1. 20

    I love this post for teaching me about the existance of PeerTube

    1. 9

      Let’s hope PeerTube will make a dent on YouTube.

      Activity Pub ALL the things!

    1. 3

      Now, all that’s left for them to do is create a team and write the code that extends ActivityPub for web-based Git services federation.

      1. 3

        Right, the point is to have a discussion with the relevant folks first before starting the work

      1. 4

        The wording may sound a little clunky but the development done so far shows this projet can do (and is already doing) a lot of good - while being still in beta. Digging a bit more on the project you can see the video streaming in P2P is not the only thing that could be game-changing. There’s a whole consideration for technologies that could bulid a different web. ActivityPub is maybe the most famous, but there could also be the integration with DBpedia for semantic tagging, the development of retribution protocols with other federated platforms, or simply the improvement of the overall commenting experience while still federating it. This work helps not only the PeerTube network grow, but the federated networks as a whole too.

        1. 1

          I wonder why they chose DBpedia over Wikidata

          1. 2

            The comment which started it is here: https://github.com/Chocobozzz/PeerTube/issues/352#issuecomment-377204232 - maybe I misunderstood something.

        1. 3

          Why reinvent the wheel?

          1. 2

            Very good question.

            Hackers reinvent wheels whenever the available wheels do not seem to work as expected.

            Second, we reinvent wheels whenever the available wheels do not work as required by our use case.

            Finally, hackers reinvent the wheels just for fun, for curiosity. To train to critical thinking.
            Actually, a relevant part of the fun comes from answering to people asking “why reinvent the wheel?” :-)

            1. 2

              And, of course: when figuring out the oddities of the old works is less fun than making a new one.

              1. 1

                Or when fixing the oddities of the old works is not possible, due to licensing issues.
                That’s what gave us GNU/Linux. And what could give us more copyleft licenses.

                For example GNU GPLv3 starts with:

                GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE
                Version 3, 29 June 2007
                Copyright © 2007 Free Software Foundation, Inc. https://fsf.org/
                Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.

          1. 7

            SFC has the sort of diplomacy I would never be capable of in face of something so infuriating

            1. 19

              Kind of funny to see this coming from Gruber, who has been a consistent defender of keeping systems closed in the name of user experience. Facebook used to have RSS feeds, too, and Google Chat used to support XMPP; the writing’s been on the wall for a while. I am surprised that he (and the third-party app maintainers) are really naïve enough to imagine that Twitter can be talked into maintaining these APIs (which allow people to use their service without being advertised to) in the long term.

              1. 7

                Indeed. The problem (for both Twitter and Gruber) is that Twitter started out as a classic Web 2.0 play with open APIs, and only later realized that can be a money drain. Later services like Instagram only offer API access for the real customers - the advertisers.

                1. 12

                  Yup. This alone makes Mastodon a superior alternative. Now the trick is getting the masses to move over :) (Though, I’m not REALLY sure I want that :)

                  1. 3

                    Yeah, or Twitter could have a paid tier that allowed 3rd party apps, better privacy tools, etc. But that’s not the way they want to roll, apparently.

                    1. 2

                      (Though, I’m not REALLY sure I want that :)

                      I know the feeling! I kinda liked Twitter better when my acquaintances weren’t in it, and we had actual meetups of Twitter users

                    2. 3

                      Later services like Instagram only offer API access for the real customers - the advertisers.

                      Instagram is an even worse example of API bait-and-switch than Twitter - they offered API access to developers (in 2014), deprecated it this January ¹, and then completely removed access this spring, months before the deprecation deadline ².

                    3. 2

                      I honestly never understood why anyone cares what Gruber has to say. I give him credit for inventing markdown. Really great idea!

                      All the rest he produces seems to be some variation of “apples is so amazing” and “google is so awful”. Most probably that is confirmation bias on my end, but really: Why does anyone care what Gruber has to say?

                    1. 24

                      The title is a little misleading. The author is not against adblocking in the abstract, but is against Adblock Plus, a specific adblocker.

                      1. 2

                        I think that was done on purpose, because the title wouldn’t have made sense otherwise. For me personally it is click-baity but definitely more tolerable and enjoyable than the standard clickbait titles one sees on the internet.

                        1. -2

                          The title capitalizes Adblock, which makes it pretty clear that it’s talking about a specific product.

                          1. 21

                            It wasn’t clear to me. All the other words in the title are capitalized, and “adblock” without qualification usually refers to all extensions which block ads.

                            1. 13

                              The title capitalizes all of the words. It’s in title case.

                              1. 10

                                That’s The Most Annoying Thing When Reading American Websites Online

                                1. 0

                                  Americans are the only people on the planet who don’t adhere to your capitalization rules?

                                  1. 0

                                    As far as I know, yes. British, French, Spanish and Portuguese-language sites don’t capitalize everything and it’s such smooth sailing.

                          1. 6

                            AntennaPod: podcast app (a little buggy but mostly works)

                            DNS66: systemwide rootless adblocker

                            Firefox Klar: Firefox Focus, but free

                            Silence: texting app

                            Simple Gallery

                            Tusky: mastodon client

                            Unit Converter Ultimate

                            1. 2

                              Firefox Klar: Firefox Focus, but free

                              they are exactly the same. They changed the name to ‘Klar’ (german for ‘clear’) in Germany due to trademark issues (focus.de is a magazine there). It is also not in the main repositories, but in a seperate one that does not build from source.

                              1. 7

                                One difference between that two is that Klar have telemetry turned off by default, AFAIK: https://gitlab.com/fdroid/rfp/issues/235

                              2. 1

                                If I have root, is DNS66 still better than AdAway?

                                Also, I’m torn between Tusky and Twidere, if anyone has opinions I’d like to hear them.

                                1. 3

                                  I’d say AdAway is preferable to DNS66. There’s also Blokada, which works as a pseudo-VPN.

                              1. 7

                                Here’s a few that I use and fully recommend:

                                • Obsqr: a qr code scanner with sensible permissions.
                                • Riot.im: the most popular matrix client, currently.
                                • Tiny Tiny RSS: frontend for the self-hosted RSS reader of the same name. (Requires you to host a server.)
                                • StreetComplete: contribute to OpenStreetMap by helping fill in meta data that it can tell is missing or flagging inaccuracies.

                                And, actually, I’ve got a request: Does anyone have suggestions for a Free app that I can use to record GPS tracks? When my wife and I go hiking I like to record it, so looking for something that doesn’t depend on a data connection and it would be nice it if showed some stats about speed, elevation, etc and the track that has been recorded so far.

                                1. 6

                                  I asked in my local OSM community and got the following responses:

                                1. 3

                                  However, setting up such a “Google free” phone requires a significant amount of time, dedication, and skill (not to mention a personal server), definitively far beyond to what I’d trust my mother to comprehend.

                                  To me, this is the biggest bottleneck at the moment. We need to move the architecture from self-hosted to distributed, instead of expecting users to be sysadmins.

