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Re: One word label for someone who rejects proprietary software


From: C . Cossé
Subject: Re: One word label for someone who rejects proprietary software
Date: Sat, 15 Feb 2020 10:42:52 -0800

   Thanks Roberto, you did not disappoint :)
   On Fri, Feb 14, 2020 at 3:55 PM Roberto Beltran
   <[1]address@hidden> wrote:

   > Moral arguments with respect to software are vaccous.

   What are your reasons for being on this list?

   Free software developer for over 20 years.  Occasional FSF/FSFE paying
   member.  FLOSS advocate since long before the term "FLOSS" (which I
   don't like), circa 2005.

   Why did you do all these things?

   There are plenty of good reasons to develop GLP'd or <other libre lic>
   software without the ethics argument, is my point.


     I'm not saying I agree with the communist perspective, but I do
     think there are ethical reasons for not producing and for rejecting
     proprietary software.

   Go ahead, explain the ethical reasons, or better, the immorality of
   proprietary software and how libre software is somehow moral.

   So there's three main schools of ethics, deontological,
   consequensialist, and virtue ethics.

   I kind of suck at building out Kant, but for deontological the argument
   might be something like: the user uses his software as a tool to
   further his own ends, if you remove his agency in using his tool for
   your own ends you are using him as mere means breaking the categorical
   imperative, therefore unethical. I don't think that's an empty
   argument.

   For consequential, I don't really like this perspective but it might be
   true. That goes something like: free software is generally going to
   create more utility than proprietary software, considering how the user
   is mistreated, how vendor lock-in affects whole industries, etc. etc.
   vs profits for the company and the marginal utility of the proprietary
   software vs a free version of the same thing if it already exists,
   therefore proprietary software is unethical. Again, not really a fan of
   this one, but I don't think it's empty.
   I like virtue ethics and I like rolling my own, and I came up with this
   perspective: Really there is something fundamentally human about using
   tools, just like speaking and walking upright. We use tools, adapt them
   to our needs and disseminate them through our community. That's part of
   how we've been so successful as a species, particularly over
   neanderthal. Looking at how we use software as a tool, if we restrict
   users as is done with proprietary software, we are attacking an
   essential part of their humanity, making them pathetic, so we shouldn't
   do that. Also as users, if we are really excellent, we would be able to
   stop others from making us pathetic by rejecting attempts to mistreat
   us in this way.

   These arguments lay all the responsibility at the feet of business, but
   every android cellphone contract comes with full disclosure of the
   "abuses" that the client will incur, and the client signs-away their
   privacy without coersion.  I personally remember the introduction of
   WalMart to Colorado in the early 1980s and the effect was very similar
   -- almost everyone was willing to sell-out local business to save a
   couple bucks and get fed a bunch of crap about "Buy American" when
   99.9% of their inventory is from China.  The consumers are largely
   responsible, but not wrong.  Philosophy at the level you touch on is
   borderline religion, and religion is beyond-borderline polarizing.  I
   think moral and ethical arguments only serve to alienate, and they are
   not needed in order to advocate for libre software, nor do I believe
   btw that any moral imperitives w.r.t. software even exist -- hence my
   own alienation from FSF, whereas FSF should be the go-to group for
   someone like me, but I feel no attraction due to these positions.

   Would you please help me come up with a cool new name for ourselves?

   FSF-Corps

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