@mayel Yeah, I'm really hoping this turns into some more decentralization-focused work on Git, as well as increased funding/support for the GitLab team to improve what they've got.

That said, the number of Microsoft apologists is astounding and incredibly disheartening.



Watching people who I thought were smart embracing Microsoft this morning is turning my gut.


@jjg @gabe within the logic of capitalism, it makes total sense, so maybe a sign of people stuck in that mindset?

@mayel @jjg Oh, absolutely. One of the worst parts of going through the CS program at my University (and there were a lot of bad parts) was seeing how woefully uninformed the developer (or at least the upcoming developer) community was about the ethics of FLOSS and the inherent flaws of developing software for capitalist industries.

We even had a mandatory ethics course where I thought maybe some of that stuff would be addressed... No dice, though.

@jjg @mayel Instead we just talked about how it's wrong to steal others' intellectual property πŸ™„

The degree to which capitalist industry's claws are dug into the public education system is a whole other demon.

@gabe Ew. At least in my CS ethics undergrad course we talked about things like #Therac25 and not writing code that kills people or makes their lives worse.
@mayel @jjg


As much as I'd like to blame capitalism, I'm not sure that's the whole thing here.

Microsoft is an abusive company, but they go in cycles so that every 5 years of so there is a fresh set of users who think they have "changed", only to get bitten once MS has them in a corner.

I've lived through at least 4 generations of this. Almost nobody learns.


@jjg @mayel Yeah, there's some serious gaslighting and stockholm syndrome stuff going on with Microsoft and users+developers.

Luckily, I escaped a little over 11 years ago! πŸ˜›

@gabe That's the worst part for me, is that when I try to tell them this they treat me like I'm naive or just a FOSS bigot.

But I was a Microsoft consultant for 10 years, I know those motherfuckers inside and out.


@jjg @gabe @mayel I mean, that sounds like standard issue capitalism to me

@gc @mayel @jjg

Capitalism Classicβ„’
"The oppression you know and love!"

@mayel @gabe @jjg that is likely the case.

I have been working in tech for near 30 years, and literally the only people I encounter who *genuinely* believe in FOSS as a wider social force for good (not simply yet another aspect of profit making business) seem to be found on Mastodon (and a great number of them on social.coop instance, although thats to be expected)


That's a great point. This isn't a technical problem, it's a social one, and we don't do as much as we should to give engineers a social education.

I only came about mine through trying to solve my own feelings of alienation :)

@gabe @mayel

@vfrmedia @jjg @mayel

The fact that FLOSS ethics is not a part of the wider political progressive movement is so tragic to me.

Social and economic progress rely on changing the underlying systems in place, systems which are already rapidly changing... thanks to technology. But if that technology isn't free, libre, and open, how could we possibly have true social+economic progress come out of it?


To me the difference between FOSS and proprietary software is as stark as that between a nuclear power plant and a nuclear bomb.

But most people see them as the same thing.

(I understand that nuclear power isn't unproblematic but I think you get my point :) )

@mayel @vfrmedia

@jjg @vfrmedia @mayel @gabe The branding of "open source" has wonderfully [sarcasm] made the FOSS/proprietary split confusing to most.

@bthall @mayel @vfrmedia @jjg

Yeah, it's so frustrating that these corporate heads can say "We're proudly open source!", and so many people will gobble it up and then burp out the words "Not all capitalists!"


I think this might be my favorite toot of all time.

@vfrmedia @mayel @bthall

@jjg @mayel @gabe alas, quite a few people will just take the money.

in 1990s I drifted apart from all of my techie friends at highschool; they *all* stayed at uni and took lucrative jobs to supply equipment via companies like DEC, HP to MOD/Royal Navy or the AWE Aldermaston (who make *actual* atomic bombs). (in context I lived in Reading which is where these companies are/were based).

They weren't bad lads who *wanted* WW 3, they just felt "we've studied hard and should reap the rewards".

@vfrmedia @mayel @jjg

That was the mentality I saw in the kids around me while in the CS program. "This is how I will get rich", followed by "Fuck you I got mine".

"I was just trying to get rich" might just be the new "I was just following orders".

@gabe @jjg @mayel @vfrmedia I can imagine this being the case in the US, where colleges tend to relate educational materials heavily to how they'd be used in jobs, and jobs tend to be framed as things that one would only ever be done for money.

Given this, it'd take additional effort to come to consider the notion of applying CS concepts for reasons besides money making. #culture

@bthall @gabe @jjg @mayel

this is also a problem in England (I don't know if its better in Scotland, different system there). Germany's employers are also obsessed with qualifications, a 1st degree won't do any more, you need a masters to get many tech jobs.

once that pressure and debt are put on young people (who also have given up a good bite of their youth to study), many of them will take whatever job pays (unless maybe they have other spiritual belief that encourages ethical thought)


Ironic given that the "tech industry" was for the most part founded by college drop-outs.

