Bradley M. Kuhn

originally from Baltimore, MD, USA.

President and Distinguished Technologist at Software Freedom Conservancy. On the Board of Directors of the Free Software Foundation. Generally, a Software Freedom advocate, GPL Enforcer, and Occasional developer..

  • Luis R. Rodriguez at 2016-02-28T06:29:43Z

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    Great posts, but yours has one ridiculous statement:
    Copyleft obviously is an imminent threat to proprietary software
    To make non-ridiculous it needs to be continued as such:
    that relies on copylefted software such that the proprietary software is arguably subject to the conditions of the license the copylefted software is distributed under.
    Just in case anyone would read the post and become deluded into thinking copyleft threatens proprietary software in general, let alone imminently.

    Mike Linksvayer at 2016-02-28T17:09:42Z

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) likes this.

    Oh and and even with my continuation the statement is still tenuous. Continuation of continuation to make statement easily defensible:
    and copyright holders of the copylefted software are willing to and capable of seeking legal remedies against distributors of the proprietary software, imminently.

    Mike Linksvayer at 2016-02-28T17:18:08Z

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  • jrobertson at 2016-01-12T15:13:20Z

    I remember when Elvis died.

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  • Success! And a New Challenge for Giving Tuesday

    Software Freedom Conservancy at 2015-12-03T01:41:35Z


    [ Sorry for the late post to; bkuhn forgot to post this one yesterday! ]

    Thanks to all of your amazing efforts, we signed up all of the new Supporters needed to earn our Black Friday match! And the good news is that all of the buzz that you've generated around this campaign to keep Conservancy going and save our enforcement work inspired another anonymous donor to step forward! This donor is willing to match 50 new Supporters in a $6,000 match.

    Starting today on GivingTuesday, we have one week to meet this new match. If you sign up as a Supporter now, we'll add you as a Supporter on the left of our status bar, but on the right you'll also see the match decrease our goal by one. So, during the match, you'll be counted both as a Supporter and to reduce the overall target from the other direction!

    Help us keep the word going on our campaign and please tell others to sign up too. We need your help to make our goals of 750 Supporters to continue Conservancy's basic community services and 2,500 to avoid hibernating Conservancy's enforcement efforts. Sign up today!

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  • Conservancy Seeks Your Questions on GPL Enforcement

    Software Freedom Conservancy at 2015-06-01T17:02:05Z

    Conservancy Seeks Your Questions on GPL Enforcement

    Conservancy Plans Long-Term Campaign to Educate Developers About GPL Enforcement

    Today, Software Freedom Conservancy — a charity that provides a home to more than thirty Open Source and Free Software projects, and provides license enforcement efforts at the request of some of its projects, including the only unified and community-led GPL enforcement efforts for the Linux kernel — begins a long-term campaign to increase education and understanding about community-driven GPL enforcement processes.

    Historically, Conservancy has published extensive materials about enforcement of the GPL, including blog posts, announcements regarding compliance actions, many sections appearing in the definitive Copyleft Guide (a joint initiative with the Free Software Foundation). After Conservancy's recent announcement of its funding of Christoph Hellwig's lawsuit against VMware, Conservancy has sought to answer as many questions as possible about GPL enforcement.

    Conservancy invites developers and other Open Source and Free Software contributors to email their questions on GPL enforcement to <>. Conservancy cannot promise to answer every question; Conservancy will use the collected questions over the coming months to provide more educational and informational materials about GPL enforcement, and in particular about Conservancy's GPL Compliance Project for Linux Developers.

    Conservancy especially seeks questions from contributors to the Linux kernel, and therefore encourages questioners who have contributed to Linux to write from their email address as it appears in Linux's Git logs, so that Conservancy can prioritize their questions.



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  • Christopher Allan Webber at 2015-03-12T19:02:14Z

    Some day, even GitHub will go down. Those who naysay aren't paying attention to history, even that which is unfolding at this very moment even.

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  • Too Big to Fail code hosting is a lie

    Christopher Allan Webber at 2015-03-12T19:01:56Z

    Free software or proprietary on the backend, between Google Code and Gitorious both shutting down, your code hosting monolith is not Too Big To Fail (even if run by a mega-corporation like Google!).

