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1. Copyleft and copyright. Some purport that copyright was created to protect authors from publishers. In practise copyright is used by publishers – those filthy capitalists – against both the audience and the author or artist, who have to hand the copyright over to get access the their publishing channels.
Come the internet and, voilà, everyone can be a publisher.
Copyleft was purportedly created to, well, instigate sharing while protecting software from those filthy capitalists. Actual code reuse, however seems rare, and in the present techno-social setting, the most tangible effect of copyleft licenses is to take power away from authors and hand it over at no recompense to another set of publishers – the distributions, the different faces of the “free” software Party.
Come “free” software and, voilà, a publishing elite is back in control.
That is (copy)left and (copy)right for you. Two faces of the same coin.
2. Copyleft and the cathedral. It is ironic, that typical copyleft licenses are best suited for cathedral-style development: for releasing software only when it is finished and rock-solid. The licenses do not protect authors who provide “development snapshots” or “preview” releases of their software from exploiting big and powerful distributors intent on providing these snapshots for years to come, fraudulently without prominently mentioning the snapshot status. Unlike quicker zero-day warez groups, FOSS distributions unfortunately tend to be seen as officially sanctioned sources of the software.
Most licenses also do not protect authors from silent forks/modifications by distributors. (The GPL only asks modified source files to carry notices, which few end-users see.) Fortunately, the new GPLv3 includes provisions for such protection, and the GFDL (GNU Free Documentation License), requires modified versions to be renamed, and includes invariant sections for protecting your message from corruption. But even the FSF has not created a license suitable for “release early, release often”.
3. Artworks and bridges. Software seldom is a fixed work of art, that is finished once and for all. While artfullness – along with taking heed of science – is indeed an important part of good software design, it is, however, fundamentally engineering, and engineering projects need to be maintained. You do not build a bridge, and then leave it by itself. You have to continually inspect it for faults, and fix them, until the bridge is past its useful lifetime, and it becomes time to replace it. Software is likewise a process that is normally only ended by new replacement processes. When you distribute software, you should distribute the entire process, not just an incomplete snapshot. You do not ask people to use a bridge missing half of its cable-stays – even if it appears to support the weight of a test mass for now – or having been unmaintained and uninspected for long. But this is the present practise of FOSS distributions. They provide fixed uglyworks.
4. Hijack of ideology. It does not take much insight to see that many events in history can be interpreted in terms of hijack of ideology. People get ideas, which may very well initially be well-intentioned or at least harmless, and want to see them implemented. As the ideas become more popular, movements emerge. Ideas turn into ideology, blindly followed by the rank-and-file of the movement. This brings opportunity for the high priests of the movement – who may not be associated at all with the original propagators of the ideas that the movement claims to serve – to exploit this blind following/faith towards their own ends.
Is this what is happening to the FOSS movement? Most of the more popular projects that define the overall direction of produced software, are sponsored by corporations (through e.g. the Linux Foundation). Their primary interests do not lie in producing good software, but rather in increasing shareholder value/power.
Recently a Wikipedia cabal was revealed. Do you not think that by now there would not be, not necessarily a conscious cabal, but at least a FOSS ruling class, naturally resulting from elites mingling among themselves?
5. One master, one god. The fundamentalists of the FOSS religion turn against anyone who doesn't hold their ideas sacred; for whom the ideas are merely a tool to be used when they work, and discarded when they don't. They do not like when authors do not serve one master, one god, without regard for other issues. One may not be merely sympathetic to the cause: one must devote to it to the exclusion of conflicting concerns. And with regard to those other issues, rather than fixing them, the FOSS herd spends a lot of effort writing clone software for petty reasons of ideology. Unoriginal software, by unoriginal people, for unoriginal people – that is the essence of FOSS.
It may have been bad strategy of Microsoft to not embrace and exploit open source. IBM & co. have been devious enough to do so, and now the herd and the mindless accolades of the movement find nothing wrong in efforts sponsored by them. They rather excommunicate individual authors who dare to oppose such developments and to question their ideology, than doing something about practical problems. After all, these supposed benefactors are helping to convert the masses to their religion.
6. Tragedy of the commons. FOSS is supposed to foster cooperation. The present reality is far from that, and is closer to the tragedy of the commons: to everyone taking advantage of the village whore, while the fun lasts.
What's the point in giving, when there's nothing to be gained by it? It seems I have nothing to gain from the FOSS herd. They want to go in the opposite direction from where I want to go.