everything wrong with free software
"obedience breeds foolishness"
=> mo-money-mo-problems.html mo-money-mo-problems
*originally posted:* dec 2021
the promises of federation need to be kept, for federation to matter at all. instead we seem to be promised freedom, baited with federation repeatedly, just to find ourselves with neither.
simple protocols are good at keeping promises. complicated protocols have a history of breaking theirs.
there are two sorts of obsolescence in technology: planned (or forced), and natural.
natural obsolescence is when people stop using something because they just dont want it anymore. its their choice, the fit simply doesnt fit like it used to, so they leave for something they prefer.
theres not much that can be done about this-- only so much can be added to a protocol before it ultimately falls over, so the ones that succeed for the longest are the ones that are designed the best. if only it were that simple in practice, because:
planned obsolescence is when people stop using something because theyre being pushed to by vendors, monopolies or lobbyists. in rare instances at least, its a good thing to advocate "upgrades" from some terrible thing to something better. free software is (sometimes) a good example of this. but bad (and dishonest) examples are just as common.
planned obsolescence is a tool and a tactic of proprietary software. in this model, the developers know best-- theyre going to not only tell you what you should do, theyre going to come down on you (push you harder than they ought to) to go in whatever direction they want. they might claim this is advocacy, but when you take a closer look it often looks more like monopoly tactics or even marketing. advocacy has to be honest and a service; dishonest "advocacy" is very arguably a disservice.
these themes were addressed with regards to programming languages in an article i reviewed for lxo here: https://www.fsfla.org/ikiwiki/blogs/lxo/pub/new-dawn.en.html (i avoid linking directly to fsf-hosted websites, but will cite them at times).
this is one of my favourite articles by lxo, but i dont deny any bias about this. its an important message.
what i wanted to say to him today was to apply it to protocols. sure, there are times when a protocol (or encryption standard) probably ought to be abandoned-- i advocate for moving away from web-based protocols for example, even while someone i consider an enemy advocates the same thing.
however, all this "advocacy" (again, too often it is only marketing in advocates clothing-- when it isnt honest, when it is self-serving or simply corporate bullshit) must ultimately leave the user in the drivers seat, lest they will become a "used".
some developers are simply too narcissistic or selfish about this. while it goes without saying (i file the thing under straw man, actually) that nobody expects developers to "slave" over code they have no desire to work on, this cynical oversimplification really comes down to "we can advocate what software people use, but USERS cannot". it is a monopoly tactic, not only in a corporate context but a personal one.
in other words, users must have the final say in what software they use. leave developers with the sole right (moral, cultural, social or otherwise) to determine what software users use, and the user is no longer free-- if the user is not free, what good is free software?
again, i am not telling developer x or developer y what to do here. more importantly, i am saying that the culture of users making their own decisions (not having developers PUSHING them to do what developers want) is not merely a goal of free software, it is a promise. and if we break that promise, free software fails.
pedants will surely find various ways around this truth. but when they do, it invariably looks like this:
* developers do what they want (no problem)
* users try to do what they want (this is how it should be)
* narcissistic and monopolistic developers try to take over (control) more than just the software they are developing-- they try to control MORE AND MORE of the LANDSCAPE (both technical and social) around it.
the above is itself a coup against users.
systemd is just one of many good examples. no, it doesnt matter if youre one of those idiots who still insists on ignoring this. youre the fucking problem-- you cannot be reached at all. there is no need for you to read further, its hopeless. talk to someone else about it.
anyway, make headway with arguments about that sort of thing and people only shut them down with force-- then after shutting down venue after venue, they demand people take time to explain what was already forbidden (and this spreads until it is a de facto monopoly over speech as well as computing).
debian is similarly (and by extension) a coup against users. it would be nice if the coup ended there, but it doesnt.
now, lxo has done the world a service by describing what a "new dawn" would give us, and in this article i have complained about what it is we do not get WITHOUT such a new dawn.
the goal here is to explain what a viable path towards that dawn would look like, since everyone seems to lack a map to it.
