I just realised that I'm now further away in 2021 from the mass (yet incredibly lukewarm) Anti-Globalization Movement protests of 1999...

than the Baby Boomers of 1989 were from their mass (and more visible, though probably just as ineffective) student protests of 1969.

That makes me feel very old. :(

The Anti-Globalization Movement was where I got my political education, although it was mostly an education in how bad protesters could be at working together.

If you were too young to remember that brief moment sandwiched in between the end of Clintonism (with its X-Files driven conspiracy fever) and Bushism (with its anti-Islamic racism), where it became possible for Democrats to criticise other Democrats outsourcing and privatizing all the things....

Well if you play "Deus Ex: Invisible War", you'll see the Anti-Globalization Movement's feeling all over it. Seattle, Islam not being demonised, the New Age existing, "both sides are the same", etc.

Oh yeah and the World Trade Organization rather than the UN being the villains. Lol. Who in 2021 even remembers the WTO? But back in 1999, everyone suddenly discovered them as a symbol of Global Capitalism.

It's just a pity that game was crippled by being made for consoles. The story wasn't bad, it was MUCH less racist and fascist than the first Deus Ex (example: the white supremacists were the bad guys, not the good guys. The third one went back to the racism & right-wing conspiracies again.)

@natecull The WTO wasn't created untill 1995, replacing the earlier GATT (formed 1948).

The 1999 Seattle confeerence (and protests) brought the WTO to general public consciousness. It was largely below the radar before that.





But everyone's kind of forgotten the WTO again. Though the Trans-Pacific Partnership caught some of that flak back in the late Obama years.


Mind you, back at the height of the anti-WTO fervour, I suspect a chunk of the "anti" side were actually far-righters who were either

a) nationalists and not globalists - ie "paleoconservatives" vs "neoconservatives", so who saw anything "global" as "leftist" even if it was global free trade

b) uber-capitalists who thought the WTO wasn't capitalist *enough* because it wanted to put *rules* on global trade, and therefore suspected it of being a stealth EU -> UN -> COMINTERN.

@natecull The crossover between far-right and far-left is a curious element.



I remind myself that the godfather of all fascists, Mussolini himself, started out as a Marxist.

The American right wing aren't completely wrong when they think of fascism as just another form of socialism. Not completely right either, but not completely wrong.

It's a weird old political spectrum.



@natecull @dredmorbius to be fair, I know people that were once hard-core nerds who now work for the Microsoft Corporation. People change. Some people's ideals erode and/or are corrupted, and they apply their fervour to far less admirable pursuits, generally more self-interested, as they age.

@lightweight @natecull @dredmorbius

on the other hand, you can get projects written by Microsoft that are 100% FOSS

@deejoe @lightweight @dredmorbius

Yep!! And I think it's only this year that we finally have a 100% FOSS compliant, non-patent-encumbered, open source .NET.

Of course it doesn't matter how free the software is if only a tiny handful of giant companies own most of the actual computers.

But still, it's a nice, if tiny, step forward. If we remember to treat the Cloud with the extreme skepticism that it deserves and keep working hard to re-center the Edge and keep that free.

@natecull @deejoe @dredmorbius MSFT still maintains full control of .Net, I believe, no? And not all of the necessary components are even FOSS are they?

@lightweight @deejoe @dredmorbius

Well, they've done the usual OSS thing and set up a Foundation, so I guess it's maybe like Java now?

This has all spun out of Xamarin and Mono, which goes back to Miguel de Icaza and GNOME, so it didn't happen overnight and it happened only because OSS people pushed and pushed and pushed and kept pushing for decades.

And again, the big money is in renting servers now, not selling software.


@natecull @deejoe @dredmorbius MSFT doesn't sell software anymore, they sell you a subscription access to your own data in their proprietary (or faxupen) formats on their servers. A ransomware business model.

@deejoe @natecull @dredmorbius Really? Like what? VSCode? Er, nope, it's proprietary.

They'd never license something with a Copyleft license willingly.

@lightweight @deejoe @dredmorbius

And yet:


<< License MIT License[3] >>

<< In November 2020, Microsoft released .NET 5.0 which replaced .NET Framework. The "Core" branding was removed and version 4.0 was skipped to avoid conflation with .NET Framework. It provides native multi-platform support including Linux and macOS and addresses the patent concerns related to the .NET Framework.[19] >>

@natecull @deejoe @dredmorbius for a company who "LOVES" open source, that's pretty little, and very late. I think they get 100x too much credit. They love open source (and Linux) like a tapeworm loves a healthy digestive system.

