The Declaration of Software Freedom

FreeDevelopers.Net

14 February 2022


statue of freedom We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal, that they are endowed with certain inalienable Rights, and that chief among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these Rights, and in particular the last, Commercial Organisations are created to serve the People, deriving their just powers from the consent and free choice and will of the People.

That whenever any Form of Commercial Organisation becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Forms of Commercial Organisation, laying their foundation on such principles and organizing their powers in such ways, as to them shall seem most likely to secure their personal autonomy and continued happiness.

Successful Commercial Organisations long established should not be changed lightly or for transient reasons; and experience has shown that humankind is more likely to suffer, while burdens are sufferable, than to right the situation by abolishing the commercial forms to which they have grown accustomed.

But when a long list of abuses persists, pursuing invariably the same objective of entrapping people under monopolistic constraint and control, it is their right -- it is their duty -- to throw off such Commercial Organisations, and to provide new commercial principles under which to live, labor and create.

Such has been the patient sufferance of Software Developers; and such is now the necessity to alter their former Forms of Commercial Organisation.

The history of the current Software Commercial Organisations is a history of repeated injuries, developer division, subjugation and abuse, all having in direct object the establishment of software dominion over the people of the world.

To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

Current Software Commercial Organizations ...
hide source code to keep developers divided, disenfranchised and dependent; tie inferior products to dominant ones; defiantly violate and avoid court orders; quash promising competitive start-ups; leverage dominant products into other, unrelated businesses; carve up markets to eliminate real competition; utilize predatory pricing practices to foreclose competition; commoditize and objectify their customers by making them captive; cause developers to constantly re-invent the wheel by hiding the source code; exercise general thuggish behavior in business dealings; compel weak competitors to destroy their own innovative products to protect established profitable ones; fail to respond to customer requests and needs in a timely fashion; exploit natural "choke-holds" in the economy for their own advantages; manipulate and delay technological progress to maintain supremacy; hide coding bugs thereby jeopardizing stability and security; de-humanize software developers by considering them as "inputs" or "assets"; stifle innovation; "embrace and extend" or otherwise pollute open standards in order to break and appropriate them; use exclusionary contract provisions to enforce censorship over disclosure of bugs and defects; shut-off or block channels of distribution to legitimate competitors; announce vaporware to foreclose adoption of real competitive products; frustrate, taunt and antagonize governmental officials protecting the public interest; truncate choices; create confusion and frustration in users by selling inferior code; take the innovations developed by others as their own; practice differential pricing to punish those that oppose them; misinform and exploit users; use undocumented features as an anti-competitive device; suppress the open, efficient and free nature of the scientific method by keeping the code secret; purposefully break the code of competitors so that there are code inoperabilities across products; prohibit friends from sharing software with friends; coerce their users to fore-go promising competitive technologies; use overly restrictive and exclusionary contracts against weaker competitors; and perform other anti-social, anti-competitive and improper acts to establish, maintain and extend their software monopolies.

In every stage over decades of these oppressions, Software Developers have resisted in the most imploring terms. But our repeated entreaties have been answered only by repeated injuries and mounting constraints.

Executives whose character are thus marked by every act which may be defined monopolistic, are unfit, in the age of the Internet, to be in charge of software law by which all interconnected digital machines will be ruled.

We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their hierarchical structure to extend an unwarranted Monopoly over us and the world's citizens. We have reminded them of the fairness and freedom of our emigration and settlement upon GPL Software. We have appealed to their native reason, justice and magnanimity, and we have continually beseeched them to disavow these commercial predations with regard to the development of software. But they have been deaf to the voice of justice and consanguinity.

We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity of dutiful opposition, and hold them as Enemies in a Philosophical War concerning who shall legitimately govern over digital machines that too soon will loom too large over the lives of all People.

We, therefore, the representatives of Free Software Developers, in FreeDevelopers.net assembled, do, in the name of Developers of GPL Software everywhere, solemnly publish and declare, that Free Software Developers of the world are, and of right ought to be, Independent Software Developers; and that all commercial connection between them and the projects of Proprietary Software is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent Developers, FreeDevelopers.net has full power to levy Philosophical War over the software development paradigm, develop Free and Independent GPL Software, contract commercial alliances, establish e-commerce and communications, and to do all other acts and things which Independent Software Developers may of right do to protect themselves and citizens everywhere from software predation and monopolization.

And for the support of this Declaration, we mutually pledge to each other our sacred honor, our faithful minds and daily labor.

 

All supporters of the Declaration are invited to sign below. Lists of supporters will be regularly published at FreeDevelopers.net, but without email addresses.

Please join the Software Revolution and be counted.

 
Name
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Signed by 2030 supporters of Free Software:

Name Country Date
Richard M StallmanUnited States2022-02-14
Tony StancoUnited States2022-02-14
Radhakrishnan CVIndia2022-02-14
Arun MIndia2022-02-14
Anil Kumar KIndia2022-02-14
Ross MooreAustralia2022-02-14
Daniel E BaumannUnited States2022-02-14
Andrew MitchellNew Zealand2022-02-14
Konstantinos TsakaloglouGreece2022-02-14
Rajagopal CVIndia2022-02-14
Rajkumar SIndia2022-02-14
Vijayakrishnan UIndia2022-02-14
Brahmanayagam KIndia2022-02-14
Lloyd DuhonUnited States2022-02-14
John KyAustralia2022-02-14
This list has been truncated for your browser's convenience;
the full list of signatories is available on a separate page.

Read an explanation of why we chose to model this document on the Declaration of Independence, by Thomas Jefferson (1776).

See also the proposed company structure for FreeDevelopers, which will allow developers to be paid for working on Free Software.

 
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    last edited 2022-02-14 (Valentine's Day), for FreeDevelopers.net
    statue of "freedom" by Thomas Crawford