Stallman: cloud computing is a trap

MJ Ray mjr at
Mon Oct 6 16:50:23 UTC 2008

Noah Slater <nslater at> wrote:
> On Mon, Oct 06, 2008 at 04:35:37PM +0100, MJ Ray wrote: [...]
> > Is digg free software?
> [...]
> > Uses facebook.  I don't like the general thrust of that project either.
> So, by talking about, linking to or externally active with a third party website
> you consider this to be a violation of *your* principals?

I don't understand this question.  I was asked what proprietary
webapps those FSF projects were using and tried to offer a summary.

> Can we not say "free network software is great, let's do more of that" instead
> of trying to imply that it is even possible to use the Web as it stands without
> using some "non-free" network service.
> Tell me, which search engine do you use and is it free software?

ODP aka and not entirely, but it was the best I found.  I
also sell some of my searches to a proprietary engine in exchange for
meal vouchers, cinema tickets and so on, but I don't promote it.  I
don't value my search data much - my bookmarks are my first stop.

> > Noah Slater <nslater at> wrote:
> > > These are used by the individual software developers working for GNU and are not
> > > hosted or part of the official GNU website.
> >
> > Nice dodge!  So we could have links from to the local user group sites
> > used by the individual software developers working to promote and support GNU
> > software... (but we don't and may not, unless they use blessed names or have a
> > strong internal advocate...)
> Not really.
> The GNU Project is a volunteer effort, are you asking that it enforces the
> conduct and activities of all it's maintainers external to the official
> infrastructure?

Where those are linked from as official parts of the
development effort, that would be similar to how it seeks to enforce
the naming, conduct and activities of all user groups linked.

Personally, I'd prefer it to standardise on liberalisation, linking
freely and not advocating Affero.  What I'm really pointing out here
is that FSF's stance on third-party resources is unpredictable.

> > [...] advocates of AGPL to debian-legal
> > recently included several users and when I criticise Affero
> > on my blog, I can be pretty sure of responses from
> > maybe such users could do more to promote free software webapps by not
> > using the non-free competitors?
> Non-free competitors to MaBloss[1], your [...]

Ow, that page is dated and the software is obsolete - parts survive in
the bizarrely-named schycyrssmerge2, which is a fairly efficient
aggregation engine based on the set theory, but it's pretty niche.
Thanks for the reminder to take it offline!

Non-free competitors to Wordpress (which I help some people host and
develop) would be a better example.

> Perhaps those users of Gmail don't have the means to run a private mailhost like
> you do?

Gotcha! and its Squirrelmail, Courier-IMAP and so on
are run by a user cooperative.  Although I do run similar services for
work, I'm only a user of this one.  Anyone can pay and join, just
like I do - but how much is free software worth to you? (Other user
cooperatives offer better value for most users, by the way.)

> [...] I hardly see this are a major
> issue and it certainly makes me feel uncomfortable that you are imposing your
> value system on others in this way.

If we're not allowed to advocate our values, that would also stop
Affero-advocacy, which would be fine by me.

What I'm saying is that people who don't currently support free
software webapps should do so *before* seeking to use Affero clauses
to impose their shaped-by-Big-Webapp-Companies values on me and other
cooperators!  I think many Affero advocates will continue using
proprietary webapps, but good cooperative free software users will be
saddled with the added costs of source advertising and downloading.
Why should we pay for their errors?

Hope that explains,
MJ Ray (slef)
Webmaster for hire, statistician and online shop builder for a small
worker cooperative
(Notice tel:+44-844-4437-237

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