everything wrong with free software

 "obedience breeds foolishness"

### a-response-to-jake-bauers-article other pages: => dividing-things-pointlessly-and-inaccurately-along-age-lines.html dividing-things-pointlessly-and-inaccurately-along-age-lines *originally posted:* nov 2021 specifically regarding https://www.paritybit.ca/blog/free-software-is-an-abject-failure: i dont doubt that bauers article makes points that are either valid or semi-valid, so lets start with that. i am myself a critic as well as a fan of free software, but it is clear that the author has gone to the side of open source, whether he realises and admits it or not. the problem with open source is that it is malicious and fake, although many people who are suckered into its rhetoric are decent and sincere; they assume good faith and accept the lies that open source tells them. ill give a concrete example of this: > I believe FOSS as a concept is still very important, however I simply no longer believe in the Free Software movement it would be easy to say that i no longer believe in the free software movement either, certainly not as it presently stands (selling itself out). so this in and of itself i cant find a great deal of fault with. but it should become clear that bauer, rather than simply holding free software to its own promises and ideals, has traded his for the incredibly destructive and self-defeating compromise of open source. open source is dishonest, it promises similar things as free software but then baits and switches, never sincerely trying to offer what it claims but appearing to "give up" for "practical" reasons so we can simply get farther and farther away from freedom. im aware of the fact that this appears to be a purist argument. it is actually an honesty argument-- open source is nothing but a very big lie. i personally went in the other direction as bauer; i bought into the bullshit of open source first, and it revealed itself to be insidious corporate maneuvering, which i rejected when i realised free software WASNT elitist, it wasnt even as purist as people think (or more accurately, MOST of the assumptions that people make around the most purist goals of free software are misleading, exaggerated or manufactured) and that above all: ### open source fights free software by misrepresenting it. thats not an honest fight, and its for the benefit of corporate control, so open source is truly a lie to expose. this response is not written to single out the author at all (though i undeniably give into the temptation to do so later on, i will maintain that it wasnt necessary and my point that he is not unique in this regard certainly stands-- in mitigation), rather to point out the places where his article follows a number of dishonest, fallacious or simply non-factual tropes common in the open source world. these are old, tired points-- but freedom cannot win without being somewhat relentless. thats why stallman was always criticised and attacked for being precisely that. im not against all critiques of stallman, only the ones that are untrue and/or dishonest. and there certainly are valid critiques of him, although they have little or zero bearing on refuting his philosophy. in that regard, i am happy to defend free software-- but equally content to critique it when i believe its called for. and i dont claim any sort of neutrality at all. this response will be mostly point-for-point and ill write it as i read the article for the first time. there are absoulutely drawbacks to this approach, but as a result youll get my first impressions and my immediate response to what i read. > I want to preface this by saying that I used to be a staunch software freedom evangelist. I used to license all my works GPLv3-or-later and CC-BY-SA wherever I could and I used to believe quite strongly in the words of Richard Stallman. "used to". converts are extremely useful to open source, if only from the point of rhetoric. since ive changed sides in the opposite direction, maybe im one of the better people to respond to this as though it proves something in and of itself. i used to believe in open source. i get the implied point though-- he gave free software a real chance. all the same, he has abandoned it for something worse and wishes to argue for doing so. this is not a favour-- he has a right to an opinion, just as much as you or i do. its an unfortunate opinion, but at least he gave a better philosophy a chance. alright. > I have since started to think more about the real effects of the Free Software movement and have changed the way I write and license my software as a result. i absolutely glanced over this article (i havent read it) for key points before i started this. i spent no more than 30 seconds doing so. i have some idea whats in store here, though i wont have all the details until i read and reply to this. i would poke harder at this line, but since he said "started to think" instead of "long and carefully thought out" this line is pretty untouchable. > I implore you to genuinely consider what I have written in this post and to approach it with an open mind. the closest im going to come to that is to try to be honest and fair (correct would be a serious bonus, but i cant promise that) in my assessment and try to treat each point SOMEWHAT individually. i cant ignore the context of each point entirely, because to do so misses the real point of whats being said. on the other hand, i cant make every single phrase dependent on every other, as that isnt fair either. so i will aim for being fair. (and i did. this article proved to be more critical than i anticipated, i dont necessarily think it was unfair). to read fallacies and lies ive heard over and over for years (including when i was on the same side of this argument that bauer is now) as if i didnt know they were fallacies and lies would be asking too much-- and though it may not be intentional on his part, i really think thats what hes asking me to do. of course, i may not be an intended part of the audience, so perhaps its a more reasonable thing to ask of the people he wrote it for. > Your knee-jerk reaction may be to reject what I am saying as anti-freedom or pro-corporation but that is not the case. i believe this is said sincerely, though mistakenly. i wont be certain until ive read his entire piece. > I believe FOSS as a concept is still very important, however I simply no longer believe in the Free Software movement (I'm referring to the FSF, GNU, the GPL, etc. when I say "Free Software" as this is what Stallman et. al. wish it to be known as to differentiate it from Open Source). i did not think he was going to immediately imply (rather almost explicitly) that he had gone to the dark side, but at least he is up front about it-- unless i just misread that. i thought i was going to have to work to show how his position was open source. but as im reading this for the first time, here it is. > Free Software is an abject failure. It may sound like a good concept on its face—especially with the kind of language often used to describe the movement and its opponents—but, when put under scrutiny, the institutions and practices that make up the Free Software movement fundamentally fail at their stated goals. this is an excuse open source has made for itself since before it was true-- and even today, it is hardly true in the way that open source claims. it is (still, today) a lie built atop a fact, before it was even a fact-- but it is a very old lie, spanning decades. if you are looking for hope for free software, you may find some in the fact that this very old (somewhat core) lie is still being used to draw people away from