04.24.20

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One Thing the Free Software Fellowship Gets Wrong About FSFE

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux at 5:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Confidence in the leadership of the FSFE may be eroding; but remember where it really came from

FSFE 2016

Summary: “I worked with its founders and encouraged them to start FSFE,” Richard Stallman recalls, but the FSFE did not defend him after media had defamed him out of the FSF’s leadership and Board

THIS post most certainly isn’t an attack on anyone, it is merely a clarification. We want to get the corrupting influence of money out of Free software institutions and set the record straight while at it. Truth matters. It is extremely important at this time because Microsoft spends billions of dollars attacking the Free software community. Of course Microsoft is smiling when it does all this; it cannot contain its glee. Miguel de Icaza, his sidekick Nat and his boss Satya can already taste blood (millions of projects inside their proprietary, monopolistic slaughterhouse that tells lies).

Last week we took note of the fact that FSFE had taken money from Microsoft and explained why it's a dangerous move. I sought clarity on the matter, having noticed that the Free Software Fellowship chronicled the FSFE’s history, which was then copied into its official “About” page. We do not oppose the Free Software Fellowship, which is apparently looking to recruit members amid controversy that includes or extends to the Debian Project. But this part seemed a little wonky/iffy (not what I had remembered or thought): “In 2001, a group of volunteers split from FSF and started using the name FSF Europe, now FSFE, for a new organization. They promised to be subject to an agreement with FSF but they abandoned the agreement and stubbornly continued using the name FSFE anyway.”

“What it says about the formation of FSFE is very badly wrong,” Richard Stallman told me. “I worked with its founders and encouraged them to start FSFE.”

“We need an army of sceptical and critical thinkers, not drones.”I spoke to the founders and its chief (at one point), Mr. Greve. He was always very courteous and very much understanding of Free software causes. I reject some policies and statements of its current leadership (no need to name anyone in particular here) and I am deeply suspicious of their funding sources. But it’s worth setting the record straight on the origins of FSFE, which used to do very fine work and still (occasionally) accomplishes important things in Europe, e.g. liberation of public code, tackling Adobe’s monopoly on PDF files/format, to name just a couple.

Our goal is to (overall) improve the FSFE and make it realise that bad actions/statements will lead to negative reaction. We have, on numerous occasions, also criticised the FSF. This did not prevent us from getting along with the FSF and the GNU Project. Blind acceptance of something or someone prevents introspection. We need an army of sceptical and critical thinkers, not drones.

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