Mike Gerwitz

Activist for User Freedom

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#+startup: beamer
#+TITLE: Adopting Free Software Ideals
#+AUTHOR: Mike Gerwitz
#+EMAIL: mtg@gnu.org
#+DATE: LibrePlanet 2021
#+OPTIONS: H:3 num:nil toc:nil p:nil todo:nil stat:nil
#+LaTeX_CLASS: beamer
#+LaTeX_CLASS_OPTIONS: [presentation,bigger]
#+BEAMER_THEME: Luebeck
#+BEAMER_COLOR_THEME: seagull
#+BEAMER_HEADER: \input{slides-preamble.tex}
#+TODO: DEVOID(v) LACKING(l) RAW(r) DRAFT(d) AUGMENT(A) REVIEWED(R) | READY(,) REHEARSED(.)
#+COLUMNS: %40ITEM %10DURATION{:} %8TODO %BEAMER_ENV(ENVIRONMENT)

* About                                                            :noexport:
This file represents the source code for the slides for my LibrePlanet 2021
talk, as well as the notes containing the text I originally intended to
say.  There are a few things to note:

- The notes are not /necessarily/ an intended transcript.  As it tends to
  be, when I'm in the moment, I may decide to do things slightly differently
  and adapt to the audience.  I may also forget something and end up having
  to restructure what I was going to say.

- This notes have not been updated to include what I did actually say.  I
  hope to provide a transcript in the future.

- The checklists contain my original intent for this talk; I didn't purge
  what I didn't get to.

- See [[*Exporting]] for information on how to build the slides.

* Project Notes                                                    :noexport:
These notes serve as a reification of thoughts; means of organization and
balance between the three groups; and a checklist to guide the development
of the talk.

** Topics
*** All [6/8]
- [X] What ideals am I speaking of?
- [X] Be honest with yourself when you don't meet your ideals.  Do not dilute
  them, so that you can continue to work toward them.  Do not be complacent
  in your compromises.
- [X] Set your goals high and know that you will /fail to meet them/ for
  some time.  Keep at it.
- [X] By not admitting our faults, we set unattainable standards that drive
  others away from our community.
- [X] The below three groups of roles are often blurred.  Distinguish them
  throughout the talk.
- [ ] Confirmation bias.
- [X] Impracticality is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
- [ ] Move forward.

*** Activist/Advocate [9/14]
- [X] My computing is unrelatable and impractical to others.
- [X] My ability to be free is in part a matter of privilege (knowledge and
  money).  What good are freedoms that others cannot enjoy?
  - Ex: my not running JS and still being able to use the web.
- [X] We need advocates deep in communities that many of us do not
  participate in, and we need to engage with those advocates, not reject
  them as "open source" enthusiasts.
- [X] Are you advocating or just bragging?  One of those is not necessarily
  effective and could alienate or turn off others to our ideals.  It doesn't
  help hearing all the ways that you're right and I'm wrong.
- [ ] Waiting for everyone to realize you're right, as if the world will
  change around you.
- [X] Do not victim-blame (no shaming users of non-free software).
- [X] Many users do not care about or understand the need for software
  freedom.  We need to be able to relate it in practical terms.
- [ ] Indoctrination in cynicism and purity.
- [ ] The concept of user freedom naturally extends to other fields,
  including SaaS, DRM, privacy, security, and human rights.  But we have to
  be careful as a community not to adopt too many principles and alienate
  those who may otherwise agree with us.
- [ ] Situational awareness: sometimes you should be an advocate instead of
  an activist.
- [X] Offering someone new to free software old hardware that isn't even
  fully functional (e.g. S3 with Replicant) is out of touch with reality.
- [X] Kids' games and their understanding of freedom.
- [ ] Speak out against objectionable and incorrect metaphors
- [X] People and organizations are approached by many different types of
  advocates with many different types of agendas, some of them in conflict
  with one-another.  People only have so much bandwidth, and cannot please
  everyone.

*** Developer/Distributor [2/2]
- [X] Free software should promote /practical/ freedoms---they should be
  /designed/ for study and modification without having to deeply understand
  the system at every level.  Lower the barrier to entry.
- [X] Choice of GPL as a form of advocacy.

