everything wrong with free software

 "obedience breeds foolishness"

### why-free-software-will-not-be-unified-any-year-soon *originally posted:* jul 2021 *updated:* aug 2021 this started as an email (to another former muckrights contributor) until i realised i was writing an article, so here it is. free software is chasing unity, but its doing so at the worst time for it. ive written several articles complaining about this-- unity with sellouts, backstabbers and corporate shills is not desirable. and although the idea of dividing the community so it can be taken over by corporations is nothing new: > Splitting groups apart is a strategy noted in internal documents (Microsoft), and my writings are different if roy was worried about people splitting his own group apart, he shouldnt have thrown one of his own contributors under the bus. if on the other hand, he was implying that i was trying to divide the community, he can file that little bon mot in the usual orifice. the community is loaded with microsoft apologists (shills) and stallman backstabbers. at some point, to suck up to the greatest and the first person in free software, roy decided to chase "unity", which is just like chasing "inclusion" only rebranded. the problem isnt being inclusive, being inclusive is great. the problem is witchhunts (from anybody) based on ridiculous accusations of not being inclusive enough. and they are not ridiculous accusations because further progress is impossible, but because they so often come from the cynical and hypocritical (like ibm) while being aimed at a person or group with a far better track record. fuck godwin, for ibm to talk about diversity you might as well have hitler calling you a racist! now that all the wikipedants have left... try to note the distinction here (they wont) between trying to be inclusive and trying to resolve matters of inclusion with witchhunts and public opinion kangaroo court trials. similarly, if you just s/inclusion/unity/ you can drag people through all sorts of false compromises that serve only corporations, because thats the whole idea. before such cynical tricks were commonplace from corporate media, they were already used by dirty politicians. the difference should be obvious to anyone who has spent more than a year paying attention, between being strategically divisive and succumbing to strategic divisiveness in the name of so-called "unity". but the brilliant thing about bullshit i suppose, is it that it often works. free software does need to keep watch for trojan horses, as open source still attacks with them. others want to call for unity and welcome the horses in, but homer wrote about the dangers of "openrespect" ages ago and its still relevant today. whether you call it openrespect, or code of conduct, or radical inclusion, or unity, its the same game-- you take a functional community of every sort of person in the world and you start using it as a lever to put corporations in control. every time. if this wasnt proven (in the results) over and over... i mean, if youre a sucker youre welcome to conclude that corporations are more tolerant, because they co-opt software development based on keywords, censor twitter users based on bots, and kill millions of people all of the world, for profit. but they DID change part of a github repo, so i guess we should trust whatever they say. in the petty, superficial and delusional fiction promoted by muckrights, theo de raadt and openbsd are somehow more sympathetic to corporations and microsoft than torvalds and the linux foundation-- this is the only explanation for the disproportional amount of fud that is directed towards them (skewer todd miller all you like though, which is perfectly called for). there is far more cause to go after freebsd, which is not unlike red hat in the not-early-enough days. however this is more about free software than it is about bsd. and i consider myself a humanist first, a reformer second, and ultimately a traitor to reform in the long run-- heres why you should consider a similar course: reform is just like antibiotics: it literally saves lives, then people become obsessed with it as a cure-all, even as the worst things in the world become resistant to it. then people keep relying on it as a sole remedy, against all facts and better judgment. open source loved building their image (just an image) on things like revolution os, which was already at the time it was released a bit on the shady side. ive seen a number of documentary attempts at gnu/linux, and revolution os is one of the least shill-driven, but its far too kind to open source and people who are literally career bullshitters. where is this revolution? you really dont have to leave muckrights just to find sceptics who are well aware (and not simply bullshitting) about the fact that corporations have taken over so much of what originally was part of this plan to make ALL software free. not some software-- not half of software-- but all of it. that is a founding goal of free software, for all software to be free. at the very least, we can strive for non-free software to fail in adoption and use. reform is not always insincere, it is more of a spectrum ranging from the almost pure of heart to the worst sort of opportunist. reform is a cesspool of shills, inflated egos and people hijacking reform all to produce some sort of advertising campaign (apples famous '1984' advert, for example). the worst of these care more about image and soundbites than results, and gradually they turn all reform into marketing and controlled opposition. at this point, reform is less like antibiotics and more like an autoimmune disease, because (as with openrespect, codes of censorship and the like) the reform starts becoming a tool for petty and insincere reformers to attack legitimate and respectable ones. but stallman is not a reformer-- stallman is a revolutionary, surrounded by reformers. and this is exactly what i meant when i said the real stallman is (still) never going to come back. free software will never again be a revolution (it will never be about all software, or all users being free in any way that TRULY matters) under stallman or under