The Free Software movement is Barking up the wrong tree

19th December 2017

The free software movement, founded in the 80s by Richard Stallman and supported by the Free Software Foundations 1, 2, 3, 4, preaches that we need software that gives us access to the code and the copyright permissions to study, modify and redistribute. While I feel this is entirely true, I think it’s not the best way to explain Free Software to people.

I think the problem we have is better explained more like this:

“Computer technology is complicated and new. Education about computers is extremely poor among all age groups. Technology companies have taken advantage of this lack of education to brainwash people into accepting absurd abuses of their rights.”

Simple and basic qualities that everyone should demand from their computers are absent. Let’s look at some examples:

OK that’s enough examples I think.

What I’m trying to say

I entirely agree with the FSF and Free Software movement that the freedoms to study, modify and redistribute software are key to our rights as tech users. However, it’s a part of a much broader problem. Trying to preach the FSF’s four freedoms to people who know almost nothing about computers comes across as elitist and irrelevant.

The real way to sort out this horrible technology situation is to educate people about computers, to the point that they can make their own decisions about what type of software they want to use. Computers are very interesting so it should be worth their while.