everything wrong with free software

 "obedience breeds foolishness"

### i-hope-techrights-can-take-down-github---really other pages: => the-cult-of-the-fsf-is-a-cult---but-not-of-the-fsf-or-of-stallman.html the-cult-of-the-fsf-is-a-cult---but-not-of-the-fsf-or-of-stallman.html *originally posted:* dec 2021 lets be perfectly clear about priorities at least: if it meant github was no more, i would prefer to hear roy gloating for decades about it than for github to ever come back. the title is not untrue, i hope techrights can take down github with its expose. i dont have a problem with what techrights is doing against the ceos, and if i were in roys position i would probably do exactly the same. so this really isnt about that, per se-- now lets look at the bigger picture. sometimes these tactics work, and it will be great if they do. i dont blame roy for trying. it wouldnt make him a better person, but it would be a feather in his "activist" cap for years. he would exaggerate two things: his personal role in the event, and its effect. in reality, nat friedman is (as roy implies) working feverishly to cover his arse, but he was already doing that before techrights became involved. im not going to say that reporting has no effect, it would imply that i dont believe in journalism as a tool for progress at all, and that simply isnt so. i am going to say that reporting is NOT always the main thrust in an event, though in some instances it certainly is (and thats why trying is worthwhile). roy will of course, lean heavily on post-hoc fallacy when its time for chestbeating. he always does. what makes me sceptical is twofold: what i think this will mean for github itself, and what i think this will mean for projects that use it. there are actually TWO opportunities for techrights to make a (theoretical) difference here. first, lets look at github the company. github is no longer a company, at least not on its own-- github is really microsoft. we are talking about microsoft as a company when we talk about github, and while i am 100% in favour of people criticising microsoft endlessly (seriously, go right ahead. its a good idea) i think sugarcoating the real situation is more of a help to them than to users who need to know how bad things are. there are plenty of historical parallels, and real limitations to how much it helps to keep the public in the dark about the gravity of the situation. in other words, acting like github will simply topple from its own weight any moment (when nobody actually believes this, and for good reason) only makes it seem like theres no real need to do anything in terms of fighting it. people can just use it, and deal with the problem when it actually gets here. this sounds peculiar, but its what github users are doing right now. that is probably NOT enough to stop (or even slow down) the takeover of free software, and thats a real problem. in THAT sense at least, this github expose is probably a lot of wank. but i sincerely hope it isnt. (besides, ive already said it is justified regardless). theres a lot of evidence pointing to the idea that ibm participated in the holocaust-- accusations that were initially challenged, then reinforced, and that wasnt enough to stop ibm from purchasing red hat or owning that (along with increasing control of gcc) today. in light of that, it seems almost naive to think that anything friedman has done is going to topple github, as they will (as typically happens in this sort of situation) replace him with some other person to run the thing. for all theyve told us, the REAL force behind friedmans fall could be from the inside (not just a leak, but a "push" if you will). and that doesnt change the fact that if you have something nasty and accurate to say about github, by all means! do so. you never know when it will help. but microsoft in particular, is known for protecting its assets (such as the company itself) from sharing a bad image with its leaders by having those leaders remain in control by a loyal proxy. techrights themselves said that gates still ran microsoft through other people at the helm. theres no guarantee friedman couldnt do the same (though my actual point is github remaining relevant, not friedman himself). so will this topple github? PROBABLY NOT. but if it does, that would be lovely. more to the point, will this sour people on using github for their projects? here is where i have more hope-- not a lot, but definitely some at least. i like to think that some people will respond to this the way roy will say happened (in the future) whether it did or not. he gloats A LOT about the impact techrights has on events. you can decide for yourself if that gloating is really warranted. when github was purchased by microsoft, something like 250,000 people left (for gitlab) in the first week or two. i dont think too highly of gitlab, but its still better than github (and you can host your own instance of it). something being simply "better than github" shouldnt be saying much, incidentally. 250,000 is a lot, but when i look for these 250,000 projects (im not disputing the figure) im not familiar with them. a few of course, i am very happy have left. the rest, im grateful for the solidarity shown and the number being as high as it is. still the overall impact is small, compared to those who have stayed. the question if we are being realistic, is what its going to take for them to change their mind, now that theyve stayed this long (or even moved TO github) after microsoft purchased them. its not like they just started being a shitty company in 2019 or something. and sadly, a lot of people who ought to care simply dont. i think the overall fallacy at work is that if people should care, they obviously do. or they will. and we see that for so many projects, this is not so. i think if this was going to nudge a lot of people towards an alternative to github, something that has already happened would have already nudged them. i realise that some people take more persuading, and i hope this expose will provide them with whatever it takes to convince tham that github is a bad place to stay. but even if techrights publishes some story about friedmans involvement with the holocaust (just to throw out a hopefully theoretical example, clearly based on ibm instead), im simply not sure thats going to put the hurt on github, or on who uses github. it certainly OUGHT TO, and i hope im wrong, but we will find out in 2022 who this revelation was truly the last straw for. the simple difference between the lies that took down stallman and the truth that wont take down github is this: the people taking down stallman were backed by the industry. this is not a point i make in favour of the industry, but against it. im not implying that industry is unstoppable, only that a bunch of gossip (even verified records) about these perhaps-soon-to-be-minor players very frequently does not stop or even slow down the industry at all. techrights has published stuff like this for 15 years straight. perhaps it helps with the epo (i wouldnt know, the epo stuff isnt unimportant but it doesnt interest me enough to follow it closely-- i used to ask roy for a true summary, and all i got was handwaving) but this much is certain: british-style "goss" pages about leaders didnt stop the fsf from being infiltrated and gutted, it didnt put stallman back in a position to talk about any of it, it didnt stop microsoft from owning github and controlling at least a fifth of free software projects for years now, nor did it really even stop the coup. instead, when it comes to the bottom line, techrights lies about the status of the movement, makes things up (like what stallman never said about systemd or anything like it) and actively encourages people to not worry about really changing these things, because theyre ultimately going to take care of themselves. as to the accuracy of this criticism, ive spent YEARS looking for a more accurate way to put it. i think its close enough to being true, and im not exaggerating or fabricating it in the slightest. does techrights have its good points? yes, and ive even named some of them (since i started writing here instead). im pleased to see github being attacked again. but its not enough to be honest about certain select facts-- you also need to not be self-servingly full of shit about the big picture as well as the context of those facts. in that regard, techrights has a long way to go. => https://wrongwithfreesw.neocities.org