                                  1. 20

                                    While I’m not going to argue against their findings per say, you do have to wonder if the drop off in contributors is in large part simply due to the completeness of the wiki. Not that Wikipedia EN actually encompasses all of human knowledge, but that 90% of the low hanging fruit has been plucked already. As time goes on contributions will only become more or more specialized. I don’t think this is a bad thing at all, and I believe actually mimics the growth of software projects.

                                    1. 6

                                      One should also keep in mind that the bigger and more mature a wiki becomes, contributing becomes a bit more difficult for newcomers, since they either might not know where or whether to add something or they might not be familiar enough with the user’s/admin’s etiquette, thus “scaring” them away from contributing.

                                      1. 3

                                        I was an editor during 2003–06 and the culture was just toxic but, amazingly, most of the articles (95–99 percent) were excellent, even then. If a topic wasn’t controversial, you’d find something decent. The product itself, I think, has even gotten better. I don’t see a slight decline in the number of editors as necessarily a bad thing, although it will have to bring in new talent.

                                        I do think Wikipedia was easier to get into, in 2003, probably because the standard to which one had to write an article to make it fit in was lower. These days, articles tend to have pictures with captions, footnotes, and a lot of other adornments that make the pages better, no doubt, but possibly make the editing process more intimidating. That said, I hope the toxic hostility I encountered in the mid-2000s has abated.

                                        1. 7

                                          This might be unpopular, but I find articles on controversial topics to be high-quality and well-sourced due to the editing wars those articles endure: If you can’t edit a paragraph into a sloppy form because people are actively monitoring that article to ensure that old fights aren’t starting back up, the paragraphs are going to be pretty tight; similarly, they’re not going to be one-sided because both sides will know the system well enough to start a resolution process when well-sourced material is being kept out.

                                          1. 2

                                            I don’t edit in particularly controversial areas, but I haven’t found the bar for contributing lately to be all that high. The main way it’s gotten higher is that sources aren’t optional anymore. In the early days it was common to just write a bunch of text without necessarily citing anything, with the expectation that it could be properly referenced later if necessary (more of a classic wiki style of working, like how things were done on the old C2 wiki). Now, if you’re creating a new article, it’s expected you’ll cite some decent sources for it. But like one or two decent sources and one paragraph of text is fine. I create a lot of short biographies of historical figures, and short articles on archaeological sites, and nobody has ever complained about them as far as I remember.

                                            1. 2

                                              I got interested in unusual architectures in GCC tree and wrote some articles with sources. They were swiftly deleted for “not being notable”.

                                              1. 2

                                                The notability requirement has always seemed bonkers to me… that made sense in a paper encyclopedia, but wikipedia can have as many articles as it wants…

                                                1. 3

                                                  Notability is still useful because you have to draw a line somewhere, lest Wikipedia becomes an indiscriminate collection of information.

                                                  1. 1

                                                    To me, having an upstream GCC port automatically makes an architecture notable (there are only 49 of them at the moment), but Guardians of Wikipedia (TM) seem to disagree.

                                                  2. 2

                                                    It’s probably to block self-promotion. A lot of people used to write articles about themselves.

                                                    In reflection, now that I am borderline “notable”, the absolute last thing I would want is a Wikipedia article about me. There’s likely to be one after my book comes out (mid-2019) and I’m dreading the thought.

                                                    1. 2

                                                      For currently living people, the standards have been tightened up (especially around sourcing) partly because a lot of people share that view: they’d rather have no article about them than a bad one. The subject still doesn’t get a veto over the article, but there are some interests to balance there. I mean any bad article is bad in some way just because it spreads disinformation. But a bad article about a specific person who’s currently alive, especially if they aren’t even a major public figure, is bad in a more personal way in that it can harm the reputation, job prospects, etc. of that person directly.

                                          1. 3

                                            I wish I could live in the same world RMS lives in.

                                            1. [Comment removed by author]

                                              1. 8

                                                Be the diff you wish to apply to the future source of the world.

                                                1. 1

                                                  Nice

                                            1. 6

                                              That’s the most sensible and collectivism-free piece of RMS’s writing I’ve read in a long time. Bravo.

                                              1. 26

                                                collectivism-free

                                                What does that even mean

                                                1. 1

                                                  I’ll let @Sophistifunk speak for emself, but I read this as referring to Stallman’s fundamental mistrust of proprietary anything.

                                                  1. 4

                                                    Ok, now why is that supposed to be “collectivist”?

                                                    1. 1

                                                      What the hell is “nur”?

                                                      1. 2

                                                        A typo made by my oversensitive Samsung keyboard on my phone, which was set to German. “Nur” is German for “only so ultimately, it wasn’t that horrible.

                                                      2. -1

                                                        OK, let’s look at the definition:

                                                        col·lec·tiv·ist kəˈlektivəst/ adjective adjective: collectivist

                                                        1.
                                                        relating to the practice or principle of giving a group priority over each individual in it.
                                                        "collectivist cultures had disciplined and cooperative work forces"
                                                        

                                                        Stallman’s basic assertion is that individuals should not profit from the creation of software. They may profit from supporting said software, but in his view, software should always be free. I see this as a fundamentally collectivist philosophy.

                                                        1. 9

                                                          Stallman’s basic assertion is that individuals should not profit from the creation of software.

                                                          What, no:

                                                          Actually, we encourage people who redistribute free software to charge as much as they wish or can. […] Distributing free software is an opportunity to raise funds for development. Don’t waste it!

                                                          https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.html

                                                          1. 2

                                                            Setting aside that “the definition” is rarely a good argument in open-ended discussions, like these, Stallman doesn’t say that Individual aren’t allowed to profit from Free Software. It’s explicitly allowed and I remember having have read that Emacs used to be sold this way, before the internet, to fund the FSF. And secondly, it doesn’t matter if the software is sold by one person (an individual) or a company (a collective), the rules the GPL sets up stays the same: share your source while distributing software, recursively, exactly by intelligently twisting copyright law back against itself.

                                                            And in the end, the four software freedoms were formulated to protect individuals from harmful sodtware, as well as give them the ability to improve upon it, based on their needs.

                                                            This is just another example of how empty of an actual meaning the word “collectivism” actually is in practice.

                                                        2. 2

                                                          What the hell is “emself”?

                                                          1. 8

                                                            A polite way to refer to someone when you don’t know their gender.

                                                            1. 3

                                                              I’ve never seen that before. What’s wrong with “themself”? Does it in some way discriminate against one of the two genders?

                                                              1. 2

                                                                “themself” isn’t an established word either so i guess people pick and choose

                                                            2. 7

                                                              At the time of writing I had no idea whether @Sophistifunk was a him or a her. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spivak_pronoun

                                                              1. 5

                                                                That’s one of the better singular pronouns I’ve seen. It reads like a shortening of plural “them”.

                                                                1. 8

                                                                  “they” and “them” are already well established in usage as singular pronouns.

                                                                  1. 3

                                                                    So you’re saying “I’ll let @Sophistifunk speak for themself” is correct usage in this case?

