Politics and freedom (was: Information [...])

Alessandro Rubini rubini at pop.systemy.it
Sun Dec 3 14:24:02 UTC 2000

Since I've seen no replies to this, yet, I'm posting mine.

> the FS philsophy [...] this reminds me of the ideas and the names of
> prjects and similars [...]  (e.g.technology for the people, $thing
> for the people) (I find nothing bad in this))

While I don't find it bad, either, I think the issues of libre [1]
software are detached ("orthogonal") from political movements. I don't
oppose your (or anyone else's) political ideas, I'd just better not
mix them in the fight for libre programs. What I state in my talks
about GNU/Linux is that libre software incorporates both leftist and
rightist ideas. While it promotes equal shares of (potential)
knowledge to everyone (leftist), it also promotes real competition in
productive markets, by preventing monopolies and maximizing economical
transactions and technical innovation (rightist).

I'm not versed in political ideologies or economical theories, but the
fact that nobody diputed my views has been conforting so far. But,
whether or not my statement is correct, we should by any mean avoid to
associate our movement to any political ideology or party. For every
people you approach to a movement (like FS) because of political views
there is one that discards the movement for the same reason. And I
think the wiser of the two approaches is the one refusing :)

That said, software is a hot political topic, in the true and original
meaning of the word "political". Everything that has economic or
social effects is political, as it has effect on the life of the
people and the country (the "polis", greek). My pages about libre
software (http://www.linux.it/GNU, although I've not been updating
them for a while) are "political material about free software".

> [...] we shall try to fight proprietary software all around Europe (and
> a bit out of it if needed). Fighting it requires both [...]

That's another error, in my opinion. We should never fight someone or
something. Whe should rather promote a different views. The positive
attitude is much better, both psychologically (for us who
fight/promote) and practically. For those who fight, there are friends
and enemies, which is an overall bad attitude. Especially in a field
of ideas, where people and companies adapt their ideas and marketing
techniques to a changing environment.

Also, fighting is an attitude that leads to extremes. Someone may
identify microsoft with the devil, while using solaris on his
workstation; is this credible?  Someone else may commit crimes (like
vandalism against computer producers or users), how could the movement
be clear of accusations if the word "fight" is in the core of the

We must definitely and by all means have a positive attitude:
_promote_ freedom, _demonstrate_ that you can work and live without
proprietary tools, _cooperate_ with people and companies to help them
change their views.

BTW: did you ever hear RMS talk about fighting?

Thanks for your patience, and please forgive my poor dictionary
when not talking of technical stuff.


[1] Yes, we prefer to use "libero" in italy instead of "free". And
yes, people are so filo-american here that they already began
corrupting the word "libero" to mean "at no charge", only to copy
american usage.

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