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Privileges and practicalities [was: Re: [ELPA] New package: repology.el]

From: Göktuğ Kayaalp
Subject: Privileges and practicalities [was: Re: [ELPA] New package: repology.el]
Date: Fri, 08 Jan 2021 13:14:25 +0300

On 2021-01-08 09:04 +02, Eli Zaretskii <eliz@gnu.org> wrote:
>> From: "Alfred M. Szmidt" <ams@gnu.org>
>>    > You are exagerating.  Nobody is saying don't do research, I'm quite
>>    > sure you are capable of finding that information on your own.  But it
>>    > is a different thing for GNU do provide that information for you.
>>    But GNU software shouldn't help me in research?
>> In the research of non-free software, obviously no.
> [... snip ...]  It would be ironic if the GNU project prevented its
> followers from exercising the same freedom, by denying us the
> information about where to find that source code to begin with.

Well said.  All freedoms are both limited and ensured by other freedoms
and the practicalities of the world we’re in, and a lot of talk here
actively ignores that in some weird and sad doublethink fashion.

Free software is a privilege, as it is.  It requires a lot of knowledge
about computing praxis and culture, internet culture, legal stuff, and
politics.  Not everyone knows these stuff and it is not easy to learn
this stuff well.  You need to invest a lot of time, which is
increasingly more scarce for most of the world, even for formerly
privileged folk.  People can hardly find time for recreative and/or
social activities.

I assume the first and foremost principle of GNU and FSF would be to
have software freedom prevail for all.  That’s a good cause and one I
can get behind as an individual.

It’s fundamental and inevitable and unavoidable for free software to
interact and cooperate with non-free software, if such a goal is not
limited to the use cases of some privileged hackers.  Most software, and
most of popular software is closed source.  Most users of software
_cannot_ avoid non-free software.  By witholding vital information
regarding integration/interaction with a mostly non-free world,
information _that we HAVE_ from most people on Earth that use computers,
we are but comdeming them to non-free software.  And we are doing what
politicians do: ignoring the real problems of the people we think we’re
helping as we enjoy our privileges atop our ivory towers, and an abyss
grows between our reality and the reality of the greater world.

Such an attitude reeks of hubris and privilege and disconnect and a
distinct lack of empathy.  And that’s not only off putting but also
creates concrete obstructions for wide spread adoption of FOSS, which in
turn means software freedom is one that only a tiny cabal out of all
people can enjoy.  If software freedom is instead to be a human right
and free software is to be accessible to all, a great stepping stone
would be to cooperate with the non-free world so excellently as to
render the virtues and advantages of FOSS indubitably and unmistakably
obvious to even non-technical users.

Perfect is the enemy of good.  Purism contaminates.  Elitism breeds
ignorance and malice.

I want to be brief about this, what I’m telling should hopefully be
clear but if not I can follow up with a more concrete writeup a few days
later when I’ll have more ample time.

İ. Göktuğ Kayaalp / @cadadr / <https://www.gkayaalp.com/>
pgp:   024C 30DD 597D 142B 49AC 40EB 465C D949 B101 2427

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