everything wrong with free software

 "obedience breeds foolishness"

### mo-money-mo-problems other pages: => https://wrongwithfreesw.neocities.org/why-techrights-is-an-open-source-scam.html why-techrights-is-an-open-source-scam.html *originally posted:* dec 2021 title is a reference to a song i had on cassette tape many years ago, which sampled the 1980 hit "im coming up" by diana ross. i think biggie and tupac were friends at one point, and i dont know if a world that put human needs (including the obvious need of sustaining the food chain and diversity of life) first would mean they had remained friends, instead of getting each other killed over their rivalry. im happy to be a minimalist. its not my ambition for every member of the human race to lead the most meagre existence possible so we can maximise the sustainable number of humans on earth; though its considerably less trouble to move, and i avoid most of the absurd rituals that george carlin described when talking about "stuff". when it comes to my computing, i dont want to get a faster computer all the time so i can run a lot of useless (often intrusive) bullshit that developers want to saddle me with, which i never asked for. so im a minimalist in that regard as well. im probably not as minimalist as the suckless people, but im very grateful to them for their window manager and i use some of their other tools. but it probably needs to be said that "grassroots" and minimalist often go hand in hand. of course, if the world was run by everyday people (or better yet, was stateless) then "grassroots" might involve enough people and resources to outshine the largest concentrations of power and wealth weve seen. which probably doesnt mean that we would all own a yacht the size of a house, but i think i would get bored owning such a thing sooner or later. so you know, ive lived (for a time) in a mansion as well as had many really terrible slumlords. i used to have a refrigerator, oven and sink by my bed, because there was no other room for them (at least the toilet was separate). im also aware that this is luxury by some standards; my best man used to live in an actual tipi, while his friend would at times sleep (without any other form of shelter whatsoever) at the foot of a tree. the only reason id ever tolerate a mansion again is if i could put it to some use like letting other people live there rent-free, or have a school in it or something. this isnt about the evils of money in general, and i used to be fond of saying that money was never called the "root of all evil" by people who knew where the phrase came from, only the "love of money" (over people), and that sort of thing. today i was reading something wonderful that talked about a world where money lost its actual power-- not only its worth, but its ability to hold the attention and capture the desire of humanity. one thing im definitely not is a utopian, i dont think theres anything inherently wrong with our species genetically, but i absolutely think our culture is broken and ill-suited to anything remotely akin to human potential. nor do i think any sort of monoculture could ever save us, that theres "one right way to live" or that simply getting rid of money would save our race. i dont have limitless faith in humanity, though what faith i do have rests entirely on us finding (a) more reasonable way(s) to live. i dont consider myself an environmentalist either. environmentalism is in at least as much trouble as the free software movement, having to constantly present the world with gimmicks, quick fixes and other tripe to convince them theyre saving a planet that theyre hastily flushing down the toilet. the earth works (by default at least) on geological time and will begin to right itself the moment that humans fuck off to somewhere else, so when we talk about "saving the earth" all we are really talking about is saving ourselves. which is alright with me, as in order to save ourselves we would have to either evacuate or stop murdering wholesale the rest of the planetary genome. everybody wins. but regardless of its undeniable importance, this is not the cause i devote most of my time and energy to-- at least not directly. ever since i started using computers ive loved them, and for decades the trajectory was to have an increasing level of control over my computing. the "control over my computing" part was never my idea, rather it is the STATED GOAL of free software. i think its important to say "the user needs to have control of their computing" because free software as a thing is very much in danger of being finally extinguished by open source and liars in general, but i think its possible (even likely) that free software will be rebooted. the biggest problem with a reboot is that if we dont learn from the mistakes that destroyed free software 1.0, they will be repeated and likewise threaten the reboot-- just as it destroyed so much progress before. those who wish to reboot free software really owe it to themselves to get more things right than the previous iteration. funnily enough, i found it difficult to buy into the idea of libertarianism at all (there are a lot of things i like about it) but free software really seemed to "prove" it could be something other than nonsense. its not the goals of libertarianism i find laughable-- i still think it presents an argument that i find interesting and alluring. but with the (admittedly long-term) time constraints i consider reasonable, i have yet to see any REAL promise in libertarianism, and the best evidence i could ever find of its feasibility has fallen over