09.30.21

Gemini version available ♊︎

Elise Thomas Has a Straw Man Argument (and FUD Against Software Freedom, Conflating It With Violent Extremism)

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD at 7:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 007489baa0c80015a7a63400b13f9c66

Summary: Old FUD tactics use fringe groups to demonise the whole (e.g. using about a hundred Web sites to badmouth or generalise to tens of millions of Web sites). That’s like ZDNet looking to blame Go Language (golang) for malware just because few malicious people write their malicious code in it.

THE article discussed above reaffirms our stance that the "ethical" source provocateurs are a threat to Software Freedom. It’s not that they look for a different slant; they just sabotage or vandalise more than free software — to the point of looking to restrict the right to run and distribute copies of programs.

“In fact, what powers the Web — not just server software (transmission etc.) — is predominantly Free software these days.”ESR foresaw this kind of FUD, e.g. Microsoft insinuating that Free software (he says “Open Source”) was some sort of terrorism enabler. OSI banned him from the mailing list a couple of years ago, despite him being the co-founder of OSI. Corporations which now dominate the OSI never cared for free speech anyway; all they want is control and they wish to muzzle critics of theirs (the CoC helps with that) when those critics condemn them for bombing people or for naked racism.

As noted in the video, as well as in our Daily Links from yesterday, Free software is what powers the Web, so singling it out for “extremists” is a pretty extreme viewpoint. As a matter of fact, yesterday’s “Web Server Survey” from Netcraft still chronicles Microsoft’s collapse in the Web servers space (it became irrelevant), noting that in the past month “Microsoft lost both in absolute numbers and market share.” Almost all the rest are Free software. In fact, what powers the Web — not just server software (transmission etc.) — is predominantly Free software these days.

“This seems not so much like concern-trolling but something even worse.”This appalling FUD piece is signed by “Elise Thomas is an OSINT Analyst at ISD. She has previously worked for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, and has written for Foreign Policy, The Daily Beast, Wired and others.”

We don’t comment much on ‘pure’ politics, but those sites are known for their support of US exceptionalism, imperialism, and corporatism. And the logic suggested by the article stands on no feet at all. The concluding part says: “The goal of this analysis is not to prescribe how open source communities ought to respond, but rather shed some light on the issue and spark a conversation [read: TROLL] within open source communities. Ultimately, it rests in the hands of those creators to decide whether the use of their tools to promote extreme and hateful ideologies is a problem they want to tackle – and if it is, what they are prepared to do about it.”

“As for solutions, in the video I’ve noted repeatedly that hosts or “platforms” are the more suitable channel.”This seems not so much like concern-trolling but something even worse. It’s a bit like saying, Nazis go to eat at some restaurants sometimes, so cooks are helping Nazis and we should hold them accountable or call them “Nazi enablers”…

What the nonsensical piece suggests is almost an impossibility unless we modify/misuse the software or add remote controls to the software (in order to subjugate/muzzle the user/s). And if it’s still Free software, then anybody can modify it to remove those antifeatures, then distribute copies of the same.

As for solutions, in the video I’ve noted repeatedly that hosts or “platforms” are the more suitable channel. As one person put it a couple of years ago, it doesn’t take complex mathematics to arrive at the conclusion that the more such pages get served, the more violence will follow.

Let’s hope that ISD holds a fringe viewpoint, just like the Web sites it wants us to think are a significant chunk of the Web (they’re not; they’re a fringe). Radical suggestions that break the Web and destory Free software can be just as “extreme” as the extremism ISD is looking to tackle. Free software and free speech can help expose corruption and prevent violence. ISD ignores that.

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