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Re: On the good neutrality of free software

From: quiliro
Subject: Re: On the good neutrality of free software
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 2021 20:07:36 -0500

"Lorenzo L. Ancora" via <> writes:

> Quiliro <>:
>> I think that every action is political and non-neutral.  The only way
>> something can be non-political and neutral is that it is accepted by all
>> involved parties.  Taking a neutral position otherwise is favouring the
>> most powerful party.  So it is also partisian, non-neutral and
>> political.  Advocating free software is political and partisian
>> (non-neutral) because it decides based on policies and favours one party
>> (free software distributors) over others (non-free software
>> distributors).  Deciding not to criticize China or to block Nazi
>> propaganda are both equally political and definitively partisian.
> If an action results in the good of the majority of the community then
> it is ethically correct, otherwise it isn't.

A majority rule is not fair for the minority.  Free software does not
hurt the minority (non-free software owners).  It just prevent the
owners of software from controlling the users.  That is different from
choosing the good of one over the good of the other.

> Self-control is the keystone of civility and the obvious solution to
> your dilemma is to simply stay professional, literally stay true to
> the developer's role, for the benefit of the majority.

That is very subjective.  Every act is political.  Nothing is neutral
unless all parties agree on it.  Every person has a different take on
the politics of an issue or not.

> Matter aside, in reality advocating free software won't lead to the
> demise of non-free software, because it creates competition and allow
> for the uncontrolled diffusion of algorithmic knowledge. Nobody
> escapes the laws of economy.
> However, it is always nice to "fight naively for some good ideals":
> there are those who fight to bury non-free software for the good of
> the few and those who fight to support free software for the good of
> the many. Two ways of seeing the world of equal dignity and value, yet
> both will go down in history in very different ways.

what's the point of these two paragraphs.

>> By the way, your signature:
>>  All messages from/to this account should be considered private.
>>  Messages from/to newsletters should not be reshared.
>>  TZ: Europe/Rome (Italy - CEST).
>> If you send a message to a mailing list or to a newsletter, it is
>> practically impossible and also undesireable to avoid it from being
>> reshared.  Besides the unacceptance by most people of your policy
>> (including me), your message is very much political (except for the time
>> zone, which seems a very nice area).
> Italian law is the most complex (and illogical and weird) in the world.
> The purpose of that signature isn't to protect me nor express a
> political message, but to protect you from the innumerable quibbles of
> Italian law: digital correspondence is considered equivalent to
> personal paper correspondence and sharing/opening/refer to an email
> w/o the explicit permission of its author is a serious criminal
> offense punished with 3 years of jail.
> Even with an implicit/explicit consent to forward it, you would also
> need a document signed with an advanced digital signature (digital
> smart card/certificate owned by each Italian citizen to replace
> OpenPGP/GnuPG for many operations) or anyhow a permanent document
> where I authorize the publication of my personal data, otherwise you
> will be obliged to censor any personal information - and the email
> address - in the email before doing anything with it. Another
> important quirk of emails from Italy is that I can, at any time and
> for any reason, ask and obtain the permanent removal of any personal
> data published online or even reshared privately, including
> attachments, email addresses and any kind of (even indirectly)
> identifiable information. Regardless of the permits, if there is a
> reputational or occupational damage - even potential - I can also
> obtain a compensation proportional to the number of potential readers
> and the "intent to damage the reputation" is considered an aggravation
> for both the compensation and the jail.
> Yes, that could happen for a simple email. Absurd.
> The law here is so slow and expensive that we prefer to prevent any
> problems in any possible way, because the very slow and very expensive
> process is a pain for everyone. International agreements? Triple pain.
> If you ask any Italian about Italian law they will tell you the same
> thing: stay away from it at all costs, employing any amount of
> bureaucracy required to do so, because without the right hooks it
> leads to doom. :-)

Your signature restricts the freedom to publish what you write.  That is
not a protection against anything.  It a restrition.

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