[ubuntu-us-mi] wtf?!

Greg Grossmeier greg at grossmeier.net
Sun Apr 19 20:04:05 BST 2009

On Fri, 17 Apr 2009, t jagoda wrote:

> We should compose a letter to the FSF, sign it en masse, and then deliver it
> in a hazmat suit.

<Warning: Long email>

While I like that idea (and I know someone who has a hazmat suit 
connection) I think we can do something on a little larger scale.  
What is something that tends to produce a lot of chatter on the 
various blog Planets? Memes.  Love them or hate them, they get people 
sharing and talking.

My off the cuff and not completely thought out proposal: a "why I 
don't support the actions of the FSF, but their licenses are cool" 
blog meme. (We may need a shorter name)

But before people start publicly saying I'm a FSF basher and I hate 
freedom: I do really really really like the GPL and the AGPL licenses.  
I am a fan of copyleft, which is why my Creative Commons license of 
choice is CC:BY-SA.  I love the tools, but the ads selling the tools 

<start of comparison between FSF and CC, note: I am employed by CC>

What did the FSF do wrong that Creative Commons did right?  Let the 
fanatics be the face of the organization.  I'm not only speaking of 
RMS, but also the people employed by the FSF who will argue untill 
everyone is blue about "Linux vs GNU/Linux."

Creative Commons, however, is agnostic about how you talk about it, as 
long as it is truthful.  You can say that the NoDerivative license is 
a freedom-hating license, and we'll shrug our shoulders and say 

The one thing you can't do, because the issue never presents itself, 
is say that we are alienating ANYONE.  Creative Commons operates under 
the belief that any kind of change towards freedom is a good change.  
So we work with Google, we work with Yahoo, we work with Apple, we 
even work with Microsoft to get some small changes made (yes, 
Microsoft uses some CC licenses for some textual content).  Hell, we 
even partnered with Nike to promote a more open method of sharing 
patents among corporations (why we are dealing with patents is beyond 
me, we are a copyright/licensing group).

To reiterate my main point: Creative Commons does not alienate any 
party based on some definition of freedom.  It is your content so it 
is your choice.  This is the main difference between CC and the FSF.  
Two organizations that are very similar in mission (to encourage 
free/open culture) and method (provide the licenses to use).

How does this alienation by the FSF happen?  It happens by the FSF 
focusing on "enemies" and not focusing on what really matters; 
strengthening your community.  Simply having a BadVista or 7 Deadly 
Sins of Windows campaign alienates the very people you are supposed to 
court.  This is why you'll never see a BadPublisher or 7 Deadly Sins 
of All Rights Reserved campaign from Creative Commons.  And this is 
why the Creative Commons blog is full of us pimping other projects 
that use Creative Commons licenses.  It's a "look at all this cool 
stuff that use our licenses" blog and because of that it creates a 
very positive energy around CC.

This is also why I like planet.ubuntu.com; I get to see people 
positively pimping cool projects that relate to Ubuntu.

So next time you see someone negatively reacting to a FSF campaign 
take that opportunity to show them the positive side of the Free/Open 
Source Software group of awesome people: tell them about the awesome 
software you get to use, tell them about how cool the people are in 
the community, hell, tell them about the awesome release parties we 
have for each release of Ubuntu, like the one this coming Saturday at 
Corner Brewery in Ypsi (plug!).

Be positive, and we'll win.  Winning is not about defeating the 
"other," it is about your team being supported the best people.

- Greg

[0] And just so we're clear, Creative Commons does approve of the 
Freedom Defined webpage and we even mark two of our licenses as 
"Approved for Free Cultural Works" (the Attribution-only and 
Attribution-ShareAlike licenses). http://freedomdefined.org/Definition

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