freedom. even today, open source is incapable of winning by honest means. and it really is, drawing people away from freedom. there is no open source without corporate control, but in the few opening quotes the author has already implied that he is certainly NOT "anti-freedom or pro-corporation" but he has also implied that he is pro open-source. if he denies this (or does not believe it himself) i will offer my own argument that this is impossible. if you are defending open source, then you are defending the corporate overthrow of both free software, and all users. open source IS corporate control. of course, a funny thing is that (in practice-- in theory, i would say there are no exceptions actually) i have noticed an anomolous exception to this. when bauer talks about bsd he touches on that exception, but it wont apply as long as he thinks microsoft or github can be anything other than the bad guys here. bauer is already incredibly mistaken, and his thesis will not hold. we are still jumping too far ahead, however. i apologise for how long-winded this is, incidentally. if it were possible, i would avoid that. whats NOT impossible is for someone who understands this properly to make their own, shorter version of this article. i would be very happy to bless (or give a mostly positive, but objective critique of) any successful attempt to do so, for what its worth. think of this as a draft, which may or may not be improved upon by someone else. this next one needs to be separated into bullet points, but bauer claims all in one line: * "Free Software is an ideological mess" * "Free Software hampers collaboration" * "Free Software is legally ineffective" * "Free Software makes the lives of developers harder" * "Free Software fundamentally gets in the way of a thriving software ecosystem" once again, he is pulling this from the mouldy archives of open source and its rhetorical bullshit. first it explains that free software is utterly hopeless, then to make you feel better it offers something that is utterly spineless (and fake) instead. but it suggests that it is our job to defend our own principles by proving that they can actually work "in the real world" when the actual failure of free software is to BECOME open source. and since that is the entire point of open source (at least from 1998 onward) i.e., the failure of free software, this is going to be some tired old bullshit indeed. i am happy to have patience for the author personally, though i will show none for the tired old argument itself. lets dip our toes into this and get them wet, or at least moist and smelly: * "Free Software is an ideological mess" it really isnt. "users, not software publishers, should control their computing or they wont have control over their own lives"-- that is the core ideology of free software. its a really good one. bauer says he once believed in it, i challenge him to explain how he could abandon THAT ideology. i guarantee he will not properly justify doing so. its a bad foot to start off on. * "Free Software hampers collaboration" rofl... the truth is the free software has done so much to enable collaboration that it has (IN OPEN SOURCES OWN SALES BROCHURE) produced SUPERIOR SOFTWARE that the tech giants not only built their empires on (google, facebook, amazon) but that they must hijack and insinuate themselves into in order to prevent their own defeat (microsoft, ibm). that IS NOT the mark of "hampered collaboration"-- it is the mark of a world-changing transformation of collaboration. jake, youre taking the piss. * "Free Software is legally ineffective" this is just a bunch of words strung together in a way that is relatively meaningless. he means COPYLEFT is legally ineffective. but the truth is that (at most), SOME ASPECTS of COPYLEFT are legally ineffective. i dont think anyone in the world can demonstrate that copyleft altogether is ineffective, at least not yet. i think copyleft still has further opportunities to prove itself. im close to neutral on this issue, and ill tell you exactly why: my approach to copyleft is 1% idealistic and 99% scientific: as long as theres a real chance that copyleft is helping free software, i think we (at least many of us, AT LEAST the movement that champions it, obviously) should keep trying to demonstrate that. thats an argument (however weakly or strongly made) that is clearly FOR copyleft. i am also happy to defend the right of copyleft supporters to fork permissively-licensed programs (theo de raadt strongly dislikes this, and i imagine that the bsd communities in general arent thrilled with the idea) PER THE PERMISSIVE LICENSES OWN PROTECTIONS AND LACK THEREOF AGAINST NON-FREE (or "LESS FREE") DERIVATIVE WORKS even though stallmans position on this is actually closer to de raadts in his rhetoric (in free software practice this varies, though not very much). this is a VERY STRONG argument im making FOR copyleft. however, if someday we CAN prove (it has not yet happened, you know) that copyleft REALLY doesnt work, AND that it actually gets in the way (in practice, not just in theory) then im not emotionally attached to it-- a tool that only fails to do what you want isnt useful. the idea that this has already happened is rhetoric, not sound argument. it is rhetoric from a demonstrably dishonest source (that is, open source) and it glosses over both facts and context. i have no problem with the fact that bsd chooses to experiment with permissive licensing. its something theyve done since before open source (officially) existed in its present and evil capacity. that is, before 1998 when osi was founded (or if we are really giving the benefit of the doubt, before 1999 when perens famously resigned). * "Free Software makes the lives of developers harder" no, microsofts "stickiness" (which theyve published recent memos and/or even public articles about) makes the lives of users AND developers harder. deliberately. as a means to an end. a better bullet point than this one would be "open source is full of fucking shit". obviously, im not putting in as much effort towards this one. i stand by it all the same. i dont give two tugs of a dead rancid cock, about developers who dont respect the fact that users deserve control of their own computers. fuck them all, right in the ear. * "Free Software fundamentally gets in the way of a thriving software ecosystem" what? these are the ACTUAL points that the author starts with. it makes me wonder why im bothering to reply, but lets keep going now that weve started: > Why Software Should Be Free by Richard Stallman presents an argument against having owners of software and explains the harm done by obstructing software development through proprietary licensing. not ONLY through proprietary licensing. before 1980, software was not copyrightable. instead, it was restricted through non-disclosure agreements. unfortunately today, the free software movement has put aside the awareness that non-free licensing is NOT, and NEVER WAS the only way to restrict software. except for patents, which i think theyre probably still aware of. > He posits that software with obstructions results in fewer users, the inability for users to fix programs, and the inability of developers to build upon prior knowledge or work. that of course, is true. except i question the "fewer users" part-- which may be an honest paraphrase but it reeks of the marketshare argument that open source wants us to care about. this isnt proof or disproof, but it ought to be stated. > He also states that the justifications one uses for keeping ownership of the software (which he equates with keeping the software proprietary) are emotional (i.e. “This software