everything wrong with free software
"obedience breeds foolishness"
*originally posted:* aug 2022
this was going to be about neocities originally, and its as much about that as ewwfs, so if neocities is talked about more than ewwfs it should be no surprise.
really this is just as much about the corporate scam known as open source.
a lot of people talk about leaving neocities these days. i can see why, more than one camp is dissatisfied for more than one reason. im not satisfied either, for my own reasons. i will say that as a hosting plan, i cant complain. neocities is still one of my preferred options in that regard.
the web of course, is not the internet. its a layer abstracting the internet (as was/is gopher, as is gemini) that like all abstractions, has certain features.
the web is crap-- absolute crap-- but its where most of the information we want online is located, because the web facilitated internet use in a way that appealed to the masses.
i can sympathise with those who preferred web 1.0 to the shit you see today. even the shit today, during its earliest transition from 1.0, was exciting and tolerable. but the web is becoming unusable, not unlike the way windows became (and continues to become) unusable.
the web, and on a more local note neocities, has become like the linux kernel: a bloated, corporate mess that i spend more time thinking about how i can leave it than how i can make the most of it.
and still, when i left windows behind, when i left gnu/linux behind, i took my time with it. i dismantled windows carefully and gradually, in a way that most people never have. i pulled out component after component, dll after dll, service after service and application after application-- removing what i didnt want or need, replacing whatever i could with something non-microsoft.
back then, windows wasnt constantly fighting the changes you made. it did try to put some things back that i deleted, but you could turn that off or otherwise disable it permanently. manual updates might turn some automatic updates back on, but you could still turn them off. today, windows owns your computer. you dont.
even more recently than that, a computer running gnu/linux was YOUR computer. it isnt today, but its still not bad as windows. decades ago, personal computing was controlled by ibm, microsoft and apple. today, it is controlled by ibm, microsoft, apple and google. even if we are solely talking about formerly libre, openly sleazy software-- or "floss".
and the modern web is absolutely a product of all this. the corporate monopolies have done as much to turn the web into a pile of shit as they did with the linux kernel and the mobile phone.
ewwfs went online so i could talk about these things, and its on neocities because i was already familiar with the platform.
now lets talk about social media. social media is a collection of web-based platforms that corporations invariably control. dont even bother me with masturdon or dumbarsepora, theyre even worse than shitter. though nothing i suppose, is worse than fakebook.
on the corporate interwebs, social media uses YOU. social media shapes our interactions, using algorithms and incredibly shoddy interfaces (diaspora has had an export feature for a decade, and still no import-- neocities has an unblock button that never worked, and you cant block people who disable their profile but they can still bother you) in ways that benefit the platform more than the users.
every instance of social media is an instance where the people are useds, as much as users.
for some reason, no one gets it right. and if you look at what open source has done to free software, the fsf and so many projects, the same pattern happens again and again.
of course without the social media side of neocities, its back to seo and promoting things on shitter (as the free software movement fails, you see everyone, everyone using a shitter account for everything-- at least they arent using fakebook-- note i wont use twitter, i think its horrible and i tested if it even worked without giving them my phone number: it wont) and this shitter monopoly is only going to get worse. dumbarsepora is a monopoly posing as a federation-- its a fake left stalinist dystopia and youre only harming yourself and fucking the world over by being there.
but ive spent more than a year and a half seeing what impact neocities has on ewwfs, and while its definitely a mixed bag, i can tell that the gains from interacting with neocities are close to zero. if youve been reading my website, i do appreciate that-- if i were going to continue interacting, the best reason would be to maintain a readership. but i dont do this only to be read.
sure, i will continue posting here when i have something to say, until a time that i find a better option. then ewwfs will leave neocities behind. as far as hosting goes, i could pull the plug and delete ewwfs right now and be back up and running somewhere else TODAY. the fact that i havent done so only implies that i dont consider another option better yet. i mean, there probably is a better option, but none so far within my means. as to readiness, i could have ewwfs online elsewhere literally within the hour. its a matter of a few keypresses and mouse clicks. thats no big deal.