                                                                    I’m not a grammar expert, so I’ll defer to your greater knowledge. I like and use Spivak because, as @pushcx said, it’s a polite way to express “I have no idea what the gender of the person I’m referring to is.”

                                                                    1. 7

                                                                      Singular “they” has been used in English for hundreds of years. “Themself” is also ancient but was replaced by “themselves” in the 16th century. However, it has recently made a comeback.

                                                                      “I’ll let @Sophistifunk speak for themselves” is perfectly correct formal English. “I’ll let @Sophistifunk speak for themself” is also correct by any reasonable standard, but may be considered informal by some readers.

                                                                      The OED has a blog entry about ‘themself’.

                                                                      1. 2

                                                                        I still like Spivak, but thanks for the pointer. That’s good to know :)

                                                                      2. 3

                                                                        Mirriam-Webster has examples of how “they” is used for indefinite gender and number: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/they

                                                                        They don’t have an entry for the word “themself” and suggest “themselves” instead: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/themself

                                                            3. 1

                                                              I mean that it’s free of the “narrow-scope-communism” he’s usually on about. I don’t think I’m putting false words in his mouth if I say he firmly believes non-communal ownership of software (in the sense you can restrict what others do with it) is some sort of moral wrong and should be fought on all fronts. But I don’t want to call him a communist in the general sense, because he doesn’t go around saying private property in general is evil, just private property in the form of bits.

                                                              1. 5

                                                                Maybe everything to your left looks communist-ish, but I can tell you for sure he’s not a communist. More like a typical left-leaning liberal, but not too much.

                                                                1. 1

                                                                  But I don’t want to call him a communist in the general sense, because he doesn’t go around saying private property in general is evil

                                                                  Was that somehow unclear?

                                                          1. 5

                                                            This is really cool, especially in light of Youtube’s recent politically-motivated bans of certain kinds of videos depicting firearms. This is exactly the sort of technology that the web needs to fight corporate censorship of unpopular content.

                                                            1. 3

                                                              In some sense, that is it’s downside too, isn’t it? Not only really bad content like misleading propaganda/conspiracy stuff, gore or mobbing, but also unregulated advertisements and clickbait would basically have no inherent opposition. All these things would contribute to a lower quality of the platform, unless there were a way to filter (ie “censor”) content. And assuming there that services like these have a tendency to centralize, the whole effect could be reversed.

                                                              Edit: I misunderstood the project.

                                                              1. 3

                                                                You can moderate your instance just like any other service, you also have control with who you federate with. Moderation in my anecdotal experience in the federation tends to be better than their corporate counterparts, not worse. Sure there are some really repugnant instances, but they’re pretty clear about their moderation policies and my instance doesn’t federate with them. So it doesn’t appear to be a dualism, rather you have more flexibility.

                                                              2. 2

                                                                Actually from that specific angle it’s not so cool, there’s a risk of PeerTube instances becoming a sort of Voat where the worst sort of extreme content pop up.

                                                              1. 10

                                                                Yet more reasons to not copyleft software.

                                                                1. 15

                                                                  What gets more contributions in code or dollars by companies using it right now? BSD/Apache or GPL software? And on top of that, which gets used the most by companies intending to turn the use into money to pay for laws and court decisions to limit software compatibility or freedom?

                                                                  Those are a start at answering which to do if wanting mutually-beneficial uptake. I think the second question isn’t addressed nearly enough by GPL opponents. Saying that as a long-time advocate of BSD-style licenses that really reconsidered after watching the patent and API copyright action over time.

                                                                  1. 5

                                                                    I’ve been through the experience of releasing software that was under a license (non-copyleft) banned by Google. The effect was clear: fewer people used it. I used said license as an ideological statement that reflected my views on copyright, but I simultaneously wanted as many people as possible to use the code I wrote. My goals were at odds with each other. I ended up switching the license.

                                                                    Using a license on Google’s banned list has network effects that people might not account for. This banned license list doesn’t just apply to Google’s internal proprietary code, but also to their open source projects. If your library can’t be used in those, then people will find an alternative, or, failing that, create one themselves. The network effects of this should be obvious: “what library should I use for Foo?” “well, Google’s Huge Important Open Source Project Used By Very Serious People uses Quux for Foo, so that’s probably a safe bet.” There are other manifestations for this. For example, even if most people didn’t care about my non-standard license, the fact that Google does means that they are going to find and use an alternative for it. Google has a very large presence in open source, which means there is going to be a point at which you download some project and it might have both the library Google’s using for Foo and perhaps my own library for Foo, and now you get people being (quite reasonably) annoyed that they have two different dependencies in their chain for solving the same problem. Guess which one is going to win when an enterprising individual endeavors to consolidate their dependency graph?

                                                                    Invariably, the ideological goal I set out with is tied to the goal of people using the code. If people don’t use it in the first place, then the whole point of using a different license to raise awareness about my cause will be for nothing.

                                                                    Despite the fact that some people are “insulted” by non-standard licenses, I do still find occasion to express my views through my licensing choice, but I’ve found better ways to balance my goals.

                                                                    I could use the above to be “mad” at Google, I guess, for being an Evil Corp that bullies the Small Guy via a complex struggle in power. And yeah, it was definitely a frustrating process to go through, and I was really stubborn about it for a long time. But that didn’t get me anywhere. I’m not a very good ideologue, and I can definitely understand why lawyers are reasonably unreasonable about these things, so there you have it.

                                                                    (FWIW, I left my initial comment in this thread mostly out of annoyance that @pizzaiolo decided to thumb their nose at the submission guidelines.)

                                                                    1. 1

                                                                      I appreciate the detailed response. It seems your concern is that Google’s network effects will boost both contributions to and adoption of a lot of code. If Google won’t use it, you loose that. So, you want to maximize adoption by building things that Google specifically might use. Maybe also any other company with similar acquisition policies. That does make sense if Google’s (or their) pull is literally that great or you’re willing to put all your eggs in one basket (theirs). On other hand, it might not for a project that can get contributors without Google’s support. There seems to be plenty of those. The default for FOSS in general on use/contribute ratio or sustainability is pretty bad, though.

                                                                      I keep coming back to solving this problem by actually selling FOSS to companies in form of licensing, consulting, and/or support. What the proprietary companies do but without the restrictions or lock-in. The main, revenue stream will indirectly finance dependencies that are packaged in their own libraries under FOSS licenses. People might contribute to them. If they don’t, they can still be maintained from revenue. The bigger benefit is that enough FOSS companies pulling in lots of money can afford to fight big companies threatening the FOSS model by using media and lobbying campaigns. Google is actually one of the few, tech companies that’s been doing that on Washington fighting incumbents in areas that threaten them like net neutrality or copyright.

                                                                      1. 2

                                                                        So, you want to maximize adoption by building things that Google specifically might use.

                                                                        Well… no. I didn’t say that. I don’t wake up in the morning and think, “Oh I can’t wait to get home from work and spend time on my side project with the hope that Google will use it!” What I’m saying is that if you use a license that is banned by large companies (Google being one of them) that have influence in open source, then you’re handicapping the likelihood that others will use your code right out of the gate. Not everyone cares about that because not everyone has the same goals.

