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Posts Tagged ‘FSF’

The gospel of libre software

October 21, 2011 1 comment

Author Don Parris, who wrote “Penguin in the Pew” several years ago to help churches convert to GNU/Linux, has been a free/libre software advocate for years. So if anyone is qualified to write a “gospel” and give the good word of libre software, it is Don.

So when he wrote this blog item today, it is certainly one that deserves a read by everyone, whehter or not you are a free software advocate.

Go ahead and take a look — I’ll wait.

Don aptly sets up the challenges and issues facing libre software, and offers a solution where the core message of libre software is one that builds up, liberates and inspires people.

In my opinion, the most significant of many poignant and insightful points Don makes is this: “I am saying we don’t have to resort to negativity and name calling. In fact, if we resort to name calling, we’re in trouble already. I know. It’s really tempting at times. But we must never resort to name calling. Instead, we should encourage people to live, think and be free. We should connect digital freedom more closely with freedom of speech.”

Amen to that, Don. And thanks for writing a very insightful blog item.

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software in his new home office. Watch this space.)

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Eliminate DRM!

Wednesday housecleaning

October 19, 2011 1 comment

Someone asked me why I haven’t responded to some of the criticism hurled at me like monkey feces (his words, cleaned up, not mine) in the comments of my blog item about forking the Free Software Foundation.

It comes down to letting people who aren’t me speak their minds, since I’ve done that already in the blog item. As an aside, you can tell which person had read the blog all the way to the end, because there’s an addendum to it that only about 20 percent of the readers of the first item actually read. The lesson here? Read the whole thing before you respond.

To be honest, I tossed most of the juvenile and the libelous comments — those who posted the former, grow up; those who posted the latter, you’re welcome, and bear in mind others may not be so kind.

But to put this to rest, let me address some recurring themes here, like

You have an agenda: You’re right, I have an agenda: promote digital freedom. That’s it, in three words. So when roadblocks are thrown up to divert progress on this front, I advocate positions seeking to remove them. Am I suggesting Richard Stallman has become a roadblock to progress for the FSF? You think?

You’re appeasing your (corporate) sponsors: When you find any sponsors on this page, let me know. This blog is my own personal commentary on what’s going on in the FOSS realm. Sometimes I’m right, and sometimes I’m not. Either way, it’s my reporting on FOSS developments, and my opinion on FOSS issues, that you’ll find on this page.

You’re an attention whore: I was pretty happy just having the 200 or so daily views on this blog before the fork-the-FSF item. I have nothing to gain by having five-figure view stats here, and on the list of things that validate my life, this blog ranks fairly low. If you like the blog, thanks for reading it and I’m grateful for your subscription. If you don’t like the blog, I’m sorry it doesn’t appeal to you.

When are you going to start the fork? I said in the blog I thought it would be a good idea to fork the FSF. I didn’t say I’d be the one to start it, nor does having the idea mean I’m required to start it. I have much in the way of FOSS projects to keep me busy, and I wasn’t suggesting that I would be your “fearless leader.” On the contrary: As 20th century labor leader Eugene Debs once said, “I would not lead you into the promised land if I could, because if I led you in, some one else would lead you out.” The moral of the story here is to think and act for yourself. If someone wants to act on this idea of a fork, by all means do.

What have you done for the FSF/Free Software? This is a bogus question, because even if I hadn’t lifted a finger to promote free software, I’d still have the right to express an opinion on this issue. But let’s entertain the question, with cookies and milk if need be. Here’s what I’ve done for the FSF/free software: While a student at Cabrillo College in 2007-2008, I founded the Cabrillo College GNU/Linux Users Group — not a LUG, a GNU/Linux users group; this GLUG brought RMS to speak on campus; over the last several years, I have purchased multiple copies of “Free Software, Free Society” and have given them to those folks I thought would benefit from reading it, including a donation of two copies to the Santa Cruz Public Library (which had it in stock, but they could always use more copies); I drive a car with this license plate (and, incidentally, RMS has ridden in this car from Palo Alto to Santa Cruz, and from Santa Cruz to San Francisco International Airport); I started a local business in 2009, a consultancy that promotes the use of Free/Open Source Software in the small business/home office environment; I’ve also done a lot of other things that are too trivial to mention. Obviously this matters more to some than it does to me, but for those who asked, there you go.

So, how about we all move forward now, once and for all?

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software in his new home office. Watch this space.)

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Eliminate DRM!

Upon further review . . .

October 9, 2011 9 comments

Well, that was interesting. Little did I know that a simple, albeit furious and impassioned, voicing of an opinion would spark such a huge debate and brand me, to combine various comments on the blog, as an idiot drama queen with a telephone pole stuck up my hind quarters keeping the door from hitting me on the way out.

You guys . . . .

But seriously, this is “Exhibit A” for the case that cooler heads should always prevail. With the benefit of the more thought-provoking of opinions in the comments, and after discussing the issue privately with several people whose opinions I respect (even when I disagree with them), allow me to clarify, add, emblish and otherwise append some of the things I wrote in the previous item, like:

A glaring omission: While re-reading my blog post, it mistakenly reads like it’s just Richard Stallman’s statement on Steve Jobs that is the sole reason for my leaving the FSF. It’s not. The statement about Jobs is just a tipping point in a list of several incidents where I, and others, have run into resistance, censorship and pariah-hood by merely questioning the FSF gospel over the years that I have been a FSF member. As an aside, an e-mail exchange with FSF executive director John Sullivan — some long and detailed, some not — allowed me to air my grievances, and I am grateful to him for lending a proverbial ear to hear these concerns. Sullivan’s e-mail exchanges, as well as discussions with others, show there is room for change in the organization.

A change at the top of the FSF leadership is neccessary and vital. A fork of FSF . . . not so much. In fact, I will admit that in the heat of anger and raising the idea of a fork earlier — “better than raising a knife,” someone said in an e-mail — further discussion (mostly by e-mail, some by phone) point to a slight change of heart on my part; simply put, all options should be explored. Forking should only be a final option. From discussions I’ve had with current and former FSFers, there is already a fork — FSFE — but more importantly, I understand from others who share my frustration that there is a growing amount of room within the organization for the reforms that, in my opinion, would make for better leadership in, and progress on behalf of, the FSF.

Interestingly, the most compelling reason and argument not to fork is that it would essentially be reinventing the wheel. Changing it, as one would change a flat tire (as one person put it in a conversation), might be more appropriate. So I may be premature in floating the idea for a fork, and such as it is with the free/open source software world, that option is always there.

How to praise someone’s accomplishments when you disagree with them: Marcel Gagne probably wrote the best look at the passing of Steve Jobs from a FOSS perspective in a recent blog item. That beats quoting a Chicago mayor by several light years, and I wish I had written that item. Thanks, Marcel.

One thing is clear: From the comments, there is a clear line — albeit a wide gulf — separating those who want to have a rational discussion or debate about this issue from those who are merely Kool-Aid drinking dogmatards who are no different, from a behavior standpoint, than the Apple cultists they despise. Thanks to each and every one of you for commenting and/or contacting me personally: To those who wanted a meaningful discussion, I appreciate the candor; to the others, thanks for the entertainment.

As an aside, I just found out that WordPress may have been routing some responses to the spam folder, where they’re deleted. I noticed this when I pulled a response out this morning. So if you haven’t seen your comment, that’s probably what happened. If you want to try again, I’ll keep an eye out for it. If not, that’s fine too.

As Forrest Gump, would say, “That’s all I have to say about that.”

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software in his new home office. Watch this space.)

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Eliminate DRM!

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