    Relatedly, started to spec out federated code hosting. It might be totally necessary at this point.

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    Problem is, not everyone can host everything on their own server. I looked at Gogs, and the resources it need (if you need to use any team functionality) require a middle to high end VPS.

    So, if you need to run 2-3 self-hosted services (Let's say, your own Gogs, MediaGoblin, Pump/Diaspora) it becomes very expensive to maintain. Though, I do agree with the points mentioned, but sometimes it's better (easier, cheaper, more reliabled) to go for a paid service then self-host.

    Aqeel Zafar at 2015-03-13T07:21:52Z

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    Federation doesn't mean every single person has to run their own instance of every single federated app, you and some friends can run one or you can use public services. If it's not federated there can only be huge monoliths if things remain practical. at 2015-03-13T15:01:35Z

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    Admittely, it is failing in a way that gives plenty of time to migrate elsewhere, which smaller players could not be able to do.

    On the other hand, self hosting is just better, and self, federated, hosting is even better.

    (btw, the people at friendica are also looking into it: ) 

    Elena ``of Valhalla'' at 2015-03-13T17:30:37Z

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    Um, Davdroid, if you go to the big banner tells everyone to go to GitLab, so yeah, people know. And it's a good option, better than GitHub arguably for those who care about freedom. If GitHub goes in some direction you don't like, you can't fork it, it's non-free.

    Aaron Wolf at 2015-03-14T03:53:08Z

  • Community run code hosting at 2015-03-07T18:32:59Z


    So as most of you know gitorious is being acquired by a GitLab and therefore will be shut down. The idea was brought up of possibly having a community run code hosting with issue tracker that will pool money, resources, time and experties to run and maintain a code hosting solution.

    Maybe we could get a Mailing list and/or an IRC channel where we can figure out this and get a start. Anyone would be interested in using this and helping in some way or another we can discuss it on this thread until we decide where else to go.

    The questions we really need to figure out are:

    • Is there enough interest to make this worth while?
    • What software should we use?
    • Where should we continue to disucss this (I think I'd prefer a Mailing list for this)?

    I would obviously want to use this for my own personal projects and possibly Inboxen (would have to speak to moggers first). GNU Mediagoblin would obviously want to use it too.

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    Gitlab uses Github to host their code now whilst that's "dumb" I wouldn't say it's a deal breaker per se however, there is an issue suggesting they use Gitlab to host their code, it says:

    "The primary goal is private hosting service. So it's not the best choice for an open source project."

    Might want to take that into consideration also when weighing up the options, if they don't intend it to be publically accessable and for Free software maybe in the future they'll make decisions which reflect that, or maybe they have already. at 2015-03-07T21:25:20Z

    That issue is fixed

    But the same one (I looked a few days ago and couldn't actually find a fied issue thoguh) for gogs does give me pause about that project.

    Mike Linksvayer at 2015-03-07T21:31:43Z

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    I have posted an email to the userops email list, can people reply to that to keep the conversation in one place. People can join that here: at 2015-03-07T22:17:56Z

    I'm definitely pushing for org-local hosting via cgit and git-http-backend.  I don't have much need for the other pieces...  Review for me is best over email, etc.  I'm hoping this will cause more distribution.

    I very strongly dislike the Gitlab situation. Their copyright assignment does not guarantee that contributed features remain free.  To me, that is completely unacceptable. at 2015-03-07T23:05:43Z

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  • Conservancy Announces Funding for GPL Compliance Lawsuit

    Software Freedom Conservancy at 2015-03-05T17:36:19Z

    Conservancy Announces Funding for GPL Compliance Lawsuit

    VMware sued in Hamburg, Germany court for failure to comply with the GPL on Linux

    Software Freedom Conservancy announces today Christoph Hellwig's lawsuit against VMware in the district court of Hamburg in Hamburg, Germany. This is the regretful but necessary next step in both Hellwig and Conservancy's ongoing effort to convince VMware to comply properly with the terms of the GPLv2, the license of Linux and many other Open Source and Free Software included in VMware's ESXi products.

