everything wrong with free software

 "obedience breeds foolishness"

### more-with-less-vs-less-is-more *originally posted:* aug 2021 im not the expert on this topic, the chief gnewsance is. im not the only person genuinely interested in this aspect of the battle for software freedom either. there are people (plural) more qualified to address this, and sometimes we talk, but they can help with this article later if they want to. for now, im going to wing it. i am a fan of less-is-more. i always was, in fact when everyone was making a big deal out of windows 95, i was enjoying how calmira ii gave you the option of a windows 9x-like shell with the speed and simplicity (and lower resource/hardware requirements) of windows 3.1. i had not switched to gnu yet, that would take a few more years-- my isp provided software that enabled me to connect with them without switching to windows 95-- it was simple and it worked well. efforts to fiddle with trumpet winsock however were not fruitful, and i didnt know how it worked anyway. if you want the simplest possible system, youre going to end up bolting on a lot of things. sometimes this is a bad thing, like mincer just pointed out: ``` Fri 23:53:39 │ MinceR │ not wanting to depend on anything leads to code duplication and poorly designed architecture ``` a bit of context here-- i read (and fetched) mincers comment from a text editor, which i put together (with a lot of help from another coder) to get away from leafpad. theres more than one reason to get away from leafpad, github included. but it doesnt stop there-- the comment was easier to retrieve because roy got the idea (from a former contributor, originally) to go more text-based to avoid dependency on the web. so while i dont think mincer is being deliberately dishonest (actually i think his comment is worth considering) i also think he is a bit unaware of the context here; that is, the context of what hes talking about regarding the example hes commenting on. i rarely use a browser to get anything from roy-- thats because of my own work to get away from the browser, but roy has also worked on that. i still use a browser of course, but i try not to depend on it-- why? because the industry has hijacked the web. roy supports (for now) gemini, and advocates (or claims to) various protocols to be less dependent on the web. i still know the person who kicked this trend off, but roy is milking it, and in some ways thats a good thing (except for when he turns around and doesnt care which side of the fence hes on). bullshit is context-phobic. but note that im not blaming mincer for this. the real story here is that activelow doesnt want c++ dependencies. im not confident excatly what his quarrel is, but from what ive gathered he sees c++ taking over c, possibly even being required to compile c. im not sure hes right, and im not sure hes wrong. but theres context for me too. im a very big fan of modularity. real modularity, the kind that lets users make their own decisions more easily, with less overhead from people who want to create lock-in-- or at least simulate it, if you still believe lock-in is impossible with freely-licensed software. and i dont know why people think lock-in is impossible with freely licensed software, because "having the source code available" (a requirement for freedom) is on a spectrum, which free software partly recognises and addresses. having obfuscated c source officially doesnt qualify, if it isnt the source code the project actually uses. because a that point the obfuscated c (or obfuscated javascript) is being used to simulate a binary, and its not the source code that users would be as free with as the developers are. when free software already gets the nuance of simulating a binary with obfuscated source (and ive banged on about this for years now) i dont get how they can miss the fact that you can simulate lock-in with what steve litt calls "gratuitous dependency". i have always liked his term for describing what systemd does by design. and mincer gets it too (mincer has been complaining about systemd even longer than i have, and i started doing that in late 2014 when i first discovered it). the goal of systemd seems to be: for everything to depend on everything, so whoever controls systemd controls the rest of the platform too. thats a very microsoft-like goal, which microsoft learned from ibm, of course. lets also thank debian for doing so much to discourage and smear everyone who tried to get away from this-- debian plays vichy france in this saga. so while on a superficial level, activelow is simple trying to get rid of c++, and i have something against github, what activelow is actually railing against is an overthrow of c by c++ instead. thats how i understand it, and id love to know if ive got his goals right. but this is what i think he has explained repeatedly. similarly, the only reason i am against github (though it needs to be