This is a read-only archive. Find the latest Linux articles, documentation, and answers at the new Linux.com!

Linux.com

Feature: Free Software

RMS: BitKeeper bon-voyage is a happy ending

By Richard M. Stallman on April 25, 2005 (8:00:00 AM)

Share    Print    Comments   

For the first time in my life, I want to thank Larry McVoy. He recently eliminated a major weakness of the free software community, by announcing the end of his campaign to entice free software projects to use and promote his non-free software. Soon, Linux development will no longer use this program, and no longer spread the message that non-free software is a good thing if it's convenient.

My gratitude is limited, since it was McVoy that created the problem in the first place. But I still appreciate his decision to clear it up.

There are thousands of non-free programs, and most merit no special attention, other than developing a free replacement. What made this program, BitKeeper, infamous and dangerous was its marketing approach: inviting high-profile free software projects to use it, so as to attract other paying users.

McVoy made the program available gratis to free software developers. This did not mean it was free software for them: they were privileged not to part with their money, but they still had to part with their freedom. They gave up the fundamental freedoms that define free software: freedom to run the program as you wish for any purpose, freedom to study and change the source code as you wish, freedom to make and redistribute copies, and freedom to publish modified versions.

The Free Software Movement has said "Think of free speech, not free beer" for 15 years. McVoy said the opposite; he invited developers to focus on the lack of monetary price, instead of on freedom. A free software activist would dismiss this suggestion, but those in our community who value technical advantage above freedom and community were susceptible to it.

McVoy's great triumph was the adoption of this program for Linux development. No free software project is more visible than Linux. It is the kernel of the GNU/Linux operating system, an essential component, and users often mistake it for the entire system. As McVoy surely planned, the use of his program in Linux development was powerful publicity for it.

It was also, whether intentionally or not, a powerful political PR campaign, telling the free software community that freedom-denying software is acceptable as long as it's convenient. If we had taken that attitude towards Unix in 1984, where would we be today? Nowhere. If we had accepted using Unix, instead of setting out to replace it, nothing like the GNU/Linux system would exist.

Of course, the Linux developers had practical reasons for what they did. I won't argue with those reasons; they surely know what's convenient for them. But they did not count, or did not value, how this would affect their freedom -- or the rest of the community's efforts.

A free kernel, even a whole free operating system, is not sufficient to use your computer in freedom; we need free software for everything else, too. Free applications, free drivers, free BIOS: some of those projects face large obstacles -- the need to reverse engineer formats or protocols or pressure companies to document them, or to work around or face down patent threats, or to compete with a network effect. Success will require firmness and determination. A better kernel is desirable, to be sure, but not at the expense of weakening the impetus to liberate the rest of the software world.

When the use of his program became controversial, McVoy responded with distraction. For instance, he promised to release it as free software if the company went out of business. Alas, that does no good as long as the company remains in business. Linux developers responded by saying, "We'll switch to a free program when you develop a better one." This was an indirect way of saying, "We made the mess, but we won't clean it up."

Fortunately, not everyone in Linux development considered a non-free program acceptable, and there was continuing pressure for a free alternative. Finally Andrew Tridgell developed an interoperating free program, so Linux developers would no longer need to use a non-free program.

McVoy first blustered and threatened, but ultimately chose to go home and take his ball with him: he withdrew permission for gratis use by free software projects, and Linux developers will move to other software. The program they no longer use will remain unethical as long as it is non-free, but they will no longer promote it, nor by using it teach others to give freedom low priority. We can begin to forget about that program.

We should not forget the lesson we have learned from it: Non-free programs are dangerous to you and to your community. Don't let them get a place in your life.

Copyright 2005 Richard Stallman. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article are permitted worldwide without royalty in any medium provided this notice is preserved.

Share    Print    Comments   

Comments

on RMS: BitKeeper bon-voyage is a happy ending

Note: Comments are owned by the poster. We are not responsible for their content.

Dilemma

Posted by: orv on April 25, 2005 09:35 PM
Richard, I have a confession. I use a non-free application, to help work on producing free software.


The tool I use is IDAPro a heavy duty reverse engineering tool.


I love the product. I think the people that develop it are great. The product even has a clause in the license agreement stating that I can if I want reverse engineer their software.
Should I refuse to use all non-free tools? Even if as in this case they help me immensely in producing other free software?


Yours in a dilemma,
<A HREF="http://www.ivor.it/" title="www.ivor.it">Ivor Hewitt</a www.ivor.it>

#

Dilemma: resolved!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 25, 2005 10:23 PM
Should I refuse to use all non-free tools?

Absolutely.

#

Re:Dilemma

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 25, 2005 11:00 PM
RMS' answer would be that using that tool to craft a replacement for it would be the only acceptable use of it. I'm not saying he's right. I'm just saying.

#

Re:Dilemma -- is RMS right?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 02:14 AM
I am also one of those people who wonder whether RMS is 'right' i.e 'correct' or not.
But time and again he has been proven to be 'correct' and those of us who are willing to compromise, proven 'wrong'.
Maybe it is time to give his approach the default benefit of the doubt.
Eternal coding is the price of freedom?

#

Re:Dilemma -- is RMS right?

Posted by: Mikkel Elmholdt on April 26, 2005 02:37 AM
When exactly has he been proven "right"?

#

Re:Dilemma -- is RMS right?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 03:34 AM
Did you read the article? The use of non-free software has been shown to be a detriment to linux development, when the program's author packed up his toys and went home... leaving us with nothing but a huge inconvenience as we have to migrate to a new source management system.

#

Re:Dilemma -- is RMS right?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 05:25 AM
err, no. someone on rms' side of things made sure that the prediction was self-fulfilling. if rms predicts the demolition of new york and then liberates it with a suitcase nuke, is he a visionary or a murderous nut? you decide.

-p

#

Re:Dilemma -- is RMS right?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 08:37 PM
I have read the article, and a lot of similar articles, making the same unfounded claims. The use of BK has not been shown to be a detriment to Linux. RMS *claiming* that it is so is not proof of anything.

Compare where the kernel is today and try to assess where it would have been, has Linus not used BK in the interim period. If you can *show* (i.e. not just *claim*) that the kernel would have been better off without BK, then you have a case. If you can *show* that the kernel development has actively suffered as a result of Linus using BK, then you have a case.

But you cannot do that, can you?

#

Re:Dilemma -- is RMS right?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 05:39 AM
You're overlooking the detriment caused to free software development by NOT having BitKeeper. Linus chose to use it exactly because he could make Linux better with it than he could with an alternative. If Linus wasn't more productive with BitKeeper, he wouldn't have wanted to use it in the first place.

RMS would have Linus not use BitKeeper at all, because it is nonfree. This is absolutely equivalent to wanting Linux to develop slower, since Linus would not be as productive. Is that really what you want Richard, a worse kernel? Because that's the result of the actions you've advocated.

#

Re:Dilemma -- is RMS right?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 06:54 AM
I think you've forgotten the whole point that RMS was trying to make. Linux development may have been "slower" without BitKeeper, but now it will be slower because of BitKeeper (while a switch is made away from it).

Your argument would also hold that we should all be using Windows (TM), because it generally has better driver support and the widest available software base. There are a lot of people have invested a lot of time (and money) so they don't have to uses systems like Windows (TM).

It's not as easy as "pick the product which makes you most efficient now". Better to pick the product which most aligned with your long term goals and needs and can do the job now.

Sure, the Linux release might have been slowed down (by minutes) if they had to use a different product. But any advantage from this has already been lost.

#

Re:Dilemma -- is RMS right? - probably

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 01:06 PM
As Linus has now created Git, which he says is better suited to kernel maintainence a la Linux, maybe it WOULD have been better if he had done that at the (sorry, I can't help myself) Git-go (;-)

#

Re:Dilemma -- is RMS right?

Posted by: andrecaldas on April 27, 2005 09:33 AM


Yes, oh Great Linus... Let me use the Kernel GRATIS and I will give up on my freedom.




I think you are overestimating the kernel.

#

Re:Dilemma -- is RMS right?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 28, 2005 11:17 PM
sorry for just posting a link, but:

<a href="http://software.newsforge.com/comments.pl?sid=46267&cid=111539" title="newsforge.com">http://software.newsforge.com/comments.pl?sid=462<nobr>6<wbr></nobr> 7&cid=111539</a newsforge.com>

#

Re:Dilemma

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 04:42 AM
I'm not Stallman and can't speak for him, but I usually tend to be on his side on these things, so it seems likely his answer would be at least close to his.

Use the program? OK. If you have to. BUT, beware. Be very aware of how it hurts your freedom. Do not promote it. The more you need it, the more motivation you should have to create a free replacement, as soon as possible.

And don't be shocked if the next version comes out with a new license that leaves you even less freedom. Anticipate, and prevent, by creating a replacement, sooner not later.

#

Re:Dilemma - You can't do that

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 05:44 AM
You shouldn't stop writing free software just because you are using non-free tools. Because,

1. To do so, you must be RMS. And obviously you aren't. It's really tough being RMS.

2. On a bigger scale, if your use of non-free software makes life easy for other free-software developers, you should be encouraged by every means. Afterall, it's community over an individual.

#

Re:Dilemma

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 04:03 PM
I myself don't object to using open source or proprietary software, however what is important to me is the data format. That is why I have have always proposed "open standards" (not to be confused with "open source").

When I create something as far as I am concerned that something I have created is mine and I have the right to know the structure of the format I have saved the information in. If I cannot get this information openly then the company that gave/sold me their software can hold my work to ransom.

It never ceases to amaze me the people and organisations that constantly let their works be fully owned by others.

#

Important Point

Posted by: Charles Tryon on April 25, 2005 09:37 PM
I think RMS makes an important point here. Even if a proprietary program is distributed for "free", the owner still maintains the right to pull the plug if the end user does something that upsets him. I won't try to argue whether Tridgell was right or wrong in what he did -- that's water over the dam now. What this case illustrates though is the ability of a proprietary software distributor to hold another project (free or not) hostage.


Fortunately, in this case, it looks like pulling out Bitkeeper will cause a noticeable delay in the kernel development, but nothing that can't be overcome. The whole situation has been messy, but it is still a lesson worth remembering.

#

never underestimate genius programmers!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 02:03 PM
Monsieur Bilbo..

As you are probably now aware, Linus has already written a replacement.. Git & used it on a release of the <A HREF="http://kerneltrap.org/node/5031" title="kerneltrap.org">Kernel</a kerneltrap.org>. (caps for the true believers! (;-))

Would that MS were that fast!!

<A HREF="http://news.zdnet.co.uk/software/windows/0,39020396,39196292,00.htm" title="zdnet.co.uk">"Microsoft has released its first full 64-bit version of Windows, two years after 64-bit chips (& 64 bit Linux(1)) first hit the market"</a zdnet.co.uk>

(1) my addition (;-)

#

Important Point-Open data.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 03:32 PM
"I think RMS makes an important point here. Even if a proprietary program is distributed for "free", the owner still maintains the right to pull the plug if the end user does something that upsets him."

An open file format would have achieved the same effect. Closed verses open software is a red herring.

#

Right on..

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 25, 2005 09:42 PM
Right on, Richard.. totally agree here.

#

I think

Posted by: James M. Susanka on April 25, 2005 09:42 PM
McVoy overreacted to the whole thing. So some the developers were going to create a compatible client so they could connect to his proprietary software.

Big fricken deal - I use cvs for everything I personally use - it just suits my needs.

Now instead of McVoy still getting free advertisement he has created a rift and is not getting the support of the linux open source folks.

Umm - I wonder who looses in that proposition?

#

I disagree

Posted by: Moulinneuf on April 25, 2005 09:59 PM
I disagree , not on the context or the text , but in the end result , we loose , I would much prefer to see Bitkeeper join the rank of so many software that where freed or changed there license to the GNU/GPL.

