Essentially, it’s how we go about liberating the user. There are (at least) two ways we can make the user more free: We can become nannies, or we can assist the user in their freedom. I consider these two different approaches, and the difference is the point.
If we choose to be nannies, we make all the decisions, we enforce those decisions, we might even (and this is the worst of it I think) choose to enforce those decisions in a way that there is little recourse for the user if “we” (developers) make a mistake in our judgment.
Here are some things I would like to have removed:
* Gnome: As much as possible. I guess we are stuck with GTK at least — I LOVE leafpad. I use IceWM as well. Year after year, it’s the best. Qt is good, but will there ever be a Qt IceWM or Leafpad?
* Pulseawful: Not enough is done in other distros to make this monstrosity optional.
* Systemd: Obviously. I refer to it as a weapon against free software.
Some of these technologies are bad for the user and don’t even belong in the free software ecosystem. If they are under a free license, they are free software at least. If they are designed deliberately to limit what else we can do, perhaps the term “Open Source Proprietary Software” (OSPS) applies. I am also ready to promote the term “Punix” for, a reduced-modularity, reduced-user-respecting corporate overthrow kind of design.
We should always have user autonomy as our goal — a goal that is higher than autonomy for developers only. Because there are more users than developers; we want the user to have as much say as possible. The freedom isn’t just for us, we are trying to bestow it on everybody.