Why I no longer support the FSF

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Parsifal

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Why I no longer support the FSF
« on: December 12, 2010, 01:46:47 AM »
The Free Software Foundation (FSF) qualifies itself as "[promoting] computer user freedom," an honourable pursuit that I wholeheartedly support. If only their practices aligned with this statement of purpose, they would be a very respectable organisation indeed. However, in many ways they fall short of this mission statement and end up shooting themselves in the foot.

To begin with, rather than campaigning for the right of computer users to make their own educated decisions regarding what freedom they should have, they campaign for computer users to have the "freedom" that the FSF thinks they should have. In effect, they would like to monopolise the word "freedom" as it applies to software, even going so far as to alienate themselves from other organisations (such as Debian, Fedora, OpenBSD and the Open Source Initiative) which are essentially fighting for the same thing, due to disagreements about what "free" means.

Instead of acknowledging that these other definitions of free content exist and supporting the user's freedom to consider them all and come to her own conclusion, they continue to push their dated views on people. They often suggest that people use a "fully free" GNU/Linux distribution -- meaning that they conform to the FSF's idea of a free system which, because of the FSF's warped view on free documentation as I speak about below, doesn't actually require them to be fully free -- and refusing to list other free systems like Debian among the "fully free" distributions because their documentation suggests some non-free software, or some equally pathetic reason. Of course, they neglect to mention that if it weren't for Debian's enforcement of its free software policy, the FSF's own GNU C Library would still be non-free.

As mentioned above, the FSF's view of free documentation is kind of ridiculous. They consider documentation with non-technical sections that cannot be modified as "free", and even include such sections in some of their own GNU manuals, which Debian rightfully places in its non-free repository section. Now, in the 1980s when the first GNU licences were being written, I can understand such a definition being sensible -- the 80s were a much less liberal era in terms of software licensing, so I don't hold the existence of that definition against them. But, given that we are now in 2010, I would expect them to respond to Debian's classification of this documentation as non-free by rectifying the situation, not by insisting that their definition of freedom is infallible.

Finally, the FSF's policy on computer user freedom stops at free software. We can see this simply by visiting their website, which is under a non-free licence. The FSF is glad to support the use of free software -- always assuming, of course, that you don't refer to GNU/Linux as "Linux," mention "open source" more prominently than "free software," or mention the existence of some non-free software in your documentation -- but is all too happy to impose copyright restrictions on computer users when it suits them.

In conclusion, the FSF is failing to accomplish its mission statement by clinging to outdated views on freedom and refusing to follow the advancement of society into a more progressive age. While I acknowledge the great things it has done for freedom in the past, today it is little more than a crumbling ruin that just gets in the way of further development. And that is why I no longer support the FSF.
I'm going to side with the white supremacists.

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Thork

Re: Why I no longer support the FSF
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2010, 03:09:34 AM »
This sounds to me like you were banging on to someone at your new work about FSF. Having worked in the industry way longer than you, they have set you straight with their views, and you have come back to FES to spout forth want you learnt verbatim.

This is much akin to someone telling a 5 year old that Santa doesn't exist. Its cruel, unnecessary and you weren't ready to have that kind of bombshell dropped on you just yet. I just hope that whoever is responsible is now feeling bad for what they did and that you are able to find a little magic somewhere else on the internet. :(

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frostee

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Re: Why I no longer support the FSF
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2010, 03:53:31 AM »
This sounds to me like you were banging on to someone at your new work about FSF. Having worked in the industry way longer than you, they have set you straight with their views, and you have come back to FES to spout forth want you learnt verbatim.

This is much akin to someone telling a 5 year old that Santa doesn't exist. Its cruel, unnecessary and you weren't ready to have that kind of bombshell dropped on you just yet. I just hope that whoever is responsible is now feeling bad for what they did and that you are able to find a little magic somewhere else on the internet. :(
wat
Recently religious due to the impending rapture.

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Vindictus

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cmdshft

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Re: Why I no longer support the FSF
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2010, 09:52:35 AM »
So you'll finally stop talking about it now?

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Saddam Hussein

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Re: Why I no longer support the FSF
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2010, 09:55:40 AM »
So you'll finally stop talking about it now?

If only.

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Wendy

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Re: Why I no longer support the FSF
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2010, 10:00:53 AM »
He'll talk about it more, because there's something wrong with it. That's the way things work, don't you know?
Here's an explanation for ya. Lurk moar. Every single point you brought up has been posted, reposted, debated and debunked. There is a search function on this forum, and it is very easy to use.

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Ichimaru Gin :]

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Re: Why I no longer support the FSF
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2010, 11:28:31 AM »
Has FSF always been like that?
I saw a slight haze in the hotel bathroom this morning after I took a shower, have I discovered a new planet?

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Lorddave

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Re: Why I no longer support the FSF
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2010, 12:27:24 PM »
I'm wondering why it took him so long to realize it if it's plainly obvious on their website.
You have been ignored for common interest of mankind.

