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posted by Fnord666 on Sunday March 28 2021, @05:23AM   Printer-friendly

Red Hat pulls Free Software Foundation funding over Richard Stallman's return:

The chorus of disapproval over Richard M Stallman, founder and former president of the Free Software Foundation (FSF), rejoining the organisation has intensified as Linux giant Red Hat confirmed it was pulling funding.

Stallman announced he had returned to the FSF's Board of Directors last weekend – news that has not gone down well with all in the community and Red Hat is the latest to register its dismay.

CTO Chris Wright tweeted overnight: "I am really outraged by FSF's decision to reinstate RMS. At a moment in time where diversity and inclusion awareness is growing, this is a step backwards."

Describing itself as "appalled" at the return of Stallman to the FSF board of directors "considering the circumstances of Richard Stallman's original resignation in 2019," Red Hat said it decided to act.

"We are immediately suspending all Red Hat funding of the FSF and any FSF-hosted events. In addition, many Red Hat contributors have told us they no longer plan to participate in FSF-led or backed events, and we stand behind them," said Red Hat.

[...] Red Hat's step marks an escalation in the war of words over Stallman's return. As both a long-time donor and contributor of code, the IBM-owned company's action might well give the FSF pause for thought in a way that thousands of outraged tweets might not.

FSF president Geoffrey Knauth stated his intention yesterday "to resign as an FSF officer, director, and voting member as soon as there is a clear path for new leadership."

Red Hat statement about Richard Stallman's return to the Free Software Foundation board


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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @07:03AM (37 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @07:03AM (#1130233)

    Microsoft? I thought it was RedHat behind it, but this is looking more and more like IBM is the mastermind.

    The SJWs have been systematically infiltrating and destroying open source projects, which RedHat has been 'helpfully' bailing out (and taking over). Now they are owned by IBM. With the 'or later' clause that many projects include in their GPL licences, which was required for many to move to GPLv3, if the SJWs take over the FSF then they will be able to create a GPLv4 with pretty much any terms that they want, requiring an SJW friendly CoC for any open project using it, allowing closed commercial use like BSD, or both. That combination would effectively kill the open source movement while allowing corporate takeover. And anyone who questions it will be labelled a bigot and be cancelled.

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  • (Score: 0, Troll) by Eratosthenes on Sunday March 28 2021, @08:55AM (24 children)

    by Eratosthenes (13959) on Sunday March 28 2021, @08:55AM (#1130258) Journal

    Yes, Social Justice Warriors, the good guys, have been infiltrating your all misogynist and covert racist club house for quite some time. Now you will have to finally grow up, and stop using terms like "libtard" and "sjw", and stop being radicalized by alt-right edginess and retro-fascist nonsense. Time move out of the basement, and join the adult world. Sorry, it is painful. That Super Bright Light in the Sky (we call it, the "Sun") can be painful until you get used to it, just don't look directly at it. But the main thing is that, in attacking the FSF, and in defending it as an alt-right edgelord, you all are aiding and abetting proprietary software, and the ultimate enslavement of humankind. Just, stop it.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @09:21AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @09:21AM (#1130264)

      I must not be full aspie, because I actually caught on when I reached this part: "painful until you get used to it, just don't look directly at it." Everyone knows that the Evil Daystar causes spontaneous combustion or turns us to dust on contact. I suppose that you advocate lighting people on fire to keep them warm, too.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by c0lo on Sunday March 28 2021, @09:39AM (7 children)

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 28 2021, @09:39AM (#1130265) Journal

      you all are aiding and abetting proprietary software

      Care to explain it, oh, you chief of a library long gone?

      I admit that I lost track how FSF is conducting its mission today or indeed what exactly is this mission. Mind you, I'm not saying it doesn't have a mission just that, as a limited human as I find myself, I lost track of it in the practical sense. Like, what has FSF done for us in the last 5 years?

      And then, how exactly the entire Stallman brouhaha - quitting, rejoining (and, I suppose, quitting again soonish) - helped or didn't help keeping the proprietary software at bay?