is mine, and I wish to control it”) and economical (i.e. “I wish to become wealthy by programming.”). He shuns these excuses and spends the rest of the document refuting those excuses and explaining why the existence of proprietary software is bad and why the alternative—software not having owners—is better. which is also true. > However, in nearly every Free Software project which exists today, there is a clear “owner” of the software—someone who is the copyright holder, benevolent dictator for life, or simply de facto leader of the project and through whom all contributions must flow. stop. this is a straw man argument. it does not honestly represent stallmans personal position nor the core values of free software, as it tries to refute them. it also conflates two different things in an effort to refute the relevant one by (instead) refuting the irrelevant one, as though they are not different. in short, i call bullshit right now. alright, lets proceed. > Whether we’re talking about large projects too large to fork and maintain by anybody but large, well-funded groups such as the Linux kernel well, this is exactly the problem. the linux kernel is actually hopeless due to this very thing. bsd on the other hand, HAS been forked and maintained by surprisingly small groups. i call bullshit once again. > (in which Linus still has complete veto power by the way), yeah, lets talk about that for a moment. a significant number of people have the impression that torvalds is a sort of hostage, who is also inching closer to retirement. the queen of england herself retains complete power over britain, but she isnt exactly allowed to use it without (probably) losing her head or something. at best, it would be a constitutional crisis. so having "complete veto power" doesnt NECESSARILY mean shit at all, and many of us are PRETTY MUCH CONVINCED that it doesnt. why even bother implying otherwise? it probably isnt true. theres no reason to think its true. a hostage with complete veto power is only able to use it when hes allowed to. its symbolic, for crying out loud. and moot, as linux (any even slightly recent version of it) is unsalvageable. as for older versions-- why would you bother? happy to hear a counter argument to this side point. > Qt (in which the company controls the development of the software and simply allows older versions to be used under a free license), or smaller projects which have simple leaders. As long as there is a copyright statement, there are one or more owners to be aware of. yeah, all part of a refutation of a straw man of stallmans argument. so what? > Additionally, the GNU Manifesto, aside from calling the Open Source movement an “amoral approach”, because it doesnt give a shit if users have control or not. is "amoral" really a slur here, or is it just an accurate assessment of the principles open source not only echews and reduces to (quoting now) "an ideological mess", but that it fails to demonstrate in practice? open source IS amoral. it is PROUD to be, and considers it an advantage. why blame a manifesto for saying the sky is blue, or up is not down? > goes on to say that GNU "is not in the public domain" because it isnt. has there been any question? is bauer suggesting that being in the public domain (not having copyright) is the only way to have no owners, because in finland it is IMPOSSIBLE for a living author to place a work into the public domain, and in the united states its not impossible for work in the public domain to re-enter copyright (since 2012-- but its very rare for it to happen). i dont think bauer even knows what hes talking about here. and thats okay, as long as hes right-- but i dont think what hes saying is right, either. > and will have restrictions placed on further modifications (in the form of disallowing proprietary modifications), with the justification given by Stallman being: "I want to make sure that all versions of GNU remain free." so whats the problem? people who fundamentally take issue with the lack of a "right to make a work non-free" are just being obtuse and pedantic in my opinion. they typically dont really argue why it SHOULD be different (i realise bauer is implying such, but only using things that have been said countless times and not really honestly so) except "if stallman was REALLY HONEST, he would not refute his own point by daring to say that whats free should not be free to be non-free!" i mean-- SERIOUSLY? this has only been said for about 20 years. its the open source equivalent of people coming to the door and asking if youve "heard the good word"-- about jesus. "which one? this is texas, you know..." > With that, Stallman falls upon the same behaviour that he previously shunned in Why Software Should Be Free. wow, he WAS serious. now i honestly feel bad for taking the time to reply. sunk cost fallacy, ho! > He uses his emotional attachment to the software, something he said was an excuse to defend why software has an owner, to justify his want to control how others can distribute and modify his code. He is effectively saying “this is my creation, and I wish to control what others can do with it” as well as clearly assigning an owner to the software. mmhmm, maybe hes found the weakest point in stallmans argument. its not so much a load-bearing wall, but the fact that he has to misrepresent it to refute it is still noted. > If software is not in the public domain, then, by definition, it has to have at least one other owner. this is pedantry and missing the point. but then as stallman says, "open source misses the point". what he wont tell you is "open source misses the point... deliberately". it is a narcissistic ploy to swindle people out of standing for anything. > If Stallman can dictate how others can use his software—even if it is more freely than most proprietary software—then it clearly has an owner. pure dishonest claptrap. stallman is straightforward enough to define freedom. open source uses a redefinition of stallmans words to try to make him look like a hypocrite or daydreamer. its a stupid, clumsy and foolish way to argue with him. its also dishonest, void of logic and full of fallacy. > Simply put, no, incorrectly and dishonestly and inaccurately put... > Stallman and others in the Free Software community use the exact same excuses criticized in Why Software Should Be Free as justification for their actions. what did i just say? "open source uses a redefinition of stallmans words to try to make him look like a hypocrite". and once again, this is nothing new. this is open source (the osi era) from day 1. youre getting a history (of bullshit) lesson here-- not a revelation. > GNU, the GPL, and seemingly the entirety of Free Software as it stands today are all based on the same premises as proprietary software. now this is incredible. now that weve defeated the very PREMISE of free software by misunderstanding, misrepresenting and misquoting it, we can use that to dismantle gnu and the gpl as well! thats sloppy as fuck. is this intended as an actual a refutation of free software, or just idle fapping? let me hold the article itself to the same standard he holds stallman to in 3, 2, 1... > Stallman and others in the Free Software community use the exact same excuses criticized in Why Software Should Be Free as justification for their actions. okay, GO! *ahem* in his article, "free software is an abject failure", jake bauer "implores" us to "genuinely consider what I have written in this post and to approach it with an open mind." he then proceeds to straw man an entire philosophy as if it rests solely on the point he misrepresents, reducing it to "an ideological mess" while failing