[Meme] Good Advice From the FSF, So It’s Time to #DeleteGitHub

Posted in FSF, Microsoft at 5:49 pm by Guest Editorial Team

The FSF ‘git guide’?

FSF gift guide

Summary: A good gift for the FSF would be git; not GitHub, but git


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)


Just-Released Footage of Dr. Richard Stallman (RMS): Open Source People “Treated Me Like Shit”

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, Interview, OSI, Videos at 10:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: This Richard Stallman video from 2001 was released earlier this week; in it, Stallman explains what the Open Source ‘movement’ did to him just a few years earlier (and then there’s some more stuff like his speech about DMCA and less related stuff in between because it’s raw and uncut)

Previously in this series: Newly-Published Richard Stallman Video From 2001, Where He is Explaining “Open Source” 3 Years After OSI Was Established | New Video Release by Marcia K. Wilbur: Richard Stallman (RMS) and Larry Lessig


Free Software Freedom is Not Linux

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux, IBM, Red Hat at 7:39 pm by Guest Editorial Team

By Thomas Grzybowski

A server room

Summary: “We would all probably be better-off if they simply folded their tent and let the GNU organization get on with the real movement.”

A friend of mine was attending one of the OLF Conferences, on Saturday November 7th, and he happened to find a seat listening to Bob Young of Red Hat. Young was telling a story about how a few years ago he had explained to Richard Stallman that he himself was more committed to Free Software than Stallman was. In his view, Stallman was only ideologically supporting Free Software, while Red Hat’s entire business model depended upon on it. And through Red Hat’s commercialization of GNU/Linux, Young had brought open-source/free software into wide-spread corporate acceptance and into the marketplace such that many more people could benefit.

Now what Young was saying was true, in a selfish sense, but I myself, I was concerned to hear his spiel took place at a “Free Software” conference. These sorts of arguments betray a deep ignorance about the nature of Free Software – perhaps, more nefariously a consistent willful ignorance.

Lit up computerThe “FOSS” acronym is a red flag (if not a Red Hat) that a mistake is about to be made. People (and Executives) are consistently conflating Free Software with Open Source. But these are two notions are very different things, belonging to entirely different domains: one is cultural and the other economic. Freedom is a sociocultural phenomenon, while source-code availability is essentially concerned with the distribution of property. It’s not surprising that once one conflates these differing notions there is much confusion.

I want to make this clear: Free Software is a matter of practice. Software Freedom must be actively practiced to exist, whilst Open Source is essentially about the availability of a product. Clearly, Freedom is the more fragile entity here. Institutions seemingly dedicated to Free Software engaged with domain confusion will cause the movement itself to suffer, slow, and die.

The mission of the Free Software Foundation has been evolving. At the beginning, with Stallman as president and a few strong allies as board members, the FSF was designed to draw-in financing for GNU projects. It also took over most of the distribution services from GNU. Over time the FSF became the primary defender of the GPL licenses. The FSF also took on an education mission and began hosting conferences. The Free Software Foundation became the public face for GNU, and much of Free Software in general. And more and more it also served to provide a corporate-friendly face for fund-raising. These missions came to cloud the original GNU mission.

Today, the Free Software Foundation continues to expound the message that we must choose between surrendering to proprietary software or work to opposing it. What we have learned, over time, is that this is an oversimplification of what needs to be done in order to keep the Freedoms inherent in Free Software alive and moving forward.

Before we go any further, let us define what “Freedom” means here for our purposes. Freedom is having two things: options to do as you wish, and the ability to carry choices out. Without both of those things fully in place, Freedom is incomplete and often nullified. Of the two requirements, the means is the most difficult to fulfill. Sadly, one cannot experience software freedom if one is lacking a computing device. Assuming one has access to such a device, and the source code is openly available (with the appropriate license), are we not “Free” as in “Free Software”? Well, the Gnu organization defines four freedoms: Users must have the freedom to (1) run, (2) copy and distribute, (3) study, and (4) change and improve the software. (As per http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html)

Yet there is something not fully stressed in the the Four Freedoms, and this missing understanding is badly undermining Free Software today: one cannot experience software freedom if one is lacking the means to practice software freedom. “Wait, Wait” you say, “I can download the source-code”. Alrighty. And Where does that get you?