and fallen flat. this has greatly increased my scepticism, and my willingness to consider alternatives. i certainly have no desire to liberate every computer user, only to have them suffer under some oppressive regime whenever they log off and return to the "physical" world beyond the internet, screen and keyboard. there was always a bigger picture beyond free software, but without free computing that bigger picture is so much more of a farce. i watched scientists put electronic tags on cattle decades ago, and never expected humanity to carry a similar device everywhere in their hands, bags or backpacks. this is at least a somewhat dystopian world weve built and are building, in more ways than one. i also have not regained any trust in the state, but i dont think its going away any time soon, and i severely limit my support of any regime that murders by the thousands (or more) for profit, as so many countries (or perhaps even most countries) still do in various illegal wars. id love to find a place that is blameless in this, but i seem to think every nation supports some sort of conquest, or slavery or both. (you might consider conquest to imply slavery, and that may be a perfectly valid point). of course there are many very "civilised" countries that swear to you they are uninvolved in these atrocities because they only participate by proxy, or because they swear it is all to protect people they clearly have no reason to actually care about-- and routinely demonstrate evidence to the contrary. whatever your opinion is of all this, im pleased to see practically any version of a free software movement that: 1. puts every user in control of their computing, and: 2. ... actually, id really love to see free software simply keep up with its original promise to do this. now, can you do it? by extension, i am of course keenly interested in what ways we can learn from the mistakes that made free software fail to liberate the user. what is NOT new at all, is the fact that free software has to stand up to bribes and any corporate temptation to work against its own interests. if the goal of any project is to be controlled by a corporation, or tolerate (rather than sufficiently resist) such control, then the project has nothing to do with free software, nothing to do with the user having control of their computing, and really ought to be called (at best) "free in license only", where a free license is the MINIMAL requirement for software to be free. for free software to REMAIN free, it must also stand up to efforts to regain control of the user by any company (or number of people) who wish to do so. this should be obvious, and its the reason free software needs a movement (and people), not just code under free licenses. one of the (unwritten?) rules of open source is to reduce free software to its licensing, and this is exhibit a for the charge of free software kowtowing and transforming itself into open source: it has largely reduced freedom to questions of license alone. because open source is nonsensical and self-contradictory (basically, say whatever at any time to convince people of whatever at whatever time-- something techrights has shown quite a penchant for over the past 15 years, being "open source" in free softwares clothing) it also has put a great deal of weight on UNNECESSARY requirements for free software, such as the requirement of a "community" for a project to be "open source". free software is often written by a single person, or small group. what open source calls a "community" is simply a formal presence and process they can co-opt, but a community is not NECESSARILY a bad thing. but then if youre trying to conquer and overthrow (and replace) free software, denying it things that are needed while saddling it with superficial requirements isnt completely stupid, i guess. all the same, the point of free software activism (when free software was NOT a farce) was never to simply get everything under a free license. to say otherwise would be a rewrite of history, indeed the very content of fsf-authored free licenses had to be appended to meet new threats. this proves at the very least, that free software must respond to new problems as they arise. but there are other bits of free software history (and rhetoric, and activism) that have to be re-written before the present trajectory (i.e. failure) of free software makes any sense at all. free software (in its fully-formed, once successful state) was never anti-commercial. there was a point where stallman considered non-commercial licensing to be a valid or worthwhile solution. free software (as defined) cannot be limited to non-commercial use only, and i have personally never been in favour of limiting free software to non-commercial use. freedom 0 (which was added in response to problems such as drm) is the freedom to use free software "for any purpose". any license that limits this freedom is non-free, and any software under such a license is also non-free. i consider this important. i am not at all in favour (i am entirely against) a non-commercial license. the real point of this article however, is that (only if we want free software 2.0 to succeed; otherwise, it hardly matters) even if we should not limit commercial USE of the software (and to be clear, i dont think a license change is necessary or as far as i can tell, even desirable) we absolutely must limit commercial INVOLVEMENT with the software. which is to say, software that intends to remain free will have to reject commercial interference. with free software being replaced nearly wholesale (all the way up to the