to understand the dawn, you must understand the darkness before it. the fsf fails terribly at this, and cannot give any directions towards the dawn. developers openly attack (and openly mock and ridicule) users for trying to be free, then the fsf gives the bullies a free software award.
one has to wonder (if they spent several years not noticing already) which side the fsf is really on-- users complain their freedom is under attack, developers laugh and stick up their fingers at them, and then the people laughing and sticking their fingers up get an award.
i mean, the fsf might as well just go ahead and stick their fingers up at users too.
but instead they ask for money and say "JOIN US!"
i mean, what an invitation, right? ive spent the past SEVEN YEARS (others like mincer, have spent TEN!) complaining about these threats to our freedom, the fsf has done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT THEM for seven fucking years, stallman himself says he refuses to do anything about them (all the way back in 2011, i might add-- and hes kept his word on that the entire time) and if stallman refuses then so does the fsf.
then they say JOIN US, SO WE CAN FIGHT FOR YOU!
but when you ask them to fight for you, they tell you its not a problem. you might have proof-- DOESNT MATTER! gotta give awards out to developers that stick their fingers up at users and tell them theyll have no choice "gentoo this is your wakeup call" BUT AGAIN, if only systemd was the only example...
(i dont know if the fsf has ever given a free software award to poettering, but theyve given it to people who are just as awful if not worse-- and poettering doesnt care about the free software award, the fsf pretending trisquel is still free is far better for poettering if you are being at all realistic).
olivas article was about python 3 though, and thats a great example of the same problem.
python 3 by the way, is controlled by microsoft. and before that, it was controlled by google. and the fsf is so fucking insipid, it swears that python is controlled by USERS!
if python 3 was controlled by users, then lxo wouldnt need to write his article.
but lxo HAS been more forthcoming about things the fsf busily sat on for years at a time. so recently the fsf responded by formally cracking down on whistleblowers. it certainly looks nothing like fighting for freedom.
JOIN US TODAY SO WE CAN FIGHT FOR OUR FUNDING!
i find that a LOT more plausible under the circumstances.
you should really hope the fsf fails as quickly as possible-- theyve got stallman, and they wont give him back until theyre completely bankrupt.
HAS TECHRIGHTS EVER TALKED ABOUT T-H-I-S BEFORE?
before the coup, people complained that they were silenced by non-disclosure agreements at the fsf.
of course stallman was PRESIDENT at the time.
now hes not.
HE STILL HAS TO SIGN AN NDA.
know what it means to sign an nda and NOT be the president?
it means stallman isnt ONLY silenced-- hes SIGNED A CONTRACT to be silenced.
something to think about-- coming back (under false pretenses, not his but theirs) perhaps only made it harder for him to fight.
of course other people (not stallman himself, he wouldnt) say that hes really pulling ALL THE STRINGS.
maybe that means he didnt have to sign an nda. but really-- wanna bet?
though again, i digress.
if the fsf can be taken over on an organisational level, so can software development.
what keeps free software under the control of a few, rather than the user?
the same thing that keeps proprietary software under the control of a few: bloat.
oh sure... proprietary software ALSO uses a license.
but free software can fairly easily code AROUND proprietary software thats SIMPLE. its done so countless times.
so proprietary software gets more and more complex, as a goal-- then it sells the new complexity to users who used to have the old stuff, which is not natural obsolescence but planned, or forced (or perceived).
again, it isnt honest-- its marketing. its psychological manipulation.
they only play these games because they help their bottom line though. in other words, theyre effective enough.
when so-called "free software" developers start playing the same games, the software goes from being "free software" to free in license only--
these days im just calling it floss, because its formerly libre, openly sleazy software.
what makes its sleazy? its pushy, dishonest and ABUSES your (trust) freedom.
if you would prefer software that doesnt act like a fucking arsehole on your computer, if you would prefer to FUND projects that are NOT based on lying to users or trying to take over as many peripheral projects as possible, then in theory you are free to do so.
if you spend years trying to do things you were always able to do before, and find that every route leads to some issue (technical and or organisational) that now somehow MAGICALLY prevents you from doing that, maybe its a takeover. just saying.
why takeover? because its not about your freedom anymore. its only about developers, developers, developers!
ive said lots of times, that developers are not inherently bad people.
but sometimes very bad people become developers.
you know what the alternative to bloated, monopolistic software is?
simple, honest software.
and the true FOUNDATION of free software (even the foundation of gnu itself) is SIMPLE, HONEST SOFTWARE.
