Mar. 15th, 2016

starseerdrgn: Reihanfēoru-kama (Default)

So, for those not in the know, the Free Software Foundation have launched a "campaign" against the W3C (and I use campaign generously). Basically, to protest DRM, they're encouraging people to go to a W3C office, take a selfie with a sign to stop the inclusion of DRM in HTML, and send it to the W3C as a form of protest, stating that:

We have reliable advice that this will be very influential to the W3C's leadership -- if they know the whole world is watching them, it will be much harder for them to take this huge step backward for the Web.

Umm... What? I'm sorry, but when did this ever stop any of the members of the W3C from passing something that people don't agree with? Modals, anyone?

The point of the W3C standardization process is that it's supposed to be an open dialog, and even stated as much in a blog post. While they don't always take the route that organizations like the FSF prefer, they do listen.

The problem with the Free Software Foundation is that they refuse to accept anything less than what they desire, and will scream loudly like children until they're either shot down completely, or they get their way. They will gladly push their ideals like a religion, and if you don't like it, they gain a "them or us" mentality that turns anyone who disagrees with them into an "enemy".

I know this from experience. I was deep in the Free Software world, and witnessed people getting chastised and bullied for disagreeing with anything that the FSF was about. They will spread FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt), propaganda, and even outright lie if it means getting their way. They'll even disrupt businesses and such if it means having any sort of effect on the industry.

I have--and continue to--compare them to totalitarianism. Their end goal is to have full control, and I've seen how they act. They act like a corrupt government, sometimes even as a cult.

I will gladly back the idea of freedom in software, but I back the freedom to make a choice. I back the thought that, if DRM exists, people should just seek other ways to get what they're seeking. As far as HTML goes, let those who lock their content behind DRM fail naturally, which is how the open web works.

I am a proponent of the Open Web, where it doesn't matter what licence you use, or what your requirements are. And after my experiences, I will never be on the side of the Free Software Foundation. Feel free to back them--that's your prerogative--but don't forget that those who force their ideals on others often turn into demons themselves.

starseerdrgn: Reihanfēoru-kama (Default)

I wanted to touch a bit more on the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and my views, but I also want to talk about the Free Software Movement (FSM) in general as well.

I have nothing against Free Software, and use it myself occasionally. I like GNU Emacs, and the older GNOME 2.x desktop environment for Linux (now supported in MATE Desktop). I appreciate what the GNU Project has done, and what many projects that use Free Software Licenses have done for the software ecosystem. Hell, I'm still a huge proponent of Mozilla's software. I have 12+ years of experience with Linux, ranging from my first days with Mandrake, to Slackware, to Fedora, Cent OS, Ubuntu and Kubuntu, and even my favourite, Gentoo.

I have absolutely nothing against Free Software. What I'm against is the FSF and their "all or nothing" mentality.

The FSF's end goal is to have their ideals take over. Anything they deem "Free Software" would be safe, and anything they don't see as "Free Software" would be denied.

That's not "enforcing freedom", unless you're an American patriot who believes that anyone with a differing opinion should be shot. That's getting rid of choice, in order to have a controlled culture under a ideological dictatorship. That goes against freedom, because it removes the freedom of choice.

Their campaigns tend to be rather misleading as well. For example, Windows 7 Sins has seven tabs which highlight "sins" that Windows 7 has committed. Under Education:

Increasingly, computers are expected to be useful tools in our children's education. But today, most children whose education involves computers are being taught to use one company's product: Microsoft's — Microsoft spends large sums of money on lobbyists and marketing to procure the support of educational departments.

Part of this is an outright lie, and part of it is spin. During that time, Mac OS X and Apple were the most prominent in education, not Microsoft. Additionally, many schools were slowly deploying Linux systems thanks to volunteers and sysadmins who have experience with the complexities of the OS, but this is never mentioned.

And down below, under Monopoly behavior:

Nearly every computer purchased has Windows pre-installed -- but not by choice. Microsoft dictates requirements to hardware vendors, who will not offer PCs without Windows installed on them, despite many people asking for them. Even computers available with other operating systems like GNU/Linux pre-installed often had Windows on them first.

Um...what? This wasn't Microsoft dictating anything. That didn't happen until recently with Windows 10 (which I truly despise).

No, the reason machines were pre-installed with Windows was because that's what people wanted! People wanted Windows because it's where the apps they wanted to run could be found. Many games require Windows, and gaming is one of the two biggest markets for computers, right behind business.

During this time, Dell was offering what I tend to refer to as "Dellbuntus" as an option, allowing people who wanted a Linux machine to have Ubuntu pre-installed with compatible hardware. They sold dick all. I bought one myself, and it was a nice experience, but it was just a PC.

The FSF will sling mud just to get their way, and this is one of many examples of that behavior.

As I've said before, I'm all for Free Software. I wouldn't mind seeing Linux and BSD finally become desktop-worthy for the mainstream--especially for those who just want to use their systems for creating things, and not for programming and tech-geek stuff.

However, it's not even close to that point yet, and trying to force it on people will just cause more and more of the mainstream computer users to turn away from Linux as a whole. People need good reasons to switch, not religious-like spiels that tell them what they should and shouldn't support.

What FLOSS projects need are more people in the UX/UI field, giving developers the information needed to make software in the Free Software world more user-friendly. Having to correct problems with a bunch of CLI tools won't win users. Giving them easy fixes will.

Having real UX/UI QA on projects like OpenOffice/LibreOffice would be a nice start. The kerning and UI for the office suites in general are abysmal at best, and down-right insulting at worst. Likewise with the GNOME 3 and KDE 4/5 desktop environments, which need a lot more love to make them user-friendly for the mainstream users.

Above all else, what the FLOSS projects need is to remember that not everyone is a programmer or geek! This is where the FSF falls flat on its face, pushing a mentality that everyone should be like them. Not everyone wants to dive into code. Not everyone can.

I may touch on this subject more in the future, but this has gotten far too long, so I'll leave it for now.

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