I am a terrible person and I am a typical Blowhard Liberal for being wrong about Bom.

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EnigmaZV

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Re: Why I no longer support the FSF
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2010, 08:44:39 PM »
He's mentioned this before to me, possibly on IRC, I think there may have been a brief post from him about it here sometime in the past, but I suppose this is the first formal thread he's made in this regard.
I don't know what you're implying, but you're probably wrong.

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Parsifal

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Re: Why I no longer support the FSF
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2010, 10:26:34 PM »
This sounds to me like you were banging on to someone at your new work about FSF.

As Enigma points out, I've actually held this view for several months now, it's just the first time I've made a thread about it.

So you'll finally stop talking about it now?

I almost never make any posts regarding the FSF these days. But you wouldn't know that, since you come here about that often, so why don't you shut up and lurk?

Has FSF always been like that?

Have you tried reading my post?

I'm wondering why it took him so long to realize it if it's plainly obvious on their website.

It's obvious to someone with a well-developed understanding of what free culture means. Since coming across the views of the FSF was my first introduction to the free culture movement, I initially believed their bullshit due to having no other reference on which to base my views. It took some time to see through it after that.
I'm going to side with the white supremacists.

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cmdshft

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Re: Why I no longer support the FSF
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2010, 11:31:17 PM »
So you'll finally stop talking about it now?

I almost never make any posts regarding the FSF these days. But you wouldn't know that, since you come here about that often, so why don't you shut up and lurk?

I meant about your free software crusade in general.

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Parsifal

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Re: Why I no longer support the FSF
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2010, 11:54:40 PM »
I meant about your free software crusade in general.

Oh, silly me. I should have known that by "it" you meant something other than what the thread was about.
I'm going to side with the white supremacists.

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Wendy

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Re: Why I no longer support the FSF
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2010, 02:11:41 AM »
Obviously. lrn2Hara.
Here's an explanation for ya. Lurk moar. Every single point you brought up has been posted, reposted, debated and debunked. There is a search function on this forum, and it is very easy to use.

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cmdshft

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Re: Why I no longer support the FSF
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2010, 06:32:30 AM »

Re: Why I no longer support the FSF
« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2010, 09:02:44 AM »
did you tell them it means "free as in beer" ?

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Parsifal

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Re: Why I no longer support the FSF
« Reply #16 on: December 26, 2010, 03:40:44 AM »
I just noticed "dfsg" in the version number of the Debian package of Bison, a GNU program. For those unfamiliar with Debian version numbering, adding "dfsg" to a version number indicates that Debian has altered the program so that it conforms to the Debian Free Software Guidelines.

Bison, as I have already mentioned, being a GNU program, I was curious as to what exactly was altered to make it free. Digging through the changelog, I found this comment by Chuan-kai Lin on a package upload from June 2006:

  * Remove GFDL documentation with Cover Text from source tarball
    and stop generating bison-doc from the bison source package.
    A separate bison-doc source package will be created shortly.
I'm going to side with the white supremacists.

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Saddam Hussein

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Re: Why I no longer support the FSF
« Reply #17 on: December 26, 2010, 04:15:38 AM »
I just noticed "dfsg" in the version number of the Debian package of Bison, a GNU program. For those unfamiliar with Debian version numbering, adding "dfsg" to a version number indicates that Debian has altered the program so that it conforms to the Debian Free Software Guidelines.

Bison, as I have already mentioned, being a GNU program, I was curious as to what exactly was altered to make it free. Digging through the changelog, I found this comment by Chuan-kai Lin on a package upload from June 2006:

  * Remove GFDL documentation with Cover Text from source tarball
    and stop generating bison-doc from the bison source package.
    A separate bison-doc source package will be created shortly.


MY GOD, NO!

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Eddy Baby

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Re: Why I no longer support the FSF
« Reply #18 on: December 26, 2010, 07:33:45 AM »
Yep, my 'down' key still works.

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Saddam Hussein

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Re: Why I no longer support the FSF
« Reply #19 on: December 26, 2010, 07:40:48 AM »
Yep, my 'down' key still works.

I prefer dragging the little bar at the side of the screen.  It's more flexible in accommodating what speed you want to scroll down at.

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Eddy Baby

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Re: Why I no longer support the FSF
« Reply #20 on: December 26, 2010, 07:41:53 AM »
That's going in Monster Fail. You use the fucking scroll bar? With the fucking mouse?

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Saddam Hussein

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Re: Why I no longer support the FSF
« Reply #21 on: December 26, 2010, 07:44:19 AM »
For Parsifal threads.  Usually I use the little scroll wheel on my mouse.

Re: Why I no longer support the FSF
« Reply #22 on: December 27, 2010, 11:18:12 PM »
So what is it exactly that you support?
The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken. -Samuel Johnson

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PizzaPlanet

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Re: Why I no longer support the FSF
« Reply #23 on: December 28, 2010, 09:29:00 AM »
inb4freedom
hacking your precious forum as we speak 8) 8) 8)