[conspire] Ah, another test subject for this Saturday's CABAL

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Fri Apr 4 13:38:15 PDT 2008

I wrote:
> Quoting Christian Einfeldt (einfeldt at gmail.com):
> > SaaS hopefully will be a wedge that will allow Free Software to gain
> > sufficient OS market share that it can start commoditizing even these
> > non-Free SaaS offerings.
> Software freedom necessitates, among other things, having my data
> reside[1] on machines under _my_ (or my family's, or my close friends')
> control.  That rules out SaaS.

...and therefore, among other things, rules out Twitter, by the way. 
Which I notice you've started hyping.

A thread elsewhere (BALUG, SF-LUG, can't remember) where you mentioned
having won over a fan for your Digital Tipping Point blog caused me to
go visit that blog, a couple of days ago.  (Hmm, same old Drupal look as
almost every other Drupal site.)  And, what do I see?  You running on at
great length about how great Twitter is, and how it's a triumph of open

> I wanted to let you all know that I have, for some time, been
> micro-blogging about DTP related stuff on Twitter. 
> I find that the format of micro-blogging is really good for keeping
> people up to date on the progress of the DTP. Sure, I could micro-blog
> here on the DTP site, but there is something really engaging and
> unique about twitter. It's like pinging a friend occasionally to let
> people know what you have been up to. Maybe I will copy and paste my
> micro-blog here to the DTP pages. But there is a mini digital tipping
> point buried here in this story, because Twitter does, of course, run
> on GNU Linux. Once again, a brilliant new form of communication has
> been enabled by Free Open Source Software, with a minimum start-up
> cost. You might think that Twitter is silly. Even the name is silly.
> But Twitter is serious stuff. If you want to fully grasp the power of
> Twitter,

"A brilliant new form of communication has been enabled by free open
source software"?  But it's _not open source at all_.  Not only are
there no open source Twitter servers anywhere on the planet, but also
the _design_ isn't even documented.

This is a proprietary hosted Web application that gives you no software
freedom whatsoever (unless you count the "Twitter API" stuff that lets
you do mashups), does data mining to steal your privacy and shoves
advertising at you, and you don't even have your own _data_.  The moment
Twitter, Inc. folds up its tents in the night, you literally lose
everything you've created, and can't even in theory put a copy on your
own Twitter instance, because no such things exist.

That's been "enabled by open source free software" only in the rather
twisted sense that it's possible to run on Linux proprietary stuff
designed to _erase_ the progress of the past 30 years of open source.

I don't mind that you like proprietary hosted services, but calling them
a tribute to open source is a bit much.

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