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I have a feeling that the FLOSS movement in spirit was constructed in the previous centralised computing paradigm with timesharing systems, and in some sense is left there. I wonder what its corresponding movement of our time would be, now that the pendulum has swung back from the desktop computing paradigm and into dumb terminals over a document format?

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@alcinnz I think so, but not just that. If they used copyright law and GPL, I think we need to do similar forays into other fields, but I'm still quite fuzzy on the details of what that means.

@albin over and above AGPL?

It's all very code-focused on the GNU side. What people seem to get interested in with cloud services is the fact that commercial exploitation of the code gets monopolised by those cloud services. So we get copyfarleft and weird stuff like the "commons clause" showing up.

Might actually be impossible to fix though.

@lupine For me the code is a means, not an end. The most interesting parts of the free software movement to me were always the slightly utopian visions (and I think they are very clearly widely different) about the societies around and through the code. I can imagine both communal centralised computing and individualised libertarian computing springing from the same roots, just to name two.

Do you have a good source on copy far left?

@Shamar @albin self-hosting is niche, and kept that way by overbearing cloud services with huge advantages. That keeps hacking niche too, of course. Quite how to challenge that without excluding those services from using our code, I don't really know.

Some ideological communities will pick self-hosting as long as it's possible, of course. For email, it's still marginally possible, but I wouldn't bet on it long-term. Usenet, IRC, XMPP demonstrate its fate
@Shamar @albin self-hosting seems analogous to grown-your-own food to me. Niche, and as long as these companies can grow/host anything you can, only cheaper and faster and more conveniently, what could a non-ideological hook be to get people doing it themselves?

One could imagine a crop variety that is insanely delicious, but if you put it in the existing commons, you'll find it in the supermarket the very next day. What other options are available?

@Shamar @lupine I'd much prefer no hosting at all. Of course, I agree with your sentiment, and I used to agree with your literal statement about all users becoming hackers as well. I also used to host my own email, domains, web servers, and IRC servers. That was many years ago. Now I use Gmail, Facebook et al for mostly everything, and have almost completely dropped out of the GNU/Linux ecosystem in favour of Apple's software, because it suits my needs better, even if I don't like it.

@lupine @Shamar However, if it's specifically control and accountability you are after, couldn't that be solved through less heavy means than turning everyone into hackers? Also, I think it's worth thinking about how this translates to other fields. According to the same logic, do I also need to be able to produce my own food, or do biotech or medicine? Or is there something specific to software, and if so why?

@Shamar @albin well, the above is some musing on *why* we're not going there.

But if said corporations have access to all the output of all those billions of hackers, *plus* their own resources, why can't they compete? What's stopping them?
@Shamar @albin (I just clicked: you're going to say "my hacker license". I think we're agreeing violently that some form of exclusion must be practiced for this to succeed)

@Shamar @lupine I think it sounds like the useful sort of megalomania, or at least monomania. For what it's worth I'm rooting for you, even if I'm not sure yet I agree with your whole analysis of everything. Just please be nicer than Torvalds, Stallman, et al if you succeed?

@Shamar @albin of all the words I'd use to describe that trifecta, "tolerant" is way down the list.

You can be a hacker and a weirdo and also not be tolerant. It might even be the norm, unfortunately.

@lupine @Shamar I'd say what's stopping them is either the produced useful things (systems, experiences, communities, etc) not being possible to squeeze into the commodity form (i.e. not being possible to sell or otherwise make profits from), or them being legally restricted from doing so. If we view code / society / law as three sides of the same coin, this makes sense; code and law both program society, and vice versa.

@albin

Dont think we need/want/could have an individualized solution where everyone does it all by themselves

I'm inspired by Community Supported Agriculture, which has quite a variety of models, what I find really exciting are those where the people getting the food are involved, at the level *they choose*, in the resourcing, governance, admin &/or growing

The Solidarity Agriculure movement in Germany is interesting
discourse.solawi.allmende.io/t

See linked github issue there

@lupine @Shamar

@dazinism That would be roughly the shape of my preferred counter-argument to the "hacking for the masses" as well, but thanks for the link, I have never heard of that before!

@dazinism @albin the CSA model id a good one, and i work with a local CSA too - http://turriefieldveg.co.uk - but it's niche, and making it not-niche is very difficult.

@Shamar @lupine I tried reading it before, and the Debian thread you linked previously, but I didn't really understand neither your motivations nor what sets your license apart from previous FLOSS licenses. Do you have a "for dummies" resource available somewhere?

@albin @Shamar it *looks* like the magic is in grant 4 - "Humans" get something close to a GPL license, whereas "organizations" do not.

It's not something I'd use - not all organizations are evil in my worldview - but the more people experimenting with these kinds of licenses, the better, I guess.
@lupine @Shamar @albin

I'm not really certain this is relevant, but your analogy breaks down because they have no way, no way at all, to get produce to the supermarket in a comparable quality to what a *competent* grower can put on his own table.


Partly because we will not always agree on what is a desireable quality, but also because produce in the supermarket has to stand up to the process of getting there.

So, for instance, all else being equal, fruits must have thicker skins and longer shelf-life to be suitable for the supermarket.