to tell people what it actually is or says. if we are supposed to keep an open mind, why has he failed to do so when addressing the points he makes himself? bauer and others in the open source community use the exact same excuses criticized in "free software is an abject failure" as justification for their lies. that was easy. but theres SO MUCH MORE here! lets give all of it a chance... again... for the millionth fucking time. > They use existing copyright systems in what they deem the “right” way while simultaneously criticizing the way others use them as wrong. yeah, so? i mean that is pretty nakedly what copyleft always was from day one: an effort to turn copyright on its head and make people more free to use, change, modify and share the software, instead of less. he says it like thats a bad thing. either way, its just restating what it is-- as though its a bad thing, as though its "hypocritical" to use copyright against itself. of course id be perfectly happy to see copyright abolished. this may seem like a contradiction of what i said before, but heres the nuance: im perfectly happy to see stallman use copyright against itself, if it works. so far, bauer has not explained why it doesnt work (maybe he will later) but he has leaned on its "hypocrisy" to suggest that it is somehow not viable. despite this, no one has ever shown that it certainly does not work. theyve suggested it might not work, even why, but thats definitely not the same thing. despite being perfectly happy to see copyright used against itself (if it works) i dont agree that we should keep copyright necessarily. however, i dont wish to OVERSTATE stallmans support of copyright here. hes in favour of shortening the maximum duration of copyright BELOW what it was in the 1700s and early 1800s, and that would help A LOT. so much, that copyright was (at the time at least) NEARLY A NON-RESTRICTION for the public at the time. a non-issue. the internet might make the public want to reduce copyright even further, but the point here is that stallman does not necessarily (almost certainly does not) support modern copyright-- hes against it. bauers charge of hypocrisy is void of facts and based on (old) fabrications, (old) straw men and omissions. im not accusing him of being a turd or anything. he may or may not be, but its important to know that THIS IS EXACTLY THE SORT OF BULLSHIT OPEN SOURCE TEACHES. if bauer were to (even hypothetically) say "i was not aware of these things and on further examination i have to say i dont think my argument was entirely fair", i can tell you, that open source has convinced him of this bullshit. id rather stand against open source and its bullshit in general than give bauer a hard time for regurgitating their nonsense. its really not fair to single bauer out for this personally, (at least not yet; i will absolutely single him out a little bit later when ive heard enough of his shit-- its still nothing truly special) when nothing hes saying is well-researched and unique. you cant blame a parrot for repeating what hes heard. and why single out one parrot, when they all do that? this isnt anything special. on first glance i thought it was going to be, i really did. its not, but im going with sunk cost and writing it anyway. > To be frank, the Free Software movement comes off as both a “cult of personality" yep, accuse them of religion for having principles, thats nice. the corporations who have funded this anti-user propaganda really ARE cults of personality. i suspect bauer has never heard the term "microsoft evangelist". they arent kidding. read the halloween documents, read the comes v. microsoft exhibits, and compare that to stallmans "cult" if you want to be SERIOUSLY creeped out. the more people try to stand up for whats right, the more giafam sends their flying monkeys at us. because theyre engaged in nothing less than ideological warfare-- against what are less well understood as "consumer rights". stallman gets compared to a cult leader for saying that consumer rights are really human rights. to be frank, thats kind of an arsehole thing for you to say, jake. but its clear that you dont give a shit about my rights or perhaps even your own. > —worshipping Richard Stallman and his teachings, blah, blah, blah... > as well as a “cult of ideology"—shunning those who disagree with the manifestos that too is a straw man though. ive never seen anyone shunned only for disagreeing with the manifesto. i have seen people criticised for bringing really dishonest, condescending arguments to the table time and time again, and why should free software activists be held to a higher standard than their attackers (this is the key part) BY THEIR ATTACKERS. it is bauer who is the hypocrite here, ignoring his OWN cult of personality and instead crticising what (on its very worst day) is maybe occasionally a lesser one. open source is a cult of mammon, a cult of lies, a cult of spying on users, a cult of controlling peoples lives. and stallman is a cult leader for saying thats not ethical? fuck off, seriously... of course, thats just my cult programming telling me not to lick the arsehole of any person that brings 20-year old bullshit to the table, misrepresents first a great person and then every single person who agrees with him. all to help deprogram us, im sure. really, open source is just doing you a favour by showing you how false your anti-monopolistic (and "hypocritical") philosophy is. puh-leese. > and the “way of life” that the movement espouses to an extreme degree. it really doesnt though. so many of these "extreme degree" accusations are imaginary or exaggerated. because its the only way someone would take offense. now for a slight change of course: > As long as you, as a developer, do everything within the framework of the GPL and the culture of Free Software, you are ethical and good. this is something that stallman has never said. its a fabrication. its bullshit, essentially. > As soon as you wish to do something outside of this domain—even by using a more open, permissive license—you are considered unethical. and here is open source making stallman (once again) out to be more black-and-white than he actually is. it still works, and its still a lie. > In an article where Linus Torvalds criticizes the GPLv3, Torvalds even says: not mentioned in the article is where corporations lobbied torvalds to critique the gpl3. just saying. > “I think the GPLv3 is expressly designed to not allow [the meeting between open source and free software people]. Exactly because the FSF considers us open source people ‘heretics.’” i consider them liars. they lie and misrepresent and exaggerate and spend exceptional amounts of money in a decades-long sustained effort to mislead and recapture the public-- does it even matter if theyre also heretics? > One of the stated goals written in the GNU Manifesto is: “Finally, the overhead of considering who owns the system software and what one is or is not entitled to do with it will be lifted.” One look at the GPL will tell you that they have utterly failed at this. The GPL, especially with version 3, has become so complicated that only a programmer with relatively advanced legal knowledge and ability to read and properly understand “legalese” will be able to decipher it to know what they are able and unable to do with it. this is purely a falsehood. its one of those not-even-half-truths that looks completely plausible to someone who conflates things that look plausible with facts, but if you actually go fact hunting (where 10 minutes of online search by an honest person will turn up sufficent evidence to the contrary) the authors claim will look terribly