THAT is what we have lost.
THAT is what was deliberately attacked (though in order to attack that, it was also necessary to attack people like stallman who founded the movement).
but THAT is ALSO what will give us our freedom back:
SIMPLE, HONEST software.
everyone wants to quibble about what is and isnt bloat. that quibbling is a waste of time. even completely inexperienced users can get SOME idea whether their system is bloated. if its their own fault, thats one thing-- if its like that because developers put it that way, something is wrong.
but we arent even talking about distributions right now. we are talking about that word stallman doesnt like, because (actually, this is ONE thing stallman cares about that i dont give a shit about at all) ...the word is "ecosystems". narcissistic developers have spent the better part of a decade (maybe longer) paving the way for a takeover, and the fsf did:
to stop them. now it will be up to SOMEONE ELSE to clean up all of this SHITware.
and the fsf wont help with that, either-- but theyll take your money. and theyll throw a party for the fucking arseholes who did this. called lieplanet. but fuck them! the fsf is a lie. (notice how i always distinguish fsf from stallman? thats because contrary to his own beliefs-- which hes contractually forbidden from discussing anyway! THE FSF AND STALLMAN HAVE FUCK-ALL TO DO WITH EACH OTHER NOW!)
but hes still there, captive-- while guix gets off completely free.
they say that if you want to know who your real masters are, just see who youre allowed to make fun of.
make fun of stallman: no problem. everybody does.
make fun of guix developers: nope, thats hate. want to see their manifesto, which demands that you lick their arses? (hey, dont be offended. mozart WROTE A SONG called "lick my arse"-- this is classical music now! just tell them its a free culture work... it is until the supreme court says otherwise...)
make fun of corporations: nope, that allegedly makes you an idiot. or a bigot. or both.
so now you know who your masters are. and of course, when you want freedom, you should trust your masters!
NOPE! the fsf knows fuck-all what theyre talking about.
if they knew the first fucking thing about freedom, theyd know that:
1. your masters-- BY DEFINITION, wont give you freedom
2. you cant make fun of your masters
3. "everybody" makes fun of people who fight for freedom
i mean, if you show the fsf the writing on the wall, theyll throw a fundraiser to help clean it off.
then theyll throw another fucking party for your masters, and call it "fighting for your freedom".
but THE POINT HERE IS, that the internet (like gnu) was MORE FREE when it was based on SIMPLE, HONEST software. by no means is this the only factor in what weve lost, simply a vital one and one that we cant afford to ignore.
YOU WONT GET FREEDOM from this silly charade of developing enormous, bloated, sisyphean protocols that only a few people can ever get operational in the first place, which are never perfected before they are abandoned for the NEXT bullshit.
this has gone on year after year, and its SORT OF like python 3-- at least in practice.
listen, the CONCEPT of federated software is great. but its pointless if we are going to create this freedom just to let microsoft control it. or if we are just going to judge it based on a shiny interface (which prevents actual federation by being unscalable because of some web bullshit that uses all the cpu on the "server" or client or whatever).
in PRACTICE at least, federated SOFTWARE is a farce.
while the rest of the world waits (or tries the latest alpha/beta bloated bullshit thing) for the perfect (and thoroughly overloaded) protocol, people who are serious about freedom just cobble together simpler things out of simpler peer-to-peer solutions.
diaspora is worthless. mastur-don is a farce. most of the people working on these technical solutions are simultaneously working on ways to control them using frankfurt school bullshit tactics. which dont just make it so you cant be a nazi on the internet (but you still totally can), but they also make it so stallman cant say anything about free software! (but he still totally cant).
