Skip to Content

Thoughts on Free Software Developers

I’m noticing huge chunks of the free-software world is largely ignorant to the philosophical motivates behind free software, and view their participation in it more as participation in a sort of majority-run corporation, which… makes sense in hindsight, and explains a lot of the contradiction I see in people’s views.

They aren’t rejecting property rights, they’re trying to become a part of the “winning” structure by hedging their bets outside proprietary software. Because of the white academic roots of free- and open-source software, I think a lot of participants don’t realize that most of what they do reinforces that as the dominant voice in the field, and don’t appreciate that all those issues of equality meaning little without equity follow them from social pub debates to their actions adjacent to free software.

I’ve been thinking about this because in response to a few microblog posts I made saying so, people told me free software was not a rejection of intellectual property rights.

And it’s interesting to me as someone who’s sided with open-, not free-, source, even after giving it some recent consideration. I think the open-source community is ignorant too, and their actions denote a similar amount of ignorance to their roots, but generally I view open-source people as less philosophically pedantic, so I’m a bit more forgiving of their contradictions.

Editorial and License Information

My name is emsenn and I wrote this essay for the benefit of the commons. To the extent possible under law, I have waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to it. If you're viewing it on a remote server, you're encouraged to download your own copy. Essays like this are made possible with financial support from readers like you. Thank you. To read more of my work and to learn more about me, visit https://emsenn.net