It is often argued that the “Free Software” movement is ideological, and based upon some ivory-tower idealism. Nothing could be further from the truth. As we stated before, Free Software is a practical matter, and if the practices cannot be carried-out or are not carried-out in good faith, the benefits (the Freedoms themselves) are not realized. What we are missing in Free Software, and the Free Software movement today is the ability to fully participate in the Four Freedoms – in particular, but not limited-to, the fourth freedom. Many, if not most of our major software packages distributed today are huge, inflated with features and overly complex – not amenable to the application of the fourth freedom (nor the third). If you have any doubt about this statement, take your current Linux system, make a change in Firefox, and recompile it. Simple. Not. In fact, it is virtually impossible. Try it. I doubt more than one in a thousand Linux users could carry this out. And this is only one example. If you have any more doubt, now try a similar operation with systemd. These observations show the growing gap between the teams of developers behind the software and the community at large.

I would like to quote Richard Stallman on this topic: “The job wasn’t to build an operating system; the job is to spread freedom to the users of computers.” (From https://www.fsf.org/faif) “And to do that we have to make it possible to do everything with computers in freedom.” Let me state here: The Free Software Foundation is failing at this job.

The removal of Richard Stallman from the Free Software Foundation was a bad sign, and there have not been many positive signs since. There are two more very troubling signs leading me to predict a failure for freedom to prevail there: #1 would be an increasing identification of the mission with the support of the Linux ecosystem. This is a mistake. The practice of software freedom is the mission, and the Linux kernel and ecosystem is taking a shape antithetical to that mission.

The second concern would be the increasing use of and dependency upon GitHub. There can be no software freedom if our ability to practice software freedom is subsumed and fettered within a proprietary development environment. The compromises are too great, and will become contrary to the core mission. We should not tolerate a corporate overlord which insists upon identifying and collecting information about each and every participant. Also a corporation which censors code because of DMCA take-down notices is completely unacceptable. Microsoft simply cannot be a gatekeeper to Free Software.

Let us return to address the first and perhaps most pressing issue, the engulfing focus on “all things Linux”. The Free Software Foundation is guilty of feeding a near-monopoly OS kernel, along with deeply concerning events associated with Linux development. For instance, the “Guix Petition”, which called for RMS to be removed or resign from GNU, includes a disproportionate number of signatories whom were receiving job-payment from Red Hat. Even more of these signatories are known to make important use of GitHub.

Now, I am not alleging corruption here, but rather an institutional failure to properly direct the GNU mission. The failing we see on the surface is that of promoting only a single dimension of activism: Proprietary Software VS Free Software, with the implicit assumption there are no other important factors. Given the remarks of Bob Young, Red Hat (and by extension the overemphasis on Linux), may be at the root of this failing.

Regardless of the etiology of the failure of the Free Software Foundation to promote the practices of Free Software other than the licensing, the consequences are severe. The Free Software Foundation remains the premier edifice for Free Software. This can continue on indefinitely, even as the institution itself becomes hollow, and the very concepts of software freedom become overshadowed by “Linux” and high-sounding platitudes. We would all probably be better-off if they simply folded their tent and let the GNU organization get on with the real movement.


Richard Stallman (FSF) Was Right, Simon Phipps (OSI) Was Wrong

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, OSI at 4:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Richard Stallman at the European Parliament
Simon Phipps’ photo of Richard Stallman at the European Parliament; This image was originally posted to Flickr | Licence: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Summary: The misuse of labels with clinically-charged insinuations is strongly being discouraged not only by those trying to control language but also clinicians (it’s considered unfair and professionally unethical to give a medical assessment of people whom you never actually assessed, especially if the goal is to slander them with words like “dyslexia”, “dementia” and “autism”)

“He’d rather not use a microwave if it uses code he doesn’t have (seriously).” — Simon Phipps (@webmink) October 25, 2009

He responded to Brian Aker (MySQL) regarding Richard Stallman (rms), based on adjacent tweets (many about rms that day and see the video at the bottom). Twitter lacked proper threading at the time, so finding context takes some work (but is still remotely feasible).

