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Re: Truth matters when writing software and selecting leaders

From: Jean Louis
Subject: Re: Truth matters when writing software and selecting leaders
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 2021 12:10:09 +0300
User-agent: Mutt/2.0.6 (2021-03-06)

* Martin <> [2021-03-30 11:07]:
> On 3/29/21 12:26 PM, Jean Louis wrote:
> > * Martin<>  [2021-03-29 13:57]:
> >  From the paragraph above, I can see you did not get the difference
> > between the free software and open source. And your analogy is not
> > right. You mentioned price not freedom.
> I know that gnu definition and in general I'm on your site here, but
> unfortunately besides us and other small groups of geeks the "free software"
> term just sounds too general in my opinion.

To me not. I also speak German, Freie Software does not sound
ambiguous, I speak Italian, software libero does not sound ambiguous,
I believe it is same in Spanish, those are large countries with a lot
of population and free software movement is present there.

In my opinion "free software" is so much more specific than "open
source", but you have different opinion. Note that the word "free" in
English in the first place in every dictionary refers to freedom
rather than price.

> People in supermarkets while choosing some free stuffs in promotions
> usually are not thinking about freedom. Besides freeware software
> like Facebook (with all its network, cloud services, etc) gives you
> also some kind of freedom of socializing with other ppl in their
> platform.

I do not think that Facebook is freeware software, it is cloud service
provider. There are Facebook applications and messengers, maybe you
mean those?  See:

Look, even a prison gives you some kind of a freedom to sit in the
cell and associate with other prisoners, within specific

So the freedom in Facebook is there, it is just within prison
walls. For example, if you wish to get contacted by somebody who is
not FB-prisoner, you must invite free citizen to become FB-prisoner
to enter prison walls, as only from inside you can talk to each

By contrast, if you have a phone number anywhere in the world issued
by any phone provider, people can call you from other countries
regardless which network provider they have. A citizen of United
States may be called freely from Germany, regardless of their network

You cannot become member of Reddit and be able to contact Facebook
members directly. Those are network providers who do not cooperate
between each others as they earn money by selling your face and your
private information to advertising companies. They do not want, or so
they think, to dilute their customer base and connect with other

Back in past, it was possible, and I remember doing so. I have been
using Jabber network and I could freely contact Google Plus users
through Jabber network and I could freely contact Facebook users
through Jabber/XMPP network. It was possible to send email to Facebook
friend without being Facebook user or having Facebook account, they
would answer in their inbox to such email, and you would get
reply. Today it is not possible.

Walls are narrower and narrower.

You Facebook friends have their contact information, but you cannot
easily export that contact information, find their email address or
similar, Facebook made it hard. They are master trader of human
emotions. They blackmail you as Facebook used (not user), with
emotions of loss of contacts to your friends and family. That in
itself is such terrible social injustice and oppression.

Simple rules:

1. Keep your address book on your own computer or phone. Export it and
   make regular backups. This way you will never trust third party
   company and come into situation of losing contacts to your friends
   and family like it is case with Facebook useds.

2. Never upload your address book to remote offline providers. Think
   about it this way, if a total stranger come over to you and asks
   you to give to stranger your address book, would you give it? Most
   probably the answer is NO. But you can at least see the stranger
   face to face, there is possibility of actual human talk with
   stranger, you could ask why you need my address book, and you could
   find out where stranger lives, what is his number, and so on.

   With Google, Facebook, do you know anybody at least face to face?
   They have hundreds of thousands of staff members, many being
   corrupted. What you think what can happen with your data?

> In general Facebook is not only about price, they control almost
> every aspect of human lives around the globe including people who
> are not using their apps directly. Some random person by just
> reading the gnu header that "free software is better than
> open-source" could easily misinterpret it as Facebook being not so
> bad only because it's not open-source.

I get it, that is how you misinterpreted it.

Well, Facebook is not free software, it is online service, and social
network. Applications made by Facebook are free software.

> We use the word "free software" to clearly refer to freedom, we may
> use words such as libre software to refer to freedom.  Libre is just
> more blurred Spanish, french,... translation of the word "free"
> redefined by GNU.

Yes, it is of Latin origin. Many English words are of Latin origin,
just as they are of German and other languages.

You are free to introduce any new words into English or any other
language. Why not? Is there a law forbidding that? Languages are
changing throughout the centuries, the word "Libre" is today English
word and it has its special definition for software.

