10.11.20

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When They’re Done Eliminating Our Software Freedom They’ll Eliminate Our Freedom of Speech, Too

Posted in Free/Libre Software, IBM, Microsoft at 8:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The below meme is from figosdev

figosdev meme

Summary: The attack on people’s ability to express views or state facts is growing; it’s a matter of increasing urgency because very innocuous words are nowadays being removed from the (digital) dictionary and people who are outspoken get expelled, even if pertinent facts are on their side and they’re not being rude, just inconvenient to those in positions of power

THE BIGGEST incentive to crush free speech (expression of “strong” opinions, whatever that may be and in whose eyes) in Free software communities should be assumed to lie somewhere within those standing to lose the most (from critical speech, even if it is perfectly factual and polite). In the case of freedom-respecting software, the attempt to muzzle ‘loudmouths’ would typically come from those who already control/command the market, i.e. Red Hat/IBM, and those with ambitions to do the same, e.g. Azure/GitHub/Microsoft. It’s not really surprising. It’s very much expected. The last thing IBM wants is for people to open or peek at the cupboard, finding lots of skulls from Nazi era and American eugenics. Good luck opening up such subjects (IBM history) in a Fedora mailing list….

“Good luck opening up such subjects (IBM history) in a Fedora mailing list….”Clinically retarded people do exist (Nazi Germany 'euthanised' them en masse), yet years ago Github Nuke[d] Repository Over Use Of The Word ‘Retard’ (nowdays Microsoft targets even more innocuous words, as we noted in recent weeks). “You may find this interesting,” said figosdev, “given the times we live in. I realise things have gotten harsher, not improved. Though there is a history here.”

“Historical relevance” he called it… now it’s impermissible in some projects to use words like “crazy” or “sanity check”…

“Another 1st Amendment attack,” noted figosdev was in yesterday’s news. “Precedents (not supporting ruling) are noted.”

“Quick,” said figosdev to make a point, “somebody ask Jim Zemlin if pointing out that Microsoft’s founder’s friend compared soliciting underage prostitutes to “stealing a bagel” is like “kicking a puppy!”…” (both are actual quotes, they’re are real quotes and we have plenty of examples of the Linux Foundation suppressing reasonably harmless speech).

figosdev went on to say the foloowing regarding the Linux Foundation’s Code of Conduct, which monopolistic corporations command:

Will Jim Zemlin be expelled from the Linux Foundation for unnecessary language that references violence against animals?

Does the Linux Foundation Code of Conduct condone or allow such language, outside the context of speaking against literal animal abuse?

It would be one thing for Mr. Zemlin to speak out against animal abuse, but clearly another (per the sort of business that CoC enforcers are up to lately) to needlessly create metaphors that bring up such violence with nothing other than a rhetorical purpose. Is criticising Microsoft like rape as well, or just animal abuse? Which of these metaphors are considered acceptable in the Linux Foundation Code of Conduct? Has Mr. Zemlin even apologised for this wildly inappropriate outburst?

[...]

Probably ideal to include these two URLs [from the above meme]

The meme was envisioned based on the UC Davis incident. Readers are encouraged to consider whether the top quote constitutes an actionable CoC violation, though it was chosen for simply being a very relevant quote that came up early in the search and was too good to pass up.

The fact that practically anybody (or close enough) can be found guilty of CoC violation one way or another is relevant, because enforcement is arbitrary.

The fact that the corporations pushing these measures do far worse is relevant, because they are not remotely qualified to police the words (they call it “conduct” but in practice it’s generally words of others. Perhaps call it a “Code of Words” instead. Though “CoW” is arguably a sexist term in the U.K., and would itself probably would violate the CoW sooner or later.

Quoting the article about the UC Davis incident:

[...]

The task force found that the use of MK-9, the pepper spray discharged by Lt. Pike (and called a food product by Fox News’ Megyn Kelly), was not an authorized weapon for the department and its use “was objectively unreasonable.”

When asked why they felt the need to use the spray, officers initially told the task force that they felt the mob was hostile and needed to create a pathway for the officers to leave the quad. The task force concluded that “a detailed review of the evidence undermines this conclusion.”

(Yeah that sure is an unruly mob in the picture, seated on the ground. You see how people exaggerate the actions of people they’re trying to silence? Cops do it — CoCs do it — even providers on the Cloud do it– Let’s do it! Let’s Cry Wolf and Bluff!)

Developers of both proprietary and Free software need to fight back against this effort to make programming an occupation of “just shut up and code” (even software that violates human rights and helps genocide, crimes against humanity and so on).

Where next? What next?

Brakes racist

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