everything wrong with free software
"free as in speech"
=> bullshit-of-the-week.html bullshit-of-the-week
*originally posted:* apr 2021
richard stallman is still a personal hero of mine. and the vast majority of people standing up for him really mean it. even if i dont agree on every single thing with them, i appreciate the people who are standing up for stallman, and for truth.
the truth is, stallman is a great person. as my own dictionary designed to poke fun at an often bullshit computing industry says about him:
> * there isn't anything mean or nasty we can say about him that someone hasn't been paid to say already.
=> a-sceptics-free-software-dictionary.html a-sceptics-free-software-dictionary
and while thats pithy, its also true-- there have been actual plans to destroy him for decades, and the industry has made not one, not two, but several attempts to discredit him as thoroughly and as shamelessly as possible.
the same people attacking him have tried to paint his defenders as a personality cult. the funny thing is, i have long criticised people who regurgitate what he says without critical thinking. i think most of what stallman has to offer philosophically (and technologically) is underrated, but not to the point where it shouldnt be questioned. but its important to question it in an honest way, and people arent always good at that.
i routinely criticise both people who never question his philosophy (but i have no problem with people deciding they agree with it) and people who criticise him without being honest. neither of those are helpful-- one would make a personality cult indeed, and the other has created a giant lynch mob. if those are the only two options, please count me as outside of your culture.
but despite a months-long smear campaign from someone i used to spend hours at a time (over the course of years) helping on a regular basis, i still get along with many of people i disagree with-- certainly not all of them! the only way that would happen is if i pandered to them, or they pandered to me. i consider pandering an insult; its basically like calling someone a sucker. you can get away with pandering to some people for a long time, but when they figure you out, they might well hate you for all of your lies and bullshit. pandering is manipulative.
and lets be clear about this, i dont mean little things like "yes, thats a cool shirt" when youre just being nice. i mean if you go out of your way to heap fake compliments on people, thats not great. if sometimes you water down something when someone asks, thats probably alright. most people do that sometimes. i like to think theres still a difference between being nice, and being completely fake to get people to do what you want. honest mistakes are alright too, and people arent perfect anyway.
some people on the other hand, value honesty above gold, and if you have a track record of being very honest (while actually admitting faults when youre wrong-- and i dont mean tiny insignificant things that really amount to humblebragging: "im sorry, im such a terrible perfectionist!") some people will respect you for NOT pandering when everybody else has their nose stuck up someones arse.
i admire stallman because he invented free software. i admire the fact that hes dedicated his life to truth and justice. i admire the fact that his actions (and words) have-- despite all imperfections-- created an ongoing legacy that inspires libertarian (anarchist) and left-leaning feminist alike. he is literally represented by practically every group and subgroup of people-- except open source, monopolists, and incredibly unethical people. but what you have to do to get support from the latter isnt worth it (theres a stern word of caution to those sucking up to monopolists and incredibly unethical people).
ive spent literally years reading complaints about stallman, and even made a couple of complaints myself (which people have at times twisted around and which those same people have defended and explained the context of-- depending on the day!) but i was never once part of this coup. ive called it out for what it is every step of the way, for as long as ive been aware of it-- because its a horrible and dishonest thing.
im extremely familiar with the litany of charges against stallman-- as well as the long history of people trying to discredit him. many years ago, i too supported so-called "open source", because it panders to people. it says things that are not the least bit true to try to sucker people into thinking open source is "friendlier" or "easier" when it is actually a scam that sells a philosophy as empty and meaningless as mcdonalds food. open source is a complete pack of lies, and every single "advantage" of open source is for the people lying about it-- not the people getting pandered to. scams benefit the scammer, not the mark-- so beware of open source.
these are the same people that attacked stallman, while they worked for people who were worse. some people say this is "whataboutism"-- but thats not true either. the true whataboutism in this story is that stallman has spent his entire career calling out bullshit, and the people he called out have banded together to whatabout him into exile. it was premedited, long-predicted, many-times-attempted whataboutism.
to call these liars out for their own acts of whataboutism is not "whataboutism". theirs is a very clever defence and reversal however.
before this mob really took off, i predicted this happening to stallman based on what was done to him at nonfreeplanet (which i didnt consider part of the coup until after the next stage, but i still considered it a sign of cancellation to come within 5 years-- and it has, several times, over the past 2) and also based on what was done to linus torvalds. i think torvalds is a complete jackass, hardly an upstanding person at all-- he is a thief and a shill in more ways than one.
but even torvalds is not all bad-- he shows integrity in so little, but where he does actually stand up for something (the quality and the integrity of the kernel; because credit where credit is due) they had to dismantle the pedestal he was on. they did the same thing to torvalds that they did to stallman, but torvalds did far less to stand up to that (at least it certainly appears so).