said that stallman was right about it years before most other people) is because github is a tool for domination of free software by the open source coup. and roy says repeatedly that open source is being attacked--open source IS the attack. if it was co-opted by corporations, this had already happened 20 years ago. open source has been an attack on free software for literally decades. the coup is just some rehashed bullshit microsoft and (allegedly) esr tried to pull off that long ago. i find the part about esr hard to believe, but if what ive read about it are facts-- whatever, esr and roy have a lot in common. theyre both willing to throw freedom (and honest people like stallman) under the bus to turn someone elses movement into a personal shrine to themselves. in that i find his participation (or plotting) in the coup plausible-- as an ego trip and patsy, more than a corporate shill necessarily. when REAL free software advocates find an attack on freedom, they try to get away from it or make their own version of something. the latter often doesnt pan out-- simulating social media (or systemd) DOES seem like an ideal way to fix problems like twitter and facebook, or a kitchen-sink init/pseudo-proprietary cuckoo operating system, though (as roy has noted) the problems with facebook and twitter extend beyond simply being non-free. when they recreate twitter, they ultimately recreate the problems of twitter. im not saying this always happens, only that it is a secondary (but important) issue worth mentioning when you fork problematic (encumbered) designs. a more modular version of systemd seems like a boon as well, but it doesnt get away from the ambition to replace an init system the user can master with an init system that requires far more active (higher-scale) development. as activelow has pointed out regarding autoexec.bat, most users do not require an init system that is like a PRODUCT in and of itself. this realisation is where we get SIMPLE init systems, not just modular ones. i speak as a fan of modularity, but also as a fan of not making things more complicated (burdened, encumbered) than necessary. trying to stop an overthrow of c via adding c++ as a requirement for working with c (again, to the best of my ability this is what ive discerned from activelows posts, which are many and intriguing) and trying to stop an overthrow of THE ENTIRE COLLECTION OF FREE SOFTWARE by a single company that hates and increasingly tries to exploit (monopolise) free software are RELATED goals, and what freedom is all about. but despite roy trying to get away from the web (good idea) and mincer trying to get away from systemd (great idea) when they see someone else working on a related goal like this, suddenly THEIR autonomy is activism and OURS is "primitivism". i would say i really fucking hate statler and waldorf here, but mincers not so bad. and i wouldnt say that its activelows fault for being there, but he is in bullshit-controlled territory. ``` Fri 23:53:10 │ 〖activelow〗 │ not saying X11 is bad, but i do NOT want to depend on it with anything i do Fri 23:53:15 │ 〖schestowitz-TR〗 │ that takes us way to far backwards Fri 23:53:23 │ 〖schestowitz-TR〗 │ technological primitivism Fri 23:53:30 │ 〖schestowitz-TR〗 │ not even figosdev went this far ``` i can understand why roy doesnt want other people working on goals like this-- muckrights isnt about activism, its about muckrights: => https://muckrights-sans-merde.neocities.org/how-to-do-the-scooby-doo-maneuver.html how-to-do-the-scooby-doo-maneuver in this regard, muckrights is just like open source. but i (really do) think mincer is simply overlooking the commonality here. missing the point isnt always deliberate sabotage, and (really imo) to call it sabotage you need some evidence that its deliberate. for mincer i have none, and i SUSPECT (as i generally do) that he is at least sincere. i could be wrong, but other than hanging out where he does i dont have any evidence. hes plodded along for more than half a decade warning people of systemd. hes been reasonably consistent. i get things wrong sometimes, and mincer (read: everyone) ought to be allowed the same. ``` Fri 23:53:40 │ schestowitz-TR │ he just wanted to remove all stuff with shithub deps ``` while thats absolutely true in some regard, it is even more true to say that i wanted to explain precisely how impossible it is to get away from microsoft in this regard. the fact that (even roy has noted) that microsoft went to great lengths to downplay their real intentions with fluff pieces and "charm offenses", for years leading up to the purchase, makes it that much more important to explain how far their reach now goes. ive compared (in email at least) microsoft grabbing hold of github to the british grabbing hold of india, and i dont know how many more years that analogy will hold. likely too many, and roy downplays both the impact and even the facts i have brought