The above statement may seem fair. But that’s just half the tweet. Then it became nasty.

“Twitter lacked proper threading at the time, so finding context takes some work (but is still remotely feasible).”“And no, Aspergers prevents one empathizing,” Phipps continued (we took screenshots; it wasn't the only time he used "Aspergers" as an insult). The historical significance of this may require familiarising oneself with Aspergers and Nazi eugenics/euthanasia programs (there’s a strong connection between them; Nature published “The truth about Hans Asperger’s Nazi collusion”), estimated to have eliminated about 300,000 humans for being regarded as mentally weak (even before the Holocaust).

A ward in the Am Spiegelgrund clinic in Vienna, in the 1940s.Courtesy of the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance.
Nature explains this photograph as follows: “A ward in the Am Spiegelgrund clinic in Vienna, in the 1940s. Courtesy of the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance.”

Based on leaks, Phipps was also working behind the scenes with FSFE to undermine/undercut the FSF and as figosdev put it: “In 2009 that was probably meant to make rms look unreasonable, but in 2020 with Internet-enabled refrigerators and people hacking cameras in baby monitors, he was “unreasonable” by virtue of being ahead of his time (again).

The truth about Hans Asperger’s Nazi collusion“I used to be a happy amazon customer, who said (thinking of “the right to read”) that the ultimate evil for DRM would be to put it in books. I’m still boycotting amazon, more than 10 years later.”

That’s figosdev.

He then said that “perhaps someone from OSI [alluding to Phipps] would like to call Kaitlyn Tiffany “autistic” for writing this 2018 article. Oh, nope — because she gets the title on the money, and then writes an article that ignores her own warning.”

“Aker’s disdain of rms might be the subject of a later (and separate) post.”The first article is “Amazon’s smart microwave is how it’ll get Alexa into every home” and the latter “Amazon’s Alexa-enabled microwave”.

“That would be a good thing to have a the source code to,” figosdev said, “though really the whole concept is flawed, and hardware switches (along with not enabling Internet on your microware) would be better. but that’s an example of Roy being right.”

Aker’s disdain of rms might be the subject of a later (and separate) post. Here’s what happened at the time Aker wrote a lot of malicious tweets, poking fun at rms (yes, this is him in the audience trying to trick rms). Same day as above…


Tolerance in the Age of Shrewd Corporate Entryism/Creep

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, IBM at 11:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones…”


Summary: Zen of Free software isn’t possible to attain and also secure when people look to disrupt projects by interjecting into them unnecessary divisiveness that did not exist beforehand (until they came)

Tolerance is a four-letter word (well, not literally) and people keep misusing that word to justify actual exclusion of people, whom they deem intolerant and thus unworthy of inclusion (another four-letter word). People who disagree with oneself will typically be viewed as “shit people” by one’s own standards. Society so divisive encourages this kind of thinking. The FSF — like Nobel committees — seems to be distributing awards (especially the “Peace” one) for political reasons rather than technical reasons. People on the right like to call that “virtue-signalling”, whereas people on the left would gladly ban people for merely bringing up such a term (along with “snowflake” or others).

“This loaded question and controversial post basically suggests/insinuates that a conference about Richard Stallman’s movement is “unsafe” because… of Stallman himself?”We don’t gravitate towards ‘wings’ because we prefer to focus on the underlying issues, not on ideological hammers that facilitate the silencing of influential people. In an honest society with open (or frank) debates bad ideas will perish based on their weakness/es. To be very clear, we think Donald Trump is a horrible person (pretty much all of us who are associated with this site agree on that) and had we done endorsements like more political news sites, we’d likely say, “vote Biden in swing states just to get rid of the biggest monster/mobster…”

Back to the original topic now, moments ago we published this article about “CommitChange” (whose change?); again, no ‘wings’ being accounted for, what we’re dealing with here seems like provocation if not trolling. What is this?

