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Feature: Java

Free but shackled: The Java trap

By Richard M. Stallman on April 12, 2004 (8:00:00 AM)

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Editor's note: Stallman's timing with this piece is impeccable, and it dovetails nicely with the questions raised by Javalobby's Rick Ross in this article.

If your program is free software, it is basically ethical--but there is a trap you must be on guard for. Your program, though in itself free, may be restricted by non-free software that it depends on. Since the problem is most prominent today for Java programs, we call it the Java Trap.

A program is free software if its users have certain crucial freedoms. Roughly speaking, they are: the freedom to run the program, the freedom to study and change the source, the freedom to redistribute the source and binaries, and the freedom to publish improved versions. (See http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html.) Whether any given program is free software depends solely on the meaning of its license.

Whether the program can be used in the Free World, used by people who mean to live in freedom, is a more complex question. This is not determined by the program's own license, because no program works in isolation. Every program depends on other programs. For instance, a program needs to be compiled or interpreted, so it depends on a compiler or interpreter. If compiled into byte code, it depends on a byte code interpreter. Moreover, it needs libraries in order to run, and it may also invoke other separate programs that run in other processes. All of these programs are dependencies. Dependencies may be necessary for the program to run at all, or they may be necessary only for certain features. Either way, all or part of the program cannot operate without the dependencies.

If some of a program's dependencies are non-free, this means that all or part of the program is unable to run in an entirely free system--it is unusable in the Free World. Sure, we could redistribute the program and have copies on our machines, but that's not much good if it won't run. That program is free software, but it is effectively shackled by its non-free dependencies.

This problem can occur in any kind of software, in any language. For instance, a free program that only runs on Microsoft Windows is clearly useless in the Free World. But software that runs on GNU/Linux can also be useless if it depends on other non-free software. In the past, Motif (before we had LessTif) and Qt (before its developers made it free software) were major causes of this problem. Most 3D video cards work fully only with non-free drivers, which also cause this problem. But the major source of this problem today is Java, because people who write free software often feel Java is sexy. Blinded by their attraction to the language, they overlook the issue of dependencies, and they fall into the Java Trap.

Sun's implementation of Java is non-free. Blackdown is also non-free; it is an adaptation of Sun's proprietary code. The standard Java libraries are non-free also. We do have free implementations of Java, such as the GNU Java Compiler and GNU Classpath, but they don't support all the features yet. We are still catching up.

If you develop a Java program on Sun's Java platform, you are liable to use Sun-only features without even noticing. By the time you find this out, you may have been using them for months, and redoing the work could take more months. You might say, "It's too much work to start over." Then your program will have fallen into the Java Trap; it will be unusable in the Free World.

The reliable way to avoid the Java Trap is to have only a free implementation of Java on your system. Then if you use a Java feature or library that free software does not yet support, you will find out straightaway, and you can rewrite that code immediately.

Sun continues to develop additional "standard" Java libraries, and nearly all of them are non-free; in many cases, even library's specification is a trade secret, and Sun's latest license for these specifications prohibits release of anything less than a full implementation of the specification. (See http://jcp.org/aboutJava/communityprocess/JSPA2.pdf and http://jcp.org/aboutJava/communityprocess/final/jsr129/j2me_pb-1_0-fr-spec-license.html, for examples.

Fortunately, that specification license does permit releasing an implementation as free software; others who receive the library can be allowed to change it and are not required to adhere to the specification. But the requirement has the effect of prohibiting the use of a collaborative development model to produce the free implementation. Use of that model would entail publishing incomplete versions, which those who have read the spec are not allowed to do.

In the early days of the Free Software Movement, it was impossible to avoid depending on non-free programs. Before we had the GNU C compiler, every C program (free or not) depended on a non-free C compiler. Before we had the GNU C library, every program depended on a non-free C library. Before we had Linux, the first free kernel, every program depended on a non-free kernel. Before we had Bash, every shell script had to be interpreted by a non-free shell. It was inevitable that our first programs would initially be hampered by these dependencies, but we accepted this because our plan included rescuing them subsequently. Our overall goal, a self-hosting GNU operating system, included free replacements for all those dependencies; if we reached the goal, all our programs would be rescued. Thus it happened: with the GNU/Linux system, we can now run these programs on free platforms.

The situation is different today. We now have powerful free operating systems and many free programming tools. Whatever job you want to do, you can do it on a free platform; there is no need to accept a non-free dependency even temporarily. The main reason people fall into the trap today is because they are not thinking about it. The easiest solution to the problem of the Java Trap is to teach people not to fall into it.

To keep your Java code safe from the Java Trap, install a free Java development environment and use it. More generally, whatever language you use, keep your eyes open, and check the free status of programs your code depends on. The easiest way to verify that program is free is by looking for it in the Free Software Directory (http://www.fsf.org/directory). If a program is not in the directory, you can check its license(s) against the list of free software licenses (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html).

We are trying to rescue the trapped Java programs, so if you like the Java language, we invite you to help in developing GNU Classpath. Trying your programs with the the GJC Compiler and GNU Classpath, and reporting any problems you encounter in classes already implemented, is also useful. However, finishing GNU Classpath will take time; if more non-free libraries continue to be added, we may never have all the latest ones. So please don't put your free software in shackles. When you write an application program today, write it to run on free facilities from the start.

Copyright 2004 Richard Stallman
Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article are permitted worldwide without royalty in any medium provided this notice is preserved.

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on Free but shackled: The Java trap

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There is a free java

Posted by: Galik on April 12, 2004 06:37 PM
Yes. All the talk about getting Sun to Open Source java is really a purple kipper. There is already a free version of java. Let's just start using it<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:)

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Re:There is a free java

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 12, 2004 08:18 PM
Why is it that rms thinks he is the *only* person who can understand the world of free software? I am pretty sure that developers using Sun's Java are aware of the ramifications-I know I am<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:-)

I am Free to choose the platform/language for my application, if you don't like it-don't use it. That's FREEDOM!

Regards,

iaebg

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Re:There is a free java

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 12, 2004 09:36 PM
Microsoft Windows and a few such "non free" packages that I rely on cost a total of about $1000. That is what my employer pays for a few days of my services. I figure they cannot come much cheaper, and I figure that the extra weeks work I might put in on "free" software is not really "free".

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Re:There is a free java

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 12, 2004 10:56 PM
Your talking free as in beer, RMS is talking free as in speech, learn the difference.

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Re:There is a free java

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 12, 2004 11:42 PM
It would help if RMS would not monopolize the word 'free' and use it differently than, say, 90% of all other people<nobr> <wbr></nobr>;o)

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Re:There is a free java

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 12:28 AM
so you're saying 90% of all people care more about their pocketbooks than about their rights and liberties? the sad thing is you're probably correct.

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Re:There is a free java

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 04:45 AM
in fact he is not monopolizing it. And he is not using it differently. You are in error. The English word "free" simply has 2 different meanings.

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Re:There is a free java

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 09:28 AM
I agree with you. I have thought for some time it would be helpful if RMS would drop the word free and start using the word liberated . The word free confuses people.



Sean Stidman

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between two microcephalic posts :-)

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 12, 2004 10:08 PM
The answer to your question is provided both by your post (with its reducitonist definition of freedom) and the moron below who proudly annouces that 1000 bucks worth of (louzy IMHO) software from M$ is *his* understanding of freedom.

If there is anybody out there who understands what free software means - its RMS and the people at the FSF.

All others define "freedom" the way Walmart would or, worse, the way the US State Department would. Their definitions are all variations on:

"Freedom is Slavery"!

Guys, for you who are not brainwashed yet: SUPPORT THE FSF!

https://agia.fsf.org/associate/member.py?stage=1

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Re:There is a free java

Posted by: flacco on April 13, 2004 12:26 AM
I am Free to choose the platform/language for my application, if you don't like it-don't use it. That's FREEDOM!


once again with this semantic merry-go-round. i'm sick of hearing this version.


yes, you have the "freedom" of choice to choose non-freedom. but what you end up with is less freedom than you'd have had you chosen a free alternative.


duh.

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Re:There is a free java

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 12, 2004 10:12 PM
Sun has put a lot of work and effort into Java, and I appreciate the fact that it is non-free. I develop on linux for linux, and windows, and solaris, and<nobr> <wbr></nobr>..., because of the cross platform beauty of this language.
This is a gateway that could bring great commercial applications of the future straight to linux on release day. I know everyone wants all thier applications free in the linux world, but commercial industries such as macromedia and adobe are not going to see things this way.
Java not being free, and available on the linux platform could be of great future benefit to linux taking off on the desktop, when people can get all thier applications to run on linux, then they won't have a need for MS anymore, and MS can play as an equal competitor, instead of rule as an evil monopoly.

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Re:There is a free java

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 12, 2004 10:54 PM
Java not being free, and available on the linux platform could be of great future benefit to linux taking off on the desktop, when people can get all thier applications to run on linux,

>> then they won't have a need for MS anymore, and MS can play as an equal competitor, instead of rule as an evil monopoly.

Indeed, maybe they won't need Micro$oft, but they'll need Sun, and by that time $un and Micro$oft are going to be identical (or almo$t).

And that's exactly the right point of Stallman. Don't use Sun's Java if you don't want to be trapped!

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Re:There is a free java

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 04:17 AM
Relying on a language for application support is much different than relying on an operating system, the language will be a vehicle to drive support to linux. True, at this point Sun could bend and pull its linux support leaving us high and dry, but what if vendors did linux support, just for the shear fact that it is no extra effort because of Java.
All these applications that the casual user relies on, and is scared witless to leave behind is already on linux. One or two viruses that month and that user is ready to switch. And once linux gets about a 30% in the market, Sun could pull support at that time, but it will only be cutting it's own throat because Microsoft in the early days has already proven that the application vendors will put support where the money is, and 30% of Desktops is a big market, they will find a way to support linux, and Sun will take a cut for not supporting.
And at this point, no home user is going to pay what sun is going to want for a computer with another OS besides linux on it, leaving MS and Linux as the main competitors, and Java finding itself in the same place as C/C++, a language, not an OS dictator.
Free software can keep using free tools, and languages, they are great, python, gcc, gtk, qt, all of these are great tools, and serve their purpose for gpl'd software. But bottom line is, a commercial company wants a commercial product to develope their commercial application to keep a lid on the source that they worked hard on, so they can make some money, and keep a competitive edge in the market.

