Warp 35

Soapbox of a GNU/Linux lovin' guy.
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Location: Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands

I'm a Dutch guy born in 1974. Growing up I went from a dreamer to halfway mature. In 2002 I met my life partner and I'm living happily with hime ever since. I'm seconded at Stork Technical services since 2001. Right now I'm pretty happy with where I'm at.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Influx Windows Refugees alters GNU/Linux culture

The recent influx of Windows Refugees is watering down the core ethos of the Free Software movement embedded in the GNU/Linux Operating System. A new subculture is forming within our ranks who are waving the Free Software flag, whilst preaching for the inclusion of proprietary technology.

The GPL, which covers most Free Software, itself is pretty resilient against proprietization. There is a deadly workaround though. Inclusion of interdependant proprietary layers. Such proprietary layers could be used as a gateway between isolated Free Software chunks. That, in essence, would make Free Software beholden to proprietary interests again.

In the past the community members actively ousted attempts to gain proprietary control through insertion of closed gateway layers. Not the new crop. They are entering the community at such a breakneck pace that the seasoned community members can't teach them the ropes as to how and why fast enough.

This new group just sees the benefit of Free Software for them, they don't know that they have severe responsibilities to keep up if they want to continue benefitting from the inherent Freedom in Free Software. They are accustomed to being subjugated under unacceptable terms. It doesn't even register that being treated like dirt and paying money for the pleasure is extremely sick.

The new members pose a considerable threat, because they bring with them the notion that proprietary is justified if it serves the need of the users. It is a falsehood, because proprietary licensing is anti-consumer. It is pro-proprietor. A proprietary license will never protect the rights of the licensee and always seek to maximize the protection of the proprietor. As such proprietary licensing is treacherous.

We, community veterans, need to be on the guard. The new crop is still drunk with the new gained Freedom and they feel secure by the large number they are forming within the community. They have a very gung-ho, everything goes approach to stuff. They feel like the heirs to the system. We need to keep our core values safe. The new crop will eventually understand why Freedom is so important, but right now we need to protect them from themselves.


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