12.16.21

The Free Software Foundation’s Code of Ethics Protects It From Infiltration and Skulduggery

Posted in FSF at 8:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum f380b8f0512bb48b276b92d45f292217

Summary: The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has made a smart move; it has formulated a set of rules, a set of carefully-worded guidelines, for people who represent and speak for the FSF

THE past couple of years have been turbulent at the FSF. Many left, a few joined, and the FSF lost a lot of funding, based on IRS filings that are publicly available. We mentioned the underlying financial figures earlier this month.

Planning is important and building a cohesive community of administrators isn’t easy because people can defect (switch sides) and even choose to burn down a past/current employer. So the concept of trust is very important and conflicts should be identified upfront. The Linux Foundation is one massive conflict of interest because it’s governed by people who don’t understand Linux, don’t use Linux, and don’t care about Linux. Some of them are employed by (i.e. 100% of their salary comes from) companies that actively attack Linux, the licence of Linux (GPL), and are eager to humiliate the founder of Linux.

“Planning is important and building a cohesive community of administrators isn’t easy because people can defect (switch sides) and even choose to burn down a past/current employer.”The FSF managed to recover from a real crisis, egged on by misleading social control media mobs and corporate media.

A couple of hours ago a “Board Member Agreement” was announced by the FSF, with an early mention by Phoronix (any additional coverage will later be added to this page). Will it improve matters? I’ve chosen to do a video on the subject as it’s a lot easier. Some of this is a tad sensitive because it contains loaded and potentially divisive terms such as "diversity".

11.26.21

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

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux, Videos at 7:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Software System Award to Richard Stallman

Video download link

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

11.06.21

Mastodon Has Turned Free Software Into a Mechanism by Which to Exercise Unjust Power Over Users

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux, GPL at 7:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 1c07755d75224bf3cc6be82724fc1112

Summary: Political agenda being advanced using Free software licences contributes to this idea that Free software isn’t truly free and there are political restrictions, however subtle or implicit they may seem

THE notion of Free software and the notion of free speech are closely connected. It’s about empowering users, it’s about emancipating people. But what happens when copyleft-type licences and (A)GPL-licensed code are being turned into a mechanism of control, just like proprietary software?

This is what we’re dealing with here…

“If we’re not careful, the Free software movement will be co-opted by people who don’t care about software freedom (or care about it but covertly look to advance some other interests).”So yesterday we wrote about the EFF turning 'rogue' or becoming more and more political (and corporate) instead of focusing on its original goals. The same thing seems to have happened within some factions in the Free software movement (FSF, OSI, SFC), as some people enter those institutions mostly to advance some unrelated — and very personal — political objectives. This inevitably divides the support base where this isn’t needed (we saw that also in Mozilla and the Linux Foundation) and generally weakens — or takes out of sight — the original goals. Yesterday we mentioned the article from The Register, which incidentally had the same problem. As Wikipedia puts it: “In December 2000, Magee suffered a heart attack. When he returned to work, he stated publicly that he disagreed with the editorial direction of The Register.”

If we’re not careful, the Free software movement will be co-opted by people who don’t care about software freedom (or care about it but covertly look to advance some other interests). They can start in small numbers, but if they grow roots they will take over, exercising political censorship by weaponising licences. This is the subject of the video above. To be specific, Mastodon seems to be helping Donald Trump by giving him more publicity that he deserves and leveraging selective AGPL enforcement, which can in turn embolden more people on the right (to “own the libs”; reverse psychology).

“We’re at risk of losing the advocacy line that says something along the lines of, Free software is free as in free speech.”This isn’t the first time I write about Mastodon in the context of political meddling. I wrote about it 4 years ago [1, 2] and last year I left the Fediverse altogether, as I had already lost 3 accounts there. It’s not even a matter of “wings” (left and right), it’s just a general issue with free speech. Mastodon has been trying to impose censorship and speech restriction at the code level, taking away control from users (who can themselves block/mute instances). We’re not talking about issues like promotion of crimes (law enforcement is another aspect, e.g. death threats); we’re talking about misuse of code copyrights to promote a particular worldview, akin to so-called 'ethical' (in whose view?) source.

We’re at risk of losing the advocacy line that says something along the lines of, Free software is free as in free speech. Or about letting the users have control, rather than being controlled from above.

11.05.21

EFF Has Been Hijacked, and Just Like Mozilla and the Linux Foundation It Doesn’t Fight for What It Was Originally Made to Achieve

Posted in Deception, EFF, Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 1:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 3dcd8fde06e9f18238d3e50f3a9252c5

Summary: Institutions too frightened or hesitant (or simply compromised) to pursue their original goals are doomed to perish; EFF seems to have “joined the club”

IT really pains me to say this, but the EFF isn’t an organisation I feel safe to support anymore as it is culling the people who I’ve long argued keep the EFF honest, sometimes. It looks like “reformist” (mainstream/conformist) elements are taking over, turning revolutionary collectives into corporate shills.

