[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Should distros take steps to reduce russian access to Free Software?

From: Aaron Wolf
Subject: Re: Should distros take steps to reduce russian access to Free Software?
Date: Sat, 12 Mar 2022 19:52:51 -0800

The point of the podcast discussion was to grapple with the questions about power. I'm not saying I agree with every point or the way they frame the discussion. They are saying something to the effect of "empowering all people in the world via decentralized software freedom gives up the possibility of controlling bad actors", and the tension is whether there's any viable stance for the idea of even truly democratic organized power being okay having that sort of power over individual actors.

I think the podcast is worth a listen, and your reactivity about Ukraine being described as "sovereign" is not relevant to the question.

That said, the 13,000+ who died in Eastern Ukraine over the past several years are not all victims of the Ukrainian government directly, it amounts to the deaths on both sides. You can argue that the Ukrainian government could have made different decisions to avoid the situation, but other will argue that the Russian support of separatists is also at fault. Regardless of these dynamics, I get your point. Ukraine wasn't merely a plain old peaceful place prior to the recent invasion. Still, Russia chose to spread the war to a much greater scale and a much greater geographic region, affecting vastly greater numbers of people.

"Sovereignty is lost at time point when there is abuse and neglect of human rights."

Nonsense. Tell that to China. We can't honestly have a debate about whether China is a sovereign nation. We could discuss whether sovereign states of the modern sort should even exist at all. That could be more interesting. We could assert a political claim about what types of state sovereignty *ought* to exist or that we *recognize* (in the way that people politically refuse to recognize basic facts because of political tensions about the acknowledgement).

But this gets too tangential for this list about software freedom. The philosophical and on-topic question is: are there ever situations where the decentralized power of software freedom is too dangerous? And if so, is it even possible to avoid it? And if so, who would justly be in control of such technology restrictions.

It is a valid, and FSF-aligned position to say either that no situation ever justifies having software available but keeping the code restricted *or* to say that even if such situations exist, there is no (or even can never be a) powerful entity which we can trust to be the one managing the restrictions. But this is a discussion we could bother having.

There is no discussion to have about blocking Russian military from using GNU/Linux distros. That's as out of scope as wishing for them not to have access to nuclear technology. The inventors of nuclear technology might feel guilty about their role in the threat of nuclear war, but it's too late now to undo that. The question now that we can at least have philosophically is to reflect on this in terms of considering whether or not we see a place for limits to software freedom for dangerous technology. And that discussion doesn't rely on any agreement about which current actors are good or bad.

On 2022-03-12 10:53, Jean Louis wrote:
* Aaron Wolf <> [2022-03-12 20:48]:
The recent podcast from Humane Tech folks grapples with the complexities of
this issue:

 From your link:

| But if the world lives on Bitcoin, we may not be able to sanction
| nation states like Russia when they invade sovereign nations.

To be sovereign nation it does not mean killing withing one country
one's own people and even 13000 of them. That is not
"sovereign". Sovereignty is lost at time point when there is abuse and
neglect of human rights. This war is not begin, but end of the war
that begun 2014. Back then the conflict was financed by US government.

Thus it should be clear there are multiple viewpoints on the issue.

One could say that US has used free software in all of the killings
like in Afghanistan or Libya, etc.

Those discussions will never end. That is why we stick to freedom
zero, use it as you wish.

Using free software principles now for political propaganda is
disgusting. I find it hostile to free software principles.

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]