04.18.19

Freedom is Not a Business and Those Who Make ‘Business’ by Giving it Away Deserve Naming

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 7:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There’s more money to be made by taking people’s freedom away rather than by giving it to them

Glass Conference
Fancy cages are still cages

Summary: Free software is being parceled and sold to private monopolisers; those who facilitate the process enrich themselves and pose a growing threat to freedom in general — a subject we intend to tackle in the near future

WE are closing a little chapter by finishing this series about sponsors-led events (see part 1, part 2, and part 3) that erode software freedom; we shall soon take a closer look at the analogous/accompanying press/media business, namely media coverage in exchange for payments. We already know that the Linux Foundation (LF) has strong ties with particular news sites and LF staff is even in the board of some of these. Puff pieces “as a service”? A disservice to the trade of journalism.

The LF staff/people/associates keep boasting about it in their “events” brochures, which we published in full earlier this month; they say that a bunch of media coverage will follow. They also sell “thank yous”, E-mail “blasts” (their word) and so on. What next? Telemarketing?

We urge readers to help us research that area (it may seem time consuming and difficult, but the truth is out there). The LF won’t be cooperative if we ask it about it directly. PR people are evasive and I know from personal experience that the PR staff of the LF are Windows users who use a lot of Microsoft software at the back end and the front end. They have no connection whatsoever to GNU/Linux.

In our previous post we also mentioned LF training, including “training” for Microsoft (Azure). It would be useful to know how these programmes come about and who pays for them (other than the enrolled). It seems like a big business associated with branding professionals, making them “Azure-certified” or whatever (i.e. people who help spread dependence on Microsoft and the NSA). We would like to explore these areas in greater depth, but we depend on help from members/readers. It takes a long time to prepare (i.e. fact-check) articles about that.

Richard Stallman himself recently asked me: “What does “Zemlin’s PAC” mean?”

“About a year ago,” I told him, “seeing that LF was no ordinary foundation and was hardly about Linux anymore — a sentiment shared among journalists whom I spoke to — I decided to refer to it as “Zemlin PAC”, just like “Vista 10″ or similar wordplays. When I came up with the name I was thinking of substitution for SuperPAC with the person who they portray as superman, and who uses this position — and trademark — to promote his political agenda too (as he does at LF events).”

We’re not done writing about LF or “Zemlin PAC”, but we truly depend on sources at this moment. We need more. In the meantime we shall cover related topics.

“I’ll think about topics,” said the member about the next issues for us to cover. “One is that in most areas there are no longer any IT departments, the staff have been replaced long ago by Microsoft resellers. So businesses and universities and governments are paralyzed and slowly falling down. Entryism is also a huge threat, as we see even in the LF and OSI lately. There are other targets, some already crippled, but no need naming them.

“GNU/Linux and the other Linuxes are exceedingly popular but only in so far as the software has spread. The Microsoft way of thinking about software is still something to contend with and causing planes to drop out of the sky. What needs to happen is that the ideas behind Linux should spread also, and not just the Four Freedoms but also the idea of doing one thing and doing it well. What other ideas?

“I would hope there are new books to look at. There are three old ones that I’m not sure if I have time to skim through them but I would recommend revisiting at least in part:

  • “Free Software, Free Society: Selected Essays of Richard M. Stallman” (2002) Richard M Stallman.
  • “Rebel Code: Linux and the Open Source Revolution” (2001) Glyn Moody.
  • “The Hacker Ethic and the Spirit of the Information Age” (2001) Pekka Himanen.

“Things were looking up 20 years ago. Some of that can be carried forward, but for most people who have never even heard of a functional computer, the will be difficult to reach both because of aforementioned resellers, UEFI, and lack of prominent examples.”

“In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is in for one hell of a hard time.”

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