Thursday, February 08, 2007

Have a Drink! They're Buying!

It's mighty funny how things come full circle, often out of the blue. I got back from FUDCon on Sunday and started digging through my collection of CDs and records, trying to organize everything since it was a terrible, hopeless mess. I happened to come upon a CD which I hadn't listened to for a while--Pearl Jam's Binaural. I used to think it wasn't that good for some reason, but then again I hold them to really high standards. Anyway, a review of a 7 year old album isn't the point of the story here.

FUDCon was great. Everything worked out well, we got tons of work done and things were looking up. The community was solid, stronger than ever and I was high on life and confident that we were making inroads, positive progress, in our battle for freedom and liberty. I was so happy and my outlook so positive that even in the frozen New York air I felt like was on a beach somewhere in the Bahamas perhaps. Then I read this and this. Oh crap! What the hell is this nonsense?

I would like to point out one very important part of this press release.

"Beginning with Ubuntu 7.04, Ubuntu users will be able to use CNR to access commercial programs and proprietary drivers with one click of the mouse. In subsequent releases CNR technology will be integrated to provide an even better desktop user experience for getting commercial software."

[Que sound of needle coming off record]

The timing of this was impeccable. Right as I was listening to Binaural, track 9, Grievance. I instantly began to think this song was a message from God or Shadow Man; no one else could have timed this better. Let me explain. It all goes along so well with the lyrics of the song.

Progress laced with ramifications; freedom's Big Blur.

Mark Shuttleworth claims that Ubuntu is "Linux for Human Beings" and that they are going to be the entity which is going to be the pioneer of Linux on the desktop, coming in with guns blazing and driving Microsoft out of Dodge. Yet, the only thing I've seen from Ubuntu is crap, crap, proprietary crap and now, CNR--so more crap essentially. Ubuntu being "Linux for Human Beings" is at this point the same as saying "The Flu is for Human Beings". Hey, we will even ship you up to 5 copies of "The Flu" for free through our proprietary online application.

While some of us in the community are fighting for liberation, fighting to prove that we have a substantial enough user base to warrant the opening of drivers, fighting to be free, apparently the folks over at Canonical and Linspire couldn't care less. They're more than willing to force the poison apple down people's throats. Hey, is the tree too high for you to grab that poison? Why here's a ladder! It's named Ubuntu.

Progress simply cannot be laced with ramifications. It's all or none in this battle. Canonical and Linspire are perpetrating the biggest blur of freedom. In this fight, you are either pure of heart or not. There is no middle ground.

For every tool they lend us a loss of independence.

This line of the songs is clearly talking about CNR and Launchpad. If you're going to be open, be open and enable openness. Don't introduce "solutions" into the community which are going to put people in shackles and then drag them into a hell. A proprietary hell. I just want to call out Eric Raymond here for encouraging this kind of rubbish specifically. Are we so freaking desperate to have Linux win the desktop war that we are willing to compromise our values in order to succeed? To Mark Shuttleworth, Kevin Carmony and Eric Raymond the answer is apparently, yes. Yes we are.

This is why people like Richard Stallman and our very own Max Spevack are heroes. Sure, one of them might be conceived as a little crazy (I'm talking about Max there) but at least they know what is right and are unwilling to compromise the integrity of our community. While RMS actively advocates from freedom, people like Max are doing things to facilitate and further the cause, like collecting stats about our user base and shifting the burden of proof onto the hardware and software vendors. That, my friends, is the right combination, not the mixing of closed and open software. People like Mark Shuttleworth on the other hand might have their hearts in the right place, but they're drinking the wrong cocktail.

I pledge my grievance to the flag, cause you don't give blood then take it back again. Oh we're all deserving something more.

You heard that? You don't give blood then take it back again.

P.S. I mentioned the other two 8 times, so I need to make up for it. Fedora, Fedora, Fedora, Fedora, Fedora, Fedora, Fedora, Fedora, Fedora. Fedora will set you free.