There's this letter going around that calls for the board of the @fsf to step down over #RMS coming back.
People make valid points about it, I'm not going to weigh in on that.
What gets me, very personally, is that one of the people signing is the #Python Software Foundation member and #RedHat employee that shut down a discussion with me the other day with a racist remark. I'm still waiting for a reply to my complaints.
I'm not even sure how to process that.
Ironically, these days I see more younger people caring strongly about the freedom aspect of free software, whilst choosing open source licenses... usually because "they're easier".
I mean, fair enough. They are.
That's the point of free software licenses, that they don't allow everything so easily, but they allow the things that matter for human freedoms.
And at the same time...
... free software is more relevant than ever. So I'm seeing calls to strengthen the Software Freedom @conservancy . All good with me.
But what I've been working through recently - again, I can be slow in these things - is that neither organization nor license really encompass fully what we really need.
What gets left behind in a bunch of discussions - and has been for decades - is that software freedoms really are about human freedoms, just the ones expressed in the digital world.
That is, there is no inherent value in "software freedom" *unless* you somehow benefit humans (as individuals, not corporations) with them.
So then if human freedoms are the actual goal, and software freedoms are the mechanism by which to ensure them in a growing niche (can it still be called that?) of our lives, then we cannot have people or organizations championing software freedoms that also are happy to overlook human freedoms.
I'm still unconvinced #RMS is *actually* guilty of that...
... though he certainly is guilty of, well, not taking enough care with human freedoms.
The point is, he's been a missionary for too long, preaching about a narrow aspect of human freedoms so fervently that stepping on other people's toes wasn't really of any relevance to him.
I'm with people who now say we shouldn't really look to individuals as leaders in the free software movement.
At the same time, I do think that organizations are going to be useful, if only for focusing effort.
#Python is worrying me here. I'm taking this a bit personally, of course, because I don't like being insulted (hilariously badly, even so.)
But what's happening with the move to #Rust as a crypto backend is human freedoms are attacked as well. In a move that is very reminiscent of the free software/open source split, priorities...
@conservancy ... are given to a reduction of bugs (which is yet to be proven) instead of a broad user base; the choice of Rust narrows the target platforms for Python, narrows the platform choices for humans, and therefore will exclude people from the community in one form or another.
I know this is not the foundation's intent. I'm not really standing here trying to accuse them of anything other than having made a biased move.
But not for the first time in recent weeks it occurs to me ...
@conservancy ... that software freedom can also be measured in how broadly software is usable.
So that means expanding choices instead of reducing them.
The UNIX philosophy of one tool, one job, but offering a framework to glue them together in myriad of ways is, viewed in that light, actually very much about software freedoms.
C as a "portable assembly language", as it is sometimes described, is about software freedoms.
Standards, especially those that are relatively easy to implement, are.
@conservancy The point is, software freedom in this century should mean a lot more than which license you chose.
I'm not sure how to summarize all of these things well, but I do think it's time this is done.
@conservancy I guess the summary I see so far is this:
Software freedom is human freedom in the digital realm. It needs to:
- Legally ensure the freedom to use code as one wishes.
- Legally ensure that this freedom is preserved across changes.
- Practically make it easy (this is too fuzzy a term) to use code as one wishes. (e.g. prefer toolkits over frameworks, prefer portability over other concerns, etc.)
- Be inclusive to users. Last on the list, but really the whole point.
to put it into analogy: back in the day when electricity was just discovered, tinkerers could build their contraptions however they wanted. throwing appliances with exposed wires out into the street was not a problem, because no one who was not a professional would have sockets at home to plug them into.
nowadays, putting appliances with exposed wires or fire hazards in places where people might just pick them up, and take them home
I just happened to come across a page in https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18144028-conspiracy-theories-and-other-dangerous-ideas that highlights something related.
The TL;DR being, "security" in Roosevelt's speech roughly translates to slightly above the safety from threats to one's existence.
So what Roosevelt calls security I think of as a prerequisite, to be free to pursue ones other goals. The implication is, this security must be granted to everyone, so such bad wiring examples cannot really be allowed, no.
What's happening with python?
And what is the problem with using rust?
These are both very relevant to my interests, as I'm an avid python programmer and am the FreeBSD porter for an openpgp implementation in rust. :F
@phryk Oh... from a certain perspective, a tempest in a tea cup. And from another, it's a pretty bad thing. You are free to decide which it is.
TL;DR the Python cryptography module has made a change to use Rust as a new, mandatory toolchain. Crypto is important, so this effectively affects Python.
The maintainers didn't like me complaining about that, shut down the discussion before it could get anywhere, and did so with a racist remark.
@phryk The personal side is one thing.
The Rust thing is complicated. It's got to do with the Tier 1-n supported platforms. I work a lot with Tier 2-3 platforms, so Rust really isn't my language of choice there (personal preferences completely aside).
It can work, sometimes it doesn't, etc. All solvable.
But Python - and most of its critical ecosystem - used to play just fine in that. Now that's in jeopardy. That makes me unhappy.
@phryk The platforms I work with are often closer to 1st gen raspis, for automotive or other embedded systems. They do get upgrades, so I don't think it'll be a huge issue for very long in practice.
I just consider this a failure of the PSF to take community concerns on board.
@jens Well, I guess there go my plans for building an XMPP messenger for desktop *and* mobile by using kivy for the UI… :F
@phryk I think it's going to be possible, you know? Just some extra hoops to jump through and extra risk of failure to take. But yeah, I have given up on publicly maintaining python packages. It's just asking for more energy than I have to spare.
@jens I had the impression that FSF was mismanaged (relative to fsfeu and SFC). I shifted donations to SFC like 18 months ago. Nothing to do with RMS.
RMS is a hero. He needs to be supported somehow. Not sure a board seat is super important
A private instance for the Finkhäuser family.