bonum fabula frat
=> the-delusion-of-a-gnu-linux-community.html the-delusion-of-a-gnu-linux-community
*originally posted:* jun 2021
you might call this article "ways to improve muckrights", thats not this article though because it includes improvements that ron cant make.
there are lots of improvements that could be made to muckrights, whether you want to compete with them directly or just improve on muckrights in certain ways. but if youre in a hurry, you could try the following:
### 1. dont bullshit contributors into thinking you care about things you dont
unfortunately this is a major drawback of muckrights-- ron attracts people who are ultimately opposed to his bullshit by pretending to agree with them on certain issues he is either apathetic about or ultimately opposed to.
for example, hes a major debian apologist who sat on the sidelines of the systemd debate for years while other people struggled and protested. today its safe to protest systemd and even paint debian as making progress on it, but ron prefers to focus on the role ibm played, as if debian is some kind of victim and the people making decisions at debian werent playing a corrupt role.
theres so much more to be said about that example, however in 2018 he told me he was "no friend of systemd" and in 2019 he said in an article he was "neutral" or "apathetic". what went on between 2018 and 2019? ron grooming a contributor, and lots of bullshitting.
if id had any idea how full of shit he was, i would have avoided contributing and not gotten sucked into doing lots of extra work to help with the website. at least i would have made decisions on what to do based on rons actual positions and not under false pretenses.
bullshitting contributors hurts trust and leads to conflict later. if youre like ron youll address that with a smear campaign, which is then followed by the blowback from that smear campaign. its so much easier to just not scam people into helping you, but muckrights is more than just a shrine from ron to himself-- the ideal of muckrights is to get everything he wants just by writing articles and talking to people, and having everything but talk (including fixing his own articles) done by volunteers.
ron always has a "front" to fall back on, namely that he covers a lot of leaks about patents and a few other dirty corporate shenanigans. this is the foundation on which he builds his self-serving, non-profit "enterprise" of people volunteering to create and maintain his website for him. all of which is completely alright, except for the bullshit of course.
### 2. actually give a shit about the causes you promote and write about
this one is probably too much to ask, since ron will post whatever gets more people reading, whether he cares about it or not-- this is only within a certain scope of topics, of course. but its not too much to ask of someone running a different website. at any rate its an option!
if you write articles for muckrights, ultimately ron will write about the same issues. this doesnt automatically mean he cares about those issues, anymore than microsoft loves linux-- by writing about those issues, he has an opportunity to steer the narrative in the direction he wants. for example, by writing about systemd he gets to constantly steer responsibility away from debian (toward a company that was probably barely involved when most of the corruption happened, though thats not a sure conclusion yet).
sure, ibm is at fault now, but what about debian? were they on vacation during those years? debian was also heavily involved in the march anti-rms campaign, but ron steers it away from debian to focus on gnome foundation (try gnome itself, count the mentions of it without "foundation) and leave gnome itself off the hook. heck, if not for gnome (NOT the gnome foundation) debian might have kept systemd optional. gnome foundation is still bad, so are osi-- theyre just not the whole story.
=> who-hates-our-freedom-the-most.html who-hates-our-freedom-the-most
he didnt say much about systemd on his website until other people started publishing relevant articles. now he wont shut up about it. and you would think "thats good, right?" of course it could be. but rons treatment of systemd is completely superficial (because he doesnt give a damn, its just article fodder) and hes never made any serious effort to get away from it in all the years that its been the sort of problem he SWEARS it is now. fluff. bullshit. insincerity. but whatever. ron will start boycotts he doesnt even participate in. you can enlist to be his personal army, but hes got articles to write...
### 3. dont bullshit your readers
this is way more fun than just saying "dont bullshit" over and over-- dont bullshit your contributors, your readers, people who care about causes you write about...
but there are so many ways that muckrights actually bullshits people that there are that many ways to improve simply by NOT bullshitting.
theres even more to be said about not bullshitting your readers, but this article is another holdover between the extensive research being done (the collection and curation phase is on the very cusp of being complete) and its a reminder of what this website is really complaining about.
these are ideas and improvements that lead to additional improvements themselves, such as:
### 4. dont sacrifice depth if you dont have to
for the patent stuff, there may or may not be depth, but ron prefers breadth of coverage and (superficial) connections to real root causes.
if he listened to his community he might actually be on track more, since they have provided him with clues for years. but to make use of those clues, he would have to make real changes and serious decisions, which he cant make if his goal is to just schmooze people and have everybody else do what he wants, for him.
in other words, pointy-haired-bosses (or even skilled technicians with a bit of pointy-haired-boss syndrome / perspective / ego) arent going to have any idea whats going on compared to people in the trenches searching for the real causes of problems.
so it is often with muckrights, though you would really have to show what depth looks like (for comparison) to reveal just how shallow muckrights really is.
and then what, who even cares? hopefully you do, and you dont spend too much time trying to emulate muckrights that it ultimately distracts you from finding real root causes and doing a better job of explaining the problem than ron does. (note to self?)
