Why Software Freedom Advocates Can Seem Obnoxious At Times

Aug. 6, 2022 [technology] [proprietary] [privacy-security]

It’s happened just about everywhere. That guy who wants to interject for a moment, or the ones who attempt to put down any suggestion of your favorite software. It is a behavior not unique to free software proponents as this kind of chronic interposition is a product of anyone passionate about a topic they believe to be of high consequence. If you want the tl;dr then it is this: Malware affects others, even those who don’t use it.

The objection is similar to the rationale behind non-smoking sections. Others do not wish to be forced to smoke along with you. But if you use proprietary software, how is that forcing others in any way? Most directly is by friends or family who expect one to share or recieve images, join video chat sessions, or generally communicate online in any meaningful capacity through restrictive programs. They most often select solutions which deliberately force all parties involved to use one specific proprietary client. Such clients often only run on select proprietary operating systems. The message implicitly becomes “Use X if you want to be allowed to participate”, whether they know it or not.

Through the inertia that this creates, as a given crapware becomes more widely adopted, institutions begin to implement such restricted software as their primary (or only!) means of interaction. What happens once a certain technology ceases to be optional? In 2020 it became impossible in certain states to obtain or renew drivers licensing without running non-free software. Schools began imposing restrictive proprietary video chat clients as a requirement to participate. They forced students to infect their personal devices with spyware. In certain countries it even became impossible to enter stores and other public spaces without a smartphone. In come cases, citizens were even denied entry into their home country simply because they didn’t have a state-imposed phone application. Welcome to the world that you have built, propreitary software enthusiasts. Are you enjoying it?

The digital second-hand smoke also includes data collection. If you share a network with anyone running a Windows device, metrics about your network topology and available SSIDs are being gathered and sent to Macrosuck. Any conversations you hold around shartphones and personal assistants get catalogued. Email you send to Goolag gfail users (so basically everyone you know) is profiled and datamined. The same population who embraced a militant psychosis over not spreading perceived pathogens to others around them surely don’t seem to give a shit about the digital cancer they are subjecting others around them to.

Which leads into the long term effects felt by everyone. “So what if my data gets collected?” they might say, although it does affect you eventually… for example, when institutions begin modeling how populations will respond to draconian measures. Proprietary systems designed to catalogue your every action help to construct apparatus such as world similuation predictive models. It is an incredible power to have, to be able to know the thoughts of all individuals at all times, and to be able to craft narratives around that with immaculate precision. Rob Braxman summarizes the issue:

I’ve heard my own relatives say that people don’t mind that big tech can capture their thoughts because “it means that big tech can suggest what products to buy”. Surprisingly naive because big tech can also tell you what to think. Big tech can change society. Big tech can dictate what political views are seen and what are hidden.

The opinion molding class loves when you use proprietary surveillance platforms. Monopolists love when you become their deputized brand ambassadors, bullying your friends and family into using their products. One of the best ways to control populations, in macro, and individuals, in micro, is to get them hooked on technology which can control what they can or cannot do. Hooked into networks which control what they can or cannot see. Technocrats want for those who refuse participation in centralized proprietary slave tech to succumb to the harrassment and outcasting perpetuated by those who blindly obey.

So it should come as no surprise that some individuals advocating for the avoidance of proprietary traps can come across as obnoxious. They are fighting for their own freedom and for the freedom of others. They correctly recognize that they do not want to live in a totalitarian society enforced by digital mediators standing in the way of life itself. They will understandably get a bit loud at times and so consider that this might be why your suggestion to use $BIGTECH software got attacked so vehemently by those irritating software freedom advocates.