I don’t think he has ever been transphobic, but I can believe the guy who made Emacs is an ableist, and no need to argue about the misogynist part
REGARDLESS, even if he was innocent of all accusations, the fact the FSF needed Stallman back is a sign they’re not actually capable of taking their own direction. Would the FSF just dissolve if he died?
Like, yeah, I can easily argue RMS doesn’t actually hate anyone or think women and children are his toys or anything like that. I can argue that just has very, very out of touch opinions.
This doesn’t matter.
First, because he’s still not a good representative of the community when defending these ideas. If you’re gonna have community leadership, it should be as inclusive as possible, and Stallman does the opposite there.
But more importantly, wouldn’t you want to grow up past him? We should have already moved on back when he called Miguel de Icaza a traitor (oh yeah, that was something), but the FSF didn’t feel like his time was out. They’re gonna stick with him as much as they can. For what? Is his ego’s presence really worth throwing out decades of the movement he created for?
The fact the FSF just can’t let him go is a terrible sign of their own strength and independence. It makes them look more like a cult than proper activism. I really can’t imagine any other reason why you would want him back other than treating him like a god and keeping around the more loyalist adepts. It’s not an idea which should have been toyed with, let alone gone through with.
And so, maybe I don’t really agree with the letter. Maybe I do. I’m not sure, I haven’t thought well enough about this, I don’t know Stallman well enough from what I’ve read. But what’s doing the FSF here is absolute nonsense. It’s not acceptable behavior.
What are people gonna think now of the free software movement? Of copyleft? Projects adopting the GPL? I don’t want to be associated with this. No one with a sense of self-respect should. What now? Will people like Ludovic Courtès have to create their own FSF from scratch?
@alcinnz @xerz keep in mind that the NZOSS is a *Free Software* advocacy group. It adopted the name NZOSS *prior* to Microsoft and other corporate interests actively deprecating the inclusion of Free Software within Open Source. We (the NZOSS) always refer to "Free and Open Source Software" or #FOSS in our missives.
@alcinnz @xerz I, in particular, revile the corporate influence on #FOSS and would like to remove it. FOSS Is about communities and achieving a power balance (equity & inclusion) between developers and users. Because at the moment, users are serfs, and developers are priests. See https://davelane.nz/darkage
@lightweight @alcinnz @xerz At the beginning of open source it seemed like forming alliances with companies would help propel free software into the mainstream. And it did. But with hindsight, the costs outweighed the benefits. Google and Facebook were built on free software, and yet arguably they are the greatest engines of unfreedom in existence today.
I think a critical mistake is that the original open source people assumed that the personal computer paradigm would continue. They didn't foresee that one database could contain billions of users, or that future monopolies would go unopposed.
@bob @alcinnz @xerz yes, in part that's true. Also, I think that corporations mounted a concerted marketing effort to make being principled (and sticking to those principles) look like being difficult and unreasonable. They succeeded, just like they succeeded in making "open source" no longer include Free Software within it. Marketing, sadly, works (my thoughts on that - https://davelane.nz/marketing)
@bob @alcinnz @xerz corporations championed "expedience" over thoughtful & strategic decision making. In effect, expedience is the *lack of principle*. And it's possible to make people who hold to principle look inconvenient and even blockers if those who promote expedience play their cards right. But look at where that's got us.
@bob @alcinnz @xerz it's watered down the principles of our open communities, who now routinely eschew open tools for "easy" proprietary ones (forcing everyone wanting to be "more open" to actively choose closed to contribute). It's insidious. It's not "prefigurative". See https://davelane.nz/notslack if you want more insight.
@bob @alcinnz @xerz sidenote: how often have you heard someone say "be practical" with regard to a tech decision. The result is *always* to pay a "low up-front fee" (but far more later) to be monopolised (exploited) by a proprietary technology that costs far more to get out of than it got to get into.
@bob @alcinnz @xerz keep in mind, all of this "culture manipulation" has been happening without most people realising it. And it's all designed to benefit the biggest tech corporations and outsourcing everything to them. And yeah, it's worked very well. And in the process, our digital existences are (just about) all effective hostages of these corporations.(https://davelane.nz/mshostage)
@lightweight @bob @alcinnz @xerz I don't think culture got manipulated. The culture of free software is pretty much the same as it was in the 1990s, and it could be contended that this is a significant chunk of the problem. As situations on the ground changed we did not adapt well enough.
The corps just did what they always do. Corporations always want monopoly. They seek to drive out and externalize costs. We were too focussed on Microsoft and did not see the other stalking horses. In the last decade the corps have done a stunningly thorough job of capturing the few governance organizations of the internet, and we pretty much let them do it.
To become better I think we need a more critical analysis of what happened in free software in the last couple of decades.