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0 https://soylentnews.org/~MichaelDavidCrawford
      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Anti-aristarchus on Sunday March 28 2021, @10:45AM (4 children)

        by Anti-aristarchus (14390) on Sunday March 28 2021, @10:45AM (#1130269) Journal

        The battle has been long. Not so much what FSF has done in the recent past, but the insistence on Free Software. We have seen many, many attempts to destroy that. Novell has been mentioned. COREL? SuSE went to the Dark Side, and Redhat has committed sins against free software that are questionable, if not unforgiveable. Not to mention systemd. SCO, Linux Foundation. "Open Source". DRM in WWW3 standards. Creeping attempts to confuse the issues, confuse the public, and ultimately destroy free software as a concept, and as a GPL. Those are the stakes. Also why I cringe when ever I hear "public-private partnership."

        • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Sunday March 28 2021, @11:43AM

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 28 2021, @11:43AM (#1130274) Journal

          Creeping attempts to confuse the issues, confuse the public, and ultimately destroy free software as a concept, and as a GPL. Those are the stakes.

          Those I know about. What happened to them lately? Are we better or are we worse in this regard?
          If we aren't better, what was FSF doing to at least try to make them better?

          I heard nothing of "yet another city/county/state going open source", nothing about "open standards", nothing about "Social Media with privacy", nothing about many things, only about RMS pro and against.

          So... what else?

          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0 https://soylentnews.org/~MichaelDavidCrawford
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @01:03PM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @01:03PM (#1130290)

          Take a chill pill already and try to leave your reality distortion field for a moment. There’s no attempt to confuse the public because the public has never heard of RMS, the FSF, or the GPL, and doesn’t give a shit. If, after all these years, that’s still the case, then it’s all been a miserable failure.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @12:05AM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @12:05AM (#1130500)

            he public has never heard of RMS, the FSF, or the GPL, and doesn’t give a shit

            So, who cares about the public? Really. This isn't a popularity contest where it matters how big the Kardassians asses are. The public may not care about free software, but nerds don't care about the public. Stop trying to push your normie social standards onto other groups you bigot.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @10:45PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @10:45PM (#1130954)
              Who cares about the public? Obviously the poster who claims this is all an attempt to confuse the public. The public doesn’t care because the public doesn’t know about free software, the GPL, open source, or Richard Stallman.

              You say nerds don’t care about the public, but you complain when anyone calls out your bullshit. Nice.

              Fucking hypocrite.

      • (Score: 2) by Eratosthenes on Monday March 29 2021, @12:28AM (1 child)

        by Eratosthenes (13959) on Monday March 29 2021, @12:28AM (#1130514) Journal

        And then, how exactly the entire Stallman brouhaha - quitting, rejoining (and, I suppose, quitting again soonish) - helped or didn't help keeping the proprietary software at bay?

        Doesn't help, at all. In fact, a distraction? A manufactured, intentional distraction? This is really my point, and I do not mean to engage in the details of the "brouhaha", but this is an attack on free software. Post-conventional warfare is like this. The players are often not clear, the attacks are oblique, and the game is a long one.

        • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday March 29 2021, @04:26AM

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 29 2021, @04:26AM (#1130606) Journal

          In fact, a distraction? A manufactured, intentional distraction? ... but this is an attack on free software. Post-conventional warfare is like this. The players are often not clear, the attacks are oblique, and the game is a long one.

          Safe to say, then, that either:

          • FSF must start doing what it is supposed to do instead of being paralyzed by internal fights; or
          • be dismantled asap, to let a clean room for any potential successor that does what it needs to be done. Since this is a potentiality rather then a certitude, I'll argue that maintaining a sick FSF is helping them by exposing an attack surface - it may be better w/o it than with it. I can't say for sure that "w/o it" is better, even an inert boulder may still be useful if nothing better is at hand

          Coming to TFA,

          FSF president Geoffrey Knauth stated his intention yesterday "to resign as an FSF officer, director, and voting member as soon as there is a clear path for new leadership."