*** User [7/11]
- [X] Cognitive dissonance.
- [ ] Users can be advocates whether they realize it or not by setting an
  example for others and helping to develop social and cultural norms.
- [ ] Using non-free software /can/ be a form of anti-advocacy or a
  repudiation of ideals if you encourage others to do so as well.
- [X] There is not always a free replacement available, or the replacement
  may not be practical for certain users.
- [X] Certain software has a cultural aspect---using a free replacement may
  not fill that gap.  Games using well-known characters or storylines are an
  example.  Social media is another.  That barrier is high, since change
  involves not just oneself, but others in the community to adopt similar
  changes and ideals.
- [X] Freedom is not all-or-nothing.  Work toward it incrementally.
- [X] If freedom is put above all else, sometimes it requires
  sacrifice.  But that should not be /expected/---that's a personal decision.
- [X] Don't feel bad or make excuses when ideals aren't met---be /proud/ of
  how far you've gotten, and keep at it.
- [X] The FSF, GNU, and others provide a clear objective and guidance, but
  what of the /transition/, which involves a mix of free and non-free?
- [ ] Using non-free software on behalf of an employer
- [ ] Is there a difference in freedom lost between SaaS and ephemeral
  software (e.g. a webpage you'll only visit once)?  How about related
  issues like privacy and security?


* REHEARSED Slides [6/6]
:PROPERTIES:
:ID:       slides
:END:
** REHEARSED Summary                                                                :noexport:
#+BEGIN: columnview :hlines 2 :maxlevel 3 :indent t :id slides
| ITEM                                   | DURATION | TODO      | ENVIRONMENT |
|----------------------------------------+----------+-----------+-------------|
| Slides                                 |  0:36:19 | REHEARSED |             |
|----------------------------------------+----------+-----------+-------------|
| \_  Summary                            |          | REHEARSED |             |
|----------------------------------------+----------+-----------+-------------|
| \_  Introduction                       |  0:02:10 | REHEARSED |             |
| \_    Spoken Intro                     | 00:01:30 | REHEARSED | note        |
| \_    Ideals                           | 00:00:40 | REHEARSED | fullframe   |
|----------------------------------------+----------+-----------+-------------|
| \_  Perspective                        |  0:10:00 | REHEARSED |             |
| \_    Black Boxes                      | 00:01:15 | REHEARSED | fullframe   |
| \_    The First Hurdle                 | 00:03:00 | REHEARSED | fullframe   |
| \_    Unrelatable                      | 00:03:00 | REHEARSED | fullframe   |
| \_    Change                           | 00:01:30 | REHEARSED | fullframe   |
| \_    Journeys Have A Beginning        | 00:01:15 | REHEARSED | fullframe   |
|----------------------------------------+----------+-----------+-------------|
| \_  My Story                           |  0:12:40 | REHEARSED |             |
| \_    My Journey                       | 00:00:40 | REHEARSED | fullframe   |
| \_    Discovery                        | 00:03:45 | REHEARSED | fullframe   |
| \_    Practicality                     | 00:01:45 | REHEARSED | fullframe   |
| \_    Copyleft and Advocacy            | 00:01:50 | REHEARSED | fullframe   |
| \_    Barrier to Entry                 | 00:01:00 | REHEARSED | fullframe   |
| \_    Wifi                             | 00:02:20 | REHEARSED | fullframe   |
| \_    Impact of Gaming                 | 00:01:20 | REHEARSED | fullframe   |
|----------------------------------------+----------+-----------+-------------|
| \_  Social Complexities                |  0:09:30 | REHEARSED |             |
| \_    Brand Recognition and Trademarks | 00:01:00 | REHEARSED | fullframe   |
| \_    Culture                          | 00:02:00 | REHEARSED | fullframe   |
| \_    Balancing Ideals                 | 00:03:00 | REHEARSED | fullframe   |
| \_    Moral Judgment                   | 00:02:00 | REHEARSED | fullframe   |
| \_    Hold Ideals Strong               | 00:01:30 | REHEARSED | fullframe   |
|----------------------------------------+----------+-----------+-------------|
| \_  Conclusion                         |  0:02:00 | REHEARSED |             |
| \_    Quell Anger                      | 00:00:30 | REHEARSED | fullframe   |
| \_    Unless                           | 00:01:30 | REHEARSED | fullframe   |
|----------------------------------------+----------+-----------+-------------|
| \_  Questions?                         |          |           | frame       |
|----------------------------------------+----------+-----------+-------------|
| \_  Thank You                          |          |           | fullframe   |
#+END:

** REHEARSED Introduction [2/2]
*** REHEARSED Spoken Intro                                                     :B_note:
:PROPERTIES:
:BEAMER_env: note
:DURATION: 00:01:30
:END:

- Introduction
  - Software engineer, hacker at heart.
  - Assistant GNUisance; GAC.
    - But not speaking on behalf of the GNU Project.
  - But I'm coming to you today primarily as an activist for user freedom.