Eric Schultz on FSF

This loaded question and controversial post basically suggests/insinuates that a conference about Richard Stallman’s movement is “unsafe” because… of Stallman himself? Wait, what?!?!

How does one deal with such non sequitur?

The old saying goes, “don’t feed the trolls…”

But leaving this uncorrected can also do/risk harm. To be clear, we’re not talking exclusively about Eric Schultz here, we just use that as an example. Oh, and thank you, sir, for reminding us all that Eric is the name of men, not women. The photograph too leaves no room for ambiguity.

Eric Schultz

The only missing thing here is echoes (like (((Eric Schultz))) or whatever, showing solidarity) to remind us that he opposes Nazis as well. We get it, Eric. You’re a very, very, very good and inclusive person. So inclusive in fact that you go out of your way to remove longtime leaders of the Free software world, in the same way IBM did. Unlike IBM, you did not actively help the Nazis. IBM also helped purge black people who dared 'pollute' white genetics (back when eugenics was all the rage).

CommitChange… when white people become a small minority (this from the front page of the CommitChange site):

CommitChange site

No men, either. IBM has long insisted that it wants more women and works to incorporate them into the workforce, relying on people’s gullibility/laziness (not wanting to check for oneself; IBM hardly lets any woman have a say in the company; it’s mostly a marketing/political prop to them).

Honest calls for societal reform need to start with honest discussions about real facts, not a bunch of nonsense like the FSF’s event being “unsafe” and the FSF having too few women (they have a lot more than IBM’s leadership team and a much higher women/men ratio than GNU/Free software developers).

“Honest calls for societal reform need to start with honest discussions about real facts…”This seems like a growing problem for Free software endeavours; sure, the lack of women and ethnic minorities is a problem, but the exploitation of women and ethnic minorities to oust leaders is also a problem. Can we talk about this issue? Can we bring it up without being slandered as a bunch of testosterone-filled chauvinists? Here’s an inconvenient fact to some of these provocateurs (who often refer to themselves as “social justice warriors”): some of our associates are women, most aren’t what’s considered “white” (a loaded term), and they mostly agree with us on this particular subject. It does no good to antiracists and feminists when their causes are hijacked to create leadership vacuums, ushering in corporate monopolies to fill the gap. The caricature of opinionated, predatory and “dirty” middle-aged men has long been convenient for those looking to dismiss their critics without as much as an open debate (ESR, for instance, was just banned outright).

Rayban nose

Passive-Aggressive Hypocrisy Defined: CommitChange Seemingly Committed to Corporate Takeover in the Name of Tolerance (Not of Everyone)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, OSI at 10:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Language warning: Some of the views quoted herein contain strong language, albeit partly justified

CommitChange logoSummary: The same people who tried to destabilise the FSF and oust its leader are doing the same thing to the OSI, which is rapidly turning into an advocacy group of proprietary software and monopolies (with openwashing)

THE other day I spoke to someone who challenged the idea ESR (Eric S. Raymond) was targeted for his political views. A reader rejected the idea that OSI “banned him for the views he expressed, and mentioned the CoC only as a phony excuse.” (Or something to that effect)

We never said they did that. But some people do think so. They try to justify OSI banning its own co-founder by pointing to ESR’s blog, which has strong views on a number of things, including weapons, sex and politics.

“We ought to understand where at least part (not all) of the ‘cancel culture’ comes from; we see hypocrisy and hostility towards software freedom.”“Maybe he [ESR] is the one who seemed to make that complaint,” the reader asserted. But I’m not sure of it, either. There’s a widespread belief that partisan politics are nowadays being used to gag or marginalise people in spite of (or because of) their technical contributions, sometimes even leading roles. People with clout are being ousted, ‘cancelled’ (newspeak of sorts), humiliated and shamed.

As readers can probably recall, there was a provocative post entitled “Is LibrePlanet Safe?” (Loaded question, a provocation of sorts)

That’s from the same people who led to the banning of ESR. Note of importance: interrupting someone’s talk to make a correction isn’t violence and is definitely not a matter of “safety”. It’s more about convenience and perhaps manners.

