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"Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say."
— Edward Snowden

Similarly, the argument that you don't care about software freedom because you don't know coding can be considered as same. It's like arguing that you don't care about the food you eat because you don't know cooking!

@bady Thing is I really don't know what software freedom means. For me it's like saying I have no opinion on whether we should restrain free radicals because I don't understand biochemistry. But I know what privacy and foe are.

@DesCoutinho Free radicals, nice pun! 😄

BTW software freedom isn't that complex to understand neither it requires knowledge of software engineering. It's basically about four freedoms: Freedom to run the software for any purpose, freedom to study how the software works, freedom to share the software with anyone, freedom to share the modified version of the software.

'Free' in Free Software stands for Freedom!

For more details: gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.htm

@bady Ok thanks for this. The confusion was with the word free meaning not paying for it. Which it doesn't mean. Maybe go with libre software so people like me duckduckgo the term.

@DesCoutinho
Yes, we use such terms when possible. Like in Kerala we call it Swathanthra Software, in Hindi/Marathi Mukt Software etc. But it was not easy to find a replacement in English as each alternative brought in different issues, so Free Software was chooses as lesser evil option.
@bady

@bady It clearly is difficult to understand given the number of pages this site has and clarification pages. It's certainly similar to the idea that pharmaceuticals have to allow generics. But without the period where the innovator having exclusive rights. It's a complicated issue it doesn't favour everyone and freedom applies to those with skills and money. It's not heralding a communist revolution all property is theft eg

@DesCoutinho This is the simplified version (copied from gnu.org): “Free software” means software that respects users' freedom and community. Roughly, it means that the users have the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. Thus, “free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech,” not as in “free beer”.

If you have any doubts, I'll try to answer them according to my knowledge.

@bady Isnt one of the demands the removal of proprietary software. So it's not that you want to build a federation of coders or a community that allows people to adapt and change software you don't want there to be the other option. Is that not part of the demands

@DesCoutinho Yes, Free Software philosophy idealizes a world without proprietary software. Unlike tangible products, which requires non-negligible amount of resources and labor to reproduce each unit, reproducing software is usually a matter of copy-paste. Adding proprietary license to prevent a software from sharing is like poisoning a drinking water source which is free for all so that one can sell bottled water and hence it is considered as an injustice.

@bady I understand the point but isn't that the analogy of pharmaceuticals. Once a new drug is out chemists can easily break it down and produce generics. Is that the analogy?

@DesCoutinho
Yes. So we have to find new ways to fund research, like govt funding for research rather than just patent/monopoly based research. There are benefits and loss for both models and we have to evaluate the net benefit.
@bady

@bady I would personallly feel that air and water cannot be owned in the way that it is being done. That is it the nation's responsibility by all means necessary to produce breathable air and potable water for its citizens. But India has never seen things that way. So perhaps this is a bit of a reach.

@DesCoutinho
Well, we did not go and protested in front of Microsoft. We used the same copyright law to create Free Software. Even if you consider it as Free market, we competed against proprietary software. When some companies lost out, others like Google and Facebook, found new ways to make money. That is inevitable, no one can guarantee a business model will last forever.
@bady

@bady So there was a cathedral built in the 13th century which was going to have the largest dome then in the world on a really tall tower. But they never built the dome. There are engineering problems to do with the buckling of the tower and the difficulty of using temporary supports that high up. Several centuries later Florence being wealthy called a congress of early renaissance genii and they all put forward suggestions to complete. So Brunelleschi says I can do it but I'm not saying how

@bady And they say sounds like a scam tell us how to build it. So he says ok let these experts if they can balance an egg on its end. And they try but they can't so he whacks the egg on the table and balances it. The other renaissance masters say he cheated he never said you could do that. And Bruno finishes with if I tell you how I intend to put up the dome any of these chaps could do it. If they can figure it out let them otherwise pay me. So they paid him. Isn't that what you are demanding

@bady That if a corporation can resolve a programming problem that you can't they must share the results with you. With the example of the phone if you could make a phone that was cheap reliable and did what hte big boy phones did and it was easy to adapt it would sell better. But eg Apple don't share. All its peripherals work the compatibles each add stuff that is supposed to improve the phone but it means not everything works. Unless my knowledge is out of date

