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Re: On gratitude and free software

From: Akira Urushibata
Subject: Re: On gratitude and free software
Date: Mon, 18 Sep 2023 09:01:39 +0900 (JST)

Dennis Payne wrote:

> An argument could be made that Truth Social isn't exploiting Mastodon.

This is a valid point.  One can argue that the conduct of Truth
Social's developer/owner does not affect Mastodon.  Mastodon
developers and users can keep doing what they have been doing.

Gratitude is where Confucianism draws a distinct line.  According to
this school, using Mastodon pretty much entirely and failing to say
thanks is unacceptable conduct.  It is unacceptable because it will
invite problems.  The victim(s) may be third party, Truth Social users
or maybe even former president Trump.

"Abuse" may be a more appropriate word than "exploit."  But in some
contexts we do say "exploit" to discuss such matters.  For example
we say certain companies and nations are "exploiting" fossil fuels
even though they are the proper owners.  They do not lose anything
through digging and selling what they own.  However, there are serious
environmental effects that result from this conduct which leads many
to describe it as "exploitation."


Truth Social was at first proprietary:

Trump's Social Media Site Quietly Admits It's Based on Mastodon

 December 1, 2021


 "We release our work for free in the first place is the idea that, as
 we give to the platform operators, so do the platform operators give
 back to us by providing their improvements for us and everyone to
 see," Mastodon wrote in a blog post last month. However, Trump's
 social media site had claimed all of its source code was
 "proprietary," and controlled solely by Truth Social.

 In response, Mastodon sent a letter to Trump's social media
 platform, demanding its source code be published within 30 days or
 face legal action involving copyright infringement.  Mastodon
 Founder Eugen Rochko now tells PCMag he's holding off on filing any



> The resistance to GNU/Linux comes from the term being annoying to
> say/write.

> Saying people who don't support Richard Stallman are ungrateful is
> flawed.

It is one thing to personally dislike a word for its sound.  It is
quite another to instruct others to avoid using it when doing so
leads to confusion.  It is one thing to fail to respect a person and
quite another to assist a campaign based on lies and hatred.  It is
not okay to say "I don't respect this man" when a vicious campaign is
in full swing.  One should say: "I personally don't respect him, but
all this is going too far."


We here like to talk about the GNU operating system.  There was a plan
to bring it into existence: make free replacements of proprietary UNIX
programs and eventually we would have a free OS.  To those who believe
that a "Linux OS" indeed exists, I'd like to ask what they know of a
comparable plan for its creation.  As I understand, either that plan
was never clearly defined, or it was suspended before the OS was

I tell people about the plan for creating the GNU OS.  I believe it is
important to do so.  By paying attention to this plan, one learns
about what components comprise a UNIX-like OS, what each component
does, and how they integrate with each other.


I thank Ineiev and J.B. Nicholson for providing links to relevant
documents from the GNU project.

> I recommend reading and
> in their entirety as it
> appears that your questions have been answered there for years.


Ineiev wrote:

> The GNU Project isn't limited to Richard Stallman---after all, its
> originator didn't name it after himself; and the actual issue isn't
> gratefulness, it's ultimately supporting freedom [5].

Freedom and gratefulness are different things.  But they are
related.  When gratefulness enhances freedom, those who strive for
freedom should embrace it.  In some circumstances absence of
gratefulness can do great harm to freedom.

As stated above, gratitude toward the GNU project is beneficial for
understanding GNU/Linux, the Linux kernel and UNIX-like systems in
general.  A computer engineer who does not understand the entire OS is
destined to work with limited freedom.

Likewise, freedom and truth are different.  George Orwell says they
are related:

"Freedom of thought is the freedom to say that two and two make four.
That granted, all else follows."

Thank you for reading.

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