@natecull @deejoe @dredmorbius And that's only first generation OSS with a weak (biz-exploitable-as-proprietary) license, not proper Copyleft FOSS... I draw the distinction.

@lightweight @deejoe @dredmorbius

Sure. It's not GPL, if having that specific OSS licence is something that is super important to you.

But if you're building a freely distributable project and you would like a VM to run it on, you now have a multi-way choice between Java, .NET and WASM, I guess.

Microsoft don't really care much now, they have Azure and Office 365 and they can get their perpetual lock-in fix via selling you the Cloud servers to run their open-source githubs on.


Distinguishing non-reciprocal/permissive licenses from copyleft is important to me too.

Perhaps you could better demonstrate its importance by showing care not to conflate antipathy for MS with the essence of these licenses, lest someone mistake principle as mere preference.

As it happens, VSCode shipped by MS comes with some "telemetry" (ie, spyware) so to make it free someone strips that out. The result, VSCodium, is purely free afaict.

@natecull @dredmorbius

@natecull @deejoe @dredmorbius Azure is their lock-in platform now, with Active Directory as the bait. If you sign up for that, your organisation's toast. Monopoly rents in perpetuity.

@natecull @deejoe @dredmorbius They'd never use a Copyleft license. They need control and the ability to exploit FOSS code in their proprietary software which, after all, is how they pay all those "open source community boosters" they employ as part of their PR/Marketing programme.

@lightweight @natecull @dredmorbius How many of those people got burnt out on fighting for free software because of dealing with Richard Stallman and his fanboys?

@lightweight @natecull @dredmorbius It's sad to see how many of these former FSF employees now work for proprietary software companies. Reading their experiences of what they had to deal with at the FSF, I understand why they would give up. twitter.com/georgialyle/status

@be @lightweight @dredmorbius

I suspect RMS' ego is the main reason why Emacs, despite being massively customizable, never became broadly popular. He just didn't like the changes that would have fixed its disastrous user experience.

@be @lightweight @dredmorbius

I mean maybe it wasn't him, I'm speculating there. But the FSF itself seems to have had very poor track record of actually creating popular projects that are loved by normal people, other than maybe GNU Readline.

@natecull @lightweight @dredmorbius It is interesting to note that the FSF has not developed any popular end user applications with the exception of Emacs. The useful software they have developed or supported is nerdy low(ish) level infrastructure.

@be @natecull @lightweight @dredmorbius I reject this framing that if it's not an end-user application, not something they'd value, it isn't a valuable contribution!

Lots of moving parts are required to build those, and GNU has contributed their fair share.

@alcinnz @natecull @lightweight @dredmorbius I'm not saying that the FSF doesn't value end user applications. I am saying that they would probably be terrible at making them.

@natecull @lightweight @dredmorbius Stallman did actively interfere with making Emacs more useful. Here is a noticeable incident in which he objected to making it a more useful tool for working on C/C++ by integrating with Clang because GCC didn't have the required features to do that: lwn.net/Articles/582697/

@be @natecull @lightweight @dredmorbius If you want more on Stallman and Emacs, might be worth investigating the genesis of the Lucid fork as well

@lightweight Same here (not Microsoft but Google though). But at the same time it seems important that maybe, too, threats change. Maybe these days companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon are even worse in their current age than Microsoft used to be back when "libre vs proprietary *licenses*" was the main thing...?

@natecull @dredmorbius

@z428 @lightweight @dredmorbius

I do think that the big tech companies are a baleful influence on the world right now. They've managed to do what we hoped wouldn't happen, which is insert themselves right into the middle of the global data stream with the ability to censor the traffic. Increasingly this is now seen as 'normal'.

But thanks to OSS we've at least now got the *possibility* of running our own machines, which wasn't at all a given thing back in the 1990s. And could still change.

@natecull @z428 @dredmorbius Indeed, we can now run on an (almost) entirely FOSS stack -- I do. Very few people take it upon themselves to demonstrate it, and the money spent on marketing "helpless computing" where people "outsource" all expertise... is probably 1,000,000:1... Having the means is pretty much hypothetical unless people take the initiative to exercise those means.