    Hellwig, a key Linux kernel developer and one of the earliest members of Conservancy's GPL Compliance Project for Linux Developers, has publicly denounced VMware's misuse of GPL-licensed code since 2007. In 2011, Conservancy discovered that VMware had failed to provide nor offer any source code for the version of BusyBox included in VMware's ESXi products (as required by BusyBox's license, GPLv2). Conservancy began in early 2012 negotiations with VMware to seek compliance on all GPL'd components in the ESXi project. Progress was slow through 2012 and 2013.

    Meanwhile, Hellwig joined Conservancy's GPL Compliance for Linux Developers in late 2012. Hellwig assisted Conservancy in analysis of the non-compliant releases of ESXi that VMware provided. After studying these materials over a long period, it became apparent that VMware's current ESXi products infringed many of Hellwig's own copyrights, due to VMware's failure to comply with Linux's license, GPLv2.

    During Hellwig's investigations, Conservancy continued to negotiate with VMware. Sadly, VMware's legal counsel finally informed Conservancy in 2014 that VMware had no intention of ceasing their distribution of proprietary-licensed works derived from Hellwig's and other kernel developers' copyrights, despite the terms of GPLv2. Conservancy therefore had no recourse but to support Hellwig's court action.

    In addition to other ways VMware has not complied with the requirements of the GPL, Conservancy and Hellwig specifically assert that VMware has combined copyrighted Linux code, licensed under GPLv2, with their own proprietary code called “vmkernel” and distributed the entire combined work without providing nor offering complete, corresponding source code for that combined work under terms of the GPLv2. Hellwig is an extensive copyright holder in the portions of Linux that VMware misappropriated and used together in a single, new work without permission.

    Hellwig's legal counsel in this German lawsuit is Till Jaeger of JBB Rechtsanwälte. Best known for his work representing Linux developer Harald Welte, Mr. Jaeger has brought several lawsuits regarding GPL violations. Both Conservancy and Hellwig are privileged and honored that he has agreed to serve as Hellwig's lawyer in these matters.

    Both Hellwig and Conservancy do not at this time wish to comment further on the detailed facts of this lawsuit, as they relate to ongoing litigation. However, Conservancy will maintain a a Frequently Asked Questions page regarding Hellwig's lawsuit against VMware and will update that FAQ list when our legal counsel deems such advisable.

    Commenting generally on the issue of GPL enforcement, Bradley M. Kuhn, President and Distinguished Technologist of Conservancy, stated: “The prevalence and sheer volume of GPL violations has increased by many orders of magnitude in the nearly two decades that I have worked on enforcement of the GPL. We must make a stand to show that individual developers and software freedom enthusiasts wish to uphold copyleft as a good strategy to achieve more access to source code and the right to modify, improve and share that source code. I ask that everyone support Conservancy in this action.”

    Grant Likely, Linux kernel developer who also serves as chair of the LF Technical Advisory Board, added: “GPL licensing is a cornerstone part of Linux development. The ‘fair's fair’ nature of copyleft licensing is in large part why Linux has been overwhelmingly successful, and has created a huge ecosystem of companies benefiting from Linux. Our entire ecosystem is undermined when the sharing principles encoded in the GPL license are ignored. These principles ensure that companies and individuals can continue to share and collaborate on Linux to the benefit of everyone. By ignoring these principles, VMware risks damage to the very community on which it depends, and I look forward to this long standing complaint being swiftly resolved.”

    Conservancy views litigation as a last resort, and supports such action only after all other avenues have been exhausted. Conservancy and Christoph urge those who support this this action — and who support GPL compliance in general — to donate generously to Conservancy's GPL Compliance Project for Linux Developers. More information on Conservancy's campaign to fund this lawsuit can be found in the aforementioned FAQ list.

    About Software Freedom Conservancy

    Software Freedom Conservancy is a public charity that promotes, improves, develops and defends Free, Libre and Open Source software projects. Conservancy is home more than thirty software projects — including Git, Inkscape, Samba, Wine, Selenium, the Linux Compliance project, PyPy, and Sugar Labs — each supported by a dedicated community of volunteers, developers and users. Conservancy's projects include some of the most widely used software systems in the world across many application areas, including educational software deployed in schools around the globe, embedded software systems deployed in most consumer electronic devices, distributed version control developer tools, integrated library services systems, and widely used graphics and art programs. A full list of Conservancy's member projects is available. Conservancy provides these projects with the necessary infrastructure and not-for-profit support services to enable each project's communities to focus on what they do best: creating innovative software and advancing computing for the public's benefit.