quaint. its not much harder to use the gpl in practice, than any other free software license. why? because there are guides to doing so and (just as importantly) so many examples of the gpl (2 and 3) in use. with all the (corporate funded and generated) fud and fearmongering about gpl 3, it was adopted years ago and very quickly, outside of the corporate linux cult. and none of the fearmongering was justified by the events that followed-- it never got more difficult to comply, the ground didnt split as lawsuits started pouring out from the bowels of the earth, and the only thing that REALLY did change was the response from lordvalds and the level of resistance to tivoisation. plus the maxium penalty for violation (in terms of sheer convenience and ability to use gpl-licensed software) went down, not up. youd think a license that was so impossible would have created a million problems when so many people switched-- but thats what happens when people cant tell the difference between theory, practice and corporate lobbying. im sorry jake, youre just making this up. > There exist websites which explain the license in plain English, but even those say their explanations are no substitute for reading the license. obviously that goes for any license, but "no substitute for" might as well be weasel words here, as for most people they are actually a sufficient substitute. whats difficult to do is understand what something really means when a corporation is funding efforts to confuse the public about it. all they had to do to solve that problem was NOT lobby and bullshit, so blaming the gpl itself for this is a little bit silly. another way to say this is that contrary to bauers claim, the gpl was so easy to understand and use that corporations had to PAY GOOD MONEY to deliberately make it more confusing to the public. and while i think this is inching towards hyperbole, its still more true than whats being refuted here. > This is because of the very specific meaning that many of the words in the license take on when put in the context of our modern legal system. that sentence means nothing the fuck whatsover. youd think reading this that sometime between the second version of the gpl and the third, something substantial changed about the legal system. i mean, maybe due to national security, but really i think jake is just bullshitting here, sorry. > So, while you may be able to read the GPL and think that you understand it, unless you are well-educated in “legalese”, you probably don’t fully understand the true meaning and effect that the words of the license would actually have in court. thats true, but irrelevant. no matter how easy to understand the gpl is or isnt, you cannot always predict what it will mean in court until it is tested in court. and then you know by how the events in court went, not by the wording. and the funny thing is, this is even true for a much simpler license. the author simply takes a fact of life and blames it on some particular thing, even when the fact applies far more broadly and you might as well blame the president because he cant predict the local weather. it really couldnt be predicted with 100% accuracy anyway. not by anyone. > The ramifications of the GPL are still not even fully understood by lawyers themselves. a more honest person couldnt blame the gpl for this either. the law around copyright is hopelessly complex, and anything built on copyright is going to be hopelessly complex in theory. de raadt may quibble about this, but he would be wrong if his argument really rests on the simplicity of copyright. (i think to be honest, it rests on copyright being less complex than contracts-- which isnt necessarily true either but im not saying hes wrong). > Many large companies will shy away from the GPL simply because they don’t want to take the risk of using GPL-licensed code improperly if youre making this argument without admitting that corporations have spent money on creating this fear, using non-facts and omissions, then youre making half an argument and its hardly honest. > and being forced to reveal their proprietary software. another fabrication. the gpl cannot force anyone to "reveal" their proprietary software, and it has never done so. all it can do is force people to stop distributing gpl code from other people. stop lying, jake. > While I don’t agree with proprietary software as a concept, the fact that even lawyers—who are supposed to be expertly trained in the kind of language used in the license—are uneasy about its terms further reinforces just how unapproachable it is to the everyday software developer. how? > GNU and the GPL have done nothing to remove the overhead of considering who owns software. uhh, not true. im not a lawyer and ive never actually had to contact the author of a work to use their code. this is a fuck of a lot more than "nothing" in terms of removing overhead. jake, its just bunk. what youre saying is bunk. > Since the development of the GPL is reactionary—that is to say, its development and growth over time was in response to discovered workarounds— any license is going to do that, including ones from microsoft. this is the third example of the author implying that gpl is special for something that applies to virtually any other software license. > there is now even more overhead by way of the extra complication of the “-or-later/only” clauses. as it would be for any license that used this, but the added complexity is an optional convenience, more than it is a burden. that is, its a convenience if you want software to be free-- if youre trying to skirt that, it is a hinderance. but then thats the entire point of the license. it wasnt meant to bend over for proprietary software, it was written expressly to stand up to it. the author blames the license for not fulfilling its promises when it does, then he also blames the license for doing what its intended to do. what the fuck does he actually want from it, other than to kowtow to some lesser purpose (the imaginary "freedom of monopoly") that it was never designed for? this is how obtuse open source really is: it (routinely) uses the imaginary failure to do something intentional as a cause for changing tack and doing something expressly and explicitly unwanted, because that would be "better" (in a way that is soundly rejected by the people offering the original thing as a solution). in other words, its not important what you want, just want this instead. just because. no, facts dont even matter to the argument. > This is a license which has multiple versions which are not backwards compatible. obviously by design. the gpl 3 has a goal it shares with gpl 2, which gpl 2 did not meet. to be backwards compatible would weaken this goal and prevent it from moving forward, thus reducing the positive effect of the version change. theres no way to look at the goals of the gpl and free software and decide that gpl 2 was better, unless your REAL GOAL is different from that of the gpl and free software and you insist on projecting THAT onto someone elses intentions. which is fucking obtuse. but open source is like that. > A project licensed under the GPLv2-only cannot integrate GPLv3-or-later code without being re-licensed as GPLv3. The Linux kernel is an excellent example of this. THIS IS BY DESIGN and it would more or less go against the goals of changing the gpl for it to not be this way. but again, open source expects you to abandon your own goals and simply cater to companies who want you to be less free. because open source is obtuse that way. > Linus Torvalds even came out strongly against the GPLv3 again, after he was lobbied to do so... > and the process