in other words, all this freedom that will be restoring the FREEDOM of online interaction REAL SOON NOW (give it another decade or two i guess-- then another, then another! then keep going, suckers) seems to invariably MISS, it doesnt stop the nazis but it EFFECTIVELY stops stallman from talking about his own progressive technology movement.
this is another fucking farce.
i mean, stallman doesnt need permission to say what hes ALLOWED to say, does he? no, hes already allowed.
so what is this magical protocol doing? freeing stallman? nope! freeing me? nope!
tying people to OTHER worthless cruft that was designed SPECIFICALLY to give users less control while giving "freedom" to lying corporate developers?
YES. thats what youre getting in practice-- but in theory its a great liberator.
thats what your masters will always tell you-- youre going to be more free under their thumb, than not. but theyre still lying.
SO WHATS THE ANSWER?
basically, fuck all this. federated software is NOISE. its a good idea, and when it WORKS, youll find it leaking all sorts of useful stuff into the "non-federated" or "legacy" internet protocols.
wheres the leak? oh, okay-- these federations still have nothing to say but how important they are to our freedom.
but they dont care about our freedom. if they did, they would make sure that FIRST AND FOREMOST we had:
simple, honest software.
instead we have formerly libre, openly sleazy software.
for users to be free, the software they depend on (at an absolute minimum) must be designed and maintained towards that goal.
it has to be honest-- and if it is simple, it can still be fixed by other people who realise the problem (while liars, shills and formerly useful organisations vehemently deny the problem for years).
it isnt simplicity for its own sake, its simplicity that we build our freedom on.
people will of course, pile all kinds of shit on top of that. its what happens.
the real traitors are the ones who attack and redesign the software we already depend on, so that it becomes bloated, unmaintainable, and dies prematurely. you know, people die. when you deliberately make them die prematurely, its murder.
these people are murdering our software, so that their software becomes a requirement at the rest of our softwares expense. then they take over the organisations we used to look up to, so that murdering our software can be redefined as "fighting for your freedom".
the real issue being complained about here, is not that theyre murdering our software per se.
its that we are less free for it, and ALL THE PROMISES about making us free are just marketing and bullshit.
if you want to stop that treachery, all you have to do to GET STARTED is say:
"fuck you, fuck your bullshit". and stop trusting fucking traitors out to put a fucking end to your freedom.
fuck "federated software", until its also NOT BULLSHIT. but for now? its closer to a scam.
do you see anybody around here who is more free now than they were fifteen years ago? do the people who fought for this freedom have more control of their computing, or do people DEMAND that they submit, a la python 3, a la the shit the web has turned into, a la systemd?
right, this isnt freedom. its just shitware, marketed as salvation.
its not a new trick. proprietary vendors have always done this.
im not against federated software. but FREE SOFTWARE is more important.
these people working on federated software? they dont know the first thing about user freedom.
at least, if they did know, they no longer care about it.
and theres no need to care about them, either. theyre not trying to solve the problem. theyre rolling around in it and calling the product of said rolling around a solution.
as if the free software movement needs any more farces, hypocrisy, broken promises or bloated, digital snake oil.
if they ignore the technical and political foundation that made our freedom possible, like free software (nearly) always does today, then it doesnt matter what they build on top-- it will fail to free the user, until it gets the fucking basics right again.
everything else theyre doing is simply a farce, a charade, and a scam.
not JUST LIKE open source-- no, it IS open source.
it isnt free software, because it doesnt (actually) help liberate the user. it is open source, built on lies, broken promises, bloat, monopoly and bullshit.
if you really want to help the free software movement, you can do that BY USING free software.
if you really want to USE free software, it will help you to know that open source is the effort to stop you from doing so-- and to instead, and once again-- submit to control by sleazy, lying corporations.
they attack your freedom with bloat, and they attack your head with lies.
do understand what marketing is, too:
marketing is the process of spending years studying the way that humans work (individually and in groups) so that can be EXPLOITED, so that you can be manipulated-- into doing what someone else wants.
