Bonum Certa Men Certa

Plans That Worked, Plans That Failed

By figosdev

Work pad

Summary: "I am still looking for good news, but the more good I try to find, the more nastiness I uncover. This is by far, Free software's worst year ever. 2019 Sucks!"

THE FSF is NOT what it used to be.

And it's not infallible. If Free software was working, we wouldn't need a fifth freedom. The fifth freedom was implicit in all we did, it was everywhere we needed it:

The freedom to NOT run the software, to be free to avoid vendor lock-in through appropriate modularization/encapsulation and minimized dependencies; meaning any Free software can be replaced with a user’s preferred alternatives (freedom 4).

Thank you, Peter Boughton.

If you think this freedom isn't needed to bolster the freedom to change, tell me how it is that freedom 3 keeps getting eroded year after year? This fifth freedom was supporting freedom 3 all the time, only it has been abandoned. Without it, Free software is lost (and has lost the fight.)

And as the FSF throws the fight, and lies to its supporters, we all need to know that the FSF can make mistakes. The biggest lie of the FSF is that they always know what they're talking about, and that lie needs to end right now.

"I want them so badly to prove me wrong. Don't show me your financials, FSF. We already have access to those. Show me results!"The FSF had a plan to end Tivoisation, and that plan was called GPL3. I'm not knocking the plan itself, I support GPL3. And it was a good plan.

Where the plan failed was that the FSF underestimated the multi-prong attack of lobbying against their new license. GPL2 had a lockout vulnerability, and Tivoisation was the exploit. GPL3 was the patched version. The patch works!

The mistake was thinking a patched version was enough -- a front group (Roy knows which one, for the moment it's not important) lobbied Torvalds to reject the patch, thus the Linux kernel remains vulnerable to this day. Do you think people who exploit the GPL care about your patch if the software they want to exploit doesn't use it? They don't care how they win, only that they win.

They won.

I'm not saying GPL3 wasn't worth creating -- where it is used, it is doing its job. But where it was needed most, it is not used. And that is a very valuable lesson: the FSF can overestimate its solutions and ignore other real problems that are very clearly related.

You would like to think that if the FSF screws up, someone can hold them accountable and push them to improve. I dispute this -- nobody can! I don't like Joshua Gay, I think he's a sellout. But one thing I can't disagree with him on, is that Your Comments won't change what the FSF does. They never have, they most likely never will.


The FSF is wrong!

If they are listening, they still won't change. They don't change, not per their supporters. You don't matter. And when they say you matter, they only mean your money. They say this is because they're "conservative." I say it's because someone is on the take, maybe the organisation itself. Don't look at me like that never happens in the non-profit sector, it does all the time. We expect the FSF to be different. I do as well.

I want them so badly to prove me wrong. Don't show me your financials, FSF. We already have access to those. Show me results!

"Bruce Perens mentions on Twitter, a plan that ESR and O'Reilly had to cancel Stallman years earlier. Perens never approved."Show me change, show me progress. You can't, because for half a decade there really isn't any. For five years, you've slipped backwards. Steadily, and increasingly.

I don't want the FSF to dissolve -- I don't think they will, either. There is enough the FSF has in "stock" that is worth supporting, per se. But the fact that their fundraising is more than a little bit bullshit does matter. They're lying to you, and that's a problem. They DO NOT stand for your freedom, that's a huge lie. They are letting your freedom get siphoned off and sold off. And the evidence of that continues mounting. That's a problem, and how is it fixable?

My plan regarding the FSF was for users to get their attention with a boycott. That plan was in late 2018 and involved Stallman stepping down if necessary. It involved asking him to. That plan went nowhere, but Stallman now has stepped down, and I figure it's time I point out in detail what was supposed to happen:

1. Stallman and the FSF were ignoring too many problems endemic to Free software, and did not listen to supporters.

They deny this of course. I think the proof is simple enough, show where supporters have called out the FSF on a mistake in a way that resulted in the mistake getting corrected.

NO, STALLMAN'S RESIGNATION DOESN'T COUNT. He was never supposed to resign over a set of lies and exaggerations.

2. People were supposed to grab Stallman's attention by telling him to step down. This wasn't a fakeout, any more than a vote of no confidence is. But he was supposed to be given a real chance.

If they got his attention, he was supposed to be given a real opportunity to listen and act. He never got that opportunity. Instead he was attacked by the tech press, nearly a year later. The tech press works pretty exclusively for Open Source, and that's one of the main reasons they do so well as a method of co-opting Free software for corporations.

The things I consider wrong with Stallman's leadership and the problems those people have with his leadership, are entirely different things.

The things I wanted him to step down over were real -- but they weren't as serious as what he resigned over. They were shortcomings, not things that would destroy his reputation, not lies and exaggerations and over-the-top misquotes of things he didn't say.

3. Boycotting was an option. I knew pretty well that it would never reach this stage, because I don't think there are enough people who would give the FSF money in the first place, who would join this boycott. In that regard, it was largely rhetorical. And I think the actual threats that the FSF encountered leading to his resignation were rhetorical as well -- people who didn't care in the first place, pretending they would stop caring, unless...

"And we probably need to know what took place, to understand what is happening to the FSF now."4. HE WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO LEAVE THE BOARD!

This is the biggest tragedy. The entire board is in shambles. That was definitely not part of the plan.

5. This was supposed to be managed by people who actually care about the future of the FSF. Not by corporations. Not these Open Source fakes who have attacked the FSF literally since last century.