@DesCoutinho
No, that is not how we look at it. We build things ourselves. If people find they get better value from Free Software the proprietary company lose out. That is just competition. We are only using what copyright law allows us, instead of restricting, we give up on some rights. We want to defeat proprietary companies by building replacements, not demand or force them to share. Even if we wanted, we don't have the power to force them.
@bady

@DesCoutinho
I think I explained this already. The difference is marginal cost of duplicating digital goods. So we cannot use same arguments as in physical goods where each copy costs money. And we look at patents and copyrights differently and even copyright for functional knowledge vs cultural works differently. We don't have Free Software for every use case or problem.
@bady

@praveen marginal costs are not the only costs. I recall the film about zuckerberg social media is it. He stole the idea for Facebook from three rich frat boys at harvard. But they should have lawyered up before hiring him. I don't think they had another clever idea their whole lives and he didn't break any copyright laws. But yeah it sounds a lot more complicated then you first said. And I really don't have a dog in this fight even though you keep saying I do and you know its name @bady

@DesCoutinho
Lets try to find some common grounds, but if you don't want to discuss this any more, I understand. Do you agree software has a role in most people's lives? For some even their lives depend on it, for example a medical device that is connected to ones body. An electronic voting machine that decides who gets to rule them. Mobile phones that keeps them connected with friends and family. These are all powered by software and the people who control these have power over people.
@bady

@praveen Lawyers for ya. As I said all the best with everything not really something that gets my blood boiling. Not being a lawyer but in heart failure I sign the forms the docs give me after asking so doc if you had the same thing what would you do and I go with that but I grew up in the West when that seemed like a good thing @bady

@DesCoutinho
You are already enjoying software freedom when you chose mastodon (Free Software) over twitter (proprietary). As you know, #Twitter is created and controlled by a single company. Now consider #mastodon, it is developed by people collaborating over the internet, there is no single person, company or entity that controls mastodon. #FreeSoftware Other Free Software examples include Firefox, VLC and Libre Office.
@bady

@DesCoutinho
The point is, even if are not a technical person, you get benefitted by the improvements made by others who are technical. Because improvements are usually shared. Think of it like repairing a car or a phone, you may not know how to do it, but you can get it repaired by others. In the same way, you can get software repaired by others, but the software should allow you to repair it. Only Free Software allow you to repair it, yourself or with help from others.
@bady

@praveen I've read thru the description quickly but I am not clear what this has to do with people who don't code. You appear to want to remove proprietry software if I understand the campaign. Is this not linked to the idea of intellectual copyright? Not in the sense of earnings but that if you hold intellectual copyright you can prevent people from taking a stab at the character. It's a complicated issue not helped by using a reserved term. And you haven't really tried to sell the idea @bady

@DesCoutinho
If I use the analogy of repairing a phone. Would you find a phone that only the manufacturer can open and repair useful or a phone that you can take to nearby mobile shop? This is only useful to a person who can repair a phone, but everyone. Even if you don't code, you still benefit since other people who code share their improvements. I will share a concrete example to illustrate this.
@bady

@DesCoutinho @bady
There is a Free Software called scribus that can be used for typesetting/DTP (creating books, newspapers etc), a replacement for Adobe PageMaker or InDesign. It did not support any Indian language or Arabic in the beginning. Fahad Al Saidi from Oman modified the software to support Arabic and that improvement helped Indian languages too. So even though many from India did not know coding, they still benefited because the software allowed anyone to improve it.

@praveen @bady They'll be benefits clearly but if it were truly better for the average indian wouldn't that be the one they purchased not Ventura or whatever professionals use these days. Why do you need to wipe out the competition?

@DesCoutinho
Well, there is a lack of awareness about Free Software. Can't we convince people this is a better way of developing software? We are also following the same rules. Recently a Malayalam newspaper, janayugom, switched to scribus for their typesetting. First such case, I don't think these companies will go out of business any time soon, though we would like them to.
@bady

@praveen It would help if you could explain why the big companies don't want to share their toys. Somebody loses out yes. And if it deincentivises R&D and coders aren't as clever on their own than the sharks who work for big companies won't that have negative effects also @bady

@DesCoutinho @praveen See, Free Software is all about Freedom. If you read the events leading to GNU at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_, you'll be able to understand it better. It isn't about envying the clever solutions of big companies which indie devs can't reproduce/outperform, it's about the 4 freedoms mentioned before. And denying those 4 freedoms is an injustice towards the users. Imagine you buy a cycle but you have no freedom to repair it, modify it or can't even lent it to a friend!