          Well, Geoffrey mate, just don't waste your time, the sooner you find a new (and proper) leadership, the better.

          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0 https://soylentnews.org/~MichaelDavidCrawford
    • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @02:23PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @02:23PM (#1130314)

      Libtards are libertarians, not liberals. So feel free to continue using the term.

      Same as antifa is hardly an insult - the opposite would be pro-fascist.

      And woke? Far better than sleepwalking through life..

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @04:42PM (9 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @04:42PM (#1130347)

      Maybe people are “aiding and abetting proprietary software “ because, as a programmer, it put a roof over my head, and as a user, it meets the users needs.

      For most coders and most users, this is simply the result of the freedom to choose. In many cases free software that doesn’t do the job is just too damn expensive.

      So anyone railing against that free choice, by, for example, calling them unethical and immoral, deserves all the shit he’s getting now. He’s a fascist fat smelly incel who deserves all the opprobrium being heaped on him and his world view.

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @04:58PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @04:58PM (#1130351)

        fascist

        And people wonder why these insults don't mean anything anymore.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @05:53PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @05:53PM (#1130372)

          Almost like somebody has been diluting the term and using projection to accuse others of what they themselves are doing. Can't imagine why... let's discuss it at Davos.

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @10:04PM (4 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @10:04PM (#1130464)

        A fundamentally unethical job putting a roof over your head does not justify your fundamentally unethical job. Much in the same way that although the TSA provides jobs to people, that fact does not justify jackbooted government thugs molesting people at airports and forcing them to take off their shoes. The fact that you can make money doing something does not by itself justify doing it.

        • (Score: 1, Disagree) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @11:32PM (3 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @11:32PM (#1130485)

          How is it unethical to write software, sell it, and not give the source? Is it not mine to do as I choose? If someone pays for it because they see value in it to them is it not a fair exchange of goods or services for payment?

          Don’t like it, write a competitor and give it away for free, or STFU. But considering how much proprietary software is sold, most people are far more satisfied than with spyware Software as a Service that the GPL forces devs to do if they want to use GPL software without having to give out their modified source.

          You may feel that’s against the spirit of the GPL, in which case you clearly misunderstood it - it is a distribution license, not a use license. Blame Stallman for the blunder.

          Do you I call the cake baker, the pizza maker, and the restauaunter unethical when they don’t give you THEIR source - their lists of suppliers and recipes? I don’t think so. You might, in which case don’t eat it because you’re supposedly supporting someone you think is unethical.

          Stallman was a fool. Question is, who is the greater fool - him or his followers. Because it was his labeling people unethical for not giving away their work that is unethical. He didn’t care - he never actually earned a real living, spending his working years sleeping in offices or mooching a room here and there. How is being a smelly fat mooch for his whole working life ethical? He’s a useless bum, and he even looks lithe part.

          • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @12:04AM (2 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @12:04AM (#1130499)

            How is it unethical to write software, sell it, and not give the source?

            Because although that personally benefits you, it harms society overall. We're in a society right now plagued by both proprietary software and SAASS (service as a software substitute). The end result is that the vast majority of people do not control their own computing, leaving them more open to being spied on and otherwise abused than they otherwise would. If they want to educate themselves about how the software they run works, they can't because it's proprietary. If they find out the proprietary software they've been trained to depend on spies on or abuses them in some way, it's far more difficult to get rid of it and no one can fork it in favor of a non-abusive version. Pizza can't spy on you or abuse you in the way that software can; that is a braindead false equivalence.

            Proprietary software is inherently antithetical to freedom, education, and independence. The general tendency of people to accept black box computing has harmed society immensely.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @05:38PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @05:38PM (#1130853)

              ^

              amazing how people used to complain when software automatically changed anything on your system, or a game company bundled in spyware with their product. These days most people have given up and shrug with a "whatcha gonna do" attitude. We need laws with teeth, trying to police and track all the various spyware is a losing battle and seems to rarely hurt company's bottom line anymore.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @10:53PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @10:53PM (#1130958)
              If you think all software is SaaS you’re an idiot. Shove your straw man argument where the sun don’t shine, or answer my points. Is it unethical for the pizza parlour to refuse to give you their recipe, are they unethical running a “pizza as a service “? Same with the baker - how is it unethical for them to keep their recipe secret and sell “baked bread as a service?”