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The real Java Trap

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 12, 2004 11:07 PM
Let's just start using it.



Let's not. The real Java Trap isn't that Java programs are running on non-free runtimes, it's that they're Java programs. Java is a closed system, it interoperates poorly at best with other languages and environments, and it spreads the use of interfaces that are dependent on the increasingly cumbersome Java runtime.



I would applaud the possibility that Microsoft has finally driven a stake in Java's heart if not for the fact that Microsoft's replacement isn't likely to remain even as open as Java.

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Re:The real Java Trap

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 12, 2004 11:13 PM
deploring traps and applauding M$ is probably the single most stupid post ever found on newsforge.

BRAVO - you won!

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Re:The real Java Trap

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 12:00 AM
I'm not sure that you can read really...you may have just claimed the prize yourself. The previous poster said he "would" applaud MS, if it weren't for the fact that the replacement would be even less open than Java. He is clearly (to those who are somewhat literate) saying that he is glad that microsoft is killing java, but at the same time he knows that the replacement by MS will be even worse.

Wow, it amazes me. You wouldn't happen to be a slashdot reader would you?

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Re:The real Java Trap

Posted by: Preston St. Pierre on April 13, 2004 12:07 AM
"You wouldn't happen to be a slashdot reader would you?"

That was my first thought, too.

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Re:The real Java Trap

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 01:36 AM
You wouldn't happen to be a slashdot reader would you?

Can we even call him a reader?

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Re:The real Java Trap

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 05:53 AM
I think the lack of reading comprehension that would lead one to think I was applauding Microsoft beats me by a nose.

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Re:The real Java Trap

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 14, 2004 10:04 PM
GCJ-developed native-compiled Java interoperates quite well with C++, thank you very much.<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:-)

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Re:There is a free java

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 12:33 AM
"All the talk about getting Sun to Open Source java is really a purple kipper."

There is a lot of talk about Sun Open Sourcing java but it's not the topic under discussion here.

"There is already a free version of java. Let's just start using it<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:)"

Amazingly enough, RMS says just this at the end of the article.

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Re:There is a free java

Posted by: Galik on April 13, 2004 06:53 PM
Amaisingly enough that's because I'm agreeing with the article<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:)

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Non-GNU Free C compilers...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 12, 2004 11:02 PM
Before we had the GNU C compiler, every C program (free or not) depended on a non-free C compiler



Ron Cain's Small-C compiler was free (as in beer) and widely used in the 8-bit world before GCC was a twinkle in RMS' eye, there were even free (as in beer) operating systems written for it back when GCC was still "entrapped" by the need to run on proprietary hardware and systems.

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Re:Non-GNU Free C compilers...

Posted by: Mark Peter Mansell on April 13, 2004 12:11 AM
But, remember, that Small-C was a quite seriously restricted implementation of C which limited it for many.

That said, it was a language a personally liked a lot and used it both for 8080 and Z80 code as well as a version ported to 68k for the Sinclair QL (QC) which I did do some quite serious work with

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Re:Non-GNU Free C compilers...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 06:02 AM
Small C... I added anonymous functions to the 6809 port I did, just for the hell of it:

i = ${ int j;<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.... return j; }

It was limited, but it was not that far from the pre-V7 language (K&R1) and it had some advantages over the V6 K&R compiler. It was certainly far better than most of the 8-bit languages available at the time, and later versions of it passed the Allman compiler and the V7 K&R compiler in some areas.

Remember that the alternatives were things like BCPL (only one data type, the 32-bit word) and assembler.

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Re:Non-GNU Free C compilers...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 01:13 AM
When Stallman says free, he always means as in freedom, not beer.

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Re:Non-GNU Free C compilers...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 03:01 AM
"When Stallman says free, he always means as in freedom, not beer."

Free-as-in-fsf software is still free-as-in-beer. In the FSF ivory tower, the GNU Deluxe Distribution costs $5000, but in the real world people download it for free. In essence they are receiving a few donations but pretending they're sales.

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Re:Non-GNU Free C compilers...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 06:33 AM
Free-as-in-fsf software is still free-as-in-beer.


Yes, this is true. But this does not mean "Free-as-in-beer is the same as Free-as-in-fsf." You are arguing the opposite point as the original poster.

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Re:Non-GNU Free C compilers...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 06:05 AM
Small C was "free as in speech" as well as "free as in beer". IIRC, it was pretty much a BSD style license.

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Re:Non-GNU Free C compilers...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 03:08 AM
So?

You seem to understand the different meaning of "free" here, so why do you post such a stupid comment while you what RMS is talking about?!

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Re:Non-GNU Free C compilers...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 06:14 AM
Geeze, this is as bad as Slashdot.

You'd think people would google around and find the original code and article, and see that it was free as in speech as well as free as in beer.

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Re:Non-GNU Free C compilers...

Posted by: flacco on April 13, 2004 11:44 AM
Geeze, this is as bad as Slashdot.


again with the anonymous slagging of slashdot. i think it's great.

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Re:Non-GNU Free C compilers...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 09:19 PM
All great things are tragically flawed, just ask William Shakespeare.



Slashdot can be great without this is as bad as slashdot being anything but piquant and precise commentary.

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Free != Ethical

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 12, 2004 11:38 PM
One of the central laws of this universe is exchange. Give and take, in a balance. This is not a question of taste but of observation.
Insisting to receive something without the willingness to give something back in return may be a popular attitude today - but it is just the base of criminality. Be it in some dark alley or in the modern manager's shiny office.
No product has ever been free in the sense that there was no exchange required for its production. I love OSS but I will never fool myself into believing that its creation was free. Somebody DID pay for the food, shelter and clothing of the programmers who write OSS. Somebody DID give something to these programmers so they could do their job.
Sun invested an incredible amount of brilliant work into Java and it is the best platform (it is not just a language!) for developing software today. Java is BY FAR free enough to be used in any meaningful way you please. This is easily proven by the fact that an OSS implementation CAN and DOES exist.

Ethical behaviour would mean to start giving something back to Sun so that this company and its great staff can continue their excellent work!

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Re:Free != Ethical

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 12:29 AM
"One of the central laws of this universe is exchange. Give and take, in a balance. This is not a question of taste but of observation."

Implication is that "Free Software" users don't give anything back. You are a shill and a troll who understands less than enough about open source community transactions. Typical.

"Insisting to receive something without the willingness to give something back in return may be a popular attitude today - but it is just the base of criminality."

Ahh, lets perpetuate a little FUD for our friends, shall we? Free Software users are CRIMINALS, dontcha know. *You* are the criminal, sir. Back in your hole.

"No product has ever been free in the sense that there was no exchange required for its production."

Somehow we all have to figure out how to prevent the confusion between "free" and "Free", which are two VERY different things. The "free as in beer" phrase might have been amusing in the early days, but it *thoroughly* trivializes the "real" meaning of Free. One of those "free's" is going to have be a different word. Evil people have and will continue to exploit the free/Free confusion to the detriment of all.

Think you know what a hacker is? Well, the definition got hijacked by sound-bite media, and a hacker is now a whole different thing than when it was coined, whether you like it or not. Same thing is happening to "Free Software". This needs to be addressed by RMS soon, IMHO, the problem just gets worse as time rolls by.

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Money != Evil

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 04:49 AM
Microsoft may be the Evil Empire, but exactly how many people does development of the LINUX OS employ? Free software is great, as long as you don't program for a living. Luser.

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Re:Money != Evil

Posted by: flacco on April 13, 2004 11:49 AM
Microsoft may be the Evil Empire, but exactly how many people does development of the LINUX OS employ? Free software is great, as long as you don't program for a living. Luser.


well, luser, you could try asking a whole ass-load of IBM developers who spend time on the kernel. and a bunch of the guys Sun pays to develop OpenOffice/StarOffice. Or the netscape/mozilla guys whom AOL used to employ.


the vast majority of people who program for a living do NOT write shrink-wrapped commodity software like OS's and office suites. they write code for their companies, in virtually every business market that exists.


if you're writing proprietary shrink-wrapped commodity software, yeah, you might think about a career change. that doesn't mean it's destroying the profession of writing software - it just means that certain kinds of software will no longer be developed in the proprietary paradigm.

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Re:Money != Evil

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 04:34 PM
"well, luser, you could try asking a whole ass-load of IBM developers who spend time on the kernel."

They are just a handfull, not a whole assload.

"and a bunch of the guys Sun pays to develop OpenOffice/StarOffice"

Se above.

"Or the netscape/mozilla guys whom AOL used to employ"

Yes, they _used_ to employ them.

"the vast majority of people who program for a living do NOT write shrink-wrapped commodity software like OS's and office suites"

No, but they do write propietary software. Nearly all open source developers work for free, they don't get paid for the software, they don't get paid for support, they don't get paid for manuals, they do not get paid for services, they don't get paid for anything.

"it just means that certain kinds of software will no longer be developed in the proprietary paradigm."

There is no other development model where people get paid.

