rms still lives on, because Stallman is still fighting. That really is better than nothing.”On a regular basis I find memes that honestly and reasonably compare the destruction of riots to the destruction of the so-called “polite society” — we live in a “polite society” that uses torture and chemical warfare (albeit mostly “softer” torture and “softer” chemical warfare, but either way, methods and chemicals that are banned for being unethical and immoral) on protesters engaged in activities which are protected by the First Amendment.

Or at least, were protected by the First Amendment. Now that Biden is in, expect those rights to continue to erode, as they did with Trump. But then we are still talking about the world here. Those who were horrified (as was I) by the recent tear gassing and rubber bullets of protesters and journalists ought to pay closer attention to the history of how G7 protesters are treated even before 9/11. This sort of corporate tyranny is nothing new (but it is definitely still getting worse and more common).

And you have people saying that Trump’s actions regarding the pandemic are akin to exterminating people.

While rioting is not the method of protest that I advocate (I still lean towards being outspoken, and I think most protesters actually prefer this to rioting) I am forced to cede that the people saying “‘polite society’ is worse than a riot” are not at all likely mistaken. “Polite society” is full of war crimes, engineered poverty, countless resulting deaths, and the mass murder and endless exploitation of civilians.

But then many of the same people who defend rioting on a regular basis are dead-set against Richard Stallman either being outspoken against corporations engaged in mass surveillance capitalism or in favour of due process.

I know I’m painting with a broad brush here, I know there are loads of exceptions. But the overlap and inconsistency is still boggling.

Anyway, the methods used to put a leash on Torvalds and Assange and the methods used to put one on Stallman are too similar to ignore. It hasn’t stopped there either, because political correctness is now being wielded as a way to yoke all developers of mainstream software (whether mainstream and non-free, or mainstream and under a free license) into indentured servants of projects that have been taken over by corporate donors who then force even original authors Linus and Guido to do things the way the monopoly wanted, or get out.

I note with great sadness that Guido showed less integrity than Linus in this regard. It’s real sadness as although I don’t love the Linux kernel anymore, I do love Python. (And PyPy more than Python, but it is still an implementation of the Python language). Guido is a talented developer and it’s very sad to watch him not only sell out, but sell every user out.

As I have said many times, I do not think Stallman has sold out. I think he was sold out by others. GNOME Guix (working together with Deb Icaza among many others) are some of the biggest traitors, but so is ESR who still has the audacity to claim to be Stallman’s “friend”.

“If you make a list of the 20 worst things about Open Source you can think of (from a Free Software point of view) you can use that as a watchlist for what’s happening to Free Software itself.”Eric, real friends don’t stab people in the back the way you did. Perens knows it, and anybody who knows what happened knows that. You’re a shameless opportunist living in the shadow of a great man, who you created a name around your jealousy of for years and years, you’re NOT a “friend”. You are far closer to being the Cain to his Abel; a person who would slay his own brother simply for being favoured.

And all of what you call “Open Source” is made in your image, much like which president after you sold OSI directly to Microsoft?

Even ESR was ultimately ousted, the same way they did to Torvalds. And while I undoubtedly sympathise more with ESR than with the people who ousted him, it is (clearly) not very much; it’s the principle of the thing. Whatever I may think of him, the way he was ousted was wrong and ultimately bad for all of us. As with Linus and his owner Jim, the lesser of two evils was screwed over by the greater.

My beef with Open Source was not created by Richard Stallman, it was created by Open Source itself. I originally, and foolishly, bought into its vapid rhetoric years ago. “We are like Free Software but more reasonable,” they said. They have a facade of being friendly, inviting, helpful, and above all Laid Back. The GPL is like slavery, Free Software is hateful, we are nice people who don’t care what you do. Stop choosing software based on licenses and just use what works for you!

What a bunch of crap. Open Source acts like Free Software is full of sacred cows (and a couple of those really are annoying) but to Open Source, every monopolistic corporation that participates in the smallest way is a sacred cow. Yet users are not. These sacred corporations can literally murder people, but Open Source advocates who catch you criticising actual human rights violations will smear you personally, and act like the Microsoft logo is a thing you can be “bigoted” against.

Open Source is one of the biggest, stupidest lies in the world. It’s not laid back, it’s not friendly, it’s not fair (it assassinates anyone whose integrity gets in its way) and it just sells Free Software out to Microsoft.

As I’ve said in other articles, I made my way into — then out of — a cult as a teenager. I know how they get people who are longing for community, I know how they gradually (and abusively) nudge people into doing their bidding, I know how they try to keep people from leaving, even when anybody is allowed to leave.

As I realised that Open Source had the same levels of bullshit and the same two-faced reality once you supported them, and that Open Source really does indoctrinate and use people, I grew disgusted with their attacks on freedom and their constant lying and apologies for companies that act in bad faith.

It would only be a service to cults to refer to things that aren’t really like them as cults, but I know one when I see one. You may find only the disguise at first, but when the lying never stops and the double standard keep piling up, you know it’s bullshit.

