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

From: Göktuğ Kayaalp
Subject: Re: Privileges and practicalities [was: Re: [ELPA] New package: repology.el]
Date: Fri, 08 Jan 2021 22:17:06 +0300

On 2021-01-08 11:46 GMT, Jean Louis <bugs@gnu.support> wrote:
>>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.
> How privilege? I don't see how is free software privilege. Not for
> me. It should be basic human right for users to have control of their
> data, and not to let other companies or individuals control my data.

That’s what a privileged person would say.  E.g., I’m an ethnically
Turkish guy in Turkey.  I look Turkish, I speak Standard Turkish with
flawless mid-upper class Istanbulite accent, I’m a cisgender and
heterosexual male.  And I’m highly educated individual with a family
backing his higher ed adventure.  This means I don’t get stopped and
searched, I don’t get harassed on the street, I don’t need to be afraid
of the police, that I won’t be arrested or attacked for what language I
speak, I won’t be looked down upon, and won’t have to worry about a lot
of things women, LGBTQ+, and non-Turkish ethnicities will have to worry
about.  There’s a whole host of experiences that I will never have to
get to know in person just because who I am.  That’s how privilege
works.  It has you live in a safe, protective bubble.  And it blurs the
vision of the outer world.

Free software is a privilege if you don’t have the time to learn a whole
new culture.  Free software is a privilege if your hardware can’t run
it and you don’t have the money to buy stuff that does (for most people
even a dongle is a serious investment).  Free software is a privilege if
you don’t get to make decisions about what software to use.  Free
software is a privilege if a clan of so-called software freedom
advocates are censoring vital information because they happened to like
so, saying nonsense like:

> We have fully free software that need not ever interact or cooperate
> with non free.

This might be partially true for a software developer working only on
free software, but it’s a privileged position because very little people
have the chance to learn enough to do that and an even little
opportunities exist for those who do put in the time.

Meanwhile the rest of us plebeians have to make Zoom work on our
computers, use sub-optimal hardware, and figure things on our own.
All the while the likes of you see themselves entitled to judge the
morality of our choices and obligations.

>>Most software, and most of popular software is closed source.
> I did not count to say so. But what is popular it does not matter in
> GNU project, what matters is that we do have fully free software and
> operating systems.

We don’t.  Nobody has.  Maybe, as the one who attempts to deny the
experience of billions of people, it’s kinda on you to do the counting

>>Most users of software _cannot_ avoid non-free software.
> Whoever is informed well and decides so themselves can switch to fully
> free software. People make decisions on their own.

No.  If you have to use Zoom for your classes or meetings, you have to.
If you need to use WhatsApp, you have to.  Nobody but a very small
amount of people are free in making these decisions.

> GNU project is everything else but not ivory tower. Otherwise you
> would not be able to discuss here.

Neat little non sequitur there.  GNU opens itself to the world and asks
everyone to back its cause so you don’t get to pick who says what

> What GNU project promotes is free software. GNU never says to its
> users to use exclusively free software [...]

If you make it hard to use non-free software one _has_ to use with free
software they _want_ to use, this is effectively a discriminatory,
exclusionary, and unegalitarian practice.  And it’s also anti-GNU
because this makes it _really_ hard to suggest people that they give
free software a try.

> [...] and never condemns people for using proprietary software.

Yeah, no.

All in all, if GNU wants to be a fun little software guys group like
9front or OpenBSD, fine, but be honest about it.  If GNU and FSF wants
to fight for everyone’s software freedom and will continue to ask
donations for this cause, then this is not the way to do it.  It comes
off as entitled and disconnected.

Today, there’s nothing that’s uniquely copyleft software, maybe except
Emacs.  LLVM and clang is as good as GCC, coreutils is better than BSD
userland or busybox but not by a huge margin, Zsh is by no means
inferior to Bash, etc.  OSes like FreeBSD are almost fully viable on
desktop, and most of what works on GNU/Linux works there.  If copyleft
and free-as-in-speech-not-beer is to remain relevant in the future, this
whole attitude needs to change.

> Your statements are too general and I do not see how they relate.

You do not _want_ to see, FTFY.  There’s a reason I changed the subject
line.  But all in all, to satisfy your unprecedented love for specific
things and your dislike of attempting to make that last little
connection: your attack on repology.el comes from a privileged position
and the condemnation of even linking to information regarding non-free
software in the form of repology.org, going so far as to suggesting
stealing these people’s work and creating a knock-off ‘frepology.org’
comes from a privileged, exclusionary, and backwards position.  This
whole thing represents a self-destructive anti-free-software stance that
is detrimental to the quest for software freedom as a right for all
humans, and only caters to the handful FOSS zealots (one of which is I)
who have put years into learning this whole travesty of an online
culture and surrounding issues.

As someone who believes in software freedom as a general good for human
society I think you and the likes of you are hurting this endeavour.

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

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