How relevant are ideologies like GNU and the FSF in 2020?

I don’t want to start any holy wars here - I’m just curious what the community’s thoughts are on this. When I got started with Linux in 199X there was a lot of ideological fervor(?) behind people who wrote and used FOSS and Linux. I kind of feel that over the last 25ish years the Linux and FOSS communities have grown a lot more broad and less, umm… fundamental? Sure, Richard Stallman is still around and the FSF is still banging their drum…but I have to wonder if that type of firebrand Linux/FOSS person is getting rarer. Is this true? If so, is it a good or bad thing? Am I completely off? Somewhere in between? What say you DLN?

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Vaguely i’d imagine these numbers are directly proportionate to the amount of people aware of being screwed X their technical proficiency X available options.

“Screwed awareness” goes up when people hear the good word about FOSS and experience the growing repercussions of using non-FOSS software.

“Technical proficiency” is generally increasing over time and improvements to FOSS are reducing it’s relevance.

“Their options” imho is where the war is fought for FOSS and the dream of FOSS is conveyed by the software itself. Broadly people can push to use, create or fund the FOSS they need with enough ideological fervor but when confronted with objectives such as… getting and keeping a job the options can go away.


In my humble opinion regarding the title of the post:
The ‘ideologies like GNU and the FSF’ are more relevant than ever in 2020 due to the ramping up of the unsolicited data collection by the largest tech. companies , advertisement companies, and governments in the world.

As far as the body of the post goes, I am going to consider overnight and reply tomorrow in a more coherent way than I would tonight…I hope! :slight_smile:


Interesting point. I’ve noticed among my family members their “screwed awareness” has definitely fueled consumer choices. Not in the OS space, yet, but with other products like cell phone providers and ISPs.

Okay. After consideration of the body of the post, I would say that we do need FOSS firebrands more than ever as well but, we also need those said firebrands to acknowledge and support projects with more permissive licenses. In the context of more permissive licenses, they should point out that it is a good move in the right direction but, not the end desired result. …Just my 2 cents :slight_smile:

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I think the ideas (ideals?) are still valid, but that today a more pragmatic approach is appropriate and that the hard line fundamentalism has become counter productive.

I think that’s about where I’ve settled as well. I respect folks like RMS for what they’ve done for FOSS and the GNU project in particular…but sometimes his hard-line stances on things just make me cringe. I feel like that alienates more than it helps these days.