              It’s basically the same thing.

              And if it’s unethical, when are you going to start giving away pizzas and bread for free?

      • (Score: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Monday March 29 2021, @12:45AM

        by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Monday March 29 2021, @12:45AM (#1130522) Journal

        Well, you can always learn to code...er, shit. That was insensitive wasn't it? :/

        --
        I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @11:48PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @11:48PM (#1130983)

        You're a Suited Whore. What are you even doing here? Shouldn't you be in West Hollywood slanging your ass?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @07:31PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @07:31PM (#1130405)

      Social Justice Warriors

      More like social patriarchy warriors. SPWs uphold gender dichotomy and masculine heteronormativity. They frequently spout off homophobia, presuming that dicks are unattractive, and so they are complicit in the misandry of patriarchy. Furthermore, they seek to brutalize people assigned male and induct them into a cult of chivalry, predicated on male virility (i.e. those are who not virile are "incels"). They seek to keep women locked up in safe little cages ever dependent on a social justice Prince Charming to deliver them from the unworthy masses of bastards and other freebirth toads, into his arms.

      This is not justice. This is the same old, boring, obsolete patriarchy.

      Did we ever find out what horrible, transphobic thing RMS said?

      • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @07:39PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @07:39PM (#1130406)

        Search rms transphobia on the google. It sounds like the pronoun police are sperging over blog posts like this one:

        https://stallman.org/articles/genderless-pronouns.html [stallman.org]

        It is actually linked near the top of his homepage.

        https://stallman.org/antiglossary.html [stallman.org]

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @08:50PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @08:50PM (#1130432)

          Ah, I must work on my duck-fu. As always with the SPWs, I am left scratching my head and wondering if they've ever actually encountered transphobia.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 31 2021, @03:28AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 31 2021, @03:28AM (#1131520)

      It's our fucking software that we wrote. Not you women and transfags.

  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Sunday March 28 2021, @12:15PM

    by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Sunday March 28 2021, @12:15PM (#1130278) Journal

    IBM is not a great mastermind. Aren't they busy laying off 10,000 of their employees every other year?

    --
    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @02:09PM (10 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @02:09PM (#1130306)
    The FSF and Stallman are the ones behind it. Only a stupid incel like Stallman couldn’t predict the reaction after decades of Stallman’s egotistical abrasive and abusive behaviour towards anyone who disagrees with him on ANYTHING.

    This is an own goal entirely of their own making. It’s been obvious for years that the FSF isn’t doing much, if anything, useful. As an example, check out the FSF annual “call to action -10 projects that need assistance.” Totally ineffective. Or their call to have Windows 7 made open source. They’re a joke.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @08:54PM (6 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @08:54PM (#1130434)

      Whether the borderline libelous smear articles about what RMS said about Minsky were predictable or not, the fact that so many corporate media organizations were willing to write blatant lies about what he actually said calls everything else into question. When your movement to remove him from the FSF starts with such blatant lies, the whole thing is suspect.

      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @09:19PM (5 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @09:19PM (#1130445)

        This has nothing to do with Minsky or Epstein. Stallman has been a huge asshole for decades, hasn’t done anything useful in ages (hence is salary as the head was $0 - he doesn’t actually do anything of note, it’s all for show), and people were happy that they wouldn’t have t put up with his pompous bs any more - and then the FSF screwed it up by bringing him back.

        His “jerb” was PR, and he was a liability. Still is. As for other potential libellous statements, there’s plenty of evidence that he’s a fat smelly arrogant incel. And he can’t sue for damages because his reputation has sucked since before the toe-jam-eating video.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @09:59PM (4 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @09:59PM (#1130461)

          This has nothing to do with Minsky or Epstein.