Bruce Perens mentions on Twitter, a plan that ESR and O'Reilly had to cancel Stallman years earlier. Perens never approved.

6. Stallman was not supposed to be "cancelled" at all. The only thing that was supposed to change, at most, was his position as president. Nothing else.

Under the plan I had (which I believed -- quite correctly I might add, would never actually enter into action) Stallman would no longer rule the FSF with the same authority, but he would still be on the board, where he could at least find a protégé to take over the organisation. Where he still had serious (and official) influence.

At least he is still part of GNU, but the coup that happened there EVEN AFTER he had already resigned as president was bullshit as well. I'm squarely on the side of the people calling out Andy.

The FSF never had a (good) plan for replacing Stallman, and all this was (ideally) supposed to trigger a new generation of Free software where Stallman was not removed, but where he shared his position with someone trustworthy who could grow into the role under his tutelage.

It was mostly hypothetical, and mostly kind of stupid, but it's still a plan that didn't work.

What it is still good for is for comparing it to what actually happened. And the reason I'm willing to look stupid making this comparison is that I don't think people are being honest about what actually took place, and this highlights it what I don't think they're being honest about.

And we probably need to know what took place, to understand what is happening to the FSF now.

The official narrative bites it -- I don't even believe it at this point, and f---, I've tried to.

I've tried to believe in the people responsible, I've tried to believe in the future, I've tried to hope until I'm practically constipated with good wishes and cramped with crossed fingers.

"I have found a LOT of organisations the FSF doesn't say much about."But there's just so much bullshit and the more and more I look into this, and try to get a straight answer, the more I uncover about the past couple years of the FSF and its sister organisations, particularly its First sister org, the FSFE.

People keep leaving, and the real story keeps getting worse. The official story doesn't add up. And some of these stories are kind of juicy. I mean a bit of political intrigue and conflicts of interest, not inane Daily-Mail-type sex scandals.

Techrights will help you find the real story, just don't think this stuff makes any of us happy. We won't lie to you and tell you everything is okay.

Everything is NOT okay. But unlike the FSF, when things aren't okay, we will try to find the good in them.

This isn't a P.R. firm. We will also try to find the truth -- and unlike the FSF, we will share both the good and the not-so-good with you. All the FSF has done since the Stallman tragedy is pucker.

Meanwhile, I am deeply disappointed that Stallman is fighting quietly. Either he feels obligated to or he has a better idea and his own reasons. There's no question that he's a brilliant man and the true founder of this movement. Accept no imitations, especially corporate ones.

I am not disappointed in Stallman himself, as most of the things that have happened are completely unfair to him. If I'm happy about anything at all, it's that Techrights says he's "doing well." I don't know what's going on with him, Techrights seems to. I'm content with that.

I have found a LOT of organisations the FSF doesn't say much about. Techrights now lists 16 Free software organisations -- that includes SFC and FSFE, because technically, those are Free software organisations too. They could start helping at any time, though I'm seriously unimpressed with SFC. Someone there should be sacked immediately, I wish I knew exactly whom.

"Stand up, do whatever you can, speak loud, and when it is time to salvage these older organisations, be ready to take on as much as you can."But Listen to the Free Software Fellowship for more intriguing tales of what the heck has happened to the FSFE, FSF's first sister org. I consider the FSFE to be a glimpse of FSF's dark future -- hey, FSF, I know I'm calling (some of) you sellouts but I'd LOVE you to prove me wrong, guys.

Don't let a corrupt leadership tell you that I'm blaming the supporters. That's another lie -- the supporters are not guilty, they're just trying to stand up for Stallman (good) and for Free software (good.)

But (some of) the leadership looks very corrupt from here. And that's a problem.

If FSFE were not swirling around the bowl right now, I would think such negativity about the FSF would be far-fetched.

I am still looking for good news (not a press release, people -- results! Real progress... Some of us are not so cynical that we can't tell the difference!)

I am still looking for good news, but the more good I try to find, the more nastiness I uncover. This is by far, Free software's worst year ever. 2019 Sucks!

I call on Free Software Force to STAY active -- keep the air alive. You're getting too quiet, friends.

I call on the Free Software Fellowship to not give up. You're doing good work.

Free Software Community of India has had their website and repos up for days, and I'm happy to say that whatever brought the FSF India website down for more or less a week, it was back online today. You should learn more about its founders, Free software history should inform the present (and some founders are still in leadership roles.)

Though I am boycotting most of Europe, still, I particularly call on every European Free software supporter to stand up and keep asking to be heard. We are all waiting to hear from you, even though the EU and the UN are clearly more driven by "Open Source," not Free software.

There are other orgs, but if you ask me -- waiting around for the traditional bastions of software freedom to do their job is a waste. Stand up, do whatever you can, speak loud, and when it is time to salvage these older organisations, be ready to take on as much as you can.

The time is now, because it won't be easier later.

"They'll say I'm blaming you, they'll try to turn you against each other, but the real corruption is aimed right at you. Don't fall for their crap."I realise some of this may sound a bit like some of the other major political tragedies that are going on in the world.

I don't think that's a coincidence. This is what a politically corrupt, somewhat ethically bankrupt world looks like.

They'll say I'm blaming you, they'll try to turn you against each other, but the real corruption is aimed right at you. Don't fall for their crap.

Long Live Stallman, and Happy Hacking.

Licence: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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