If you make a list of the 20 worst things about Open Source you can think of (from a Free Software point of view) you can use that as a watchlist for what’s happening to Free Software itself. And “rms” would be (and once was) outspoken about those things. I’m very sorry that rms is no longer with us. But I believe Richard Stallman is sincerely doing his possible best, and also that it is more than most people would do in your situation. Most people, including myself, would have given up a lot sooner.

“Until he was hanged, rms was a public advocate of freedom. Now the real fight and the real advocacy is done quietly, safely.”Richard Stallman should not be less outspoken, he should be more outspoken now than ever before.

But he won’t be, and this is why–

People are human.

You can’t always get a human to part with their values. That’s a strength (yes, in some instances it is a shame). I do not think that Richard Stallman has sacrificed his values. Nor do I think he has stopped trying. That’s to his credit. As I said, most of us would have given up after the 20+ years of abuse and slander he’s withstood. I’m not saying he’s perfect, fuck knows he’s loaded with faults as we all are. But he is undoubtedly a good person, and the hate of many (with the added weight of the corporate sycophant tech press even ESR used to condemn) is strong.

A lot of people in Stallman’s situation would act like more of a martyr. While Stallman acknowledges and is (of course) unhappy about the abuse he has received, the vast majority of time is spent fighting and (until recently) advocating.

Until he was hanged, rms was a public advocate of freedom. Now the real fight and the real advocacy is done quietly, safely. I’ve made it clear that in his situation, I don’t think most of us could do better, not after fighting openly and withstanding regular slander for as long as he has.

He’s got a right to be tired and he said that he would fight as long as he lives, and he’s still keeping that promise.

But there will be no more substantial advocacy (public advocacy at least) from Richard Stallman, because that outspokenness died when rms did.

Free Software advocates are under literal surveillance, not just from the NSA and GCHQ, but from Microsoft. Not only this, but 20 years ago Microsoft (read the Halloween documents) said they wanted to closely monitor Free Software developers and poach the best ones for themselves.

Now they’ve got Guido, I don’t know if Miguel de Icaza really counts as “the best”, but remember we are talking about Microsoft standards of quality here.

Of course you can cause a lot more trouble with mass surveillance than just poaching the best developers. The point is, rms the Real Richard Stallman would never be quiet or accept false compromise around Microsoft GitHub. He was openly against GitHub even before it was owned by Microsoft, and for much smaller reasons.

RMS has shown more accurate foresight than nearly any other technologist when it comes to freedom and civil liberties, but he is not without a few blind spots. I think one of them is that he squandered an opportunity to consider the full implications of what Lawrence Lessig proposed to the FSF board when he was there. To me that was always the FSF’s greatest drawback.

“RMS has shown more accurate foresight than nearly any other technologist when it comes to freedom and civil liberties, but he is not without a few blind spots.”While Oliva says that copyright has “nothing to do with free software”, I said the DMCA was a perfect example of how wrong that is and this was before Joe “RIAA” Biden came back into politics, ensuring that the next few years will not just try to fuck us harder with patents (THANKS GNOME! Assholes…) but that copyright will be standing beside patents and waiting for another turn.

For people not directly taxed by the DMCA, international trade agreements like CAFTA, NAFTA, ACTA (failed) and TPP/TTIP (failed) along with the “EEE-Eww…” have worked to establish a global system of censorship and corporate theft that makes WIPO look like Elmo’s World.

But copyright has nothing to do with Free Software. If that’s true, then neither do patents. .oO Que porra é essa?

Rather I think that Free Culture advocates actually know more about copyright than Stallman and Oliva combined (and even that is plenty more than nothing, I’m sure) and Free Software is weaker against copyright threats because of this.

Free Culture advocates, in turn, are often weak on Free Software. Stallman noticed this and it’s plain to see. But I have long noticed that Free Software advocates who support Free Culture are often stronger Stallman supporters and stronger Free Software supporters compared to the average, at least. They tend to be more informed and are often more passionate. This is what Free Software has squandered, because there are more people who care about the right to remix than the right to control their software, and they are ultimately twin rights (even if most Free Software advocates and Free Culture advocates haven’t noticed).

Stallman also truly underestimated Microsoft. Somewhere along the line, his necessary tools for converting software into Free Software became the hammer to every corporate nail, and Microsoft has often been treated as “just another nail” to be hammered with the GPL if possible. This is tragic, and its shortsightedness has led to the FSF’s downfall. Never giving up is one thing, but Free Software has wrapped itself in a warm blanket of hubris while the fortress comes down.

Today, Richard Stallman promotes software attainable only by dealing with the corporate surveillance put in place by Microsoft. His address to LibrePlanet was a watered down appeal to promote EXACTLY what the FSF has focused on of late — tools like Jami and BigBlueButton, both of which are controlled by Microsoft. One person said the video was “scripted” which I find too horrible and un-Stallman-like to contemplate. Though I don’t deny it sounds more like a script than the man himself. As holographic Whitney Houston told fans about “some of the songs ‘I did’” following her death, that video seems to betray an outside interest. Of course the differences between the new FSF and the old are sometimes subtle, even slightly plausible.

