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commit c0891a41d5dbb57ea16ee1102b75348406d6c831
parent 72a4d1f68a2dbb60a612b4c6290837c08e32f249
Author: Jake Bauer <jbauer@paritybit.ca>
Date:   Mon, 13 Dec 2021 12:14:59 -0500

Update free software blog post

Diffstat:
Mpages/blog/free-software-is-an-abject-failure.md | 19++++++++++++++++++-
Mpublic/feeds/sitewide-feed.xml | 131++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++-------------------------------
2 files changed, 97 insertions(+), 53 deletions(-)

diff --git a/pages/blog/free-software-is-an-abject-failure.md b/pages/blog/free-software-is-an-abject-failure.md @@ -9,7 +9,7 @@ <div class="byline"> <b>Written By:</b> Jake Bauer | <b>Posted:</b> 2021-11-08 | - <b>Last Updated:</b> 2021-11-30 + <b>Last Updated:</b> 2021-12-13 </div> <p class="note">I want to preface this by saying that I used to be a staunch @@ -72,6 +72,22 @@ code. He is effectively saying "this is _my_ creation, and I wish to control what others can do with it" as well as clearly assigning an owner to the software. +_Update 2021-12-13_: I was recently made aware of an article in which Richard +Stallman advocates against positive change to copyright laws because of how it +would hurt Free Software. Instead of making software free of copyright after 5 +years, he advocates for maintaining copyright control because it would hurt the +control that Free Software licenses would have over the distribution of software +later on. It's not enough that the software would still fulfill the four pillars +of free software after the 5 years is up, control _must_ be maintained over how +other people can distribute and use the software in their products in case they +ever decide to fork it and make something proprietary from it. Not only does he +not trust that people would use only the Free version (as if we need to be +protected by Free Software licenses lest we use some proprietary software), he +is, in essence, advocating for maintaining ownership over software even though +the change to copyright legislation would be positive for society overall. The +article is called: <a href="https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/pirate-party">How the +Swedish Pirate Party Platform Backfires on Free Software</a>. + If software is not in the public domain, then, by definition, it has to have at least one other owner. If Stallman can dictate how others can use his software—even if it is more freely than most proprietary software—then it @@ -506,3 +522,4 @@ href="https://bsd.network/web/@jbauer/107242760541269391">discussion on Mastodon</a> or the <a href="https://lobste.rs/s/dmh7qx/free_software_is_abject_failure">discussion on Lobste.rs</a>.</p> + diff --git a/public/feeds/sitewide-feed.xml b/public/feeds/sitewide-feed.xml @@ -16,7 +16,7 @@ <div class="byline"> <b>Written By:</b> Jake Bauer | <b>Posted:</b> 2021-11-08 | - <b>Last Updated:</b> 2021-11-08 + <b>Last Updated:</b> 2021-12-13 </div> <p class="note">I want to preface this by saying that I used to be a staunch @@ -27,7 +27,8 @@ the Free Software movement and have changed the way I write and license my software as a result. I implore you to genuinely consider what I have written in this post and to approach it with an open mind. Your knee-jerk reaction may be to reject what I am saying as anti-freedom or pro-corporation but that is not -the case. I simply no longer believe in the Free Software movement.</p> +the case. I believe FOSS as a concept is still very important, however I simply +no longer believe in the Free Software movement.</p> <p>Free Software is an abject failure. It may sound like a good concept on its face—especially with the kind of language often used to describe the movement @@ -60,9 +61,10 @@ all contributions must flow. Whether we&#8217;re talking about large projects to large to fork and maintain by anybody but large, well-funded groups such as the Linux kernel (in which Linus still has complete veto power by the way), Qt (in which the company controls the development of the software and simply allows -older versions to be used under a free license), or smaller projects which have -simple leaders. As long as there is a copyright statement, there are one or more -owners to be aware of.</p> +older versions to be used under a free license), or Android (where Google +maintains pretty solid control), or smaller projects which have simple leaders. +As long as there is a copyright statement, there are one or more owners to be +aware of.