Rhea Myers

Shooting The Messenger

There’s been another round of criticism on various blogs of the FSF’s media campaigns to draw people’s attention to the harm that not respecting software users freedom does. But the FSF’s campaigns explaining why Microsoft and Apple’s failure to respect users freedom is harmful have been successful in getting out the message that alternatives are needed. In the mainstream press as well as in the tech and tech culture media.

The FSF’s critics are ignoring the fact that most of the FSF’s work consists not only of the positive promotion of the idea of free software, but in practically supporting and protecting its creation and use.

The FSF does help people find free software on Windows -


The FSF is making Web 2.0 alternatives -


Then there’s Libre Planet, WFS, GNU Generation, all positive practical measures to expand the constituency of free software.

And you may have heard of a little project called GNU or of a licence called the GPL.

It’s very easy to sit at an almost entirely free desktop and criticise the FSF for not capitulating to those who would once again remove people’s freedom to use software. But without the FSF’s pragmatic idealism, projects like Linux and Ubuntu would have nothing to sell out to proprietary interests.

If people believe that the FSF should be doing something different then constructive suggestions are needed that aren’t simply gesture politics or capitulation. Otherwise it looks like people are just being “negative”.

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