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Re:Free != Ethical

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 16, 2004 03:45 AM
From the original poster of "Free!=Ethical":

While we probably really have a different view of life I do not believe that we are THAT far apart. Misunderstandings might well be the origin of all evil in this universe, so I would like to clarify some points:

Of course exchange does not happen always in the obvious and direct way between two persons only. Picking up the example of the mother who gives birth to a child: First of all I think children normally DO give something back to their parents, but these contributions tend to be overlooked in a money-minded world: A smile, a drawing, an offer to help etc. Not too long ago it was also usual for children to assist their parents when they became old. And finally the child will later on play the role of a mother or father herself and in that way also completes the cycle of exchange.

So obviously I do not think that an OSS user is criminal. There are millions of ways how a user can give something back to the world and probably most of us do. And of course money does not HAVE to be involved to have a valid exchange. A bug report is an obvious example of a user contribution.

On the other hand I also do not think that it is inherently evil to exchange with money. In a sane society money is just a symbol for production and it is handier than barter. The bad reputation that money has stems from the fact that money making schemes were invented, which made people rich without any honest production behind it.

The point I want to make is that Sun DOES have a great history of honest products and that they gave a lot to the world. Java being the most prominent contribution for me. By history and structure Sun depends on exchanging their products for money and I think that it is their right to do so, including Java. I have been very happy with how Sun dealt with and protected Java. As long as they continue on that line I see no need for a change. However, if Sun should ever bite the dust, then I would of course prefer that they open-source Java.

It might be a good idea for RMS to work out practical and applicable definitions for what he wants to express with subtle differences like "free" or "Free" or "free as in beer" etc. To me these terms are not SO obvious.
He might also want to work out a model about how exchange can occur in the OSS world. I think IBM obtained a patent about how to pay OSS developers. Aside from the fact that they got a patent for such a simple idea I think this is a good step.

Again: I love OSS and the people who share their products with the world in this way. But it has to be understood that not everybody is in the comfortable position to do the same. Good companies like Sun deserve the right to operate their business the way they think it is necessary to survive. They created Java and it belongs to them. They do not OWE it to anybody.

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Re:Free != Ethical

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 12:57 AM
"One of the central laws of this universe is exchange. Give and take, in a balance. This is not a question of taste but of observation."

Who gave you life?
and what did she ask in return?

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Re:Free != (Gratis || Free_of_charge)

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 02:32 AM
Get it through your thick skull that Free is not "Free of charge" in this context!
It is FreeDOM
FreeDOM freedom FREEDOM

The exchange is in the code. Someone gives to the world and the ones receiving will give back. Hence an exchange. No money, just code.
You donate your time and in exchange you earn the time given by others. No money, just code.

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Re:Free != Ethical

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 04:05 AM
Like what said here also, but longer, free here means FREEDOM, as in FREE markets (getting stuff for free? NO, freedom to operate) FREE enterprize, etc.

With a term like FREE markets in their vocabulary, you'd think many capitalists who harp that RMS is a communist would recognize what FREE means.

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Economics of software

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 07:43 AM

What exactly are the economics of software? Almost all of the cost is up front, and after the product is good enough to use the distribution costs are negligible and the maintenance costs aren't much higher (ideally approaching zero).


If a piece of software is worth the cost of production to the person who programmed it or to their employer who ultimately paid for the work, then all benefits derived from that work after the sunk costs are recovered is gravy. Giving that software away costs pocket lint, but the benefit that another person/company who uses that given software may be substantial. All benefit others get from using the software is also gravy. Gravy gravy gravy.


If a work of software's value does not exceed its production cost to the producers, then maybe it is worth some fraction of that production cost. That fraction is the reciprocal to the number of times the producers must sell it to break even. The risk of that software's failure is relative to that sales target. What if you can't sell it? What if someone else is duplicating your effort and doing it for less? However, if the value of the software is nearly universal, then it is unlikely anyone can produce software that costs as much as the target market is willing to pay as a whole. This is the rockstar fantasy of non-free software. The bigger the software market, the less significant the costs (ie. distribution and production) are. The risks go up with the gravy. Gravy risk; Gravy gravy gravy risk risk risk.


So, if there is economic gain, does that mean the software is ethical? Why are we throwing ethics into the debate when it is really an economic question of quality and efficiency?

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Re:Free != Ethical

Posted by: flacco on April 13, 2004 12:12 PM
Ethical behaviour would mean to start giving something back to Sun so that this company and its great staff can continue their excellent work!


the free software community has offered to give back the most valuable thing of all - more code, via open source development. sun turned them down.

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gcj

Posted by: mrtom on April 12, 2004 11:40 PM
I _really_ want to start using it but I can't figure out how to get my code going.

Most of the end-user gcj stuff seems to be done by the rhug folks so it is all very rh based. I'm running Debian unstable but I'm not sure whether I'd still need patches.

Can I just download ant and go?

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Re:gcj

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 08:19 AM
# apt-get install java-common

then read:<nobr> <wbr></nobr>/usr/share/doc/java-common/debian-java-faq/index.<nobr>h<wbr></nobr> tml

Regards,

Dale.

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Why is the Free World important?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 12:15 AM
The whole article is about being usable or not in the Free World. What is the importance of having software usable in the Free World. I get the point of how Java is not "free", but why is it important for it to be free?

And how does Mr. Stallman answer the obvious problem of people working for money? I mean his stuff is nice theory, but companies hiring me want to keep their stuff very closed. Should I become a monk and eat grass just to program for the Free World?

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Re:Why is the Free World important?

Posted by: nOOkular on April 13, 2004 12:41 AM
Hey! Another Genius! How cool.

You have have inadvertently discovered that when Moses said "Set My People Free!" He meant that they WOULDN'T HAVE TO PAY FOR ANYTHING EVER AGAIN!

RICHARD -- People are NOT smart enough for the subtle difference between free and FREE. Fix it. New word time.

We are talking Liberties here people, NOT PRICE.

#

Re:Why is the Free World important?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 03:06 AM
> are NOT smart enough for the subtle difference > between free and FREE

I read it and I understood that despite the noble "free world" effort, as in speech, some companies he's supposed to work with do not want it. So if he wants to have a real job and money to eat real food, not grass, the "Free World", as in speech, must be ignored.

Not word problem here.

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Re:Why is the Free World important?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 06:56 AM
I hate to say it, but I think RMS has very nice food on his table.

Just because you can't live for eternity and a day on some code you spent a few monthes creating isn't necessarily a bad thing (disclaimer: I'm a coder, and I'm adapting).

Put it this way, either you adapt to a service based model, or you say hello to your Indian replacement (who in 5 years will say hello to his Chinese replacement ad infinitum...).

And to all the anti-RMS trolls on this forum:
The only reason we have the rights we have today (I'm thinking of life, freedom and persuit of happiness here) is because people, just like RMS believed in them enough to fight for them and make them a reality. RMS is just one of the few today who isn't ready to hand them over to corporations for the latest eye-candy rich application or pop single. Give him the credit he deserves and don't forget that neither Linux nor the BSDs would be where they are today if it wasn't for the GNU tools and the FSF.

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Re:Why is the Free World important?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 01:46 AM
Because he already addressed that in other texts like "Why sofware should be Free (as in speech)."

See the philosophy section at gnu.org for info.

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Re:Why is the Free World important?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 11:10 PM
Some of you guys are so arrogant. One was insulting me saying I can't tell the difference between money-free and liberty-free. And the author of that article assumes everyone knows what he wrote in the past. Wow. That's really bad.

Anyway, thanks for the reference to gnu.org.

PS: I'm not saying you are arrogant, but some other people.

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Re:Why is the Free World important?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 04:00 AM
> And how does Mr. Stallman answer the obvious problem of people working for money?

In a free world people who want free software to be improved pay programmers to do the job. They don't pay them for each copy they will now and ever use of that specific software but they pay for the act of improving it.

But that work won't be lost if the programmer has no interest in developing it further, it remains as free software for everybody to use and to improve. Not so if the programmer were caught by the omnipotent traps of non-free software and would let his programs depend on non-free software, which everybody who'd want to improve or even use that software had to get a license for -- which means paying for it usally.

Traps of non-free software subversively harm free software. These traps suggest programmers to let their free programs to depend on non-free software -- effectively preventing that program from being part of a free world. The best thing we can do is to create replacements of that specific non-free programs which are posing such great risks to free software because many programmes who only live in a partially-free world will get trapped by propriatary software -- and there are still many of them left -- will get trapped.

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Misleading article

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 12:27 AM
What a load of.... This article is at best misleading. Why not point out the ways Java can be used well instead of B&C.

First the standard Java libraries are FREE!

The proprietary stuff is from the IDE. And any non-Free IDE has proprietary libraries if you choose to use them. I do not - never have. BTW - the free stuff is seldom well documented or well tested - IMHO & Experience.

So, any program I write in Java is 'free' capable since it only uses 'core' Java code or GNU-licensed libraries.

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Re:Misleading article

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 01:01 AM
You must have a different definition than the rest of the rest of the 'Free World.' Free means I can modify the source and freely redistribute it. I do not have that freedom with any Sun version of the Java Runtime Environment. GNU Classpath currently implements only a subset of the core libraries, not including Swing or AWT graphical components, so for many projects, it is effectively useless.

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Re:Misleading article

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 06:29 AM
Might want to take a look at SwingWT, a Swing implementation built using IBM's SWT. I think there is now some work on using SwingWT to create a Swing implementation for ClassPath and gcj.

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What about the GNU Trap?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 12:46 AM
The reverse is equally true. I work for a company that builds technology on the Linux platform. Because both the company accountant and CEO insist that we make money (huh, go figure), I spend half my day picking through libraries to make sure they're LGPL, Apache, or BSD compliant, just so we don't accidentally give up all of our trade secrets.

Stallman always complains that source code should be free for all, but shouldn't we really have a choice. If you want your software to be free, that's fine. But don't cost me my job by forcing me to make mine free too. I see the GPL as being almost as tyrannical as a Microsoft EULA.

I release software under the Apache licenses.

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Re:What about the GNU Trap?