Someone like Red Hat should try to buy the company and software and free it , there is no point in this day and age to keep or make software proprietary.

This in my opinion would be a real victory.

#

Sadly...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 12:29 AM
...you're probably never going to see that, and it's not going to be because of what happened. BitKeeper's not going to be a "victory" of that sort, probably ever, because of the person involved with it's making. There's a reason why RMS says what he says about Larry McVoy...

#

Re:I disagree

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 07:22 AM
Have you seen any of the posts McVoy made to LKML?

He has threatened for years to prevent allowing interoperability. By changing protocols, or encrypting them, and so on.

Now, finally, he's followed through. He was never an ally, RMS saw it, and said so many times.

Now he's proven correct (again) and people are still disagreeing.

McVoy has no interest in creating Free Software, nor in advancing Open Source - that much has been obvious for years. He claimed to be an advocate, but at every turn threatened sabotage. Now he's done it for real - and so many are surprised.

#

One Other Freedom...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 25, 2005 10:11 PM
bears mentioning in this context: the right to use whatever software you please without constant harping buy busybodies like RMS. Using closed source software is almost always a bad choice, I am not running any on the machine I'm writing this on. Contrary to RMS' assertions there are some times (be they ever so few and far between) when it makes more sense to run closed source. Real freedom means people are free to choose what they deem in their sole opinion to be in their best interests without having their choices dictated by RMS or closed source owners.

#

In other words,

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 25, 2005 10:25 PM
we should be free to give up our freedoms, and no one else should force us to stay free if we don't want to be. Amen to that.

#

Re:In other words,

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 25, 2005 11:23 PM
You probably don't realize how shortsighted that is.

The thing is that many of those who "give up their freedoms" as you put it don't give it up because they all of a sudden want to be "slaves", but because it is more convinient to them *at that moment*. Such *choice* is bound to give you a painful payback in the future.

You will suffer the consequences of your own choice. It's how the world functions: action and reaction.

So, what is wrong with someone constantly trying to persuade you not to do something that will bring you to such a situation? What is wrong with someone trying to save you from your own actions?

To kill yourself is also a choice, but you'll end up dead! What is wrong with someone trying to persuade you to spare your life and continue living??

It is your choice indeed - but according to your choice there will be consequences - those which free software movement tries to prevent, by providing you with a better choice and persuading you to accept it.

Thank you
Danijel Orsolic

#

Re:In other words,

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 12:27 AM
What is wrong with someone trying to save you from your own actions?

The audacity of this statement and many of RMS' statements is what gets me. I don't need saving, thank you.



The fact is, the major problem I have with Stallman's assessment of things is: two people of different ideologies trying to force their will each upon the other causes more friction and harm than good.



If you are of a certain ideology (closed source software is unethical, for instance), you can harp and harp all you want at people who are of a different ideology (closed source software is not inherently unethical, for instance) and all you do is stir up animosity.



And that's no way to win converts. You end up being viewed the same way many view the Jehovah's Witness neighborhood canvasers: annoying and to be avoided if at all possible.



They're just trying to save us from ourselves, aren't they? Yet many people hold a fundamentally different view on things and their insistence on continuing to knock on people's doors and "share the good news" with them, in the long run, does more harm than good.



Which is why even though I generally agree with Mr. Stallman and am thankful for his contributions to the world in general and my freedom of choice in software, sometimes I wish he'd just hold his tongue.



In this particular case, it seemed the parties involved were Linus Torvalds, Larry McVoy, and Andrew Tridgell. I would have preferred it if Richard would've stayed out of it and just kept his mouth shut.

#

Re:In other words,

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 10:39 AM
so....you would like to somehow keep RMS from stating his opinion on a subject that is dear to him
freedom, and also you would like to keep from being annoyed by Jehovah's witnesses?

here is a simple solution,

1) don't read RMS' articles.
2) tell Jehovah's Witnesses that you are not interested in thier message.

whew! that really developed a brow of sweat to do.

OR, would you like to somehow stop people who have differing opinions/messages from yourself from stating them?

RMS is right, put yourself is a position of depriving youself of freedom and it WILL bite you in the end.

your whole post is a slippery slope.

#

Re:In other words,

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 27, 2005 12:24 AM
One of the biggest objections I have to Stallman is how he has distorted the language to his advantage. Once you agree that he represents "freedom", which is an incredibly loaded word in our society, he's practically won the battle, right? Then to argue against Richard Stallman is to argue against freedom, which is obviously what a lot of posters on this board have bought into.

Some of them practically grovel at the feet of this champion of "freedom", which I find nauseating. Right, and Microsoft is going to be our source for "trustworthy computing"!! Stallman and Gates are using exactly the same trick.

But you can see from reading this very article that Stallman is calling for more restrictions on how software is used. Maybe not legal restrictions, but strict guidelines on how the FOSS community should behave. According to him, we had better NOT use proprietary software AT ALL.

Not to mention the restrictions built into the GPL, which often require large software development houses like IBM to consult with lawyers to make sure they're in compliance. The GPL should be properly called a "cooperative software license", not something that represents "freedom". Hey, cooperation is generally a very useful thing, but it ain't the same as freedom!

These are precisely the sorts of tactics that <A HREF="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0451524934/qid=1114531814/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/103-6354855-2164666?v=glance&s=books" title="amazon.com">this gentleman</a amazon.com> warned us against.

#

Re:In other words,

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 27, 2005 01:56 AM
The GPL is a free-software license because it gives software users more freedom than proprietary licenses do. Doesn't mean it gives them complete freedom - that would be public-domain.

#

Re:In other words,

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 27, 2005 02:01 AM
I agree with what you just said, but that is not how Stallman has characterized it. To him, only the GPL represents complete freedom.

#

Re:One Other Freedom...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 12:03 AM
So what you're saying is that people like Stallman shouldn't have freedom of speech if you find what they say annoying.
Of course, I find what you say annoying. Should I have the freedom to make *you* shut up?

People who go around claiming that people's right to say things to them = coercion really piss me off. If you don't like the voice of conscience suggesting you do something personally inconvenient because it's the right thing to do, don't listen. But don't displace your guilt feelings for ignoring them into some notion that their disturbing your complacency violates your freedom.

#

Ya beat me to it

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 01:51 AM
Thanks for saying what needed saying. Everytime somebody's caught with a guilty conscience, you can count on them making senseless, irrational charges that expressing an opinion is "dictating" to them. It always surprises me that folks this logic-impaired can even use computers, much less program for them.

#

Re:Ya beat me to it

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 06:44 AM
You don't seem to understand that true freedom comes from making your own decisions, not having them dicated to you. I no guilt in saying that.
It is true RMS has a right to his opinion. It is also true I have a right to mine and so do others in the free software movement who don't blindly follow his lordship Stalllman.

#

Re:Ya beat me to it

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 05:54 PM
I agree with Stallman. Not because he is forcing me to agree with him, but because he convinced me that he is right. I also respect him for standing with his ideology. I'm not saying I don't use any non-free software. But I'm sure trying to eradicate as much as possible of it, hoping that, one day, I will be able to having banned all non-free software.

Jo

#

Everybody respects RMS for his ideology...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 28, 2005 10:23 PM
...but despite his considerable abilities, nobody respects him for his practicality. If an ideal can't be used in the real world (a place where few people spend any time, myself included, if I can help it), then there is a chance the ideal isn't ideal.

Free (as in freedom) software is probably the best long-term solution for almost any software problem, but lack of software is never a solution for a software problem. Linus Torvalds chose what he knew was a short-term fix for the problem, and when that fix stopped working he was back where he started, because the free-software community didn't step up and provide a better solution.

Now, Linus is providing his own solution. If you want something done right, you can do it yourself, hire someone else to do it... or tell the free-software community that they are too damn stupid to write software like Bitkeeper.

#

Re:One Other Freedom...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 04:42 AM
for anyone to call Mr. Stallman a busybody shows a complete lack of understanding.
if you ever come to know what it is you're talking about, you will look back on days like these in shame, for you ignorance.

#

Re:One Other Freedom...

Posted by: Jim Powers on April 26, 2005 07:51 AM
You as a person remain free to choose any software you want. The "Free" in "Free" software applies to the state of freeom for the SOFTWARE, literally. It means that the software can never, like slaves, have their freedom taken away. The software will forever more remain free to use, learn from, and modify.

#

RMS - you are absolutely right about this:

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 25, 2005 10:21 PM
those in our community who value technical advantage above freedom and community were susceptible to it

Let's us hope that they (the "Linux" & "open source" part of our community) will learn the lesson this time and finally understand that no amount of technical superiority (whether real or only perceived as such) is worth the sacrifice or compromise of our freedoms.

#

..and freedoms lead to technical superiority

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 25, 2005 11:16 PM
.. and exactly those freedoms allow for technical superiority to flourish.

If one is really a pragmatist, he ought to care about freedom above all - as it is the true way to technical and practical superiority.

Isn't it that the open source movement builds on free as in *freedom* software movement?

They dismiss the "idealistic" issues of freedom and yet, their "technically superior" "open source" software wouldn't exist without those ideals of freedom - if RMS never decided to confront proprietary unix and build GNU and the Free Software movement.

I always say, pure pragmacy that dismisses all "ideals" is a self-destrictive construct. You can't really be a pragmatist and don't respect freedom. For that reason, "open source" people who think it is ok to use nonfree software *betray themselves*!

Thank you
Danijel Orsolic

#

why isn't everything free then?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 25, 2005 11:53 PM
A free kernel, even a whole free operating system, is not sufficient to use your computer in freedom; we need free software for everything else, too. Free applications, free drivers, free BIOS...

I have no problems with having a free stack of operating systems, drivers, applications... everything. That would certainly be a great boon for both end users and for transmittal of knowledge. I think it's a mistake when you define it as a moral issue and insist that development of the Linux kernel be done in a certain way, even though the creator and architect of that kernel is a known pragmatist who believes in interoperability between free and proprietary software as a worthwhile end goal, not merely as a tactical step.

People like to point out that "GNU" is a recursive acronym. But Mr. Stallman's "Free Software" is likewise a recursive definition - it is a license that requires propagation of "Free Software". If you ask him why the BSD license isn't at least as "free" as the GPL, he'll tell you it's because it doesn't require the individual right holder to propagate "Free Software".

If you're not using your notebook computer or iPod, why shouldn't I be allowed to borrow it without explicit permission and bring it back in a couple days, or perhaps pass it along to someone else? Maybe that's a definition of "Free Computing" that's just as good as Mr. Stallman's. Why isn't that a fundamental human right, just as fundamental as Mr. Stallman's "free software"?

#

Re:why isn't everything free then?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 12:29 AM
If you're not using your notebook computer or iPod, why shouldn't I be allowed to borrow it without explicit permission and bring it back in a couple days, or perhaps pass it along to someone else? Maybe that's a definition of "Free Computing" that's just as good as Mr. Stallman's. Why isn't that a fundamental human right, just as fundamental as Mr. Stallman's "free software"?


Because borrowing an iPod deprives the owner of the use of it, but if you copy software the original possesor still has it.

#

Re:why isn't everything free then?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 27, 2005 12:05 AM
Absolutely correct. In your example, the iPod is what's known as a rivalrous good. Software is a non-rivalrous good.

#

Re:why isn't everything free then?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 12:29 AM
Something like this was dealt with in Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars series. He proposed a Gift Economy for things you needed to live along side of the more conventional Trade Economy we all know and (?) love.

Alternatively, Voyage From Yesteryear by James P. Hogan deals with a surplus economy in which products are free (gratis), even hand-crafted ones, but status is earned, often with great effort.

Just two samples of alternative economic systems which I think address the questions raised here.

parl

#

Re:why isn't everything free then?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 12:46 AM
Yeah, I was thinking that if someone had gone around for two decades preaching that doctrine like Mr. Stallman then that person would have a following, too. Or maybe it could still happen.