fsf leadership) by open source and SOLELY corporate interests at the expense of all else, funding is an obvious and well-documented lever that big companies use to attack our movement, our organisations, our software and even our users. mozilla is a great example. google is a great example. github is an incredible example. IF FREE SOFTWARE DOES NOT STAND UP TO THESE THREATS, IT WILL BE REPLACED WHOLESALE BY OPEN SOURCE. stallman was wrong about this-- you simply cannot have a free software movement that is so neutral to corporate involvement. forcing the likes of ibm and microsoft to find ways around the license has not resulted in freedom for users, but the consolidation of free projects in the hands of monopolies, who increasingly shirk any requirements of the license or the needs of the user. and it should come as no surprise, as the goal of these companies is monopoly-like power, not user freedom. open source never cared about this, so it was able to hand off our freedom to companies in exchange for MONEY and PARTICIPATION. get this much clear: MONEY and PARTICIPATION in free software by large corporations DO NOT MAKE USERS FREE! if anything, it poses an inherent threat. so you might say: alright, we should then be wary of LARGE corporations, but we can still trust non-profits and SMALL companies. it will probably come to exactly that AT SOME level, but even putting too much trust THERE is dangerous, because it would mean putting too much trust in organisations like the fsf (who have absolutely fallen to corporate fuckery, despite the fact that the fsf itself led the movement for years) or in companies like red hat (once small) or corrupt bullshitters like mozilla. the projects that seem to have the most representation in the anti-stallman coup are DEBIAN and GNOME, (the latter being blessed by the fsf and the gnu project, and the former being foolishly relied upon by the same) so who the hell are we supposed to trust? for starters, perhaps we need to cease to trust any free software organisation beyond a certain SIZE. this wont fix everything, but it will keep things "more grassroots" and less commercial. a smaller size is not a guarantee in and of itself; smaller companies get bought out (literally and entirely owned) by larger companies, OF WHICH GITHUB IS A PRIME EXAMPLE though we can say this for companies both small and large. one of the problems that free software was a direct response to was the problem stallman saw of companies POACHING developers. free software seems to be ignoring this lately. for open source, being poached by a company hostile to your goals is treated like a triumph, even proof of "real progress" being made, like some kind of david-vs-goliath story. this of course is a farce, supported by people who cant (or wont) tell the difference between conquering an enemy and being captured by it. (github again, being a prime example-- among many). open source will always overthrow free software, as long as free software ignores the differences between things that open source seeks to conflate: involvement with sympathy, funding with freedom, poaching and takeover with success. open source conflates these because it wants free software to give up its freedom, and just be controlled by corporations again. because hey, the corporations have learned their lesson and now theyre willing to SHARE their monopoly power, with YOU! (who can say no to that?) but while it isnt my goal to simply raise "awareness" of the problem and leave it unsolved, i cant say its going to be trivial to figure out a way to avoid simply building the next generation of the gnu project so it too can be co-opted by ibm and microsoft via sellouts and traitors like debian and gnome. still, this is exactly the problem that free software needs to solve to survive. (and unlike anything that techrights pulls your dick about, the solution has to be REAL-- not endlessly shoved off into the future, because the only real solution techrights gives an actual shit about is MOAR ARTICLES and bullshit). it may take some iterations to get this problem solved-- it certainly took the gpl a few iterations to fight what it was designed to fight. some iterations can run in parallel if the free software is a true federation. of course the "fediverse" cares nothing about your freedom and is dead-set against progress for this movement, and the fediverse will also try (as an extension of open source) to capture and co-opt any group that stands against the biggest threats to free software 2.0. this is a warning against the same, because i already see one interesting effort that will likely (but hopefully not) make this mistake. i am however, in favour of federation per se; what im against is the group of traitors that call themselves "the fediverse" who care not about free software, but are run by (mostly) corporate shills and traitors. no progress will ever come from that group, and you would be utterly foolish to trust them. the fediverse is built on lies. the "federation" i support has to be honest, like stallman was (notoriously) honest. a federation of liars CANNOT serve freedom and will always side with the people co-opting and destroying it: => https://nongnew.neocities.org/the-gnew-frontier---chapter-13---the-thrive-guidelines.html i have yet to see a single deployment of "federated" software (at least among the applications designed to replace mainstream social functionality) that actually serves the free software movement more than it co-opts and helps destroy it. i met roy and oliva on identi.ca when it was still active, i used diaspora when it was new, ive