"We freedomware advocates think that switching to a Freedom-respectful operating system (usually GNU/Linux) is the most important step when switching to freedomware, and therefore we focus on promoting these systems (myself included). However, I’ve found out that it does not matter that much.

The first and most important step when switching to Freedomware is using formats and protocols defined as Open Standards, even under a Freedom-trampling system like Windows: Vendor lock-in is only possible by means of closed standards. They are the stone corner of the non-free software industry." ...

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plmday's picture
Created by plmday 6 years 15 weeks ago – Made popular 6 years 15 weeks ago
Category: Philosophy   Tags:
aboutblank's picture


6 years 15 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago


Gustavo Describes User Subjugation

Proprietary resources such as computer programs, data formats or network protocols are designed to subject the user and make them helpless. This subjugation is the primary reason why their favourite proprietary programs fail to work on GNU/Linux. This subjugation is the reason why their data isn't readily available on GNU/Linux. This subjugation is the reason why their favourite network streams fail to work on GNU/Linux. Such resources are harmful to the user and should be avoided.

So what do we do about this? We teach the user of subjugation. We teach them that proprietary software is designed to make the user helpless. Free software by definition would never make the user helpless as they have all the right to help themselves and they are not subject to the proprietor of the software. We teach them about the anti-social aspects of the terms that software proprietors expect society to follow - that is, society is forbidden to share proprietary computer programs because all users must pay $xyz to the proprietor for very limited usage rights. Users should have the right to share the tool that is a computer program and users should have the right to share the knowledge contained within the programming code.

If the user then truly understands why proprietary software is so evil, they would then naturally seek out an ethical alternative to it and would be ready to completely drop all proprietary software. I have always understood that free software was indeed more ethical than proprietary software but I didn't understand why it was so evil. Now that I understand why it is evil, it was very simple for me to just drop it all and advocate only freedom.

lindi's picture


6 years 15 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago


"open formats" important but no silver bullet

Indeed. Also, people often think they are using an "open format" but they can never be sure unless they try to access it with free software themselves.

For example many people wrote free Java programs with proprietary tools in the faith that it would be no problem for free software users since we had gnu classpath. Unfortunately in practice the programs often implicitly depended on some Sun specific behavior that was marked "undefined" in the standards.

Balzac's picture


6 years 15 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago


I find the title disagreeable.

The GNU project has had a huge impact. The Linux kernel has been a strong part of that success, in large part because it was released under the GNU General Public License.

Open Standards are important, but free software projects have a way of establishing de-facto standards just because of their incredible success.

With or without the cooperation of established standards-making bodies, we can create our own standards bodies and our own open standards.

The degree to which a standard is used is the degree to which it is actually a standard. Supposing the ISO enshrines OOXML, I can choose not to use it in spite of the recommendation of a few compromised bureaucrats working for the ISO.

Free software is a god-send for those who prefer to ignore authority.