marketing is one of the pillars of open source. marketing is all thats left of the free software foundation.
the osi marketed itself as the new fsf, now the fsf has become the new osi.
i have no use for any of this shit. its garbage, its lies, its control posing as freedom.
the fsf is dead, gnu is also dead. (most) gnu developers are useless, and do not understand freedom.
federated software is just another jesus people wait for, instead of helping their neighbour.
its nothing against jesus, (or the idea of federated software). its the stupid, worthless priorities of people who pretend to give a shit about your freedom-- and dont even know what it is.
people can get (basically) all the advantages of federated software by simpler (more reliable) means.
sustainable, maintainable software is what matters.
fancy pants flash-in-the-pan bloated bullshit wont free you. freedom will never be built on the treadmill.
treadmills dont GO ANYWHERE-- and THAT (for REAL, this time) is THE WHOLE FUCKING POINT!
these people arent about progress, their FIRST loyalty is to something slowing it down or reversing it. then they try to build freedom and liberation on THAT.
its no real wonder then, that it still isnt working. the real wonder would be if it ever fucking did.
anyway, the federation stack goes something like this:
* bloated interface
* faddish utopian protocol of the month
* browser that pushes drm as a standard, but dont worry because a handful of us have it turned off by default
* laughably bloated-for-the-sake-of-it former flagship of the free software movement, drifting towards microsoft-controlled repos
* ibm-sponsored cuckold operating system designed to deprecate the host
* kernel controlled by microsoft
* completely free firmware, at least on 0.5 percent of machines
* but in nearly all instances, the firmware is not only proprietary but rigged for intrusion
* hardware from completely freedom-respecting chinese fabs
* nsa, gchq, russian hackers, the usual
dont know when the fucking CHARLATANS at the floss software foundation (eat a bag of turds, munroe-- you lying, spineless shill) plan to do something, but-- maybe next year! just keep believing--
and most of all, SEND THEM MONEY! sooner or later theyll need it to subscribe to microsoft clown services, for the gnu project infrastructure.
but dont worry, theyll all (from wget, to guix all the way up to the treasurer/president or treasurer+president) sell you out to microsoft in a way that is TOTALLY and COMPLETELY about YOUR FREEDOM!
as to the developers: CAN YOUR BLOATED, SOCIAL BULLSHIT GET THE GNU PROJECT OFF PROPRIETARY MICROSOFT GITHUB?
gee, its sure nice that the fsf / gnu / microsoft CARES about whatever!
* "This is a GNU package:social"
* "This is a high priority project"
the fsf seems overly focused on projects created and/or maintained by and/or run by stallman backstabbers, but its not a fucking coup. there are perfectly good reasons why the software that matters most to your freedom is created by the people who are most hellbent on controlling the founder, and lying to (thus controlling with lies) every single user.
i will have nothing to do with gnu antisocial. fuck this shit, and the source it rode in on.
"JOIN US" and help us PROVIDE REFUGE, INFRASTRUCTURE AND PROMOTION FOR the same people who spent years deliberately and systematically driving a knife into the back of our STILL-mysteriously-silent founder?
or maybe we should call it the crack-smoking foundation-- that at least, would explain a lot!
and to the people who signed the stallman defence letter:
isnt it odd that the fsf seems to invariably care more about the traitors, than they ever do for the betrayed? (was that a condition of surrender? what?)
^ 403 Forbidden
"WHAT? Why am I seeing this?"
"Your access to this site was blocked by Wordfence, a security provider, who protects sites from malicious activity."
"If you believe Wordfence should be allowing you access to this site, please let them know using the steps below so they can investigate why this is happening."
put THESE idiots IN CHARGE of YOUR "FREEDOM"! do THAT, INSTEAD of something based on reliability before censorship, honesty before attempted-life-destroying fabrications, and USERS CONTROLLING THEIR COMPUTING!
trust the w3c-- THE W3C IS MOTHER, THE W3C IS FATHER--
just dont smoke crack in your unix (gnu) pipes!