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The FSF show their true colors (a bright shade of Prick)

by Brandon on July 26th, 2008

The so-called “Free Software Foundation,” having vanquished their enemy from Redmond and having nothing better to do, is now launching a Denial of Service campaign against users of Apple’s products.  Basically they want their minions to descend upon Apple stores everywhere and harass the store employees so that they can’t help real customers.

Here is my response to this effort:

You guys are showing the FSF’s true colors with this action.  It is bad enough that you wage this campaign of lies and deceit against the iPhone (half of the reasons on your “5 reasons” list are blatant lies), but now you’re taking action directed specifically at hurting users who have chosen to support a product other than yours.

And as much as you may deny it, that is exactly what you are doing – advocating products and services that fit your particular (and greatly skewed) view of how the world should be.  You aren’t revolutionaries out to overthrow the draconian monarchy.  You’re more like Jehovah’s Witnesses coming to my door to peddle your own obscure brand of morality and a book that’s kind-of sort-of like a more popular one but supposedly better because it’s “free,” but not actually free just free in some pedantic sense using your own book’s definition of free.  That is, you still want me to pay you for it.

Well guess what, protesting against consumers for choosing another product is about as productive as a 5 year old crying at the grocery store because they want a candy bar.  You’re just going to piss off everybody else in the store, and embarrass the only people who have a vested interest in seeing you succeed.

From → Other

9 Comments
  1. Eric permalink

    Brandon,

    Do you have any particular disagreement with the questions about the iPhone to be asked by the “DRM elimination crew”? Do you disagree with the tactics or just the conclusions?

    And how does the Free Software Foundation want you to pay for their software? I’m a little confused how that would even work and what you mean by that.

    I think the tactics in this case at best useless and at worst harmful to the cause of free software but that doesn’t mean they don’t have any valid points. Why should iPhone software developers have to jump through hoops when no other mobile phone OS creators require the same thing? Why does iTunes contain so much DRM’d music when other services have been able to eliminate DRM from large parts of their catalogs? Why can’t the iPhone play other types of formats (including Windows Media)? And why shouldn’t people who pay full price for iPhone be able to use it on non-AT&T services if they want?

  2. Maddus Mattus permalink

    Eric,

    The answers to your questions are simple;

    Because Apple chooses to and being rather succesfull with it, dont you agree?

    I think that it is a very arrogant position you put yourself in. Prentending to know more then the consumer, just because it supports your agenda.

  3. Eric permalink

    Maddus,

    There is no single all-encompassing consumer. There are millions of separate consumers that make decisions on whatever product feature they want. Most couldn’t care less about these issues and that’s fine. Some people do care about these issues and make product decisions based on these features. I don’t know more than “the consumer”, I just know what I care about in a product.

    Oh and being successful doesn’t allow you to ignore the law. If a consumer has a right to use a phone on any provider they like, isn’t it at the very least unethical (and possibly criminal) to make a consumer choose between a software update and a working phone?

    Eric

  4. Amen to that!

    Ever tried to explain to a Linux fan WHY you would prefer to actually pay for MS Office over Open Office?

    “Yeah but, OpenOffice is FREE.”

    Its one of the biggest annoyances for me, I dual boot Ubuntu and Vista because I like both for different reasons, money has nothing to do with it. If Someone has a decent product and they want to be paid, since when has that been an oppression of freedom, rights blah blah… seems have been the basis of human civilization up to now.

    “And as much as you may deny it, that is exactly what you are doing – advocating products and services that fit your particular (and greatly skewed) view of how the world should be. You aren’t revolutionaries out to overthrow the draconian monarchy.”

    Sums it up perfectly.

  5. Jordan permalink

    If you are upset that some people ask for monetary compensation for their intellectual property, then you are retarded.

    Pay for use software is nearly ALWAYS better than free stuff.

    You get what you pay for, and the fact that you dont pay for FSF is the first sign that they are a bunch of tools.

  6. Eric permalink

    Jordan,

    That’s ridiculous. Both Windows (in the networking stack) and Mac OSX (the kernel) use software that was given away for free by their developers. Firefox is on par with IE7 and I think is a bit better. Additionally you seem to be confused over what free means. Free can mean no cost but it can also mean being free to use and modify. I’m not upset that people ask for monetary compensation for intellectual property. (I’m running Windows Vista, with Microsoft Outlook open, and listening with Windows Media Player to a song I paid for.) I was trying understand Brandon’s complaints. I disagree with the FSF’s tactics on this even if I agree with their concerns.

  7. Eric -

    I agree there is a lot of great free software out there, including Firefox. Although I’m not sure how accurate the statement about Windows using anything that was “given away for free by their developers” is. Anyway that is beside the point.

    My complaints are centered around two issues:
    1) The tactics being employed by the FSF discussed in this post.
    2) The attitude of the FSF and many of its supporters, that led to the championing of despicable tactics like this.

  8. Eric permalink

    Brandon,
    I don’t know if the FSF supporters thought about the fact that they’d inconvenience Apple customers. I think it’s just one of the examples of the FSF being run by people who stink at public relations.

    I go back and forth on my opinion of FSF personally. I believe the GPL and free/open source software are not just a great idea for consumers, I think its a more efficient method of development. At the same time, I think the FSF is run by people who don’t understand that change does not happen over night and the benefit of working with those we disagree with. It’s tough to convince Apple to change when we piss off their customers and annoy the hell out of their employees. It’s not like those employees had any say in the matter anyways so why bug them?

    Eric

    PS: Windows previously used the networking stack from BSD Unix. If you go to Help… About in Windows Explorer from Windows versions prior to Vista you’ll see that the copyright disclaimer mentions that it includes software developed by UC-Berkeley. Including code from a BSD licensed program in a proprietary program is legal as long as you say where it came from. The copyright disclaimer doesn’t say that anymore so I figure the code was eliminated when the networking stack was reengineered for Vista.

  9. FSF sounds nothing but a very contradictory organization. They forget that people are just using their power of freedom and going for the things they want. Apple and Microsoft is just applying the industry standards in technology and also adopting their proprietary formats of whatever, but nobody is obligated to use it. However, following the course of the road, if what they do offer have some flexibility or whatever that might represent practical use on a dayly basis, it becomes popular… And without struggles, without forcing anything.

    I’ don’t think that this act represents a fight in favor of freedom. To my knowledge, I’ve read some statements on FSF’s website and they don’t sound convincing, at least for me, and I believe for most of the users. Their ‘Play Ogg’ campaign (http://www.playogg.org) sounds very agressive. Yeah, Ogg Vorbis is a very professional grade lossy audio format, Winamp that is a very popular media player supports it, WMP can support it through a plug-in, xhiph.org has developed a plug-in for Apple’s Quicktime users. But I don’t think that attacking MS, Apple and Adobe atempts on pushing their multimedia cores will help at all. By the way, what’s happening with Theora? Spread Open Media dot org sounds more inviting to me, and even xiph.org, the creators of ogg media format, do their jobs without extra efort.

    I think that it’s time for FSF to change their views about promoting freedom of expression. If I can mention a great example of monopoly, this act against Apple’s product users is a big demonstration. God respects each and every one’s decisions, so why don’t some Chavez Followers?

    Peace,

    Edu Camargo – singer songwriter and keyboardist.

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