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Agreeing with World Domination 201 plot

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memenode's picture
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I just carefully read World Domination 201 document and surprising as it may sound to some I find myself in agreement.

Maybe if it focused on World Domination for the World Domination's sake I wouldn't have found it as compelling, but there is a theme visible throughout the whole article which suggests something deeper. It is not about achieving World Domination by GNU/Linux so much as it is about achieving power necessary to essentially "free the world" of all that is proprietary.

Authors basically succeeded at convincing me that without a bit of compromise, we just wont be able to pull it out in time. And no matter how pure in our ideals we were, we would be too small for our voice to be significantly world changing. I am not sure Richard Stallman and the whole Free Software movement can cause a movement of such massive proportions to change things for everyone soon enough. In fact, after reading this it seems to me that choosing the completely uncompromising path at this point would be akin to choosing to play defense instead of offense. It's "we are not about domination, we're about freedom" attitude.

But that begs the question, freedom for who? Only a few of us who care to have it or for the whole world? Sure, some of us may say that those who don't care for freedom don't deserve to have it. But I beg to differ. By that line of thinking those who we just written off as those who don't deserve it may well become those who contribute to the pressure against freedom of our own, yes ourselves who do care about our freedom. No, I believe that freedom should be delivered to everyone, including those who don't care enough to even try to understand it. Trust me, they probably aren't too enthusiastic about proprietary stuff either. If you give them the Free code that works, they'll use it as much as they'd use the proprietary code that works.

Which brings us back to the question of how to bring them the Free code that works. How to bring *all of them* *only* the Free code that works?

If we can't do it without that paradoxical compromise to our ideals then we obviously have to consider other options.

It comes down to this:

The world is mud. But we are clean. And we want the whole world to be clean. However, from where we stand, isolated in our cleanness from the rest of the mud we can't spill enough cleaning water to clean the world. We need to climb higher, but to do so we need to pass through bits of mud, but we are anti-mud, we don't want to do that. But if we want the world to be clean we have to. We have to endure bits of mud being spilled onto us in order to come out on the top and spill the cleaning water.

Maybe it's a silly analogy, but I hope it portrays the way I'm thinking about it. The compromise in this case is not exactly a compromise of our ideals if we do it for the sake of those very ideals. We want to dominate the world because we are the only ones who can change it to reflect the ideals we believe in. And we can't do that without a bit of sacrificing.

I guess I've said enough. I anticipate your opinions.

Thanks

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Before opinions start

Before opinions start pouring in I also want to clarify that agreeing with WD201 doesn't automatically subscribe me to the open source camp. Far from it. I still believe Free Software is a priority, that is is not just a better way, but the right way. Freedom is paramount. However, I believe this freedom has to eventually apply to the whole world. If we can't educate 100% of the planet enough to care for it that doesn't excuse us from finding alternative ways to bring it to them anyway. Maybe once they actually become free of all the proprietary cr@p they will start loving it enough to oppose anything that threatens to take it away.

So, what role do I propose to the FSF and the Free Software camp in this "temporary compromise". It's simple. Keep and keep and keep emphasizing the fact that it is temporary and that the reason is not just world domination for the sake of it, that the goal is gaining enough influence to set the standard of freedom. Keep calling the OS GNU/Linux instead of "Linux" whenever you can to associate it with the GNU as a project of freedom. Keep talking about four freedoms and why are they important and beneficial. Only then can people full well know what this temporary compromise really mean and be prepared to take concerted action with us, once we are a dominant force, to set the standard of freedom, not the mixture with proprietary.

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negatives from the other side
libervisco wrote:

And no matter how pure in our ideals we were, we would be too small for our voice to be significantly world changing. I am not sure Richard Stallman and the whole Free Software movement can cause a movement of such massive proportions to change things for everyone soon enough.