Posted by: nOOkular on April 13, 2004 01:08 AM
"I spend half my day picking through libraries to make sure they're LGPL, Apache, or BSD compliant, just so we don't accidentally give up all of our trade secrets."

-- Wow. You are like the only person in the world spending precious time picking thru licensing issues. If only you didn't "have to" leverage someone else's donated code, you would be "free" of all those pesky licensing management issues, is that what you mean? Are you on Crack?

"I see the GPL as being almost as tyrannical as a Microsoft EULA".

-- OF COURSE you do. You are on crack. You are delusional from years of being subjected to the TYRANNY of the Bill of Rights (if you happen to be in the US). Freedom is never Free.

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Re:What about the GNU Trap?

Posted by: Serge Wroclawski on April 13, 2004 01:44 AM
You're, of course, allowed not to use GPL libraries.

What you're actually saying is that you'd like all the benefits of Free Software (the superior code) but you'd like to give nothing back.

Microsoft and other companies will make you sign EULAs to use thier code and charge you thousands of dollars. It's your and your company's choice on how you decide to make money.

If you don't like the terms, don't use the work.

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Re:What about the GNU Trap?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 07:15 AM
>>> but you'd like to give nothing back

No, he's just saying he doesn't want to give ALL of HIS work back to those who claim they are sharing their code free. I can understand demanding bug fixes for code you've shared, but it is unreasonable to demand someone give you the entire source code base to a major commercial application they've written JUST BECAUSE they used a few lines of your "free" code or some library with the wrong license.

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Re:What about the GNU Trap?

Posted by: Serge Wroclawski on April 13, 2004 10:17 AM
Much worse terms are presented by companies like Sun and Microsoft.

If you don't like the terms of the GNU GPL, then don't link to it.

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Re:What about the GNU Trap?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 09:50 PM
It all depends on the circumstances.

* Dual-license possibility?
* Linking with alternative library?
* Use your program internal and don't hand out binaries?

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Re:What about the GNU Trap?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 10:09 AM
> just so we don't accidentally give up all of our trade secrets

You are either stupid or pretending to be stupid. You cannot accidentaly give away your trade secrets by some force embedded in the GPL. You can only do it if _you_ aren't careful enough to keep the secrets secrets.

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Translated into pt_BR

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 01:08 AM
This text was translated into pt_BR at <A HREF="http://www.propus.com.br/news/40" TITLE="propus.com.br">Propus</a propus.com.br>


Este texto foi traduzido para o pt_BR em <A HREF="http://www.propus.com.br/news/40" TITLE="propus.com.br">Propus</a propus.com.br>

#

What about Emacs ?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 01:21 AM
What about your first version of emacs ?

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My freedom is to ignore RMS

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 01:23 AM
It is my freedom as a developer to decide which tools I use, and what to do with the work I create. And I don't take "advice" from trolls like RMS who view every media like usenet or such web forums as write-only tools for their own propaganda.

If I decide I want to make some work of mine free software (which I did in the past, despite people like RMS), then I do it. However, if I decide that I want to hide my work, or just sell me and my service to the highest bidder (to earn money for food), than this is my dammed god given right.

Everyone has a slave master. The only difference between free and non-free people ist that people who are free are their own slave master. As a free person I don't take orders from RMS or other gurus. I don't submit my soul to someone else's ideology. I alone decide what happens to my work.

If RMS would have followed his own advice 20 years ago, there would still be no GNU/Linux. By his own admission he had to take non-free tools to create free software. But now he condems people who do the same? His C compiler - running on a commercial OS - is good, free software written in Java - running on a commercial platform - is bad? How come? Simple, because he says so. Did you hear it? BECAUSE HE SAYS SO! AMEN.

Oh, and he says Sun's Java is bad, all the libraries which are not available on the free version of Java are a trap. He selectively seems to forget that the millions of GNU-specific extension in all the GNU versions of the classic Unix tools tie their users in to the GNU versions of the tools. So this GNU software trap is good, while the tie-in to Java libraries is bad?

Sorry Mr. RMS, this doesn't cut it. The simple and said truth is, you don't like the language. And you are abusing your loyal followers to spread the lies and fight your language advocacy. Oh, you invite people to help you out with the GNU Classpath project. Fine, but why don't you make it easier for people to contribute? Remove the hurdles. Walk the walk instead of fighting language wars.

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Re:My freedom is to ignore RMS

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 02:43 AM
Are you trolling?

RMS is not condemning anyone, he is just asking
for you to make sure your program runs on Free Software platform, or add to Classpath, or both.

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Re:My freedom is to ignore RMS

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 05:52 AM
What you are saying is basically that software licensed under GPL is not really free in the sense that anybody can do whatever they want with it. That is true, and it is intentional. If GPL were what you want it to be, then I could take and application licensed under GPL, make a small modification, and distribute the end result as my own proprietary software. It is precisely the reason why GPL exists to prevent this from happening.

You are free not to follow this ideology. Many people choose to follow it because they see something valuable in that ideology: it creates communities of software writers and users where everybody gets much more than they give, because everybody gets all the software that others have contributed.

Forget about good or bad. RMS never qualifies any software as "good" or "bad." Forget about "gurus." These words smack of religion. Just consider if you want to contribute to the community or not. It is your choice, and it's not even a one-time decision - for every new piece of software you write, you can make a different decision. Isn't that freedom?

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Re:My freedom is to ignore RMS

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 10:38 AM
Yep. I am willing to bet that his point of view would have been different if there exist Mrs.RMS, and 3 RMS Jr.

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Re:My freedom is to ignore RMS

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 02:27 PM
I hope you're joking! Let's just look at the personal life of all the Free Software Developers and see if some of them fit the 'profile' that you're trying to establish here. I'd bet most of them are ordinary people you see at work, school, on the streets, etc.

Although, as you may know RMS is not an ordinary person (and that is partly why FSF has been successful), and I doubt him having a family would have made any difference.

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Computer Programming is a science and a service

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 01:34 AM
You make money by selling programming services, not code. Protecting company "Trade Secrets" you say??? Please, as a consumer of IT products, I want source code accessibility just to "protect my investment" and "protect my interests" in how I will use it. Don't pretend that software coding is actually INVENTING anything. And, yes, that is why software patents are baseless too.

I suppose you think that what you write is really special, too. I've been coding professionally my entire adult life, and I don't consider anything I've written a "Trade Secret". Anybody, anytime, can write anything based on THE REQUIREMENTS of THE NEED. Ala, Linus with the help of his friends rewrote UNIX.

GNU, OSS, Free Software will NOT take from your plate. Get over it.

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Re:Computer Programming is a science and a service

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 02:06 AM
> You make money by selling programming services, not code.

Sure. And with selling my service, my buyer gets the right to do whatever he wants to do with my work (let's ignore the legal details). Hide it, sell it, release it as free software. This is their freedom, this is part of the deal. And RMS has no saying in this.

And when I code something for myself, I reserve the exclusive right to decide what happens with the code. I reserve to hide it, burn it, release it as free software, make toilet paper from it. This is my freedom. And again RMS has no saying in it.

He has no saying when it comes to decide which language to use. If I sell my service, then the buyer has that right. He might delegate that decission to me, or not. When I do something for myself, I have the right to decide what to use. RMS will not dictate what I can or can't use. It is non of his business.

His fscking freedom stops where my freedom begins. And it is my freedom to chose whatever language I like. I am not his inflatable doll.

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Re:Computer Programming is a science and a service

Posted by: Ronald Trip on April 13, 2004 04:48 AM
Ofcourse, everyone is free to choose to release his or her code under whatever license they please. It is a right to choose any other license than a FSF approved one.



Just remember this. As an enduser I have the freedom to shun your software, simply because I disaprove of your choice of license. It's just like that and quite simple, so don't come whine that I steal your livelyhood, because it's simply not true. I just shop at those outfits that licenses their goods the way I like.



It's the consumer that decides to which tune you dance. You can take the freedom to code for yourself, but get another job. Coding might not yield enough if noone takes your proprietary products. It's called free market.

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Re:Computer Programming is a science and a service

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 02:44 PM
right to the point that so may people appear to miss!

I believe it will get to them, once Free Software will become the dominant force in the popular software market!

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Free as in...

Posted by: Sharper on April 13, 2004 02:12 AM
Need a new term for "Free"?

How about, GNU/Free?<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:)

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Other secrets

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 02:37 AM
"we can now run these programs on free platforms."

There are other secrets:
- The code used to specify the CPU, and other chip layouts
- Manufacturing specifications of the circuit boards
- Processes used to make materials used in the hardware

If I could download complete electronic, mechanical, and software designs and code, then build a system at home from raw materials (dirt), that would be more free, I think.

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Re:Other secrets

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 02:55 PM
Yes, that's true. Since people are so scared to loose their control over other people they make things like secrets, which help them to maintain power over those who don't have a secret against them.

So maybe someday, when processing and producing (maybe printing) CPUs would be cheap at home, it will become obvious to people to have a 'free' version of it - that is anyone can print their own modification of a CPU (or any other component) to fit their needs. Although this is highly unlikely due to the expertise needed to produce a CPU at this point.

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Re:Other secrets

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 04, 2004 06:34 PM
You can make a computer from raw materials, if you have enough time. Just follow these simple steps:
1. Mine some iron and/or copper. Since you're not allowed tools, dig by licking the ground
2. Light a fire by rubbing two sticks together, cut down some trees to make it REALLY REALLY hot (cut down the trees by gnawing at them with your teeth)
3. Melt the metals into wire, using sticks as tools. This step may involve burning your hands.
4. Design some transistors (based on telephone relays, they're probably the simplest), capacitors (bent wires), etc
5. Connect the wires in logical ways (remember, one bit of semi-reliable RAM would take about 15-20 transistors). Watch out for crossing wires: they'll break the whole thing
6. Develop some form of input -- a morse-code-like system would probably be best
7. Create a clock by making a wheel which you spin manually (takes some accurate gnawing of a tree trunk). If you're clever, figure out how to use it as a source of power, too.<nobr> <wbr></nobr>...

