If I was better at remembering names, I would have connected earlier that the guy spamming the FOSDEM mailing list with his political peeves is none other than the last FSFE Fellowship winnier.

FSFE seems to have held the last election in 2017, before it was yearly. I'm not up-to-date on my FOSS drama, but I seem to recall that after the election, there was some kerfuffle about the results? Or I'm imagining that..

Sadly, this confirms my recent opinion about FSF(E). I wish it weren't so.


I grew up with the Free/Libre vs Open Source split, and have generally sided - except for practicalities - on the Free/Libre side of things. But growing up with this, I've also noticed how smart voices on such topics have also often had some questionable other opinions.

I think that actually comes down to a fairly reasonable mechanism, but that's a quick side topic I'll skip for now.

The point is, a lot of FOSS drama is unfortunately not about the topics, but the personalities involved.

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Of course, personalities shape what an organization pursues as worthy topics and vice versa. It's not like this division is clean.

However, right now, it seems as if almost every organization that did something outstanding for FOSS in the past has proceeded to shit the bed.

I'm not even going to bother naming names or incidents. You guys know them better than me, in many cases.

It's just really hard to throw support one way or another when everything seems terrible.

Ironically, as much as I support Free/Libre software from a licensing point of view, it seems that right now the healthiest community and organization is actually the decidedly Open Source ASF. Of the large ones, at least.

I mean, I'm one degree removed from them. I tend to get more inside views on ASF drama than I get from anywhere else, and I still have that view.

Some days I wish ASF would just quietly switch over to GPL, and we could move on.

Not gonna happen, I know, but I can dream.

Side topic: I've been an activist on a variety of topics. You don't need to be an activist for mainstream ideas. The entire point of activism is to mainstream outlier ideas (TL;DR).

That means the most vocal proponents of outlier ideas are extremists - literally. That doesn't need to make them violent or whatever, just far outside the norm.

Holding one extremist view surely helps pave the road for others.

The trouble is, some views are extremely good, others extremely bad. 🤷‍♂️

The corollary to this first part is that social equity is an extremist view.

@jens for the life of me i can't be bothered by the nuances of licenses

Yes they are probably quite important in some state of the universe but its not the state of the universe we are in, or even remotely nearby

What really matters after decades of broken promises is to empower *masses* of people with self-sovereign computing (including mobile). Emphasis on masses (=billions)

It doesn't feel that it is license details that prevent that from happening...

@openrisk License details are roughly on the same level of importance to empowering masses with self-sovereign computing as education is for solving world hunger.

That is, there is absolutely no immediate connection. But the avalanche effect it has is probably the only way to get there over time.

Simply put, copyleft forces corporations to co-operate with communities rather than dictate terms. This isn't about software. It's about changing everyone's relationship to software.

@openrisk Of course, copyleft on its own will not necessarily be successful enough for this, so it's one component only.

Public money, public code should probably become public money, copyleft code, so that it will remain public forever *and* feed into this long-term effect.

I (and a few others here) like to talk about communal software to distinguish it from free/libre and open source; the point is precisely to feed the benefits into the community.

@jens i am not sure the corporate-community relation has been the obstacle. I do appreciate both cumulative effects and the legal framework implications but it feels those are luxury problems: how some successful inroad might get derailed, coopted or whatever

The free/open software movement has a virality (utility) problem in an age where people are more than even prone to virality (pun)

@openrisk I'm certain it's not the only obstacle, but it surely has been one in the past and continues to be so. It's just also getting a bit subtler.

You see this in recent years in how Python (PSF) is taken over by RedHat's concerns. By how Microsoft manages to insert proprietary tooling into FOSS communities, making them dependent. By how docker is removing more and more community features and turning them proprietary.

Good corporate-community relationships are less exploitative.

@jens it could certainly come back to bite in the sense that any major mainstreaming will immensely raise the stakes and an army of lawyers and 'product managers' will go with a fine comb to see how to extract advantage

But i'm almost wishing for this to be a scenario. It would mean the open source (or whatever label) community would have cracked the problem of how to become relevant to people

@openrisk I understand, but I'm not sure that's achievable. I mean, think of a more time-honored profession. Farmers are literally essential to people, but city dwellers often have no idea what farming entails, and would maybe even laugh at their rural ways.

FOSS already is relevant to everyone, in exactly the same way. It already is in every gadget, appliance or convenience. It's also exactly as invisible as the plow blades are on the dinner plate.

I've sort of come to accept that people...

@openrisk ... will never care, at least not in any direct sense.

Best to approach them via intermediaries. The best, most convenient products also happen to be entirely open. That's the way to get them.

That is, of course, hard to achieve.