the people who tell lies about him. and by lies i mean the various incarnations of the open (source) letter, from gnome to hurd to debian (MOSTLY debian, more than even gnome, not that muckrights cares about their extreme treachery because muckrights is to debian what zdnet is to microsoft) to the excrement foundation (makers of libreorifice) to gnu.fools to nozilla. any one of these organisations is probably worse than openbsd, by the way-- because of their rhetoric, their lies, their deeds, even towards user freedom. but who cares about "little" things like that? most certainly not the great reformers. every great thing that stallman did was a revolutionary act. and today, even telling the truth is revolutionary. whats left of reform is so full of lies and bullshit, reform itself has become a disservice. there is no place for unity now unless it is unity against this sort of bullshit. and that, friends, its not unity-- it is war. unity against bullshit, or for truth, is revolutionary. and revolution will be painted as divisiveness by reformers, because reform is now part of the disease that is killing free software. but as people slowly turn (traitor-- the only GOOD kind of traitor, really) against this cynical and pandering level of reform, its only fair (not to mention accurate) to say why reform is a good thing initially. reform is what ultimately happens when you bring a great new idea to the world. its the point where people start to adjust to both the sacrifices (because there are always sacrifices-- which reform forgets later, as image and superficiality take over) and the significant improvements that come with positive change. it is not possible to improve without leaving some of our mistakes behind. that doesnt mean that we cannot preserve anything that matters to us-- gnome and kde have all promised great things, while trinity was a better steward to those who simply didnt want their software broken. not every revolution is for the better, really. and reform is the testing ground where we decide what it is we really want and truly stand for. in this sense, in a limited context, i am extremely fond of reform and that fondness is sincere. reform is (for MOST people) a great place to start. but reform is a jealous lover, and it will grab hold of anybody with a revolutionary idea and water it down until it has no meaning. it will celebrate the minor victories of anything that can change the world, but then when its time for another major victory it will say "WAIT! DONT GO!" after this, reform becomes more like borderline personality disorder-- it tries to control and manipulate whatever threatens the new status quo, even when the new status quo becomes ridiculous. and it does this in the name of all of the good things that this "threat" itself truly stands for. stallman cannot speak for free software! einstein cannot speak for relativity! i do not believe that one group of people can any longer be trusted with the future. when the world is truly free, it is most certainly NOT controlled by a single group. but i am not NEWLY aware of the fact that MOST of the people seeking to splinter are doing so to stand for less freedom, not more. and of course the best way to mask that is to take something almost wholly irrelevant and make that more important than freedom. its a dangerous game and it needs to be treated as such-- but only those who are honest can be trusted with their commentary on this. and most people making commentary on it are more like shills, or working for them one way or another. ``` Sun 20:47:28 │ actually, it [he means audacity] doesn't need to be forked Sun 20:47:32 │ we already exercise power Sun 20:47:41 │ by expressing possible intend to fork Sun 20:47:45 │ which keeps them honest Sun 20:47:56 │ it's a deterrence strategy and so far it has mostly worked ``` no, thats worthless. the only future audacity has is as a real fork. ideally, audacity would have stood up to this threat in the first place-- but its far too late for that now. reform is (practically always) the first step to positive change. the problem is when it becomes the substitute or impediment to positive change itself. reform is an acceptable boss when it gives a paycheck (i.e. results) and helps to guide the way forward. once it tries to run your life and becomes too demanding, its time to quit. the problem is, people get caught up in reform. it shifts from talking about change and actually making it happen, to just talking about it, to blaming those who actually stand for it. in the long run, it becomes an argument, a fight, between those who require results (in terms of freedom) and those who insist on NOT requiring results. that is the very formula through which open source took over. if you use that formula, if you stand for the merest reform even when reform ceases to stand for anything at all, then you are (alas) no traitor to reform but you are at least more of a traitor to the very thing the reform was MEANT to bring. as free software becomes more about reform than (it was) about freedom, free software is converted to open source. and that is how free software dies. so you can either be a traitor to reform, or eventually become a traitor to freedom. i am perfectly happy to throw reform under the bus though-- muckrights has already demonstrated that reform would do the same to me. reform has done the same to stallman, and if thats not a signal that its time to turn against reform, what the fuck kind of sign are people waiting for? at any rate, muckrights is just an example here. the disease is broad, and muckrights is a symptom. it is also a vector. but those who really want freedom will need to find a way to address the entire pathology of increasingly worthless reforms. not because reform is worthless but because it becomes so, when people treat it as a destination rather than a step. when reform turns against the very cause it used to stand for, not only is it worthless but it begins to rob people of the very things they need to make further progress. at this lowest point, reform becomes the enemy. i could of course, write an article about this. i do not have the triumph of summing it up so