A Line in the Sand

There’s a new side to choose. It helps that each of us is already on it.

Linux Journal was born in one fight and grew through a series of others.

Our first fight was for freedom. That began in 1993, when Phil Hughes started
work toward a free
software
magazine. The fight for free software was still
there when that magazine was born as Linux Journal in April 1994. Then a
second fight began. That one was against all forms of closed and proprietary
software, including the commercial UNIX variants that Linux would eventually
defeat. We got in the fight for open source starting in 1998. (In 2005, I got a
ribbon for my own small part in that battle.) And last year, we began our fight
against what Shoshana Zuboff calls surveillance
capitalism
, and Brett
Frischmann
and Evan
Selinger
call re-engineering
humanity
.

This new fight is against actual and wannabe corporate and government
overlords, all hell-bent on maintaining the caste system that reduces each of
us to mere “consumers” and “data subjects” in a world Richard Brautigan
described perfectly half a century ago in his poem “All Watched Over By
Machines of Loving Grace”
. You know, like The Matrix, only for real.

They’ll fail, because no machine can fully understand human beings. Each of us
is too different, too original, too wacky, too self-educating, too built for
gaming every system meant to control us. (Discredit where due: we also suck in
lots of ways. For example, Scott Adams is
right that we’re easy to hack with a
good con
.)

But why wait for nature to take its course when surveillance capitalists are
busy setting civilization back decades or more—especially when we can
obsolesce their whole business in the short term?

Here at Linux Journal, we’re already doing our part by not
participating
in
the surveillance business that digital advertising has mostly become, and by
doing
pioneering work in helping the online publishing business
obey the
wishes of its readers.

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