                                                                        On other hand, it might not for a project that can get contributors without Google’s support. There seems to be plenty of those.

                                                                        Again, that’s not what I said. It isn’t necessarily just about contributors, but also about use. Please remember that I’m describing my own experience with this. I observed the network effects first hand. What you do with that information is totally up to you, and outside the scope of what I want to discuss. :-)

                                                                        1. 2

                                                                          Well, if you’re just talking about big companies, then your position still makes sense where people aiming to get more use or contributions from them have to use compatible licenses. What large companies allow varies both for the general case and sometimes by what a specific piece of software will do. For instance, they use a lot of proprietary software with restrictive licenses even though they don’t like the licenses.

                                                                          Maybe I should try to assess what happens with network effects of FOSS components that are being sold to same big companies. As in, they got them not because they’re FOSS but because they’re useful with great price and flexible licensing. If it’s a copyleft, it would have to be isolated as one application or service doing a specific thing so they didn’t worry about effect on other software. From there, it gets a lot of use with potential network effects kicking in because of large uptake. It might get contributions from companies using it just because they depend on it. There’s quite a few ecosystems out there of people doing open enhancements on proprietary stuff just because it’s what they use at work. Especially Microsoft and IBM.

                                                                          There’s some overlap between what you were doing and this other model. Main difference is yours will get more pull where this one will need to be pushed. I don’t know if a push is inherently a bad thing if it delivers long-term benefits the solutions getting pulls don’t. It could be bad for specific authors, though, if they’re aiming for pulls like you were.

                                                                    2. 12

                                                                      So you’re fine with the requirement that I can’t license a program under ISC or anything non-GPLv3 for what it’s worth, when I intend on linking a GPLv3 library to it?

                                                                      The goals of copyleft are laudable, but we regularly get upstream patches, also from Google employees, even though we use MIT/ISC only. And this carries on to many other projects.

                                                                      If you really care about freedom by definition, you won’t use copyleft licenses, as copyleft limits your freedoms. On the other hand, copyleft is an effective tool to “force” people not to close down changes to code, obviously.

                                                                      In reality though, I have found those companies not contributing back to suck at coding anyway. Those who do have a healthy idea of open source. Maybe that’s why most GNU-software sucks so much.

                                                                      The discussion about copyleft or not is very similar to those about affirmative action or female quotas. By definition, e.g. female quotas discriminate against males as even males with higher qualifications get sorted out against females with lower qualifications. Anyone believing in equal rights rather than equal status will oppose that. Those who defend female quotas bring up terms like the “patriarchy” justifying it.

                                                                      The motivation for the GPL is that companies are “by definition evil”. Sure, their drive is to make money and have power over you. Free software is a loophole in this regard. However, especially in the last few years, most companies have realized that it makes sense to just build upon open source and contribute back, especially for security relevant stuff, effectively negating the GPL-narrative. Apart from that, GPL-violations are rarely uncovered, so I’m pretty sure GPL-software is still used for nuclear warheads and there’s nothing you can do about it.

                                                                      It was different in the 90’s and 00’s, but I only care about today and new code.

                                                                      Stop taking yourself so important, as in the end, it’s about people in general benefitting from free software. And there are numerous examples where companies would’ve never considered open source solutions if they hadn’t been licensed permissively. For the advocates of the GPL, especially v3, it’s more about an agenda to turn all open code into GPL-code, and I’m sick of their propaganda and FUD.

                                                                      1. 8

                                                                        However, especially in the last few years, most companies have realized that it makes sense to just build upon open source and contribute back,

                                                                        It was different in the 90’s and 00’s, but I only care about today and new code.

                                                                        I suggest looking at firmware based on Linux on Android devices, and many embedded devices. The GPL is the only reason any of them ever even comes close to publishing source, and most still won’t.

                                                                        You’re seeing a very small subset of companies if you look at those contributing to BSD/MIT/Apache2 licensed software.

                                                                        And even Google has stopped contributing to most open source projects it once started, Android for example is almost entirely proprietary now, not even the call app is fully open source anymore.

                                                                        1. 11

                                                                          If you really care about freedom by definition, you won’t use copyleft licenses, as copyleft limits your freedoms.

                                                                          “Using GPL / is encroaching on our rights / to encroach on yours”

                                                                          1. 5

                                                                            They wrote 8 paragraphs and this is all you get from them?

                                                                            Yes, the GPL is encroaching on your rights to licence your software properly. If you’d like to add a non-commercial clause to your licence, for example, tough luck. It wouldn’t be GPL-compatible. If you’d like to take the advice above and add a clause that specifies your software can’t be used in relation to weapons research or advertising, tough luck! It’s not GPL-compatible. You’ll have to reimplement everything. That would otherwise be covered by open source libraries.

                                                                            From what I’ve seen, the GPL is mostly used by companies to keep their software in some weird middle between proprietary and open source. In other words to restrict the rights to compete. If someone wants to take the software and improve it to compete directly with the company that started it, they have another company with relatively endless resources and rights to all of the improvements they’ve done breathing down their neck. So if they do anything meaningful, companies can take back the improvements and take back their head and leave the contributors/competitors in the gutter. The GPL is good for protecting code, not for sharing it, is what I’m getting at.

                                                                            1. 11

                                                                              Frankly I don’t blame them, the author pretty soon makes an ad hominem (GNU-software sucks), then diverts into a highly controversial topic(Affirmitive action), then a straw man (The motivation for the GPL is that companies are “by definition evil”.) if that were the case wouldn’t the GPL permit non-commercial restrictions.

                                                                              If you’re a free software advocate not reading past the first three paragraphs is probably the most generous thing you could do in this discussion because everything after that just weakens the argument they made.

                                                                              One could argue with FRIGN’s logic that if a business is afraid to use GPL/AGPL, that it’s the same as companies that are not contributing back. They are afraid that if they MUST share code in the future that it will harm them in some way. They probably suck at coding anyway.

                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                Frankly I don’t blame them, the author pretty soon…

                                                                                It’s why I ignored the comment in favor of xi’s which just made specific points about software licensing that we can discuss. Much more productive approach. :)

                                                                                “One could argue with FRIGN’s logic that if a business is afraid to use GPL/AGPL, that it’s the same as companies that are not contributing back. “

                                                                                Most software doesn’t directly contribute a competitive advantage to the business using or developing it. Most software is closed by default. Most use of open source software, permissive or not, involves no financial, code, or documentation contributions back from companies by default. I think these things tell us some foundational things about both the nature of how businesses will approach software and what we might get them to do. How to specifically react to these is, of course, very open for discussion and experiment. I’d like to see more experiments with business models built on free software, though. To me, it seems no harder than building the product in the first place esp if GPL components are properly isolated from hard-to-copy stuff that companies are paying for. Finally, if there’s low-cost copycats, one can always differentiate on great, face-to-face service and reputation.

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                                                                                Yes, the GPL is encroaching on your rights to licence your software properly.