I just want people to think a bit when they hear Mr. Stallman talk. He is charismatic and I realize he is a hero to many, and has done some important things, but that doesn't mean that we should uncritically accept everything he says, even ideas that are central to his doctrine. Aristotle was certainly one of the great thinkers of antiquity but uncritical (and forced) acceptance of his ideas may have held back science for hundreds of years.

#

Re:why isn't everything free then?

Posted by: beoba on April 26, 2005 11:19 AM
I fail to see the connection between your post and the original article. If you see something worthy of criticism, then by all means refer to it. Nobody's stopping you.

#

Re:why isn't everything free then?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 09:33 PM
In my opinion, it's the people who accept the idea of "intellectual property rights" who haven't thought about it critically. I agree with Stallman because he usually puts forth an extremely logical argument.

#

Re:why isn't everything free then?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 12:37 AM
the creator and architect of that kernel is a known pragmatist

It's not very pragmatic to have your tools susceptible to the whims of their 'owners'. Non-free software is not practical...even when it is more feature-advanced (as was the case with BitKeeper). This is the fundamental problem with Open Source compared to Free Software. Open Source has only the illusion of practicality.

#

Re:why isn't everything free then?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 12:37 AM
What about software for things like medical diagnostic equipment, air traffic control systems, cars, microwave ovens, etc.? Is it really a moral issue to use all of that proprietary, non-free software? Should I refuse a CAT scan or not drive a car because I cannot see the code? Software isn't just about PCs...

#

Re:why isn't everything free then?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 01:18 AM
I think the answer to your question is... then work to free that software too.

Before there was any free software, people like RMS had to use non-free software. But they worked to liberate it. Then they stopped using the non-free version.

There is a big difference between currently impossible and pragmatic, especially in the way "pragmatic" is being described in this whole bitkeeper hubbub.

#

why isn't everything free then?-Liberating hammers

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 04:24 PM
"Before there was any free software, people like RMS had to use non-free software. But they worked to liberate it. Then they stopped using the non-free version."

Unfortunately "liberation" isn't building a better hammer. But copying the proprietary hammer, then maybe latter getting around to making it better.

#

Re:why isn't everything free then?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 02:36 AM


What about software for things like medical diagnostic equipment, air traffic control systems, cars, microwave ovens, etc.?



These are exactly the kinds of software that I think one (or me, at least) would wish to be free.



When I am flying at thirty-five thousand feet at six hundred knots or approaching another vehicle at an accumulated velocity of two hundred kilometers per hour, I want to be confident that the integrity of the code upon which these vehicles rely was freely examined by as many people as possible.

#

it's over, at last

Posted by: ammoQ on April 25, 2005 11:57 PM
I mostly agree with RMS in this issue. Some unfree programs are conveniant, but not dangerous; they are not important and can be left out or replaced when necessary. Their protocols and file formats are well-documented and free to use. Think of Adobe Reader: If you don't like it, use xpdf or whatever. These programs are in my opinion not dangerous. But BitKeeper is a differnt kind of beast: It was extremely unfree (think of the restriction the gratis license imposed on the developers) and played an important role for the Linux development. I'm very glad this dark period is over.

#

Good Article.

Posted by: Synonymous on April 26, 2005 12:13 AM
RMS is consistent and is right here. The Linux kernel developers were bought off too easily, but now that does not matter because they are on the right path.

It also makes me remember that Linux doesn't have to beat Microsoft, it is Free and will remain Free what ever Microsoft decides to do.

#

I Agree With RMS 90%

Posted by: llanitedave on April 26, 2005 02:14 AM
And I certainly agree with him about the BitKeeper circumstance. A non-free tool has no place in a FOSS development project. Where I take issue with him is in circumstances where a group develops and distributes its own applications for a fairly narrow set of purposes, does not use any FOSS input, and does not use subterfuge to prevent competition, and sells its product to private businesses or individuals. In a case like this, if the proprietary solution is superior, and folks want to pay for it, then they are Free to do that without being considered "unethical". Widely used, commodity software, or software that touches other Free software, should not be proprietary.

#

Re:I Agree With RMS 90%

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 03:05 AM


Where I take issue with him is in circumstances where a group develops and distributes its own applications for a fairly narrow set of purposes, does not use any FOSS input, and does not use subterfuge to prevent competition, and sells its product to private businesses or individuals.


I do not know of a single case where a proprietary company did not use subterfuge, in some form, to prevent competition. Do you have examples?

#

Re:I Agree With RMS 90%

Posted by: ammoQ on April 26, 2005 10:21 AM
Oh dear, a lot of small companies just sells their stuff and do not eighter have time or money to invest in subterfuge to prevent competition.

#

Re:I Agree With RMS 90%

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 12:32 PM
Ah, OK - can you name just one proprietary company and the software they sell?

#

Re:I Agree With RMS 90%

Posted by: llanitedave on April 26, 2005 01:45 PM
Why is that important? I was talking about the general ethical concept, not evaluating individual cases. I even left out one case: software developed in-house for private business use.

Creating and selling proprietary software is not unethical per se. Patenting or otherwise attempting to monopolize ideas and algorithms that go into software, or using Free Software and then trying to proprietize it, is.

That being said, from a pragmatist's point of view, as others here have mentioned, Free Software is generally better -- even where it's not solely technically superior, if it's *good enough* and Free, it's better than *great* and proprietary. Not morally, necessarily, but because freedom is a practical value.

Thus, I use GIMP over Photoshop Elements, even though I have access to the latter.

#

RMS finally says "I told you so"

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 12:14 AM
What a surprise, RMS finally telling everyone "I told you so" about the BK issues. I'm surprised that it took this long.

#

"indirect way of saying..." ?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 12:24 AM
Saying "we'll switch to a free program when you develop a better one" is not even remotely a way of saying "we made the mess, but we won't clean it up." This can't even be considered a misinterpretation, just an attempt to put words in peoples' mouths. The worst kind of wishful thinking.

It is, however, a very direct way of saying just what it does: Linus chose to use the best tool he could find. Someone who wants Linux kernel development to use a different tool should write a better one, not whine about it.

GNU Arch has had years to implement the features the kernel development needs. Why hasn't it done that so far?

#

"indirect way of saying..." ?-Mayday! Pants down!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 03:43 PM
<a href="http://linux.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=146845&threshold=-1&commentsort=0&tid=185&tid=106&mode=thread&pid=12301807" title="slashdot.org">http://linux.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=146845&<nobr>t<wbr></nobr> hreshold=-1&commentsort=0&tid=185&tid=106&mode=th<nobr>r<wbr></nobr> ead&pid=12301807</a slashdot.org>

I already addressed this over on Slashdot. I'm afraid that the bigger lesson will be lost in all the "I told you so" back-patting that will go on for the next few days.

Also as I mentioned elsewere in this free-for-all that passes for a discussion around here. A free file format would have kept all sides happy. So the battle really isn't between open source and proprietary programs, but open file formats verses closed ones.

#

Re:"indirect way of saying..." ?-Mayday! Pants dow

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 28, 2005 08:08 PM
"A free file format would have kept all sides happy. So the battle really isn't between open source and proprietary programs, but open file formats verses closed ones. "

Argh, how boring to hear this over and over!

A "free file format" is useless without free software that can use it.

#

A "Free file format" does *not* require ...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on May 02, 2005 11:09 PM
a "free application" to be useful. The free file format would permit any application to make use of the data contained in conforming files.

#

The problem with BK ...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 12:33 AM
... was that though the linux/whatever source could be accessed without any efforts, the meta information that included the changes, who did what, when was something included, etc could not be accessed without using the Bit Keeper client.

This is what Tridge wanted to overcome and hence wrote a tool. IMO, Linus and Larry simply cried wolf!! Shame on them<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:(

#

Give Him A Break

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 12:54 AM
This hostile attitude towards RMS continues to amaze me. People get all pissed because he says not to use non-free software. Like the guy above "One More Freedom". So what if you don't like RMS saying it, you obviously don't agree, why do you have to bitch about it everytime? He is *the* most important person in open-source history. If you don't understand his speach/beer argument by now, then you never will. *Some people just don't want to pay for sofware, others want a different kind of freedom.* So enjoy the software you aren't paying for (and probably aren't donating too either), and just ignore the next thing RMS says so that he doesn't continually have to be attacked by asshats like you.

#

Re:Give Him A Break

Posted by: Stumbles on April 26, 2005 01:13 AM
I mostly agree, particularly about RMS. I don't like or dislike him. How can I? We've never met. Even so, some things I agree with him on and others I'm not so sure. But that doesn't matter to me.



For me I cannot say it's the opportunity to use software without paying for it.... at least which physical currency. There are other means of contributions.



Anyway.



What does was his forsight with the notion of GPL. And this hoopla over BitKeeper is a prime example of how proprietary software robs you of data freedom.... no matter who created it.



Some I have read say the best tool for the job. Well, maybe so. And that is the same argument the proprietary folks like to use. Is it ok? That is entirely an individual decision. For me I stay away as much as possible.



Was it appropriate to use a proprietary app to maintain an open source project? In my view, no.



Yes I know that contradicts the last paragraph but go figure.

#

Re:Give Him A Break

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 01:14 AM
This hostile attitude towards RMS continues to amaze me

Yet his hostile, condescending and smug attitude makes perfect sense right?

Look, RMS is your basic communist. He effectively wants to prevent the concept of ownership (at least of IP) and create a world where no one can make any real money from development.

Good for him. And when no one has the ability to resources into basic research... he'll be happy. Idiot.

#

Re:Give Him A Break

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 01:18 AM
Much of the IP that you profess would not have been their had it not been in the PUBLIC sector first then taken and "fenced" by proprietary owner that gave nothing back to the PUBLIC.

The reason the GPL is so successful is that it PREVENTS any one individual from TAKING from the community their collective contributions and IP.

#

Re:Give Him A Break

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 01:30 AM
That has nothing to do with communism. It's fucking golden rule. "Do unto others as you would have them do for you." All the gpl does is put that in writing so that if you use my code and add stuff to it, I get to use what you added. Where the fuck do you get "prevention of ownership" from that? Idiot.

#

Re:Give Him A Break

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 03:16 AM
Did you read this article he just wrote? His viewpoint seems to go far beyond "if you use GPL'd code, your mods must also be GPL'd, fair is fair".

Like eliminate the first "if".

#

Re:Give Him A Break

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 02:01 AM
Folks who understand as little as you do about open-source and free software would avoid further embarassment by just shutting the hell up. Idiot.

#

Re:Give Him A Break

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 03:34 AM
He's actually a competitive capitalist. Do you know he sold his Emacs as freedom software for a price? As in, you could buy a copy, but receive freedom on your end. And the GPL provides the same thing today. Yes, people are making money off of freedom software, while at the same time creating a competitive environment which can prevent monopolies. The GPL is based on copyright, which is a type of "property".

If you want to cry communism, look in the direction of BSD. But even there, owners have copyright power.

If you are in love with the concept of monopolies, then that is your problem.

Competition is the key of the freedom software movement, and capitalism is not abolished by it.

#

Re:Give Him A Break

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 10:20 AM
You seem to think that creating an artificial scarcity increases the availability of resources. Consider:

1. If proprietary software doesn't suit your needs and the owner isn't interested in changing it, you have to do all the work of inventing that software over again. This is a waste of resources.

2. Governments spend billions of their citizens' dollars on licenses for proprietary software, money that could otherwise be spent on research and development to benefit everyone. Do you really believe that all those lost resources could not have made something better?

#

Re:Give Him A Break

Posted by: beoba on April 26, 2005 11:27 AM
The GPL depends on the original author having copyright of the work. It uses IP, and allows the author to choose that their software be free if used in another project.

It's a matter of choice, and always will be.

#

Re:Give Him A Break

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 12:03 PM
He's most definitely not a communist.

I can tell you I'm a pro-business libertarian and I find him both measured, reasoned, and more often correct than most.