You get the idea.

Alternatively, just make your own CPU using VHDL and hack at GCC to compile for it.

Both options are completely viable. However, you'll find it extremely hard to create something without standing on the shoulders of others.

#

Rant

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 02:41 AM
This is rediculous. Who the sh*t cares about Stallman's free rants. I just take and use what I want. Get over it.

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Re:Rant

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 03:15 AM
"don't support all the features yet. We are still catching up"

That is practially Stallman's middle name.

For some reason, people will blindly drink someone else's urine if it's packaged as "free drinks".

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Re:Rant

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 03:07 PM
More likely to be Microsoft's middle name. Except they never admit it. They release the product without people knowing how they are still catching up with technology that has been implemented by the Free Software developers years ago (example Mozilla vs. IE).

<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... and go fuck yourself with your 'free drinks' philosophy. For the millionth time: GNU IS NOT ABOUT FREE COST!

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Re:Rant

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 06:17 PM
"For the millionth time: GNU IS NOT ABOUT FREE COST! "

For the millionth time: YES IT IS!

In all practical aspects "free as in speech" is the same thing as "free as in beer". You can't charge for anything that is freely redistributable.

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Re:Rant

Posted by: rawbytes on April 13, 2004 06:56 PM
if you've lived in the world of capitalism you'd probably know that nothing in it is free. One way or another you end up paying for everything. That is why GPL doesn't imply anything about the cost.

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Re:Rant

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 09:45 PM
In all practical aspects "free as in speech" is the same thing as "free as in beer"

1) Untrue. Commercial Linux vendors are an example.
2) Because people haven't used the GPL in such creative ways yet. I can state individual examples where this HAS BEEN THE CASE. Ever heard of... Blender?

"You can't charge for anything that is freely redistributable."

You can. The question is wether you'll make profit. Go to Ebay and search for OpenOffice. Enjoy!

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Re:Rant

Posted by: flacco on April 13, 2004 11:56 AM
Who the sh*t cares about Stallman's free rants.


people who aren't imbeciles?

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Re:Rant

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 09:42 PM
Who the sh*t cares about Stallman's free rants.

You. Because you reply you show you care for the stated opinion.

Other than that, you come with brilliant arguments why you
* find it rediculous.
* just take and use what you want.
* want me to get over it.

I got convinced!!!1111!!1 Thank foo!!!!!!!11111!!1!

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RMS is right; Sun can kill it off

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 03:35 AM
I'm amazed at the negative reception RMS is getting here. While his view of "Free" (as in speech) is scary to some programmers, he makes a good point with regard to Java.

With Sun's closed-source implementations ("free as in beer"), users are dependent on Sun's continued good will. But they've just gotten into bed with MS, who is trying to push C# and other alternatives to Java. So what if Sun goes the way of, say, DEC, and sells out or gives up? Will Java become like the Alpha chip, orphaned?

Open source code can live on when its creator goes away. It can be forked if the creator screws up (witness XFree86). An open-source Java would be guaranteed life. Sun-dependent Java isn't. It's not safe to stake one's future on Sun's good graces; they've already shown that their graces aren't so safe after all.

#

Why Microsoft Succeeds...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 04:49 AM
This has never been a difficult question to answer. Computer users follow the path of least (perceived) resistance. Your computer comes which some version of Microsoft Windows installed? Great, that means only Microsoft Office will work well. What justification does the average user have in switching from a fuzzy and user-friendly OS to something as esoteric as Linux? Most Windows users don't install Microsft's monthly patches, much less get all excited about the latest kernel release.

Sun failed (and I do consider the capitulation of two weeks ago a failure) because they never had a marketing campaign which won the hearts and minds of the average user like my relative who freaks and calls his tech support (me) everytime an alert box comes up on the screen.

Look at Linux; it being free isn't enough to convert the Microsoft masses. The perceived learning is just too much for these minions to bear.

But the tide is changing. Security is becoming of greater relevance to the casual user and Microsoft has plenty of security black eyes. If Sun and other solutions in the anti-Microsoft camp can demonstrate, in the same high gloss, clever tag line style that Microsoft uses, that their products do not pose the same security risk and BTW all these extra cool features, that's when we'll have a fight on our hands.

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Re:RMS is right; Sun can kill it off

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 17, 2004 06:23 AM
With Sun's closed-source implementations ("free as in beer"), users are dependent on Sun's continued good will. But they've just gotten into bed with MS, who is trying to push C# and other alternatives to Java. So what if Sun goes the way of, say, DEC, and sells out or gives up? Will Java become like the Alpha chip, orphaned?


You're out of your mind. Sun didn't get into bed with MS, they took a nice chunk of cash and put themselves in a position better able to effectively compete with MS, especially relative to IBM and HP. And if Sun decided to do away with Java, or merge it with<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.NET, or somesuch other Java-killing act, it wouldn't matter. The power of Java is in the large community of developers and vendors who use it. Sun doesn't have the power nor the clout to radically change the platform without significant consensus from the rest of the Java community.

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Get a life RMS

Posted by: jdude on April 13, 2004 05:50 AM
I remember reading about RMS had to develop systems for his boss before he became a god. So, he made sendmail? And he had other problems.. so he made PERL. Now he is saying write some code in some unfinished project and sitting in some Gates building at MIT.

Well, sorry RMS but some of us cant live like you do and sit around all day and write free code. We have to do other IT stuff like work with real data and applications. Like when RMS gets hemmorroids and sees a doctor, someone (me) has to operate/maintain/improve the systems needed so he can have medical insurance and not have to pay $200 when he gets treatment.

I am not going to write software for my job in some unfinished Java libraries when I can use the real thing. I have real deadlines. RMS has forgotten the real world.. Sad but true.

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Re:Get a life RMS

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 06:41 AM
There is no such thing as PERL. There is Perl, a language. There is perl, a program that executes programs written in Perl. Furthermore, RMS did not write perl, nor did he have anything else to do with Perl.

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Re:Get a life RMS

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 09:45 PM
Which probably explains why Perl is such a good language.

#

Re:Get a life RMS

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 09:56 PM
[anonymous reader] wrote: "[The fact that RMS didn't have anything to do with Perl] probably explains why Perl is such a good language."

So all software not written by Stallman is good software? Perhaps you can enroll in a logic course so you don't shoot yourself in the foot next time you take a swipe at someone in a public forum.

#

Re:Get a life RMS

Posted by: jdude on April 14, 2004 03:17 AM
PERL is an acronym and acronyms like NASA are capitalized. Yes, he wrote Perl if you read his bio.

#

Re:Get a life RMS

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 14, 2004 09:35 AM
No, RMS wrote the US Declaration of Independence (see bio), but he did not write Perl.

#

No Software is Free

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 06:07 AM
In the end all software must run on hardware which is never free. So by this definition no software is free.

Asa

 

#

Not to mention ...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 08:02 PM

... a few other dependencies:



  • The electricity to run the hardware.

  • The building to house the hardware or provide work space.

  • Oh, and the user<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... [s]he has needs too. Food, clothing, shelter, caffeine,<nobr> <wbr></nobr>...


Maybe we could just cointribute all our earnings to a central authority, and they in turn could provide for all our needs, free of charge. Then, we'd really be living in a free world.

#

Re:No Software is Free

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 10:39 PM
[Asa] wrote: "In the end all software must run on hardware which is never free. So by this definition no software is free."

You're misusing the definition of "Free software", not pointing out a fundamental deficiency in the GPL. In brief, software is information, while a CPU is a physical object. An ordinary user can copy software (source code or binaries) without losing the original copy. The same isn't true of a CPU or other hardware.

To borrow from the FSF: A CPU is analogous to kitchen utensils, while software is a recipe. (Electricity, paper, ink cartriges, etc. are the raw ingredients:) A Free software license guarantees (among other things) that you can prepare food the way you like, creating, modifying, and sharing recipes with others. If you publish a recipe, others may modify it, but no one may distribute food made according to a modified version unless they also publish (under the GPL) their modification of the recipe. In this way, the GPL enforces cooperation and prevents theft of recipes. Nothing is said about your right to reverse engineer your food processor, whose design and construction may well be proprietary, nor is food made in your food processor necessarily "non-Free" under the GPL.

Proprietary software is roughly analogous to packaged food that must be consumed as directed on the package, and that is not required to have ingredient labelling. (An important difference is that packaged food cannot be copied in the same way as software.) I leave it to you to ponder why recipes are important, what sort of abuses are likely to occur in proprietary software when there is no accountability to users, and what happens to your favorite locally-made soft drink when the parent company is driven out of business by [large vendor].

Of course, there are issues of Freedom related to your point: What if the CPU has DRM capabilities built in, or will only run signed binaries? What if the blender is putting MSG into all your food? However, these matters do not fall under the GPL.

Cheerio,

TCP/IP Freely

#

a message to RMS bashers and trollers

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 08:37 AM
Hey pals,

Your are being systematically rude and spiteful every time RMS speaks up his mind. I suppose that none of you are Americans, kuz all Americans respects First Amendment rights, correct?

(-: no? oh, I just thought that... but nevermind<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:-)

seriously - RMS is pissing you all of because he has something which you not only lack, but are unable to concieve of: values, morals, compassion, understanding, etc.

That gets you really mad. Instead of talking about techno-crap he discusses the greater issues and, worst of all, actually puts morals above your sacro-saint pocket books.

None of you, I mean *none*, can present a coherent argument. You just spew words like "zealots","gurus", or even "communists" because your hatred does not allow you to even think clearly any more.

