The Declaration of Software Freedom
14 February 2022
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.
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.
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Signed by 2020 supporters of Free Software:
See also the proposed company structure for FreeDevelopers, which will allow developers to be paid for working on Free Software.
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