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Re: [GNU-linux-libre] Proposal to revise FSDG to exclude SaaSS-only soft

From: Jean Louis
Subject: Re: [GNU-linux-libre] Proposal to revise FSDG to exclude SaaSS-only software clients
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 2021 20:32:56 +0300
User-agent: Mutt/2.0.6 (2021-03-06)

* bill-auger <> [2021-04-14 19:32]:
> On Wed, 14 Apr 2021 11:02:02 -0300 Adonay wrote:
> > # Should the GNU FSDG foster decentralized communication technologies?
> my generalized response, is the same as i added to the parabola
> ticket - to "foster" something ("promote", on the parabola
> ticket), does not entail preventing anyone from doing the
> opposite - that would be "mandating" or "imposing" - the
> intended effect is an matter of education; and education would
> be sufficient - technical or policy measures would do nothing
> without the educational component - people would simply get the
> problematic software elsewhere, and use it anyways

That is true, and that is why you can say WHY, and establish your own
policies for Parabola, and thus get also more supporters. That FSDG is
there, it does not limit OS distributions to make their own policies
and say WHY.

Those who really need software can always get it from other
distributions or just PKGBUILD.

> On Wed, 14 Apr 2021 09:42:37 +0300 Jean wrote:
> > Users who value decentralization and freedom will need to make their
> > own choices.
> more specifically, it is best, not to assume any implication
> from decentralization to software freedom - in practice,
> decentralization and federation do very little for software
> freedom - their value lies in data freedom and failure
> resilience - software freedom and decentralization/federation
> are both possible, even with a restricted protocol - the
> restrictions, reduce to: constraints , practically - the only
> constraint is the protocol itself; and that is an inherent
> technical constraint, regardless of legalities

I wonder how you don't see it Bill. I see you are genuine, and you
genuinely cannot see the points I clearly laid out.

In Emacs ELPA developers do not want to distribute Emacs packages that
are solely made for purpose to interact with non-free software. But
the package is GPL. It does nothing else but that. So why Emacs
developres are not including such packages? Think about that.

You say in practice there is little that decentralization and
federation do for software freedom, and I wonder, I really wonder, how
you cannot see the connection and relation.

Again reference to:

A program is free software if it gives users adequately all of these
freedoms. Otherwise, it is nonfree. While we can distinguish various
nonfree distribution schemes in terms of how far they fall short of
being free, we consider them all equally unethical.

In any given scenario, these freedoms must apply to whatever code we
plan to make use of, or lead others to make use of. For instance,
consider a program A which automatically launches a program B to
handle some cases. If we plan to distribute A as it stands, that
implies users will need B, so we need to judge whether both A and B
are free. However, if we plan to modify A so that it doesn't use B,
only A needs to be free; B is not pertinent to that plan.
>>> end of quotes

The quotes above are related to the example of Emacs packages that are
NOT to be included in ELPA, those which are made free software but
interact with proprietary software. Because the overall result is

Why? Because it does not give adequately all of those freedoms.

Here again:

- If we plan to distribute A as it stands, that implies users will
  need B, so we need to judge whether both A and B are free.

- However, if we plan to modify A so that it doesn't use B, only A
  needs to be free; B is not pertinent to that plan.

Let me reformulate and tell that again like this, how I would like it
to be, as I think this principle is beneficial for thousands and
millions of users, it is beneficial for liberation from centralization
and development of free software, and building of federalized networks:

- If we plan to distribute Telegram Desktop from Parabola, as it
  stands, that implies users will need to interact with centralized
  non-free API of Telegram Server, so we need to judge whether both
  Telegram Desktop and network servers are free. 

- However, if we plan to modify Telegram Desktop so that it doesn't
  use proprietary vendor lock-in and centralized Telegram Server, only
  Telegram Desktop needs to be free; Telegram Server is not pertinent
  to that plan.

Telegram is working to undermine free software exactly by using that
loophole, read:

Of course I know that I speak here of centralized network, and you
always push your opposing facts. However, there is great similarity in

A user cannot practically modify Telegram Desktop package not to use
centralized network and proprietary server. And Parabola did not make
a plan to modify Telegram Desktop to use de-centralized network

I would like to see that in Parabola, Hyperbola or GNU Guix or other
FSF endorsed distribution, or those non-endorsed, that they promote
de-centralization, and they take the stance against centralization.

I would like to see Parabola's plan, or any OS' plan to say something
like: "we have got this Telegram Desktop here and it is fine peace of
free software, but guess what, we consider that if it solely
communicates with non-free centralized network server, that it defeats
the true purposes of 4 freedoms, and we will now modify it in such way
to include the free software server so that people can build their
Telegram-like federalized networks" -- I wish this plan to become

> ive had a lot of interaction with the 'fediverse' folks; and it
> is clear that their typical motivation does not include software
> freedom - the primary motivation seems to be, simply that their
> home-server is not operated by a large corporation - _very_ few,
> actually plan to operate their own service - therefore, they
> have no more software freedom (or privacy) on those networks,
> than on proprietary networks - anyone interacting with any
> public communication network, necessarily forfeits some freedom
> and privacy - the system could not work otherwise

Those statements are very false. I know you are genuine, but you
obviously do not see differences as you have not researched it well

You have not defined which group of folks you spoke to. It is quite
clear that not everybody can install their own email server, their web
browser, or instances of Mastodon, Pleroma, GNU Social, or similar;
BUT they have the freedom to do so.

You have given very generalized statement in that paragraph above, it
does not serve nothing, it is uncomparable. Fediverse users and
Fediverse administators are two different groups of people. I am
administrator of Pleroma and GNUSocial instances, so on those
instances, I offer full privacy to users, they may use any email to
sign up, but they are not forced to use email, they can use any OpenID
provider, including their own OpenID, nobody in my network need to
know their email address or phone number. Users can speak to my
network users from other instances, and their email and any personal
data cannot be collected from my instances.

And there are probably thousands of Fediverse installations, so people
are free to run their own copy of program, and it works well.

There is none Telegram-like installation. 

> to underline this, the fact is that, even the very few who do
> want to operate their own service, are still constrained by the
> networking protocol - if one exercises software freedom, by
> modifying the protocol, the service will be incompatible with
> the rest of the network; which works against the goal of
> decentralization - ie: total software freedom _and_ total
> decentralization are incommensurable

They are not, they are free to modify the protocol, and that is what
has been done over time, few protocols have been modified.

It does not work againt decentralization. Instances can be solely for
one group, so single instance can "centralize" their own users, but
that is not what centralization is about. The point of
decentralization is that everybody can run their own instances. Not
that the single instance can centralize their own private group of

Email server everybody can install. But that group can decide to
communicate exclusively with each other without communication to
outside networks. That is not the context of decentralization of
Internet. Decentralization is when email server software is available
for everybody to install it themselves.

People can change email or other protocols, but they risk
interoperability, that is true. If they however, find good reasons,
that is up to them.

We could say let us make API like server, but because other free
software de-centralized social networks exists, we do not go into this
direction as community, as it all needs connection to main Telegram


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