Accepting that most people reject the Free Software message, what can
the Free Software movement contribute to the world?
It feels like a lot of GNU people won’t accept this point. Although not tested fully, it is more reasonable to say that people just do not understand, core, or even outright reject the philosophy.
In a lot of ways, the success of GNU has absolutely nothing to do with user input. For the most part, you only need to appeal to the creators. Maybe RMS is stuck in that time when the creators were the only users.
I think it’s a little more subtle. GNU was at a time when computing was mostly a public institution and then privatized in the 80s and 90s. Most people now experience computers from the private sector which has very different goals than the public sector (i.e. They want your money).
Just like how you used to have freedom of speech online until all the tech and telecom companies bought up all the little guys. Now instead of the public park, we go to the mall.
And you ain’t got freedom of speech in the mall.
The sad part is people recognize they have little power over the private sector and maybe just accept their dominance… Kind of like a dependent victim. Also most people don;t understand that when you use software, you are licensing it, not owning it, until it bites you in the ass.
The case can be made in the public sector where people still listen. Why pay for something if what we get in return is not the product itself, but merely a license? We had two cases where our pharmaceutical regulator (SÚKL) lost access to its systems for drug distribution because the license expired and they failed to negotiate a new one. Third time around, they want the code.
Also, when a municipality procures software, case can be made to make it free, so that other municipalities can use it as well. With proper political support, another case can be made to support such trend with grants that offset the advantage of long-term, closed source vendors.
So, vote for Pirates and lobby for free software?
“Vote Pirate, lobby Free” has a rather nice ring to it.