Decentralization is not the goal. The goal is information and communication services that respect human agency.

Open source is not the goal, the goal is building a commons of software that is free to study, inspect, and improve.

I feel like, as implementors, as people who spend our lives in the digital crawlspaces focused on the details; its easy to lose sight of the why behind the how. I think important to periodically step back and refocus on why we are doing things the way we are doing. What is the desired world state?

@GI_Jack that's a lot of stuff that I agree with very strongly; but seems to just be slightly tangential to the point I was trying to make.

All I was saying is that we should be a bit cautious in the reification of concepts like decentralization and FOSS and how there are seems to be an attitude that those ideas are in an of themselves goals to aspire to, rather than tools to aid us on our journey toward what we might consider our actual goals. We should be realistic about the strengths and limitations of these things, and we should maintain a degree of adogmatism and flexibility when applying these ideas, or even when thinking about what these ideas even really mean.

@GI_Jack @rgegriff FOSS exists to address this goal, but like you said there are problems that it has no way of fixing - that is why we can't lose the sight of the goal. Because just tagging some code with the AGPL (or whatever) or meeting some rigorous definition is not sufficient. It *can't* be sufficient. And, well, people do get pretty hung on those details.


While decentralization is not the goal, I think there is a very good precedent that if a system CAN be abused it WILL be -- by someone.

So if you build in a central choke point, somebody's going to put their boot on it.

Decentralization is a strategy to avoid that, and there is, I think a justified distrust of any entity that intentionally builds such a choke point into the system.

@TerryHancock @rgegriff on the other side of that coin, if you build a system with a central choke point that gets large enough, someone WILL settle themselves onto that choke point knowing you cant get rid of their influence without bringing down a too-big-to-fail system

@rgegriff I would argue that not just software, but hardware and all tech and social institutions, should be free to study, inspect, and improve. Bigger goal of course

@waterbear @rgegriff imagine if the people who figured out how to turn sheep's woof, flax fibres into fabric just kept it to themselves and let (made) every new generation find new way of making clothes. imagine the…. "innovation"

>Your typical architecture astronaut will take a fact like “Napster is a peer-to-peer service for downloading music” and ignore everything but the architecture, thinking it’s interesting because it’s peer to peer, completely missing the point that it’s interesting because you can type the name of a song and listen to it right away.

@rgegriff could u explain to me the difference between open source and the commons you are describing?

@wingedseahorse basically, open source / FOSS is a method by which to build out a commons. It's a strategy. Unfortunately there are some in the movement that treat it more akin to a religion with strict dogmas and a need to convert or correct people who aren't doing it right.

This is before even considering that the vast majority of FOSS projects are really only useful/valuable to corps profiting from volunteer labor and enthusiasts who have gotten used to using software with severe drastic usability problems.

When viewed in this light, the idea that free software is "saving the world" when it's major outputs are brain toys for nerds and free labor for businesses is almost laughable.

The most tragic thing to me is that if FOSS as a movement was more self-critical and self-reflective, you could imagine a whole library of truly useful, beautiful, accessible software that successfully competes with what's commercially produced; unfortunately with a few notable exceptions that just isn't the case.

@wingedseahorse @rgegriff @rgegriff I mean the church of emacs is real. You must respect St. IGNUsitious

Decentralization and Open Source aren’t goals, they are means by which we (should) try to achieve the goal of human agency.
They are tools that can lead to liberation in the right hands but in themselves, they carry no inherent objective.

@rgegriff Totally agree! Technology is only a tool that allows us address the social problems.

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