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You can't force freedom

I recently listened to a podcast where Richard Stallman was interviewed. He talked about how playing non-libre games was bad (e.g. when you are playing with friends and kinda forcing them to use non-libre software). Stallman sometimes has very individualistic approaches to systematic problems. In the same way, you can’t blame the working class for consuming from terrible companies, you can’t blame people for using proprietary software. We are stuck in a system controlled by a few, if we consider our only option of fighting back is the boycott of the elite, we will be excluded and live isolated from the rest of the world. Social media, for example, we can avoid Twitter, Facebook and all the other proprietary networks, but the majority of people will still use it and the only change is that our voice won’t be listened to.

It’s like Veganism, you avoid killing animals, but if you go far enough you can see that the only solution for not killing any animal is to live in a Vegan village. Is this the best approach to your cause, though?

For collective problems, the only solution is a collective one. That’s why striking for better working conditions is a better option than changing jobs. We can try to use only libre software, but we cannot blame users for using proprietary software. The blame should be put where it belongs: to the owners of the system, to the masters.

On the other side, my default license for writing code in my free time is either AGPLv3 or GPLv3. I do understand workers whose default license is a proprietary one. If you are doing something specially enterprisy, it may be used by billion dollars companies without them giving a single cent for you. Is it fair?

It’s not individuals who will save the planet from climate change, it’s not individuals who will save the world from proprietary software. Only as a collective can we do anything…

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