                                                                                The GPL is a license for other people’s software that says you can benefit from their work for free so long as you follow specific conditions, especially sharing your work back with them. It’s not your rights given it wasn’t your work to begin with assuming we’re thinking of software as something to be owned like in copyright law. When your work becomes the issue, you’re surveying others’ work that you might want to benefit from that come with various licenses. You get to choose which one you want based on your beliefs of how your own contributions should be licensed. GPL proponents might build on GPL. GPL opponents might build on another. Maybe something is there to use. Maybe you have to build it yourself due to no code compatible with your beliefs. Nobody has forced you to use GPL software: you simply are choosing whether to build on someone else’ work following their usage requirement or doing something different.

                                                                                Your weapons example fits in my model nicely where it’s simply not compatible with GPL. Therefore, you’d look for code licensed differently. You might another person doing work for you for free had a license compatible with your expectations. Whereas, the GPL code would continue benefiting others without that extra requirement.

                                                                                “In other words to restrict the rights to compete.”

                                                                                This is a myth, too, given there’s a billion dollar business built on FOSS plus many smaller players that charge for it. Most don’t charge for it. So, they’re just not competing. Whereas, non-competitive practices in proprietary software were the norm. Most customers of the biggest software companies say the switching cost being prohibitive is a big reason they stay on the platform. The switching cost came from lock-in via proprietary languages, data formats, protocols, etc. People building on those that are open switch suppliers all the time even on major systems like databases.

                                                                                As I said in a previous comment, the biggest threat to competition are companies that are bribing politicians to keep copyright and patent laws in a state that makes it illegal to compete. This is why IBM took out the company building on Hercules that let mainframe customers run their apps at a fraction of the cost on Intel hardware. It’s how Apple tries to keep software from even looking like theirs with Samsung forced to make their interface look like crap in Germany. It’s how Microsoft has collected over a billion in royalties off Android despite not contributing anything to it and trying to kill it in the market with Windows Mobile. It’s how it took a multi-billion dollar corporation’s deep pockets to stop Oracle from eliminating, taking most profit on, or seizing that same product. Two of these companies benefited a lot from BSD code that helped them get their revenues up enough to do more of these attacks. Another used GPL code mainly to reduce their own operating costs on infrastructure while shifting the lock-in to their 3rd-party apps built on top of it. That… at least helped on half the problem. The net effect of anything benefiting them is negative given they directly try to change laws in multiple countries to deny you basic rights like the ability to iterate on and improve a software implementation of an idea.

                                                                                On other side, certain projects licensed under various free licenses had positive effects. This isn’t limited to GPL with success of Apache web server being first counterpoint coming to mind. Comparing them, though, I note that there were numerous times companies built on top of permissively-licensed code giving nothing back. There’s many cases, if not the default, of companies using GPL improving the product just because the license requires it and doing so didn’t hurt the business. The companies that did non-copyleft, shared source would occasionally close things back up after a lot of user contributions made their product better. QNX was an infuriating example. The GPL blocks that for at least components that got licensed under it. One company ceasing improvements doesn’t change anything if it’s really useful to another company who picks up the ball others dropped.

                                                                                So, I see more positives out of GPL-like licenses than BSD’s if we’re talking contributions over the long term, esp by greedy companies. They also contribute less to the big companies’ evils when they adopt them as we see with IBM and Google. The companies even accidentally do good since the license forces their improvements back into the code that can be used by others doing good. Also, as I told burntsushi, it’s also important to remember that you can still license GPL software for a profit. There’s a number of companies, big and small, doing this. If it’s your own software, you can even do whatever you want with it under other licenses. The GPL version just gets to remain free with all contributions that get distributed shared back with people.

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                                                                                  Emphasis is mine..

                                                                                  especially sharing your work back with them. It’s not your rights given it wasn’t your work to begin with

                                                                                  If you want to use GPL (as in picking a license or using a GPL licensed piece of code) thats your prerogative, but claiming that there is no restriction on what downstream developers do with the code they have written is being disingenuous or obtuse.

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                                                                                    I didn’t say that. The commenter I replied to said GPL restricts “your rights to license your software properly.” It actually is an optional license that enforces your will on your work and its derivatives. That’s an entirely different thing. It means you can do whatever you want with your work. If you want what the GPL is designed to do, then you can license it with GPL to attempt to accomplish that. That’s for a single developer on their own work.

                                                                                    When building on existing code, it’s other’s work that they licensed how they saw fit with conditions/restrictions for those building on it. If you want to use their work in your own and are fine with the conditions, then you will build on it with the restriction of going with the conditions. At this point, it’s a collaborative work, not just your work, with conditions you already agreed to before building on it. That’s similar in concept to people entering a contract for how to accomplish a shared goal. If you oppose it, don’t enter into a contract with those people using their code and practices. That simple. Nobody has forced you to do anything with your work since it hasn’t even been created at that point. If it was, it wasn’t your work so much as theirs with licensed expectations + yours. By redefining it to just your work and rights as a single developer, which I can’t emphasize enough, it makes it look like someone is restricting your own individual activities out of nowhere with nothing in return. That would be a bad thing.

                                                                                    Good news is that’s not what’s happening: it’s either an optional tool for you to use to enforce your will on your own work if you agree with it; or conditions that come with a group work you or others started on derivatives that leverage that work. Again, conditions they can either agree to or reject in favor of different things to build on. In either case, the person using the GPL wants to use the GPL. If they didn’t, they’d use a different license for their work or build on something licensed differently. Entering into the restrictions is voluntary action by developers.

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                                                                              The goals of copyleft are laudable, but we regularly get upstream patches, also from Google employees, even though we use MIT/ISC only. 

                                                                              Are you talking about suckless software? I really don’t mean to be rude, but isn’t this a very selective subset? Since you’re very adamant about unix and unix style writing, the culture of sharing and interoperating was “naturally” adopted, or so it seem to me. It jut makes sense, but does this still hold for bigger projects like Emacs or Linux? I’m doubtful…

                                                                              If you really care about freedom by definition, you won’t use copyleft licenses, as copyleft limits your freedoms.

                                                                              This really doesn’t mean much, since both sides just use the (holy) word “Freedom” to talk about two different things. Take for example the conception of freedom that arises from unfreedom, rules and laws. Your (negative) conception is just one idea among others.

                                                                              Maybe that’s why most GNU-software sucks so much.

                                                                              You can say what you want, but I appreciate being able to write rm directory -rf ;^)

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                                                                              If you want to complain about ‘bad actor’ companies, those using AGPL should be directly in your sights.

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                                                                                How so?

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                                                                                  I wish there were a downvote for not enough information. I’ve been seeing a lot of posts that may or may not be correct but don’t actually have any reasoning or evidence behind their claims.

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                                                                                    As mentioned elsewhere (https://lobste.rs/s/mbufwv/some_software_cannot_be_used_at_google#c_olmjmh) - shitbag companies use (A)GPL as a moat against competition for their open-core/proprietary software.