“You build GNU IceCat, Jami or BigBlueButton, Microsoft’s stocks go up and then they fight even harder against your freedom with patents and surveillance.”If GNOME has taken the fall for patents, then the FSF has taken the fall for GitHub, and some might say that Free Software has little choice if all the real alternatives to Zoom and Teams are developed on Github, what is the FSF supposed to do?

For starters, they could point out how incredibly bleak it is that ALL ALTERNATIVES involve dealing with the same company that pushes (and builds continuing revenue from) the same software patents that harm Free Software.

You build GNU IceCat, Jami or BigBlueButton, Microsoft’s stocks go up and then they fight even harder against your freedom with patents and surveillance. Not to mention that they continue to use GitHub to co-opt and steer key projects like Python.

RMS would never, ever stand for this. But Richard Stallman does.

I can’t be any clearer that I understand why he would at his age and at this level of concerted and corporate effort to betray him and his supporters decide to choose his battles.

You could even argue that he has always warned us about relying on the “Cloud” (which is what GitHub is one of the more horrific examples of very easily the most horrific for Free Software development) and specifically about GitHub, so why would he need to lead a campaign against the more recent and more horrible effects of doing so?

Instead, I argue that rms is gone. But I also said that he isn’t coming back. And here is why…

Stallman is an old man. He is still fighting, and that’s inspiring. He has fought for his entire career, which is inspiring as well. The fact that Free Software exists at all, we owe to this man and (obviously) many others, everybody knows that. Nobody has ever fought as much for Free Software as Stallman; not ESR, certainly not Linus, not Perens, Lessig, de Raadt, Eich, Guido, Roio, not even Oliva (who wouldn’t deny this is true for a moment). Though I deeply admire the practically absurd lengths that Lessig has gone to (along with his friend, Aaron Swartz) in the name of freedom.

Old men do generally soften as fighters. The exceptions are few, and I still think this has more to do with machinations than age because that’s where the actual evidence points. But age is most certainly a factor. We are up against time itself, as Stallman is mortal.

But whether it is due to his fight getting softer, or being stifled or both, this trend is only going to continue.

And if we do not lend our support to this cause, and be the outspoken advocates against the destruction and co-opting of free software that rms was, then it will not make rms fight much harder. I am confident he is fighting as hard as he can right now and that is not the mark of a sellout.

Obviously the best way to honour the (continuing) legacy of rms is to join Richard Stallman in fighting for the freedom of all users, not just the freedom granted by a Free Software license alone, but the freedom granted by a Free Software license with people defending everything that license stands for.

“The FSF tells him to promote GitHub, and he does. They give him a platform, as long he says exactly what they’re saying already.”That’s exactly what the FSF has abandoned, and why the FSF is no longer fighting for anyone. They aren’t fighting for users anymore, they are (not unlike Creative Commons, which always had this problem to a saddening degree) only fighting for the use of certain licenses. Any way you can work around the license to limit the ability for users to have control of their computing — the FSF will do VERY little to stop you, or even condemn what you’re doing. They will even promote you!

Essentially, if we do not pick up the fight that rms fought during his lifetime, then Stallman will not be able to either.

But if we do pick up that fight, as we certainly ought to, then Stallman will not need to. At this point in the game, he will let us do that part for him.

Unless someone has plans to make him immortal, now is as good a time as any to pick up where rms left off.

As for Richard Stallman, he is still an ally, he has not sold out (at least I am 99% certain he hasn’t) but he does not fight like he used to. He chooses his battles, and very key problems are not fought anymore.

The FSF tells him to promote GitHub, and he does. They give him a platform, as long he says exactly what they’re saying already.

That’s not rms. It’s just what’s left of Richard Stallman.

But make no mistake he may have been forced out of full time public activism to being something a little closer to being a politician…

(I’m sorry, having watched the video that’s what I must conclude).

He is still on our side. He INVENTED our side. And the more you learn about the layers and layers of the history of computing from the time Stallman became active onwards, the more evidence you find that this is even understated by his supporters. Because until they do extensive research, even many of them don’t know just how true it is.

That honour isn’t going anywhere. Recognition is often fickle, awards are frequently given to the wrong individuals, but honour is immortal.

“Recognition is often fickle, awards are frequently given to the wrong individuals, but honour is immortal.”Richard Stallman was and still is one of the great minds and great human beings of the 20th and 21st centuries.

But “rms” will be missed, much more sorely if we do not take up his mantle. We know Stallman Was Right, but the battles that need to be fought continue to present themselves. If we do not meet those challenges with the passion and integrity that the FSF has put aside forever, we will lose. Open Source may have “won” for the time being, though users are still becoming less free for such a cynical corporate victory.

Open Source “wins” by taking whatever side looks like it’s winning. It’s what allows people like Bryan Lunduke to smirk and slander rms, then go work for Purism and have a friendly interview with Stallman, then later start attacking Free Software (using all of Open Source’s time-tested bullshit) again.

Free Software wins differently, by staying vigilant about what we are actually fighting for, and making sure all of its reasonable compromises are reasonable and not simply giving in to a hostile corporate takeover of what is supposed to be activism.

Long live rms, long live Richard Stallman and happy hacking.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)

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