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Re: A GNU “social contract”?

From: Alexandre François Garreau
Subject: Re: A GNU “social contract”?
Date: Wed, 06 Nov 2019 17:46:26 +0100

Le mercredi 6 novembre 2019, 10:18:44 CET Andreas Enge a écrit :

> Why not? The way you phrase it, it sounds as if using GNU software and

> promoting GNU standards is such a burden that it becomes infeasible on top

> of the "hard etc. work of maintaing (...) software". Quite the contrary,

> I would say. Your view above seems too narrow to me: If there is only one

> person in the world upholding the standards, as you seem to imply, we cannot

> expect a universal movement for free software to succeed. And there would

> not even be a point, actually - it is completely irrelevant how one person

> out of 9 billions lives.


TL;DR: there’s a huge difference between union of people sharing some of our ideas (even strongly) and intersection of it (people sharing all of them).


The example of “FSF the party and GNU the armed hand” has been given. I also have an extreme-left-wing analogy: south-american anarchist especifismo.


Here —commonly a minority— anarchist organization, instead of recruiting massively to protest and loosening its ideology (which only worked in part of Spain once in history… very too unsure about ideologies in Kurdistan and past Ukraine), will rather try to do everything inside “massive” non-ideological organizations (unions, neighborhood associations, etc.) that will welcome everybody (whatever the ideology, even (that’s important) non-anarchist, anti-communists… christians, right-wing people… etc. (these are part of society too!)).


So these may already make up most of population, and the especifista organization work so that these begin to implement practices approaching libertarian (anti-authoritarian: direct democracy, direct action) and communist (sharing and anti-property: “from each according per abilities to each according per needs”) practices, without necessarily having to declare themselves “communists” or “anarchists” (because that’s complicated… you won’t believe how many people actually find normal and totally acceptable communist and anarchist ideas but won’t ever accept the term… and how many islamists or christians may declare themselves as communists or even anarchists).


That way the idea is that society change and even revolution can happen before everybody becomes anarchist, because anarchism is an historicized ideology putting together many ideas (communism, atheism, (direct) democracy, revocable imperative mandates, rationalism, materialism, class struggle, disobedience, workers movement, (general) strike, etc.) then considered as consistent. Thus it is possible to expect each of these ideas to become widely common accross society, while considering their intersection might not be (so you’d get majority of communists, majority of democrats, majority of atheists, etc. but not majority of atheist communists etc. democrats).


We can separate ideological agreement, and practical implementation of that. Commonly, there are more people who will practically work in a direction (at least because of chance! you know: world is quite absurd, actually) than people agreeing to the original ideology.


Yes, likely many will like free-software licenses, maybe even copyleft (fewer), maybe even *GPLs (even fewers) v3 (oh my), many will like the concept of collaborative sharing and working (note these might be different from the former), maybe might be against DRM (note it is *extremely common* across free software, especially when higher economical class are better represented, to have a classic —imho counter-productive (most lower class people won’t care actually so it may be a really effective and working strategy)— “respect the law” approach that will condemn “piracy” sharing morally (RMS and hence GNU (maybe FSF at a time?) won’t do that, except maybe on a pure strategical (and not moral) ground)), and a very few will be against SaaSS (no really, look at these are all convinced librists fans of the concept of community collaborative development… rejecting big companies and commercial software… and yet promoting SaaSS). There’s also the problem of librists who just will dislike everything coming from a company (or any private entity): as really clearly did put it fellow Dmitry Alexandrov, that actually postpone free software goals to the realization of communism. Not even talking about libreboot and “smartphones” (I know we are a only a few around GNU, FSF, free-software and net-neutrality movement not to own a phone at all).


If we want to keep the current high ideological standards of RMS… we won’t be 1-over-9-billions, we likely will be… maybe 11 (and I guess we have a bunch of those already in teams described by Brandon). You know what? we might be a *lot* more, just find the (non-trivial way) to make a lot more people aware of *all ideas* supported on /philosophy… And guess what? a lot would easily adhere (there are still people without a phone on this planet… guess what? they’re a minority, but they’re certainly not 11, they’re likely thousands-over-9-billions, that’s more than we currently are). Guess what else? most of these easily convinced people won’t have any technical skills at all, because most of *all people* currently don’t have any technical skills at all from the beginning.


We could try to teach them… yet… maybe most of them lack time or interest? what if most or them are not good at programming? or do not like it? I consider it is not unwise to consider what rms thinks about learning programming [0] is true…


That would actually imply to restart over from scratch. Meanwhile, the very concept of copyleft allowed many of our ideological foreigners or even (sometimes former) enemies (mostly big companies like (former Sun,) Oracle, Microsoft, Apple, Google, etc.) to work for us by writing and developing free software (so it becomes like we wanted: it’s not proprietary, as it shouldn’t exist as such).


Keep in mind free software movement is not a positive movement. We don’t want to “achieve free software” or “develop community”. We don’t look at a “some” or “inclusive OR” of society to see if we succeed… but at a “every” or “AND”. It is a negative movement: we want proprietary software not to exist anymore. We want it to be as common, banal, understandable and moral as killing, hurting, insulting, deceiving, lying, etc. We want for software to be free, or not to be at all (hence returning to the state when there was no software). Because if software is not free, software is an attack at human freedom, it is tool of subjugation.


[0] §2


> On Wed, Nov 06, 2019 at 04:04:03AM +0100, Alexandre François Garreau wrote:

> > No you misunderstood the role, which is technical. So ambassading outside

> > of a project mailing-list is outside of this role. Like any GNU member

> > comments on per blog.

> >

> > Ambassadors of GNU are already listed in the GNU webpage listing whose who

> > are validated as speakers to give talks about software freedom (and the

> > specific subject they might talk about).


> Here we disagree. GNU is not developed in a cave without connection to the

> outer world, with a few officially appointed ambassadors spreading the word.

> We have a public role, and whenever we go to conferences or hacker

> meetings, we get an opportunity to lead by example. If we want free

> software (and the GNU project) to succeed, we must use free software and

> speak about it. And I definitely do not need any official validation to do

> that.


That’s technical role. We ought to ambassad to all users, not developers. That shall not be a developer movement or decision. That shall be “never run program you can’t control”.


> > Many already do that, and I even (sadly, I was as shocked as other people,

> > but that’s not a reason to shut up people) observed that on some past

> > GHMs. Along with promoting software that only works on proprietary OSes.


> To be fair, I have seen this only once. And as you say, we were all baffled,

> so it clearly was not something that people considered normal.


You didn’t look as precisely as I did. I saw several macbooks over time. I met several people who, outside of GHM, use proprietary OSes. I saw almost everybody carrying a cellphone: and though feature phones and Replicants are over-represented, they’re not a majority.



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