to the table about how many gnu projects are sadly based there. against the warnings of stallman, who has said little or nothing about github since. in this regard stallman seems like a dad who, seeing his teen daughter run off to school in a low-cut v-neck and fishnet stockings, absolutely forbids it and (soon enough) realises that shes growing up and he cant really do anything about it. only that a gnu project joining github at this point is less like running off to school in a revealing outfit, and more like running off and doing heroin and knocking over liquor stores. i mean how do they think this is going to turn out? if roy had paid more attention to stallman (he really doesnt-- he just props up stallman as the official mascot of muckrights, which is exactly what i said the fsf was doing when they brought him back) he would know that stallman himself avoided direct web use for years: ``` Fri 23:51:55 │ schestowitz-TR │ even RMS uses x and epiphany iirc Fri 23:52:19 │ schestowitz-TR │ x11 is an interface to it ``` yeah, these days. but for ages (long after x existed, even long after the web existed if im not mistaken) stallman ONLY VIEWED WEBSITES VIA EMAIL. via email. he used email (through emacs) instead of a web browser. now, why did he treat websites as email? for one, websites were less encumbered. HE HAD THE CHOICE. most of the innovations of the web, roy is critical of. these are the same innovations that made it difficult to view webpages with an email service. sure you could have something like selenium (not a fan, but the idea is worthy of mention) grab the page and... really, that doesnt avoid the browser dependency, only the gui dependency. the browser is still ridiculous overkill for getting text from the internet. hence gemini, of course. but when stallman treated websites as email (some of this is speculation, some of it is well known) it allowed him to: 1. work without an active connection (the sort of 24/7 connection most people have today, leading to smartphone reliance) 2. have a consistent and PROGRAMMABLE (automatable) interface-- emacs, email, for dealing with online information 3. thwart the online surveillance that comes with active connections and fancy web browsers all of these things were activism. and people mocked him for being primitive, NOT for what he was actually doing. now we see activelow being strawmanned the same way. but as with stallman, i dont think the real motives are understood here. not that roy cares. but mincer might. i was going to mention "more with less" vs "less is more", and i dont regret choosing it as a title. this is a good direction for this sort of activism to go in. it is promoted by the chief gnewsance. i titled the article this way, not to intrigue or mislead the reader, but simply to create an "overview" where activism like this can head in a direction that is not about primitivism, but autonomy. then again, one persons autonomy seems to be another persons primitivism. one persons shiny new features seems to be another persons lock-in. i have indeed spoken of this in terms of features, because unnecessary features are peddled around like crack to get people addicted to certain forms of lock-in. someone who goes beyond the superfical (but so many do not) wont need it explained that no, not all features are bad-- but using them to get people to accept lock-in is the opposite of freedom and serves monopoly. it would be nice, if the "boys" in irc would be fair and understanding about the real goals here. primitivism is a straw man. mincer DOES have a point, and thats another reason to mention (promote) more-with-less vs less-is-more. more-with-less is better. its also more free. and c really should not require c++, (it never did before) but maybe activelow is wrong about that. i think his effort here could (as these things often do) have merit that goes beyond simply avoiding c++. its r&d, and when people only think in products, r&d gets less attention and nobody wins except the product pushers. as for the editor i replaced leafpad with, i like it a lot more. i even read websites with it. but only because it can feed shell output back into the buffer, like a poor mans emacs (no lisp though, unless you call it from the shell). it uses wget for that function. oh, it doesnt REQUIRE wget, no more than bash requires it. options < freedom for sure, and modularity < freedom too, but when things become less and less optional they are probably also becoming more and more encumbered. encumbered was never a synonym for free, as far as i know. this movement needs to stop dicking around with semantics and excuses, and get real again. a little more honesty would help, instead of being like esr and trying to straw man and misrepresent your way to to the top of something you would only exploit anyway. that is of course how open source became the trojan horse of the redmond army. => https://wrongwithfreesw.neocities.org