Free Software Movement: Stepping out of Failure modes

In reaction to Gitea’s surprise announcement to continue the community project as a company I encountered this Fediverse discussion started by Some very nice points being discussed, including his article:

While this mostly deals with the definition of Free Software by the FSF and as advocated by Richard Stallman, the article contains many aspects to ponder for our Social Coding Movement.

I recommend reading the article (I will not extract a full summary here, just keep this topic a placeholder).

Listing some of the points that caught my attention:

  • How FOSS developers grab GPL licenses without understanding the complex legalese with which they are phrased. Which derives from being reactionary in the defense of Free Software, and whose actual practical protection in case of a conflict is marginal / dubious.

  • How the advocated ideology for defending the software freedom actual leads to erecting new barriers to that same freedom to which practitioners of the ideology are myopic to a large extent. It leads to elitism and forces that may hold the movement’s objectives and FOSS innovations back.

  • How a strong culture has emerged where there are in- and out groups, where you are either good or evil. A culture where morality is taken to extremes in a way that is not healthy and there are no middle grounds, while these are likely needed for the movement to prosper.

  • How we must realize the flaws that the system of licenses and copyright bring to the Free Software Movement in the defense of our freedoms.

One thing is for sure, and that is that: “It is complicated” :slight_smile: Where there’s relevance to Social Coding Movement is that all these social aspects are way more important: Coding is Social. In the conclusion of the article this stood out:

In reality, by licensing your project under the GPL and participating in Free Software culture, instead of limiting the harms that corporations inflict, you end up limiting the good that the rest of us can do.

Further in our discussion I responded to this quote from @jbauer:

“Anyways, it really highlights the fragility of an ecosystem that centers around volunteer contributions to one big codebase and a loose notion of “community” as opposed to one where each community maintains their own fork.”

Now it is getting real interesting, as we are entering solution space :slight_smile:

First of all with “Community has no Boundary” I’ve long been advocating a true Community concept to be supported by the Fediverse’s technology substrate. I very much believe that small but strong communities are key, and that these communities are part of a larger ‘social fabric’ of intricate relationships to other communities, groups and people.

The idea expressed by @jbauer aligns with Strategic Ecosystem Alliances and the formation of Software Guilds. @jbauer will write another blog post to which I look forwared to, that explains more about this concept.