    Press Coverage of This Announcement

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  • Mike Linksvayer at 2015-02-21T05:17:15Z

    I would go to great plains to point out the West begins somewhere in the mixed grass prairie zone.

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    This is a good point. :)

    Bradley M. Kuhn at 2015-02-21T16:39:17Z

  • Outreach Program to Join Conservancy from GNOME; Program Renames to Outreachy

    Software Freedom Conservancy at 2015-02-05T19:25:21Z

    URL of this announcement:

    February 4, 2015

    Outreach Program to Join Conservancy from GNOME; Program Renames to Outreachy

    Software Freedom Conservancy and the GNOME Foundation together announce that the Free and Open Source Software Outreach Program is moving from GNOME to Conservancy. As Karen Sandler, Executive Director of Conservancy and co-organizer of the Outreach Program, announced in her keynote at FOSDEM this weekend, the program will be rebranding as part of the transition under the new name "Outreachy".

    Outreachy helps people from groups underrepresented in free and open source software get involved by providing a supportive community for newcomers to contribute to throughout the year, and by offering focused internship opportunities twice a year with many free software organizations. To date, the program has had 214 interns with 35 different free software organizations, including the Linux Kernel, Wikimedia, GNOME, Mozilla, Twisted (a Conservancy member project), and OpenStack. Marina Zhurakhinskaya, Community Engagement Lead at Red Hat and co-organizer of the program said, "It's amazing that the program we started four years ago with eight GNOME interns has grown to enable hundreds of women become established free software contributors across a broad spectrum of projects. I vividly remember the call in which Karen proposed the idea of inviting other organizations to participate, and I'm excited to continue working closely with her in growing the reach of the program."

    The GNOME Foundation, previous nonprofit home of the program, remains a core partner of Outreachy, providing infrastructure support. "The GNOME board is unified in its enthusiasm for Outreach to join Conservancy," said Jean-François Fortin Tam, President of the GNOME Foundation. "We're proud to have launched the program and seen it grow beyond our wildest expectations. We look forward to remaining a partner, supporting and participating in the program in its new home as it continues to grow."

    Over the next few months, Outreachy will complete its transition to Conservancy, the non-profit home of over 30 free and open source software projects. "Outreachy is a natural fit for Conservancy," said Sandler. "Conservancy is organized to support many free software projects — and to promote software freedom in general. This program has become an essential way for free software projects to improve their communities. I am honored to keep working with Marina, Sarah Sharp and all of the other volunteers who keep Outreachy going."

    The next round of Outreachy internships will have an application deadline on March 24, 2015, and internship dates from May 25 to August 25. Coding, design, documentation and other projects will be available. Applicants will be asked to select a project with one of the participating organizations and collaborate with a mentor listed for that project to make a relevant contribution to the project during the application process. Accepted participants will work remotely, while being guided by their mentor, and will receive a $5,500 stipend.

    About Outreachy

    Outreachy is the successor of the Outreach Program for Women (OPW). OPW was inspired by Google Summer of Code and by how few women applied for it. The GNOME Foundation first started OPW with one round in 2006, and then resumed the effort in 2010 with rounds organized twice a year. In the May 2012 round, Software Freedom Conservancy joined OPW with one internship with the Twisted project. In the January 2013 round, many other free and open source organizations joined the program. For the May 2015 round, the program was renamed to Outreachy with the goal of expanding to engage people from various underrepresented groups and is transitioning to Conservancy as its organizational home.

    This program is a welcoming link that connects talented and passionate newcomers with people working in free and open source software and guides them through their first contribution. Through Outreachy, participants learn how exciting and valuable work on software freedom can be, while helping us to build a more inclusive community. The organizational partners of the program are the GNOME Foundation, Red Hat and Software Freedom Conservancy.