i think neocities was a cool idea. i was happy to support it, and im probably going to continue supporting it for a while. i dont think neocities is a complete failure-- i think it was always for small websites and while my favourite sites here are the ones that try to build a library, most dont use free licensing and thats a failure for an online library in my opinion. a library that doesnt protect and promote the public domain is a library apathetic about its own demise. but obviously if you include some copyrighted works, thats not so wrong, most libraries do. its simply not enough.
the biggest turning point for the web incidentally, was when it built drm into the standard. this not only betrayed every single person on the earth, it was the web (under corporate occupation) truly betraying itself. tim berners-lee is a sellout, and fuck him. brewster kahle is no better, with the internet archive helping to perpetuate self-burning-book platforms like kindle, by becoming such a platform themselves.
but like open source, neocities is caught between two hells: on one side are the capitalists, and on the other are the an-coms. im still learning what i can about an-coms, but what they seem to be best at is building little cults. these are "extended families" that drift increasingly towards their own ideological black holes until its so much about defending the ideology that it doesnt even matter who benefits from it anymore.
but if that seems too unfair, lets just say they mostly remind me of the amish. they arent allowed to kill each other, so they resort to collective (make no mistake-- THIS IS HOW cults work) emotional torture to fuck with anyone who doesnt obey. ive seen it happen on neocities, but its even worse in open source.
theres nothing peaceful about emotional abuse, about pretending to be someones family, as a way of putting strings on them. an-coms say they dont use coercion. thats complete bullshit, they use torture precisely like the amish do. they offer perfect, universal love and then take it away the moment they realise youre not identical enough.
hell, its not just the amish. nazis and other white supremacists do the same. this isnt a practice that knows any political boundaries. cults as an overall thing are not on the political compass.
i dont think free software is bullshit, but open source is, and open source has taken over free software. free software failed to protect itself from takeover and occupation-- i think it could have. i think it had years to do so. i think i can point out some of the largest mistakes that got us here.
but that means that the present incarnation of free software is a shell game, a facade, and that means im still looking for the real thing wherever it is.
despite all the negatives, despite the interactions poisoned with bullshit, even the amish do some incredible things. barn raisings are a true feat, amish communities do some positive things we could learn from. on neocities ive found some interesting ideas and cool music.
the good things on twitter are not worth joining twitter, and the good things on neocities are probably not worth staying on neocities either, so ill be focused (as i was with the linux kernel when i still used it) on alternatives.
capitalism is going to destroy itself-- its also going to try to take us with it. a lot of people are too devoted to finding some way to be okay with that, but im not. im still going to look for an-coms that arent cult building, if such people exist. i mean, not all christians (imo) are cultists. some are just people trying to be better people. ill offer the same benefit of the doubt to the anarchists, but so far i havent found much proof that they arent silly in a very self-destructive and otherwise destructive way.
i really try to be fair about this. if youre merely the lesser of two horrible evils, i have no time for you. if youre truly the least of all evils, then maybe credit where credit is due.
bad philosophy goes from lesser evilism and relative pacifism to rampant self-destruction with bystanders and systematic torture pretty quickly. science at least, went from some very primitive shit to tables of the elements and sending cameras beyond the solar system in a way that should be instructive.
i am still searching the world for better philosophy. i recommend you do so too, but beware of the caveats.
in particular, beware of mandatory happiness. its a red flag, toxic positivity is mind control-- mandatory happiness is a cult tactic and used by totalitarian governments. look up "happy shiny people" by r.e.m. for one very sinister example.
george orwell would say beware mandatory hate as well. id say hes right. having better control of your own emotions is a virtue. when your family does it for you, they arent acting like family-- theyre functioning as your handlers.
teaching and mind control arent the same thing. one is honest, makes arguments and presents theories, which ultimately may be questioned and improved-- like science.
the other is forceful, authoritarian, but gets away with it because it disguses itself as human nature. it isnt natural, certainly not for us, and it whittles away at our humanity. and they have the audacity to refer to it as non-violence, just because you cant see the bruises on the surface.
im going to keep looking for a better idea, thanks.
mike love - permanent holiday (official lyric video)