- While I am an activist, and I'll be giving advice to others like me, I'm
  also a user and author of free software.
  - I'd say a user foremost, since that's what I do each and every day---use
    free software.
  - But it took me a long time to get where I am today.
  - And it wasn't easy.
  - Us activists try to put on a straight face and paint a positive picture
    of everything.  Neglect inconvenient truths.
  - But my not admiting to our faults, we risk setting unattainable
    standards that may drive others away from our movement.
  - And that's really what this talk is about---those hard problems of
    software freedom.  The process of adopting those ideals and
    incorporating them into your own life.  Ascribing them meaning and
    identity within the context of all of the other things that are
    important to you.  And maybe then advocating for those ideals.


*** REHEARSED Ideals                                                           :B_fullframe:
:PROPERTIES:
:BEAMER_env: fullframe
:DURATION: 00:00:40
:END:

#+BEAMER: \fullslidetext
Run, Study, Modify, Share

**** READY Notes                                                            :B_noteNH:
:PROPERTIES:
:BEAMER_env: noteNH
:END:

- But first: what ideals am I talking about?
  - Within the context of free software, I'm referring to the four freedoms.
  - The freedom to run, study, modify, and share software with others.
  - We repeat these freedoms again and again, but what do they /really/
    mean?
  - We reject being controlled by those who write software.  We believe that
    everyone should be free to do their own computing in a manner that
    /they/ see fit.  How they please.  Not how someone else pleases.

** REHEARSED Perspective [5/5]
*** REHEARSED Black Boxes                                                           :B_fullframe:
:PROPERTIES:
:BEAMER_env: fullframe
:DURATION: 00:01:15
:END:

#+BEAMER: \fullslidetext
Magical Black Boxes

#+BEAMER: \fullsubtext
(Computer Literacy)

**** REHEARSED Notes                                                            :B_noteNH:
:PROPERTIES:
:BEAMER_env: noteNH
:END:

- This isn't an easy concept to grasp for many people.
  - Users look at devices like magic black boxes.
  - They don't understand how the apps they use and the underlying operating
    system works.
  - Lack of computer literacy in our cultures.
  - An app a program, and a program is a sequence of instructions for a
    computer that someone else wrote.  Someone else is instructing your
    computer what to do.
    - And since computers and devices are effectively extensions of people,
      they determine what we can and cannot do.  How we can and cannot
      act.  What we can and cannot see.

*** REHEARSED The First Hurdle                                                           :B_fullframe:
:PROPERTIES:
:BEAMER_env: fullframe
:DURATION: 00:03:00
:END:

#+BEAMER: \fullslidetext
``I love the concept of free software''


**** REHEARSED Notes                                                            :B_noteNH:
:PROPERTIES:
:BEAMER_env: noteNH
:END:

- I want to tell you something my wife told me just a few weeks ago.
- Nurse, shoutout to helthcare professionals holding our society together
  during the pandemic.
- "Love the concept of free software"
  - That's a really powerful message.
  - Of all my coworkers and interviews, I haven't heard such a direct
    statement from anyone in my professional circle.
  - /Some/ people know about free software, but usually in terms of "open
    source".
- Yet this nontechnical person is aware of these concepts.
  - I assume he's non-technical because he continued to lament how a system
    comes installed with Chrome and he isn't sure how to uninstall it.
- This is one of the hardest parts of my activism!  To try to get people to
  internalize our ideals and understand why the are important.
  - And yet, he's already done that.  He's cleared the first major hurdle.

*** REHEARSED Unrelatable                                                           :B_fullframe:
:PROPERTIES:
:BEAMER_env: fullframe
:DURATION: 00:03:00
:END:

#+BEAMER: \fullslidetext
Unrelatable

**** REHEARSED Notes                                                            :B_noteNH:
:PROPERTIES:
:BEAMER_env: noteNH
:END:

- It's interesting to me how my activism was more effective through her
  unintentional advocacy.
  - Why is that?
  - Certainly part of it is because she was there and I wasn't.
    - The more people that can advocate on our behalf, the fewer places we
      have to be.
  - But there's a more fundamental reason.
- Compare: community members and vaccine hesitancy.
  - Being able to relate culturally
  - My computing with an X200 using Libreboot and Guix System.
  - My use of Replicant and its issues
  - Not running JavaScript on webpages.
    - But I'm still able to use parts of the web despite that by privilege
      of my technical knowledge, something that your average user cannot
      do.
- The way I do my computing is unrelatable.
  - And I lament that I cannot recommend my own practices to others.