    About the GNOME Foundation

    GNOME was started in 1997 by two then-university students, Miguel de Icaza and Federico Mena Quintero. Their aim: to produce a free (as in freedom) desktop environment. Since then, GNOME has grown into a hugely successful enterprise. Used by millions of people around the world, it is one of the most popular environments for GNU/Linux and UNIX-type operating systems. GNOME's software has been utilized in successful, large-scale enterprise and public deployments.

    The GNOME community is made up of hundreds of contributors from all over the world, many of whom are volunteers. This community is supported by the GNOME Foundation, an independent non-profit organization that provides financial, organizational and legal assistance. The Foundation is a democratic institution that is directed by its members, who are all active GNOME contributors. GNOME and its Foundation work to promote software freedom through the creation of innovative, accessible, and beautiful user experiences.

    About Software Freedom Conservancy

    Software Freedom Conservancy is a public charity that promotes, improves, develops and defends Free, Libre and Open Source software projects. Conservancy is home more than thirty software projects — including Git, Inkscape, Samba, Wine, Selenium, the Linux Compliance project, PyPy, and Sugar Labs — each supported by a dedicated community of volunteers, developers and users. Conservancy's projects include some of the most widely used software systems in the world across many application areas, including educational software deployed in schools around the globe, embedded software systems deployed in most consumer electronic devices, distributed version control developer tools, integrated library services systems, and widely used graphics and art programs. A full list of Conservancy's member projects is available. Conservancy provides these projects with the necessary infrastructure and not-for-profit support services to enable each project's communities to focus on what they do best: creating innovative software and advancing computing for the public's benefit.

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  • Last chance to support Conservancy in 2014!

    Software Freedom Conservancy at 2014-12-31T21:31:44Z

    Conservancy today published a video from Board of Directors member, Mike Linksvayer, along with a blog post from Executive Director, Karen Sander, to wish our supporters a great new year, and to ask those who haven't yet to become a supporter before 2014 comes to a close!

    Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity registered in NY, so your donation today may deductible on your 2014 USA income taxes!

    (This announcement also available on Twitter.)

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  • Mike Linksvayer at 2014-12-15T20:58:27Z

    I recently got invited to some team's account, some kind of team messaging proprietary and very recent thing, which nonetheless has tons of customers. Even ignoring freedom, I can't see the value (doesn't even seem to have replies, just a wall of noise), and don't want to invest time in finding value (because freedom). But it is huge. And others like Yammer are huger, $Billions huge IIRC.

    Sort of related to a comment made by @cwebber about how for a time StatusNet was able to pay some people to work full time on the software. IIUC that's because it was making a play for enterprise messaging. IMO that was a very solid bet, and kudos to Evan for making it.

    I have to admit, "the federation" meme turns me off, though perhaps that's because I hate memes. Go federation, but I don't give it much chance. If Facebook or Twitter stumbles, some other silo with lots of capital will pick up the slack.

    I home that someone else, or Evan again (but he seems to be doing now) makes another play at creating a huge entity that happens to work on free and federated software. I wonder if enterprise, or at least team, messaging is evergreen for the right play. Could federation, with the right privacy/sharing nudges be one compelling feature for some organizations' messaging needs?

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    @bkuhn I suspect you overestimate the centrality of StatusNet (which at the point you must be thinking of, was almost just among FLOSS developers (well, maybe the ones you talk to, but that's a subset) and generally the impact even all FLOSS developers each "standing alone" can make. AFAICT you predict a dark ages and want to hunker down, hopefully encouraging a few more developers to also hunker down, standing alone, and have a fantasy that if that happens, the proprietary world will somehow self-destruct (eg patent war). That's a recipe for permanent dark ages. I also predict some form of dark ages but am uninterested in hunkering down. I think it is at least possible to increase policy and market demand for software freedom, and that's what the main activity of software freedom advocates ought to be. Of course that isn't a developer-centric activity, and I see that is a good thing: away with fetishizing both developer choice and their enabling lawyers!

    Mike Linksvayer at 2014-12-21T18:37:11Z

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    @mtift indeed! thus the last paragraph of my note. :)

    Mike Linksvayer at 2014-12-21T18:40:21Z

    Team messaging solutions are exactly the kind of area where free software and federation should be able to get a foothold.