I happen to have a great deal of admiration and respect for RMS. I think that all of us have a huge debt to this man who instead of becoming a "Linux millionaire" (like the rest of the Linux gurus) actually spend his time trying to help all those he can think of.

I know, to you this is folly. Others, in better times, called that ethics, honor, or compassion, words which you probably don't even understand.

Keep saluting your flag and think you stand for freedom, but know that you stand for nothing but corporate profits.

#

Re:a message to RMS bashers and trollers

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 08:50 AM
Gimmie a break. RMS is a crackpot, YOU get over it.

#

Re:a message to RMS bashers and trollers

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 10:17 AM
What exactly is the basis of your opinion that RMS is a crackpot? Did you catch him smoking crack? Or are you referring to his desire to make knowledge avaliable to everyone as insane?

If the former, you must know something we don't (i.e. maybe you're in RMS's crack smoking group?). If the latter, you must tell us all why is it that knowledge should be barred from some people. That would be a true breakthrough in philosiphical thought of the 21st century...

#

Re:a message to RMS bashers and trollers

Posted by: flacco on April 13, 2004 12:01 PM
Gimmie a break. RMS is a crackpot, YOU get over it.


RMS is a brilliant visionary whose insights threaten a great many monied interests.


consequently, you will see him slandered both by the stupid, because they're incapable of understanding The Big Picture, and by treacherous partisans, because they have interests to protect.


my guess is you're the former.

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Re:a message to RMS bashers and trollers

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 03:22 PM
You're right, but I think the former is just a punk who doesn't understand anything in life. If someone else, who doesn't fit in their narrow mind definitions, speaks to them of a new idea they call them a 'crackpot'.

I suppose Galileo was a 'crackpot' of his time too. History repeats itself...

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Re:a message to RMS bashers and trollers

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 08:46 PM
Drugs usage was and is very common among artists, scientists, and otherwise creative people. Don't tell this to your government!

* Something in the way... oeoeeee-hoooeeeee... something in the way... yeah... oeoeoeoeoe-hoeoeoeoee... something in the way.... oeoeoeoeo-hoeoeoeoeoee... something in the way, yea..... oeoeoeoeoeoeeoooeeeooeoeeoeo........hoeoeoeoeeoeo<nobr>e<wbr></nobr> oeeeoeoeoeoeoe*

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Re:a message to RMS bashers and trollers

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 15, 2004 03:55 AM
And he will be hailed by the stupid also, for preaching a philosophy of "sharing and caring," when it is nothing but greed in a different form.

http://www.vedanta.org/wiv/philosophy/maya.html


  If you want real philosophy read the Vedic philosophy, and get away from all this bullshit about free software.

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Re:a message to RMS bashers and trollers

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 04:25 PM
"None of you, I mean *none*, can present a coherent argument."

What about the simple fact that people following RMS have simply become free labour for Redhat and IBM? I would bet there are a lot more people in the world beleiving that the use of free labour is a lot more unethical than not releasing source-code.

"You just spew words like "zealots","gurus", or even "communists""

Personally I prefeer nutcase to describe people like RMS.

"values, morals, compassion, understanding, etc"

Depends on how you look at it I guess.

I would call 'values' fanatism in RMS case.

I don't think use of free labour is moral or ethical defendable.

I don't think RMS has any compassion for the millions of people who loose their work in the IT-industry because of lack of healthy businessmodels, open source beeing one of them.

I certainly don't describe RMS as a 'understanding' person. RMS is not interrested in listening to anyone else. RMS wants to outlaw people disagreeing with him (do a google or propietary+law).

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Re:a message to RMS bashers and trollers

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 08:43 PM
"I don't think RMS has any compassion for the millions of people who loose their work in the IT-industry because of lack of healthy businessmodels, open source beeing one of them."

Tough. Adapt or die.

The FSF states various possibilities stating how one is able to -either directly or indirectly- make profit with the GPL. The GPL isn't anti-commercial either, it is anti-proprietary. Futhermore, the GPL doesn't care for commercial or non-profit.

So, if proprietary software is the only viable business model the creative business people can pop up with -- yes then they find the GPL NOT their friend.

Does RedHat or VA Linux ring a bell?

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Re:a message to RMS bashers and trollers

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 15, 2004 03:46 AM
So, it is ethical for RedHat, IBM, Suse, etc to take the work of a multitude of engineers that have contributed to Linux, and package it and sell it... and the engineers gets nothing? What is the morality in that? Before you say that RedHat employees and pays their engineers, take a deep breadth and think about those that do NOT work for RedHat, but whose work RedHat bundes along with thousands of application that makes up RedHat.

Also, I wander what biz model RMS uses to make his money... set the OSS zealots barking down some company until they give him some money to shut up... Could Apple's Darvin project be something like that?

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Re:a message to RMS bashers and trollers

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 10:04 PM
I'm interested to know if you actally have the word Sucker tattooed on your forehead? Can't you see Stallman for what he really is - a bitter, twisted old man who can't get a paid job in a commercial IT outfit and doesn't have a single original idea in his pathetic head.

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Yeh But

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 10:23 AM
All 'free' programs rely on non-free programs that make up the core logic of the CPU.

Where then is the 'free' CPU core to allow true freedom?

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Re:Yeh But

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 03:27 PM
that is a good question. But on the other hand hardware is not software and you cannot copy and reuse hardware the same way you can software, which in my view, defeats it's purpose of being truly Free.

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Where do I get the Free Java

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 11:34 AM
Where can I get the free GNU Java? Is there a version for Windows? Open Office says Java is required. Dooes this mean that OOo is not really free due to the dependency on Java?

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Re:Where do I get the Free Java

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 14, 2004 05:41 PM
Yes, OpenOffice.org requires java for some features but it can also be compiled without java support. But this for example would mean that youŽd loose some features with the main thing lost being the accesibility features and that whould mean to not comply to the US accessiblity act anymore. Depending on your "moral" values you can than choose to value RMS fundamentalistic views of a "free world" ruled by his ideas higher than complying to the accesibility act and choose to use the OOo of the debian linux distribution for example which has been compiled without java support and is not accessible.

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The inconsistency

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 01:34 PM
To sustainably develop free software, a free software economy needs to exist. By design, the GPL makes the creation of this free software economy very difficult. GPL software can be free as in freedom, but since it's not commercializable, the resources that can be devoted to its continued development can not be generated by charging for the software itself. Many have tried to find other ways to generate resources to fund GPL software but it has proven to be quite difficult and practically impossible for independent software developers. It is possible for large companies but again extremely difficult for small, independent software developers.

Due to this, free software will become more and more dependent on innovations from large, commercial software companies that are, due to their own internal highly variegated, self-sustaining software economy, able to allocate money for R&D budgets. For these companies, GPL software is a small part of their overall software economy. GPL software is normally funded by the sale of other, proprietary "high-value" software.

Thus, Sun Corp. has something that GPL code by its nature does not provide -- a way to generate resources to perpetuate itself and fund new innovations. That includes funding very bright people so they can simply think up new, cool technologies. And those cool, new technologies aren't just "sexy", they drive the evolution of software and hardware. He who has the cool ideas controls the future.

Creating these new technologies requires R&D and is something that the free software community needs so that we don't continually rip-off ideas from proprietary software developed at large corporations.

That's why I don't view GPL software as being a full solution to proprietary software -- both must continue to exist. GPL software depends on the existence of proprietary software because the GPL doesn't provide a model for a sustainable free software economy. We cannot all sell hardware like Sun. GPL software is dependent on some kind of external economy (whether that is proprietary software, hardware sales, or a job at the local grocery store to pay the bills) for its existence.

Some have succeeded in creating an economic model based around GPL software, but it is very difficult and not possible to widely duplicate for all different kinds of software. Strategies mainly focus upon "dual-licensing" GPL code, meaning that they make money on non-GPL special licensing and not the GPL licensed code itself. Another model is to charge for support. Not everyone can support themselves by charging for support; I'd claim that the sign of excellent software is when no 3rd party support is required for its operation. This is particularly true on the desktop. Thus, this lack of a viable free software economy in some ways perpetuates the creation of software that is 50%, 60%, 75%, 95% but not 100% complete. Which to me, means that the GPL encourages the creation of good, but not great, software, and it does not encourage quality desktop-centric solutions.

Of course, proprietary software has its own problems. But I do not see GPL software as a direct replacement for proprietary software -- GPL software will remain dependent on proprietary software for its existence and for ideas.

But RMS won't tell you that. Since GPL software is dependent on commercial software for its ideas and R&D, he should at least give proprietary software some credit. He is really biting the hand that feeds him. If he wants this to change, he needs to address the legitimate economical concerns of software developers. Doing so means addressing the legitimate needs of independent software developers to support themselves developing innovative software that benefits society, and for small to medium-sized companies to be able to sustain their work so that they can do their own internal R&D and contribute back to the larger free software community. That way, we will not be continually dependent on extremely large corporations (not all of us want to work at IBM.)
Some software does *require* someone's *full-time* attention (not just spare time) to really be all that it needs to be.

(For those who might be tempted to reply to this and say "Free software means FREEDOM, you dork," please read the GPL again. If a software developer has no means to limit distribution of his code (the GPL ensures this,) there is no way for him to build a working economic model around the distribution of the software. You can sell it the first time, but there is no guarantee that the first person you sell it to won't put your software and its source code on a P2P network and thus eliminate your ability to sell it to anyone else on the planet. Thus sale of GPL software is not a sustainable practice. The FSF.org Web site contains some very misleading statements about this.)

So, the GPL allows one to create free (as in freedom) software which is by its nature nearly impossible to commercialize. This was intentional by RMS. If you love to code software, this is something you should understand (because at some point, you'll want to do it full-time and may find yourself in a challenging situation if you don't want to work for a large company.)

Software freedom is important. Sustainable software development is just as important. If free software development isn't sustainable, then it can't remain free.

