*OSS, FOSS are diluted propitiatory software*
IN 1983 the Free software movement began to free users from the chains
of propitiatory software. At that time nobody gave or ascribed much
importance to it. Companies and developers thought it was some Utopian
idea and one that’s never going to fulfill its goals. So none cared
about ‘the ethics’ at that time. Only the leader, Richard Stallman, was
there. Later on lots of people got motivated by Stallman’s reason,
commitment, and with their own political values they joined the
movement. To everyone’s surprise, against the odds, a fully functional
and complete “freedom software” stack appeared in the early 1990s.
*Attack from inside*
As usual, for-profit entities realised its value and jumped onto new
opportunities. But they didn’t like the idea of users’ freedom. They
only wanted their own profit. So they created a decoy for this great
movement, mostly as a distraction. It was called the Open Source
movement. Stallman called them freedom subtracted software. (Actually he
is wrong. We should not relate to OSS with respect to Free software.)
They joined in with the Free software movement and started collaborating
with Free software activists. New collaborations of this kind may be
called Free and Open Source software (FOSS). Since they had support from
businesses, further development became faster and more people joined the
movement. They also had support from the media and re-branded the
/entire/ Free software movement to their name.
Because of these tricks Free software politics vanished from the public
discourse and even Free software activists don’t like to talk about Free
software politics. This happened not as a natural thing. It was created
for the corporations by this apolitical Trojan horse called OSS.
There is no conspiracy. It is the way the system works.
If you look at human history, you can see lots of similar ideas,
movements, intellectuals who are affected by the power of the ruling
class like this. A very good example is democracy. 60 years ago people
/died/ to get elections or to earn voting rights. But now, who cares
enough to go out and vote? What is the voting percentage in the US? Even
if they go, will they get a chance to vote? Whether their votes actually
get counted is another issue.
Think about the media. It has a very important role in society. But now,
what does it do? It’s just a stenographer for the ruling class.
*OSS, FOSS are diluted propitiatory software*
You can either be with Free software or with propitiatory software. This
is clear. No confusion. But when an amorphous group appears this gets
messy. Messy for the Free software movement. Because the propitiatory
for-profit software idea is clear; they have money, media and political
The idea of Free software is new and complicated for the ordinary
person. So this diluted Free software group is actually an attack on
Free software itself. Their vicious attack had grown into such a level
that they forced the founder out of the movement.
But a lot of Free software activists are working with this so-called
FOSS without knowing the damage it is causing to the Free software
movement. Please consider OSS as on the propitiatory software side. If
they produce anything which is compatible with the GPL, then they take
it and leave everything else behind. Never saying the words OSS or FOSS…
The purpose of Open Source is to move the frame away from users’ freedom
and destroy the Free software movement. OSS, FOSS and all other kinds of
these PR phrases work similarly; they are the same. So why are you still
saying FOSS? Please end that relationship.
We have to understand that anything other than Free software is
propitiatory software. There is no middle ground. There is no
friendship. There is no cooperation. Just take whatever is under GPL
from wherever possible. That’s all.
*Be with users’ freedom*
You can’t keep your legs in 2 different boats. You have to choose. There
is nothing wrong about being with propitiatory software. If you want to
make a profit, then do it that way. No problem. With Free software, if
you cannot find a way to make a living, then join a proprietary company.
Then, in your free time, contribute to Free software. Nothing wrong with
that. That is far better than the OSS kind of half ethics. Half ethics
end up with no ethics. You have to be either a person supporting users’
freedom or you’re with for-profits. (Remember you are not going to end
capitalism with few lines of code. Profit is a reality. And these
companies are not evil. The system is evil.)
If you are not mixing the issues, then there will be more clarity in the
More people will support Free software. Sure, it’s a hard path. But that
is the right path. So be with the movement that respects users’ freedom.
After all, that was the initial purpose of the movement.
Note: For this to happen you have to be economically independent as I
mentioned in the post. Its not a FS movement issue. All the social
movements have this problem. : 2019-10-05 Do not make free software as
your source of income, it will make you weak, politically
Freedom of choice is a popular idea. /Mostly/ it is associated with
markets. /Usually/ when we hear the word “freedom” market automatically
comes into our minds. We distribute things through the market. We, the
consumer, buy things by paying money to the sellers in the market. If
you want soap, you can go to the market and ask for a soap. Shopkeepers
give you one when you pay money.