*** REHEARSED Change                                                           :B_fullframe:
:PROPERTIES:
:BEAMER_env: fullframe
:DURATION: 00:01:30
:END:

#+BEAMER: \fullslidetext
Many People Don't Like Change

#+BEAMER: \fullsubtext
(That Includes Me)

**** REHEARSED Notes                                                            :B_noteNH:
:PROPERTIES:
:BEAMER_env: noteNH
:END:

- Wife doesn't even use free software herself
  - Aware of the concepts.
  - Doesn't like that people have control over her computing, but doesn't
    like change.
  - It's not enough to change how she does her computing.  Yet.
- Compare: both of us want to be vegan, and we don't need convincing, but
  haven't done it after years.
  - That's how my wife thinks about software freedom.

*** REHEARSED Journeys Have A Beginning                                                           :B_fullframe:
:PROPERTIES:
:BEAMER_env: fullframe
:DURATION: 00:01:15
:END:

#+BEAMER: \fullslidetext
Every Journey Has A Beginning

#+BEAMER: \fullsubtext
(And Not Every Journey Has An End)

**** REHEARSED Notes                                                            :B_noteNH:
:PROPERTIES:
:BEAMER_env: noteNH
:END:

- When you've been familiar with software freedom for a long time, it's easy
  to forget where you came from.
  - It's like that with most things.
  - In my profession, I suffer from being unable to think like a
    beginner.  Missing the obvious.  I've become myopic.

- But to get from A to Z is a /process/.  It's a journey, that takes time
  and effort and, in the case of software freedom, completely changing how
  one does their computing.
  - Changing how one perceives the world.
  - How one lives their life.
  - It doesn't just happen.

- Further, we're always evolving.
- The goalposts of software freedom are always moving, as more and more
  things become possible.
  - It didn't used to be possible to run a free BIOS, for example.  Now it
    is.  The goal has shifted.

** REHEARSED My Story [7/7]
*** REHEARSED My Journey                                                           :B_fullframe:
:PROPERTIES:
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The year was 1999...

**** REHEARSED Notes                                                            :B_noteNH:
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- I didn't start out with free software.
  - I grew up with Windows as a kid.
  - I even started learning programming, about 20 years ago now, when I was
    10, using a proprietary language---Microsoft's Visual Basic 6.
  - As a kid, I did what kids to best, which is mimic.  I sought to follow
    the example of the world that was around me.
  - I learned to exercise control over the user.  Introduce quotas.  License
    keys.  Direct the user in ways that I wanted the user to act.

*** REHEARSED Discovery                                                           :B_fullframe:
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A Noise and A Bubble

**** REHEARSED Notes                                                            :B_noteNH:
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- But I don't have time to go into my whole life's story.
- So how did I first discover the concept of software freedom?
- But at some point, the laptop I was using, which was running Windows,
  experienced hard drive issues.
  - For those who don't know, hard drives contain spinning metal platters.
  - It started making a grinding noise.
  - I needed a way to use my system while I waited for a new hard drive, so
    and I found that GNU/Linux distros have bootable live CDs, which ran in
    memory, and so I could use without a hard drive.

- I was fascinated by the level of customization that could be performed,
  and I started digging into the OS a bit more.

- One of the games I really liked on the system was Frozen Bubble.  It was a
  lot alike another non-free game I had played on Windows.
  - And part of what happened next may have been a little bit of luck.
  - Because a lot of games are compiled into machine code, just like on
    Windows, but in a different format---ELF instead of EXE.
  - But Frozen Bubble was different.  When I opened the executable file, I
    saw source code!
  - Not minified or obfuscated source code.  Actual, formatted source code
    with sensible function and variable names, and comments.  Source code
    that looked like the preferred form of modifying the program.
  - I was in excited disbelief.  This was so different than what I was used
    to on Windows.  The operating system not only game with games, but came
    with the source code!?
  - Frozen Bubble is written in Perl, which is an interpreted language.  I
    didn't know Perl, but I decided to try to make some small
    changes.  Surely I was wrong.  Surely I was missing /something/.
  - But no.  I relaunched the game and there my change was!  I could modify
    the game as I pleased!  I was amazed.  I felt empowered.  I felt this
    overwhelming sense of excitement.
  - I wanted to know more.  Why did the developer decide to do this?
  - At the top of a file was the copyright header.  Now, I didn't know
    anything of software licensing at the time beyond the licenses designed
    to /restrict/ users.  To tell them what they /cannot do/.
    - But this license appeared to be different.
    - The license, its stated, was the GNU General Public License version 2,
      published by the Free Software Foundation.
    - It said that I'm free to redistribute it and/or modify it.
    - So it wasn't just that I could /technically/ modify it---the author
      was /encouraging/ me to do so!
  - And while my memory is a bit blurry on the details, that marked the
    beginning of my journey.
    - I began to look into the GNU Project and the FSF and the philosophy
      behind free software.