    The most important network is the team and you can simply choose for the team to use the same tool. The federation part then becomes a bonus.

    Back in 2008 I was perplexed that Yammer got any attention at all, when there was already StatusNet that could do the same things and more. What did they do right? Massive VC-backed marketing?

    These days when everyone is becoming aware of control of data and the potential risks of cloud hosting, why aren't more corporations interested in products you can easily host yourself and even host internally? And why do so many of those that do have that interest go to SharePoint?

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) at 2014-12-23T01:17:45Z, Mike Linksvayer likes this.

    @clacke well put, exactly half of why I posted above note (other half various hand-wringing I suppose). Yammer probably had more capital and a sales team and enterprisey integrations enabled by that, as I imagine does Slack. But plausible evergreen state of enterprise market a reason this isn't just kvetching.

    Mike Linksvayer at 2014-12-23T23:04:22Z

  • Stephen Michael Kellat at 2014-12-12T04:28:22Z

    >> Charles Stanhope:

    “The two examples you cite are probably targetted correctly. The 18-25 group probably isn't buying many new cars. I don't know what sort of insurance Salt-N-Pepa is selling, but that also sounds like something old people think about. ;)”

    I saw that insurance commercial. It was freaky. I flipped the TV over to C-SPAN in response.

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  • FaiF 0x51

    Free as in Freedom at 2014-12-11T16:30:52Z

    On Free as in Freedom, Episode 0x51, Bradley and Karen play and discuss Pam Chestek's talk entitled Why Licenses Requiring Use of Trademarks are Non-Free that she gave 15:00 European/Central time on Sunday 2 February 2014 at FOSDEM 2014.

    Please donate now: We're trying to send Producer Dan to a Free Software conference. We need to raise $2,500 for travel expenses to send Producer Dan to a conference of his choice to record interviews and otherwise participate in the conference. A donate link is on the front page of the show's website.

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  • Matching Donation for New Conservancy Supporters

    Software Freedom Conservancy at 2014-12-08T22:31:35Z

    Matching Donation for New Conservancy Supporters

    Anonymous Donor Offers “Double Match” to Supporters Who Join Now

    Software Freedom Conservancy today announces a match donation by an anonymous donor to its new Supporter program. For every $1 in Supporter donations, this donor will give Conservancy $2, up to $5,000 in all. This match effectively triples the donation made when you become a supporter now.

    This donor (who chose to remain anonymous) commented, “Free Software is the cornerstone of a free society. By supporting Conservancy, we ensure that the developers working on this software can get the support and funding they need to continue their vital work. With this matching program, I am challenging you to to step up and show your support for these projects to ensure that they stay free and open forever.”

    Under the Supporter program, for an annual donation of $120, donors receive:, sazius, Lars Wirzenius, Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠) and 2 others likes this.

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  • Mike Linksvayer at 2014-12-06T22:28:19Z

    I'll have the I Am Mediocre please.

    Amazingly mediocre?

    Superginormous mediocrity.

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  • Software Freedom Conservancy Launches Supporter Program

    Software Freedom Conservancy at 2014-12-03T14:31:35Z

    Conservancy Launches Supporter Program

    Software Freedom Conservancy announces today the launching of the Conservancy Supporter program. This annual donation program allows individuals to provide ongoing support to Conservancy and its charitable activities.

    Under the Supporter program, for an annual donation of $120, donors receive:

    • an “Official Supporter” badge for display on their personal websites,
    • a printable “Official Supporter” card
    • a Conservancy T-Shirt.

    “Donating to Conservancy is a great non-technical way to contribute to the cause”, said Karen Sandler, Executive Director of Conservancy. “By being a member you show you care about the community support of free and open source software. I hope people include Conservancy in their year-end charitable giving”.

    “Individual support of charities is essential to their survival”, said Bradley M. Kuhn, President and Distinguished Technologist of Conservancy. “I know many individuals value our work at Conservancy, and I hope they will become supporters today”.

