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Re: The sad decline of copyleft software licenses? :(

From: Pen-Yuan Hsing
Subject: Re: The sad decline of copyleft software licenses? :(
Date: Fri, 25 Sep 2020 09:44:32 +0800
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On 9/22/20 11:08 PM, Aaron Wolf wrote:
Important topic.

Some links:

see footnotes and links there too, such as

Thanks for the links!

I didn't say this before so I'll do it now: I love the concept of! Thank you for all your work. Creating financial sustainability for free software is a topic very close to my heart and I'm inspired by efforts such as yours. I only recently "re-stumbled" upon and was pleasantly surprised that the website is still online. So it is still being actively and steadily developed? What specific kinds of help does the project still before it can take off? (we can discuss this in a separate thread if needed)

Personally, I think the *primary* issue by far is to spread the
understanding of how proprietary software is the means by which unjust
power is gained today. It's one of the main tools of **monopoly** in our
ever-more consolidated and corrupt economy. And if people understand
that, then from that view, it's easier to emphasize the importance of

Tragically (but in some ways a good sign), there's a growing movement of
people who DO care about the harms of proprietary software — but they go
all the way to building unworkable misguided proposals around
"copyfarleft" and similar e.g. which is legal
and practical nonsense built on good intentions. These people do not
understand where, how, and why copyleft is not working, and they've come
up with no-go solutions. But we need to promote copyleft with the same
pro-social, ethical focus so people understand *why* it matters.

Unfortunately, I'm getting the feeling that these well-intentioned but misguided attempts are actually gaining more traction than copyleft free software. I feel like they are much, much better at getting attention and messaging than "traditional" (for lack of a better word) advocates of copyleft.

How we communicate leaves MUCH to be desired... And as much as I relate to the goals of the FSF and for how long I've been a member, I think the FSF really needs rise to the level of those other voices to get a seat at the table...

Keep up the fight! Talk to everyone in science and tech who you know.
Bring up why this concern is related to power and justice. Talk about
how Android phones everywhere are built with non-copyleft free software
but the thing the users get is among the most controlled, invasive, etc.
and advertises manipulatively to people based on where they are as they
walk through a store or based on the movement signals that tell
advertisers when the person is a little depressed and more vulnerable etc.

Such a great point. I sometimes hear comments like: "See? Open source means nothing. Even Android is open source but look at how Google still spies on you with it and they're still a monopoly" or "Open source is free (as in gratis) which means you're the product." That second quote really frustrates me because it not only completely misses the point of free software but also open source software as well (which itself is already a much-diluted version of free software). In my opinion comments like these stem from a misunderstanding of the nuances of the problem, specifically (1) software freedom is definitely necessary, but not always by itself sufficient to prevent all harms; and (2) more on the topic of this thread, copyleft licenses - with their pro-social motivation - can help reduce those harms.

I want to see the really effective message of
tied to a statement that the solutions involve more copyleft!

Same here! They hit a lot of the right notes, but for some reason - and I really hope I simply missed it - they don't seem to explicitly discuss software freedom at all...

I've gotten the impression that lots of developers like "open source" in the sense that it feels warm and fuzzy without any real commitment to an underlying set of principles. Your point about "real pro-social long-term thinking about society or anything" and Javascript developers really speaks to this phenomenon.

Just gotta try harder, I guess...

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