But either way, we think there are some similarities in the modus operandi sense that we can see across various groups. Trouble is caused, then those who resist or stand in the way (obstructing the troublemakers) have their expulsion engineered over time. All they need is some ‘trigger’ event to set off a campaign of libel. 1.5 years ago we wrote a number of articles about how LibrePlanet’s new and rather controversial rules, drawn up based upon a false sense of supposed need, were likely a pretext for further entrenchment. Months later RMS was in effect ousted, first from MIT, then the FSF (which he had founded). Those same people then tried to remove him from GNU (which he had also founded).

Who are those people? What do they want?

That’s the subject of today’s article.

“The ESR ban was hasty and likely unnecessary.”Some Techrights associates spent a lot time researching this and have sent around many E-mails this past week. We’ve decided to prepare a very long article about this matter (the perceived source of this provocation). We ought to understand where at least part (not all) of the ‘cancel culture’ comes from; we see hypocrisy and hostility towards software freedom. It’s all about power to these people…

“I’ve said several times that I think ESR is a scumbag,” one associate noted (language warning noted; we said this at the start), “though I’ve also said many times that I don’t think he should have been banned from OSI. It’s an absurdity. As to what he did to get banned, I wholeheartedly agree with the things he said (the ones stated in the recent article.) I would have said the same.”

We heard this from a number of people. The ESR ban was hasty and likely unnecessary. It could be easily prevented.

“As to the people who said his comments didn’t add anything, I don’t agree,” this associate added. “They added outrage. Outrage was called for. People who believe outrage has no place in society are either doormats, or (just as often) people who treat OTHER people as doormats. Fuck them. (AND, as ESR said, the horse they rode in on.) Because you can be a scumbag and still be right sometimes.”

We wrote something related to this 3 days ago when we said and quoted:

But not everybody agreed. “They do not assume bad faith,” said the next comment. “They define ‘liberty and nondiscrimination’ in a particular way that the other person, Eric Schulz, objectively opposes.

“YOU’VE GOT TO BE FUCKING KIDDING ME,” the associate responded.

And also:

The last comment said this: “They don’t assume bad faith, they are accurate depictions of what Schultz wanted to do.

The associate responded: “Eric Schultz? The same guy from the FSF coup? Seriously? Eric Shultz worked/works at CommitChange with Wendy Bolm (COO), who is also on the LibrePlanet petition against rms.” The “About Us” section of the CommitChange site is rather revealing. “Their about page lists three executives,” the associate said, “two of which are on the LibrePlanet petition (Shultz is the one who hosts the petition)…”

This is how they describe themselves: “CommitChange was founded in Olympia, Washington by Jay Bolton and Roderick Campbell with help from Justin Laing and Ivan Stanojevic, the founders of MerchantOS (acquired by Lightspeed). After being accepted into the prestigious Boost VC startup accelerator program in Silicon Valley, CommitChange went on to raise venture capital from several of the most prominent investors in America. The company now supports hundreds of fundraising teams throughout the United States and Europe.”

“MerchantOS had a terrible reputation, as I recall,” said one reader of ours. He discussed the matter privately. We won’t name him.

The same person noted and quoted: “At our core, CommitChange is a collection of talented people who care about nonprofits, social movements, and open source culture.”

“WTF is “open source culture”?” he asked. “Maybe they want to obfuscate the notion of “Free Culture”?”

He continued: “I think CommitChange must be an arm of corporate interests. And the executives are on the payroll. Interesting that they are active in the FSF and promote “open source”. (And have this channel to corporate money) I think it [is] more general than “Stallman, Epstein, Gates, etc.”. Schlutz is working for “open source” which is working for corporate (primarily Microsoft) interests.”

Executive leadership is listed as follows:

Roderick Campbell
Chief Executive Officer

Wendy Bolm
Chief Operations Officer

Eric Schultz
Chief Engineer

They work “throughout the United States and Europe,” an associate noted. “Maybe this had something to do with FSF/SFC/FSFE?”

