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Respect Freedom, Not Pragmatism

Homer's picture

Having just discovered this "openrespect" thing, I have to say I find the whole idea rather sinister. It seems to me that Jono Bacon is endorsing a sort of moderation, or more bluntly, censorship of criticism, in order to silence those who oppose pragmatic concessions that undermine our ideals.

Here's the problem: he can't magically make me, or anyone, have respect for him or his ideals. In particular, I have no respect for pragmatism, or the "Open Source" ideology, especially as it edges ever-closer to "Open Core", and panders to the principles of proprietary licensing. I have no respect for it, I have no respect for those who support it, and I have no desire to ever change that view.

My Freedom is more important than diplomacy.

And this is what he doesn't seem to understand. This isn't a bigoted crusade for some vague doctrine, that I latched onto in a moment of boredom. Freedom is the single most important aspect of the human condition: without it, nothing else is possible. Compromise freedom, for "pragmatic" or other misguided reasons, and you surrender whatever little power you have to those bent on your subjugation.

I find it deeply ironic that pragmatists label idealists as unrealistic and fanatical, when in fact pragmatism is the single most unrealistic doctrine of them all. Conceding victories to a more powerful oppressor, in the vein hope he will reciprocate, is bordering on delusional behaviour. In the entire history of mankind, I've yet to read of a successful case, and yet pragmatists march on, like a bunch of Lemmings.

But worse, they then have the gall to denounce idealists as unreasonable fanatics, then launch little campaigns to "fix" our broken behaviour with propaganda, dressed up as Internet love-ins like "openrespect" - in essence, hypocritically committing exactly the same sin they accuse idealists of: lacking respect for our principles, then stigmatising those principles as unreasonable. How ironic. How laughable.

Bacon needs to face the fact that some people are natural enemies, whose differences can never be reconciled. Those who support or make concessions to proprietary software are the natural enemies of those who support Free Software. Those who support thuggish monopolisers like Microsoft are the natural enemies of those who support freedom and justice. Lecturing us about our bitterness won't actually make it disappear. He needs to look at the source of that bitterness, and try to make THAT disappear.

But then, that is exactly what we're doing.

So what is Jono Bacon doing?

Here's one thing he can start doing right away: spend a little less time respecting corporate thugs like Microsoft, and a little more time respecting our Freedom.


Anony Mouse's picture

On Ubuntu's forum it's far

On Ubuntu's forum it's far more likely to see people hate on GNU and FSF than Microsoft. All the talk about issues like that, or anything remotely related to the "idealist" side of the community, is shelved into a sub-sub-forum called "recurring discussions" (along with truly repetitive subjects like GNOME vs KDE, Chromium vs Firefox, this distro vs that distro, etc) and anyone who says anything bad about Microsoft is ganged up on by the rest of the forum which has to remind that person that "blind Microsoft hate" is bad, etc etc.

There was even one such thread called something like "why do you hate Windows," of course, everyone and their dog had to remind the OP that everyone loves Windows and Microsoft is such a good company etc etc. The VERY ironic (funny, in a sad way even) part about this is on the last page of the thread, there's a guy who claims he is "proud to be GNU free" and emphasizes "reality over ideology." The guy's username is "GNOME user." Of course, GNOME is part of GNU (and was borne out of that "ideology" that "GNOME user" sheepishly derides). According to "GNOME user"'s profile, his interest is "being right." Someone explain how a "GNOME user" can be "GNU free"?

Honestly, I don't believe all these people have to give a shit about the GNU philosophy as much as I do. It's their freedom, not mine. But it really gets me going when these ingrates badmouth GNU and lionize asshats like Jobs and Ballmer.

Homer's picture

GNOME wanted to split from GNU

You should be aware that the Gnome wanted to split from GNU, because Gnome's members are "pragmatists" who no longer believe in the principles of Free Software, and would rather promote proprietary software like Microsoft's Silverlight.

When Richard Stallman complained about this, and reminded Gnome members that this was antithetical to the goals of the GNU Foundation (of which Gnome is a member), they launched a vicious attack on him, and threatened to split Gnome from GNU, rather than stop supporting the enemy of Free Software and its proprietary applications.

Therefore Gnome has betrayed the Free Software movement, has aligned itself with our enemy, is now an anti-Freedom organisation dedicated to promoting Microsoft and proprietary software, and as such should be boycotted. If you're going to use Gnome, you may as well use Windows and be done with it, both from a technical and ideological standpoint.

I recommend you switch to KDE, or another desktop environment.

Anony Mouse's picture

Free software is about pragmatism, at long-term

Free software is about pragmatism, but you have to think at long-term.

Is like doing tests to your car before doing a long journey. Some can think you are losing your time while they are already traveling ("you slow") and you are still checking your tires, but in the long run it's you who will get better travel times. The pragmatic (understood as "thinking in practical terms") is you.

Homer's picture

Don't confuse pragmatism with prudence

Pragmatism is very specifically about compromising principles in the vein hope of making practical gains. What you're talking about is compromising one practical advantage for another, like the proverb "a stitch in time saves nine". Both may be examples of compromises designed to reap benefits, but they're radically different in terms of ideology.

A more fitting proverb for idealism might be "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"

The intrinsic nature of ideals is that they cannot possibly be compromised and still held as ideals. To do so would be a lie, a betrayal, and (as history proves) counter-productive to the goals of those ideals. Unlike prudence, ideology is not about finding a more efficient route to a goal; the ideal itself is the goal. Change the ideal, however insignificantly, and the goal is already lost.

Or in other words, it's not the destination, it's the journey.

Anony Mouse's picture


that not only did he claim to want to start this movement with the help of others, but then he dissed both of them and did it on his own anyways. And then responded to other posters in the comments, but not to Stefano Zacchiroli who commented. Joke.

Anony Mouse's picture

Jono and RMS

I was a bit shocked when I heard Jono join in on some RMS bashin on FLOSS Weekly (I can't remember the episode. So this initiative is a bit weird.

Why should we respect MS, Open Core but not a man who made FLOSS possible and didn't make a dime of it.

Anony Mouse's picture

surprised? why?

>I was a bit shocked when I heard Jono join in on some RMS bashin on FLOSS Weekly (

Before his current incarnation, he had a show where his personna was 180degrees and he was not above bashing people.

I dont listen FLOSS Weekly because of Randall's anti-free software stance.
Its bad enough to listen to Leo Laportes others shows where free software is insulted non-stop (leo sits by, agrees, never says a word because hes a schmooze guy)
but to have a show where the hosts hates the GPL and the FSF with a passion is really a waste to time.
Laporte should have had a Linux show instead of the anything but.
Jono on the show hasnt changed much the 2 times I tried to relisten.

RMS bashing on that show should be fully expected.
Im stunned its not a regular feature.

Anony Mouse's picture

Respect my freedom

Amen. We can't let our movement stagnate by silencing ourselves out of fear of disagreeing with each other.