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Free Software Foundation Endorses First Product Of 2020: A $59~79 USD 802.11n WiFi Card

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  • #11
    Originally posted by Michael_S View Post

    You're attacking a symptom, not the disease here. The core problem is that it's profitable to trade in proprietary software and less profitable to trade in free-as-in-freedom software, and nothing any free software organization does will change that. The FSF isn't causing the problem, they aren't making it worse. They just can't make a difference when all of the fully free, top to bottom free software projects in the world combined (Red Hat, Debian, FSF, SFC, Mozilla, etc...) take in less revenue and donations in a quarter than Microsoft, or Apple, or Google, or Oracle takes in in a month.

    I want free software to be everywhere, but I've realized that it will never happen under capitalism.
    I don't think that's the case. I don't see any proof other than empty words that the movement acts in the interest of society. Talk is easy, talk is cheap. It is a great way to decorate something and make it look better than it really is. That's what they all say, even MS, all its bloatware, spyware and so on - it is all for your benefit too right? Or maybe, just maybe, judge not by what people say but what people do and even more so - the final results. As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    Back then MS was already more or less an established monopoly yet it wasn't that much of a problem for end users, but for other big or emerging players that feared having to operate under its umbrella and allow it to cut into their margins. The FSF movement was started by people who sought to capitalize on that. Sure, Torvalds is not a billionaire, but hey - it is not like the work he actually does merits $10m a month neither.

    I don't think that it was unforeseeable that the GPL virus would backfire and act exactly in the interest of monopolies, if anything, it was the most likely thing to happen. Today it is fairly easy to do professional software aimed at independent end users, I mean from a technical perspective, we know the algorithms, we have the much better dev tools, the obstacles are mostly legal, because everything is patented and copyrighted. This wasn't the case back in the early days. Smaller software makers had genuine software secrets the public hasn't caught up with. The GPL would understandably force those to stay away from Linux just to protect their IP. Only powerful corporate entities, with vastly different software needs could afford the armies of ridiculously overpriced lawyers to manage that.

    Forcing people to give away their hard work is the exact opposite of freedom. That's why if you bother to examine MS's historical stock prices, you'd realize that even if they were a de-facto monopoly even before the FSF was founded, the total worth of the company began climbing up rapidly only AFTER the FSF and Linux, staying rather flat prior to those events.

    The GPL was claimed to be a measure against MS and its monopoly, yet it ended up being the best thing ever in terms of expanding it even after the introduction of alternatives. Which is why today Linux dominates pretty much every field save for the PC - because the FSF neglected, perhaps even betrayed society and regular people, to become a vehicle for corporations that were not MS to siphon wealth out of the general population.

    And in fact, today even MS makes a better use and sees more benefit from Linux than your average Joe.

    Last but not least, the problem is not and has never been with capitalism, but with corporatism. Very different, pretty much the exact opposite thing.
    Last edited by ddriver; 01-31-2020, 10:28 AM.

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    • #12
      Since you don't participate in the FSF forums or other libre software forums Michael, you probably do not understand that the #1 complaint after someone libre-boots an old Thinkpad is that off-the-shelf wifi cards like the ones you describe usually do NOT work.

      A lot of people would be willing to pay $59 or more for a wifi card that is known to work. The ones from ebay that you reference in your post, and that other commenters refer to here, have a very high likelihood of failure in a libre-booted laptop. If Libiquity can verify that this card will work with a libre-booted device, then it is probably worth the extra $45, rather than buying 5 or 6 different cards on ebay for $15 each and hoping that one of them will work.

      Since you are not the intended customer for this device, you should be respectful of the problems others are trying to solve with it that are causing wasted time and money. A turn-key solution, even at 4 times the price, can still be a value for the right person.

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      • #13
        ddriver,

        1. Even if the FSF and the GPL never existed, real competition to Microsoft would never have gone anywhere. Alternate proprietary operating systems like OS/2 and BeOS got crushed anyway. Alternate proprietary office suites like StarOffice (before it was open sourced) and Corel Wordperfect, Polaris office, etc... never achieved any significant market penetration. Google and Apple both managed to compete with Microsoft the same way: get huge money in a market that Microsoft doesn't control (search, iPods) and then use billions to fight Microsoft on their own ground in operating systems and office suites.

        2. GPL "virus"? A virus is something you catch by accident. If you use the GPL without knowing what it means, you're simply stupid. And the whole value of the freedom of the GPL is so that someone else can't build something proprietary on your work and lock you out.


        Originally posted by ddriver View Post
        Last but not least, the problem is not and has never been with capitalism, but with corporatism. Very different, pretty much the exact opposite thing.
        Oh really? Then provide examples of capitalist societies that didn't collapse into corporatism. Oh wait, they don't exist. Every time, some groups get enough resources that they break the market - either with a monopoly, a cabal, or by shopping for legislators. That happened every time, in every capitalist society, since the beginning of capitalism.

        "Corporatism is the opposite of capitalism" makes less sense than "Heat is the opposite of warmth".