*What’s in a market*
Let’s say that initially there is only one company that produces one
type of soap which is available in the market. For you it doesn’t
matter. After all, the purpose of soap is clean your body. Sometimes it
causes you skin allergy or some other issues. You may stop or reduce its
use or you may find a workaround to fix/address the issue. Life goes on.
Then, after some time, a new company comes up with a new kind of soap.
You will be happy to test it and will have found it’s better than the
first one. So now you have the ‘freedom’ to choose the new product
that’s in the market.
Later a 3^rd company comes into the picture. Now there is competition in
the market. More and more products appear in the market. Companies are
using advertisement to promote their product. Initially they were
telling the properties of the product. But now they are selling a
lifestyle. You buy a product that has your favorite star as brand
ambassador. You want to be with that specific class of people. It’s
beautifully mentioned in the book /No Logo/.
But in some communities people don’t have the ability to choose products
as they’re absent from the market. There, the government is distributing
goods as a ration, or limited bases. Sometimes it may be with good
intentions that with limited resources they are trying to provide
maximum utilization, with intended justice to all. Sometime the rulers
may be looting and nothing will be left for people.
Whatever the reason, you see 2 types of market. That makes you think,
“which is better?” Market with choice or market without choice? That
becomes the million-dollar question to most. Of course all people will
support a market with choice. Problem solved. Everything is fine. All of
you people, go home.
*Reality of Market Freedom*
This is the propaganda of the ruling class, intended to hide the facts
and distract us from the real freedom. They always do this. Invert ideas
that empower people. Lot of things happen when you say “freedom” to mean
freedom to choose.
First of all, your action is only a choice between a number of things.
You don’t have a say. Just choose whatever is available. That makes you
just a passive subject. For that you have to pay. That part, most of the
time, will not be visible in the PR work. Those who provide the choices
become more important than others. You worship them. Protecting the
integrity of them becomes a responsibility for you. They can exert
pressure on you. These things /all/ happen invisibly. You will not
If you consider “freedom” the ability to choose or opportunity to choose
a product in the market, then you are undermining the very meaning of
freedom. It makes us old passive slaves who just obey the rulers. There
is no question about the product, there are no questions about its
content, no questions about its price, no questions about the market.
All we can do is choose one or another. It’s a dictatorship.
So freedom is /not/ an ability to choose.
*What is Freedom?*
Initially all are free within the limits of nature. Then human
institutions like slavery and religion impose restrictions and limits
upon humans. After that the word “freedom” comes into existence. People
want to break that chain, as everyone wishes to be an independent person
who can do whatever s/he wants, just like the ruling class. Meaning, all
should get the same opportunity to define the society.
Freedom is not a buying process. It’s the ability, for example, to
define what buying is, define what the market is, define what the
product is, even define what money is. But the reality is that we are
living in times where we don’t even have the right to know what content
is in the foods we eat.
So please don’t get so easily fooled by these games — or words created
by the ruling class. Freedom is about people’s power in the society. Not
the 1%. It’s about who is in charge.
*Fight for freedom is a never-ending task*
Because the ruling class will always try and perpetually tries to
undermine it for their self interest.
They already came in 100s of groups and companies with 100s of different
tactics. Most of the time a freedom-loving majority could not understand
these attacks. This is true for the Free software movement as well as
other freedom movements experienced. In the case of the Free Software
Foundation, it came to such a low level that they fired their own
founder based on some lies.
So, we should understand that our freedom is not somebody else’s charity
or favour. It’s a result of our painful struggle for it. To keep the
freedom as it is we need always be vigilant and active. Do not get
fooled by the tricks they play to enslave us. Free software’s freedom is
not a freedom of choice. It’s the freedom of users to take control of
software. Let’s unite to defend software users’ freedom. Long live the 4
freedoms of software.
*Nullius in verba*
Written by: Jagadees.S
CC BY-ND 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0/>