My core criticism of RMS's free software philosophy is that it doesn't go far enough: it assumes the end-users are also developers as an implication for it's successful pragmatism, and that technical literacy requirement creates a dividing line between "tech" and "non-tech".

There are various pragmatic solutions to this problem. Promote education. Professional oaths. Ethics boards. But all those still leave this core flaw unaddressed at the philosophical level. At best, mitigated.

· · Tusky · 4 · 5 · 5

@cj you're quite right. The problem is that we don't really realise how profoundly bad the current situation is. I think global society needs a new Enlightenment. More details:

@cj his assumpion may have been reasonable when he made it, but tech ended up more ubiquitious than anyone imagined.

@LovesTha Sure, but I also believe that doesn't make the criticism any less valid in the past as opposed to now.

@cj Isn't one major problem that it's harder to become tech literate if you can't study the code that you're using? FOSS alone certainly isn't enough to empower users, but it does seem extremely helpful in helping users become developers if they so choose.

That said, I agree with you. FOSS is only a part of what needs to be a much larger program, for practical access to tools, legal freedoms e.g. enabling competition, open access publishing, generally protecting human rights, climate justice...

@cj I think I agree more with @skyfaller rather. We shouldn't assume that it's one person's (or one NGO's) job to provide a solution for everything in one go. Instead of criticizing them for being unable to think outside their own biases, we should use their experience and improve upon it with ours.

@mariusor Yep, I agree. I intend my criticism to rethink and build upon previous ideas, not to toss out the core motivation nor to make a value judgement on any particular person.

There's clearly something of value going on in the underlying philosophy, it's just in need of more work for a more complete picture. Specific pragmatic manifestations like "open source" and "free-as-in-liberty licensing" and "tech literacy" all certainly should be kept, but are not my critique's focus.

@cj @mariusor You may be interested in this discussion how we can come up with new terminology to expand on the old "free software" and "open source":

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