@bady I'm sure you're a nice guy yes. That's not the issue. But when someone says this is a deal that is so wonderful for everyone is opposed only by evilcorps and cruel capitalists I think perhaps there is something you are not saying. In practice if users understand how to code then yes if it's like talking prose people would buy into this. But you're asking ordinary people to replace one set of coders with another and saying you love humanity and they don't. It sounds tendentious @praveen

@DesCoutinho @praveen This is exactly the point I started this thread with. Thinking that software freedom only matters to coders is like you don't care about the food you eat because you don't know cooking. What kind of a logic is that? If you don't know coding you still have option to approach a friend who knows it, an option which proprietary software doesn't provide. And about being tendentious, yes, anyone who fights for a cause can be labelled so! Being neutral at times helps the oppressor

@bady There's that awful feeling a person gets. I don't know if you have experienced it before. When someone really does understand what you are saying they have analysed hte arguments and they still don't agree with you. You have my sympathies if this is your first time. I should be more gentle I know. @praveen

@DesCoutinho @praveen Thanks for being considerate as well as inspiring me to improve my arguments. I really enjoyed this convo 😅

Before ending this, I'd like add a couple of points:

1. Free Software doesn't wipe out competition, instead more and more companies including the tech giants are investing more in Free Software now (but they'd like to call it Open Source Software for some other reasons).

@DesCoutinho @praveen 2. Free Software is accountable and without accountability and the option to run a service on our own (a.k.a self-hosting which allows decentralization), we can't simply ensure privacy protection. Closed and centralized services like Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, etc. pose a huge threat to our privacy as well as free speech. That's the price we've to pay for our 'convenience' in using their free-of-cost 'services'.

@bady I know that's not strictly true opensource.com/article/17/11/o Though I hadn't realized that FOSS and FLOSS were about that thought not sure what the difference is between the latter two. @praveen

@bady Havent' studied marie Kondo but I ask myself will learning more about libre software when I have so few years left and so much more to learn about classics to pass on to unwilling twins, and above all will it add sparkle to my life. And I think perhaps this is me not you. It will not add sparkle to my life so I'll leave this argument hanging then @praveen

@DesCoutinho @praveen Fine, let me conclude this by adding that Free Software is important because of its philosophy, not because how technically superior it is, and that philosophy already has a huge impact on our lives whether we recognize it or not. And as our life gets more and more dependent on software the Free Software activists will continue their fight for the rights of everyone, not just the techies'.

Peace.

@bady I do have one question then given what I know about India how come no free software coders have been arrested under any of the draconian anti-national because I said so colonial throwback laws that exist in India. If you were achieving one tenth of one percent of what you claim to be aiming for there'd be mass arrests by now. @praveen

@DesCoutinho @praveen First of all the claim about Free Software activists fighting for the rights of everyone is about the rights related to the software usage. I'm not sure what laws are there in India which can result in the arrests of the coders for coding a piece of software that respects the 4 freedoms. May be we could expect some witch hunt in the near future, but currently isn't it targeted towards those who go against this govt directly?

@bady I thought you were interested in politics. I did 77 days in Sajwa for visting my wife then fiancee with a duly signed court order. I can cite several people Dr Teltumbde who is former petroleum exec professor big data analysis at an IIM in Goa I think who is in prison. Some because they are muslim. Some because they are dalits. I have no idea why people are imprisoned without trial the wife did 16 years you show me what she said or did that was anti any government aside from UK @praveen

@bady Teltumbde is a bit odd supposedly he is in prison for supporting some kind of marxism but he sounds anti-communist. Plus someone said something about his being opposed to another subaltern activist who has better connections. None of them could be arrested in a free country with a working judiciary because of lack of evidence. But make your mind up is this a coders thing or are you fighting the empire with the Jedi Knights @praveen

@DesCoutinho @praveen It's obvious that this govt isn't inclusive and doesn't care about minorities and their rights. But Free software alone cannot solve all the issues we have, that's why I joined @piratesin which aligns with the Free Software philosophy and much more. Like you said in another thread, people (including me ofc) have to start taking responsibility of what's happening around instead of simply outsourcing politics.