He does, however, tell us things we don't want to hear.

That's our failing not his.

#

Re:Give Him A Break

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 12:27 PM
Did you get the 'communist' line directly from Microsofts Anti-Linux Propganda Handbook?

I'm just dying to hear how bastions of capitalism like the corporate behemoths IBM, HP, Sun, CA, etc that utilise and develop Free Software fit into your pinkos-under-the-bed conspiracy. They seem to find it profitable enough..

Or could it be that you are full of crap? Yeah I thought so.

#

Re:Give Him A Break

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 05:28 PM
Go find me a communist who is willing to stand up for my freedom as fiercely as RMS and I just might think about joining the Party.

Then again, maybe you should learn what a communist is before you go any further, fool.

#

Re:Give Him A Break

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 02:02 AM
This hostile attitude towards RMS continues to amaze me.



RMS invented hostility in this realm. He continually proclaims to anyone and everyone who will listen that any software developer who opts to distribute non-GPL licensed software is unethical. He doesn't stop at saying they are naive, or making an unwise decision. No, he brands them unethical.


RMS is a typical radical. (radical - n. One who insistst that their way is the only right way.) He is so concerned with preserving the right of people to do whatever the heck they want that he desires the end of your right to distribute YOUR software in the way YOU want.

Every good idea taken to its extreme is ridiculous. Don't attack the ridiculers when they prove that maxim.



A look at <A HREF="http://www.stallman.org/" title="stallman.org">stallman.org</a stallman.org> will show you what hostility looks like...

#

Re:Give Him A Break

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 02:15 AM
RMS invented hostility in this realm. He continually proclaims to anyone and everyone who will listen that any software developer who opts to distribute non-GPL licensed software is unethical. He doesn't stop at saying they are naive, or making an unwise decision. No, he brands them unethical.

Oh yeah? Go read it again. He doesn't call anyone unethical. He says the software is (rather, its use).

RMS is a typical radical. (radical - n. One who insistst that their way is the only right way.) He is so concerned with preserving the right of people to do whatever the heck they want that he desires the end of your right to distribute YOUR software in the way YOU want.

If you notice, he doesn't harp about people releasing non-free software...what he harps on is what software should be *used*. He isn't mad at BK for being non-free, he's concerned that a free software project would use it. So saying stallman is trying to take away your freedom to distribute your software the way you want to is rediculous.

A look at stallman.org will show you what hostility looks like...

I have, can you point to some hostility? What I see is passion for what you think is right.

#

Re:Give Him A Break

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 06:24 AM
He doesn't call anyone unethical. He says the software is (rather, its use).

Which is it? Is the software unethical, or is everyone who uses it, as your parenthetical editorial comment suggests?

What RMS said is, "The program they no longer use will remain unethical as long as it is non-free"

I hate to tell you this, but you cannot call an object or idea unethical without impugning the object's or ideass creator for being unethical as well. Your hair-splitting still leaves RMS in the same boat. He still condemns everyone who does things in any different way from what he declares to be the one true way. That is the definition of radical. There is no compromising with a radical, and there is no compromising with RMS. Just ask those who are devoted backers of the BSD license.

In RMS' "utopian" world, there would not have been a UNIX to replicate for functionality. Without proprietary software rights, Bell Labs would never have been set up by AT&T, we would have never heard of K&R C, or Multics, and none of this discussion would be occurring.

If RMS and those who unswervingly swear allegiance to him ever rule the world, anarchy will be the end result.

Lest you call me a troll, I earn my living working on UNIX, Linux, and *BSD systems. I love Linux, and I am so thankful that I picked up that copy of RedHat off the shelf in '98, but I will just as happily use FreeBSD if it makes more sense for the task/problem at hand. I wouldn't go back to Windows for anything. (Had enough years of answering the pager when a server needed its daily reboot.) But I will never agree that RMS' way is the only "good" way. It is the height of arrogance to believe that everyone but me is wrong.

#

Re:Give Him A Break

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 10:39 AM
I'm going to use an analogy to which you may object, but that I think makes its point well.

Identity theft is rampant these days. Crooks want to get your credit card number, social security number or password, so they can masquerade as you and buy nice things at your expense.

Do you think this is ethical? No? Then you're condemning everyone who does things in any different way from what you declare to be the one true way (buying things without stealing identities).

That's different, of course, because nearly everyone agrees identity theft is wrong. Whereas a lot of people see no problem with non-free software.

But look a little deeper. Why is it people don't see a problem with non-free software? It's simply because of the culture we live in. Very many businessmen are working very hard to remind us that sharing is wrong. Non-free software is ubiquitous. You've probably used it your whole computer-using life.

You can say that non-free software is different, because identity theft takes away something you had before, and non-free software doesn't. That's true, if software exists in a vacuum.

Software doesn't. Tried looking for a job recently? Maybe you personally can hack on *nix systems and be happy, but suppose you didn't have those skills, and had to get a normal job. Chances are you'd have to submit a resume in Microsoft Word format. And use Windows at the office. In other words, you are forced to give up important freedoms. If non-free software didn't exist, this would not be the case. You don't need to agree to a EULA to use a typewriter.

I submit that if someone needed K&R C and Multics, K&R C and Multics would've been written. Or rather programs of equivalent utility. It doesn't have to have happened at AT&T.

#

Re:Give Him A Break

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 03:01 PM
You are confining freedom to a single dimension. In the same way that I would *never* support *any* effort to outlaw open software in general, or to invalidate the GPL in particular, I would also *never* support any effort to outlaw proprietary software.

There is nothing at all unethical about McVoy deciding to offer a proprietary version control system. Neither I nor you have the right to demand that he give us the fruit of his labors, or the right to produce derivatives from it. Anything to the contrary is socialist. That said, it is equally true that McVoy has no right to require someone to use it against their wishes.

Any educated person who reads RMS' personal site can ascertain that he is in sympathy with groups (such as the ACLU) that eschew any authority outside the individual. This is at odds with any societal structure that protects private property rights, whether intellectual or real.

One can make a case that RMS' is the key figure behind the existence of Linux. (The case could also be made for Linus, clearly, and I would tend to side that way, as Linus seems able to manage a massive project and would have created the needed pieces that came from GNU, while GNU has still not produced an operating system apart frim Linus' kernel that is suitable for widespread adoption. Stallman's idealism has been less productive, in my view, than Linus' pragmatism. That's just my opinion, though.) While that may be, it is also true that he (RMS) is the greatest liability of Linux and other open source software achieving greater penetration in business and industry, as he opposes virtually everything those organizations pursue, and that their shareholders demand. I think RMS is perfectly fine with that reality. However, those of us who want to see better software (without regard to its licence terms) powering the enterprises we support, and who believe that means Linux, would rather RMS keep his radical views out of the spotlight.

Open and closed source software can live on the same planet in harmony, just not in the minds of Stallman and company.

#

Re:Give Him A Break

Posted by: llanitedave on April 26, 2005 01:55 PM
Stallman may be a radical, but there's nothing typical about him.

Even though I don't agree with him completely in his views about the "ethics" of software distribution, it's still clear that his creation of the GPL was the biggest single stroke of genius in software history. Agree or disagree, I have the utmost respect for the man, and even when I do disagree, I still take his views seriously. His reasoning is deep, and we ignore him at our own risk.

#

Re:Give Him A Break

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 04:57 AM
The problem many programmers have with Stallman is that his way would put a lot of us out of a job. We get paid to write proprietry software. Not all of us want to be academics like him and we sure as hell don't want to do anything else for a living.

#

Re:Give Him A Break

Posted by: Greg on April 26, 2005 10:04 AM
his way would put a lot of us out of a job



In the short-term, there would likely be instability should the whole world switch overnight to a non-IP based software industry.


However, the need for the number of programmers in the world would not drop simply because of the shift in software Freeness.


In fact, I would suspect that the need would rise quite dramatically! Here's why: no one body controls a particular application.


Recognize that the reason a huge majority of us code monkeys have jobs is because of business needs, not consumer needs. So when a corporation decides it can be more efficient with the introduction of a particular feature, they could go off an have the feature implemented immediately. They don't have to fight with one vendor to get this added to a priority list along with all the other customers. They don't have to invent an entire application from the ground up. They simply hire (or continue to pay) programmers to take an existing body of code and modify it to their particular needs.


Now, could this lead to "fork-hell"? Sure it could...but that's a project management issue and it sure is a much better problem to have to solve (too many solutions) than the current situation of being at the mercy of a corporation that has to weigh their own business interests ahead of those of their customers.


And with such a switch in the software world to a non-IP based system, the other massive change to the economics comes from a lack of "dead weight" that the current system insists must exist (marketing departments, PR folks, lobbyists, golden-handcuffed/parachuted execs, etc...)

#

Give Him A Break-Wal-marting of IT.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 04:09 PM
"In the short-term, there would likely be instability should the whole world switch overnight to a non-IP based software industry."

The preamble to many a globalization discussion.

"In fact, I would suspect that the need would rise quite dramatically! Here's why: no one body controls a particular application."

Not so much about control, as it is about responsiveness. Predicating an argument on what people "might do..." is risky at best.

"Recognize that the reason a huge majority of us code monkeys have jobs is because of business needs, not consumer needs. So when a corporation decides it can be more efficient with the introduction of a particular feature, they could go off an have the feature implemented immediately. They don't have to fight with one vendor to get this added to a priority list along with all the other customers. They don't have to invent an entire application from the ground up. They simply hire (or continue to pay) programmers to take an existing body of code and modify it to their particular needs."

One doesn't need the GPL to do this. Companies have been doing this as long as there has been computers in business. And, yes there are companies that give you the source code with the product. Try to not get too carried away with extrapolating your experiences.

"And with such a switch in the software world to a non-IP based system, the other massive change to the economics comes from a lack of "dead weight" that the current system insists must exist (marketing departments, PR folks, lobbyists, golden-handcuffed/parachuted execs, etc...) "

Nevertheless your argument is both an ideological one, and "pie in the sky".

The problem you all seem to be missing isn't the binary result "no programming jobs" verses "everyone programming jobs". But more the Wal-Marting of the IT industry* were it takes both far fewer programmers, but also they're the cheapest, one can get away with.

*Remember IT is facing multiple forces pushing it down. Open Source is just one more force, and in a lot of people's eyes, an avoidable one. Who willfully tries to put themselves out of work?

#

Re:Give Him A Break

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 12:06 PM
Stallman also has the benefit of being independently wealthy... it's easy to be an idealist when you don't have to worry about ever making money again in your life.

#

Re:Give Him A Break

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 12:52 PM
So you can't rebut what he's saying but it might be harmfull to you financially?

Sounds unethical to me.

#

Re:Give Him A Break

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 27, 2005 02:16 AM
Most people have to make money.

Putting a lot of people out of their jobs (not saying that switching to free software would do that, it's just a hypothetical) is always a bad thing. It increases the amount of good that has to result to justify an action.

#

Re:Give Him A Break

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 07:18 PM
If RMS is allowed to disclose his opinion, why the
"one more freedom" guy shouldn't be ?

I agree with GPL, and other things, but I can't stand the preaching attitude. RMS IS NOT entitled to tell me what to think or do.

DG

#

hurting the free software community?

Posted by: ktraglin on April 26, 2005 02:02 AM
In my humble opinion, a computer is part of a system - a system that includes plenty of non-free software. My notebook PC has a Windows XP partition that I use to play games - can't get 3D gaming working on linux (SiS 650). There's also the BIOS software that's in the CMOS memory. I think my hard drive has it's own BIOS, as well. I am a part of the free sofware community, and a part of the non-free software community. Freedom is choice to use either, both, or neither.

#

I think you completely miss the

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 03:24 AM
concept of freedom. Please re-read and study the article to learn about it.