@jens yes, that is exactly what I mean by virality. For better or worse (actually worse) people have been conditioned in digital virality, explosive adoption of new software contraptions (e.g. something like that tiktok phenomenon)

achieving a sort of "white virality" to counteract the dark variety feels like a difficult but not impossible creative art. e.g. one type of creativity is combinatorial and foss has a theoretical advantage in combining a vast and growing set of building blocks

@jens @openrisk Not to mention, if Mozilla had used GPL, the third most popular mobile OS in the world would have had to say free and open instead of being enclosed into yet another centralised sewer of surveillance. (Mozilla are still happy to work with them, btw.)



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I still keep my litle plasticky firefox os zte mobile as a reminder that what should happen is not what will happen

i was willing to try a sub-par phone for what it represented for the future, but most people didn't

but why didn't firefox os not catch on in the first place? not because of its license

i wish people would talk, analyse and nitpick as much about all these other factors and obstacles that must be overcome to expand the foss universe


@openrisk @jens FirefoxOS (KaiOS) is one of the most successful closed source operating systems in the world today.

@openrisk @jens (And that’s not a bug, but a feature as far as Mozilla or the rest of Silicon Valley is concerned. That’s what we just understand.)

@aral @openrisk @jens

I'm tired of people being divided and attacking whole movements and organisations based on personality conflicts and ad-hominem attacks. It such an old strategy to divide and conquer.

Licenses are a powerful tool can and have been used to defend Free Software.

@jcast Yeah... that's part of the problem for sure.

I mean, I can't exactly expect leadership in any movement to fully align their views with mine. That would be arrogant.

I would like to at least be unaware of their more toxic views, however. I understand that that is somewhat willfully blind. But is it too much to ask of leadership to stay on topic when voicing their thoughts in public?

@aral @openrisk

@jens @aral @openrisk

I completely agree with you. It's hard not to let that derail you from what really matters for the movement, in particular when it is amplified by social media and tech news outlets.


Here, we have (by my reading) a leader attack an organization within the same movement based on a personal dislike, which they disguise (quite badly) as an issue tenuously related to the movement, with smoothly executed trolling tactics.

This isn't just a lack of discretion. It's effectively an abuse of their leadership position.

I don't think we can expect to come together if we let our leadership get away with this.

Then again, protesting this amplifies the issue.

@aral @openrisk

That manufactured Catch-22 already is part of the internet trolling handbook.

@aral @openrisk

@jens @aral @openrisk

Yes it's a fine tricky line there.
I think it's important to be aware the Free Software movement is always under attack, without the Stockholm syndrome.


given that mozilla tried and *failed* with their own effort (2012 - 2015) and KaiOS was released in 2017 that is actually a controlled experiment of sorts

ignoring the real possibility of bad timing, what made KaiOS an apparent success given it is the same (low end) target market?

are the proprietary bits making it more attractive? are the entities involved more incentivized by larger monetization prospects? how much of that links back to licenses or other arrangements etc


@openrisk It seems to me that there's a market for KaiOS only because no one else had a viable platform for 4G feature phones about four years ago. Closed app store and preinstalled Facebook / Google crap might have helped on the vendor side. I think the KaiOS browser platform hasn't been updated for years and is not in a good shape anyway?

@aral @jens

@galaxis @openrisk @aral @jens I'll tell you exactly why hardware manufacturers and mobile devices in particular are averse to FOSS operating systems - it's because they have things to hide.

Usually patent violations but also hardware bugs fixed in binary driver blobs.

@galaxis @openrisk @jens Mozilla is helping them update their closed fork.

@aral @galaxis @openrisk @jens they even achieved updating some gecko versions, which seemed impossible at first.

@aral Perhaps, HMD can sell much more Kai OS phones than Android phones in Thailand.

@jens @openrisk

@jens @openrisk

Microsoft goes beyhond inserting proprietary software, they insert they own people as managers, even in governments. This is a political issue, Microsoft is lobbyied for by the US government and imposed on other countries forcefully.

They lobby to break open standards and make sure they aren't used, and make the public institutions are dependent on them so the US can spy on other countries and maintain a monopoly on IT.

@jens Evaluate ideas on their merrits, and not on the basis of how normative they are.

At the beginning of one of Darwin's book is a quote which goes something like "the commonly held belief is not neccessarily the correct one". At the time the normative belief was in scalum naturi and that the ecosystem was immutably defined by God.

@bob Agreed.

But merits are also personal. As an animal rights activist, I approve of more vegan foods in supermarkets. I also approve of meat-producing companies selling vegan foods. I know a bunch of vegans who would never buy them, because the money flows back in the slaughter machine.

Now, it's not that they're wrong. But are they right?

It depends on whether the goal is to increase the ratio of non-meat consumption, or to punish animal killers. Both contributes to animal rights, though.

@jens it’s to support a cause you believe in, not just something that is a minority or outlier.

@jordan31 Of course.

But something that is already ubiquitous doesn't need a cause. It doesn't need belief. It's already there.

You're right that not all minority or outlier ideas are support-worthy causes. But by definition, all support-worthy causes are minority views (some more than others).

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