</p> <p>Additionally, the <a href="https://archive.md/V14pR">GNU Manifesto</a>, aside from calling the Open Source movement an &#8220;amoral approach&#8221;, goes on to say that GNU &#8220;is not @@ -77,6 +79,22 @@ code. He is effectively saying &#8220;this is <em>my</em> creation, and I wish t what others can do with it&#8221; as well as clearly assigning an owner to the software.</p> +<p><em>Update 2021-12-13</em>: I was recently made aware of an article in which Richard +Stallman advocates against positive change to copyright laws because of how it +would hurt Free Software. Instead of making software free of copyright after 5 +years, he advocates for maintaining copyright control because it would hurt the +control that Free Software licenses would have over the distribution of software +later on. It&#8217;s not enough that the software would still fulfill the four pillars +of free software after the 5 years is up, control <em>must</em> be maintained over how +other people can distribute and use the software in their products in case they +ever decide to fork it and make something proprietary from it. Not only does he +not trust that people would use only the Free version (as if we need to be +protected by Free Software licenses lest we use some proprietary software), he +is, in essence, advocating for maintaining ownership over software even though +the change to copyright legislation would be positive for society overall. The +article is called: <a href="https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/pirate-party">How the +Swedish Pirate Party Platform Backfires on Free Software</a>.</p> + <p>If software is not in the public domain, then, by definition, it has to have at least one other owner. If Stallman can dictate how others can use his software—even if it is more freely than most proprietary software—then it @@ -209,12 +227,12 @@ to other projects.</p> the distribution of software in a manner not unlike the so-called <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organization_for_Ethical_Source">Ethical Software</a> movement. The GPL acts effectively as a proprietary license that allows you to -the things it deems ethical, so long as you abide by the terms of the license -with regards to the distribution and re-licensing restrictions. As long as you -are in this &#8220;club&#8221;, everything is fine and dandy and you can make your changes -and push them to your favourite projects. As soon as you leave this club and -want to pull code from a GPL-licensed project into your MIT-licensed project, -well, sorry, too bad for you.</p> +do the things it deems ethical, so long as you abide by the terms of the license + with regards to the distribution and re-licensing restrictions. As long + as you are in this &#8220;club&#8221;, everything is fine and dandy and you can make + your changes and push them to your favourite projects. As soon as you + leave this club and want to pull code from a GPL-licensed project into + your MIT-licensed project, well, sorry, too bad for you.</p> <p>While the GPL may not cause as much of an obstruction or be as unethical as proprietary software, it is frankly not that much better. It causes distress and @@ -245,21 +263,21 @@ this is simply not the case <em>at all</em>.</p> <p>Users are absolutely at the mercy of the maintainers of software projects to integrate their changes in the current landscape of software development, especially with software projects as complicated as a many of the popular GUI -toolkits, kernels, or desktop environments. In fact, Free Software project issue -boards and forums are, in reality, not much better than corporate support -forums. Often when one opens an issue in a large software project it can take -months or even years for those issues to be worked out. It&#8217;s also not uncommon -for those issues to simply go unsolved for many years. A great example of this -is the <a href="https://web.archive.org/web/20210111165221/https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=141154&amp;">&#8216;Add an &#8220;icon view with thumbnails&#8221; mode&#8217; GNOME +toolkits, kernels, or desktop environments. In fact, the reality is that Free +Software project issue boards and forums are not much better than corporate +support forums. Often when one opens an issue in a large software project it can +take months or even years for those issues to be worked out. It&#8217;s also not +uncommon for those issues to simply go unsolved for many years. A great example +of this is the <a href="https://web.archive.org/web/20210111165221/https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=141154&amp;">&#8216;Add an &#8220;icon view with thumbnails&#8221; mode&#8217; GNOME issue</a> -which was opened in 2004 (it&#8217;s almost old enough to vote!) and is still -not actually fixed despite many users expressing how useful it would be to -have this feature.</p> +which was opened in 2004 (it&#8217;s almost old enough to vote!) and is still not +actually fixed despite many users expressing how useful it would be to have this +feature.</p> <p>Users simply cannot maintain such complex software on their own and, if they -have limited programming ability, cannot be expected fork a project, make their -fix, test their fix, act on feedback from the maintainers (if they&#8217;re lucky -enough to get their patch or pull request noticed), and so on. The current +have limited programming ability, cannot be expected to fork a project, make +their fix, test their fix, act on feedback from the maintainers (if they&#8217;re +lucky enough to get their patch or pull request noticed), and so on. The current software development ecosystem makes this impossible, regardless of the license of the project. Software is not yet simple enough for that and GNU and Free Software did nothing to solve this. In fact, it can be argued that they made @@ -311,10 +329,9 @@ the Free Software movement, not because of it.</p> <p>Free Software and the surrounding culture and institutions are often viewed as a farce outside of the dedicated Free Software <del>cult</del> community. The FSF has been slowly descending into irrelevancy for the past two decades as they -struggle to do anything meaningful with their time and resources; instead -favouring to make a lot of unproductive noise. Take, as recent examples, how -they <a href="https://web.archive.org/web/20210605120216/https://www.fsf.org/blogs/community/why-freeing-windows-7-opens-doors">mailed a hard drive to Microsoft telling them to put the Windows 7 source -code on +struggle to do anything meaningful with their time and resources; instead opting +to make a lot of unproductive noise. Take, as recent examples, how they <a href="https://web.archive.org/web/20210605120216/https://www.fsf.org/blogs/community/why-freeing-windows-7-opens-doors">mailed +a hard drive to Microsoft telling them to put the Windows 7 source code on it</a>, or how they <a href="https://web.archive.org/web/20211011152025/https://www.fsf.org/campaigns/apple">accuse Apple of &#8220;censoring free software&#8221;</a> @@ -346,18 +363,17 @@ the Licensed Application, any updates, or any part thereof&#8230;</p> as bundled by the App Store. It doesn&#8217;t prevent you from going to GitHub and modifying the software there, only modifying the software you got from the Apple App Store. Sure, this isn&#8217;t a good thing and it can be easily argued that this -is unethical because you don&#8217;t ever own the apps you purchase, however, it is -hardly &#8220;censoring free software&#8221; given that, as the owner of a Free Software -project, you can freely submit GPL-licensed software to the App Store and Apple -assumes you have the rights to provide them with a non-GPL-licensed build. If -you don&#8217;t have that ability because you don&#8217;t own exclusive rights to the -software and it&#8217;s not feasible for you to get the permission of every -contributor with their name attached to the project, well, that&#8217;s not Apple&#8217;s -problem. The FSF words their article like Apple is attacking them when, in -reality, Apple doesn&#8217;t care what license you&#8217;ve chosen, only that you grant them -the ability to distribute your app under the terms of their EULA. The wording in -that blog post is yet another example of why the FSF are seen as a farce. They -should know better.</p> +is unethical because you don&#8217;t ever own the apps you purchase, yet it is hardly +&#8220;censoring free software&#8221; given that, as the owner of a Free Software project, +you can freely submit GPL-licensed software to the App Store and Apple assumes +you have the rights to provide them with a non-GPL-licensed build. If you don&#8217;t +have that ability because you don&#8217;t own exclusive rights to the software and +it&#8217;s not feasible for you to get the permission of every contributor with their +name attached to the project, well, that&#8217;s not Apple&#8217;s problem. The FSF words +their article like Apple is attacking them when, in reality, Apple doesn&#8217;t care +what license you&#8217;ve chosen, only that you grant them the ability to distribute +your app under the terms of their EULA. The wording in that blog post is yet +another example of why the FSF are seen as a farce. They should know better.</p> <p>This reputation of preferring ideological book-thumping over meaningful action is nothing new. Most who are familiar with Linux are likely familiar with @@ -382,18 +398,22 @@ existed</em>.</p> <p>Speaking of fading into irrelevancy, many of the Free Software institutions such as the Software Freedom Conservancy and Free Software Foundation Europe have -been reliant on GPL violation lawsuits as pretty much their sole means to exist. -It has gotten so bad that <a href="https://lwn.net/Articles/873415/">the SFC have tried to bring lawsuits on behalf of the -users of GPL software</a>; something which has -little basis in actual copyright law, but is the only option they have left when -companies either skillfully hide their GPL violations or the owners of GPL -software are unwilling to enforce their license against large opponents. No -wonder these institutions also tend to only go after small opponents from which -they can easily make money. Even very public <a href="https://web.archive.org/web/20211108073317/https://github.com/OnePlusOSS/android_kernel_oneplus_sm8150/issues/13">violations such as those committed -by +either been reliant on GPL violation lawsuits as one of their primary means to +exist, or have been relatively ineffective at carrying out their mandates with +regards to litigation. It has gotten so bad that <a href="https://lwn.net/Articles/873415/">the SFC have tried to bring +lawsuits on behalf of the users of GPL +software</a>; something which has little basis in +actual copyright law, but is the only option they have left when companies +either skillfully hide their GPL violations or the owners of GPL software are +unwilling to enforce their license against large opponents. A cursory glance on +the SFC&#8217;s website reveals a lot of information about this Vizio lawsuit, but not +much information about previous lawsuits or successes. No wonder these +institutions also tend to only go after small opponents from which they can +continue to justify their existence. Even very public <a href="https://web.archive.org/web/20211108073317/https://github.com/OnePlusOSS/android_kernel_oneplus_sm8150/issues/13">violations such as those +committed by OnePlus</a> have still gone unanswered for. If such violations are clearly allowed to -continue, what use even are these institutions? What use is the GPL?</p> +continue with such ineffective enforcement, what use even is the GPL in reality?</p> <p>Regarding the quality of GNU software, outside of the <del>cult</del> community of Free Software, GNU code has a reputation of being resource-hungry, buggy, bloated, or @@ -463,7 +483,7 @@ that software shouldn&#8217;t have owners and nobody should get to control how t software is used, studied, distributed, or hacked upon.</p> <p>The only licenses which <em>truly</em> meet all these criteria and can be considered -ethical are public domain licenses. Licensing your code under <a href="https://unlicense.org/">the +ethical are public domain-equivalent licenses. Licensing your code under <a href="https://unlicense.org/">the Unlicense</a>, the <a href="https://choosealicense.com/licenses/0bsd/">0BSD License</a>, or the <a href="https://creativecommons.org/share-your-work/public-domain/cc0/">CC0 License</a> means @@ -508,8 +528,15 @@ end up limiting the good that the rest of us can do. Free Software has failed.</ <p class="note">If this post intrigued you and made you want to learn more, consider checking out <a href="https://unixsheikh.com/articles/the-problems-with-the-gpl.html">The -problems with the GPL</a> as well as <a href="/a-critique-of-free-software">A -Critique of Free Software</a> both of which inspired this post.</p>]]></description> +problems with the GPL</a> and <a href="/a-critique-of-free-software">A Critique +of Free Software</a> (both of which inspired this post), as well as <a +href="https://adrian.geek.nz/fossbros">On FOSSBros</a>.</p> + +<p class="note">You may also be interested in reading the <a +href="https://bsd.network/web/@jbauer/107242760541269391">discussion on +Mastodon</a> or the <a +href="https://lobste.rs/s/dmh7qx/free_software_is_abject_failure">discussion on +Lobste.rs</a>.</p>]]></description> </item> <item> <title>A Git Workflow With Claws Mail</title>