*** REHEARSED Practicality                                                           :B_fullframe:
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Practical Practicality


**** REHEARSED Notes                                                            :B_noteNH:
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- So I had unlearning to do myself, as both a user and as a software
  developer.
  - I didn't have anyone to help to guide me.
  - I did have the FSF and GNU to serve as a beacon of light.  As an
    anchor.  A lighthouse, as Snowden put it.
    - It gave me something to work toward.  To constantly improve upon.
    - But it didn't give me advice that was /practical/ at the time.
    - And that's setting off alarm bells for certain people, so let me
      explain.

- People often say that free software isn't practical.
  - Not just opponents, but also users who /want/ to use free software.
  - We counter, saying we've done it.  Clearly I have.  Clearly this
    conference has.  We're doing it now, as we speak.
  - But are we trying to help, begin defensive, or just bragging?
  - We have to be careful no to dismiss users' legitimate concerns.
    - I just mentioned how my computing today is not relatable, right?
    - What I consider to be practical for myself is absolutely not practical
      to someone without the requisite understanding.

- Someone saying that they're already there---that they have
  freedom---isn't necessarly helpful
  - I know the goal.  Help me get to where you are.
  - Don't just dismiss me.

- We have to be practical about what we consider to be practical for other
  users, especially those less experienced than us.
- Keep that in mind.  We'll continue to explore that concept as we go.

*** REHEARSED Copyleft and Advocacy                                                           :B_fullframe:
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#+BEGIN_CENTER
#+ATTR_LATEX: :height 1.5in
[[./images/tp/copyleft.png]]
#+END_CENTER


**** REHEARSED Notes                                                            :B_noteNH:
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- Now, I want to pause there for a moment.
  - We touched on the ideals of software freedom previously.
  - But how is that actually enforced?
  - Software is covered by Copyright law.  Copyright grants a rather long
    monopoloy over the ability to, well, make copies of the work.  By
    default, software is proprietary.  Non-free.
  - To grant users back the freedoms they ought to have, Richard Stallman
    turned copyright on its head with the concept of Copyleft.  This
    philosophy is embodied in the GPL.  The GNU General Public License.
- Now, some developers write free software for technical reasons.  This is
  the focus of open source.
- But some write it for philosophical reasons.  And some write it as a form
  of advocacy or activism.
- What happened here?
  - What lead me to discover software freedom?
  - This program and its license.  This game.
  - I can't say whether the author set out to do that.  But that's what
    happened.  Those of you writing software may never realize the true
    impact that you actually have.
- And that's why the choice of license is so important.
- Choosing the GPL isn't just about ensuring that your software remains
  free.
  - It's also about making a statement.  Advocating for the principles and
    ideals of software freedom.


*** REHEARSED Barrier to Entry                                                           :B_fullframe:
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Barrier To Entry

**** REHEARSED Notes                                                            :B_noteNH:
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- I also want to emphasize another aspect of Frozen Bubble.
  - The low barrier to entry for modification.
  - It helped demonstrate to me not just the freedom that I had, but the
    viability of that freedom.
  - When we think about software freedom, we shouldn't think about it just
    in terms of licensing.  We should also consider /practical/
    freedoms.  How to make the freedom to study and modify the software more
    available for more users.
  - That doesn't mean you have to write your software in a scripting
    language, though certainly that might help.
  - But it does mean being mindful to how high the barrier of entry is to
    your program.  Be mindful to the abstractions you create.
    - Document the design and philosophy of the program and how it works.
    - Empower as many users as you can.
    - A skill that takes time to acquire.