#

An Anecdote

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 02:27 AM
One day, Aremes was invited to do a talk at the Mental Institue of Technology and was offered by an enterpising entrepreneur free plane rides back and forth to the venue and hotel accommodations. Aremes gladly accepted but was appalled to find out that the plane flight were for a given fixed date and time and that the hotel didn't serve his favorite kind of caviar. So off to his host he went wailing "You're taking away my freedom to travel however I want and whenever I want! You're also giving me free (as in beer) food, but you'd be forcing me to eat it against my free (as in freedom) will!"

In a huff, the entrepreneur walked away muttering something about 12-yr old boys who never grew up and letting the man walk the thousands of miles if he's going to be an idiot.
--

Richi

#

Re:An Anecdote

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 05:57 AM
That was almost as pathetic as the bitkeeper license!

#

Re:An Anecdote

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 08:57 AM
A better analogy would be if the entrepreneur or airline required Aremes to agree to not compete in the transportation business as a condition of receiving the airplane rides.

This was a particularly nasty proprietary license. From what I've read about it, it more or less allowed Bitmover to change the terms at any time, and in this case it seems like "competition" from a third party who wasn't even party to the license was enough reason for Bitmover to pull it.

This license was a Trojan horse. I don't think RMS is being sarcastic at all when he was pleased that it was pulled. The longer this went on, the harder it would have been for the kernel folks to find another solution.

#

Thanks RMS!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 02:43 AM
"factum est"

#

Trading one form of lock-in for another

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 02:56 AM
We should not forget the lesson we have learned from it: Non-free programs are dangerous to you and to your community. Don't let them get a place in your life.

Oh, please! It's not as if the sky has fallen and the seas have boiled. So work on the kernel slows down for a few weeks as everyone moves to an inferior application that will do the job, but not as well. What's slightly more disturbing is that you think this is progress.

I think what's more dangerous to my life than proprietary software is not reaching my full potential because I was stuck using a lousey but free alternative to the industry leader, all for the sake of... of what, exactly? Proprietary lock-in? Loss of freedom? How about practical lock-in and the creative contraints of running Linux? Unless you're a programmer, none (at least very few) of the really good applications out there are available to you. According to your philosophy we can't even run our favourite apps under WINE (or natively if they're not free). Instead we have to grit our teeth and wait until doing things the long and tedious way becomes the norm.

I think the real danger is when we believe that it doesn't matter if free software is second rate. Torvalds wanted to use the best in the business. Good for him; it shows that he's a perfectionist, if not a politician. Maybe you should be asking yourself why free alternatives weren't up to the task. It seems a real shame, when the GPL gives developers the opportunity to achieve the best, that some members of the community aren't interested in the end result, but only in the licence itself. It's this attitude that gave us the Lada. I'd rather drive a Rolls.

#

Re:Trading one form of lock-in for another

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 03:30 AM


I think the real danger is when we believe that it doesn't matter if free software is second rate.



The real danger is that many people have been brainwashed into thinking that second rate proprietary software is first rate.



Torvalds wanted to use the best in the business. Good for him; it shows that he's a perfectionist, if not a politician.



It could also mean that he was an opportunist and merely not thoughtful enough concerning this matter.



Maybe you should be asking yourself why free alternatives weren't up to the task.



But they were up to the task.



It seems a real shame, when the GPL gives developers the opportunity to achieve the best, that some members of the community aren't interested in the end result, but only in the licence itself. It's this attitude that gave us the Lada. I'd rather drive a Rolls.


Yes, but to use a proprietary licensed tool as a critical component in producing a GPL product, especially when the proprietary license owner claims the right to revoke the rights to using the tool at any time, does not allow either party to achieve their 'best'.

#

Re:Trading one form of lock-in for another

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 04:53 AM
Yes, but to use a proprietary licensed tool as a critical component in producing a GPL product, especially when the proprietary license owner claims the right to revoke the rights to using the tool at any time, does not allow either party to achieve their 'best'.

On that point, at least, I agree. But I agree for practical reasons rather than ethical ones.

The real danger is that many people have been brainwashed into thinking that second rate proprietary software is first rate.

Really? In my experience it's the other way round: many free software advocates brainwash themselves into thinking that second rate OSS is first rate. The GIMP is a good example of this. Its advocates cry on about how it's just as good as Photoshop and if you only gave it a chance you'd see, while simultaneously forgetting that many graphic designers can't even consider it because it only supports 8 bits per channel and can't handle CMYK. Personally, I think the GIMP is a good application when considered in terms of computer-based graphics and image manipulation. But its advocates won't consider it on its own terms, they insist on comparing it to Photoshop. Consequently, whenever graphic designers get round to finally trying it out they end up pissing on it and making all the free software advocates angry, who come out saying, "well, you go right ahead and continue to be an Adobe pawn! We don't want you anyway."

And if they do try and counter with an actual argument, the only evidence they have their disposal is - surprise, surprise - that it's free software. Not that it's got a more intuitive UI or more powerful features or better stability or less feature creep. In fact, there's no mention of the programming merits at all (it's almost as if there aren't that many to boast about), except that it's free software. I guess we're lucky then that the free software argument trumps everything else.

It proves for me that the quality of an app has little to do with how it's licenced but everything to do with those developing it. The freedom and openness of FOSS is a wonderful social thing, but it should not be used to defend quality of the software itself. That will be revealed on testing and people will vote with their feet depending on their own personal experiences. I expect Linus Torvalds is no exception.

#

Re:Trading one form of lock-in for another

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 06:08 AM
The GIMP versus Adobe is the one example you cite. There are many other types of programs which easily refute your exception to the rule.

I don't want to get into a pissing match, but I think the veracity of my original statement still stands - 'The real danger is that many people have been brainwashed into thinking that second rate proprietary software is first rate.'

#

Re:Trading one form of lock-in for another

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 06:35 AM
Your GIMP arguments miss the point, most knowledgable proponents admit that GIMP is not currently suitable for pre-press work. What you need to understand is that the overwhelming majority of GIMP-bashers are not doing and never will do graphics for any printer other than their $60 inkjet.

Running unlicensed proprietry software on uncalibrated monitors for the occassional web graphic doesn't qualify someone to start ranting about powerful graphics tools made availiable at zero cost. What percentage of these people insisting on CMYK support for GIMP do you think know the first thing about color theory? What percentage are not colorblind? That leaves us with a tiny minority of professionals who paid for their Adobe products. The rest have no reason not to consider the GIMP, they may not like the UI; that's fine but it's not a supporting argument for running unlicensed software!

#

Re:Trading one form of lock-in for another

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 12:11 PM
Actually, I think you're missing the point. The example I used doesn't matter. I could quite easily have cited Sodipodi, Rosegarden or Cinelerra. Conversely there are many free projects that are better than their proprietary counterparts, like Evolution, Bluefish or Linux itself.

But let's consider that tiny minority of Adobe customers you mentioned who aren't colour blind, do require pre-press capability and are professionals who did pay for Photoshop. RMS would aparently have it that these people should throw away their Photoshop CDs (and the Mac OSs they run them on) and migrate to the nearest free alternative because the sacrifice in quality is well worth the "freedom" gained.

My argument is that they haven't gained freedom at all. They're now "locked-in" to an inferior product because of a moral or ethical stance.

#

Re:Trading one form of lock-in for another

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 08:39 AM
BM definitely retained the right to revoke their license at any time and were perfectly within their rights. They did not claim to take ownership of the data when doing so. Where was the harm? How was that "evil" and "immoral"? That in mind, the benefit of efficiency outweighed the risk. Productivity was gained for a few years. I'm sure Linus had hoped that an acceptable FOSS product would emerge by the time he had to part with BK at which time he would take all the data and move on. BK and Linux may have parted ways, but the kernel source is still free. It seems to me a bunch of zealots just want any excuse to call proprietary software "evil" and "immoral".

How is what BM did any different than the FSF suing a company to stop using GPL software because they won't share the source code? Both scenarios are legally and morally in the right.

#

Re:Trading one form of lock-in for another

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 11:56 AM
"How is what BM did any different than the FSF suing a company to stop using GPL software because they won't share the source code?"

The latter is about giving to people. The former is about taking from people.

#

Re:Trading one form of lock-in for another

Posted by: flacco on April 26, 2005 03:01 PM
They did not claim to take ownership of the data when doing so. Where was the harm?


it was my understanding that they did, indeed, claim ownership of the meta-data.

#

Re:Trading one form of lock-in for another

Posted by: flacco on April 26, 2005 02:57 PM
What's slightly more disturbing is that you think this is progress.


i'm keenly interested to see how long it takes the community to surpass bitkeeper's features on whatever they end up using next.

#

Re:Trading one form of lock-in for another

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 27, 2005 12:08 AM
What makes you think this is going to happen? They've already had 3 years to come up with an alternative to what was aparently considered an embarrassing blight on the FOSS landscape that none of them wanted. Now that that embarrassment is gone, the incentive to remove it has gone too.

Meanwhile, Bitkeeper has more reason than ever to push the envelope as it strives to convince developers that it's more productive than Git and is worth paying the extra money for.

#

morality and software development

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 03:18 AM
Perhaps there is nothing in the world as pointless as mixing philosophy, morality and software development.

DG

#

Re:morality and software development

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 03:31 PM
Perhaps there is nothing in the world as pointless as mixing philosophy, morality and software development.

Considering software is being used in banks, hospitals, governments, airlines, schools, military, etc., I agree with Stallman on the need of morals and ethics for software development.

It might seem pointless to you, but I don't think you've stopped to think deeply about it.

#

Re:morality and software development

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 29, 2005 02:07 AM
It is not pointless to think about it, but continuing to argue about it is. Read the postings, most are political rhetoric. I am not sure how someone can simultaneously be a Nazi and a Communist. but the posters' intellectual poverty is showing, they don't know any other insults to fling. After WWII Orwell said that "Facist" lost any meaning, it just became a term for someone you didn't like.

Once we have established there are political differences, CAN WE GET ON WITH WRITING CODE ?

Whatever tool replaces BK will be better. The only victim will be McVoy.

#

Don't be disingenuous Richard

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 03:50 AM
I've always found your forthrightness to be a virtue. So I think that the sarcasm in your first paragraph does not become you.

#

Re:Don't be disingenuous Richard

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 04:44 AM
I think that was not sarcasm, but true feelings. McVoy made a lot of poeple think defferently about "free" gift from proprietary software.

I hope this will open people eyes.

#

Re:Don't be disingenuous Richard

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 09:59 AM
McVoy first blustered and threatened, but ultimately chose to go home and take his ball with him.

Heh, this shows that he does read the threads on newsforge and slashdot. That's a stiff, lawyerly paraphrase of the line we've seen in at least a dozen posts.

I have a hard time picturing him spending much time on the playing fields as a kid.

#

Stallman is a fascist

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 04:52 AM
If he had his way, proprietary software would be outlawed.

I'm sure his communist nazi followers would like that too.

#

Re:Stallman is a fascist

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 05:16 AM
Congratulations on putting the "moron" into oxymoron.

#

heck understand Stallman

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 05:58 AM
He does not want proprietary software outlawed.

What he wants is the source open.

There is a difference.

If am a comerical company with source code anyone can view. No right to build as long as the software is being looked after.

He would be happy with that.

His problem is a company goes Belly up or stop supporting thier product using users in the learch. With no options.

This cost companys millions per year.

Also source open lets people check for infringement on there stuff.

Question how much nicked code are you running no one can know due to no access source.

#

Re:heck understand Stallman

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 09:02 AM
Richard Stallman would *not* be satisfied with "no right to build as long as the software is being looked after [by the original vendor]". He considers it a fundamental freedom that users be allowed to *modify* the software.

He also considers it a fundamental freedom that users be allowed to redistribute both modified and unmodified copies. While I can understand why some dislike that, I don't see why it's so controversial that users be allowed to modify software that they've paid for. If you buy a physical good you take it for granted that you can modify it -- that it was sold to you lock, stock, and barrel and you can do with it as you please. Why is software seen so differently?