tried various other things like it (im entirely against mastodon) and these communities are full of people who have worked against free software. its true that ive met a few people there (VERY few) who did this movement justice. the fediverse stands against everything it claims to stand for, other than absolute bullshit. when i speak of "federation" i mean several organisations working along the lines of the thrive guidelines. there could be other types of useful federation, but i dont mean something that simply runs on gnu social or some other farcical, failed (dishonest, hypocritical) attempt at liberating the web. the web will never be liberated; it is bloated, unmaintainable, corporate-captured bullshit. of course any librarian would hope to see as much of it archived as possible (and so would i), but the "web" is going to remain part of the problem; attributing too much importance to it will absolutely prevent the internet from keeping its promises. irc (all of it, without exception) is completely run by people who stand against free software, but any federation that relies on a single protocol across the board is most likely doomed. no federation needs to rest on a single protocol (nor a meaningless, arbitrary combination of a few). these networks need to be judged on what they DO in practice, at least as much as how they are designed in theory. the irc protocol for example, has nothing inherently wrong with it. its just that all the irc networks suck. (i dont anticipate this ever changing, but it would be alright if it did). minimalist websites, gemini, git repos (sadly-- far better than github at least) and various other things will be (like the internet itself) cobbled together to form a REAL federation. the fediverse is an open source scam, and hates your freedom. theyre very welcome to prove me wrong, but its been more than a decade and theyve done everything necessary to convince me personally of their sheer lack of value to freedom or progress. with that made clear, lets talk about the various things that have happened to gut the free software movement: * organisations have been corrupted through funding * small companies have been purchased * large companies have been purchased * the best orgs have turned bad * the projects we relied most on were (as often as not) turned against us some of these are things we need to find ways to protect as part of free software 2.0, and some of these we can avoid by simply doing "something else" instead. not every good idea we try is going to work, of course. there will be some false starts. but WITHOUT considering these problems and trying to find solutions, free software will (however many years from now) at best be rebooted and then recaptured, and i never supported free software just to see it get turned into cheap labour for monopolistic corporate fuckholes. to NOT be a farce, free software has to do better than THAT. i know that openbsd needs money to keep the lights on, i know that some projects will need to attract experts (in security, math, encryption, at the very least). i still think we can do the BULK of our development based on people who are interested in writing software for its own sake, but either way: ### the level of commercialisation free software has endured so far has only caused it to fail in its mission. i dont think theres a way around that. (but i used to). free software has to be LESS commercial, in order to survive. and if that means there are two movements, a bullshit (open source) fake free software movement that always sells you out to microsoft and ibm and google, while another (anticapitalist) free software movement solves this fundamental problem, then so be it. we wont be able to make all software free (an inherent goal of free software) while letting our enemies serve as the standing guard for the crown jewels of free software. gcc is lost, gdb is lost, you need microsofts complicity to compile virtually anything in the gnu project, and the entire gnu project is a farce (the fsf is even worse). there is no non-profit i can think of that is doing the FORMER duty of the fsf, including the fsf. free software did NOT (and does not) defend free software, and this has to ACTUALLY change. the fsf will not feature in this change, only as it is entirely and completely unwilling. open source will not feature in the solution either, because it is a scam that has done more than anything else to destroy free software. those who refuse to recognise this fact have already lost the fight, and that includes the fsf. free software has a lot to fix, and i think it can be fixed too-- but not without learning from (and just as importantly, turning from) its worst mistakes. techrights will tell you how important this is, but then try to stop anyone from actually changing. without some bolstering of vital defences, free software is done. techrights can fap all day to its own empty message, and co-opt (make hollow, dishonest and meaningless) everything that tries to change for the better. either way, those who want free software to keep its original promise will not be swayed by so much bullshit. they will also have to find some way around being swayed by so much money. past a certain point and at least in practice, if not theory: there is no meaningful way to distinguish too much funding from too much bribery, from too much corruption-- from failure. success for free software (liberation of the user) will come only from weaning itself from the corporate teat and from proxies of the same. without that weaning, it will die. => https://wrongwithfreesw.neocities.org