### 5. dont monopolise
a free license is a wonderful thing, and for whatever reason, ron chose a free license for nearly all of his articles (you have to be careful with guest posts, though ive probably written more guest posts than any other single contributor and mine were freely licensed as well).
a number of articles on muckrights talk about how corporations look for loopholes around the requirement for free software to (by definition) be freely licensed. in other words: how can they make freely-licensed software without it being truly free? how can they control it despite the meagre requirements, that is?
ron controls his website, regardless of the license. he monopolises with lies, bullshit, fabrications and other means of controlling and manipulating people. but he doesnt do it with copyright, and thats good. copyright is like a sledgehammer, and ron prefers to firmly shove people with lies, when he cant entice them with the same. a lie is like a magnet, which can attract or repel depending on which way you turn it. if you can move people closer or farther, and tell them what you want, you can go a long way towards getting people to do your work for you.
then theyll be occupied, instead of doing things for other people, other movements, or themselves. if there were a lot more of this going on, it would be a cult-- but i dispute the notion that the manipulation is so heavy and organised as to be that. its not a cult, its "just" bullshit, but the bullshit is still monopolistic.
the thing about monopoly though, is that apart from being unethical (as free software points out) its also inefficient (as open source points out, but then ignores its own advice and turns things that are free into monopolies anyway).
non-monopolistic collaboration is better, because it lets people do more of what they care about (they can be more honest and passionate) and they spend less time having to bullshit themselves and others. all that energy that goes into bullshit? it can now go into something that matters. (im not saying it always does, but its really good if it at least can!)
non-monopolistic collaboration-- though harder to pull off in a regime (say, an industry) that is designed to favour monopolies, can accomplish more, do it better, and maybe even with fewer people in less time. even if these things arent all true at once (certainly not all the time) they are frequently and demonstrably true in part, at least.
as a bonus, non-monopolistic collaboration is more ethical, and attracts more people who care about what you do-- while bullshitting people attracts a mix of people who are focused on helping you, vs. those who are wasting energy exploiting themselves and getting exploited by you, doing something that goes against what they truly care about. the purpose of bullshit? to make them do it a little bit longer.
when i starting writing for muckrights, i was on the receiving end of schmoozing and bullshit. when i wanted to leave, schmoozing and bullshit convinced me to stay a while longer. ultimately i was kept around long enough to get completely fucked over, but while the person who did so may have thought that was a good idea, i am now determined to help people learn to avoid the same mistake.
maybe you arent even considering contributing to muckrights, and there is another, similar project that wants to use and abuse you that way-- by NOT putting their cards on the table, by NOT telling you what they really care about and stand for. by pretending and schmoozing and bullshitting with a shallow and superficial commitment. its all to make you feel like you have something in common with the person youll be doing free shit for.
one thing you can do is help people avoid that scenario, whether its with muckrights, or anything remotely like it in this regard. open source is a far broader scheme of scamming people into giving their time and labour towards something that will ultimately be used against them.
thats also what happened to me at muckrights, though if you want to fight against the open source scam, you can also help people avoid what happened to me. ive been fighting "open source" bullshit since osi was around for barely more than a decade. and now its been around for two, plus some change.
fight open source directly, yes-- but also fight bullshit and free labour under false pretenses, and open source (and everything like it) will feel it too.
note please that i dont think free software and free culture are bullshit. free software in particular is becoming more like "open source" as it gets taken over, which ron paints as open source being taken over by proprietary companies, when really that happened ages ago and proprietary companies are taking over free software now. "open source" is the tool that these companies use to infiltrate free software, but people connected to the fsf are busy writing bullshit like this:
i was consulted on that article, but my advice and warnings were ignored. my response to it is here:
ron nearly lost cooperation from the fsf, and now he has to bullshit them too, to get what he wants. is he doing them a favour? hes just letting them slip further into enemy hands. then again, by the time that happens, he will already have manipulated several, if not dozens of people to spent years helping him for free. who needs free software, when you have part time slaves to your lies and pandering?
but lets be clear about this-- what ron is doing is how most of the media works. its a little more self-contained and on a smaller scale, but the corporate media in general is playing the same game. i take issue with ron making a miniature version of it in the very name of freedom, yes-- but at least tackling rons bullshit (or the bullshit of anybody like him) makes for good practice tackling corporate bullshit; and vice versa.