10.21.20

Gemini version available ♊︎

Reasons Why You (and Everybody Else) Should Join the Fight for Software Freedom

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 11:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The term “Software Freedom” refers to a lot more than just a software licence

Wikipedia on Nineteen Eighty-Four
Wikipedia on Nineteen Eighty-Four

Summary: Society is being closely watched and controlled (more so during/after the latest pandemic) and people must carefully consider the true importance of resisting proprietary technology (controlled remotely by state actors)

TECHNOLOGY is taking over (almost) everything. Our rights are being gradually eroded in the process. I wasn’t always an activist and as an early adopter of GNU/Linux I wasn’t always an activist for “Software Freedom” or “Free Software” or whatever. When I was first introduced to it (as a teenager) I didn’t even know about GNU or the GPL. Apparently the same is true for most people, even geeks

“Remember that back then Linux was just some lousy new project almost nobody knew about, unlike GNU…”GNU predates Linux of course, BSD or UNIX predates GNU (even if not by the name “BSD”), and UNIX isn’t the epoch of computing. Computers in general go a very long way back. Here in Manchester we like to pretend to be the home of the world’s first computer, albeit the caveat is “programmable”. We’re almost certainly the home of the first GNU/Linux distro (known as “MCC”, same name as my employer for about 3-4 years; my colleague was the first to combine GNU and Linux). Remember that back then Linux was just some lousy new project almost nobody knew about, unlike GNU…

Manchester BabyIn the years that followed, perhaps motivated by corporate interests, GNU philosophy was buried/ignored by the media and 6 years later they also rebranded the whole thing, using the term “Open Source” to distract from the vastly more meaningful concept, “Software Freedom” or “Free Software” (the latter has an inherently problematic ambiguity in English, as many interpret that as low-priced or gratis).

The saying “Stallman was right” (or “RMS was right,” to use his initials) is being proved more and more correct, or increasingly accurate, over time. Foresight or accurate predictions can be enumerated each year as the list grows. Nowadays many kitchens come with microphones in them — spying devices (or bugs) that are remotely connected to datacenteres of the world’s richest person. Did anyone foresee this in ’1984′ (Nineteen Eighty-Four) or even in 1983 when RMS announced the GNU Project?

“The saying “Stallman was right” (or “RMS was right,” to use his initials) is being proved more and more correct, or increasingly accurate, over time.”When it comes to technology, it’s fundamentally clear (and a simple concept to grasp) that unless the user is in complete control of that technology, somebody else will be, either ‘online’ (in real-time) or ‘offline’ (pre-programming the technology to do potentially malicious things). Surveillance and DRM are just two examples of that. As time goes by we see billions of people being turned into ‘digital slaves’ of a smaller number of increasingly-powerful ‘technology masters’ (connected to governments, typically autocratic regimes with imperialistic objectives/ambitions). Some are literally being sponsored by the military and their behaviour is consistent with that of ‘nanny states’, striving for complete social control (including prediction of citizens’ behaviour, based on perceived thoughts/intents).

Dwight Eisenhower once said:

“Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace.”

Technology beholden to the military’s interests is a recipe for disaster (war as a goal). A more famous saying from Mr. Eisenhower:

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”

This poses a threat to both US citizens and non-US citizens. It’s not about nationality but about class, about power, about wealth…

“Many of these companies would not be profitable without subsidies.”And sure, it’s likely even worse when someone in France or in China is coming to depend on some American companies, whose business model revolves around sucking up government/VC cash to spy on the world. Many of these companies would not be profitable without subsidies. So the business model is perhaps the subjugation itself (inverting the relationship between people and states). Taxpayers often foot the bill for their very own subjugation and these wrongs are made possible by terrible politicians who are only accountable to corporations and oligarchs (“campaign contributors”).

For people who want more control over their lives, over their politics, over elected officials and even military commanders (who must never become unaccountable), removal from the monopolistic grid and greed of proprietary software will become imperative. It’s not enough to only change one’s own habits; peers, friends, family and colleagues need to follow, partly because of network effects (e.g. being able to call someone or send a personal message without centralised platforms which harvest and mine communications).

“Information begets action.”Free software pioneers laid the ground or planted the seeds early enough for a reactionary force to grow roots; we now have reasonably potent alternatives to back-doored (by government instructions) technology that spies, censors and sometimes assassinates people. What’s needed is widespread adoption. For adoption to gain momentum we need to better inform people. Information begets action.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 27/10/2021: Murena for /e/ and Red Hat Condemned for Its Nationalism/Racism

    Links for the day



  2. [Meme] EPO Presidential Surveys

    The 'social democracy' of Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos as demonstrated by a controlled survey (controlled by the subject of the survey, EPO governance)



  3. 'Shaping the New Normal' Survey at the EPO Got 5,554 EPO Staff to Participate, But It Was Controlled by Liars With an Agenda

    Last year’s EPO ‘study’ (hogwash about “quality” and other unscientific junk) was likely biased by virtue of autocrats controlling it and exploiting it for nefarious agenda and brainwashing of national delegates. The Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) has a new survey in the making.