          Yes, it does. This started over that, there were numerous smear articles about it, and the letter in opposition to Stallman mentions it as one of the key claims against him, among other total nonsense like his support of gender neutral terminology. That discredits their little movement to anyone with a brain.

          To pretend that his comments about Minsky have nothing to do with this is laughable and disingenuous. If this is about RMS being ineffective in promoting Free Software, the people trying to get him removed from the FSF are far less effective than even him. In fact, many of them promote "open source" (a corporate-friendly approach that does not necessarily respect or demand user freedoms) over Free Software (which deals in ethics and demands freedoms for users).

          And anyone bringing up nonsense like "fat smelly arrogant incel" shows that this is just about their hatred for Stallman as a person, and little else. Stop feigning concern over his effectiveness.

          • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @11:39PM (3 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28 2021, @11:39PM (#1130488)

            Is Stallman fat? Yes

            Is he smelly? Yes

            Is he arrogant? Hell yes

            Is he an incel? Yes

            Has he done anything noteworthy this century? Nope, unless you count destroying the FSF .

            A lazy bum. End of story. Truth hurts, doesn’t it? And NONE of this has anything to do with Minsky or Epstein. These were all pre-existing conditions.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @12:04AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @12:04AM (#1130498)

              Have you inhaled his stench lately? Kept close track of his sexual history?

              What skeletons are you hiding in your closet?

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @12:13AM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 29 2021, @12:13AM (#1130504)

              Nope, unless you count destroying the FSF.

              It's not him doing that, but the people smearing him with absolute lies. If someone endlessly defames your character, takes what you say out of context, and outright lies about what you said, the issue is with them, not you. You're blaming the victim.

              All of these "open source" morons and their useful idiots are advancing the cause of Free Software even less than you claim Stallman does. These people are not honest actors, and will gladly scour any and all of your words to look for something to take out of context to use as an excuse to remove you from a position of influence. We should stop viewing them as honest actors. So, even if Stallman is absolutely incompetent, he is still far better than these unethical idiots trying to get him removed again.

              And NONE of this has anything to do with Minsky or Epstein.

              Then you obviously can't read, because the letter in opposition to Stallman directly mentions those things as very key points against him.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30 2021, @10:58PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 30 2021, @10:58PM (#1131407)

                This whole mess was decades in the making. Not everyone is willing to overlook his decades of abusive arrogant behaviour, his misogyny, his attempts to cancel transfolk, etc. For me it was his totally tasteless statement about Steve Jobs death that made me re-examine his place in the world. He’s an asshole who hasn’t done anything of note this century, and it would be best if he were to just go away rather than be an embarrassment and a distraction.

                Let me do a Jedi hand wave and say “This is not the spokesman you are looking for.”

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Reziac on Monday March 29 2021, @01:38AM (2 children)

      by Reziac (2489) on Monday March 29 2021, @01:38AM (#1130549) Homepage

      Well, it should be easy enough to determine whether RMS is a positive or negative influence.

      They've had a year without RMS. What did they achieve during that year? How does it compare to what they achieved during the previous year with RMS?

      --
      And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 01 2021, @08:18PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 01 2021, @08:18PM (#1132257)

        A better question is what have they achieved, period?

        Take a look at Zoom. Nobody heard of it a year ago, but now it’s a verb - “I’ll zoom you.”

        There were plenty of pre-existing free/libre alternatives. Why didn’t one of them fill the void that Zoom, Teams, and FaceTime did?

        It can’t be because zoom came with any OS by default. People had to download it. And they did, enabling hundreds of millions of new users and businesses to survive the pandemic, and maintain contact with friends and family during lockdown.

        So why did free/libre software turn into such a massive fail in this area, given its head start? Could it be because a for-profit company can better support its users and that their programmers can work full time on it, and that support isn’t just a “RTFM”?

        Zooms success is an example of how free is sometimes just too damn expensive. And neither the GPL nor the FSF has ever proposed a viable alternative that fixes this, which should be considered as Bug Zero of open source in general.

