01.06.19

Fighting ‘True Enemies’, Not One Another

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 6:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Infighting isn’t helpful and it helps the foremost detractors/adversaries

A spider

Summary: Lesser threats and greater threats to Free/Open Source software or why we aren’t entertaining particular stories/drama

THE WORLD of GNU/Linux has changed profoundly. Back in 2006 when this site was born GNU/Linux had already come under legal attacks from SCO; then came the Novell/Microsoft patent collusion and later came lawsuits such as Microsoft v TomTom. Microsoft wasn’t the sole threat, but it often co-opted other companies (like SCO and Novell in the aforementioned examples) in an effort to help Microsoft derail software freedom, promote software patents etc.

“Civility within the community and across/among communities generally makes us stronger in the face of proprietary software giants.”We have a great deal to say about what happened to the Linux Foundation, what systemd may do, the threats posed by centralisation (e.g. GitHub), what IBM’s takeover of Red Hat may mean, and all sorts of cultural wars against the Freedom of Free software communities, including free speech. Those are divisive issues, however, so we might limit what we say on those topics. Last year we explained that the CoC of the Linux Foundation, for instance, didn’t harm Linux as much as the wars/arguments over it. Mutual reconciliation is often a lot better than confrontation as long as those whom you do not agree with are more or less on the same channel technically speaking. To use an example, if one random person is in favour of GNU/Linux and the GPL but disagrees about women’s rights, is that really the person worth picking a fight with? Rather than people who are pushing Windows, smearing copyleft, and sometimes even bribing officials for GNU/Linux to be abandoned? For similar reasons we barely bring up politics (there are political news picks in our daily links, but we don’t comment on those).

A reader once asked us why we never write articles about systemd. It is not a priority. The assumption was that we would say negative things about it, but that would be counterproductive. At the moment there are many threats to Free/Open Source software (back doors, surveillance, the ‘cloud’ trap, openwashing and entryism to name just a few) — threats much greater than one another. Civility within the community and across/among communities generally makes us stronger in the face of proprietary software giants.

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2 Comments

  1. Canta said,

    January 6, 2019 at 11:20 am

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    Thing is, GNU/Linux is now the giant. Scale bring some new problems, and so old ones have different priority. It’s not just about impossed drama from corporate media.

    This post of yours, of course, go in hand with the next one about the Linux foundation.

    This phenomenon happens everywhere in politics, when some minoritary or vanguard movement takes centrality or scales up. When that happens, theory deals with practice, and other times clear lines begin to blur under the decision of ends and means. I can see this happening right now on latin america with the rewed strenght of right wing agenda: on the left side there’s uncertainty and division about what to do, why this is happening, what’s the best strategy to revert this, and so on. Many of that stuff wasn’t a problem when most of latin america was under military dictatorships: you may just say “democracy” loud and that’s it. Every one believed that democracy was the technology that would make the world better, there was no debate about that. Today, democracy as we know it is part of the problem, bucause it seems broken and manipulated.

    Saving the obvious distances, this things are happening in the GNU/Linux world. The commons clause? The ethical use of floss? The misuse from old time enemies of our own basic principles and organizations (like Microsoft et all inside Linux Foundation, W3C, etc)? The overcentralization and cultural monopolization (cloud, systemd, google, docker, android)? That’s what happens when you win in politics: you deal with that kind of problems.

    But what I wanted to tell you is this: some of us WANT or even NEED political perspectives in our day to day decisions. We read your work not only because of it’s quality, but also because it’s in the correct political spectrum for the readers. Politics is not accesory here, is quite central. And I have the impression that you somehow don’t what to deal full-frontal with politics: I can see you (and I may be mistaken on this) often taking distance from the political issues, trying to be more technical. Well… if that’s the case, of course it’s your decision, and I also have no critic about that stance as strategy, but please know that many of us would really like to read more political debate from a highly valued source as Techrights.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Thanks for these thoughts. Maybe I’ll touch some controversial issues in the near future.

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