#

Re:heck understand Stallman

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 27, 2005 09:24 AM
Two words, copyright and greed.

Copyright was initially intended to prevent one author from simply reusing another author's work and profiting from said work with nothing being given to the original author.

Greed enters into the equation because there are people out there that simply do not want to help others out. They are writing (coding) for profit and only profit and do not want to see that profit margin fall, releasing source code could give the "competitor" an edge in writing a better program at which point no one would have a reason to buy the original software.

#

Re:Stallman is a fascist

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 03:35 PM
If he had his way, proprietary software would be outlawed.

If proprietary software companies had its way, free software would be outlawed.

Considering everyone except companies like Microsoft are at the receiving end of monopolies and patent trials, I clearly see which side I should be on.

What's exactly your problem with Stallman's stance?

#

Re:Stallman is a fascist

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 11:57 PM
fascist??? You wouldn't need to outlaw proprietary software, you would just need to remove the government from enforcing thier copy right. Proprietary software depends on the nany state to support them.

You might ask if it's in your best interest that your government enforces copyright laws. Some believe it's not...

I cannot wrap my mind around why that would make someone a fascist. It just comes across as an attempt to use emotionally powerful words in a serious debate.

#

I wonder when..

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 04:55 AM
this nazi Stallman (Stalin) will get it through his fascist head that nobody gives a shit about his communist "freedom"

#

Re:I wonder when..

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 06:00 AM
Your confused blathering mixes communism and Nazis in one. Splendid job. Please get your mindless rants straight, you moron.

#

Re:I wonder when..

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 06:21 AM
Not while people like the previous poster keep giving their shit. T'is commonism, not communism.

#

Re:I wonder when..

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 27, 2005 01:42 AM
No, what he said was "communism". "Commonism" is another word.

#

one small quibble - unethical programs?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 05:04 AM
"The program they no longer use will remain unethical as long as it is non-free, but they will no longer promote it, nor by using it teach others to give freedom low priority. We can begin to forget about that program"

I have a problem saying the program is unethical. I have a problem saying McVoy is unethical for wanting people to pay for it.

I don't want to re-define the word. McVoy is entitled to asking people to pay for his program. We are entitled not to buy his product.
Its like the devil made a deal with us, that we were free to reject, but we took it anyway without thinking of the consequence. The deal itself was not unethical, we were for taking it.

The unethical part is if he did something that forced us to do something we did not want to do.
If the program was released under the GPL, the program would be the same program with just a different license, yes? When I think ethics, I think behavior. I think right and wrong. Its not wrong to ask people to pay money for my products or services. Its underhanded perhaps to create a situation where others are forced to pay, while I entitle someone to get away without paying. The recipient perhaps may be wrong to accept the gift, but morally? I think morally, we ought to have a philosophy to do things for the common good, but we also need to be pragmatic and weigh the costs.

We should be free at all times to be able to throw off the shackles of proprietary software and choose to write a free alternative.

#

Re:one small quibble - unethical programs?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 03:30 PM
"I don't want to re-define the word. McVoy is entitled to asking people to pay for his program. We are entitled not to buy his product."

I am always amazed by this attitude. First of there is a misconception. It is perfectly fine to ask money for a program, what is not fine is the non-interoparability clause.

The problem is that as a linux Developer you had two choices: either use BitKeeper and have all information, or use something else and get only part of what you need. Tridge tried to add a third alternative: use something else and still get all the information.
(Note: The Information was common property of the Kernel Developers.)

I don't think there would have been a problem, if for example Adobe had given Linus a free copy of Acrobat to write, lets say Documentation.
Other Developers could have used whatever Program they wanted, and still archive the same results as Linus.

The problem is again one of propetary Data Formats. Many people rephrase your "Freedom of contract" assertion as:

"McVoy is entitled to create propetery (look in) file formats and asking people to use his program for them. We are entitled not to use his product."

Here I disagree. I think this is an unethical contract, and should not be allowed at all.

#

Re:one small quibble - unethical programs?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 03:40 PM
I have a problem saying the program is unethical. I have a problem saying McVoy is unethical for wanting people to pay for it.

Can you tell me the line where Stallman said the ethical problem of McVoy was being paid for the program?

Stallman wrote "non-free" as in "lacking freedom", not as in "you have to pay".

I don't think it was that hard to understand.

#

Comrade Stallman

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 05:04 AM
Non-free programs are dangerous to you and to your community. Don't let them get a place in your life

Is this nazi trying to apply for a position at cambodian re-education camp?

#

Thanks RMS!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 05:15 AM
I'm glad to see you're still out there fighting the fight for the rest of us. I'm glad to see you still haven't sold out.

#

Re:Thanks RMS!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 05:50 AM
How strange, people are bashing RMS without considering that he wrote a lot of the software they're using. The FSF philosphy must be worth something, or there would be no free OS around to complain about.
The whole BitKeeper thing will probably prove to be a good thing for free software - a need was highlighted, and the community has gone a long way towards filling it. I know the tools aren't mature yet, but what kind of state were Linux, Mozilla, OpenOffice etc in after just a couple of years? If Linus hadn't switched to BK then there would still be no likely free alternative to it.

TKA

#

You are truely insane.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 05:39 AM
You are truly insane.

#

Re:You are truely insane.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 06:06 AM
HOLY SCHMOLY!

Using capps iss lyke Yalla! Yalla! Yalla-hee-boo!

#

RMS misses the even better favour McVoy did us

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 06:04 AM
So the best part of all of this has been missed. Not only did McVoy give us something, then take it away.

What he did best was to *illustrate* in a practical way exactly why non-free software is so very dangerous, by first changing the license underneath us, and then withdrawing it.

So now that bridge has been thoroughly burned forever, instead of just having a sign stuck in it saying "warning, old rickety bridge". That's a wonderful thing.

So thanks Larry!

#

Great response!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 06:05 AM
I'm going to store it on my iPod.

Oh crap---

#

My 2 cents

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 06:05 AM
I always thought RMS was so much better at writing songs than software and speaches.

Give up your day job!

#

Re:My 2 cents

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 03:43 PM
I always thought RMS was so much better at writing songs than software and speaches.

He wrote a big deal of emacs, gcc and most of the GNU tools that were used to create linux. The only reason he isn't programming now as much as before is because of his obligations in the FSF.

You, sir, are bashing a great hacker based solely on sheer ignorance.

#

Re:My 2 cents

Posted by: andrecaldas on May 16, 2005 12:21 PM


And companies used to pay him US$200 an hour!!




Or he was really good, or those companies were really stupid.

#

Oops

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 06:07 AM
"Soon, Linux development will no longer use this program"

Richard, shouldn't that be "GNU/Linux"<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:)

#

Re:Oops

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 06:20 AM
He is referring to the Linux kernel, not the complete (GNU/Linux) system. So he is correct.

#

Re:Oops

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 07:45 PM
I believe you are partially correct, in that both forms would work. Soon GNU/Linux will not use this program, but since GNU never used it in the first place, it's extra irrelevant information.

It's like when the Concorde stopped flying you could have said "Soon houses and Concordes will no longer fly": Houses are irrelevant, as they generally don't fly.

#

I wonder if anybody thanked them

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 07:07 AM
Has anybody bothered to say "thank you" to the people who put it a lot of their time to make BitKeeper? After all, our community has benefited from this software that was provieded to us for free, and all we've done is bitch and complain about it.

What the hell is wrong with us? are we just a bunch of ignorant young communists with no understanding of capitalism? Perhaps we all live in Cuba, or Russia? How many of us live in America? Do you know what the American dream is? It involves money and private ownership.

#

Dear americans, your american dream is nightmare.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 08:00 AM
Oh you stupid americans. What was good on america was constitutional democracy. Which is gone now. U were fooked from 1913 when federal reservere turned private company, but now it is much worse.

America can be by all means called fascist police state. American dream turned into NIGHTMARE.

If you believe fascism is ok, just do not try calling all non-fascist, freedom and democracy loving people "commies". It is silly.

#

Dear Stupid Foreigner

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 10:12 AM
Check the immigration statistics for the US. People are desperately trying to get INTO the the United States - legally and illegally.

I would bet that your pathetic little sewer of a country probably has people lined up to emigrate from that turd bowl you call home to the States.

#

Re:Dear Stupid Foreigner

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 10:51 AM
Very diplomatic of you.

At least all Americans (myself included) don't think that sort of trash.

#

Re:Dear Stupid Foreigner

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 10:59 AM
I don't have to be diplomatic to people who take such an arrogant tone about the US.

Despite what Eurotrash and Third-World wankers think, not everyone in the US agrees with the Bush Administration's foreign policy. Some of us know full-well the contribution that immigrants have played in the development of our country and welcome them with open arms.

The fact that you criticize my post instead of that anti-American screed says more about your attitude about America than it does about my attitude toward other countries.

#

Re:Dear americans, your american dream is nightmar

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 12:50 PM
You socialist eurotrash and canuckistanias are fascists. You pray to the state you weak fool

#

Re:Dear americans, your american dream is nightmar

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 28, 2005 08:30 PM
Just wondering, are you having any real reason to say what you say, or are you part of a blind (ie, don't really know what you're talking about in the first place) patriotism campain?

I don't know shit about the american system, and the american dream (except maybe an american who wrote an article, which to the extend i remember sounded like "the american dream is dead, long life to the european dream", Jeremy Rifkin), so I won't comment on this. But try at least to understand why some people praise the state here. The very article i was talking about does just that : it explains (again, i might be wrong, not quite fresh in my mind), how people who "pray to the state" manage to have the least possible number of people out of the system, whereas there is, at least to me "eurotrash", a huge number of people below the poverty line in the US.

Another important thing to remember, contrary to what your main film industry might make you think, the world is not black or white, good against evil. It's not liberalism vs communism. Thinking the state can play an important role is not thinking the state shall rule everything.

On a side note, many americans seem to think Stalin was communist. He was not. He was a dictator (as your oh so great president is, in some respects). Seems like in the US you were subject to mass-brainwashing as to what communism is. Communism is what Marx and some followers *talked* about. I've never seen Marx's system come out of books to reality. It might well be a beautiful theorical system, which won't ever work. But the same can be said about liberalism.

So please, keep informated.

#

Re:I wonder if anybody thanked them

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 09:11 AM
It may have been provided free of charge, but there was a nasty catch -- McVoy could change the terms of use at his whim, and withdraw it altogether basically whenever he pleased (as he demonstrated it by pulling the license due to the actions of a third party who wasn't even a licensee). As I read between the lines, the real reason was that supporting the no-cost version simply became too much of a burden. It wasn't a gift. It was a loan with onerous conditions that could be called in at any time for any reason.

As far as "ignorant young communists" and all that, as I understood the free market it's supposed to be free for all comers to participate. It's not supposed to be fiefdoms, where proprietors of intellectual property can bind people forever.

#

And then we lick their balls?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 03:51 PM
Has anybody bothered to say "thank you" to the people who put it a lot of their time to make BitKeeper? After all, our community has benefited from this software that was provieded to us for free, and all we've done is bitch and complain about it.

Has BitKeeper thanked properly the free community they used as beta testers and publicity stunts?

Do you consider Bitmover going against totally legal efforts to develop a free client something to be thankful? Or the fact they won't allow even commercial licenses to OSDL members after they noticed they had (gasp) some potential competition appearing from one of their employees?

Don't be mistaken. Bitmover used the software community and now they have retaliated leaving the Linux developers with no other choice than develop a free replacement while going back to archaic management methods. It'd have been much better to develop the free CMS from the start. It'd be totally usable by now, in the worst case.

#

Re:I wonder if anybody thanked them

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 27, 2005 03:11 AM
Is that true ? Is the American dream all about money ?
If it's so it doesn't look all that different from
every one's else dream !!!

