Bonum Certa Men Certa

GNU Turns 40 This Coming Week

posted by Roy Schestowitz on Sep 23, 2023,
updated Sep 23, 2023

Richard Stallman

WE are still busy working on the site, but let's not lose sight of the fact that the announcement of GNU turns 40 next week. A 30-year-old Richard Stallman posted a message declaring his intent and here we are, many of us using the GNU system which back then he only envisioned should exist to liberate us from proprietary tyranny.

Speaking of proprietary tyranny, some "modern" software stacks are so complex and they move fast while breaking stuff. One might say that they are Open Source Proprietary Software (OSPS) or proprietary tyranny of another kind -- the kind that systemd became notorious for. WordPress, which amasses pieces of JavaScript and PHP among others (walking on eggshells), is a lot of work to maintain, so many just choose to outsource it rather than install and manage WordPress(.org) on their own -- a subject already discussed yesterday in Tux Machines.

Free software, as per GNU and the FSF (guardian of the GPL), is determined by the "4 Freedoms" criteria. But seeing how bloated software can become over time, we must also assess a piece of software's complexity. It it's perfectly legal to modify and redistribute, how feasible is it in practice to exercise freedom/control over it? How many humans/developers would be required? In the case of Linux, the kernel, it is possible to de-blob it, as Linux-libre does. But that is a mostly automated process (scripting), not a hard fork per se. Linux-libre just follows Linux itself.

4 decades of "4 Freedoms" show the world that the original definition withstood the test of time. Maybe if/when we pass 5 decades there will have already been formal recognition of complexity as impediment (new paradigm), preventing users from exercising true control over some software. Should that factor be a selection criterion for bits of software?

Other Recent Techrights' Posts

Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news
The Myth of an Aging (or Dying) GNU/Linux Leadership
Self-fulfilling prophecies as a tactic?
Links 07/12/2023: More EPO Patents Squashed, More Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine "Glitches" Found
Links for the day
Still Not 'Canceled'
Ted Ts'o, Jan Kara, Linus Torvalds last month
Google is Googlebombing the Term "Gemini"
Could Google not pick a name that's already "taken"?
Links 06/12/2023: Bitcoin Rebound, China Downgraded by American Firm, Yahoo! Layoffs Again
Links for the day
Shooting the Messenger Using Bribes and Secrecy Bonds
We seem to live in a world where accountability for the rich and well-connected barely exists anymore
Links 06/12/2023: Many More December Layoffs
Links for the day
IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, December 05, 2023
IRC logs for Tuesday, December 05, 2023
PipeWire 1.0: Linux audio comes of age
Once upon a time, serious audio users like musicians and audio engineers had real trouble with Linux
This is How 'Linux' Foundation Presents Linux to the World
Right now it even picks Windows over Linux in some cases
Links 05/12/2023: Microsoft's Chatbot as Health Hazard
Links for the day
There's Nothing "Funny" About Attacking Free Speech and Software Freedom
persistent focus on the principal issues is very important
Professor Eben Moglen Explained How Software Patent Threats Had Changed Around 2014 (Alice Case) and What Would Happen Till 2025
clip aged reasonably well
GNU/Linux Adoption in Africa, a Passageway Towards Freedom From Neo-Colonialism
Digi(tal)-Colonialism and/or Techolonialism are a thing. Can Africa flee the trap?
CNN Contributes to Demolition of the Open Web
Reprinted with permission from Ryan Farmer
Eben Moglen on Encryption and Anonymity
The alternate net we need, and how we can build it ourselves
Yet More Microsofters Inside the Board of Mozilla (Which Has Just Outsourced Firefox Development to Microsoft's Proprietary Prison)
Do you want a browser controlled (and spied on) by such a company?
IRC Proceedings: Monday, December 04, 2023
IRC logs for Monday, December 04, 2023
GNU/Linux Now Exceeds 3.6% Market Share on Desktops/Laptops, According to statCounter
things have changed for Windows in China
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news
Links 05/12/2023: Debt Brake in Germany and Layoffs at Condé Nast (Reddit, Wired, Ars Technica and More)
Links for the day