Daniel Robbins
drobbins@gentoo.org

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Re:The inconsistency

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 04:13 PM
Thank you for saying the obvious, it's simply amazing that there are people not understanding it.

It's quite tiresome to listen to people yelling troll at anyone just pointing out the clear fact that people making open source software are not paid. There are no service and support market for most open source authors. Few get paid that way, or any other way for that matter.

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Re:The inconsistency

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 05:01 PM
Mr. Robbins

I can understand your concerns. Free Software economy is a prominent issue and it will be as it will change the world of software industry in certain ways during the coming years.

The way you appear to view software industry is quite far from reality. As someone has mentioned already on this forum, the majority of the software being produced isn't shrink-wrapped or boxed programs we buy at a store. The bigger projects with budgets of millions of USD are sold to a specific customer and made custom for that party or project of that party. Thus, it has been for years an industry of a service, not a boxed product/CD/whatever_medium sales as you may see it. The industry as a whole does not depend on the number of copies sold but mostly on the amount of work done for a customer. It may be the other way in the case of Microsoft, however, as they directly depend on the sales of their licenses/copies of their end products (results of 'their work').

The way I see it, the Software Industry will remain as it has been for the most part a service industry. By this I mean, those who need software to perform a certain task will pay for it. Either it is a student who makes a script to calculate results of a function paying with his/her time to make that software, or a lawyer, who needs some software to keep track of his/her time for which he/she bills clients, paying certain fee for a software feature they request in a more general (hopefully Free) product, or it is the case of a large airplane manufacturer company that needs avionics software, paying the full price of development for it since they want it to be custom build for their hardware.

There is nothing free (cost-wise) in this model. It just happens that the cost is expressed in different terms, such as time, effort, and more often money (as it appears to be universal unit of cost measurement). Free Software allows that precise model to exist. In fact it is already working in our economy quite well. Take a look, US military is using Free Software and modifying it the way they want - they're paying for the modifications. That doesn't mean they will redistribute the changes, although if they do they have to use GNU license. Other examples involve smaller companies that implement features themselves using Free Software or hire GNU project members to do it for them. I've done this myself numerous times for small web development companies, adding features to the GNU-licensed content management systems (CMS). Some features I've developed remained with the companies (too 'proprietary' solutions to their problems - but still GNU-licensed), and some have been included into the general distribution of that particular CMS.

As for the case of boxed software, which you seem to be concerned about so much, it will exist mostly free of charge (at least for a regular joe who needs to use it) if the software is general enough (word processors, browsers, etc.). The reason for that is quite simple. If there is general software that everyone needs, it will be there with all the features that people need and the people will develop it. Those who are interested in some kind of cool feature that will revolutionize the tool_of_its_kind will develop it or help someone to develop it. The organizations can be established to control economics of the development of some of those features and will push that development as well. An example of that can be seen today in Mozilla.org and MySQL. In a way, basically this may prevent the infamous case of software that nobody needs.

And as you can see this model is far from being completely free-of-charge and doesn't involve 'hungry programmer' type of scare that people tend to associate with Free Software economics.

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Re:The inconsistency

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 08:39 PM
"GPL software can be free as in freedom, but since it's not commercializable"

It is.

(You don't bother to even state why it accoreding to you isn't, so i don't proof it is. Burden of proof lies at you.)

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Re:The inconsistency

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 10:01 PM
I actually did explain this in my email. GPL software cannot be commercialized in this sense: according to the FSF.org Web site, it is OK to sell GPL software. You are even encouraged to do so. But really, you can only count on selling your software once. The first person who buys it can post the binary and the source code on a P2P network and make it available to the rest of the world for free. You would then be unable to charge a price for distribution of your software anymore.

Now in reality, you would probably sell your software more than once, but at some point (when it starts getting somewhat popular or desirable by more than just a few people) someone will post it somewhere (like on their Web site) for free. This means that you cannot rely on the sale of the software itself to, say, provide for your family.
This is intentional on Richard's part -- he does not want to limit the distribution of software in any way.

You must find other means to generate revenue based on the software. There are ways, and some are listed in the second reply to my post and are legitimate. The point I am making is that most of these ways only work for certain kinds of software, and they are quite difficult to implement in practice, particularly for individuals or small to medium-sized businesses. That is because before you can build a service or "customization" economy around a piece of software, a lot of people need to actually be using it. This could mean years of unsupported, unfunded and severely resource-constrained development effort, and even then your work may not be used by enough people to set up a support or customization economy around the software. This goes back to the point I was trying to make of the importance of *sustainable* software development. If you can't build an economy around the development of software, then in many cases the development of said software cannot be continued.

Larger companies have the advantage because they can budget more strategically than smaller companies and individual authors. They can afford to fund the development of very complex and sophisticated quality free software (that could take 5 or more "man-years" to create) and then still be in business when the software has become popular enough to build a support or customization business around it. Thus, they can justify investing the large amount of resources (time, money) required to create and maintain the software. For smaller authors, it is harder.

Regards,

Daniel Robbins
drobbins@gentoo.org

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Re:The inconsistency

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 14, 2004 04:18 AM
Uhm. Which email?

"The first person who buys it can post the binary and the source code on a P2P network and make it available to the rest of the world for free. You would then be unable to charge a price for distribution of your software anymore."

First of all: you are (still) able to charge since the license permits it. The question is wether it sells or not. A slight but important difference.

----

Now the subjective part.

I think it does, as has RedHat proven.

One reason is people like to pay for something they like even when they can get it for free (beer). This is hard to understand for the average Joe Capitalist but it is possible. Coming from such a "scene" myself i understand how it works. I also understand it isn't _very_ scalable but there are ways to circumvent this.

Now, if you want to _force_ people to pay for software, you enter in a world which is rather the proprietary world. Instead, we the FLOSS world is rather moving to various platforms:

* Gift-economy or gift-economy alike. Donation-ware. Pay afterwards.
* Developers supported by (major) employer to improve software which they use to sell something related.
* Hobbyist project. Hobbyists mainly don't expect to be paid. Hacks. Projects which just pop up because on feels a need for the specific program. And spreads it. Very common.

Those are the main 3 i see.

Another way, which i already introduced, is to provide something together with that Free (as in speech) software. This can be niche software, it can be service, it can be documentation, it can be goodies, it cvan be the official CD [yes some people like to have that, including me], hardware (!), merchandise, dual-license, and other things i cannot think about. I also never say never.

In the end, we need to go to some other model which represents the capitalist model better and (thus) more efficiently. Perhaps that doesn't mean the software is actually GPL, but another model than the proprietary is IMO unevadable. Because with today art, it is made once ran everywhere. That with collaboration makes a model where the end-product is the thing which the developers are paid directly to after satisfaction of the customer (IOW: donation-ware) _unevadable_ though complex.

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Re:The inconsistency

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 15, 2004 03:34 AM
Daniel,

You have made excellent points twice... but there is no point feeding the trolls that have a fixed mindset about how everything should be free. Ussually, these are the very same people that use the free stuff, and want to use other peoples free stuff, but havent contributed to the process. However much you post making your post, there will be many that will point out a RedHat or a Suse or IBM, the biggest beneficiaries of the free work done by the poor engineers that gets a bone thrown at them by the big corps. They will keep posting these so that you eventually get tired and stop responding... that is and has allways been the way.

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Re:The inconsistency

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 10:47 PM
Thank you Mr. Robbins!! This was an excellent rebutle just as you distribution is. Seems as though many have tried to get through to RMS and the GPL way about this issues of "making a living." While it is a good thing to have "free" access, your right<nobr> <wbr></nobr>..... somewhere and someway there is a need to find a economic support. RMS has been wrestling with this himself personaly since leaving MIT in the 1970's. Me thinks he is not being honest as how to "provide" for our families.


      Daniel thanks for your thoughts. It encourging to hear your point of view.

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Re:The inconsistency

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 15, 2004 02:08 PM
First off your basic point is a load of crap, ever hear of professional services? Ohh gee nobody makes money that way, garsh! Like try a bafuckingzillion dollars. Uh like IBM, or HP or a thousands of other geeks of various sizes don't make tons of money off of linux/etc every day.

Why don't you just calm down, and run for president of America on the libertarian party ticket or some other worthwhile thing instead of writing 20 paragraphs about some BS anti-GPL crapola rant. You FUDpucker!

I love people who use words like "sustainably". Gives me boner! I cum every time I read "Foregin Policy" Magazine. Gosh such, slutty phrases like "constitute the framework of system selection" and "regression-estimation of the overall debt burden of the country" AAAAH! squirt!

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Rant...rant...rant...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 04:06 PM
I'm so sick and tired of Stallman and the fanatical gang at GNU, grow up! If you don't like Java, don't use it.

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Re:Rant...rant...rant...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 05:12 PM
grow up yourself and learn how to read!
the java language itself is not the issue, the license is.

RMS is clearly saying that if you like Java and be Free, use gjc, that's all.

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Re:Rant...rant...rant...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 06:24 PM
"the java language itself is not the issue, the license is"

Yes I know but I really don't give a shit anyway.

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Re:Rant...rant...rant...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 06:38 PM
well, then choose the license as you wish. No one tells you to do this or that.

but truly if you don't give a shit, why do you read RMSes posts and then flame him here. Sounds to me like a waste of time if you really don't care.

I think you do care.

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Re:Rant...rant...rant...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 15, 2004 02:54 AM
>I think you do care.

Oh, the OSS luvvyduvvy touch... how nice.

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Re:Rant...rant...rant...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 06:56 PM
Me too. Stallman is a con-merchant albeit a very good one. I say this as both a Linux fan and proprietor of a small UK-based software house. I've always disliked M$ and their products which I've always found to be flash and buggy. We are 100% Linux here. Some machines have paid-for verions on them. Others have Fedora Core 1. We use Linux not because it is free (in either sense of the word) but because it's better than the opposition. If only the same could be said for Stallman's C compiler...

