everything wrong with free software
"obedience breeds foolishness"
*originally posted:* may 2021
Dear Mr Stallman,
Thank you for all you've done for socialised computing.
I write this letter in solidarity.
GNU and the FSF have laid out a roadmap for corporate
takeover. The Linux kernel has fallen to the hands
of IBM, Microsoft, Google, and their ilk.
Much free software is free in license only - not free
as in a free society. Having systemd tyranically imposed
on computer operators isn't freedom; the license doesn't
help at all, in this case. GNU projects running into
the arms of the corporate bondage that is Microsoft
GitHub erodes much freedom as well.
I take it as an affront to the spirit of freedom you
instilled in the movement that these corporations have
been welcomed so warmly by people who pretend to care
The free software movement is a movement about breaking
away from corporate control. The free software movement is
supposed to be hostile to corporations and fight their
attempts to take over our movement.
Computing should be free in cost and free in spirit for
every person on this planet. That is real computing for
social benefit of all. Computing for the many, not the few.
It pains me greatly to see that the old bastions of the
free software movement have been put in bondage by
pretenders - handed over to the evil that cares only
about consumers and not about citizens.
I can no longer support GNU nor the FSF. They are
forever tarnished. I have seen the developments
over the years and have seen the infiltration
and propaganda spread on the mailing lists; I have
seen the public smear campaigns; I have seen the
defamation these corporate thugs have abused you
with. GNU and the FSF are no longer about "free software,
But all hope is not lost. There are still those out
there that believe deeply in socialised computing.
We still consider your work inspirational.
We have a whole foundation to build anew. You provided
us with this foundation.
I also greatly appreciate all the political activism
you do via your RSS feed. We know you still care. It
would be absurd to claim that you don't.
There are a lot of projects that have fallen to corporate
clutches. GNU/Linux is dominated by IBM and Microsoft. The
rest of big tech has its hands on even the BSDs. Copyleft
is either ridiculued or circumvented by oppressive software
like systemd, dbus, or running things on remote servers. But
there is still plenty of hope because of the work you have
done. When you started, you were in a much worse position.
You have given future generations foundations upon which
to build anew, whenever the need arises.
There is now a need to build anew. I thank you for all you
have given us; I still look forward to every statement you
make in your political notes. Let no one doubt that free
software is a political project; free software is necessary
for a free society. There are those of us who fight for
socialised computing as opposed to corporate computing. The
two cannot coexist.
Every generation must fight the same struggles in different
contexts. This generation needs to purge corporate influence
by studying what you've given us; the lesson that software
can be free in license but not free in spirit is evident. The
infrastructure can be free of cost but not free in spirit.
I take it as my mission to encourage, educate, and agitate
with people who share the vision and spirit of "free software,
free society". The struggle for socialised computing has
begun its next chapter and we are building anew upon the
foundations you have given us.
A stalwart servant of socialised computing,
Gavin L. Rebeiro