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                                                                                    I agree with other commenters that I can’t learn anything from your comment without your reasoning. I will say I opposed GenodeOS switching to AGPL because it would hurt adoption. Separation kernels, aka sacrificing most features for highest security, is already something that’s nearly unmarketable but highly useful for public good. Unless selling to military or safety-critical embedded, the best move is to use whatever license will get most uptake while selling value-adds on top that are marketable. On top of support, consulting, etc.

                                                                                    So, I opposed it in that case since it was already something fighting huge, uphill battle. Now, something with value like these companies use for networked applications or infrastructure might be AGPL licensed to get force them to contribute more if they want to use it. There will be many that don’t adopt it. A compelling product might still get a lot of adoption or even sales if sold to companies that don’t do cloud stuff they’d have to relicense. There were even a few people on HN that told me they make all the software they build for businesses FOSS by default with the businesses never caring because that software is necessary plumbing rather than a competitive advantage. So, it’s paid for plus can benefit others by default. There’s a possibility of AGPL-based projects doing that.

                                                                                    Personally, I default against AGPL if optimizing for uptake but for it if optimizing for ideological blocking of freeloading or financially supporting companies that try to limit our software freedoms. I don’t mean in a Richard Stallman speculative way: I mean they actively bribe politicians to reduce our rights in how we use our devices or software. And they make that money off of a mix of proprietary and permissively-licensed code. I’m fairly pragmatic where I know things are complicated enough I’ll have to make some tough decisions balancing many goals. However, some people out there might want to take steps to block their work from supporting companies that would (a) sue them for their work if given the chance or (b) give large financial backing to proprietary solutions but freeload of most FOSS.

                                                                                    Note: Google is a mixed bag here where they do a lot for FOSS versus most companies. Going with their flow makes sense for people maximizing adoption at expense of other variables.

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                                                                                      The majority of companies I see using AGPL aren’t doing it for any Stallman-esque goals - they’re “open core” companies that use AGPL to effectively neuter any attempts to combat the intrinsic bullshit of “open core” projects.

                                                                                      This other comment sums up my views better than I have, clearly: https://lobste.rs/s/mbufwv/some_software_cannot_be_used_at_google#c_olmjmh

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                                                                                        That would tell me that there’s companies using it for bad reasons, not that it’s inherently bad. You could similarly claim that projects like Linux are inherently about specific companies dominating markets because they’re the main contributors. Yet, the licensing allowed the kernel to be used for so much more. Unlike other bases, those using it were also forced to send back some contributions since they couldn’t just keep them private like companies using BSD code often did. That meant we gradually got an OS that could do everything from desktops to embedded to SGI’s NUMA’s to mobile.

                                                                                        There could be some beneficial effects to building businesses or major projects on AGPL that snowball like that. Also, there might not be where the license kills the potential. I don’t know until I see enough good attempts at using it for something with growth potential.

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                                                                                          You’ve missed a key point when comparing to Linux.

                                                                                          RedHat Inc. (as an example) don’t “own” the Linux project, and then dual-license it under (A)GPL and a commercial License. They contribute to an external project.

                                                                                          MongoDB better fits the point I was making. They have a commercial (“Enterprise”) version and an AGPL (“community”) version. If a company then wanted to fork the community version, and either add new features or do clean implementations of “enterprise” functionality not offered in the upstream AGPL project, there is basically zero chance of making this a reality, because any effort they expend, automatically benefits the upstream company.

                                                                                          I don’t know until I see enough good attempts at using it

                                                                                          You’d think 11 years would be enough time for something to use it as-intended?

                                                                                          I think we’re probably just not going to agree here. My default opinion of anyone particularly pro-GPL is to wonder what their goals are. I’m interested in solving interesting technical problems. I’m not interested in dictating to people what they can do with code I choose to release.

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                                                                                            “ My default opinion of anyone particularly pro-GPL is to wonder what their goals are. I’m interested in solving interesting technical problems. “

                                                                                            Know all that software running the world on mainframes, Windows, and so on that people can’t get off of because it’s proprietary and the company turned out to be leeches? And then doing stuff like suing competitors on copyright or patent grounds? My goal is avoiding that by default wherever something is a dependency. Certain licenses help maximize what we can do with software over time. Others don’t. So, I push for what benefits customers and developers over time the most. I don’t force anyone to do anything. To the contrary, the opposite types of software (and hardware) currently dominate in uptake in consumer, business, and government markets.

                                                                                            “RedHat Inc. (as an example) don’t “own” the Linux project, and then dual-license it under (A)GPL and a commercial License. They contribute to an external project.”

                                                                                            They contribute to an external project that they depend on which is licensed in a way to force contributions back to anything they improve. They’ve been doing this a long time, too. That was the point that they have in common with AGPL. The AGPL license just applies to extra software that’s had a lot of freeloaders who were already not contributing back because existing licenses let them dodge that in their business models. Had the best components been AGPL, a percentage of them might have chosen it with contributions coming back. Maybe. I’ve already said I’m not sure what long-term effects will be but I do want to see better attempts at it. Personally, I think the more permissive GPL is just outcompetiting it right now since it’s what copyleft people prefer. A social phenomenon.

                                                                                            “If a company then wanted to fork the community version, and either add new features or do clean implementations of “enterprise” functionality not offered in the upstream AGPL project”

                                                                                            What you’re implying, but not outright saying, is company A created something to be used for their profit if commercial or others benefit if AGPL. Company B wants to leverage Company A’s work in a way that exclusively profits Company B at Company A’s expense. Company A’s licensing prevents this by ensuring Company B’s commercial activities building on Company’s A’s work can benefit Company A, too. AGPL seems like a smart move if blocking competitors whose business model builds on other businesses’ work without sharing back.

                                                                                            Now, Company B has some options available. They can make their value add a service that communicates with Company A’s software. There’s a huge market for this with it becoming a default, architectural style of a lot of businesses despite negatives like performance or complexity. Company B might also target different use cases for Company A’s software that Company A might not adopt because it doesn’t fit their current market. Works better if it requires internal changes that negatively impact Company A’s current use case. Company B might also make their own software components, proprietary or open, that they license to Company A’s customers that can benefit them but clearly state they’re not to be licensed as AGPL. Whether that’s legally sound or not, we’ve seen lots of companies tie proprietary software into GPL stuff that way, esp as binary blobs, without the GPL stuff putting them out of business. It helps that GPL enforcement isn’t really aggressive like proprietary enforcement.

                                                                                            So, even for greedy Company B in your scenario, there’s still quite a few ways to make piles of cash as demonstrated by companies mixing proprietary and GPL code. They just can’t use the code Company A already wrote in a way that blocks company A from benefiting from the derivative work. They both will be able to sell whatever results. Just blocks greed. Doesn’t sound so bad to me. If anything, sounds like a bunch of companies competing that way would create piles of new features or differentiators at a much faster rate. Note that this is the default in Shenzhen even for hardware. Probably more product-level innovation at lower cost there than anywhere. It wouldn’t be as extreme here in U.S. since whatever doesn’t use or modify AGPL parts can stay proprietary or different type of OSS under strong copyright/patent laws.

