8 January 2022
Article published by: Leah Rowe
Date of publication: 8 January 2022
This event of such global importance to libre software projects, and the libre movement as a whole, has made me decide to write an article. The events in question, covered by this article, will occur on 11 January 2022. This is just three days away from today, 8 January 2022 when this article was written, so if you make a decision, you should make it now, today, and prepare. Please continue reading.
If you live in New Hampshire or in one of the neighbouring states, especially Massachusetts, please listen up! If you are further away and unable to reach New Hampshire all that easily, please spread the following news anyway. It’s important. As alien as it may seem to many of my readers, I’m actually writing parts of this article as though someone who has never heard of Libre Software (often referred to as Open Source Software) is reading it, because I expect precisely that such people will read this particular article.
When we say libre software, we mean software that gives people the ability to freely study, adapt, share, use and re-use all code or documentation, so as to enable the free exchange of ideas and, simply speaking, democracy. This is your Linux distros, BSD projects, and accompanying software that typically comes packaged. It is sometimes referred to as Open Source Software. The word libre is Spanish for “liberty”, meaning freedom. With such software, you, the user, are able to control your own computing according to your own priorities, which you otherwise would not be able to do.
The opposite of libre software is called proprietary software. The purpose of Libreboot is to help users avoid proprietary software at the firmware level, whenever feasible.
An important bill is being proposed in New Hampshire, which would enshrine much of what we know as Open Source into law. Here is the proposed bill, technically named “HB1273”:
You can read it for yourself, but here is a paraphrasing of what it proposes:
However, this is only a short summary. You are advised to read the bill in detail. It’s not very long.
At first glance, it may not seem that the bill affects individuals, but don’t be fooled; this is a hugely positive step forward for everyone! If the state is using Libre Software, that most likely means it’ll be used in education aswell.
Although perhaps not immediately and readily apparent, this is a stake in the heart of proprietary software’s current dominance, because it would remove one key element of its attack against us; its abuse of education services.
If education services are using Libre Software, that means they’ll probably have children (the ones being educated) using it too. This is a huge step, and it will result in more Libre Software developers in the future. Libre Software will become more and more mainstream to the masses, which can surely only be a good thing!
Freedom is always superior. The more people that have it, the better off we all are, because freedom is also collective; it relies on others around us also having it, so that we can defend each other. If more people have it, especially if it results in more Libre Software developers in the future, that’s one thing, but imagine if more states like what they see and start to copy the new legislation.
Now imagine that countries besides the US start doing it, inspired by the US’s success (and I think it will be a resounding success).
Imagine a world where such liberties over software are commonplace, actually the default everywhere! Imagine a world where it’s considered as important as the ability to freely learn mathematics, or physics, as required reading material in schools. Imagine a world where any five year old can install a libre operating system such as GNU+Linux, and Computer Science is mandatory in schools from a young age. Imagine filing your tax returns with Libre Software, exclusively. Imagine not even thinking about that, because it became the norm.
Imagine a world where proprietary software doesn’t exist, because it is obsolete; entire generations of people are taught to value freedom, and to staunchly defend it, helping each other learn and grow (and produce better software in the process, with less bugs, because people are now free to do that, without relying on some evil company).
Imagine a world where you’re no longer being spied on because NSA, Apple and Microsoft no longer have backdoor access to your computer. Imagine having the ability to say no, because that’s what freedom is. Try to imagine it!
One of our biggest problem has been simply that schools and governments do not teach people about free computing. The right to learn, the right to read and the right to hack. Our governments are made up of human beings just like you or me, and they can be bought/corrupted; Microsoft, Apple and many others (such as IBM) have done this for years, having the national infrastructures governing us run on their proprietary systems, instead of systems that respect freedom; it is essential that these systems run libre software, because a free and democratic society should expect nothing less. Those companies buy influence and they own your politicians.
All of this could change very soon. Something is happening in New Hampshire, which could redefine our movement and give libre software real power instead.
The reading of the bill is happening on 11 January 2022. This is when you should go to New Hampshire.
Location of hearing: Legislative Office Building in Concord, New Hampshire:
Further instructions for what room to go to, when you get there:
See Nitter link:
(original twitter link: https://twitter.com/cooljeanius/status/1479062316532604930)
Please read both threads very carefully!
YOU NEED TO GO TO NEW HAMPSHIRE IN PERSON!
If you’re able to go to New Hampshire to attend the reading of the bill, please do so! Voice your support of the bill, and say why you think it’s important.
Tell the lawmakers that you demand freedom!
This thread on Twitter is where Eric announced that the reading of the bill is to proceed (original Twitter URL):
If this bill is passed in New Hampshire, more states will likely follow. It will lead to a massively renewed drive to liberate all computer users, and US laws tend to be copied/pasted around the world too.
This bill, if passed, will have a hugely positive impact on Libre Software at a global level.
You must support this bill. If you want to see it pass, please go to New Hampshire on 11 January 2022 to make sure your voice is heard.
The proprietary software companies like Microsoft and Apple will also be there, trying to argue the case against the use of Libre Software.
There is already precedent; please watch this video, which shows how Microsoft (for example) might behave in the reading of the bill. This video is from a discussion within the European Union, several years ago:
They will try to trick the law makers by claiming things such as:
If you’re familiar with the Matrix films, proprietary operating systems like Windows/MacOS are basically like the Matrix; bland, no individuality, no independent thought, everything tightly controlled. By contrast, libre operating systems (such as GNU+Linux distributions or the BSDs) are like zion/io; vibrant, full of life, buzzing with activity, everything loose and free, and everyone is different (a highly diverse culture of people from all walks of life, acting in common cause but nonetheless individuals).
Meanwhile, Windows is known to have backdoors. Microsoft actively informs the NSA about how to exploit them, so that it can break into people’s computers and steal private data.
Proprietary software companies are evil, and must be opposed. They know that if this bill passes, their days are numbered.
Defend freedom! Don’t listen to any of the arguments against it by proprietary software companies; they don’t care about you, and instead only care about profit. They fundamentally do not want you to have any sort of freedom over your own computer, and they actively pursue tactics (such as DRM) to thwart you.
Microsoft and Apple are not your friends. There is no such thing as the Windows community. When you use proprietary systems, you are isolated from everyone around you, and so are they. You are the product, for the proprietary software to exploit at the behest of their developers who only care about money.
However, there is such a thing as the Libre Software community. It is a vibrant community, consisting of millions of people collectively all over the world, and they are all free to work with each other infinitely. It gave us most of the technology that we take for granted today, including the modern internet, where ISPs run libre software almost exclusively!
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