“The three executive employees might actually be the only people,” the associate found, citing craft.co/commitchange (“How many employees does CommitChange have? CommitChange has 3 employees”).

The CommitChange Web site says “we empower people to achieve their goals.”

“Obviously Richard Stallman is not one of their clients,” the associate joked, paraphrasing or rephrasing: “we empower people to achieve their goals, AND work to end the careers of lifelong activists.”

On the hypocrisy of the whole thing, the associate noted:

Josh Simmons (ClearlyDefined) has a page on GitHub where he complains about GitHub’s tie to ICE, despite working for a company himself Salesforce) that has ties to ICE.

Eric Schultz (CommitChange) has his nose in both the Stallman/FSF cancellation and the ESR/OSI cancellation — and it is also regarding ties to ICE.

So Salesforce people (maybe or not due to company ties) attacked rms, CommitChange people (at least 2 of them) attacked rms, all of these people are working on more than one common theme (Allegedly anti-ICE — I think ICE is an abomination as well, but that’s nothing to attack Stallman/ESR/Free Software for — Stallman attacked due to Epstein who is tied to Gates, not Stallman, etc. And ICE ties criticised by someone who works for a companies tied to ICE!) When is the story coming on the Salesforce/ClearlyDefined/CommitChange triumvirate? I mean obviously they’re working on the same things with no idea what they have in common…

And more on the hypocrisy, taking stock of John Gruber’s attacks on RMS:

Joining in the stoning of rms, John Gruber seems to think that he is a terrible person if he doesn’t shower enough or if he eats his own skin.

These complaints are related to people who have a problem with the term “crazy” because it’s ableist, but they have a problem with both hippies and with people who are autistic — these are not traits unique to rms but can be found in some people who are autistic and/or have OCD, which is frequently co-morbid. These protests are opportunistic and hypocritical.

What’s more, by the same logic Gandhi was a terrible person. He did not always shower and he drank his own urine. It didn’t stop him from getting his picture on the money in India, or from getting his face on postage stamps in the United States. Roughly 1 in 7 people (about a billion) worship a guy who spent most of his time hanging around a dozen guys that probably didn’t shower often. In fact, this “terrible” habit is common to most human beings for nearly all of history in the entire world, until fairly recently.

I met a girl years ago who did bathe, though she hadn’t washed her hair in more than a year. Her hair was fine, it felt fine, it smelled nice — kind of sweet, but not like she used a lot of perfume. Other people sweat constantly and some smell bad even if they shower thrice a day. It could be a gland problem, though let’s say they’re terrible people just because it’s convenient.

There are actually similar complaints about several A-list actors who don’t shower enough (some who don’t even believe in it) and one who gets by mostly on baby wipes, though none of them are being called “terrible people” for it, just smelly. And they’re sex icons. None of this means that I prefer being around smelly people, most of us don’t. But I had a friend who didn’t believe in showering, and he was also autistic, and his hormones being out of kilter were probably a factor in how strong his scent was. So if I said he was a terrible person for this, not only would I be discriminating against his autism, it would also be transphobic — because the HRT was almost certainly a factor.

This is what happens when people are full of shit. They find flimsy excuses to attack good people, and then it doesn’t take long before you find just how selective and self-serving their arguments really are. RMS is not transphobic nor is he horrible, though ANYBODY can be if you lack the integrity to care about truth at all.

So we’re left with a bunch of people who claim to be all about tolerance but are in practice exercise massive intolerance towards people whom their paymasters deem inconvenient. Oops, can we say “paymasters”? That’s a lot more offensive a word than bombing.

To be continued.

The Mentality of Cameras (and Sometimes Microphones) Everywhere, as Explained More Than 2 Years Before the Snowden NSA Leaks

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, Hardware at 1:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

University of Regina Grad Student’s conference. April 2nd, 2011.

Summary: Dr. Richard Stallman explains the nature of ‘smart’ phones/’cellphones’ (or mobile ‘phones’ as we call them in the UK), which nowadays — more than 9 years later — typically come with multiple cameras and a microphone sensitive enough to eavesdrop on entire rooms (we’ve extracted 2:41 until the end of the original clip)


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