everything wrong with free software

 "obedience breeds foolishness"

### why-i-stopped-supporting-open-source *originally posted:* oct 2021 much earlier in this century, i was an open source supporter. ill tell you how it happened. i grew up on windows and ibm-- my first pc (other than the 8-bit i was too young to fully appreciate, not that i didnt like it) was a name-brand ibm. i was just as happy with generics, but my first os (other than rom basic) was ibm dos-- it was "created" by microsoft (and/or tim patterson). ibm was very well known for treating customers (and humanity in general) like crap, but i didnt know that at the time. microsoft was also well known for abuse, but i really had no complaints about dos. eventually, i would learn windows. it made some things more complicated, other things it made easier. 3.1 was a clear step up from 3.0, but 95 made me more sceptical. i didnt like the ui, i didnt like a lot of things, and it seemed like they were pushing things i didnt care about. even when i decided i liked the ui, for a time i preferred a 95-like shell on windows 3.1. when xp came around, windows adopted practices i thought were terrible for computing. i didnt think it was very cool that windows had a product key, this seemed "anti-user" in that it only punished honest people. i wasnt sympathetic to the reasons they had for foisting it. but having to call microsoft to "activate" windows was out of the question. ive been interested in gnu/linux since first reading about it in 1995. it would be 12 years from then, before i was able to switch over entirely. i wanted to move my entire workflow from windows, much the way that munich wanted to. these days, i really recommend people just get a cheap old computer to experiment with. i held gnu/linux to very high expectations, instead of being more realistic. these days, im not disappointed by what i ended up with (at the time). i got a better system for certain, but earlier on i still wanted things that were unrealistic-- or at least impractical. one of the things i wanted was support for dial-up internet. technically it exists, but i never did get that working properly. ive probably been asked more than 100 times if i have a "winmodem", despite the model in question being a name-brand external, which worked in dos (6.x) without any drivers. i wasnt going to switch to higher-speed internet just to get a different os working! but eventually i got high-speed internet anyway, and after that it wasnt long before i was able to ditch windows. and good riddance! but the frustration was immense, and not only was reading the works of stallman frustrating, but talking to him over email didnt help either. today i think hes one of the greatest people alive, but i also understand a great deal more now than i did then. the fault is more with open source though, than it is with stallman. narcissists like to keep people with similar interests apart, at least most of the time. rather than help people with similiar interests become friends, they prefer to act as a sort of "broker" between the two-- controlling and even limiting the relationship between people who, if they were allowed to interact could become better acquainted. today you can still see open source trying to control interactions between people, but even back then they were getting between free software advocates and stallman-- they were poaching potential advocates, with lies and bullshit. i fell for those lies and bullshit, and the whole scam that open source is "like free software, only better". its like free software, but more corporate. corporations pretend to care about customers, and so does open source. corporations pretend to support causes and pretend to want you to be happy, but they really just want whatever puts them in control. your happiness is a tool for them to use. theyre perfectly happy to use it against you. open source has always played up differences between stallman and everyone else. some of those differences (honesty, for example) are important, but many of them are exaggerations. for one, open source made it look like torvalds was this nice, easygoing fellow, and they made stallman look like a curmudgeon. the truth is closer to the other way around, but both have their own charm-- the difference is that stallman is a decent person, and torvalds is kind of a sleazebag when you get to know him. he even insisted that free software supporters were "about hate" because they stood up to injustice. thats what i mean when i say hes a sleazebag. hes also a shill, and he absolutely exploited free software to get where he is. i dont admire him at all-- though i did once. it came down to appearances and first impressions. open source is (broadly) about appearances, and free software is (broadly) about truth. despite this, the fsf was foolish enough to try to make gnu and linux look like a team. they never were. linux used gnu, and gnu used linux. but when we are throwing the word "used" around, gnu was far more honest. today, i think gnus future is in jeopardy because of its alliance with linux, but the developers will not admit it (or they really are silly enough to think otherwise) though gnu did not team up this way without resisting it first-- sadly, gnu was dragged into gnu/linux in a way that