everything wrong with free software
"obedience breeds foolishness"
*originally posted:* jun 2022
ive been a fan of tyra banks since i was (and probably because i was) a teen. i had yet to hear of richard stallman. only curious events could bring the two into a comparison such as this one, and those events have to do with people banding together to deal with both of these well-known individuals.
as i said, ive long been a fan of tyra banks. i was unaware of many things about her until recently. there are issues about her personally, and also related issues that are just as relevant to the industry she belongs to, and you will find no defence of her here. it is possible im wrong, and thats the closest to a defence she will get.
one of the problems with "cancel culture" is that the accused is not allowed a real defence. in fact, in cancel culture its a "crime" to defend the accused. since the coup is still ongoing, and has turned into an occupation, it wont hold (such upheaval rarely does, unless it makes the transition from high-conflict coup to lower-conflict occupation) to treat stallman defenders overtly like terrible people, so those against the coups rewrite of history are simply reduced to "hero worshippers".
you cant defend stallman against whatever they throw at him anymore, because the coup is "over" and stop with the "hero worship". he was cancelled, get with the programme, its 2022 and we live in a post-stallman world.
unfortunately it is true that we live in a post-stallman world, but the way we got here was not honest, and history must not be rewritten to transform the coup into business-as-usual. i realise that stallman isnt really coming back-- thats not a goal, rather they are trying to deny him a legacy by pretending they didnt try to martyr him. thats a problem, because to deny him (slowly rewrite) his legacy is to gaslight and lie to everyone, and rewrite history for political reasons.
i will have nothing to do with the sort of people who do these things. they are NOT a free software movement. regardless of what they call it, they work for the corporate open source counterrevolution. stallman underestimated the problem of open source, and free software (like stallman himself) suffers accordingly. im not interested in building more bridges there-- they only lead to false compromise and defeat.
contrast this with the people who have banded together against tyra. unlike with stallman, there is overwhelming evidence that people have been manipulated, terribly mistreated, exploited and abused. unlike with stallman, you have a person who is acting exactly like the industry that they claim to reform. unlike with stallman, you have a real grassroots effort to stand up for the people who have been hurt, not to find a "fall guy" to blame for the crimes of others, even while the industry is significantly worse.
of course if im wrong about stallman, this distinction falls apart. but ive spent literally years trying to find things that truly substantiate the accusations against him-- and ive come up with nothing i wasnt expecting to find. sure, you can make an argument against stallman. it probably wont be fair, but you can make one.
im certainly not a fan of tyra anymore. there are many who are capable of replacing her-- this is only true now, and may never be true regarding stallman. the best way to honour his legacy is to try to continue it, but people will (and must) differ on what that means. the fsf is a worthless farce and stands for nothing, it hasnt demonstrated sufficient integrity for years. they continue (even this year) to cave to demands the coup was making a week after stallman was out.
continuing stallmans legacy implies a great deal of rebuilding, outside the walls of the old castle. there is nothing within those but lies, opportunism and relics of a lost fight that deserve a museum.
the distinction falls apart also if tyra was set up the way stallman was, but i see truth in the accusations-- whats truly just as bad is the way reality tv uses cult and interrogation tactics (isolation, silence, hunger, thirst and gaslighting) to manipulate participants for the entertainment of the audience.
reality tv isnt "toxic", its fucking evil. people who really intend to stop exploitation should stop having anything to do with reality tv. its not lost on me that there are even worse forms of exploitation. but the tactics used are pure and systematic abuse, which take place solely for profit and to manipulate the audience (after manipulating the participants). i do not think there is a bystander issue here, rather you have an industry and someone who is also very much like that industry.
we could make note of the fact that while stallman is a white male, tyra is a black woman. but since many of the people who are complaining are also black women (citing among other things, colourism as a trend in disproportional mistreatment) i dont believe this is a factor in the distinction. maybe due to biases which are noted as being common, we should be extra careful there-- im ok with that, but it doesnt prevent reaching the conclusion that (at least for now) has been reached.
ultimately, we have two efforts to separate someone from the sphere of influence and power theyve built over the years-- but there are two different things that people are trying to stop here: one is stallman-ism. the other is tyra-nny. and there is the key comparison.