@natecull Yes, but we should also at least wonder whether maybe FLOSS was to some point a technology enabling big corporations do to right that, and yet still we have entities like Mozilla (living off Google ad money to some degree), we do have and embrace things such as Google Summer of Code, we welcome corporate contributions to FLOSS also in terms of full-time hired hands. We could run our own machines entirely on FLOSS yet using software that ...

@lightweight @dredmorbius

@z428 @natecull @dredmorbius we're in the unfortunate position that we're dependent on charity from corporations because they have all the $ in the system. That's because gov'ts buy from them rather than supporting for the common good (the way they pay for roads, schools, health services (not in the US), courts...). The system's badly broken because corporations have altered it to suit their interests - see davelane.nz/megacorps for more detail. .

@z428 @natecull @dredmorbius Mozilla allowing itself to become dependent on Google has proven to have been an extraordinarily ill-advised decision for which the foundation's governance people are responsible. Putting all your eggs in one basket like that is just bad governance, and FOSS can't afford to make itself dependent on a single patron's whimsy like that.

@z428 @natecull @dredmorbius Microsoft is also manoeuvring itself into similar lynch-pin roles throughout the community (see the Linux Foundation, for instance). If people don't see it coming, they have only themsvels to blame. So are other up-and-coming oppressors (Frightful Five - nytimes.com/2017/05/10/technol - wannabes) like Salesforce and Twitter.

@natecull ... possibly, at least in its current state, would never have a chance to exist without corporate backing. And this scares the s__t out of me, to be honest. We still and completely fail to have self-sustainable, independently funded FLOSS that can survive even if Google, Microsoft, ... all of a sudden decide to give up on FLOSS, to fire all their employees who work in FLOSS in their spare time, ... . 😐

@lightweight @dredmorbius

@z428 @natecull @dredmorbius yup, an existential threat. is a common good and needs to be funded by taxpayers and the gov't.

@z428 @natecull @dredmorbius I think the only substantial change in Microsoft is their PR strategy. They're still a marketing and litigation corporation who makes 90% margins on proprietary software. They are no ally to FOSS, except in the way a tapeworm loves a healthy gut. Their current approach is indistinguishable from the Embrace stage of Embrace, Extend, Extinguish. No corporation can be a true ally to FOSS, it's fundamentally against their nature.

@lightweight I partially disagree: With hosting FLOSS applications on IaaS infrastructure on Azure, Microsoft at least in that particular domain is moving somewhere where it isn't a competitor to FLOSS anymore - it's more a competitor to your local operations and datacenter team, providing you with infrastructure to *run* FLOSS as well as proprietary applications instead of running your own hardware. Not sure this is better, but at least it's different.

@natecull @dredmorbius

@z428 @natecull @dredmorbius they're horrible for running FOSS, speaking from experience. They're at least 10x more expensive than better competitors in the marketplace. And their APIs are all proprietary, as are AWS'. FOSS does far better to shun them both.

@lightweight Couldn't agree more, but my problem here is that competing with this is a wholly different level than talking software licenses (which is what FLOSS very often still seems to be reduced to). It's about specializing server operations to people who do that on a full-term for many different groups and organizations. And it's about providing "platforms" to build business applications on top of. We might need better open alternatives for both.

@natecull @dredmorbius

@z428 @natecull @dredmorbius speaking as someone you're describing (here're some of the things I host, personally: tech.oeru.org/oeru-web-service and nzoss.nz/services plus my own instances of nearly all of those)... there're great fully platforms for it all right now. I provide howtos (see tech.oeru.org). If people want to see change, they need to behave differently. Neither Azure nor AWS nor GCP is the platform you want. Pick one with open standard (e.g. OpenStack) APIs.

@z428 @natecull @dredmorbius that's how you avoid lock-in. Anyone building workflows around Github or AWS or Azure is screwed, and they've done it to themselves.

@z428 @natecull @dredmorbius that investment - integrating proprietary APIs tightly into your workflows - is precisely the "stickiness" that businesses use as a euphemism for "total lock-in". Because eventually, the cost of changing it is too high... and people will continue to pay Azure|AWS|GCP 10x the market rate... because they can't afford to rebuild their workflow for a competing (probably also proprietary) service.