*** REHEARSED Wifi                                                           :B_fullframe:
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#+BEAMER: \fullslidetext
Device Drivers

#+BEAMER: \fullsubtext
E.g. Wifi

**** REHEARSED Notes                                                            :B_noteNH:
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- Alright, back to my story.
- One of the most notorious problems when users switch to GNU/Linux is the
  issue of wireless drivers.
- Back in the day I had to use a tool called =ndiswrapper= which was able to
  load Windows XP drivers on GNU/Linux.  =ndiswrapper= is free software, but
  the Windows drivers were non-free.
  - Nowadays, more devices Just Work with a Linux-based system, but there's a
    catch---it usually works because of what we call "binary blobs"
    distributed with the kernel Linux.  These are opaque and non-free.
     - The linux-libre project strips those blobs to provide a fully free
       kernel, but then many users notice their devices don't work properly.

 - Generally, the recommendation for Wifi on Linux-based systems is to use a
   card or dongle based on Atheros (hold it up).  But that does not help you
   if you don't have the money to spare.
   - And so we have a bit of a problem.
 - On one hand, the wireless situation for a fully free GNU/Linux system is
   wonderful compared to my experience 15 years ago.
   - But that's only if you have money to spare.
   - What of people that do not?
   - What about people who wish to repurpose old hardware?  Some people
     consider e-waste to be a major ethical issue.
   - In those cases, they may have systems that are fully free except for
     one exception: the wireless drivers.

- Let's think about someone exploring free software.
- They want to dip their toes into GNU/Linux.  Surely they want to use the
  hardware they already have, not purchase something else just to give it a
  try.
  - But if they use a distribution that we recommend---me as an activist, or
    the FSF on their list of endorsed distributions---then their hardware
    may not work.
  - What do we tell this person?
  - Let's let that sit for a moment and move on.  We'll be coming back to
    it.

*** REHEARSED Impact of Gaming                                                           :B_fullframe:
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#+BEAMER: \fullslidetext
Change Coupled With Addiction


**** REHEARSED Notes                                                            :B_noteNH:
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- Let's talk about my desktop, where I did most of my computing.
  - Around the time that I built it, I was dual-booting Windows and
    GNU/Linux.
- For those who don't know, dual booting means that, when I started by
  system, I had the choice of whether to boot into Windows or GNU/Linux.
- Why?  Why would I do that?
  - The simple answer is: old habits die hard.
    - It /takes time/ to upend the computing you've done for so long.  To
      learn new ways of doing things.
    - This process was /incremental/.

- But the biggest thing keeping me booting into Windows was a game.
  - It was a very popular MMO that I'm not going to name.  I was quite
    addicted to it at the time.

- Games are influential.
- I'm not even a gamer, and yet I've mentioned games twice so far.
  - How about a third: I first started programming at the age of 10 because
    of a game that provided a level editor; I wanted to do more than what
    it allowed.

- I want to stay on this topic for a bit, because it's an important one.
- There are a number of aspects to games beyond addiction that make them a
  bit different than other software.

** REHEARSED Social Complexities
*** REHEARSED Brand Recognition and Trademarks                                                           :B_fullframe:
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Brand™

**** REHEARSED Notes                                                            :B_noteNH:
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- Games are more than just software.
- They're also art.  And with that, we have some additional complexities.
- It may challenging to find a free replacement for a game because of issues
  surrounding trademarks.
  - For example, my kids want to play certain games because they have
    certain characters that they recognize.
  - It's not that it's impossible to make free software to replicate some of
    these games---it is---but they'd be of no practical use to my children
    if they didn't contain the characters they want.

- And then to further complicate things, many AAA games have budgets in the
  tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars and seem to me to be more
  like interactive movies.
  - That's something the free software community is not currently
    well-positioned to counter.
  - It's not that we /can't/, but to counter such a massive undertaking, we
    need more people who believe in our ideals to work toward it.

*** REHEARSED Culture                                                           :B_fullframe:
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#+BEAMER: \fullslidetext
Social Pressure

**** REHEARSED Notes                                                            :B_noteNH:
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- There's something else too.
- Games are something that people can gather around and enjoy together.
  - It can be ingrained in culture.
  - Getting rid of a game, or replacing it with something free, may be more
    challenging if all of your friends also play it.

- We have this problem with social networks too---what good is a social
  network that none of your peers use?

- I avoid a lot of these problems by breaking social norms, or simply not
  associating with certain people.
  - I'm okay with doing this.
  - But many people aren't.  Or can't.

- I used a vegan metaphor previously.
  - But it was a bit shallow.
  - Consider a party: you can be a vegan at a party and abstain from certain
    meals.  Or bring your own.  Kind of like I do with free software.

