Software is a serious matter. It's not just fun and games. Software affects reals people. It can improve their lives or destroy them. Whoever controls software has power over human lives.


The fight for community-controlled technology is not some unattainable ideal out of some naive desire to make everything free. It is the result of seeing what happens when corporations control technology, for their own interests and the interests of the governments above them.


We can get desensitized to certain movements, and convince ourselves they'll never get anywhere or that they don't matter. But they do matter. They matter for our future and that of future generations using technology.


Practically, this doesn't have to mean instantly abandoning all proprietary software at this moment and flocking over to libre alternatives. It means taking the battle seriously, and being on the side of the community, rather than the corporations.

Taking it seriously and defending the community when you have a chance will go a long way.



"being on the side of the community" is a bit vague

It could mean several different things in diverse scenarios

the same goes for "defendig the community"

some of my critiques, for example, could be marked as not being on the side of the community

@wim_v12e @AbbieNormal It is indeed vague (and purposefully so here) and the community isn't defined in the original posts. Let me clarify what I mean a bit.

I believe software should be made in the best interests of the public. It should be primarily developed for the people, and secondarily for whatever other incentives there are (money, recognition, etc.). Development structures should be set up to maximize the interests of those who use software, rather than a corporation's profit.

The community is those who design, develop, and use the software, rather than just one of those parts.

"Defending the community" means to work for that in some form or another. I've been avoiding explicitly referencing FLOSS because that's just one part of it. Broader development structures need to be used that benefit everyone, not just someone attempting to make quick money.

I'm interested in hearing your critiques. I can see where one might disagree and I'd like to know how I can understand it better.

More context (if you haven't read it already): cooperativetechnology.codeberg

Until I read the co-operative tech link, I had every intention of beginning a new thread w/ you 3 vs muddying this one, because it seemed to have broader applicability to how we govern ourselves as societies around the world. Then I read "effective political movement" & "building a better world" and decided the authors were barely limiting themselves to technology.
Why fragment ourselves into well-defined 'communities'? There is 'the commons' and the common good.
@wim_v12e @AbbieNormal

@Gemlog @wim_v12e @AbbieNormal I agree. It just can be difficult to express that well. I felt like I had to narrow it down to explain myself.

Technology is an important aspect, and the one I'm focusing on at the moment since it's my primary interest at the moment and one of the main things that drives our current society.

I thought both you and that paper were doing very well at explaining yourselves.
My brain is bubbling over a bit lately. I have long thought of crony capitalism (corps 'owning' govts), corporatism (ala musolini) and fascism as being all one in the same. Capitalism is the enemy of democracy (of any flavour).
But a new angle presented the other day re democracy: That democracy replaced the common good with majority rule - that they are not always the same thing.
@wim_v12e @AbbieNormal

@Gemlog @josias @wim_v12e

limiting to a narrower focus can make the thing easier to grasp

understanding the thing as limited to a narrower focus and then extending such understanding can be easier than, say, digesting a whole new idea altogether

I'm not sure mysef what "common good" exactly means

'The commons' and 'the common good' are a thing from british common law. Oh my, there's that word again! :-) I seriously didn't think of it that way before I typed it out just now! :-)
@josias @wim_v12e

@josias @wim_v12e

I feel the Free Software world (I'm excluding open source on purpose) has neglected most of the world

and that has been exploited by corporations and other indesiderable phenomenons

I feel that my argument is defending the community (the users) but some free software activists would feel it's against it

that's my concern

@josias @wim_v12e

as for "broader development structures": that makes me think to an argument by Aral Balkan: software production should be financed by governments as infrastructure is

As if software development was a railroad or an aqueduct

It's not that I disagree.

But I'm pessimistic that I will see that in my lifetime

@AbbieNormal @wim_v12e Aral Balkan has good ideas, and so do several other people (such as @be) They all have influenced my thoughts on the topic.

I like the idea of governments funding software development. It makes sense in our technology-driven world. But I agree with your pessimism.

We need to create development structures outside of both corporations and government. Like the bazaar model is to writing software, we also need models for design, etc. that aren't centralized, strictly hierarchical, and profit-driven.

@josias @wim_v12e @be

I'd love to see something similar for design

But I think a condition for that to happen is for free software projects to find a way to raise money

the licenses proposed in the discussion of cooperatives are nteresting.

The code is available but [if you're a business] you need to pay to use the software

I have a few observations on that article. One is that the people whose lives are affected by the use of a given technology, e.g. my parents and siblings, are not the ones who construct it, because they are not at all interested in constructing technologies, only in using them.
A consequence of this is that they are not likely to be involved in any cooperative operation, even to have a say in e.g. the management of a server. So automatically there is a two-tier system: those who only want to be mere users, and the others.

The other is that as long as the dominant economic model is a growth-based market economy, the notion of cooperative technology is likely to remain very niche. That is regardless of who owns the means of production, be it a cooperative, corporation or government.


@wim_v12e @AbbieNormal That is a good point. But the same can be said about democracy, which causes the government to be guided by a similar two-tier system.

"Growth-based economy". That makes me think of Aral Balkan's small technology foundation. The idea is to promote slow growth and sustainability.

Honestly, it's not a big deal to me if an idea is niche, it still has potential and we can develop it on our own without depending on the driving economic powers.

@josias @AbbieNormal

The fact that most users don't care about anything but using the software is simply something to be taken into account. It means that people who do care need to consult with such users through focus groups etc, so that their voices are heard. It is easier to do that for a software product that for government business ^_^

Maybe, under the pressure of climate change, we will eventually see the growth economy replaced by a sustainable economy.
I definitely think we need to promote that idea, that is why I wrote my "frugal computing" article.

If you are happy with being niche then I think the ideas definitely have potential.

@wim_v12e @AbbieNormal Indeed. Most of us not caring about anything but using the software has been used to manipulate us. It can actually be used for good.

Ideas are all niche at first. Let's spread them and grow strong communities. Let's do the best we can in our own niches and thereby show the rest of the world it can be done.

@AbbieNormal @josias for now, we can say, that not supporting google's business practices is being on the side of the community.

We can be more explicit, by saying that believing that technology is an human right and not only an economical activity is siding with the community.

So, for now, rejecting #surveillancecapitalism as much as possible is siding with the community.

@josias we face algorithmic law, where machine judgement can have very real human consequences.

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