On Puri.sm and Librem and kerfuffles

There has been a lot of discussion over the past couple days about Puri.sm’s big announcement of the librem.one suite of services.

Truth be told, I don’t have enough of a strong programming and licencing background to fully understand what all the hubbub is, but here’s what I do know, from the perspective of my knowledge as it stands today.

Puri.sm released a bunch of apps as part of their suite of services. Most (all?) of these apps were forks of open source apps. Why re-invent the wheel, right? That’s what I thought.

But then, people started talking about how they weren’t giving credit to the ‘upstream’, which is a big no-no both from a licensing perspective, but also, apparently, from a “don’t be a dick” perspective. If you’re going to build on the work of others, then you should give that work a shout-out, especially if they gave you that work for free, and you’re now going to charge money for it.

Turns out, credit was given in the README files of the source code, though? But some folks were still upset that it wasn’t made more public where the apps came from. Instead, as far as anyone was concerned, Puri.sm created these apps themselves, from scratch.

I don’t know. Seems like moving the goalposts a bit.

They didn’t give credit!

Ok, they gave credit, but not in the right place, even though the place that they gave credit is where they were supposed to give credit!

The biggest concern I’ve seen bandied about my own timeline has been the purposeful removal of the ‘report’ function. The argument here is that now, with this function removed from this one Mastodon instance, bad actors can create an account, raise all kinds of hell (in various forms), and suffer little to no consequence, as there is no way to report bad behavior to a moderator.

Normally, this wouldn’t be an issue in a self-contained social network. Let all the assholes congregate on one site, and leave everyone else alone, right? I mean, it works for 4chan. Well, in a federated social network like Mastodon, you’re always part of the larger ‘fediverse’. This means that all it takes is one person who follows you on another instance to boost your post, and it can spread like wildfire across the fediverse, so everyone can see how horrible of a person you are… in theory.

My argument, as I stated on Fosstodon:

The more arguments I see on both sides of this librem.one debate, the more torn I am.

Reporting and DMs… you want them disabled? Well, that’s the beauty of open source software – you can modify it and still be part of the community, so long as you follow some basic rules (which they may or may not have done).

This is a federation of instances…

There are 195 nations in the UN. Some of them are assholes.

After all the backlash regarding the removal of the reporting function, they relented and stated they plan to restore the function.

But now people are complaining about how they don’t have a fully fledged plan on how to moderate less than a day after relenting and agreeing to even have the feature at all.

Goalposts = moved.

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