Bonum Certa Men Certa

Real Life Should be Offline, Not Online, and It Requires Free Software

posted by Roy Schestowitz on Sep 26, 2023,
updated Sep 26, 2023

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THE future of Free software does not seem bright. It's easy to think about all the negative trends, such as DRM in games, DRM in music, DRM in video, and even the adoption of streaming instead of file ownership (Spotify is billions in debt and is losing billions just to convince people that it's OK to lose all the music all the time, then buy a subscription to temporarily regain accesses to old collections).

On the other hand, consider what the world would look like without Free software. Imagine people passing Microsoft Office documents around (using E-mail attachments) instead of using the Web. Not that today's Web is in good health, either...

GNU is turning 40 (tomorrow) and many of us in Techrights use Free software from dusk till dawn. It's actually doable. It's possible to live one's life without proprietary software, provided some concessions are made (not a surrender to proprietary things but rather a rejection of some proprietary-yet-ubiquitous things).

The marketing industry has taught (misinformed) a lot people, conning them into believing that they need things which hurt them. One of those things is Social Control Media, conflating an instrument of social control at scale with "social" and "media". Another example is mobile phones. People wrongly assume they'd not be able to survive if they lost this kind of gadget. And yet, human civilisation went on for tens of thousands of years without them.

Resistance means having the guts to say "no!", even in the face of great societal burden and peer pressure. Adopting Free software typically means adopting a life that's simpler; it does not mean minimalism per se, it just means being judgemental and sceptical of things falsely marketed as progress or "ease of life" (or "lifestyle").

Have a chat with peers and loved ones; ask them what aspects of life cause them anxiety as there's a high probability that it is some gadget or disservice. The solution is culling, even if gradual. There's no good reason why so many people have no music collections and have all their photo albums in "the clown" (cloud), just ready to be lost forever when the circus folds for financial reasons.

Free software means the user is in control of the software. Being in control of software in the digital age means being in control of one's life and one's data.

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