Please see on Wiktionary:


libre (not comparable)

- (obsolete, rare) Especially of the will: free, independent, unconstrained. 

- (software) With very few limitations on distribution or the right to
  access the source code to create improved versions, but not
  necessarily free of charge. [from late 20th c.]
- (historical) Not enslaved (of a black person in a French- or
  Spanish-colonized area, especially New Orleans).

> So the core issue with this confusing term is still not resolved.

It is just matter of time, that you are here, it will be clarified all
one by one.

> We do not use "open source" as that is vague term, and does not >
> necessarily mean "free software". The distinction is more and more >
> important today.  Ironically the word "free" is much more vague then
> "open-source".

Maybe to you, but not to me. The word has in its first definitions in
every dictionary the meaning related to freedom, so please try to
verify it:

As you can see there are many definitions for a single word. Literacy
level is increased when a person understands that any word may have
multiple definitions.

How do you know which definition applies? It is very simple, you look
at the context.

Because in GNU Free Software Philosophy RMS and other people always
expressed very good the context of freedom, it should be very clear
which definition of the word "free" is used, and that it is related to
freedom, not price.

> The problem I mentioned above is that "free software" unfortunately
> could also mean freeware for too many people who are not
> professional English linguists nor IT specialists.

That is right, for people on lower literacy level it can mean
anything, including "freeze". For children it may mean just
nothing. The word "free" is definitely one of most common words in
English. As I said, if there is any confusion, that means person did
not verify the context where word is used.

I don't think that articles, books, websites, should be corrected to
accommodated those who do not know how to read and understand

In other words, there is nothing to be done for those who do not put
effort to understand the context. We can just hope that with their in
future better education they will one day be able to understand the
true meaning of it.

For me, I had never that problem, this may be because I have purchased
the first book about GNU tools in German language, and from there on I
was reading unambiguous term "Freie Software" and in the context that
was talking about the freedom. I did read the GNU GPL license, in
full, back in time in 1999, and I was happy to find out that I am free
and not in chains.

But it is interesting that before I got the book, and before I could
read the license is that all what I understood about GNU is that it is
another type of UNIX. Though it was advertised on the set of CD-ROMs,
that GNU is Not Unix -- I was thinking GNU is Unix. I could read
something about licenses, but my software activities were disgruntled
with proprietary licenses back in Germany, that I did not want to
bother with yet another one. In fact, I did not know that free
software licenses exist at all. All what I knew is that by using
licenses the proprietors limited us to share software, and I hated the
fact that I had to consider me as doing something illegal.

In southern part of Europe we did not care of any licenses, and we
could freely share and purchase software how we wish and want. It was
Warez or cracked software, and same activities of sharing software
without respect to licenses is carried on in many countries where
practical enforcement's are almost impossible. In East Africa people do
what they want, I think almost nobody buys original software, all
software that 99.99% population use is distributed without respect to
any license.

By reading the book about various GNU/Linux tools, I could read about
"Freie Software" in German language and there was no ambiguity.

> Moreover definition of "free software" is not mentioning about importance of
> nor which should
> be in the highest priority for any RMS/FSF/GNU/Free organization to finally
> address pathological issues like:

Reproducible build of software is not related to class of
software. While it does seem important, it is more hypothetical rather
than practical. End user usually does not have enough knowledge to
verify software, regardless of all the PGP keys and
hashes. Verification is more for group of people skilled in
security. Even they will make grave mistakes. For example they could
be downloading software from a mirror and verify PGP signatures and
hashes that have been published on a mirror, but would not maybe
verify original PGP signatures and original hashes. Some people may be
tricked with domain names. Reproducible builds are far far from
practical users' data security. Guix is doing well in that
direction. All that is not related to free software definition.

I agree that software should be boostrappable from software that one
can understand and inspect. But that is for many software today not
so. Example is Haskell compiler that can only be compiled with
previous Haskell compiler. I have tried my best to compile it fully
from original source, but pieces of information are missing and it was
not practically possible, and now after few years, I think it is

Yes, GNU Guix has solution to fully bootstrap system, it will come
there, if it is not yet there, and I hope that solution will be useful
for other distributions. Bootstrapping does not belong into definition
of free software. But what cannot be said to be free software is a
compiler that cannot be compiled or bootstrapped itself. Again,
practically, the bootstrapping technique means something only to people
skilled in security, it means little to end users. I just hope that we
get boostrappable systems.


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