        • (Score: 2) by boltronics on Saturday April 03 2021, @05:12PM

          by boltronics (580) on Saturday April 03 2021, @05:12PM (#1132913) Homepage Journal

          There's multiple issues at play here.

          First off, video conferencing is a hard problem to solve. Companies like Google and Zoom would have many servers to support their operations. Stand-alone free software solutions, by contrast, would need to work directly peer-to-peer to avoid costs and achieve the maximum amount of user freedom.

          The problem with this is that most people don't have a public IP for their computers, but are behind an IPv4 NAT. In many cases, they may even have a double NAT, where even the router they connect to doesn't have a public IP address. It can be challenging to identify what kind of firewall/NAT solution two people might be using, and even harder to figure out how to punch holes in the other person's NAT to send through a direct audio/video stream. Sometimes it can be done by relying on an external TURN server, but this won't always work and requires the assistance of an external service anyway.

          By contrast, Google and Zoom can both afford public servers in many regions for the purposes of proxying through video calls when direct connections are not possible. Their users typically don't care about free software, so they don't have to deal with these kinds of problems.

          It should be noted that Jitsi Meet [jitsi.org] is one notable exception of a free software project that works well as servers are apparently sponsored by 8x8. It uses WebRTC so doesn't require any specific software to be installed. I don't know how Zoom compares feature-wise, but I expect it's comparable. The FSF also provides Jitsi Meet hosting services to its associate members.

          Why did Zoom take off where Jitsi Meet did not? I'd wager part of it was due to having a bigger marketing budget. I believe Zoom also allows people to change their background (similar to a green screen background effect but without the green screen) which might have also enticed a number of people early on, and then other people flocked to the service because it's what most people already had.

          This is similar to how my company uses Google Meet, since they already use Google for calendaring and Meet integrates with that, so is the path of least resistance. Furthermore, it's possible that Jitsi Meet may always play some small level of catch-up because there's the possibility of the question "which server should we use?", and most people don't care about free software and don't want to think at all, and make it harder on everyone else.

          I'm vegan, and many times I've been to a lunch at work or with a group of people at a restaurant that does not cater to vegans. They have to customize a non-vegan dish just so I have something to eat - a very inconvenient and unpleasant situation - yet it always happens. When it comes to groups of people, the majority who have different values will always get their way, even if it means that gaining a trivial convenience to them would cause a big inconvenience to someone else.

          It's basically the same thing with video conferencing - Aaron Maxwell (a great Python instructor and motivator) did a bunch of Zoom meetings recently discussing Python techniques which I would have been interested in attending had I been available, but I'd have to use that proprietary software if I wanted to join in - even though (AFAIK) Jitsi Meet could have been used just as easily. People who participated would now be more likely to use Zoom for future meetings because that's the software they have now gotten used to.

          Was Aaron just lazy, and didn't want to spend a few minutes setting up Jitsi Meet over Zoom (which he was presumably already familiar with)? Maybe, maybe not, since there's also the marketing to consider (and I'm sure he did!). How many people would skip the video calls because they were hosted on a service people are not familiar with? Compare that against how many people would skip the calls because they were hosted on a proprietary service? Many people that typically prefer free software still put their income ahead, and make decisions accordingly.

          I'm sure there are many other factors I haven't even considered. Basically, to ensure a "win", a free software solution would need to be technically superior in the vast majority of aspects to its competition (requires significant funding), be very early to market, and have a huge marketing budget. Even then, someone like Google or Facebook could steal it away if they provide tight integration with their services which already have huge user bases.

          Expectations need to be kept in check. FSF's approach that focuses on educating people on the dangers of proprietary software is likely the best thing they can reasonably do.

          As for the RedHat news, I bet RedHat (now, IBM) has been looking for an excuse to cancel their FSF donations. The FSF's message goes against many of their business practices. I imagine IBM would secretly be happy if the FSF went away, so pulling their funding and speaking out against them helps IBM twofold. IBM's move is related to ethics, but not in the way they have publicly announced.

          --
          It's GNU/Linux dammit!