linux never was. above all, open source made it look like free software was full of sacred cows (it played those up and misrepresented a number of things about its opponent, while pretending to be a friend) and that open source was easygoing and carefree. in reality, the sacred cow for open source would be corporations. over time, as i became more familiar with open source, i would run into trouble from open source people for standing up to the same companies i joined free software to get away from; they were too controlling, too anti-user, too dedicated to user lock-in. and i wanted to get away from that, so i went with "open source" as the "easy way". because they positioned themselves in a way that more than just suggested they were willing to help. which is to say, they completely co-opted a movement and defrauded its supporters. the open source way may or may not be easy, but when you make progress, they find a way to make the road to it longer than it has to be. it may be a very nice road, with lots of pleasant stops along the way (at least at the time, though im sure there are people who feel that way now) but many of those stops only waste time id rather spend moving forward. the thing is, open source isnt really about me moving forward. its about recapturing users who are trying to leave the big (abusive) companies. the words "charm offensive" apply, as much as any other words. open source is pure narcissism, dressed up as something nice. but narcissism usually is dressed up as something nice. if open source is christie brinkley in "uptown girl", then free software is billy joel and the other greasy-coverall-wearing mechanics in the video. in real life of course, billy joel can afford nice suits and an "uptown" lifestyle, but the point here is that sometimes free software is messy. open source wants you to just take all your computing "to the shop" and have it fixed-- for a fee, of course. free software wants you to have the option of fixing it yourself, although this doesnt mean you cant take it somewhere else to get it fixed. today, open source has taken over-- a point they celebrate with glee. but their tactics were as dirty as any mechanic in "uptown girl", and the result is that its getting more and more painful to try to fix anything-- open source transforms free software from a revolutionary project to a commodity product, which can be thrown out (scrapped) when open source is done milking it. and the goal of this product isnt to make money-- its to get people back into increasingly proprietary business models. those models are intended to make money, though they prioritise control-- companies want to make money, though to do that both increasingly and predictably, they tend to go to great lengths to control their customers. open source has to find a way to brand that control as freedom. the whole thing is a lie, and its very, very nasty. but when i was younger, i thought it was just a nicer, prettier version of free software. theres nothing wrong with nice-- theres nothing wrong with pretty. but the thing about narcissism is that its neither, its only nice and pretty on the surface. get to know it better, and its pretty fucking hideous. stallman should know that by now, better than almost anyone. i know ive learned not to trust these people. of course, part of the reason i write this is because i know that a lot of people who support open source just dont know what it is-- i was like that, too. i was innocent. i thought open source was honest. there are certainly people in open source who are like that now. i dont blame them, i blame the people lying to them. so when i say "open source is a scam, its a lie, its bait-and-switch bullshit"-- i dont mean the people who are being led by it, im referring to the ones that know better and do it on purpose. also, i know im not going to convince many people who support open source to see it for what it is. if that were the goal here, id include more details and examples. the goal here is really just to clarify the above point, and say why i hate open source. its a scam and a lie, and they suckered me. though ive fought them ever since, for a lot longer than i supported them. theres a niche within open source that is sort of anomalous, too. that is, people that were around "before" open source was "coined" in 1998. mostly, "open source" is the product of corporations teaming up with (or arguably against) people like eric s. raymond and early debian project leaders. i say "early debian project leaders" because ian jackson has stabbed richard stallman in the back and lied to the world, proving that is he is a shameless corporate shill and a complete scumbag after all. and i thought he would be a hero for standing up to systemd, but hes an absolute shit like torvalds is. he supports lies, theft and (in my opinion) trademark fraud against gnu. i have no respect for him. osi started this way, and today you see the older "open source" (but not the OLDEST "open source") falling apart while something new (and even uglier) takes its place. open source was already corporate, but this "new" thing is much more corporate. then you have what might as well be called the "original" open source, which predates osi and includes things like bsd. bsd could never make me support anything