#

ATTN: RMS Thank you!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 07:32 AM
Had it not have been for you and the FSF/Copyleft we today would have no comparison to hold to todays continuing problems with buggy proprietary softwares. Software now, like in no other time, is going to shift. (for many reasons) No company today is in any way ready for this shift. Only Free/Open software is on the leading edge of this adoption of changing technology.

I urge all to spare a moment and think of what we would not have today if this movement never happened.

technomage de savant

#

So... following RMS' line of thought...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 07:51 AM
he should toss out his keyboard, mouse, monitor, and every other item that has a microcontroller in it since those items all have proprietary code in it.

sounds like good times to me

#

Re:So... following RMS' line of thought...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 12:01 PM
Um, show me the EULA that forbids distributing modified versions of those items?

#

Re:So... following RMS' line of thought...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 27, 2005 01:29 AM
But the source to the code isn't available. According to RMS, binary-only freeware isn't Free Software.

#

mmmm

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 09:02 AM
i like beer

#

Wrong Name

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 09:43 AM
The correct name for the free operating system is Linux/GNU.

The snail's pace development of GNU tools (when will we get a fully functional Hurd kernel, Richard?) means that it should always take a second place position to Linux.

Sorry Richard. If we had to wait for your *complete* operating system, we would all continue to get bent over by Microsoft.

#

Re:Wrong Name

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 10:26 AM
Plus, Linus never asked for Linux to be the "flagship component of the GNU/Linux operating system". That was Stallman's idea. So Linus never agreed that the kernel development was to be modelled on the radical (or "visionary", take your pick) principles that Stallman espouses.

This is pure speculation on my part, but that might have accounted for some of Linus' stubborness in sticking with BK - he wanted to emphasize that Linux is not primarily about "free software" and all that philosophy implies, it is about delivering a world class OS that leverages the open source development model, and is itself delivered as open source to the benefit of all involved, as the original UNIX releases *almost* were (and should have been).

#

Re:Wrong Name

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 12:08 PM
"Plus, Linus never asked for Linux to be the 'flagship component of the GNU/Linux operating system'. That was Stallman's idea."

That is not true. At the time when Linus developed Linux, he was using Minix as a kernel with a GNU userland. In the earliest releases of Linux, he said "Most of the tools used with linux are GNU software and are under the GNU copyleft. These tools aren't in the distribution - ask me (or GNU) for more info." See <A HREF="http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/Historic/old-versions/RELNOTES-0.01" title="kernel.org">here for instance</a kernel.org>.

#

Re:Wrong Name

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 07:46 PM
Yes, but he saw himself as leveraging GNU software, not being part of the GNU project itself. Stallman already had the Hurd Project which was to provide the operating system for that. Only after Linux took off with Hurd still stuck on the runway, did Stallman claim Linux as the "flagship" of the "GNU/Linux Operating System".

BTW Linux is the "operating system" in the textbook definition of the term (take a look most any of the Bell Labs books on UNIX, or Tannenbaum's book on MINIX). Stallman's use of the word to include shell, utilities, compiler, and other user mode components is the colloquial usage, which is not strictly correct because they can all be replaced by a user even w/o admin rights on the machine. That might seem like a pedantic distinction, but Stallman likes making those kinds of distinctions himself when it suits his purposes.

#

Re:Wrong Name

Posted by: andrecaldas on May 16, 2005 12:29 PM


The literature defines the term "kernel" to mean what then?

#

Re:Wrong Name

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 03:28 PM
Wow, you must be so proud of having done your homework. But still your logic doesn't make sense.

#

Re:Wrong Name

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 03:53 PM
The correct name for the free operating system is Linux/GNU.

The snail's pace development of GNU tools (when will we get a fully functional Hurd kernel, Richard?) means that it should always take a second place position to Linux.


Considering Linux was developed using the GNU tools (gcc, gmake, gdb, etc.) I think you should retract your nonsense rethoric and do the homework better next time.

#

Re:Wrong Name

Posted by: amos_and_ego on April 26, 2005 05:25 PM
A couple years back when Stallman originally started asking people to call it GNU/Linux instead of just Linux, somebody at the FSF raised the point that GNU software formed roughly 60% of a standard linux distribution, whereas the Linux kernal was only 3%. Today I'm sure the proportions are a little smaller, but the fact remains that GNU is a much more appropriate name for a software distribution than Linux. And GNU has not stagnated by any means. The Free Software Foundation itself is not longer very significant, but that is a measure of the success of RMS's vision.

When people talk about GNU, they somehow forget about GNOME (GNU Network Object Modeling Environment), GNOME Office (Gnumeric, AbiWord, etc), and the hundreds of programs like aspell which are hosted from the gnu.org server. Last time I checked these programs were growing very quickly.

You are forgetting about the thousands of people who have been inspired by the vision of GNU. Quite frankly, the kernel might get all the press, but GNU is what has inspired many to put so much time and energy into free software. I personally am very proud to have written something which is downloadable from gnu.org. I respect Linus but it is the GNU project which inspired me to put forth all the time and effort.

#

Re:Wrong Name

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 07:51 PM
I'm confident that the GNU system will complete it's last missing component (the kernel), before Linus will even start to write his own compiler and basic utilites (grep, find, xargs...).

The gnu tools are about 90% of GNU+Linux, and Linux is the 10%, so if you call having 90% (well, 92% if you consider Hurd 20% done) "snails pace", what's achieving 10% in half the time? Somewhere between standstill and going backwards?

#

Re:Wrong Name

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 27, 2005 07:51 AM
I doubt Linus would even contemplate writing his own compiler and basic utilities for the exact same reason he chose to use BitKeeper -- good tools already exist. He's not on a mission to replace everything in the world with his own creations. He uses what best suites his needs. He created Linux due to there not being a good kernel available which he could afford. If Hurd one day surpasses Linux in ability, I'll bet Linus switches over. I just do not see that happening since Hurd will be so encumbered with legal restrictions and most likely be made completely inoperable with proprietary software and drivers.

#

Re:Wrong Name

Posted by: cammoblammo on April 28, 2005 10:24 AM
...since Hurd will be so encumbered with legal restrictions....

How's this? I thought it was licensed under the same GPL as Linux.

And I'm not sure how it can be made inoperable with proprietary software and drivers. That's a human distinction, and the compiler just don't care.

#

Re:Wrong Name

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 29, 2005 01:48 AM
GPL v3 is attempting to tighten the loopholes in linking and interoperability. I believe they are looking for legal ways to prevent non-free software from running with GPL3 code.

The most extreme idealists detest Nvidia style drivers. I've read that some Linux kernel developers are working on ways to make binary modules not work. Through tighter definitions of linking and a changed model in the kernel for how drivers can talk to it, they could effectively make binary drivers infringing, though still technically possible. They could potentially do the same for kernel and glibc APIs making it nearly impossible for non-free software to run in a GNU environment without infringing. This is the vision RMS offers. No freedom to use the best tool available.

#

I'll use proprietary software if I damn well want.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 10:12 AM
While I can (vaguely) see how it's a good thing that Linux development is no longer using a non-free program, I am and always have been bothered by RMS's statements that using proprietary software is bad. He's certainly free to suggest that I use free software, but I'm just as free to ignore him and use any software I feel is good for me. RMS talks about how I'm giving up my freedom, but I'm mature enough to make that decision, and to take any potential bad consequences that may result. And I'm not sure he respects that choice.

Radical moralizing is dangerous to you and to your community. Don't let it get a place in your life.

#

Re:I'll use proprietary software if I damn well wa

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 12:13 PM
He's certainly free to suggest that I use free software, but I'm just as free to ignore him and use any software I feel is good for me.
So what's the problem?
RMS talks about how I'm giving up my freedom, but I'm mature enough to make that decision, and to take any potential bad consequences that may result. And I'm not sure he respects that choice.
RMS has the experience to know that bad consequences will result. If you want to blissfully ignore that, have fun - but learning from history is hardly radical.

#

Re:I'll use proprietary software if I damn well wa

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 27, 2005 12:32 AM
And I'm not sure he respects that choice.

I will respect your choice too, as long as it incurs no cost to society.

It's the same as with recreational heroin use. In principle, I think you have the unabridged right to become addicted to heroin. Moreover, I know that whether or not society grants you that right, you may choose a course of action which causes you to become addicted anyway.

Many people -- and I respect them enormously -- find themselves in this situation and work very hard to get themselves out of it by their own efforts. That's not a problem.

But it turns out that so many others get into this situation irresponsibly that society ends up with a serious problem. Its solution, very imperfectly, is to declare heroin use illegal, in other words to deny this particular freedom to everyone. It's not a great solution because it criminalizes a behavior that is not itself harmful to society. But it seems necessary and humane to create some kind of big warning sign around a risky behavior.

The same holds for free software. You want to get locked into some proprietary solution, I'm fine with that in principle. Who am I to suggest that you wouldn't accept the consequences? The problem is that the majority of people will follow your example without understanding the consequences, and that leaves a massive problem for society to clean up.

Now, for example, I have to deal every day with colleagues who send me documents in some proprietary format, or with websites that don't behave correctly because they were designed for use only with a proprietary browser. Your freedom to be stupid is interfering with my freedom to be intelligent.

#

Re:I'll use proprietary software if I damn well wa

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 27, 2005 01:32 AM
I agree that forcing other people to use proprietary software (say, by sending proprietary-formatted documents) is a bad choice. But your whole argument is based on the idea that all proprietary software and any use of it is bad, which I don't accept. Of course Microsoft's DRMed vision of the future is awful, but there's a middle ground, and accepting proprietary software doesn't mean you support its tyranny.

As with drugs, the proper solution is to educate people. The only reason not to use drugs - or proprietary software - is the cost to yourself.

#

helping Linux development

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 10:52 AM
You can help Linux development by getting rid of freaks like RMS. This whole nonsense about proprietary software being "evil" and "dangerous" is idiotic, people don't lose freedom when they choose to use the software, you don't like it then make something better, don't go around whinning and preaching about what people should use. Nobody cares but weirdos like RMS and people who agree with him, it's just software for fuck's sake, relax.

#

Re:helping Linux development

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 03:50 PM
    You can help Linux development by getting rid of freaks like RMS.

Do you mean freaks that started the Free Software movement to begin with?
    Nobody cares but weirdos like RMS and people who agree with him, it's just software for fuck's sake, relax.

That's the sprit! Just relax, it's not important. There's a lot of other little freedoms we have in life too that often go unoticed, we can take away those ones too. Nobody will notice. And of cource, when one is gone, the next is all the more easy to remove.

These things happens all over the world every day and nobody realizes it. You distract with a shiny object while you rob people blind.

You'd be a prime mark, by the way!

#

Re:helping Linux development

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 11:41 PM
The complete dominance of the proprietary software model (say, if something like the CBDTPA gets passed) is a scary idea, but I don't see how my choosing to occasionally use Windows has any importance in the grand scheme.

#

Re:helping Linux development

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 03:59 PM
This whole nonsense about proprietary software being "evil" and "dangerous" is idiotic, people don't lose freedom when they choose to use the software,

You're posting that on an article that comments a counter-example to your logic.

you don't like it then make something better

That's what called a free replacement, and it's what Stallman advocated from the beginning.

it's just software for fuck's sake, relax.

You're talking about software as if it was just videogames. "Software" is what manages nuclear power plants. "Software" is what processes millions of monetary transactions in a second, worldwide.

"Software" is something I don't like to be secretive and in the hand of a few monopolistic companies which care more about money than their users.

In case you don't get the point: imagine the Windows NSA backdoor would have gone unnoticed and now they had access to the Windows computers of every government in the world. That's something I wouldn't like in my country.

#

Re:helping Linux development

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 05:10 PM
Amen. Stallman (stalin) is a nutcase socialist. All he does is hurt open source (which is separate from his FSF/GNU), but gets lumped in anyway.

