Archive for the Software Category

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz is the runner of TechRights, one of the sites I have linked in my blog and that I recommend to everyone. I have a very high respect for his work. But this doesn’t means that I always agree with him. Last days there was a few posts regarding Codes of Conduct (CoC) being pushed by corporate people on Free Software activities. A few days ago I was asking in a comment for the CoCs itself, which weren’t in the posts. And today Roy posted this: http://techrights.org/2019/06/15/jeremy-sands-and-imposed-coc/

    So, I don’t like what I’m reading there. And I don’t believe this is good for Free Software. Let me explain myself with a response to that post.


    (…)

    How can I possibly guarantee you one third of anything, gender, color, nationality, religion, whatever shallow collectivist thing you’re fixated on when I select the talks blindly based upon merit.

    (…)

    Well… that’s pretty easy to answer: you change the way you select the talks.

    Is that it? That’s the whole deal? No, really… is it? Is it just conservatism and/or inability to recognize other people’s values and force?

    There is a debate about freedom on imposed CoCs. That’s fair. But that’s very different from “HOW AM I GONNA GUARANTEE YOUR FIXATION IN MY EVENT”. That “fixation” or “shallow collectivist” is pretty much what we do when we go anywhere talking about free software. It’s a very important thing to respect, and if we call it “fixation” or “shallow collectivist” then we’re hypocrites. Other people’s values MUST NOT give us a crap, or we’re hypocrites: because we take our values very seriously. We would walk anywhere, anytime, calling for free software based infraestructure in whatever event we may be called on, and then refuse to participate otherwise. That’s exactly what this guy is dealing with here, but with other values. He doesn’t like it, and that’s ok. So? Much more than “the problem of CoCs“, all I see here is “why the hell is this guy running a political event“.

    I say it again: Free Software is a political movement. Free Software conventions are political events. Those have political problems. And political problems have a great deal of conjunctural issues. Today is women, tomorrow will be another. We’ll be always dealing with that kind of issues, because that’s what we do. We’re technical people, ok: but we talk about technical issues in their relation with Human Rights and ethical principles. Which always bring problems with Human Rights and ethical principles. If you don’t like that, then it’s you who’s claiming for a safe place, and hence a CoC. “Don’t be an asshole” is a CoC, one that very much any person who likes to be an asshole will say a lot of crap about.

     (…)

     For me what was insightful was the one time when the rubber really met the road. when it comes to Codes of Conduct. And there are no winners in this story. There are only losers.

     (…)

    There’s this problem with what this guy’s saying: it’s all about money. The problem were the sponsors, and not the people. So, the problem is where the hell do you get the money for such an event. And guess what: the people with the money has conditions. OH MY GOD, THAT’S SHOCKING!

    We all have that problem. That’s why we go to work in the first time, every day, forcibly, in order to not die. And, yes, that’s corporate power. But then again, where does our money coming from is about being a political movement. We’re not on OSI’s side of the problem, but on FSF’s. If this were about “OSI planet”, nobody would care less about corporate influence, because is a declarated corporate environment created for taking distance from the FSF and doing business.

    Yet again, looking at the SELF website I can see this other thing: https://web.archive.org/web/20190427042315/https://southeastlinuxfest.org/?page_id=774

     The SouthEast LinuxFest is a community event for anyone who wants to learn more about Linux and Open Source Software. It is part educational conference and part social gathering. Like Linux itself, it is shared with attendees of all skill levels to communicate tips and ideas, and to benefit all who use Linux and Open Source Software. SELF is the place to learn, to make new friends, to network with new business partners, and most importantly, to have fun!

    See that? “Linux” and “Open Source Software”. “To network with new business partners”. No FSF, no political agenda, just “having fun!”.

    Is no surprise that, later, he says also this:

     (…)

     JS: Shocking. Somebody who claims to care about others really only cares about themselves. Sounds like they would make a great politician. (…) I felt he was duplicitous in the nature of his actions versus his proclaimed beliefs.

     (…)

    So, this person is picky about other people’s hypocrisy, and calls that “political”, but has no problem in dodging the issue of the political background behind the event itself, the political dynamics of the mixed communities involved (FSF vs OSI, in the current context of gender and women issues prime time), and from where does it gets money from, like this all were some kind of “common sense” and not complicated issues. Later on he says “I never thought about that” when dealing with gender and ethnics issues, but clarifying that he also doesn’t recognize other people’s terminology. He plays a victim role here, when he has plenty of agency: he just refuses to acknowledge it. The problem here is not about CoC, but about politization. It’s even later explicily stated in this:

    (…)

     And I would like to say that I hope this is the first, last, and only time that I have to be political in the context of this event and organizing it.

     (…)

    It’s the old “let’s not get political and have fun” pop culture in action, which does so well between technical circles (and not just IT). It’s overloaded, everywhere, with people trying to escape from politics by focusing on technical aspects of stuff. “This is about X, not politics”. That’s hypocrital crap most of the time, but absolutely out of place when you talk about free software. And I find it a serious problem between my peers. Let’s just ignore for a second the corporate world, which on-purpose install this anti-political agenda; as politics is causing a lot of anxiety and anger around the globe, people try to reach the things they love and make them feel most secure as if those things were not also political, as if those things were an anchor to a better an safer place. Is not new. And is a huge mistake in rationale, that corporate world knows how to exploit.

