Bonum Certa Men Certa

The Real Reason Censorship is Attempted Against Us (and Against Others Too)

posted by Roy Schestowitz on May 23, 2024

FSF: Stand up for your freedom to install free software

SEEING THAT Microsoft's Windows market monopoly was in trouble, for a whole lot of reasons (remember Vista 8? What a terrible failure that was!), "Wintel" (Microsoft/Windows and Intel) got to work and tried to force people to buy their bloated, overpriced, back-doored garbage. They came up with an anti-competitive scheme akin to TiVoisation but for every PC (hardware), irrespective of the vendor, e.g. TiVo. They said it was about security, but it clearly was not. Intel did a conference call with me about it and failed to change my mind about it (I still have a recording of that; I never published it). Microsoft later found a bunch of "collaborators"; instead of opposing "secure" boot (bootlocking PCs) they actively helped Microsoft put that nonsense at the very heart of Linux. It was very obvious right from the start what it would end up being: 1) worse security; 2) another way for PCs to brick themselves; 3) a way for OEMs and Microsoft to prevent installation of BSDs and GNU/Linux on perfectly capable hardware. All these three things happened several times already. We kept showing and reminding people of that.

In 2012 I - along with many others (even the Free Software Foundation) - began criticising this sinister plot. We primarily but not only criticised Microsoft for UEFI 'secure' boot (which is not about security, it was about monopoly all along); we get vindicated all the time, even as recently as February 2024 when yet another critical flaw was revealed. Linus Torvalds unambiguously opposed this sinister plot, Richard Stallman opposed this too... almost everyone opposed this. Those who did not oppose this worked for Microsoft or simply knew nothing about it!

Monopoly

In 2012 we began criticised Red Hat many times for going along with Microsoft. I wrote many times about Red Hat (the company) doing evil work for Microsoft. Linus Torvalds and the Free Software Foundation agreed with me on this. Torvalds even used very strong words, directed at the Red Hat employee, Garrett, who then tried to make it personal, leaving loads of comments in Techrights, refusing to accept he was doing something deeply harmful. I responded to Garrett, politely, in the blog. Over time, as the personal attacks intensified (not just directed at me but also Torvalds), I started focusing on the underlying personal interests and focused less on Red Hat (than before) because Garrett had exposed himself as a Microsoft apologist.

Garrett would never forgive me (and Torvalds) for this. For the coming decade or more he'd engage in a vicious campaign of hatred and habitually libel innocent people, baselessly throwing labels at people (he just loves weaponising the "rape" theme; Theodore Ts'o was among the targeted geeks). He'd soon cyberstalk me 24/7 in IRC (even in our own network!) and finally even boast that it would be "funny" to bully not only myself but also my wife using lawyers. Lawyers are not for "entertainment" and suing people "for the lols" is impulsive. Litigation in the area of libel can cost well over a million pounds (only in legal fees; filing a case is the cheap part).

People who productively advocate Free software (or Software Freedom) need not personify things; people who simply lose the technical argument try to make it personal (e.g. name-calling). Then observers lose focus of the real issue, which in this case is Microsoft's campaign to prevent PCs from booting BSDs and GNU/Linux.

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