by which the FSF created the license. so. fucking. what? linus torvalds is a scumbag, and a sellout, and a liar. fuck torvalds. > Many others in the industry lobbyists and the suckers who bent over for them... > also saw this as an extreme and unnecessary move by the FSF yeah, but that doesnt mean it wasnt successful. surely the people who were happy to exploit the gpl like an outdated browser didnt love the new version, but what do you expect? it was meant to stop them from doing so. > to wield the ultimate power over the GPLv3; all because a manufacturer put Linux in their products and blocked users from running their own modified software on that hardware which, by the way, had absolutely nothing to do with the Linux kernel itself since the bootloader is the software that would stop users from running some other software. this is just entitled whinging. if you dont want to reuse gpl-licensed software code, reuse some other software code. simple! after all, gpl has failed, and since everybody loves permissive code so much, there should be more than enough to work with. go use that instead. whats the big fucking deal? > This led to people thinking that this was basically just an excuse to expand the scope and powers of the GPL over what could be seen as something completely out of the scope of the GPL-licensed software. The move by the FSF, the actions of Stallman, and the “tivoization” rhetoric are even heavily criticized by Software Freedom Conservancy member Bradley M. Kuhn. and if bradley m. kuhn signed a petition against adolf hitler and genghis khan, i would want a second opinion. but not because hitler and khan were lovely people, just because thats how much the opinion of bradley kuhn means to me. he sold out the world and will now be known as a scumbag, just like hitler and genghis khan were scumbags. fuck him. (fuck mike godwin, too). > Putting aside the political manoeuvrings of the FSF, imagine giving an iota of credit to bradley judas and then talking about the political maneuverings of the organisation he participated in a corporate coup against. what the actual fuck? > the mere existence of an “-or-later” clause is a ridiculous thing to attach to a license. why? because youre pretending you dont know its purpose, or how it works in real life? > Anybody who licenses their project under a GPLv3-or-later license puts a lot of trust in the stewards of the GPL that the next version of the GPL will align with their values and goals; thats true, but its much more relevant now that people have destroyed the fsf from the inside. and since its becoming clear which side of that the author supports, why bother with this hypocritical and perhaps even feigned concern? > a GPLv3-or-later project will be able to be licensed under a GPLv4 license whatever the clauses of that GPLv4 license. This is a lot of stock to put into a group of people like the FSF who were so dogmatic and exclusionary in their development of the GPLv3. bunk again. already addressed in this response. we are simply meant to take bauers word for it-- but we are not given good reason to do so. > The reality of the GPL is that there is still a lot of overhead in considering who owns the software. like what? > Not only in whether or not a developer should choose version 2 or version 3 of the license depending on their goals, i dont think this is difficult at all. if you want to sell out the public, choose version 2. if you dont, choose version 3. you can always use permissive shit instead. some of it actually very good stuff, i am still a fan of the bsd kernel. there is no gpl-licensed bsd kernel that im aware of. i mean maybe you could argue hurd is, but im not a fan of that either. in fact i dont know of any gpl-licensed kernel i would want to use. what is this linux bullshit? i was thrilled to get away from it-- but not because of the license, because of the codebase and the people who maintain it. > but also for developers and users alike who try to understand the language of the license to determine what they can do with the software and, if they are integrating some GPL-licensed code into their own product, who actually owns and has copyright over that software. which isnt all that relevant to using it unless youre going to ask for an exception to the license, and is actually more of an issue with copyright, not the gpl. fourth time hes blamed the gpl for something it has no control over, or is the matter of something else (or many other things) which are the same or more responsible in this regard. this is comical. its a farce. > Those who wish to integrate GPL-licensed code into their otherwise non-GPL-licensed projects are faced with the decision to relicense their code under the GPL, that is the ENTIRE POINT of the gpl. > remake the functionality of the library under a more open license, yes, the gpl (indeed copyleft in general) is designed to encourage people to keep software free. that is its purpose. of course there are ways around it, provided that you dont use the gpl code. > or otherwise abandon those efforts altogether. While the GPL may “prevent” corporations or people from taking GPL-licensed code and integrating it into a proprietary product, it also prevents literally any other non-GPL-licensed project from using GPL-licensed code, even other FOSS projects. but again-- THAT IS ITS PURPOSE. they even made a thing that effectively does what the author laments not having here, called the lgpl. but of course thats only used sparingly, because using it all the time would likely also defeat the stated purpose of the gpl. and thats what open source really wants, and whinges when it doesnt have-- the imaginary freedom to make users less free. > Even so, it’s not like the GPL actually prevents corporations from stealing GPL-licensed code and integrating it into projects. While there are plenty of corporations who freely comply with the GPL, there are plenty more, such as VMWare, who don’t comply and yet don’t face consequences. Even if a lawsuit is successful, it is usually at the cost of members of the FOSS community who burn out or are left disenchanted by the whole process. it would be ideal if software companies that have spent years on a high horse about "piracy" did not steal gpl code by incorporating it into projects they never intended to be free software. but if they act like hypocrites, nobody wins. should we blame the gpl for this, or the hypocrites? bauer sides with the hypocrites, and projects their complete hypocrisy onto stallman. > Being GPL-licensed also doesn’t prevent a project from being bought and therefore having all control handed over to a corporation. This was most recently seen in the acquisition of Audacity by Muse Group in which Muse Group bought the rights to the Audacity code and project. frankly this is just victim-blaming. > (Note that if this software actually didn’t have owners, this could not happen.) the absolute farce of this argument, apart from it being impossible to fix in some countries, is that (apart from jake redefining and misrepresenting things stallman said to make his point) permissively-licensed software has "owners" by HIS OWN defintion-- most permissively-licensed software is still under copyright, with the exception of cc0. im quite aware of cc0, having used it for my favourite project of all time, but what happened with audacity is still at least technically possible with the bulk of permissively-licensed software. it is at least theoretically possible that permissive licensing would offer fewer incentives for groups like muse to do what they did, and instead opens the door for them to do it without a buyout or permission. from a free