everything wrong with free software

 "obedience breeds foolishness"

### all-you-can-eat-freedom-0-in-a-coc-sandwich.html *originally posted:* mar 2022 because kuhn wants to eat freedom 0. i think kuhns motivations are too similar to eric raymonds. for literally years, ive tried to figure out how esr could create something as fundamentally deformed as open source (microsofts "worst nightmare" it certainly isnt, unless their worst nightmare is having a convenient trojan horse to use against their most formidable opponent) and the only thing ive been able to come up with that stuck is raymonds ego. he was jealous. im not fond of attributing such petty things to grown men (its a bit of a cliche these days) but again, its the only truly plausible explanation ive been able to come up with. kuhn wants to be the next stallman. the problem with this, is that stallman has integrity (relatively speaking, but relative to most people actually-- hes still very capable of being stubborn and however rarely, even being wrong) and kuhn has used organisational tactics against not just one, but both co-authors of the gpl (and kuhns whole thing is copyleft, copyleft, copyleft, copyleft). this cannot be ignored. even if kuhn had the right idea about the alternative to ethical source, he could not be trusted with the implementation of that idea. kuhn sold us out; he has never admitted this and its unlikely he ever will. kuhn helped lead (no one really knows who really leads it, it has too many moving parts to be sure but the majority are connected to debian, gnome, osi and red hat and often more than one of these at the same time) the coup against stallman, which was a coup against free software itself. despite what techrights brushes off, the coup still has people occupying and working against the fsf-- and the fsf is still falling apart. the fsf will never work to regain the trust of everyone it betrayed; it will only act (as kuhn does) like nothing happened, and can we please get on with the business of free software? fuck no, this IS the business of free software! without integrity, there can be no progress. the fsf is demonstrating an ongoing series of "ruinous compromises" (a phrase that references one of stallmans articles) instead. i think kuhn almost has the right idea. the difference is a threat to free software, and this is beside the fact that kuhn cannot be trusted. i did react hastily to his proposal at first. my first impression (which was false) was that he was going to support ethical source licensing. instead, he did an adequate job of explaining why it is wrong from a free software point, and also from a strategic standpoint. i have to agree with him on most of those points, because they are correct. when i say "kuhn wants to eat freedom 0", i dont mean its actually his desire per se. it is a casual, euphemistic phrasing to say "you want to [thing you dont necessarily actually want]" to mean "this is what will result (from the thing you DO want)". kuhn has it out for freedom 0, but hes probably trying to avoid that in some (ineffective) way. i would say he means well, but i think thats only half-true. kuhn shouldnt even trust his own intentions, with regards to this. as a counterproposal to so-called "ethical" licenses, or what id prefer to call "free as in 'stupid'" licensing, kuhn wants a second code of conduct. fuck it, why not? the fsf already had two vice presidents! why not two codes of conduct? we already have 5 competing volume controls, lets have 5 competing layers of rules against writing free software too. this is what happens when grassroots movements become so ossified that they begin to emulate megacorporations (with FAR fewer people and resources, creating a deficit that can only be filled with a greater emphasis on finding sponsors, but THAT certainly wont come with its own host of problems) where the left hand doesnt know what the right hand is doing. in other words, making a fucking dogs dinner of organisation itself. but this is actually a side point, a "minor gripe" compared to what i have against a second code of conduct. the sad thing is, kuhn almost has a good idea in this! first, not unlike the way that stallman tried to sidestep a "code of conduct" with the kind guidelines-- the kind guidelines are a sort of weaker code of conduct which i think was intended to keep a "real" code of conduct from taking hold; note that libreplanet shows how this has failed! and we are up to 3 volume controls (to lower the volume of software freedom) kuhn tries to sidestep free-as-in-stupid licensing with (as it should be) activism OUTSIDE the license itself. then he fucks it all up and replaces activism with still more bureaucracy. this is why kuhn will fail at being stallman-- bureaucracy stifles progress faster than it assists; it gives with one hand, takes with the other, then hires more people to take away even more. later on it says "theres no way we could have known". oh but there was, you could have listened to the people that told you it would be just like that (and why). like stallman, kuhn can be a bad listener sometimes. unlike stallman, hes really good at stifling people who disagree with him. when you consider that, you can begin to understand his love for bureaucratic solutions. while its true that copyleft addresses "ethical" concerns, it addresses things a license can reasonably handle-- free-as-in-stupid licensing doesnt. kuhn addresses that adequately. and i agree with kuhn that OTHER ethical concerns DO have a place, albeit not in the licensing (because thats completely stupid and will not work for reasons kuhn does a reasonable job of explaining). in fact, ive been saying for years now that treating the license of software as the only thing necessary to keep software free is a bad idea (it is in fact, the only thing needed to MAKE software free) but this is like free-as-in-kittens: if you think a kitten is free just because they dont charge you anything to carry it home, then ive got a bridge to sell you. i dont mean to make too much of other requirements, but the cost of freedom IS eternal vigilance. even the fsf feels it necessary to create the fsdg: a list of rules OUTSIDE the licensing to categorise certain collections of free software as a "free distribution". the fsd (like its distant relatives the dfsg and derivative osd) also exists outside the licensing, as a guide to determining whether a license is a free software license. so we have some precedents as well as some agreements with some of what kuhn is saying: keeping non-licensable things out of licenses for example. thats a good start. and there is at least one example of free software requirements (the fsdg, for one fairly reasonable example) outside of licenses we can point to. this should hopefully make it clear that im not against his point entirely. thats about as far as we get before we delve into concerns that go beyond whos behind the wheel. the problem with the code of conduct is its a zero tolerance policy posing as something else, which is used as a weapon against people who are "inconvenient" to a project, even if they simply offend sponsors who are compromising the project. they remove the ability of a community to stand up to