  - But with certain games like MMOs, or popular social networks, the
    software isn't just a /component/ of a social even, it /is/ the
    event---the means of communication.

  - There is no abstaining or substituting while also communicating.
  - Severing non-free software in such cases may mean severing social ties,
    unless there's free software that is compatible.

  - And while I've done that, and I'm okay with it, that's /me/.
    - We can't demand or /expect/ that of others.
    - We need to work with people to adopt replacements, to help them move
      their community to another platform that respects their freedom, and
      /then/ they can all enjoy freedom together.
    - Freedom shouldn't have to mean isolation from one's peers just because
      they don't share the same ideals.
      - Not to mention that just creates echo chambers, and also removes our
        voice from that community.
      - It perpetuates or even worsens the divide.


*** REHEARSED Balancing Ideals                                                           :B_fullframe:
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#+BEAMER: \fullslidetext
Compounding Ideals

#+BEAMER: \fullsubtext
Small Contributions Grow

**** REHEARSED Notes                                                            :B_noteNH:
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- However, there /are/ situations that I can't just escape from.  Where I
  have to confront the unfortunate reality that I live in head-on.

- Let's take schools for example.
- Say you live in a district where students use non-free software or
  services.  Which is highly likely.

- Now, there's something you have to understand.
  - That school has already invested money into hardware, services, training
    of staff and students, has put data into the chosen platform, and so on.
  - Given all of that, one person voicing dissent isn't going to change all
    of that.  It's too expensive.

- In my case, I arrived too late to my district to voice any input on the
  process.
  - I did meet with assistant superintendents of the district to voice some
    concerns, but again, I'm just one person.
  - Why are my ideals more important than the opinions of others?

- But what if it were different?
  - What if there were dozens of parents?  Or more?
  - They could have possibly prevented this before it started.
  - They don't have to subscribe fully to our ideals.  They just need to
    know enough to /advocate/ for them.  To care.
    - They may not care enough about freedom for themselves, but maybe
      they'll care for their children.
    - Kind of how we may eat whatever we please as adults, but want our
      children to eat healthy because it's good for them as they grow.

- But how do we get those parents?
  - Through advocacy.
  - But what advice do we have to offer those parents?
  - Don't let your child use non-free software?

- I put the social and emotional well-being of my children above my ideals
  of software freedom.
  - And I suspect that most, if not all, parents do the same.
  - But but forcing your child to participate in your activism when they're
    too young to understand is not doing that.
    - If they're old enough to understand and want to do so on their own,
      great.
    - But if they're young, like my children, then having them do things
      differently in class than the other kids will increase social
      anxiety.  Decrease learning.  Possibly open them to ridicule.
   - It's one thing to ask myself to be strong in that situation.  It's
     another thing to ask my child to be.

- And so we find ourselves in this situation that, unless we can connect
  with parents and offer them better guidance, they're going to just see us
  as extremeists, and not engage.
  - This situation will simply perpetuate.
  - And this is one of the ways non-free software is introduced to the next
    generation---these companies gain strongholds in schools and push their
    software so that students will get used to them and use them outside of
    school.  People don't like change.
- But imagine if we taught /freedom/ in school.  Sharing.  Imagine what
  impact that might have on our activism and advocacy.  It would be done
  /for/ us, by those who know how to teach best.

*** REHEARSED Moral Judgment                                                           :B_fullframe:
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#+BEAMER: \fullslidetext
Moral Judgment

**** REHEARSED Notes                                                            :B_noteNH:
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- Let's consider this question carefully, because it's loaded, and it's a
  question a lot of people ask themselves.
  - Am I a bad person for using non-free software?

- Well, why is non-free software bad?
- Is it the program itself?
- When you liberate a program---make it free---the code doesn't have to
  change.  So clearly the program itself isn't the problem.
  - What did change are the terms---the license.  Copyright, and in some
    cases patents and trademarks, take away freedoms we would otherwise
    have.
  - A free software license grants those freedoms back.
  - But from whom?  Who is relinquishing that power?
    - The copyright holder.  Or patent or trademark holder.
    - They are the ones who can otherwise tell us what we can and cannot do.
    - They exercise their rights /over/ us, as an instrument of power.
      - /That/ is what's bad.  The power they have over us when we use
        non-free software.
- Users of non-free software, we say, are /victims/, not bad people.