perfectly as "the cost of freedom is eternal vigilance". true reform doesnt get in the way of the vigilant; but sooner or later, reform of some type is always underfoot. by all means you should look where youre going, but dont feel too bad if you step on it-- a lot of it is there just to get in the way. this obsession with professionalism, with being overly polite, with being afraid to ever accidentally step on someones toes (even regardless of whether youre willing to apologise, but thats not good enough in the new regime) is all about making it harder and harder to do or say anything meaningful or critical (to say nothing of revolutionary) at all. stallman alas, will NOT step on the meagre reforms that stand in the way of our freedom. but he has spent his life doing so, at great cost to himself, and that at least commands respect, credit and dignity. anybody who is attacking and destroying his legacy is doing that because they have no respect for freedom or change or users. they are the worst sort of reformers, and we have no use for them at all. of course its great that stallman still pushes for something. if i make it to his age i hope im still able to do as much as he does. but the fact that hes surrounded by people who refuse to push more than the simplest reform is a problem. the fsf is far too conservative to do its real job anymore, and people can work for free software or they can work for the fsf. people will spin this as a vote for things like sfc, gnu.fools and open source, when the real problem is that free software is too comfortable (year after year) with such weasels. roy talks about ibm, he talks about things they did almost a century ago, but he wont say much about what they really hold hostage-- that could lead to more than reform and meaningless (if-by-whiskey) rhetoric. those who expect us to work alongside backstabbers and fake reformers are kidding themselves. we all kid ourselves sometimes, its part of being human. but if you want to stand for freedom, sometimes you have to leave the fakes and the backstabbers behind. its certainly no moral crime to do so. none of this was intended to disrespect or belittle stallmans legacy. but not all of us are willing to work with those who are hellbent on doing just that. if thats division, then it must be the good kind-- the same kind that always tries to reject lies, bullshit, and co-opting. i dont blame stallman for any of it. i blame open source first, then the fsf, and ultimately the fake reformers who pretend to stand for things but stand for nothing. we will never gain from unity with them. quoting one of the earliest contributors to muckrights, who has inspired me more than almost any other blogger: > I have no respect for pragmatism, or the "Open Source" ideology, [...] I have no respect for those who support it, and I have no desire to ever change that view. [...] My Freedom is more important than diplomacy. this is where im coming from. if i have no respect for something fake, im not going to let the remnants of a movement that is allegedly about "freedom" imply in any way, shape or form that i should PRETEND to respect that. roy is fond of quoting stallman saying "people said i should accept the world. bullshit! i dont accept the world." those are not the words of a reformer, and roy does not understand what he is quoting, so i will let homer translate: https://www.slated.org/respect_freedom_not_pragmatism > I find it deeply ironic that pragmatists label idealists as unrealistic and fanatical, when in fact pragmatism is the single most unrealistic doctrine of them all. Conceding victories to a more powerful oppressor, in the vein hope he will reciprocate, is bordering on delusional behaviour. when reform turns into an endless string of pointless concessions, it is time to turn away from reform and TOWARDS the thing it once stood for. but it was never not the time to turn against fake bullshit like open source. reform is not exactly the same thing as controlled opposition, but eventually, it turns into that. i really believe that reform is a good thing initially. but more importantly, we must turn against it as it inevitably turns against us. by the time thats necessary, reform has become so narcissistic that it will blame you for actually standing for something. "dont you get it? ONLY reform stands for that!" this is one more reason why you cant (and mustnt) accept the world, and why reform is not enough: it always stops short of fixing what still needs to be fixed. > MinceR if enough knowledgeable people wanted to save Linux from destruction, they would have acted by now May 11 04:01 i would at least defend reform as part of a political rule of engagement-- you try reform first, in the same way that its arguably wise (not only fair, but sometimes mutually beneficial) to try diplomacy first-- for as long as that course actually suffices. and still, those who truly stand for freedom will not pander to dwindling reforms. you can call it division, you can call it not settling for lies, fake freedom and bullshit, you can call it whatever you like. if this is what informs a true stand for freedom, why do we make an exception for founders? because you cant separate einstein from relativity, and because the BEST leaders often get exiled, so we honour them even when they can no longer fight with us. stallman has not turned into a reformer, he is simply exiled in place-- and we respect that and continue to fight for the world he gave us a picture of. but we wont trust the people who spent years systematically betraying us. for some strange reason, many of us consider that a dealbreaker, and not even stallman can change that. reform cannot and will not keep its promises, and we are hardly to blame for abandoning it after it betrays so many of us. in the end, reform refuses to do so much as reform. it leaves us holding the bag for everything, and pleads with us to do less and less until it becomes catch-22: a bloated, treacherous and impossible tyranny, all in the name of "progress". how can that not be a dealbreaker? freedom lets reform become a parody of itself, leaves it behind, and marches on. => https://wrongwithfreesw.neocities.org