what they did to torvalds and what they did to stallman had so much in common, that one led to predicting the other-- and we know that the things they say about stallman are not true of torvalds. they also arent true of stallman, but the fact that we knew about these plans and that they were actually carried out-- ought to speak volumes about the sheer corruption (right down to nasty, soulless, rat-tailed shills and paid liars like those at pish-davis) in this industry.
a lot of the attackers have no idea what theyre even talking about, but theyre still willing to stone a genius in his late 60s within an inch of his life because everybody else is doing it. and how many are going to say they were wrong? most will be too proud, and thats a fucking shame. i dont want anything to do with spineless people like that. theyre nothing but a fucking liability-- having "friends" like that is like having a sword of damocles aimed at your back instead of over your head.
=> a-forced-community-is-like-a-forced-marriage.html a-forced-community-is-like-a-forced-marriage
pandering and false compromise are paticularly dangerous at times like these, and amount to asking people to trust sellouts, liars and backstabbers who absolutely cannot be trusted.
sure, some people will earn our forgiveness and get our trust back. some of those in turn, will still be liars and backstabbers. but i hope that for example, david revoy, will realise the horrible mistake hes made and come clean about it. im not saying he should confess! im only saying he should be honest. if his true inner conviction is to stay on a bandwagon of convenient lies and shill-driven hate, then thats just the way it is.
randall munroe i will never respect again. i even owned his book, the fucking rat (i almost wish i could burn it, but i threw it out ages ago).
its funny that people from nasa want to cancel stallman, when nasa had more to do with fucking nazis than even ibm did; project paperclip and all that. who are we fucking kidding! NAZIIIIIIIS IN SPAAAAAAAAAACE! (oh stfu mike, you nazi apologist fuck).
but i also had breakfast with buzz aldrin once, and i dont think hes a nazi at all. i just think randall munroe is a dumb piece of shit. there was a great article (on fucking huffpost, which was hard to believe) about 7 things cracked got wrong about free speech-- from someone who knows his fucking shit. randall doesnt, i sure hope he knows more about rockets than politics. when it comes to speech, he REALLY got his inches mixed up with his centimetres. so did his fucking fan(boy)s.
but theres very little hope (on average) for people who get suckered in by open source and its lies. sure, if you really want to learn the history of the fake astroturf bullshit you subscribe to, you can find yourself clear; just like people find their ways out of cults. it happens, people do it, its not technically hopeless. what makes it close to hopeless is most people-- lets be honest-- really dont give a flying fuck about truth, facts or context. people that do care (a lot) about those things, rarely join lynch mobs. they either see them for what they are, or they stupidly joined one in their youth and learned their fucking lesson.
the nice thing though, is that even with what amounts to a philosophical civil war between free software and open source unfolding (because they are clearly separate factions, but there is only one globalist computer industry) the stallman supporters managed to outnumber the witless attackers. im not saying ALL of them were witless, but too many were.
there is also a minor contingent of panderers and parrots on the support side-- personally, i dont think theres an ounce of evidence that they account for the numbers. the number of panderers and parrots is not anywhere near the thousands, by my count. so while such people annoy me, they arent representative of stallmans defenders. im grateful for that.
this minor contingent exists all the same, and i barely find them any better than the people who attacked stallman. the bottom line is that some people see that stallman is going to win, and they want to be part of the winning team.
thats a cynical move, and its ultimately because they want to use stallman or hide behind him. they dont really believe in any of this, (some people really dont believe in anything at all) but theyre willing to bet on an underdog if it pays out better in social terms. if it doesnt, they can always say "oh, well i supported him because i thought it was a free speech thing" (it absolutely is-- its also much more than even that) "but then i read this other stuff and changed my mind about it"-- i mean they dont risk anything by supporting him if they can back out anytime if he loses.
i cant stress enough that the number of people like this is tiny, but people who pretend to support what you do are not allies, theyre opportunists. open source has pretended to support free software for two decades, and all it has done is undermine it-- and attacked some great people.
so no, i dont respect people who hide their true intentions behind feigned support of stallman. theyre extremely rare, but if you learn enough about politics and people, you understand that such people exist.
theres an old quote i love to use, which i learned from a self-proclaimed socialist and environmental activist that used to be in the army special forces.
the quote, from general smedley butler goes: "the flag follows the money, and the troops follow the flag".
butler received the congressional medal of honor, and exposed a fascist plot to take over the united states.
as to the rest of us, its important for people to follow their hearts. but they should take care to do it for the right reasons, and not trust people who never cared at all about truth or justice-- regardless of which "side" they claim to be on.
that includes everyone who claims to be on the side of truth and justice, but routinely demonstrates the opposite. those people are never allies, never friends, and most likely never worth trusting again. if you follow something good for the wrong reasons, never questioning, you can still be misled.