(note: I'm not talking about computer science itself)

@mayel @gabe @bthall

@jjg @gabe @mayel @vfrmedia Eh not quite; entrepreneurs seem to be regard as weird exceptions to the rule, the rule that #education and #university plans for. (Speaking as a student that is attending a non-research university, a CSU rather than a UC, which is more the norm.)


I guess we'd have to define "tech industry" more specifically to reconcile these ideas.

I use the term to refer to contemporary start-up culture and it's associated nonsense.

You know, where innovation goes to die ;)

@vfrmedia @mayel @gabe

@jjg @vfrmedia @mayel @gabe
> To me the difference between FOSS and proprietary software is as stark as that between a nuclear power plant and a nuclear bomb.

Maybe the difference between a renewable power plant and a nuclear power plant? Both ways of producing software / energy, but one or ethical and community-friendly and the other is toxic and wasteful?

@strypey @vfrmedia @mayel @gabe

This is a pretty old post, but I think I stand by my original analogy.

Both the power plant and the bomb are based on the same technology, but have significantly different impacts on people who use them (and those receive their yield).

So it is with software.

@gabe @mayel @jjg @vfrmedia I feel the other way around. FLOSS failed addressing the bigger picture, that is, the source of all the threats against Free Software has been capitalism.

I saw people fight against DRM, against vendor lock in, advocate for federation against silos, build tech against massive surveillance. And yet, very few times I've heard anyone mentioning capitalism as the common denominator here.

@gabe @mayel @jjg @vfrmedia So I think there is an opportunity to have a bridge here.

Anti-capitalism and free software are a perfect match. I would love to see a critique of capitalism emerge from the FLOSS communities. But I would love as well to see anti-capitalists consider FLOSS as a good praxis, not only to fight capitalism now, but also for the post-capitalist era that we need.

@alxcndr @vfrmedia @jjg @mayel @gabe

p2pfoundation.net/ is anti-capitalist and emerged from open-source practices in one way or another. Likewise FairCoop. Probly more, but those came to mind immediately.

@alxcndr @gabe @mayel @jjg @vfrmedia I seem to remember rms mention it a few times, I think his reasoning for not mentioning it more is that he wanted to pull in people of all strides, even fans of the current system, or proprietary software, and then convince them otherwise.

@MatejLach so I think the idea of Free Software has been thriving so far. The basic praxis of maintaining a software project with contributions is there. (It's not perfect, but it's there).

So, maybe we need "Phase 2"? A more political analysis of what free software is needed for, how do we pay contributors (and not devs of the most popular/profitable projects)? How do we protect it and strengthen it?

And this might mean "alienating" people that don't want to see FLOSS as political.

@alxcndr Agreed, especially because it seems it's more "open-source" thriving than "free software" at the moment.

Sadly, few understand the difference, or find it important.

i'm currently reading a biography of rms (Free As In Freedom), and the impression i've got is that he mostly doesn't speak out more about his more general leftist views because he doesn't feel as comfortable or confident outside of his CS wheelhouse, and he figured that plenty of other people were fighting the other big evils (racism, capitalism, etc), so he should focus on this one smaller (but admittedly growing) evil that he has expertise in.

@juliebean Interesting... it must take some humble pie to do that when you have a platform like he does. I guess it's a nice counterexample to those asserting that he is quite ego driven, (I think this impression of him is just because he doesn't have much patience for interviews).

agreed, too many people get a platform and go spouting off on stuff they're ignorant about, it is good seeing someone who knows when to leave it to others who are better suited for it. and yeah, he's definitely an intense, uncompromising sort of dude, but i definitely don't get the impression he's ego driven.

@alxcndr @vfrmedia @jjg @mayel

Very valid points! I definitely don't think the blame lies on either side (or really anywhere).

I'm hopeful that the two will begin to overlap more and more, I'm just sad that it hasn't happened already.

@gabe @mayel

FOSS & smashing capitalism; two great tastes that taste great together!

@vfrmedia @alxcndr

@alxcndr @gabe @mayel @jjg @vfrmedia
the problem with using the word "capitalism" as the shared devil is that it means *vastly* different things to different people. Dymitri gives the definitions he uses as a preface to his talk about #VentureCommunism, in an attempt to bridge this gap:

@alxcndr @gabe @mayel @jjg @vfrmedia there's a significant subsection of the #SoftwareFreedom movement (ESR is an early example) who see "anti-capitalist" and read it as "against what I believe in". Even though it really isn't, for reasons Dymitri explains. Some other folks have tried to bridge the gap with #C4SS.org and 'Markets not Capitalism', ie being anti-capitalist but pro-markets (with an emphasis on the plural, not The Market), but so far that seems to have had limited impact.

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