Bonum Certa Men Certa

Just Because It's Linux Doesn't Mean It's Free (as in Freedom)

One does not follow or imply the other

Sand freedom



Summary: The corrosive effects of technology on human rights and freedom will again occupy more of our time, bearing in mind that it's a growing issue and high priority

TWO decades ago I became aware of "Linux". I was in high school back then. I didn't know about GNU, which had already been around since the early/mid eighties. The concept of "Open Source" was still associated with intelligence-gathering activities (sharing thereof) and "free software" typically meant freeware or warez and gamez -- things one could share over floppy disks, compact disks, the Web, or BBS (depending on the year).



"Technology has in many ways turned against human rights and Linux powers just about everything (except most laptops), so it is integral to the workings of society or the operations of corporations."Techrights has several types of readers and among those are patent professionals (e.g. examiners) and GNU/Linux enthusiasts, who are often themselves scientists and engineers, so there's an overlap. This post is not about my childhood but about my interpretation of how technology develops. I worry greatly seeing how Linux gets 'adopted' -- as in "winning!" -- in drones, listening devices, surveillance-intensive back ends and so on. Technology has in many ways turned against human rights and Linux powers just about everything (except most laptops), so it is integral to the workings of society or the operations of corporations.

Several weeks ago I remarked rather briefly about the issue of freedom (not in the Libertarian sense) as it pertains to cars, which are now being spun as "smart" or "self-driving" or "computerised" and whatever...

"My personal belief is that the Linux Foundation just serves the Linux Foundation (i.e. its nontechnical staff) and by extension its sponsors; there's no concept of "community" there and it is entirely detached from a moral compass."Over the years we wrote many articles about GNU and we have, with little restraint, warned about the growing corporate influence in the Linux Foundation. My personal belief is that the Linux Foundation just serves the Linux Foundation (i.e. its nontechnical staff) and by extension its sponsors; there's no concept of "community" there and it is entirely detached from a moral compass. Money talks. Money also gags (self-censorship). This is a problem.

More than half a decade ago, even when we harshly criticised Florian Müller, he said that we were more independent and purer than the FSF. He said this after he had pointed out corporate ties that jeopardised independence. We've managed to maintain our independence all these years; we recently moved to hosting in an environment that was offered to us free of charge by a GNU/Linux developer, ensuring our continued independence. Hosting would otherwise cost us about $10,000 for 3 years (we checked).

"At the end of 2018, seeing the site was becoming a tad repetitive in its position against software patents, we made the decision (after consultation with some longtime members) to focus again on GNU/Linux, with the usual emphasis on freedom."But I digress...

The main point to make here is that it's easy to lose sight of the original goals as put forth 35+ years ago by the GNU project. It is easy to be lured into the idea that to "win" is to gain a lot of "market share" or attract a lot of corporate funding -- the very toxic (or intoxicating) trap many have fallen into. Persistence with one's core values and pursuit of software freedom or societal solidarity (e.g. privacy, sharing) is the thing to strive for. Back in 2007 people wrongly assumed that we were tied to the FSF or were an FSF project, perhaps conflating Techrights with the FSF because of the strong stance on software patents.

At the end of 2018, seeing the site was becoming a tad repetitive in its position against software patents, we made the decision (after consultation with some longtime members) to focus again on GNU/Linux, with the usual emphasis on freedom. The month of January has thus far showed no signs of regressions on the 35 U.S.C. ۤ 101 front. This will hopefully help clear time for more technical posts, at the expense of legal(ese)-oriented ones. And no, it won't be blind cheerleading for "Linux!" but sceptical scrutiny of underlying issues and various players (like we did Red Hat yesterday). If some feathers get ruffled, so be it.

Recent Techrights' Posts

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ChromeOS+GNU/Linux combined are about 7% of the "market"
 
Over at Tux Machines...
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Over 30,000 fired this year? More?
New Report Provides Numerical Evidence That Google Hired Too Many People From Microsoft (and Became Malicious, Evil, Sociopathic)
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Google: Keep Out, Don't Save Your Files, and Also Let Us Spy on Everything You Do
Do you still trust "clown" storage?
IRC Proceedings: Thursday, November 30, 2023
IRC logs for Thursday, November 30, 2023
Links 01/12/2023: Many Suppressions in Hong Kong and Attempts to Legitimise Illegal and Unconstitutional Fake Patent 'Court' in EU (UPC)
Links for the day
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Links 30/11/2023: Belated End of Henry Kissinger and 'Popular Science' Shuts Online Magazine
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Site Priorities and Upcoming Improvements
pages are served very fast
[Meme] One Person, Singular Pronoun
Abusing people into abusing the English language is very poor diplomacy
Ending Software Patents in Recent Years (Software Freedom Fighters MIA)
not a resolved issue
New Article From Richard Stallman Explains Why He Says He and She for Unknown Person (Not 'They')
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IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, November 29, 2023
IRC logs for Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Over at Tux Machines...
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Links 30/11/2023: Rushing Patent Cases With Shorter Trial Scheme (STS), Sanctions Not Working
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Links 30/11/2023: Google Purging Many Accounts and Content (to Save Money), Finland Fully Seals Border With Russia
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Lookout, It's Outlook
Outlook is all about the sharing!
Updated A Month Ago: Richard Stallman on Software Patents as Obstacles to Software Development
very recent update
The 'Smart' Attack on Power Grid Neutrality (or the Wet Dream of Tiered Pricing for Power, Essentially Punishing Poorer Households for Exercising Freedom Like Richer Households)
The dishonest marketing people tell us the age of disservice and discrimination is all about "smart" and "Hey Hi" (AI) as in algorithms akin to traffic-shaping in the context of network neutrality
Links 29/11/2023: VMware Layoffs and Too Many Microsofters Going Inside Google
Links for the day
Is BlueMail a Client of ZDNet Now?
Let's examine what BlueMail does to promote itself
Just What LINUX.COM Needed After Over a Month of Inactivity: SPAM SPAM SPAM (Linux Brand as a Spamfarm)
It's not even about Linux
Microsoft “Discriminated Based on Sexuality”
Relevant, as they love lecturing us on "diversity" and "inclusion"...
IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, November 28, 2023
IRC logs for Tuesday, November 28, 2023