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Re: [rain1 at airmail dot cc] Delete abortion joke


On Thu, May 3, 2018 at 3:11 PM, Alexandre Oliva <> wrote:
> On May  3, 2018, Florian Weimer <> wrote:
>> In most cultures, government restrictions on access to information
>> which is specifically designed to enable people to commit illegal acts
>> are not considered censorship.  I don't think you can list abortion in
>> this context without taking sides.
> There's law in the US that makes it a crime to publish information on
> how to circumvent digital handcuffs, you know.  Even if you rationalize
> it and frame it with another term to make it more palatable, it's still
> censorship of information for practical use.
> GNU is the software development branch of the Free Software social and
> political movement.  We don't mind taking sides; in fact, if we didn't,
> it wouldn't be a social and political movement.  Our raison d'être are
> the essential freedoms over information for practical use.

Yes, and we should fight the DMCA, the Berne convention and all the rest.

> The law criticized in the snippet under dispute is one that denies
> people the essential freedom to share information for practical use.  It
> is fundamentally at odds with the most essential core value of our
> movement.

Technically, there is no such law that is being criticized.  It is an
executive order.  Either way, actual organization and activism is
necessary to defeat this executive order: Congress must implement
legislation that counteracts the executive order.  A joke in a
technical manual will not serve as the catalyst to organize the
activism required to secure that legislation.

> I'm very disappointed and baffled that an allusion to a taboo topic
> that's two-levels removed, in a context in which the taboo topic is
> already established and unavoidable, is enough for people to gang up
> against not only the founder and leader of the movement, but also its
> most fundamental value, and to take the opposite side, practicing
> censorship and, by removing the criticism, taking the side of the
> censors that established the denounced censorship law.

I am not taking the side of the censors who established the executive
order that RMS is denouncing.  I am taking the side of people who feel
that the specific content and it's defense are inappropriate.  I am
taking the side of women who say that stuff like this is the reason
why they do not take the software freedom movement seriously.  I don't
have problems with women contributing to my projects, almost all of
them say that working with me is really nice and pleasant -- I suspect
my lack of using jokes like these to highlight issues critical to
women has a lot to do with that.

You all can say you want more women to contribute to free software,
but to do it, you have to walk the walk, not only talk the talk.  For
every step forward that we make with initiatives such as Outreachy, at
least one step is erased with stuff like this.  Which is more
important?  The joke or fixing the actual diversity gap?

> I'd have thought essential core values and the project leader's request
> would trample aesthetic reasons, personal preferences and even the
> discomfort of extending the coverage of a taboo topic.

Making the free software social movement more friendly towards all
helps to advance the movement.  By unnecessarily using discussion
concerning policy around a controversial subject (abortion), the
content can be interpreted as misogynistic.  Content which can be
interpreted as misogynistic, from somebody who has had a rocky, at
best, relationship with women in general (the St. Ignutius routine,
the EMACS virgins incident, the "pleasure cards", the claim that
"voluntary pedophilia doesn't harm children", etc) appearing in
official documentation, is something that is actually extremely
harmful to the mission of advancing software freedom.

> But no, the project has been taken out of the hands of its founder, and most of the
> appointed stewards seem to think it's reasonable to disregard it, to
> betray the core values, to practice the opposite of what we should stand
> for,

We should, as stewards of the free software movement stand for
advancing software freedom and open access to information.  This joke
accomplishes neither and is, instead, actively harmful toward those

And, if dear Leader cannot accept that he is wrong, then he should be
thrown out too: the FSF is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, such
organizations by definition do not have owners but do have a board.
Therefore the FSF and GNU projects are not the exclusive property of

> so that we can have bland, pasteurized, neutral purely technical
> documentation that won't bring anyone any moral discomfort.  Way to go
> to open sores hell: losing the moral backbone, standing for nothing,
> giving up and betraying the essential freedoms.  What a shame!

I have seen the BSD community stand up for plenty of things, including
the right for people to use their software and the right for women,
LGBT spectrum people and other minorities to be comfortable in their
projects.  This is something where the FSF should be showing
leadership.  Instead, on this side, we not only fail to deliver, but
proceed to defend the asinine behavior of it's present leader.  It is
time for the free software movement to do soul searching.  Otherwise
the diversity effort is for nothing.


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