@z428 @natecull @dredmorbius that's the moral of the "paying dearly for the privilege of being monopolised" story. You'll never be done paying. Just ask any Apple user ;)

@lightweight Well ... yes. Agreed. 🙂 That's how we keep things too, over here, but at the end, I think you'll never be done paying anyhow. I love things such as OpenStack but they seem still a different level than, say, an Azure platform where you could easily plug "business" modules into MS Teams or MS Office. We might need a FLOSS application platform for that, I think, all along with sustainable (community-driven? fairly funded? operated by smaller vendors?) ...

@natecull @dredmorbius

@z428 @natecull @dredmorbius well, if you're using MS Teams or MS Office, you're already completely locked in anyway, so you're already screwed unless you're willing to make a massive investment to change. That's by (Microsoft's) design. The thing to do is *stop* investing in those things, and focus investment on things that expressly *don't do that*, i.e. FOSS options. They still cost, but it's a real cost, not an inflated monopoly rent.

@lightweight Though I agree, I see the solution for that extremely difficult - as you pointed out: You need to be willing to make a *massive* investment to change. Given Microsofts already-existing market dominance, the predominance of their systems in the corporate desktop world and the overwhelming adoption MS Teams has seen here the last year, being able to step out of that and *still* continue working is something most structures I know simply aren't ...

@natecull @dredmorbius

@z428 @natecull @dredmorbius yup, and as I say, they've paid for the stick they've then handed to Microsoft to use to beat them. The fact that so CIOs simply don't get this is staggering to me. They've made themselves compliant hostages, and pay an ongoing ransom to access their own data. I've explained it further: davelane.nz/mshostage and, if you haven't seen it, watch this: youtube.com/watch?v=duaYLW7LQv

@lightweight Because CIOs often hardly have a choice. I've been working in civil engineering for almost two decades. This world is *owned* by proprietary software. There are no feasible libre tools for CAD, most of the domain-specific engineering or planning tools or collaboration, not even talking about most of the domain experts (planners, architects, ...) being trained to do business work (maths/calculations, planning, ...) on top of proprietary tools such as ...

@natecull @dredmorbius

@z428 @natecull @dredmorbius yes, it's a tricky situation. I wonder how many businesses have thought: we have a total dependence on AutoCAD. Maybe we should mitigate that risk by investing in the improvement of competing FOSS application, to hedge our bets, and then shift to it once it achieve sufficient maturity. Sun Microsystems did that around 2000 when it bought StarOffice and open sourced it as OpenOffice rather than pay for MSO licenses for all its staff. A very sensible decision.

@lightweight Yes, but we all saw what happened to Sun. And, looking around here (Germany) a lot of organizations involved with things such as civil engineering, CAD planning, ... are really small houses (5..15 employees) doing highly specialized stuff in their field of business, hardly having a margin to live off. From that perspective, challenging AutoDesk is not just virtually impossible. You're just *way* too small to even think of that.

@natecull @dredmorbius

@z428 @natecull @dredmorbius then you organise. You have industry groups. We see it all the time here in NZ, where industry groups fund research to mitigate risks facing the industry. Complete dependence on proprietary software you don't own is an existential risk. I still think the failing is with the industry governance who've let it get to this point. All they can do is to stop digging the hole deeper and start investing in their organisational sovereignty. Similarly most gov'ts.

@z428 @natecull @dredmorbius not changing tack and taking positive action is effectively self destruction.

@lightweight At this point, people are *very* cautious about organizing which essentially means making friends with fierce competitors for a greater common goal. That needs a lot of change in most corporate cultures to work, and (again) smaller structures don't have the resources to do that - this, too, requires manpower, enthusiasm, knowledge, communication and is investing into a long-running project, even while most of the comparable software solutions are not ...

@natecull @dredmorbius

@z428 @natecull @dredmorbius yep. And if they want to survive, they have to get over that :)

@lightweight ... days but decades behind what they're using now in a day-to-day production environment. A lot of companies over here hesitate investing money in things that seem way less risky than that. And we're not even talking "partnering" here (like some engineering companies being dedicated to be "Autodesk partners", developing their stuff as AutoCAD plugins rather than standalone. 😉 ).

@natecull @dredmorbius

@z428 @natecull @dredmorbius if they're decades behind then they've got a lot of technical debt to make up for - they'd better get cracking!! No proprietary replacements will get them out of the hole, they'll simply increase the exploitation and disempowerment.

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