  4. Many of the National Delegations (or Delegates) in the EPO's Administrative Council Have No Understanding of What They Vote on

    One must consider the possibility that ignorance or gullibility (which lack of qualifications may entail) possibly became a contributing factor — malice and bribery aside — in systemic failure of the EPO’s governance



  5. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXV: The Balkan League - Fresh Blood or Same Old, Same Old?

    We take stock of "captured states" that voted in favour of unlawful "Strike Regulations"



  6. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, October 26, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, October 26, 2021



  7. Beatriz Busaniche Speaks Up in Defense of Richard Stallman

    Beatriz Busaniche sent us this comment in July 2021. She wrote it originally in Spanish. Here are both the original text and our translation to English.



  8. Links 26/10/2021: SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro 5.1 and Multi-Distro Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  9. Links 26/10/2021: Vulkan 1.1 Conformance for Raspberry Pi 4 and Tor Browser 10.5.10

    Links for the day



  10. [Meme] Sounds Legit

    When not cheating on the wife, the EPO‘s “doyen” cheats in the exams and makes it into the epi Council, in effect working “[t]owards a common understanding [sic] of quality” with “patent attorneys nominated as “assessors” by the EPO, epi and BusinessEurope” (notorious lobbyists for dictators, litigation, and monopolies, neither business nor science)



  11. [Meme] Mayoral Patent Office Chief

    As it turns out, political 'double-dipping' isn't just a thing in North Macedonia, Austria, and EPOnia



  12. Romania's Patent Office (OSIM): Nine Different Chiefs in Just Eight Years

    The Romanian State Office for Inventions and Trademarks (OSIM), being the equivalent of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in the sense that it covers both patents and trademarks, is a very flaky institution with no shortage of scandals; for our English-reading audiences we now have a summary of a decade’s worth of blunders and leadership changes



  13. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXIV: The Balkan League - Romania

    Romania’s patent office has been in flux this past decade, occasionally led by people with no relevant experience, but rather political connections (like EPO President António Campinos) and sometimes forged documents and fake degrees



  14. IRC Proceedings: Monday, October 25, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, October 25, 2021



  15. [Meme] “Social Democracy” at the EPO

    Some comments on the current situation at the European Patent Office from Goran Gerasimovski, the new EPO Administrative Council delegate for North Macedonia and Social Democratic candidate for mayor of Centar (a municipality of Skopje)



  16. [Meme] António Campinos Visits the OSIM

    António Campinos visits OSIM Director-General Ionel Muscalu in February 2014



  17. [Meme] [Teaser] Meet the President

    Later today we shall see what Romania did for Battistelli



  18. Links 26/10/2021: Latte Dock 0.10.3 and Linux 5.15 RC7

    Links for the day



  19. Gemini Protocol's Originator: “I Continue to Care About This Project and I Care About the Community That Has Formed Around It.”

    'Solderpunk' is back from a long hiatus; this bodes well for Geminispace, which grew fast in spite of the conspicuous absence



  20. Bulgarian Like Bavarian Serfdom

    Bulgarian politics seem to have played a big role in selecting chiefs and delegates who backed Benoît Battistelli‘s unlawful proposals, which treat workers almost like slaves and ordinary citizens as disposable ‘collaterals’



  21. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXIII: The Balkan League - Bulgaria

    Today we examine the role of Bulgaria in Benoît Battistelli‘s liberticidal regime at the EPO (as well as under António Campinos, from 2018 to present) with particular focus on political machinations



  22. Links 25/10/2021: New Slackware64-current and a Look at Ubuntu Budgie

    Links for the day



  23. Links 25/10/2021: pg_statement_rollback 1.3 and Lots of Patent Catchup

    Links for the day



  24. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part III — A Story of Plagiarism and Likely Securities Fraud

    Today we tread slowly and take another step ahead, revealing the nature of only some among many problems that GitHub and Microsoft are hiding from the general public (to the point of spiking media reports)



  25. [Meme] [Teaser] Oligarchs-Controlled Patent Offices With Media Connections That Cover Up Corruption

    As we shall see later today, the ‘underworld’ in Bulgaria played a role or pulled the strings of politically-appointed administrators who guarded Benoît Battistelli‘s liberticidal regime at the EPO



  26. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, October 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, October 24, 2021



  27. Links 25/10/2021: EasyOS 3.1 and Bareflank 3.0

    Links for the day



  28. The Demolition of the EPO Was Made Possible With Assistance From Countries That Barely Have European Patents

    The legal basis of today's EPO has been crushed; a lot of this was made possible by countries with barely any stakes in the outcome



  29. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXII: The Balkan League - North Macedonia and Albania

    We continue to look at Benoît Battistelli‘s enablers at the EPO



  30. Links 24/10/2021: GPS Daemon (GPSD) Bug and Lots of Openwashing

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts