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#1 2019-12-07 12:27:53

freemedia2018
Member
Registered: 2019-10-21
Posts: 66  

free software force and the free software definition

this one is for people who like the four freedoms, but think freedom has suffered under new regimes-- im not being specific because there is more than one situation that may fit this description.

chuangtzu may already know this topic. some of the guys from free software force want the free software definition revised-- the fsd includes the four freedoms.

in the years that systemd has taken over, ive thought about that too, but its not easy to amend the fsd without diminishing one of the freedoms as a side effect. im not saying its impossible.

as far as the definition goes, the four freedoms are non-negotiable. if one is missing or compromised, its not free software. but there are other things, such as modularity-- which we cant promise in every instance of every single thing, but when they are abandoned, it makes freedom harder to come by. systemd is the most obvious example of this.

so rather than change a good free software definition, which they already proposed, i suggested we augment it with four "pillars." these pillars help to support the four freedoms, and cant be neglected too much or freedom suffers. modularity comes up again and again, unsurprisingly.

ive gotten good feedback on linuxquestions, but i wanted input from this community as well. other than modularity, what sort of qualities might we argue are implicit in free software, but leave freedom to suffer if theyre neglected?

the idea is that by bringing these qualities back as things we generally need, the definition of free software is strengthened.

The goal should be a system that is harder to break than to fix. That's a goal, not a freedom, but it points out the inadequacy of merely spelling out freedoms.

its really nice [a bonus] if we can think of qualities that generate the things we want out of sheer likelihood.

for example, if we maintain modularity as a rule (even a rule with exceptions) then it will likely lead to design diversity, which will likely lead to both newbie-friendly and hacker-friendly systems. we dont have to treat this as hypothetical, years of experience tells many of us this is what happens as a result of design diversity. so by looking out for one quality, modularity, we gain not one, not two, but at least three other advantages (two of which seemingly contradict) as a result.

they dont all have to be that good, i dont think any of them are going to trump modularity.


monopolies are able to change free software so it better serves their freedom than ours.

why is that so difficult to prove to many free software advocates, and what is it that stops them from caring?

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#2 2019-12-07 17:11:15

golinux
Administrator
Registered: 2016-11-25
Posts: 1,877  

Re: free software force and the free software definition

I have spent quite some time thinking about this and wanted to add a bit of discussion to the Free Software page of the website.   I wanted to convey the concept that "free" software that limited users freedoms wasn't really free.  Lack of modularity was a primary concern.  Then I was reminded that there was the freedom to restore modularity so I've been letting a response around that argument simmer in the back of my mind. Perhaps between us we could come up with something.

Are you related to e e cummings?   lol!

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#3 2019-12-07 19:56:05

freemedia2018
Member
Registered: 2019-10-21
Posts: 66  

Re: free software force and the free software definition

the thing you sent looks good, im planning to go over it more carefully later.

i particularly like the part about "captures ownership"-- thats an important aspect of this problem, a key aspect.

one of the biggest problems culturally is hardline free software advocates (of which i am one, but i dont agree with this) saying that freedom is more important than choice-- as if the two have nothing to do with each other. they disqualify arguments with this fallacy:

if [[ -t $aboutchoice ]] ; then aboutfreedom=0 ; fi

freedom certainly is better than choice, but someone clever told me that its a chicken and egg question.

so i put it this way:

freedom is a chicken, and choice is an egg-- freedom can grant you many choices.

but an egg can give you one chicken, and one choice (such as choosing the right gnu/linux distro) can give you freedom, so these people who say that "freedom isnt about choice" are very silly indeed.

there is definitely overlap in the concepts!

but not every choice can give you freedom-- and not every egg will give you a chicken. so it really is a chicken and egg question.


monopolies are able to change free software so it better serves their freedom than ours.

why is that so difficult to prove to many free software advocates, and what is it that stops them from caring?

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#4 2019-12-07 20:19:55

golinux
Administrator
Registered: 2016-11-25
Posts: 1,877  

Re: free software force and the free software definition

That is pretty much where I got all twisted around trying to make my point.

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#5 2019-12-07 20:27:57

freemedia2018
Member
Registered: 2019-10-21
Posts: 66  

Re: free software force and the free software definition

golinux wrote:

That is pretty much where I got all twisted around trying to make my point.

what you get right that they get wrong, is they stick with theory while reality is right in front of them.

theory is important and gps is useful, but if the gps tells you to drive into the lake, its time to ignore it and steer the car based on common sense. sometimes being free means looking at the real situation right in front of you. thats what we do with systemd, while the fsf tells us to go ahead and drive into the lake: because reasons--

im a huge fan of the fsd, but their commentary misses a few points that are obvious to the rest of us. ive spent 5 years trying to prove to these people that "free in license only" is a thing, that there is such a thing as "free, but less free" and i even rewrote the halloween documents to demonstrate that people have spent no fewer than 20 years working up to this point where free software can be co-opted.

it becomes our job to tell people about this, because they are not doing it. but at least they have their reasons, eh? i mean they make good arguments, they just really fail the reality test in this situation. its alright if we talk about whats right in front of us, we dont need permission, or approval. and i guess its time we did their job for them. a few other people are doing it too: http://techrights.org/wiki/index.php/Fr … Federation


monopolies are able to change free software so it better serves their freedom than ours.

why is that so difficult to prove to many free software advocates, and what is it that stops them from caring?

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