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                                                                                              You’re trying really fucking hard to miss the points I’m making, and I honestly don’t have time to read all of your war and peace style comments.

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                                                                                                Well, I found time to read all of them.

                                                                                                nickpsecurity, I think I know the kind of company stephenr is talking about, though I’m unaware of any of them using AGPL.

                                                                                                I call these companies and their products “open source in name only”. And certainly not Free Software…

                                                                                                Examples include lots of products released as both an “OS/Community Edition” and also an “Enterprise Edition”.

                                                                                                One example is Trisano, by CS Initiative. The company appears to have disappeared and all the source code went with them. I had a copy of a repo at one point, but 1. it disappeared from my github because it was a fork of a private repo and I never had control of it (this was before I realized that I should maintain a local copy) and 2. it never had everything you needed to use the product in it anyway.

                                                                                                I sent emails back and forth with the head of that company explaining that I worked in the Public Health sector and we’d be happy to use the project and contribute back in the form of patches, if he could just send us the darned code, and he never did. Not even for the supposed “community edition”.

                                                                                                I think they just put the term “open source” into their marketing so their product would come up in my searches and maybe they could get my boss’s ear through me.

                                                                                                Anyway, if somebody can find a concrete example of a company using the AGPL toward malfeasance, I’d love to hear about it. stephenr mentioned MongoDB, but I’m not sure if that’s where his negative experience came from… If he doesn’t want to name names, I get it: $work and all…

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                                                                                    Those are really interesting questions. I wonder how much non-GPL software has significant improvements that aren’t public. I have preferred BSD-style licenses for any code I publish, as I’d rather people just use it without any fuss. But if I had a substantial ongoing project I cared about I can now see myself picking a copyleft license. I had assumed the utility of submitting changes and fixes to the upstream project, as opposed to maintaining an internal fork, would be sufficient to encourage contribution. But I had never actually thought particularly hard about it until now.

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                                                                                      Apple and Microsoft both built their proprietary OS’s along with a portion of their wealth on top of BSD code (esp networking). BSD’s didn’t get much benefit from that. Google acquired a mobile OS built on top of Linux. Even after they got more evil, many of their improvements still go into the ASOP that other companies can build on. I’m not claiming this extrapolates to all uses of highly-permissive vs copyleft code. I am saying it’s an example of what GPL intended to do when companies act in their self-interests. The BSD’s with no protections allows the other two companies to redirect all the benefits in their direction instead of reinvest them into projects they used.

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                                                                                        BSD’s didn’t get much benefit from that.

                                                                                        It could be argued that the BSD’s got clang/llvm, so maybe it isn’t all bad.

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                                                                                          I thought about that as I was writing this morning. Reason I left it off is I think it’s like Red Hat: an example proving what can happen but an outlier not representing what usually happens. The for’s and against’s were about what licenses normally do except the hypotheticals I did like AGPL.

                                                                                          I agree it’s a great, success story for a FOSS project. Im very greatful to the CompSci folks, Apple, and volunteers for it given all the people building on it.

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                                                                                  I have some models created using photogrammetry but probably will wait until formats with textures, .stl is quite limiting.

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                                                                                    Nice! Make sure you contribute when you can :)

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                                                                                    Why would you even run Libreboot? That’s a serious question. I’m for hardware freedom (I run coreboot on all my boards and I’m buying Talos II). I just don’t get why one would want to run a derivative of coreboot that brings nothing to the table, when you can just use upstream. Oh, and you can actually run ucode updates with coreboot (you run ucode anyway, so there’s no harm in updating it).

                                                                                    Another advantage is that you can easily use SeaBIOS with coreboot, making *BSD systems actually usable with it.

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                                                                                      Libreboot is much easier to flash, and its documentation is friendlier to non-tech savy folk.

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                                                                                        Yeah, and I guess it would be the only advantage over coreboot. Libreboot was my 1st step to starting playing with coreboot, so I guess I’m kind of grateful to Libreboot devs for making the entry easier for people.

                                                                                        Still, once you get the hang of it, it’s better to just switch to coreboot.

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                                                                                        Coreboot is where most of the development happens, it’s true. But Coreboot uses a rolling release model and has a lot more knobs to adjust. I’m not really a BIOS hacker; I just want to run free firmware.

                                                                                        Libreboot periodically takes snapshots of the Coreboot tree and stabilizes around it. Their changes mostly involve streamlining the build process and ensuring there are no binary blobs. Personally I found Libreboot much easier to configure and compile on my machine. The ideological guarantee is a nice bonus.

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                                                                                          1. coreboot also has releases, so it’s not rolling release (but it was).
                                                                                          2. You don’t need to be a BIOS hacker (I’m not). You usually need to adjust only two knobs (vendor and model of your board).
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                                                                                          Same reason people run Trisquel GNU/linux-libre, no blobs.

                                                                                          Why do people use SeaBIOS for *BSD? I guess the TianoCore payload isn’t ready, but you can use the GRUB2 payload?

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                                                                                            Same as guys before, coreboot can also have no blobs.

                                                                                            You can use GRUB2, but you can’t use full disk encryption with it on *BSD systems with GRUB2.

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                                                                                            I don’t use either system, but my understanding is that Libreboot removes the binary blob components that are included with Libreboot, and that’s important to some people.

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                                                                                              Libreboot doesn’t remove anything, because coreboot doesn’t load unconditionally those blobs. You can not to run any. That way I can run blobless coreboot on my X200 or KGPE-D16 (also supported by Libreboot).

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                                                                                                coreboot doesn’t load unconditionally those blobs.

                                                                                                so it does load them conditionally? it sounds like maybe coreboot is not deblobbed by default, while libreboot does not require any configuration to have it be deblobbed.

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                                                                                                  It loads blobs when you enable them in your config, if there are any to enable.

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                                                                                            I like the idea of a decentralized wireless internet. Who cares what Comcast is doing with Net Neutrality when people can set up their own Last Mile Network. You still need fiber for inter-city connects, but that’s a lot cheaper than digging up all the streets in every city.

                                                                                            How feasible is such a decentralized internet? Isn’t the existing internet vulnerable to malicious BGP updates? Could you charge for internet traffic running through your node(with e.g. Bitcoin), to incentivize people setting up new wireless nodes?

                                                                                            In Portland, there’s an ISP using wireless radio towers. I don’t know if it’s similar to the wireless cell phone networks: https://www.stephouse.net/

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                                                                                              Ideally, I think something like a crowd funded version of project loon would be great for connectivity at scale. These could be nodes that connect mesh networks across cities and countries.

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                                                                                                Who cares what Comcast is doing with Net Neutrality when people can set up their own Last Mile Network.

                                                                                                net neutrality is still important; without it ISPs could still block/throttle sites for everyone not using the decentralizes/alternative ISP. it would still limit the reach of people who refuse to pay the centralized ISPs.

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                                                                                                  net neutrality is still important; without it ISPs could still block/throttle sites for everyone not using the decentralizes/alternative ISP

                                                                                                  .. Which would just hasten the adoption of the de-centralized alternatives!