- But we do have to be careful with the terminology that we use.
- People who don't hold our ideals as strongly as we do---or maybe some of
  you watching this now---won't be happy being called victims if they don't
  feel like they are.
  - Because when you call them a victim for doing something they /want/ to
    do, you're implying that they have poor judgement.
- They may not want to be labeled victims /or/ bad people.

*** REHEARSED Hold Ideals Strong                                                           :B_fullframe:
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#+BEAMER: \fullslidetext
Never Dilute Your Ideals

#+BEAMER: \fullsubtext
And Take Pride In Your Progress

**** REHEARSED Notes                                                            :B_noteNH:
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- There's been a theme throughout this talk.
- We have these ideals, but there are a lot of challenges to meet them.
- And sometimes guidance can be hard to come by, until you reach a certain
  point.

- This necessarily means that, unless you find yourself in a rather
  remarkable position, you're going to find yourself using non-free software
  as you try to figure out how to do without it.
  - Despite being ideologically opposed to it.

- And when it gets tough, it'll be tempting to justify your use of non-free
  software in a particular case by reframing the issue, or possibly by
  diluting your ideals---by saying that certain parts aren't important after
  all.

- Never dilute your ideals.  Never.
  - Don't make excuses when you don't meet them.  Own up to it.
  - Otherwise, you risk becoming complacent, and then stagnet in your
    progress.
  - That's where I was at one point.

- Instead, set your goals high, /knowing/ that you will fail to meet them
  for quite some time.
  - Keep those goals strong.
  - This is what organizations like the FSF and GNU are good for---they do
    not leave any question as to where those ideals stand.  They are
    unwavering.

- And then be /proud/ of the progress you make, however much, and the
  freedom that you've gained.

** REHEARSED Conclusion
*** REHEARSED Quell Anger                                                           :B_fullframe:
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#+BEAMER: \fullslidetext
Anger and Cynicism Cloud Judgement

**** REHEARSED Notes                                                            :B_noteNH:
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- I used to look at everyone embracing non-free software with anger and
  cynicism.
  - But in reality, it's just that most people don't know about these
    issues.  Or understand why they're important to adopt them.
  - When you see schools embracing non-free software and services,
    advertisements non-free software, your friend or family member using a
    proprietary program, your employer embracing non-free services, and so
    on, rather than getting angry, take it as a call to action.  Help them
    to understand.


*** REHEARSED Unless                                                           :B_fullframe:
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#+BEAMER: \fullslidetext
Unless

**** REHEARSED Notes                                                            :B_noteNH:
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- Not all of us find it within ourselfs to be as free as, say, Richard.  We
  all lead different lives.  Under different circumstances.  But what we
  should all strive to do is to help one another, in the spirit of freedom;
  not just for ourselves, but for /everyone/.
- But why do we have trouble with our own freedoms?  Because it's
  impractical?
- Impracticality is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  - Not at the level of an individual user, but as a society as a whole.
  - All of these issues discussed here are of humanity's own
    making.  Non-free software isn't a law of nature.  It's non-free because
    we allow it to be so.
  - It doesn't have to stay that way.  I hope it doesn't.
  - If enough of us speak out, we can change that over time.
  - The smallest steps toward freedom add up.  We don't all need to be
    purists.  We just need to be /aware/, and care.

- And since my primary job now is a Dad, I couldn't help but end it with
  this Dr. Seuss quote from the Lorax:
  - "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to
    get better.  It's not."

** Questions?                                                               :B_frame:
:PROPERTIES:
:BEAMER_env: frame
:END:

Some topic ideas:

  - Free/Libre games my children play
  - Ideals related to software freedom (SaaS, Privacy, Security, Human Rights)
  - Non-free JavaScript for online shopping, banking, etc
  - Employer using non-free software

** Thank You                                                           :B_fullframe:
:PROPERTIES:
:BEAMER_env: fullframe
:END:
#+BEGIN_COMMENT
Some ideas if there are no quesitons:

  - Free games for children
  - Ideals related to software freedom (SaaS, Privacy, Security, Huamn Rights)
  - Non-free JavaScript for shopping
    - SaaS, ephemeral software, reliance on another individual
  - Shopping for nouveau-compatible nVidia card
  - Employer using non-free software
#+END_COMMENT

#+BEGIN_CENTER
Mike Gerwitz

[[mailto:mtg@gnu.org][=mtg@gnu.org=]]

=mikegerwitz@mastodon.mikegerwitz.com=

\bigskip

Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0
International License
#+END_CENTER


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