If you think of free software as a developers' rights issue, it's a solved problem. Developers can use free stacks everywhere, and they are free to fix anything. Nobody is legally restricted from learning to be a developer. There's a pretty good live ecosystem. Mission accomplished.

If you think of free software as a human rights issue, you need to think about how all people can actually use and benefit, and usability and accessibility and localisation all become integral parts of the problem.



we crossed from the former to the latter as computing went from specialized, optional, adjunct to ubiquitous, required, dependency.

@derwinmcgeary I'd argue that even "just" for developers there aren't free stacks everywhere. In a lot of places yet but in VR for example we're still waiting for the Lynx who "should" be properly open, not stuck in an unrootable Android like the Meta Quest 2. This sounds niche but... what about what we all have in our pockets, mobile phones? Well until recently through e.g PinePhone we had Android (possibly deGoogled) or iOS or... non "smart" phones. It is slowly changing but I feel like trivializing the challenge of having "free" stacks (and I won't touch on proprietary drivers or firmwares) is a bit of shortcut.

@utopiah @derwinmcgeary You also need powerful hardware for phone development, that's an accessibility issue in a way too, because may people don't have the money.

I agree though that usability, accessibility & internationalisation (so that we can do proper localisation) still need improving. The big gap here is developer training. I have lost count how often I had to explain that "likes your post" is not a valid string to translate & how plural forms work in languages that are unlike English.

@utopiah @derwinmcgeary The Lynx may be better than the others but it isn't open source and its hardware designs are based on proprietary chips. This is simply unacceptable for a device that sits between our senses and the world.

@trevorfsmith @derwinmcgeary indeed plus it doesn't exist yet... I mean I'm still waiting for it!

Yet... I mention it because, at least AFAIK, it'd the "least worst" XR HMD commercially available (maybe) on that front.

I mentioned it before but I'd love to see @PINE64 HMD but nothing in the pipelines.

@utopiah @derwinmcgeary @PINE64 Yes, they sent a survey to customers a few weeks ago and asked what they should make next. Of course I wrote that they should make a HMD that boots into Wolvic. 😸


> Nobody is legally restricted from learning to be a developer. There's a pretty good live ecosystem. Mission accomplished.

except, people from Iran are restricted from using GitHub and Docker Hub

probably more than just Iran
and probably more than just GitHub and Docker, but given the convergence on those two systems that's quite significant.

@meena @derwinmcgeary Yes. "developer's rights" was never the mission of Free Software, but even if you consider that issue alone, it's not really solved.


free software has, from the beginning, been about the rights of /users/. people mostly think of it in terms of devs because most of the users of software that know enough about how software works and is made to care are themselves involved in that making

@wren I mean, yes and no. The standard account of the free software movement was about someone with the know-how to patch their own printer driver not being allowed to do so. To a large extent, that's still the target audience. If you don't want to become a skilled computer toucher, it's not for you. You're welcome to try it (it's Free) but don't come in with stupid questions unless you're willing to Put the Work In.

Free software was about the rights of /computer/ users, back when most of those were in universities. That's not where we are now. Someone with no intention of becoming a skilled computer user still has a right to use software that doesn't collude against him on behalf of megacorps, but that guy is out of luck at present, in my opinion.

There are people trying to change that, particularly on here, but they get pushback from people that consider themselves to be politically Free Software.


I'm confused as to how free software can be a HR issue. Like commons licences are offending Microsoft or wtf?

@BruceBee I guess I see the software we use, like other tools, as an extension of our own bodies, our selves. In the same way I wouldn't find it acceptable for the glasses I see through to function only on the basis of a licence agreement with the manufacturer, I think it's fair that our means of productivity and communication shouldn't be solely beholden to commercial interests.

I don't necessarily object to the existence of commercial software, but I definitely object to it being compulsory.

Where that original post was coming from is that if you have skills, you can largely opt out of commercial software, but most outreach from the open source movement looks more like "you too can become one of the chosen skilled people" than "even if you have no interest in computers, your rights and interests matter". I happen to know and love many people who will never become skilled computer touchers.


Got it, yes I was thinking where that would fit into the HRA and copyright law etc but you make good points.

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