@bob @alcinnz @xerz I think the major problems we face today are:
1. few of our new adherents know the history of what's come before. That's on use old timers to a point... but also on them to do some research.
2. we need to avoid making the mistake (again) of thinking that corporations can be real allies. They cannot and will not be - they re are in a structurally mandated race to the ethical bottom. They must be rejected by the FOSS community. (Here's why: https://davelane.nz/megacorps )
@bob @alcinnz @xerz the only people really benefiting from the self-destruction of the Free Software community are those who run proprietary software corporations, who already have more money & influence than most countries, and just want to be able to exploit (for their own inequitable proprietary gain) all the substantial fruits of our community's labour, just like they do all of the weakly licensed (mere) OSS out there.
@lightweight @bob @alcinnz @xerz Free software was always a political project. Which is why I laughed when recently some people tried to claim that it wasn't. Also similarly that 2600 should "stop being political". My guess is that Google and friends never liked their enterprise being underpinned by such a project, but they had to put up with it because their economics would have fallen apart otherwise.
What the "stop being political" means is that the situation of some people was once hegemonic, but is now no longer so. What it means to be free in the era of the desktop computer and small academic communities closely tied to the military/industrial complex is not the same as what it means to be free in the era of Facebook monopoly. We also now have a better understanding of the history of computing as a sociological phenomena, and the results of such analysis are inherently radicalising (in a good way). The traditional narratives of free software haven't really kept up with this, and couldn't because of who its "great men" were. Their standpoint was one in which - among other things - overlooking sexism was considered normal.
Consider a multi-stakeholder cooperative including organizations that use the software to make money, some of which they funnel back into the cooperative.
Code could use AGPL or one of Kyle Mitchell's collaboration licenses https://writing.kemitchell.com/series/cross-license-collaboratives.html which are also a lot like a nondominium agreement https://nondominium.co.uk/how-we-work/
The basic thing is it's free if you are a member of the cooperative. If not, you pay.
@bhaugen @alcinnz @abbienormal @bob @xerz seems to me that is still characterised by the major downside of proprietary software: a massive implicit power imbalance between a small group and everyone else which would still make it prone to large scale exploitative (unethical) behaviour. See https://davelane.nz/proprietary
@bhaugen @alcinnz @abbienormal @bob @xerz but then you need to police membership - and for an organisation, how do you define membership for individuals? For example - if someone volunteering for a member organisation wants to use it from home... how do they determine their membership (or not) status? Sorry - I'll have to read the nondominium info :)
@bhaugen @alcinnz @abbienormal @bob @xerz the beauty of Copyleft is that it's a very clear set of principles, in a remarkably concise license. It's non-discriminatory. I think many people forget how much thought went into the original concept... a lot of ideas were considered and then dismissed as unworkable... sort of like all the "ethical" software licenses now (re)emerging... which are (so far as I've seen) unworkable because they're based on inherently subjective concepts of what is ethical.
Excellent article, and I agree that the software is not the point.
Building a business to make money from software services is one tried-and-true avenue, but I'm not a businessperson.
I'm imagining a different avenue for supporting the devs and defending the software. But maybe it's just imaginary...
I wonder how the recent "platform cooperatives" manage their software development.
@ntnsndr can you enlighten me a bit?
Thanks for the responses.
Any of the new platform coops that include their tech workers as members?
( http://www.fifthseasoncoop.com was the first sorta "platform co-op" that I worked for and they included all of their workers as members. But they stopped having tech workers and signed on to their distributor's computer systems. Good choice for them, but shortcut a learning experience.)
@ntnsndr @bhaugen @Seirdy @xerz @abbienormal @alcinnz @lightweight Successful software projects tend to start with 1-2 full time developers (or part time but committed, consistent, and reliable) developers who can get things to the point where a community grows around it and the community is able to contribute meaningfully.
I was thinking aout something else
You know, the Guix people (the only free software project I got a bit close to) stress the point of the practicality of freedom
The take Emacs as an example and they set the target, for themselves, to extend what happened to Emacs and its community and software library to the whole operating system
I feel that another axis is currently disregarded
The one of usability by end users
What Apple marketing used to call "user friendliness"
or "The Computer for the rest of us"
I still feel tha that's an afterthought in many free software projects, starting with Guile and Guix
The whole Posix model was set by the industry for its own needs
The BeOs database file system would have made the development of a mail client way easier
We consider Thunderbird as a success but is it ?
It's a monstruos project
does a project need to be that big in order to be sustainable ?
How replicable is it ?
he community embraced the idea of bigness of the industry
Or the Lisp machines, with their lack of processes an dinterprocess communication, with the Lisp exceptions system
I mean there were a lot of options and alternatives that would have made the computing less hostile to the generality of the public but the industry manouvred to kill them and the free software community played along, to some extent, in some way
For lack of awarness and for complacency
I know this sounds harsh, I'm sorry
The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!