like "open source" again, but the "open source" that bsd is part of is at least a little different than the osi-era "open source", and part of the reason ive fled to bsd is that it is often farther from "contemporary" open source than even the fsf is. while the fsf gets converted into osi ii, bsd is RELATIVELY free. and systemd is definitely just one example of this. its free software i support-- because the goal of free software is for ALL SOFTWARE to be free; and for the user to control their computing. you wont ever get that with the linux kernel, and today, gnu/linux seems to be the only gnu that the fsf cares about (im not saying this as a fan of hurd, but as a fan of bsd). they seem bent on making all the same mistakes that torvalds made-- and even new ones that even torvalds (who i just called a shill earlier, because its true) wouldnt have fallen for. but bsd isnt 100% free, nor is gnu/linux. rather, if you want to control your computing, bsd only gets closer to that while gnu/linux is getting farther away from freedom-- it stopped getting closer to it 6 or 7 years ago, maybe even 10. osi-era open source is the poison that has turned gnu into a farce. i still believe in free software, but im not sure the fsf does anymore. they talk about freedom, sure, but as with osi its just image and branding now. i am a former fsf member, and the reason i dont support the fsf is they stopped caring if the user controlled their computing or not. today, all they give a shit about is whether the user has software that is freely-licensed. funnily enough, thats one of the things osi was clearly obsessed with when perens resigned in protest. they had abandoned freedom and become obsessed with licensing. and the licensing of course, is a vital part of it-- in the same way that a leg is a vital component in bipedal locomotion. but a single leg, by itself, cannot walk anywhere. and focusing TOO exclusively on licenses wont make anybody free. yet the fsf does just this-- they lean on licenses, and old talking points. and fuck-all else. meanwhile, corporations poach even gnu developers, who willfully move the gnu project into microsofts clutches-- turning freedom into nothing more than cheap labour. the prices that the corporations are getting this software for, the hours spent on it-- would be illegal in the first world under ordinary labour protections. open source has converted free software into a way for corporations to outsource developement more cheaply than microsoft did in the 90s. this is not about freedom anymore, its simply exploitation. ibm has created a de facto monopoly on gnu/linux, and if it were not for all the not-for-profit aspects mixed in, the sec and ftc would be responding like john ashcroft did to 9/11. but because stallman built a way for computing to be free, open source built a way for corporate software development to be cheaper than was ever legal before. thats all open source is, really. its the extreme commoditisation of software development, under false pretenses. its free software, upside down. and the fsf in particular is traitorous to support it. i think a lot of the bsd people are honest, though. a couple are still salty, while former compatriots like kuhn sink their fangs into whats left of free software and help turn "free and open" into some kind of corporate frankenstein. the "side" of open source thats actually honest is a bizarre niche, which i dont support but some of the things it makes are useful to the cause of free software. THIS IS HARDLY A NEW THING, when gnu/linux already used components of bsd instead of building a network stack. oh, and gnu hurd was based on mach anyway, albeit the weirdest (arguably the most interesting) incarnation of mach that stallman could find. so before you fault someone for proposing a bsd kernel for gnu, you have to explain why the linux kernel is LESS of coup than that. and youd probably have to rewrite the history of gnu while youre at it. its sort of moot anyway, if the rest of gnu goes the way that gnu/linux has. the difference between whats left of free software, and what will save it is that while both know the license is important, the free software that survives will take more than just that into account. it will ask what the user really needs, to have control of their computing. and it will also ask what really prevents that-- the fsf clearly doesnt care about that part at all. todays fsf panders to the very same people getting between the user and their computing. thats betrayal, and they did it to stallman first-- now, they do it to everyone. they dont need your support, they have more than enough corporate funding. because thats what you win if you support open source-- you get controlled by corporations, just like you did before stallman came along. the purpose of free software is to give the user control of their computing. the purpose of open source, is to give that control back to the people who had it before. and of course, for that to work-- it has to look like it will make the user happy. didnt ibm and microsoft (and others) always have that sort of trick up their sleeve though? i mean, open source didnt invent marketing and bullshit-- it IS marketing and bullshit-- and purer than ever before! => https://wrongwithfreesw.neocities.org