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                                                                                                    i would like to believe that, but it hasn’t happened in similar situations in the past. there was no mass exodus from gchat when they canceled XMPP support, for example. so in addition to net neutrality regulation we need regulations to enforce open standards (i.e. gchat and facebook messenger should be required to support XMPP or some other open protocol). the market hasn’t worked.

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                                                                                                      there was no mass exodus from gchat when they canceled XMPP support, for example

                                                                                                      That’s not an apples-to-apples comparison though, is it? If ISPs make life difficult enough, and decentralized alternatives exist and are viable, then people will adopt the alternatives.

                                                                                                      so in addition to net neutrality regulation we need regulations to enforce open standards

                                                                                                      Nope, we don’t need government coercion to fix problems caused by government coercion. The problem can’t be its own solution.

                                                                                                      I’ve even seen someone say that “net neutrality” is/was a bad thing because it limits competition. I don’t know if that’s accurate in this case, but as a general rule of thumb, actual competition is always a good thing.

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                                                                                                        That’s not an apples-to-apples comparison though, is it? If ISPs make life difficult enough, and decentralized alternatives exist and are viable, then people will adopt the alternatives.

                                                                                                        ISPs can ruin the internet without making life difficult for 99% of people. They could limit/throttle access to sites in such a way that the number of people who are affected day-to-day is comparable to the number of people who were affected when gchat removed XMPP support.

                                                                                                        Nope, we don’t need government coercion to fix problems caused by government coercion. The problem can’t be its own solution.

                                                                                                        How is the industry’s departure from open standards caused by government coercion?

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                                                                                                          I’d like to see stats on competition limiting. It’s true that in a healthy competitive environment, net neutrality laws would be less needed, but telecom always trends to very little competition when left alone

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                                                                                                            telecom always trends to very little competition when left alone

                                                                                                            But it’s not left alone! That’s what I’ve been repeating here.

                                                                                                            Every country on earth has a state-maintained cartel of ISPs, i.e. the government prevents any real competition from bothering their buddies running the ISPs.

                                                                                                            That’s why you’d need a license to even try and start an ISP, right? The license will be expensive, and if you seem like you’d actually compete on quality and price, then you just won’t get it no matter how much money you have.

                                                                                                            Or if you manage to get going, and start being a nuisance by providing people with a good connection for a good price, then you’ll be shut down by the government. It doesn’t need to be like, they show up and tell you to stop competing, they can just bury you in bullshit paperwork until you quit.

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                                                                                                              That’s why you’d need a license to even try and start an ISP, right?

                                                                                                              If they started requiring licenses to run an ISP here I could see people getting very upset about that.

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                                                                                                    You can’t run from politics. If this new network becomes a nuisance to ISPs or NSA folks, they will buy people in Congress to ban or handicap this network.

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                                                                                                      I think piracy shows that it’s pretty hard to control technology in practice. You can pass all kinds of regulations, but you have to be able to enforce them as well for them to have teeth. When technology is cheap and ubiquitous people will use it, and there’s not much you can do about that.

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                                                                                                        Piracy showed it was hard for entertainment industry to control what ISP’s and their users were doing when ISP’s didn’t want to spend their own time and money enforcing entertainment industry’s will. That tells you nothing about what would happen if ISP’s paying off Congress wanted something done to benefit ISP’s. The recent FCC ruling tell us they get results they want when their people are in office. So, they’d get what they wanted there, too.

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                                                                                                          That’s why net neutrality is important in a nutshell. If the ISP can decide what’s allowed on the network, then it’s basically the end of the internet as we know it.

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                                                                                                    I’ve had a gapps less cyanogenmod set up on myold nexus for over 1½ years (and am waiting for a stable ROM for my current device), and it’s interesting to see that people pretty much eventually end up with the same solutions. I’d just add that if you’re euthusiastic about free software, one should use IceWeasel and if one wants a good FOSS twitter/mastodon experience, I can only recommend Twidere.

                                                                                                    Also, why use AnySoft if you can use the AOSP one. I’m currently struggling with the counter-intuitive nature of AnySoft, but can’t find a AOSP .apk :(

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                                                                                                      IceWeasel? You mean the rebranded Firefox for Debian of yesteryear? It no longer exists.

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                                                                                                        It still does on Parabola.

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                                                                                                          @zge most likely meant IceCat - IceWeasel’s new name. IceCatMobile to be precise.

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                                                                                                            Yeah, my bad. I always mix those two up.

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                                                                                                          Device firmware is not a blob, it’s a inextricable part of the hardware that often comprises the bulk of its functionality, being required by both free/open source and proprietary drivers alike. It just so happens to no longer be located on-device, like it always has been, and must now be explicitly loaded onto it first. OpenBSD requires that all firmware included be freely redistributable and includes those full terms alongside firmware in /etc/firmware.

                                                                                                          This is a good point - how many of these people can audit the fixed-function silicon? Or audit the very machine-specific DSP code that’d normally be on ROM? How many could replace the latter?

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                                                                                                            I’m very much in favor of using audited hardware as well as software, and it’s part of the reason I’m so excited for libre Risc-V implementations. I don’t have the resources to audit everything on my own, which is why sharing audited hardware and software is so important.

                                                                                                            I don’t agree that rewritable firmware is equivalent to immutable ROM-based firmware. I think it depends on the vendor and the peripheral. I’m sure many devices are benign, but I like to know.

                                                                                                            I am extremely leery of anything that runs code, can be updated, and is connected to the internet.

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                                                                                                            It’s not ignorance; it’s widely known that the BSD community has a different definition of “blob” from the GNU/Linux definition.

                                                                                                            FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD all include instructions for obtaining nonfree programs in their ports system. In addition, their kernels include nonfree firmware blobs.

                                                                                                            Nonfree firmware programs used with Linux, the kernel, are called “blobs”, and that’s how we use the term. In BSD parlance, the term “blob” means something else: a nonfree driver. OpenBSD and perhaps other BSD distributions (called “projects” by BSD developers) have the policy of not including those. That is the right policy, as regards drivers; but when the developers say these distributions “contain no blobs”, it causes a misunderstanding. They are not talking about firmware blobs.

                                                                                                            No BSD distribution has policies against proprietary binary-only firmware that might be loaded even by free drivers.

                                                                                                            From https://www.gnu.org/distros/common-distros.en.html

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                                                                                                              OpenBSD requires that all firmware included be freely redistributable

                                                                                                              OpenBSD requires that device firmware is gratis, but doesn’t require it to be libre. Granted, that’s a sane choice and I don’t think OpenBSD should change. It’s just not idealistic enough for some people.

                                                                                                              I’ll take the contrarian stance and say that LibertyBSD is a worthwhile project. Just as I think Libreboot and Trisquel are worthwhile projects. Yes, they are all derivative forks leveraging the technical achievements of others. And yet, it’s nice to use a distro with ideological gatekeepers. There’s a strong assurance against accidentally running non-free software, if that’s the sort of thing that’s important to you.