opinion on Choice 1
>>>>> On 2021-03-26 15:50:02 +0100, Pierre-Elliott Bécue wrote:
>>>>> Le vendredi 26 mars 2021 à 16:50:06+0300, Sergey B Kirpichev a écrit :
>>>>> On Fri, Mar 26, 2021 at 02:08:34PM +0100, Pierre-Elliott Bécue wrote:
[Moving to -vote from -devel; apologies if inappropriate.]
As an aside, I don’t suppose there can be a more affirmative
option on the ballot, along the lines of reaffirming commitment
to civil liberties and the principles underlying them, and
expressing hope that the changes Free Software Foundation
currently undergoes will resolve standing concerns?…
> Well that is the principle of having a community of people with diverse
> opinions. I’m sad to hear that this diversity is the cause of such
So am I.
>>> As for RMS, whether one likes him or not, it’s not hard to see his
>>> public communications and see what things he defended.
>> If someone won’t/can’t distinguish his personal opinions and ones on
>> behalf of FSF stuff — not mine problem.
> Any organization who keeps at a direction position someone expressing
> controversial or unsane opinions is, in a sense, either ignorant of the
> situation or encouraging it.
I’m afraid I cannot agree.
I believe that everyone, regardless of station or lack thereof,
is entitled to the right to hold any views, and to express the
same without misrepresentation. I believe everyone is entitled
to the protection of said rights by law and relevant authorities;
and the respect of said rights by the society at large. I believe
that in democratic societies, no legal principle, be it right,
freedom, procedure, or other, that is deemed not worthy of respect
by the society at large, has any right to stand, and should be
struck off the books.
On such a belief, I feel it necessary to point out that Choice 1
currently on the ballot goes on to not only call into question
someone’s ability to lead, and to criticise the behavior of
the same individual, but also to deny him the right to have his
own opinions and views (emphasis mine):
“We do not condone his actions *and opinions.*”
“There has been enough tolerance of RMS’s *repugnant ideas* and
“[…] we will not continue suffering his behavior […] or
otherwise holding him *and his hurtful and dangerous ideology*
Where’s diversity in that?
By comparison, the mistake of calling (?) FSF to remove him from
the position of the leader of the GNU Project, a position (to the
extent that such a position exists in the first place) that is,
as far as I know, not conferred by FSF, and hence could hardly
be revoked by them (other than by some outright coercive action),
appears rather minor.
There’re of course other issues with the text.
Let it be known that it’s not my personal loyalty speaking.
Unless, of course, you consider my dear friends Freedom of
Speech and Freedom of Conscience to be actual persons, in which
case it certainly is.
As for those who’ve signed the original open letter, and there
are prominent Debian Developers among those, I hope they know
that their action /did/ hurt some of us. I’ve seen people
questioning whether they should continue to associate with
Debian, even as users, going as far as to consider moving off
the entire Debian ecosystem (which is to say, to operating
systems not based on dpkg and APT.) And while I can /and do/
sympathize, I hereby ask them to reconsider: it is this ‘guilt
by association’ that brought us here, and the only way to break
this cycle is to strive to be better, aim higher, and refuse to
repeat the mistakes of the mistaken, whichever side of the
controversy they represent.
Don’t you see, it takes either definite meanness or considerable
ignorance to call a person on his or her /past views/; the views
/can/ change, and they often do. But the /action/ of (co)signing
the letter is very much permanent. I don’t know if it will be
ten years or hundred, but there /will/ be consequences to this.
And given its spirit and letter, I bet the negative ones will
by far outweigh the positives.
I hope you’ll witness that yourselves.
Regardless of this GR’s outcome, I believe I’ll find it in
myself to continue to spend whatever little productive time
I can spare to participate in both Debian and GNU — if only to
show how inclusivity, in my opinion, is supposed to work with
regards to free software: by allowing different groups to hold,
as a whole, different, perhaps mutually incompatible, opinions,
while still not denying individual members the right to
collaborate, in their personal capacity, with the ‘enemy’.
I have to confess that I, a few times I think, (ab)used Debian
like that: as a third party to communicate with upstream
developers I didn’t want to talk to directly at the time.
How well would that work were we to disallow or discourage
members of Foo project to work with the members of ‘morally
compromised’ Bar project? (Which is arguably one of the things
the open letter seeks.)
How well would that work with proprietary software? How often a
programmer investing his or her own time into reverse-engineering
a non-free program and pointing out the issues gets thanked by
the company? Doesn’t every user of non-free program have every
right to feel excluded from the development of the same?
If you care about inclusivity, and if you hold any position
related to non-free software development, I guess I’m going to
kindly ask you to re-evaluate your choices?
On the whole, provided that my overall income this year won’t
decline much (and that Free Software Foundation still stands
at the end of the year), I guess I’m going to up my dues a tad.
With my yearly income well below 10 000 USD, pulling a 1000 USD
donation would probably be beyond my ability, so corporate
sponsors shouldn’t feel threatened. Still, it’s the thought
As for the individual signatories of the open letter, I’ve
pondered deeply on how to communicate my disapproval in no
ambiguous terms. The best approach I’ve been able to come up
with so far is to offer them love, tolerance and, should we ever
meet in person, an earful.
(And this public letter of mine, I suppose?)
PS. I express my gratitude to Alessandro Vesely for bringing a year-old
post, http://wetheweb.org/post/cancel-we-the-web , regarding the
original controversy to -devel. I also thank everyone who’ve
invested the effort into drafting the alternative Choices 2, 3;
as well as those Debian Developers who’ve found it appropriate
to second them; and lastly, to all the people who’ve discussed
the issue with me on IRC.
(It’d seem my trust in ACLU wasn’t mistaken. Alas, I can’t say
the same about EFF.)
FSF associate member #7257 http://am-1.org/