software standpoint this is not usually considered an advantage, but either way the result is (according to de raadt) often similarly hopeless: when a company tries to use gpl or non-gpl code to do non-free things, they are usually less successful (per that project, at least) and the project does not last as long as the freely (permissive or copyleft) licensed codebase behind it. in other words, (according to de raadt) taking free code non-free isnt sustainable whether its permissive or not. and muse is killing audacity. the same would happen if the code were permissive and audacity managed to poach its developers. and if audacity were not on github-- a non-solution that bauer appears to foolishly promote, then the lock-in that github provides would not make audacity more of a hostage in this. yes, there are forks (most if not all of them are github-based) but github makes it more trouble to fork outside of github. the real challenge for audacity (and it wont likely be met) is for the developers to leave and fork. this is one point where i would agree with the author (if he pointed this out) because free software is almost exclusively focused on a license that allows forking, whereas OTHER projects (such as bsd) actually give a shit about forkability-- not just in terms of the license, but in terms of the software itself. except for the linux kernel, which is utterly unforkable. i mean, open source often makes software that is just as unforkable as free software, unless we are talking about certain individuals, or talking about bsd. > Users have since forked the project, but this doesn’t necessarily stop something like this from happening in the future, and certainly doesn’t stop it from happening to other projects. neither does permissive licensing. it merely provides less incentive. (how much less is a matter for debate, and hardly something we have real numbers on). but again, its peculiar (nearly dishonest) to blame gpl for both increasing its defences and also for its defences failing against bad actors. its as though the gpl is not allowed to win this argument no matter what it does. then again, that would hardly be a first for pro-open-source rhetoric. > The GPL-family of licenses attempt to solve a societal problem by restricting the distribution of software in a manner not unlike the so-called Ethical Software movement. BULLSHIT! thats just trolling. ethical software is a fools errand that tries to dump the entire concept of ethics into either a copyright license or contract, or both. it also treats things that are unavoidably subjective as objective. the only "ethics" that the gpl bounds people to are ones around keeping source code available and software under the same license, which is within (or very close to within) typical copyright licenses and contracts, albeit it is unusual for them to bestow rights to source code rather than deny the right to decompile. the licenses solve a LICENSE problem. what bauer does here is extremely dishonest and im done assuming any sort of good faith here. hes either trolling, or a fool. the latter is harsh, so im giving the benefit of the doubt and calling it trolling or simple dishonesty. of course hes welcome to get real anytime and stop bullshitting his readers. > The GPL acts effectively as a proprietary license oh, for fucks sake. open source turns people into shills, like this. thats its main job. here the author is simply lying. this is shameless. > that allows you to the things it deems ethical, ALL OF WHICH are "things" that are already covered by licenses that came before-- things that OTHER licences ALREADY RESTRICTED, the gpl UNRESTRICTS. and then it "restricts" you from restricting them again. and bauer calls this "restrictive", because hes content to troll. > so long as you abide by the terms of the license with regards to the distribution and re-licensing restrictions. As long as you are in this “club”, everything is fine and dandy and you can make your changes and push them to your favourite projects. you dont have to be in any sort of club to use the license. you only have to abide by the terms. ive used the license myself. i was not in this "club" he speaks of. what hes saying is nothing more than DOO DOO. > As soon as you leave this club and want to pull code from a GPL-licensed project into your MIT-licensed project, well, sorry, too bad for you. this is a nonsensical construct. its simply obtuse, and again ignores facts and known intentions. the whole point of copyleft is to keep code free, and hes been ranting about copyleft itself is unethical by shifting goalposts (as open source usually does) to rephrase the stated goals of copyleft in as many trollish, dishonest ways as it can to try to demonise the VERY IDEA of KEEPING CODE FREE. he PRETENDS to make this about the gpl itself, but its clear that any effort to keep code free with ANY license would offend him. open source is stupid about this. heck, as i stated earlier, someday permissive license fans could (im not saying its a sure thing at all) even prove to be RIGHT. but even if that were to happen, most of the arguments in favour of permissive licensing are STILL dumb. they tend to ignore facts that even the author makes clear he is aware of. thats obtuse. making arguments that depend on ignoring what you clearly know to be a fact is (in practically every instance) a ridiculous and dishonest waste of peoples time, even if your conclusion proves correct down the line. > While the GPL may not cause as much of an obstruction or be as unethical as proprietary software, nice of him to admit is the "lesser evil" here. > it is frankly not that much better. i take it back. hes back to trolling again. people who believe in (osi-onward) open source (this excludes much of the bsd crowd, who it does not seem to apply to half as much so i will not apply it to them either) seem to favour this particular sort of shameless dishonesty, and people who believe open source is a positive thing really should ask themselves if open source merely attracts people who are inclined to shill with corporate propaganda or if it trains and rewards formerly honest people along those lines. both are problems, though one is more causal in nature. it could be either. open source makes liars of everyone-- except it seems, the bsd crowd. im not going to give them a full pass (whens the last time you saw a group of thousands or more with no one among them whos full of shit?) but credit where credit is due. > It causes distress and conflict in the software community, NOPE! fuck you, jake. open source has been gaslighting the public (and spending countless funds to do so) for DECADES, pitting people against each other. its pure narcissism to divide the community like open source did and then blame the people THEY divided. pure bullshit. fucking shameless... > is difficult for non-lawyers to fully understand, is this guy a lawyer now? i find that hard to believe the way he described "legalese" earlier... > and harms developers of non-GPL-licensed FOSS software. not really. JUST DONT USE THE SOFTWARE. > It is, for example, the reason why the BSDs cannot take improvements made in the Linux kernel and directly integrate them into their own kernels complain to torvalds. hes an open source guy-- hes the one who chose the gpl for its PRACTICAL benefits. in fact, his choice almost single-handedly undermines your ENTIRE THESIS. > and it is the reason why ZFS cannot be integrated into the Linux kernel, but can be shipped with FreeBSD. zfs really isnt THAT great. zfs certainly thinks it is. > For all this talk of Free Software being the ethical option and the GPL being the ultimate defender of