Take for example the Microsoft-serving Linux Foundation; it’s all about money and it's good at losing money. It pays massive salaries to people who undermine Linux itself. They just use the “Linux” brand to enrich themselves.

These are the same people who had Linus Torvalds sent to therapists and forced to write an apology (on the face of it this was imposed, not really willful, as a condition to him getting back to his very own project!) and we’re meant to think this is perfectly normal because of corporate trolls.

“They just use the “Linux” brand to enrich themselves.”At the same time, as we noted here back in April, today’s EFF is shilling Microsoft proxies, giving EFF awards to Microsoft employees, and viciously attacking Richard Stallman for political reasons. Several hours ago Dr. Stallman wrote: “Cancellationists seek universal support for their political stances, not by convincing everyone that they are right, but by bullying everyone who states any doubts.”

They don’t even attack their target based on technical grounds; they look for some phony pretexts and sometimes distort the facts to get people online riled up, demanding removal based on misunderstandings, misinterpretation, or selective (narrow) focus.

To me, personally, the last straw was the EFF removing its co-founder John Gilmore with face-saving spin like “Board Member Emeritus”. They’re fine with truly troubling people inside the Board, but not the person who founded the whole thing! In the Linux Foundation pretty much every single Board member is an employee of a proprietary software company!

“In the Linux Foundation pretty much every single Board member is an employee of a proprietary software company!”In the video above I use Mozilla/Firefox as an example or as an analogy that’s timely. They’ve used similar tactics. Cancellationists (to borrow Stallman’s term) removed a technical leader for political reasons, putting in his place the people who abandoned Mozilla’s “open Web” vision, choosing instead to put DRM in the browser (Brendan Eich openly opposed this) and putting people from Microsoft inside their board. If Google wanted to slowly diminish Mozilla to nothing (that’s cheaper for Google, which pays based on the number of Firefox users), that would be beneficial to Google.

People like Jim "Open Source loves Microsoft" Zemlin and Mrs. Baker aren’t geeks, but they’re being put in positions of power, just like the EFF’s Cohn. The EFF’s IRS filings in the coming years (after the death of Barlow) will be interesting to read. Their donors gave them a lot of money, but whose agenda will be served?

To quote our Ryan, who is gay, “homophobe turned also proprietary browser vendor with DRM based on Chromium pushing crypto to crackpots.”

“Google sees this thing of making Mozilla rely on them as attrition. Every year they pay them a ridiculous amount of money to keep them hooked on the money while they lose more users. Eventually they just stop paying them any money and let what’s left of Mozilla die off. If they defy Google, they get cut off now. So they keep doing what Google wants and feeding on the trough, knowing Firefox is a dead end. It’s possible someone can come and fork the state of Firefox when Mozilla goes under and turn it back into a community project. It used to operate more like one. What scares the hell out of companies like Microsoft and Google, although they would never admit it openly, are communities. Because it’s easier to corrupt a corporation. You just go to the corporation and talk their language, money.”

10.28.21

[ES] Spanish: Richard Stallman’s Speech From This Past Saturday

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, Videos at 6:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: The new bits (in Spanish) start at 14m:42s from the start

Source/credit: GNU Video Recordings
Talk title: Software libre, tu libertad, y tu ciberseguridad (Free software, your freedom, and your cybersecurity)
Location: Online event (BigBlueButton)
Organizer: 8.8 Chile Enteka
Hosts: Gabriel Bergel, 8.8 Chile Enteka
Date: October 23, 2021
Language: Spanish
Duration: 1 hour 53 minutes
License: Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-ND 4.0)

10.27.21

Beatriz Busaniche Speaks Up in Defense of Richard Stallman

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux at 1:13 am by Guest Editorial Team

Published two days ago in this site


Beatriz Busaniche sent us this comment in July 2021. She wrote it originally in Spanish. Here are both the original text and our translation to English.


Spanish (Original)

Soy Beatriz Busaniche, activista de Software Libre y Derechos Humanos de Argentina desde hace 20 años. Escribo estas palabras porque me considero desde hace mucho tiempo amiga de Richard Stallman, un hecho del que siempre me sentí y me siento orgullosa. Richard se ha hospedado en mi casa muchas veces, hemos compartido eventos, reuniones sociales, actividades políticas y públicas, organicé muchísimas de sus conferencias en mi país. En todos estos años siempre se ha comportado de forma totalmente respetuosa, cálida y generosa conmigo, mi familia y mis amigos.

Richard hizo aportes inmensos al mundo de las tecnologías, sentó las bases de la cultura del Software libre, un movimiento indispensable en los tiempos que corren, nos ayudó a pensar críticamente lo que hacemos y cómo lo hacemos. Como movimiento, le debemos mucho y debemos hacernos cargo de que nos hemos ocupado poco de Richard como ser humano.