    Which bring us to this:

     (…)

     Here’s my real life code of conduct conclusions. The rules aren’t nearly as important as the people in charge of enforcing them. Bad behavior is already illegal. Serious transgressions should be met with legal responses. Do the people in charge have the wisdom to avoid being judge and or jury and or executioner.

     (…)

    And I agree. With observations, but I agree. I like the feeling of freedom, of not being policed around, and I want to share that feeling. I encourage catharsis, as I find it constructive and even healing; most of the time, that imply saying not-so-polite things. I found freedom of speech absolutely vital in any modern society, and every force against it is usually my enemy. I want people to be able to say what they think without fear of being treated like a monster, whatever the specific case. And I abhor speech police: I would never want to be it, or be imposed on anybody.

    But all that doesn’t mean that the freedom is absolute and there are no consequences for our actions. I also value caring over merit, and that means putting some limits. I value other persons personal limits too, and that has some deep implications. I voluntarily lower the bar of my possible freedoms in virtue of caring for others, wich may be harm by my words. And those are ethical principles, like the ones behind the Free Software movement.

    I believe all free software spaces should be dealt, in terms of CoC, more or less, as the quoted “real life CoC conclusions”. And I believe that, when someone comes and say “change that or you don’t get my money”, the proper answer is “go fuck yourself”. But I also believe this person justify it on the wrong premises. Because all that “statistical” and “non political” “information” he puts there will be nothing the day that, statistically, a bunch of morons create some drama on some convention and then, also statistically, the money suddenly goes away and then, also statistically, you gotta change those rules in favor of some corporate crap. That day, the rules should be the same: freedom of speech. But because it’s a political statement, on ethical basis, and not some statistical bullshit.

    As a closing note, there are lots of situations where we would like to be more free but that may not be a good idea. Please take a look at this example:

    When you see it, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Or this other fine example, although longer, from about 03:55, and specially from 20:40:

    So, CoCs are a problem, alright. But by no means the solution is being “non political”: that’s just barely over alienation, if at all. It’s always about the relation between one and others. And that is very much the definition of political.

Propp

| August 6th, 2017

    Agregando un item más a la lista de proyectos que jamás voy a terminar: quiero hacer un sistema de generación de historias. Ya deben existir un montón de estos; no podría importarme menos, quiero hacer el mío. Básicamente un motor de escritura parametrizable. La idea es implentar diferentes niveles de modelos de la lengua, y articular todo eso con lineamientos de escritura a más alto nivel. ¿Con qué objeto? Trollear a la literatura, no mucho más que eso; me gustaría poner bots a escribir textos a nombre de diferentes usuarios, que cada uno tenga “personalidades” diferentes, y que publiquen historias. En mis fantasías más sádicas, me daría por satisfecho cuando aparezca algún perejil a quejarse de que uno de esos usuarios boteados le está plagiando una historia.

    Decidí llamar a este proyecto Propp, en nombre del legendario lingüista ruso que quiso hacer una morfología de los cuentos de hadas.

    Acorde a la etiqueta de formalización de proyectos, le creo un repo: https://github.com/Canta/Propp

WrapsApp

| August 5th, 2017

Tengo un profundo y plenamente justificado desprecio hacia toda tecnología cuyo único fín es quitarle derechos a las personas. WhatsApp es un claro ejemplo de una de ellas.
Se trata de lisa y llanamente de un email con otra UI; uno envía mensajes, ya sea a un grupo o a una casilla, ya sea texto o multimedia. La diferencia tecnológica fundamental es que el email es descentralizado, cualquiera puede montarlo en cualquier server, se puede resguardar de mil maneras, se puede encriptar como a uno le parezca, es ilimitadamente interoperable, es libre, es standard, es un sistema maduro, y sus logros son legendarios; WhatsApp, por otro lado, sólo te permite interactuar con WhatsApp, está centralizado en los servidores de WhatsApp, trackea a la gente, y es activamente incompatible con cualquier otro servicio de mensajería.

Es una de tantas tecnologías que el mundo parece complotar por instalar como el estado natural de las cosas. Pero es dolorosamente soprendente que gente del gremio IT, que no requiere mucho trabajo para razonar estas cuestiones, insiste en levantarlo como si fuera alguna forma de maravilla innovadora.

Hace un tiempo atrás me topé con un alma hermana, acá: link.
En ese texto, Eugene Wallingford, después de leer a D. Schmüdde y Alexander Rakoczy, nos deja su Occasional Reminder to Use Plain Text Whenever Possible. Hoy siento la necesidad de colaborar con la causa.

Hace años vengo diciendo eso de “email con otra UI”. Hoy me parece un buen momento para plantearlo como proyecto. Así nace “WrapsApp”, que no es más que un wrapper de emails pero que luce exactamente igual a la UI de WhatsApp.

Creo inmediatamente un repo público para poder darle lugar al proyecto: https://github.com/Canta/WrapsApp