1. The other side does some of the work for us by going too far, like with DRM.

2. Let's get biggger anyway.

If there is compromise, I don't even think we'd need to tell them it's temporary. Just slip in the free replacements when they're ready. But we'd have to be sure to not brag about having the temporary non-free software.

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memenode's picture
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Quote: 1. The other side
Quote:

1. The other side does some of the work for us by going too far, like with DRM.

True. That can only help us further down the line, in any case.

Quote:

If there is compromise, I don't even think we'd need to tell them it's temporary. Just slip in the free replacements when they're ready. But we'd have to be sure to not brag about having the temporary non-free software.

Then that's what Free Software people should be telling. It can be easy to fall in trap of enthusiastically bragging about GNU/Linux supporting popular proprietary codecs. We shouldn't get too pumped up about that fact. It's about keeping the eyes on the ball, which is a shape of the world with a big symbolic GNU sign painted all over it. Smiling

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There it is! That's The Ball

There it is! That's The Ball we need to watch for. Smiling

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My gripe with WD201 is it's

My gripe with WD201 is it's statement which says something like "After 2008 the next time we'll be able to take over the computing market is 2050". I don't see what's wrong with doing this 'correctly' and waiting until 2050. I don't like the idea that we'd compromise ourselves so we'd be able to dominate the world by 2008. Basically I don't see the need to rush, I'd prefer that this would be done properly, discounting time.

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The initial development of

The initial development of GNU was done using proprietary software. Now we have free replacements for all that proprietary stuff, but at the same time new proprietary software has appeared and become necessary for many users. There's nothing wrong with making the same kind of temporary compromise again. However, we do need to make sure no unnecessary compromises are made.

I disagree with the reasoning that 2050 will be the next opportunity. Doubling the number of bits in a word is not the only kind of change that would require significant changes to software, and much bigger changes are coming much sooner. By 2020 it will be unimaginable that we used to think eight cores on a single chip is a lot, and more cores is just the least of the architectural changes we'll see in the near future.

Still, it's best if free software dominates ASAP, because the proprietary industry also wants to dominate (in fact wants it much more), and can be expected keep trying everything to stop free software. It takes only one very successful trick, and it's game over. The less time we give them to think of such a trick, the better.

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I was also kind of vary with

I was also kind of vary with the whole prediction of 2008 or nothing, but I tend to agree with Taco here. The proprietary industry isn't sitting tight and with all the lobbying power and money that they have, let's just say it would be hard to keep GNU/Linux where it is through even a decade, let alone 42 years. Besides, IF it will work and get us into dominant position sooner so we can set the freedom standard, it's better than waiting for practically an indefinite amount of time.

The ideal is an ideal. The purest way of doing it would be to not compromise. But what if compromise is the only way, or at least the best way to achieve the ideal we strive for? It wouldn't be called a compromise if there was nothing to compromise.

For the last few months my basic stance was "pragmatism as long as it doesn't go against freedom". In this case the peculiar situation is that pragmatism goes against freedom temporarily, but allowing for more freedom to more people in the longer term. It looks like pragmatism and purism switched sides (because the latter usually served long term while former served the short term, but now it seems opposite). I guess one way to call the usual Free Software purist who still agrees with the temporary compromise is a "pragmatic purist". I think I fall into that category.

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Just to note, I think this

Just to note, I think this makes projects like gNewSense even more important. As mainstream distros like Ubuntu go through the "temporary compromise" stage on their way to World Domination, distros like BLAG and gNewSense serve as mirrors clearly discerning where the compromises have been made and what we need to achieve as soon as we have the position to achieve it (free drivers and other Free Software to replace non-free).

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I just fired up an email to

I just fired up an email to RMS pointing to WD201 and explaining a bit why does it seem relevant for Free Software. I hope for a response along with the permission to publish on Libervis.com.

I didn't see RMS nor FSF commenting on WD201 yet, but I'm really extremely interested in what they'd have to say for it. I think the response ought to be interesting.

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