@bady Though its worth mentioning most of the 16 years imprisonment of my wife was under Congress both State and National governments @praveen @piratesin

@DesCoutinho
I think the scale of degradation of rights is higher now. Polarization of society on religious lines peaked, with state support. Moving closer to a Hindu Rashtra, if not already (they may amend the constitution to make it official).
@bady @piratesin

@praveen Congress would have been far more refined about the changes. They are full of western educated aristocrats. But the rot started long back. And most intelligent educated indians seems to want the current chagnes and love Modi-ji. It would be a mistake to judge what indians believe based solely on masto posts. Though most have left of block me these days. They prefer proprietary software it seems @bady @piratesin

@DesCoutinho
I don't think its such black and white issue. There are many human rights activists in jail, but that does not mean only those who are in jail really fight for rights of the people. Everyone including government benefit from Free Software. You can usually find something more important to belittle someone's work. Being in jail is not necessarily the best way to restore rights if people are not really concerned. There is no easy options.
@bady

@praveen I'm not belittling you work. I have no idea what coding involves that is something for your peers to judge. But I don't rate activists who have never even been arrested no matter how many awards they win. Being arrested is the minimum qualification for activism. But you can disagree. Though this can be silly too. I remember reading a Print article about Bhushan was like unto Mandela and MLK because he would suffer imprisonment. Though of course he didn't in the end being a fatars @bady

@DesCoutinho
Probably environment and human rights are orthogonal issues too. Would you belittle people who protest against climate change in India because they are not in jail? Many such issues cannot be solved in parallel. When people talk about issues, they tend to restrict it based on their understanding of the big picture.
@bady

@praveen I know virtually nothing about you but you have focussed on my belittling you. I do belittle the indian Human Rights business and its often foreign sponsored NGOs. They are as corrupt sexist racist casteist as any other indian institution. A very respectable trade for the sons and daughters of india's corrupt gangsters and politicians. I've met a few decent people in India and some amazing ones. But I don't know enough about you to belittle or praise you. No idea why you care @bady

@DesCoutinho
I wanted to highlight the orthogonal nature of many issues and we cannot necessarily work on issues in series.
@bady

@DesCoutinho
I don't support the NGO model as well. Except for a handful of them, most just want to get funded and do some projects. Not just Human Rights NGOs, but those working on education or other issues too.
@bady

@DesCoutinho
I care about politics and social justice because I am also part of the system that sustains the injustices around me. I cannot blame others for it or wait for some heroes to save us. I want to bring people like me together on a platform for change. But I don't want to be a supreme leader of my organization. I want a non hierarchical group with strong principles where dissent will be cornerstone instead of discipline to protect the core values from dilution by one leader.
@bady

@praveen

It isn't a free/libre software discussion unless there's talk of politics ;-)

I don't know enough to attack or defend NGO's (NDA tightening/enforcing foreign contribution norms on them was a good thing, I guess). But external pressure groups seem to have more impact than elected people, maybe because the bureaucracy only bends when there is pressure from both. The current drive against external pressure groups hints at their power.

@bady

@praveen It didn't go away because the fat arsed brahmins wanted to take over white colonial status and refused to fight nicely and share their toys. Ambedkar blamed Gandhi-ji not the British for casteism. @bady

@praveen I've only heard about free software from you and one other chap and the other guy has a far more narrow view of what it's about. They seem to think it coexists with all the prejudices and injustices of society and are not a way of combatting them just of writing better software so as I don't know enough and got other things to do gonna leave it there. @bady

@DesCoutinho
I think the Free Software activism and social activism is somewhat orthogonal. Something like colonialism and casteism. British left India, but that was not enough to end casteism. Similarly everyone using Free Software won't solve casteism either. But that does not mean fight for Free Software is not important. Sometimes we need to do things in parallel.
@bady

@praveen I am happy to slag off the british but as far as I know apart from a small band of fat arsed brahmins the British did not invent the caste system for the purposes of taxation. They did provide opportunities for dalits via the railways they employed people who worked hard and took orders.The Phule family could not have succeeded without the British. They also ended Suttee. You people foolishly tried to perform one while their Governor was passing by. Casteism is uniquely Indian @bady

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