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Re: Practicality of GNU project and libre movement

From: Davis Remmel
Subject: Re: Practicality of GNU project and libre movement
Date: Thu, 23 Jul 2020 20:09:35 +0000

Miles Fidelman, what's the point of being so rude? Your comments were mostly 
un-constructive, and the fact that you aren't able to entertain the OP's 
opinions says a lot about your abilities to criticize.

The OP has a good point, that free software is largely restricted by funding, 
and while you point out some large successful projects, most free software 
projects are not like that. A very topical conversation this month is about 
LibreOffice's funding.

> LibreOffice: the next five years

Where could free software be if authors were paid equally with their 
nonlibre-authoring peers? Why does the FSF only have 14 staff? Why are they 
still not able to implement DKIM for their email? The FSF can't even sell 
digital goods using all-free software, so what does that say about the state of 

Microsoft made $13B of profit in Q4 2019. [1] Free software doesn't even come 
close to having that kind of freedom. Even $50M could completely fund a 
coherent free operating system on-par with proprietary counterparts.

Furthermore, OP has a valid point about about non-commercial free software 
(which is most of it): gratis software is largely unsupported by their authors, 
and ordinary users (techno-illiterate) come to expect to get what they pay for. 
Graphical free software is confusing, fragmented, and often unsupported. OP is 
asking their questions in the context of the masses, who have mostly never 
considered how proprietary software swindles them.

I don't think OP is saying that the GNU project is unsuccessful (a subjective 
metric anyway), but that compared to commercial-and-proprietary software, it is 
a fleck of dust.

Another great example is LibreBoot. If that project, perhaps one of the most 
important free software projects, doesn't have the resources to continue after 
one author leaves, that is a funding problem. If LibreBoot can't support more 
than a dozen motherboards of 10+ year old hardware, let alone supporting their 
own organizational structure, that is a funding problem.

Why is this the case? Probably because most free software, not the big 
projects, are not professionally run and maintained, because they are not 
well-funded and when they are, they are funded by corporate interests for 
corporate interests.

Mozilla can't even operate without Google paying them hundreds of millions of 
dollars to be the default search engine. [2]



‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Original Message ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐
On Thursday, July 23, 2020 2:22 PM, Miles Fidelman <> 

> On 7/23/20 12:48 PM, Sagar Acharya via libreplanet-discuss wrote:
> > I read "Free as in Freedom" by Richard Stallman and am a strong supporter 
> > of GNU project. I strongly want it to succeed.
> > However, when you keep money away from the free software movement, such a 
> > movement cannot survive against people who actively charge money for 
> > binaries without source code. All power arises from concealment. When you 
> > understand a system very well, the power goes away and it looks ordinary. 
> > When GNU or libre movement asks contributors or volunteers (both fancy 
> > words for "work for me for free"), you present making libre software as a 
> > secondary thing rather than a central thing. When projects licensed GPLv3 
> > rely almost completely on "donations" from other, you rely on the donor's 
> > generosity for getting food at your table. I really want people to remove 
> > reliance on external things and make GNU central and very active.
> So what's your point?
> FOSS is doing quite well.  Apache powers the web.  Postfix powers
> email.  Linux, Python, ...  And plenty of the bug guys pay good money to
> folks who crank out FOSS software.
> What's the point of pontificating & spouting counter-factual bullshit? 
> Do you just like making a fool of yourself?  Or am I missing something?
> Miles Fidelman
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
> In practice, there is. .... Yogi Berra
> Theory is when you know everything but nothing works.
> Practice is when everything works but no one knows why.
> In our lab, theory and practice are combined:
> nothing works and no one knows why. ... unknown
> libreplanet-discuss mailing list

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