fetteredsoftwarefoundation.org
softwareliberationfront.org

The Software Liberation Front

welcomes you to the opposition headquarters for the

Fettered Software Foundation

"I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."
– Thomas Jefferson
What We're Doing

We are advocates for the freedom of software users and developers, who intend to fight information protectionism (what others might call "intellectual property") regardless of the form it takes.  We're here to inform you about the problem the Free Software Foundation and the GPL have become, and how they actually hinder the Free/Libre/Open Source Software community they claim to serve.  Before you decide we're crazy, please read what we have to say and examine the evidence.  Think for yourself: don't let the Free Software Foundation do your thinking for you (or us, for that matter).  If you find you agree with our message, visit the Help Us page to find out how you can be a part of the solution.

Why We're Doing It (for short attention spans)

The Free Software Foundation wants software to be free.  It wants software freedom primarily from corporate control of our use, modification, and distribution.  That's great.

It pursues that freedom by means of the GPL, which imposes distribution terms on the recipient of software that go well beyond "Distribute it or not, at your discretion."  As a result, very real costs are imposed on anyone that wants to share and use GPLed software.  That's not so great.

The Software Liberation Front wants software users and developers to have the right to use, modify, and distribute the software they possess any way they see fit, no exceptions.  That right is distinct from the ability: you are never justified, in the SLF's view, in using force of law to compel someone to give you something he or she does not wish to give you.  That's the very definition of theft.

In short, the Software Liberation Front wants corporations, Free Software Foundation partisans, and pretty much everyone else to leave you the hell alone and let you get on with the important business of your life.  That applies even if you want to write software for sale without worrying about the "sticky" nature of the GPL, and even if you want to pass out CDs of nifty applications to your friends without having to worry about whether or not you have the complete source tree for the exact versions of every piece of software on the CDs.

Why We're Doing It (for the terminally bored)

The FLOSS community needs a push.  The ideas of Free Software were first brought to the attention of the hacker (in the old, non-criminal sense of the term) culture at large back in the '80s due to the efforts of Richard Stallman.  He proposed the notion that software is meant to be free — free of the fetters of corporate ownership, and free from attempts by corporate vendors to control how its possessors use and distribute it.

This seemed revolutionary to some people, and to others all that was surprising is that they had not thought to advocate it first.  Stallman created the FSF as a focal point for advocacy of this idea, to spread the meme far and wide, and Change The World.  He has even stated that the "Free Software" licensing would be unnecessary if not for copyright law.  It seems noble, in concept.  Over time, however, the frayed edges of the plan started to show through.

The primary tool of the FSF, the GNU General Public License, was increasingly used as a weapon to target corporations maintaining a stranglehold on software and preventing its distribution, study, and modification.  A poorly-defined goal led to the creation of a tool whose implications are poorly understood, and use of that tool as a weapon led to unintended consequences — collateral damage.  The collateral damage in the war for software freedom, it turns out, is the freedom of users and developers.  Two decades later, we're beginning to really feel the effects of those unintended consequences, and it is increasingly important to correct the path on which the FLOSS community finds itself.  That is the eventual goal of the Software Liberation Front.

The Software Liberation Front is a small but growing group of programmers, technophiles, and general-purpose intellectuals who support and value intellectual freedom.  It is our goal to encourage open exchange of ideas, and especially open exchange of software.  The origins of the Software Liberation Front can be traced back to disgust first with the business practices of software industry vendors such as Microsoft and content industry organizations such as the RIAA and MPAA, and second with the counterproductive efforts of extremist organizations such as the Free Software Foundation.

While the restrictive and even protectionist practices of proprietary software vendors laid the groundwork for the dismay and disillusionment of the SLF's founders, it was the zeal and fanaticism of the Free Software Foundation in its single-minded battle against corporate software that ultimately prompted action.  We are not opposed to monkeywrenching the efforts of proprietary software vendors to treat software users like mushrooms (keeping them in the dark and feeding them crap) — in fact, we support such aims.

What we cannot condone is actively hindering grassroots efforts to engage in a free exchange of ideas and software, just to continue a monomaniacal pursuit of anticorporate software policy.  The last straw was when the FSF started threatening open source software projects with lawsuits for the "crime" of being stretched too financially thin to reasonably comply with the onerous demands of the GNU General Public License.  The Free Software Foundation must be opposed as the Trojan horse, the fifth column, the traitor in the midst of the Free/Libre/Open Source Software community that it is.

We hope you will join us in our efforts to liberate software (and ideas in general) from all enemies, foreign and domestic.  Feel free to contact us via our Contact Page if you have any questions or comments.  We reserve the right to publish any correspondence you send to us via this link — see the contact page for privacy policy details.

– Ren and Ogre, Founders

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