The Debian way

Is it right providing free and non-free together? Or is it wrong?

The question is real old, dates back since the inception of Open Source Philosophy.

Freedom or slavery

I have used distros like Ubuntu, Debian, Crunchbang, Slitaz and so on. Most of these distros are not 100% free, I do agree. And I used these distros knowingly that they violate the rule of FREEDOM. I always wanted to use only free stuff like Trisquel or gNewSense, but guys, sometimes I need something non-free. The main issues in my case is multimedia file types and applications. I confess that I cannot get away from mp3 nor flash player.

Many free / open source admirers, followers and evangelists still believe that the Debian way is ideal. I heard many FOSS guys admire the Debian way – providing both free and non-free. They argue that the user has the freedom to choose. For a long time, I also agreed with this argument. You choose what you feel best. Freedom our slavery.

What do you share, good or bad?

Well that is the question. What kind of gifts you may give your beloved ones? Good gifts or bad ones? The answer is obvious. Will anyone share ugly gifts to their friends? “Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a bread and snake, thinking he will choose what he wants ;-)” Debian way fails here. Debian provides good and bad at the same time. You can share sweetness, but not bitter. You can share truth, but not false. Bad things are not be shared even if it shares along with good ones. That way, you can share the way to freedom, but you must not lead anyone towards slavery – thats wrong. This insight make Debian philosophy grim. In addition with Freedom, Debian shares slavery too. It promotes freedom in one hand and serves the opposite with the other hand.

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Use appropriate words

People always say a computer generated document a “Word” file! For a spread sheet file, they say “Excel” file. For a presentation / slide show file most people say just “ppt”. Wonder why people say like this. Even if I prepare a text document with Libre Office Writer, they still call it “word” file. Whats more, even if it is a plain text file, they say “notepad” file.

Even if a file is generated with Microsoft Office, try to call the file as “Text Document” or “Spreadsheet file” or “Slideshow / presentation” file. Microsoft Office is just one among so many other office suits.

Communism and Free Software

I observe there are several things in common in Communism and Free Software Philosophy. Truly there are. Though Free Software Foundation has no political views regarding this, I think the underlying philosophy of the Free Software is similar to Communism. There are lots of variant communist ideologies. Among these variants, anarcho-communism is the most similar to Free Software community.

What is anarcho-communism?

According to wikipedia, communism is,

a revolutionary socialist movement to create a classless, moneyless, and stateless social order structured upon common ownership of the means of production, as well as a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of this social order.
Anarcho-communism / free communism / libertarian communism is a theory of anarchism which advocates the abolition of the state, capitalism and private property (while retaining respect for personal property), and in favor of common ownership of the means of production, direct democracy and a horizontal network of voluntary associations and workers’ councils with production and consumption based on the guiding principle: “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need”.

There is no private property in Anarcho-Communism. In other words, the whole property is yours. The whole property is ours. The whole property is everyone’s. If there is no private property, the entire community can enjoy the whole property. There will be no class, there is no scope for supremacy. Ideal. Great.

What is Free Software?

According to fsf.org, Free Software is,

software that gives you the user the freedom to share, study and modify it. We call this free software because the user is free. To use free software is to make a political and ethical choice asserting the right to learn, and share what we learn with others.  Free software has become the foundation of a learning society where we share our knowledge in a way that others can build upon and enjoy.

According to wikipedia, Free / libre Software is,

software that can be used, studied, and modified without restriction, and which can be copied and redistributed in modified or unmodified form either without restriction, or with restrictions that only ensure that further recipients have the same rights under which it was obtained and that manufacturers of consumer products incorporating free software provide the software as source code.

The clever hack made by Free Software License

There is no Anarcho-Communist societies ever lived in the world. Why? Because a society cannot be survived if there is no restrictions. What restrictions? Some restrictions to restrict the freedom-restriction actions from others. Those who violate others freedom must be gone out from the community. But this is practically hard to execute. But Free Software Licenses made a clever hack on this. Such Free Licenses like GPL hold full copyright and give permission to study / share / modify / redistribute the software under one condition – if you redistribute it you have to give all these permissions and unless or otherwise it will be treated as copyright violation. This part is the glorious part of Free Licenses like GPL and Creative Commons.

Proprietary software Vs. Free Software

While proprietary software hides the code, Free Software community reveals it, and give permission to use the code for their personal / commercial uses. Programmers write / modify the code, the community benefits from it. Proprietary software is designed as a capitalistic world and Free Software is designed as a communist world.

Tyranny should be abolished; freedom to be glorified.