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  • Alexandre Oliva at 2014-11-22T03:56:51Z

    You're certainly not alone in thinking along these lines.  I have no recollection of feeling that my attempts at lying didn't work, possibly because since early childhood I've been an incurable truth-teller.  After getting into the Free Software movement and trying to understand politics, I started feeling that this inability to lie is both a blessing and a handicap.  I share your feeling that it puts us at some disadvantage, very much like the unfair battles between good and evil in fiction, to some extent mirrored in ethical or legal restraints on what e.g. cops and judges are allowed to do, vs the “anything goes” that some criminals take.  It still feels right, and I hope enough people value the honesty of playing within the boundaries of ethics that what could amount purely to a handicap ends up also being perceived favorably.  Besides, it makes the challenge of defeating an opponent that might resort to anything, while we refuse to use certain unethical weapons, a lot more interesting ;-)

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  • Douglas Perkins at 2014-11-21T13:36:24Z

    Bluffing in poker is a tactical decision that has nothing to do with honesty. It's like a feint in basketball or soccer. Those aren't dishonest in the least. Yeah, you could have that flush, or you could have gone left, but you didn't.

    One thing that I've realized teaching, and it's perhaps relatively evident because I teach JHS and SHS students, is that what someone says may have nothing to do with what's true. That's so obvious to many teachers such as myself and my coworkers that we generally don't even bother making a judgment on whether any given statement is true. The interesting thing is that once you adopt this behavior, even if you learn it teaching children, you tend to apply it to everyone. You could call it cynical, but I don't feel cynical. I'm not bitter about it. I feel like I'm treating people like they're ... people ... who cover up embarrassment and other badness through misleading words, either intentionally or not. Generally speaking I don't mind, as long as the statements in question are of a personal variety. To the extent our leaders are deceptive on group issues, group effectiveness is destroyed.

    One interesting thing in the environmental movement is the typical anti-environmentalist argument structure. Suppose we're talking about global warming. OK, these days it's called climate change. Whichever you prefer. Some representative of an oil company will say you're wrong about global warming, and the order in which the argument proceeds is almost always the same!

    1. Global warming doesn't exist.

    2. [You show evidence.] OK, maybe it does exist, but it's not as bad as you think.

    3. [You show evidence.] OK, maybe it is as bad as you think, but we didn't cause it.

    4. [You show evidence.] OK, maybe we caused it, but it's necessary.

    The cool thing, which can also be irritating as hell, is that this exact same progression happens on dozens or hundreds of issues. And if you're looking for it, you can see which stage you're at. Unfortunately, oil companies are savvy, so they'll intentionally make the arguments convoluted. Over time, with enough tangents, that gives them an opportunity to come back to point 1 again. The bullet is dodged, the argument is reset, and life goes on.

    Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠), Bradley M. Kuhn likes this.

    I found this comment very intriguing, and I agree with you about that pattern (your climate change example).

    The fundamental problem there is the mistake of answering political arguments with factual arguments. The company answers each time with a political argument, and the presentation of evidence is factual.

    As a computer scientist turned politician, I actually only recently realized how very little the facts matter in any policy debate or discussion. How people feel matters much more.

    To the extent that I'm really bad at politics is that I can't abide by misleading people on the facts, even for some greater aim, b/c down that path IMO lies what Laura is talking about in other comments in this thread.

    This was sort of the point of my original post. You can't play the game of politics correctly unless you have a rather loose relationship with Truth.

    Bradley M. Kuhn at 2014-11-21T19:29:52Z

    Douglas Perkins likes this.

  • Laura Arjona Reina at 2014-11-21T13:09:18Z

    People in power usually think that the best thing that can happen to the communities they govern is that they keep the power.

    So they lie to keep the power, "for the good of the community". I think that they even believe that they are doing the right thing all the time :/

    naim-nm, cmhobbs, Claes Wallin (韋嘉誠), Bradley M. Kuhn and 2 others likes this.

    I've indeed observed this behavior, both in Free Software politics, and in "regular" politics.

    I remember a specific line from the West Wing. Someone asks Toby why he's so focused on winning all the time. His answer: "We can't govern if we don't win."

    Governing is an end in itself. Sad.

    Bradley M. Kuhn at 2014-11-21T19:24:28Z