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        • #14
          Originally posted by ddriver View Post
          Not to mention that GPL is practically one of the biggest contributor to MS entrapping end users in a monopoly that is very much alive till this day, simply because the smaller makers of end user software opted to protect their product secrets and abstain from supporting an alternative OS even after there was one available.
          That is nonsensical. The GPL protects small businesses. Large businesses doesn't need this protection, so they could just use a permissive license. As an ISV, nothing prevents you from signing a contract with a distributor saying that they receive a GPL license on the condition that they do not distribute any forks of your software and that they have to pay a certain amount of money in order to distribute your software.

          The economical problems with Free Software is the same as the ones journalism suffers from; they wanted to give everything away free of charge in order to capture the market, but didn't have any business model or any plan for how to reintroduce payment in the future. The only consequence of the GPL is that you can only be out competed, but not be EEE-ed.

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          • #15
            Michael_S

            It was exactly GPLs virus like intent that pushes away developers, precisely for the purpose to avoid being infected, doh... Had the FSF adopted a more permissive license, it is very likely that Linux would have attracted a lot more interest from the general population.

            The reason I went as far as to mention "betrayal" is simply because society did indeed assume it had a champion of freedom and openness in the face of the FSF, thus relaxing that "someone is out there to fight the evil monopoly", leaving that crucial task in what turned out to be rather incompetent hands. Maybe if it wasn't for the FSF, a more genuine organization that would have actually acted in the interest of society might have been formed in time.

            Mind you that the FSF only failed regular people. It didn't fail big corporations. Something either works or it doesn't. To me, it is evident that had the GPL been fundamentally flawed, it wouldn't have worked out for nobody. Yet it worked perfectly for the enterprise. Maybe because that was the actual intent, and the rest was sweet, comforting lies.

            In order for a capitalistic society to collapse into corporatism, you need to have a capitalistic society to begin with. I do not recall anything similar ever having existed on this planet. Capitalism has never been implemented, it has always been stuck at a nice sounding buzzword to hide the ugly reality behind it. Much like actual democracy, which literally means "people's rule" and has nothing to do with making a damn near mindless society chose between two or more predetermined, close to equally inadequate candidates, which is a total mockery of democracy.

            Keep in mind, many times the things that make no sense to you do so not because they lack sense to begin with, but because you lack the capacity to make it. Capitalism is supposed to be free market, and corporations together with the just as rotten patent system made sure the general population could not possibly compete. So if you can't see how obstructing free market is the opposite of free market, all I have left to give you is my sincere condolences. Capitalism is a healthy social organism, corporatism is an organism, riddled with humongous tumors.

            jo-erlend

            You might want to check if you are the last person on this planet that still believes that the "free" in the FSF is as in "free beer". FOS software developers are paid as much as proprietary software developers, mostly by companies that use FOS software to make money, in many cases - tremendous amounts of it. This tends to not happen in the cases where you give away stuff for free.

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            • #16
              Originally posted by fguerraz View Post

              Except it won't happen, the FCC mandates closed source firmwares for anything that uses DFS channels.
              There's no FCC regulation that mandates closed source firmware. There's nothing that prohibits anyone from developing open-source support for radio chipsets that work in bands requiring DFS.

              The FCC regulations prohibit selling a card or router that as sold allows the user to turn off DFS. That doesn't prohibit shipping source code. If a user modifies the source code to disable DFS, and operates the product with DFS disabled, the user is subject to penalties for violating the regulations.

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              • #17
                Originally posted by ddriver View Post
                It was exactly GPLs virus like intent that pushes away developers, precisely for the purpose to avoid being infected, doh... Had the FSF adopted a more permissive license, it is very likely that Linux would have attracted a lot more interest from the general population.
                So you mean like the huge marketshare the *BSDs have?

                Marketshare-wise Linux to BSD is like Windows to Linux.

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                • #18
                  Originally posted by calc View Post

                  So you mean like the huge marketshare the *BSDs have?

                  Marketshare-wise Linux to BSD is like Windows to Linux.
                  You mean BSD is trashing Linux pretty much everywhere save for PC?

                  Truth be told, I am not all that familiar with the *BSD situation, which is not to say there isn't a good answer to your question. It is probably timing, as impeded by legal woes or the highly conservative nature of the *BSD design philosophy, or even less user-friendliness than Linux.

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                  • #19
                    Originally posted by kbumsik View Post
                    I don't get this, what's special about this overpriced, ancient card? Neither its schematic is open nor its firmware is open.

                    In terms of driver openness and freedom shouldn't Intel hardware receive this certificate as well?
                    Um, arent Intel cards generally employing firmware? Want "open" card, get Atheros card, AR9380 series can go up to 450Mbps (three antennas), that's probably the fastest "n" WiFi you can get, which is also "open source".

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                    • #20
                      I really hoped for a libre 802.11ac device.
                      ath9k is pretty good but 802.11n is slow.
                      Let's hope there will be a libre 802.11ax card.

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