user and developer rights, it completely goes against the ethical principles laid out in Why Software Should Be Free. no, it doesnt-- youre intellectually dishonest, and basing so much on straw men that its a fucking farce. and you have the audacity to demand people treat your trolling with a more open mind than you have for facts and the things you cite. but thats open source to a t; its all double standards, special pleading and frankly, lies. open source is a SCAM. it promises one thing-- then works tirelessly against it and recruits people to lie on its behalf. > So much for “free as in freedom”. so much for this fucking arsehole. > The Failure of the Free Software Culture i am happy in general to discuss the failure of free software culture, but far less pleased to do so with one of the lying corporate-turd-sucking shits who is attacking it with lies. their motivations are dishonest-- and even when they begin with a truth, they are only using it as bait. > “Users will no longer be at the mercy of one programmer or company which owns the sources and is in sole position to make changes.” > But a cursory look at the current landscape of Free Software will tell you that this is simply not the case at all. it wont, actually. a "cursory" and HONEST look at the current landscape will show that what bauer says here is BUNK. when a project has been taken over, the sources are often the only part of the project that IS still free. this has fuck-all to do with anything hes saying. what IS the cause is organisational takeover, and the sustained, organised and well-planned (nobody makes this shit up, you know-- the corporate plans are on public display for fucks sake-- both on file and in everyday practice, which open source shills deny as if water isnt wet) acquisition of COMMUNITIES. it is not about the source code. the amount of freedom you get (everyday) in practice with gpl code or other free licenses is SIMILAR. there are notable exceptions, like the playstation (non-free, based on free code) or the linux kernel (zfs, not that you should care-- or use the linux kernel, for that matter) though for the most part, youre (presently) going to be free either way. the real fight is about the future, and what would happen if we went all in a copyleft direction or the other. and nobody whos honest has the answer-- we can speculate at best. most of the people who like to speculate about this also like to pretend they know what would actually happen. and according to the author, the future is already here, free software simply hasnt admitted it. but thats still bunk. > Users are absolutely at the mercy of the maintainers of software projects to integrate their changes in the current landscape of software development, THIS IS TRUE! or more accurately, its more true than not-- but it has FUCK ALL to do with gpl vs. non-gpl. it is about organisational takeover, and it can happen to any project: permissive, copyleft or non-free. the thing that the fsf is wrong about is whether it can happen to free software. it already has. the gpl was intended to resist code being put under a non-free license, and it most certainly does that. the license DOES NOT resist organisational takeover (and according to some in the bsd community, may even encourage it-- albeit in the same way that a steel security door encourages people to seek other means of entry that are weaker, but is this really the steel doors fault?) but it was never designed to. resisting organisational takeover is the job of the MOVEMENT, NOT the license. but the movement is failing in this regard. open source is not helping in this regard at all either... open source itself IS the takeover. so what bauer really does here is blame the gpl for doing something that: * it isnt actually doing * what hes advocating is directly responsible for this again, is the perpetrator blaming the victim for simply being violated. its not only dishonest, but monstrously so. and here is where i say that bauer is a shill. because thats what hes doing. > especially with software projects as complicated as a many of the popular GUI toolkits, kernels, or desktop environments. THIS IS ALSO TRUE! but again, that is their own fucking fault. if you read the halloween documents (or even if they did not exist, because it was never necessary to read them to realise this was happening, only to gain confirmation of suspicions) they absolutely tease along the strategy of attacking free software (which they preferred to call open source) using desktop environments and simulated lock-in. i really mean lock-in, but i call it "simulated lock-in" because a free license ALLEGEDLY makes lock-in impossible, so a simulation of lock-in appears in practice to have very similar and desired effects. besides, even "real" lock-in was possible to escape if you worked your arse off towards that goal, it was merely very difficult. "simulated" lock-in is the same, and microsoft is on the money to (officially) refer to this as "stickiness". gnome and systemd are the greatest offenders in history, when it comes to this problem. they may not be the first, and they will not be the last. but again, it is INCREDIBLY DISHONEST for corporations, sponsors and lobbyists to deliberately collude towards this goal of creating software that is expressly and BY DESIGN intended to thwart community maintainability, forcing people to come crawling back to corporate masters, and then blame the license for something that no license is capable of preventing. the true and abject failure of failure of the free software movement is not gpl-related really, but it is an abject failure to see this real problem for what it is, and to respond in kind. i believe that sufficiently puts a finland-sized hole in the authors dishonest, trollish thesis, and for the foreseeable future i am now done with your fucking bullshit, jake. > I think, by now, it is accurate to say that Free Software is an abject failure. yes, but its probably accurate to say youre a shill and a liar as well. you started right out by asking us to give you a fair chance. then you took an giant truck-sized shit all over that. you left out any possibility of free software regrouping in the future-- something it desperately needs to work on. your article wasnt really even about free software as much as it was a recycled sales brochure for open source from 15 odd years ago. free software could only right itself by finding its REAL faults, not the ones that have nothing to do with it (and indeed, are the deliberate work of you lot) that youve chosen to blame it for. but you were obviously not concerned with the fate of free software, you only want to be on the side thats winning-- even if it lies and cheats to do so. thats a shame, but maybe you can do a followup about how the gpl failed to instill you with personal integrity. i mean, i would certainly concur. its not that we disagree, that would be alright; de raadt and i may disagree. its that youre just not fucking honest-- and you apparently have no shame at all. but again, and not to put too fine a point on it, thats very typical of open source. all the lies and bullshit and double standards, the pure narcissism of open source, is exactly why i stopped supporting it. open source is a lie. perhaps you think im foolish to accept a failed truth over a lie that is doing well for itself, but i attribute it to a flaw in your character. until you are honest, there is no argument-- only trolling. open source is all that, and worse. swearing its a favour (corporate trojan horse that it is) has NEVER made it so, and weve had decades to see its true colours. dont you? => https://wrongwithfreesw.neocities.org