Quienes tenemos la suerte de conocerlo bastante, sabemos que es una persona sensible, amorosa, con flaquezas y debilidades como cualquiera de nosotros, una persona que igual que cualquiera de nosotros comete errores pero que es capaz de cambiar de opinión frente a argumentos claros y razonables. Sabemos también que es una persona con una lógica imbatible que no siempre aplica a las cuestiones de la vida social.

Como feminista que soy, siempre he luchado por romper los estereotipos y los procesos de normalización hegemónica. Siempre pensé que debíamos aprender a integrar las minorías y las diferencias y sobre todo, luchar por la justicia y los derechos para todas las personas.

No hemos sido justos con RMS en los últimos meses y me siento profundamente avergonzada por no haber levantado mi voz en su defensa con más firmeza en ocasiones anteriores.

Como bien dice Richard en su declaración del 12 de abril pasado[*], y como bien sabemos todos los que hemos convivido con él en alguna instancia, su forma de razonar y analizar es muy peculiar pero es algo que está más allá de lo que él puede decidir. ¿De qué nos sirve llamarnos progresistas, feministas, antifascistas si no somos capaces nosotros mismos de lidiar con la neurodiversidad?

No voy a juzgar a quienes no quieren a RMS, cada quién construye las afinidades y opiniones que quiere, pero arrojar piedras sobre RMS por su dificultad para escapar de la literalidad es un acto de crueldad indigno de quienes creemos en un mundo más justo y diverso. No cuenten conmigo para eso.

* RMS addresses the free software community (Archived)

English Translation

I am Beatriz Busaniche from Argentina, and I have been a free software and human rights activist for 20 years. I’m writing because I am very proud to consider myself a longtime friend of Richard Stallman. He has stayed in my home many times. I have organized many of his conferences here in Argentina, and we have shared events, social gatherings, and political and public activities. In all these years Richard has always behaved in a totally respectful, warm, and generous way to me, my family, and my friends.

Richard has made huge contributions to the world of technology. He laid the foundation for the culture of free software, which has grown into a movement that is crucial to our world today. He has helped us to think critically about what we do and how we do it. Our movement is forever in his debt, and we must acknowledge that we have not met our responsibility to appreciate Richard as a human being.

Those of us who are lucky enough to be well acquainted with him know that he is a sensitive, loving person, with weaknesses and imperfections like anyone. He can make mistakes, just like any of us. Yet, he has an extraordinary capacity for logical thinking, and is able to change his position when presented with clear and reasonable arguments. Sometimes, however, he expresses his ideas in an unusually direct way that may seem strange to some.

As a feminist, I have always worked to challenge stereotypes and over-generalizations about people. I believe that we should be inclusive of those with differences and, above all, fight for justice and the rights of all people.

I feel that Richard has been treated unfairly in recent months, and I am deeply ashamed for not having raised my voice in his defense more firmly before this.

In his statement of April 12, 2021[**], Richard admits—and those of us who know him well will concur—that his way of reasoning and analyzing situations is very idiosyncratic, an aspect of his personality beyond his control—an example of what might be called neurodiversity. What is the point of calling ourselves progressives, feminists, or anti-fascists, if we ourselves cannot deal with someone who thinks and expresses himself differently?

I am not going to judge those who do not want to associate with Richard Stallman, everyone is entitled to form their own opinion. But I think that throwing stones at him for his tendency to speak logically and literally is an act of cruelty unworthy of those of us who believe in a more just and diverse world. In that, count me out.

** RMS addresses the free software community (Archived)

10.07.21

IBM Declares Defeat/Failure, ‘Shuts Down’ Campaign of Anti-Richard Stallman Rhetoric (Defamation)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, IBM, Red Hat at 5:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

No more Bully de Blanc (fired), no Deb (OSI, stepped down), no more IBM-led hate letter against an opponent of its darker agenda

IBM fail

Summary: IBM and Red Hat will now focus on getting medical records of staff* and forcing everyone to pull up the sleeve, unconditionally (the subject of ongoing uproar at IBM); This isn’t software freedom or even freedom in general. What happened, IBM? Got tired of removing signatures (that's all that was happening there; people removing their own names)? Looking for reasons to get rid of staff without announcing more layoffs and potentially without paying severance?

____
* Important note: I’m a proponent of vaccination, but not mandates.

10.06.21

Talks in France: Richard Stallman Talking in French in Two Places in France This Month

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, FSF at 3:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dr. Stallman in France

Summary: Dr. Stallman’s ‘European tour’ continues and the next stop is France

AFTER speaking in Ukraine and in Poland last month (first public talks in 2 years!), Dr. Stallman is heading to France where he will be speaking in French (he mostly speaks 3 languages, English, Spanish, and French; he claims to also be able to communicate a little in Indonesian).

As per this page and this new post, “Richard Stallman will be giving a talk in Claret, France, on October 10.”

“The talk will be in french and the admission is gratis,” it says, “but you need to show a Passe Sanitaire or a fresh test.”

So there’s an option for those who would rather be tested than spied on.

The next talk is on Sunday. There’s another talk a fortnight from now.

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