On the subject of GCJ, my interest in using it would be to simplify installation. I have to say though, ATM it's pants. A couple of momths ago I installed a GCJ Tomcat build on a FC1 machine and it was orders of magnitude slower than Sun's JVM and seemed to have a larger memory footprint as well. I'll probably have another look in about 12 months time but given the quality (or rather total absense of) of GCC, I'm not expecting much. ISM that top-flight compiler writers are a very rare breed and Stallman doesn't have any under his command.

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Re:Rant...rant...rant...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 07:44 PM
it's better than the opposition. If only the same could be said for Stallman's C compiler...

his compiler created Linux you asshole!

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If your program is free software, it is basically

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 05:18 PM
<nobr> <wbr></nobr>... altruistic . If you write a non-free software, it is not unethical, it is an exchange of a good for money.

Aside #1: Freedom & Beer
The distinction between "free as in freedom" and "free as in beer" vanishes when you have the freedom to redistribute the binaries to friends as well, which makes it "free as in beer". Even if only the source is freely distributable, then the availability of a handy compiler again makes it "free as in beer".

Aside #2: Money from Training & Support
How ethical is it to write a program that claims to do XYZ and give it for free and charge money from the user for 'training' or for 'documentation' or for 'support'? How about telling the customers directly: "Oh, the software is well written, you are too stupid to use it" ?

Aside #3:
The cost of copying/distributing is now almost negligible. Writing good software which is "FREE" by Stallman's definition, is thus not a good way of making money. It is a good act: to make something for the use of others, without a wish for payment.

Aside #4:
"Software wants to be free."
compare with:
"The table wants to fly."

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Re:If your program is free software, it is basical

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 06:22 PM
"Training & Support"

Well, most of all, who the h*ll would buy support for a handfull of software authors half around the world? If you buy support you buy it from a big company like IBM.

No one buy support from software authors, something open source developers doesn't seem to understand.

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Re:If your program is free software, it is basical

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 15, 2004 02:50 AM
How can they understand that when they are being brianwashed to give away their best work for free, so RedHat or Suse or IBM can make money off the blood and sweat of the software authors that put their energy into developing it? OSS is trying to make "mucisians" out of "software engineers" using the same model of giving the music for free and hoping to hit big. Unlike in the free music model, there is no use for the software engineer after you give away your best work; you can just as well, train a software engineer in India, China, or where ever on the planet and have them do the work for you very cheaply, and pocket away the big bucks. This is exactly what the big greedy corps are doing. We are chasing a mirage if we keep giving our best work for free, hoping some one will pay us back when they make it big.

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Re:If your program is free software, it is basical

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 06:30 PM
"Aside #1: Freedom & Beer"
You've got the freedom right - distribution and modification, but I have to disagree on the 'beer' part. It is not certainly free for those who need the software in the first place. If you need some software and try to do something about it, like help a project it won't be free to you. Just imagine the market without useless crap that you can buy right now but usually don't because there's more useful Open Source alternative.

"Aside #2: Money from Training & Support"
Although you may be right on the documentation and user-friendliness of some Free Software projects, it is still discriminatory to say all Free Software is like that. Far from that. And in fact I know lots of fucked-up proprietary software that neither has good useful documentation, nor can you change it to be a better product. (I know a popular proprietary OS like that - starts with a 'W')

"Aside #3:"
As a Software Engineer, I have to tell you that anything you do to increase module/component reuse and improve design is a good strategy that will increase the quality of your final product.
Free Software is gererally about reuse of code. Since so many people reuse the same code and look at it, the overall design is also typically beter. I know it depends on the case and overall product design, but like I said generally component design is high quality under GPL.

"Aside #4:"
I'm not against proprietary software, but it is at times a pain in the ass to do anything about a product that's released for general use, that is not customly build for me/my company. With Free Software I can do as I wish about it.

and WTF is this? who says:
"Software wants to be free."

and this?
"The table wants to fly."

get a grip of reality.

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Re:If your program is free software, it is basical

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 08:49 PM
The distinction between "free as in freedom" and "free as in beer" vanishes when you have the freedom to redistribute the binaries to friends as well

No. Because it costs energy to make the binaries and provide them in a slick manner. That is the service part.

Also, who exactly said the software was free as in beer before it became free as in speech? Who said there wasn't money involved? Right, people assume that, because people haven't been so clever to use this tremendous ability the GPL provides.

#

free stuff doesn't pay rent and food.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 08:54 PM
After the few last years you could think that people should know that bullshit businessmodels doesn't work, it should certainly be obvious to everyone working in the IT-industry or owners of stock in the industry.

We should all simply drop all kind of bullshit businessmodels, including the ridicolous GPL service-instead-of-products one.

And yes, free as in speech is in all practical aspects the same thing as free as in beer.

Enough is enough.

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Re:free stuff doesn't pay rent and food.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 14, 2004 09:39 AM
Not true at all!

Look at Red Hat. They do not sell any proprietry software that I know of, and they make thousands of dollars every year.

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Re:free stuff doesn't pay rent and food.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 15, 2004 02:40 AM
All these freebee guys want to keep make a living out doing the same thing they did for the past 50 years... why not get out of that service mentality and work on an innovative product and sell that?

#

OSnews trolls

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 10:21 PM
Nevermind, Newsforge! OSnews linked to this this article. I bet their trolls are here all over the place which always happens when articles are linked from OSnews.

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GCJ cum ClassPath

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 13, 2004 10:42 PM
If GCJ and Classpath had been true GNU projects, true in a sense that "GNU is not Unix", they would have clearly chosen to say that "GCJ is not Java".

This would have had so many advantages. If only, the fact that Stallman would today not be lamenting that "they are still catching up".

Playing copycat is always a losing proposition.

"GCJ is not Java", on the contrary, would have permitted to seek out the niches and implement support for those niches first, where the largest advantages and number of developers could have been won over, regardless of what Sun does. It would also have permitted to let things drift where the users themselves want to take it (like Linus does with the kernel), instead of slavishly copying Sun and its glaring mistakes.

I mean, if GCJ is languishing miserably and is continuing to bump along the bottom, that's no one else's fault than the one of the bunch of idiots running that show.

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There is a free C# compiler and .net library

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 14, 2004 12:51 AM
Why don't we go for<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.net with the help of mono? The language is even a little bit nicer than java IMO.

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Re:There is a free C# compiler and .net library

Posted by: rawbytes on April 14, 2004 01:50 AM
if you choose so, why don't you do it. I'm not saying MS can't just pull the carpet from under you with their IP rights to the language someday. Otherwise, why are you looking for some sort of permission, you're the community - do it as you please and find best for you.

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great for "non" programmers

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 15, 2004 02:34 AM
All this free stuff is great if you not a programmer, because you can ride on the backs of the poor programmer who spent time developing it... so if you are a "solutions" provider, get free software from poor tom, dick and harry and put it together to sell and make millions. Good for everybody, but the poor guy who who wrote it gets raped.

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Is this guy nuts?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 15, 2004 03:10 AM
Oh my gosh. Of course, I've heard of Richard Stallman, but this is the first thing of his I've ever read. Is this guy a fruitcake, or what?! Does anyone really take him seriously?

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Re:Is this guy nuts?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 15, 2004 06:03 PM
but of course comparing with you he is nothing.

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Waiting for GNU JAVA

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 17, 2004 04:52 AM
RMS,

We had this great idea for an application.
We sold the idea to our client.
We told them we would do it in JAVA.
That way it would come out fast and cheap.
But after reading your article we started having doubts
We want back to our client.
Told them it wasn't really going to be that cheap.
"How come ?" they asked.
"Well we thought JAVA was free. But it really isn't." we told them.
"How much is it going to cost ?" they asked.
"Well it's not that. Java is free but it is free as in beer, not free as in Freedom." we told them.
"Huh" they said " Is there anything which you can use which is<nobr> <wbr></nobr>..ahem.. free ?" they asked.
"Well there is this GNU ClassPath but it may or may not work. It's not complete you see " we said.
"How long before it is complete ?" they asked.
"Do not know." we said
"Can you guys complete it ?" they asked.
"Heck no. We are not compiler or interpreter writers" we said.
"So what's the alternative?" they asked.
"Well we could write the app in C/C++. There are GNU compilers available for those." we said.
"Ok. Will that be cheap ?" they asked
"Well C/C++ is harder. It will take more time and effort. Also we will have to port it to other platforms.
So it will cost us a little bit more. It won't be free as in beer but will be surely be free as in freedom" we said.
"Also we wouldn't recommend porting it to windows. Window is not free you see" we added
"You know what guys<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.. let's wait . Let's not jump into this right away" they said.

Well that was few days ago.
Somebody told us they are talking with one of our competitors.

But we are not worried. We have our freedom. We will wait.
Best of luck with copying JAVA.
Hope that Gosling guy doesn't come up with some new JAVA stuff before that.

Thanks

NB:
I had this frightening dream yesterday.
I dreamt, that while you guys were still copying JAVA, this company came up with a mind blowing platform, much better than JAVA, and started selling it for money !!

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GPL trap

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 19, 2004 08:13 PM
It's easy to avoid Java trap, but avoiding GPL trap is much more difficult task!

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Where does it end

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 01, 2004 04:57 AM
Richard,


    I've read a few articles you have written and the various views that you have exhibited. I have to ask the question of you, "Where does it end?"


    I mean. So if because Java software depends on Sun libaries it is encumbered such that you are suggesting to avoid it. What is the difference between this and the fact that all the software you write gets compiled to execute on microprocessors who's design and code is unavailable to you? Are you running on GNU microprocessors using GNU LCD panels, typing with GNU keyboard controllers.


      Basically, your argument doesn't carry water. Your a smart guy, why waste your energy on this kind of thing.

SRS

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