The first is an obvious determinant sometimes. The second is a complicated tradeoff between height of the peak and speed of deterioration.

It is said, around here, that potatoes lose 90% of their quality within the first hour after leaving the ground.
@albin CFL is http://wiki.p2pfoundation.net/Copyfarleft - it's not really written with software in mind, though.

re: visions of society, rms vs esr (or FSF vs OSI) was always an interesting tension. Corporate centralised computing squashes both flat at present, though.

@lupine Ah, Kleiner; I should have suspected. I'm slightly familiar with his work, if not this one. Thank you for the link!

@lupine OK; I have done my homework now. What Kleiner seems to be after is roughly the same thing as the Commons Clause people are trying to fix in some sense, that is the appropriation of labour from FLOSS by companies. It's an interesting side-effect that both of these proposals are violating some of the software freedoms specifically because they are formulated without any distinction of power, etc. (1/2)

@lupine I think this is to be expected? Anything reasonably different from the GLP (in terms of scope or intention) can be assumed to end up with incompatible rules in some sense. A more important question, I think, is if copyright law is even the best place to fight this battle. There ARE other options; blockades (DDoS?), campains, strikes, etc. It seems a bit...cargo-cultish to me to try a license just because it "worked before". (2/2)

@albin I touched on this a bit in a redecentralize talk, actually. Would twitter be terrible if its ownership model differed? What happens if it becomes a user-owned cooperative - does centralization even matter at that point?

I don't really see that denying the four software freedoms to our enemies must be a bad thing, but it does seem hella controversial from the experiments I've done.

@lupine I kind of like the form vs content argument inside of that, but I think the answer is "yes, but it wouldn't work the same if it was user-developed, depending on which user's needs developed it"

@lupine It would be interesting to investigate the source of that controversy. Is it: a) actual differing interests and/or perspectives and/or lived experiences, or is it a matter of semantics or cargo-culting FLOSS licenses?

@albin Well, Stallman, Maciej Cegłowski, later @aral , etc have talked about the concept of a General Data Minimisation Regulation (Aral's term).

I do think we should be campaigning for that. I don't know what else.

@alcinnz Without having read anything about it, it sounds reasonable to me!

@albin I'll look up some articals for you, but the idea is that if you can do your core job without uploading a piece of data to some central servers you are forbidden from doing so. And you can't say "but we can offer more conveniences by collecting this data".

@albin From Stallman's artical:

"There are so many ways to use data to hurt people that the only safe database is the one that was never collected. Thus, instead of the EU’s approach of mainly regulating how personal data may be used (in its General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR), I propose a law to stop systems from collecting personal data."

@alcinnz @albin

Much has been said about the GDPR's bases for processing personal data, but it also includes regulations on how systems are designed and implemented in the form of Article 25

@alcinnz @albin

Which says:

"Taking into account the state of the art, the cost of implementation and the nature, scope, context and purposes of processing as well as the risks of varying likelihood and severity for rights and freedoms of natural persons posed by the processing, the controller shall, both at the time of the determination of the means for processing and at the time of the processing itself, implement appropriate technical and organisational measures.

@alcinnz @albin

(cont'd) such as pseudonymisation, which are designed to implement data-protection principles, such as data minimisation, in an effective manner and to integrate the necessary safeguards into the processing in order to meet the requirements of this Regulation and protect the rights of data subjects."

@jack @alcinnz I'm guessing your argument is that the devil is in how these laws are enforced?

@albin @alcinnz

Indeed! Enforcement is always key. I think we'll have to wait and see what happens when somebody challenges a supervisory authority in court to get public confirmation on how Art 25 is being enforced in the real world. That could take a while :(

@jack Yes, exciting indeed. Though I'd prefer to have a few plans B etc lying around in case it doesn't pan out.

@bjoern Thank you! I'll have a look and see if I have anything interesting to add.

@bjoern I agree with your general sentiment, but not all of your historicising. In particular, you write that Stallman could have stayed away from modern computing. I would argue that he and most of the FLOSS movement indeed did so: we are talking about a man who emails web pages to himself via Emacs, and I have myself been the sort of person who runs a hacked-up Unix made from compiled components with a tiling window manager. That's even remotely how non-hackers compute, even developers.

@bjoern More importantly though, I think you are missing an important aspect of the freedom to study and modify (but I agree with everything you have!). In particular, I think WASM or minified (or just plain bad/obfuscated) JS, while being free is about as useful as binary code. And to add insult to injury, it's very hard to verify that the code you are inspecting is the actual code running under the hood.

@bjoern So in order for any user to be able to exercise their freedoms to study or modify the code (compare with everyone's right to fly of their own muscle power or breathe under water), I think further regulation of some sort is needed -- though not necessarily through licenses. Also, this may not even be possible through the Web as it exists today.

@albin
The technical norms in FOSS are unix-centric & so amenable to client/server type centralization (because of decisions made about the nature of the GNU project -- namely, the decision for the flagship free software project to be yet another unix vendor), but I don't think the legal stuff fits into that so much.

Gotta remember that the GPL was intended to counter a failure mode of informal software sharing in the lisp machine community.

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