takeover, and thats a problem. if only this problem were hypothetical, and examples didnt continue to exist and continue to increase, that would be one thing-- but we know that whatever a code of conduct is intended to be in theory, in practice it is used to silence people deemed inconvenient. kuhn and his supporters have demonstrated his willingness to abuse codes of conducts and safe space policies in this fashion. even if kuhn were to retire from the cause, this sort of authoritarian abuse and organisational compromise would continue. enter the second code of conduct. if the original code of conduct (different from traditional "forum rules" or "community guidelines" in that many of those stressed either flexibility or solving problems, whereas in practice codes of conduct are much closer to zero tolerance policies and encourage and lead to rampant thought policing) was a threat to developers and users communicating, the second code of conduct (or code of "ethics") is a threat to freedom 0. but ONLY of course, within a specific project. if we already assume it is understood (and it isnt often enough) that zero tolerance policies are stupid and disruptive when they regulate and limit communication, then its reasonable to assume a zero tolerance policy with regards to ethics will be just as much of a problem. theres a reason we dont code all our ethics into strict laws: it makes it impossible to treat ethics with the nuance required to make reasonable decisions. the laws end up getting in the way of the very thing theyre supposedly intended to protect. for a basic example, if you plot and act to bring about someones death, this is generally considered murder. if someone is trying to murder you and you kill them in self defence, this is generally not considered murder. and it isnt even as simple as that, because if it were, things would often go very wrong. as things are, they do go very wrong-- which is one reason among many why many people are against the death penalty: they dont want innocent people killed for an oversight or mistake. zero tolerance policies tend to go heavy on penalties, and they often spread to innocent people almost by design: stallman gets censored and fired for speaking on behalf of a friend, years later people are still being censored for speaking on behalf of stallman. theres an increasing tendency for idiots, even thomas lord (this is a great disappointment) to dismiss defending stallman as "hero worship" or a cult of personality. its nothing of the sort. the purpose of silencing stallman from the very beginning was to silence his supporters by extension-- maybe that wasnt kuhns intention, but he cannot be trusted anyway. he has nullified any good reason to trust him. when people defend stallman, they are defending their own rights. dismissing this as "hero worship" brings into question either the integrity or the senses of the person making the dismissal. i personally refuse to trust anyone who purports such nonsense. they should continue to speak on their own behalf, like one does in a free society (not a zero tolerance one) but im not obligated to have faith in them. ive seen too much of this shit to trust the motives of anyone being as petty as that. no, ive had more than enough of that over the past few years, and to be honest, fuck that. its just another tactic designed to limit free (and necessary) discourse. we already have corporations taking over projects with double standards enforced and reinforced by codes of conduct. we have already been shown that "codes of hypocrisy" are just as fitting a name for them. a lot of that is waved away with ultra-left special pleading, which is to say that hypocrisy and double standards are defended with the cunning use of MORE hypocrisy and double standards. how lovely. so we have codes of conduct which have the result, in practice, of helping corporations censor developers that stand in the way of their ambitions. that of course, is a problem. it would be naive to think that "codes of ethics" modeled after the zero-tolerance-in-practice codes of conduct (in wording, they are measured and flexible, only in practice do they show themselves to be TRUE zero-tolerance policies of course) would not have a similarly negative effect. the code of conduct lets corporations control communication, while the code of ethics will let corporations impose their own companys ethics (hypocritically) onto developers. this is the coc sandwich, and its absolutely shit. REAL ethics are too complex for zero tolerance policies, which is part of the reason laws that dip into morality and lean heavily on bureaucracy are so terrible to live under. a code of ethics, while it will surely be worded in some innocuous way, can only (given what we have already seen) be a source of further control over projects to their detriment. this isnt negativity for its own sake, it is reason and experience for the sake of not taking something stupid and making it worse. but the code of conduct probably forbids you from saying so already. developers SHOULD consider refusing to contribute to projects run by sufficiently unethical parties. for this reason, everyone should also move off github. but if we export the code of conduct to a code of ethics, now instead of only our communications being stifled, we will have a top-down, pro-corporate (yes, they say just the opposite, how utterly quaint-- perhaps they are simply clueless and we should feel bad for them) and hypocritical regime about "ethics" instead of merely the present culture of cloying, two-faced and emotionally-fascist toxic positivity. best of all, the fsf have already given us a preview of the coc sandwich, by implementing a ridiculous so-called "code of ethics" this year, in addition to their kind guidelines (and the librecoc planet that was never libre). libreplanet doesnt allow decisions to be made in light of circumstances, thats why some people signed the anti-rms slander. all decisions, say the code of conduct, must be equal before the letter of the law, NOT based on nuance or circumstances. this may not be what the code actually says, but it is what its enforcers (strictly) demand. the fsf board "code of ethics" is already a farce containing an anti-whistleblower policy. it follows the tendency of the "new" fsf to rip off plotlines from "the office", specifically the one where michael and holly go over the "ethics" manual which is nothing more than a corporate wishlist that has been conveniently branded as "ethics". (oscar points out the farcical nature of this training). only a month or two later, in march of 2022, kuhn advocates what the fsf has already done: taking bullshit, calling it "ethics", and forcing anyone involved in a project or organisation or board to agree to it. weve been here before. its just as stupid as it was already-- maybe moreso. believe me when i tell you, somewhere in that mess of organisational fuckery that kuhn proposes, is part of a good idea. a terrible implementation of a good idea is often worse than doing nothing, and we have the experience to show how and why, and that its hardly just a hypothetical concern. forward, to misguided and oppressive bureaucracy! => https://wrongwithfreesw.neocities.org