Maybe we'll all get lucky and Stallman will get hit by a bus

#

Re:helping Linux development

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 05:40 PM
Or maybe we'll be even luckier, and the proprietary Microsoft Bus (tm) will hit you instead...<nobr> <wbr></nobr>;)

#

Ethical Atheists on Parade and other oxymorons

Posted by: ThoreauHD on April 26, 2005 12:23 PM
I think RMS has pretty much illustrated what everyone already knew, but not for the right reasons or by the same logic.

One example, no.. make that 2, MacOS X and Windows XP/2003 IP stack. Freedom isn't maintainable with his gravity ignorant BSD license. It's not freedom unless you live in a perfect vacuum- in which case- Guess What? You don't need a freaking license. Suprise!

When patents are eliminated, then it will be free as in freedom- not now, and not a moment before that happens. Don't piss in the wind RMS. Some friendly advice from a fellow defender of freedom.

He is right about the undertone that the GPL should be the first priority before convenience. He is also right that convenience got us all into this mess of patents crushing the evolution of technology- and if you want to get non-myopic and realistic about it, of humanity as a whole.

It was a stupid mistake for Linus to choose the easy way out. The programmer in him took over, instead of the tinkering engineer. "Oooh, look at all the cool stuff it can do! Can I have it?"

Linus made a mistake. Water under the bridge. I think from all of this bashing that he will now have this particular error in judgement burned into his mind. He won't forget it. I just hope the engineer in him wakes up. But, I guess he really doesn't have a choice now that the proprietary reality's telling him to sod off.

"The program they no longer use will remain unethical as long as it is non-free, but they will no longer promote it, nor by using it teach others to give freedom low priority. We can begin to forget about that program."

I'm going to be blunt about this. And I want to say I respect RMS's position as far as logic a reality takes it. Here is the problem I have in this particular case.

I have a problem with people that deny the existence of God and talk about ethics as something concrete. There is a serious disconnect there. Agnostic's don't believe what they can't prove, so they don't know or care either way. I can't fault somebody for not acknowledging what they don't know. But atheist's actively deny that there is a God, which means they acknowledge God or good or morality or ethics exists- but choose to ignore parts of the whole at their convenience. You can't oppose something that isn't there. And so, I have problems taking advice, moral or otherwise, from atheists. Their logic stops at the starting line.

In the end, programs aren't unethical. People are. And in the end, liberty is freedom with equal responsibility. And not even atheistic leaning Mac OS X solution providers can ignore this for long. That's just reality. All we have is choice in the end. I hope we choose wisely.

#

Humans and ethics

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 10:16 PM


I have a problem with people that deny the existence of God and talk about ethics as something concrete.


I am not sure that God has much to do with ethics. Ethics is about human interaction, how you treat your fellow human. You can be an aetheist software programmer and be very ethical. Or you can be a born-again evangelical software programmer and be completely unethical.

In my opinion the God obsessed people, in whatever country, are making the world an oppressive and more dangerous place because they eschew ethics in their efforts to impose their personal beliefs on others.

#

Re:Ethical Atheists on Parade and other oxymorons

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 11:46 PM
Ethics don't have to come from a God. You can say that the ethical thing to do is what causes the least suffering/death and the most happiness, and get sensible results, just to name one example (utilitarianism).

#

Stallman is a fascist

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 05:07 PM
Like the rest of his socialist fascist, he wants to limit choice and freedom.

#

Re:Stallman is a fascist

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 05:33 PM
Nope _ I think you have it backwards. He's only pointing out, yet again, that you don't truly own proprietary software, that your freedom can be taken away at any time, at great potential cost to you. And that's just tough.

He's militant about protecting our long-term freedom, even if you perceive that his solution (don't ever use proprietary software) is in reality a bit tricky for you and me, and probably most people right now.

Since he has no right to force you to do what he says, how is he limiting your freedom? His message is bang on target though. To paraphrase you, it's the proprietary "capitalist fascists" who *do* have the right to take away your freedom, now. Wake up.

#

Re:Stallman is a fascist

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 06:57 PM
"Social fascism" or "national-socialism" were oxymoronic and confusionist terms Nazis found to embelish and deceive, and hide their true agenda. Amazing as it still shows up, even in the media. About limiting freedom and choice, that is actually what you need to do if you want to have any. Or would you defend the "freedom" and "choice" of owning and enslaving people?
Freedom is by definition limited by other people's freedom.

#

make up your mind..

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 09:37 PM
Is he a fascist, or a communist? Socialist or Nazi? You do realize that politically, they are more or less opposite poles...

Oh, and stop posting multiple times.. its really very recognizable (and childish). We heard you the first time. Criticism is one thing, but noone really cares about ignorant name-calling.

#

Re:make up your mind..

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 29, 2005 06:53 AM
He doesn't wanna build a better mousetrap. He wants to destroy the ones that work now. Capitalism is survival of the fittest. I'm all for 'free'...but I'd rather have the fittest on my desktop *if I have the means.* If I don't have the means, or if I don't wanna spend, then I'll pick something lesser. My choice/your choice...why should I lower my expectations 'cause you can't compete with me?

#

Re:Stallman is a fascist

Posted by: PenguinBoyDave on April 28, 2005 11:11 PM
Yes...he is. By telling us NOT to use one kind of software he is limiting us to ONLY using free software. What kind of a *choice* is that RMS? That is kind of like voting in a one-party, one candidate election.

#

Re:Stallman is a fascist

Posted by: andrecaldas on May 16, 2005 12:51 PM

By telling us NOT to use one kind of software he is limiting us to ONLY using free software.



Nope! By telling you NOT to use something he is just telling. You are still free to use whatever you want.




But, by the way. If you think that software company have too much more power over you then they should have. And even if it's legally so, you do belive that those companies are beeing unethical, then I would advise you to try to push them a little and refuse to use their products. It's not just because it is legal that it is ethical. That's what RMS is doing.




Companies do choose to be unethical in order to maximize profit. What can you do about it? Well, you could stop using their products and get friends of yours to do the same.




Now, if you don't belive that companies are beeing unethical when they force you to buy upgrades (because of lock-in). Or if you don't belive it is unethical that companies tyrannically forbid you to do many things you belive you have the right to do - like reinstalling your OS in a new machine you bought because the old one broke. Then, you are free to create your own website "we love microsoft", and try to get people to avoid "viral society-harming free-software".

#

How Many Other Cases of Lock-In on Linux?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 05:08 PM
How many other cases are there where Linux users and developers are being locked in? And are they even aware of it?

It is pretty much accepted that you can't be locked in if you use Open Source software, and open standards. The ability to fork ensures that a supplier who misbehaves can be replaced.

But, running on Linux will not keep you free if you allow yourself to be locked in by other proprietary components, such as applications, drivers, and protocols (APIs, Object Models, Comms, etc.).

I'm not so worried about simple lock-in, such as when someone uses a proprietary application. In such cases, the user knows what he or she is getting into, and that it may be necessary to change applications in the future.

Rather, the thing that worries me is Network-Effect Lock-In.

Network-Effect Lock-In occurs when users and developers are tied to each other by a common piece of proprietary middleware (an application, a driver, a communications protocol, etc.).

With Network-Effect Lock-In, the users find it difficult to get out, because they are dependent on multiple products (and multiple developers) that use the same proprietary middleware.

Likewise, the developers find it difficult to get out, because all their users are tied to the same proprietary middleware, not to mention any requirements for compatibility with other products based on that middleware.

A good example of Network-Effect Lock-In is Windows, where the users and developers are all dependent on the same proprietary middleware, namely, the Windows APIs.

Looking at Linux, are there examples of proprietary middleware that are creating Network-Effect Lock-In?

The answer is yes. The examples are numerous, and their use is growing more widespread.

Here are some that I can think of, off the top of my head:

- NVidia's and ATI's proprietary hardware drivers.

- MySQL, when used under its non-GPL license.

- Qt, when used under its non-GPL license.

- Wine, when used under its non-GPL license.

- Proprietary codecs for audio and video.

- RealMedia and its protocols.

- Flash and its protocols.

-<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.Net and its protocols (e.g. Trolltech built a<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.Net interface into Qt).

- Various other semi-proprietary protocols, such as SMB (Samba), the Qt APIs and Object Model (Qt),<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.Net (Mono), and so on.

- Various proprietary install procedures, such as those used by Linspire, or Xandros.

- And so on.

As Linux gains more casual users, the tendency to compromise on Open Source (or Free Software, in deference to RMS) principles is growing. This results in a growing use of, and acceptance of, proprietary middleware on Linux.

And that creates a threat.

Every piece of proprietary middleware in common use on Linux gives the owner of that middleware leverage.

How can that leverage be used? As we have seen in the past, say, with Windows, it can be used to dictate standards in favor of its owner; to give the owner's products a competitive advantage over others; or to expand the owner's leverage into other areas, such as applications, development standards, and ultimately the platform itself.

For example, what would happen today if Microsoft bought up NVidia, MySQL, Trolltech, and Macromedia? Would that be enough to guarantee the dominance of MS-Linux and<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.Net? Probably not.

What about five years from now, if we allow the continued encroachment on Linux by proprietary middleware?

It concerns me that more people are not speaking out on this. I would especially like to see some concern expressed by Free Software and Open Source leaders, such as RMS, ESR, Bruce Perens, and so on.

#

Re:How Many Other Cases of Lock-In on Linux?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 06:09 PM
As soon as a product is GPL'd you can't unGPL that release. If MySQL and QT and Wine were to revoke their GPL versions folks would just fork from the last GPL'd edition. THe others you bring up are much more troubling, especially the hardware drivers. I mean we can all live without flash, but not beaing able to use a video card is a serious issue. Hardware companies need to start releasing specs. period.

#

Re:How Many Other Cases of Lock-In on Linux?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 27, 2005 12:20 AM
> As soon as a product is GPL'd you can't unGPL that release. If MySQL and QT and Wine were to revoke their GPL versions folks would just fork from the last GPL'd edition.

You seem to have missed the point.

What you say about using GPL'd software is true. I made the same point myself. People who stick with only GPL'd software (including GPL'd software based on MySQL, AT, and Wine) are safe from lock-in.

But I am talking about the people who use (or develop) _non-GPL'd_ software based on MySQL, Qt, and Wine. Those people are locked in, not just to the applications, but to the _non-GPL'd_ versions of MySQL, Qt, and Wine.

And that's what developers such as MySQL, Trolltech, and Codeweavers are doing with their GPL-plus-non-GPL licensing schemes. They are using the GPL'd version as a smoke screen, while they use the non-GPL'd version to achieve Microsoft-style lock-in.

They are hoping that people will miss seeing the problem, as you did.

> The others you bring up are much more troubling...

I agree that it is very troubling.

And I believe that Microsoft is behind a lot of it. For example, I believe that Microsoft started the XBox partly as a means of bribing NVidia and ATI into keeping their interface specs secret from Linux. And I believe that both of those companies released their so-so binary drivers, at Microsoft's urging, in order to get Linux developers to stop development on the Open Source versions.

Microsoft is determined to make PC hardware APIs secret -- as part of the decommoditization scheme they described in the Halloween document -- in order to block Linux.

> I mean we can all live without flash...

Actually, Flash scares me a lot. I run into far more websites that I can't access because I don't use Flash, than I do because I don't use Internet Explorer.

And if Linux and/or Mozilla can't access the Internet without including other proprietary software (Flash,<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.Net, or whatever), it will severly hamper our success. Microsoft would end up getting their Internet monopoly, which would give them a degree of control over _every_ business, not just the IT industry.

#

Re:How Many Other Cases of Lock-In on Linux?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 11:30 PM
I'm using linux, and I'm locked in. I am locked in because being a perfect free software believer I'm behaving 'ethically' and am not using non-free software. The result is that I have to endure millions of inconveniences for which my windows friends laugh at me for being stupid enough to endure them. I'm bitching about them on mailing lists of various free software packages but can't get anyone do anything about them. Maintainers of projects simply don't think a majority of my complaints important enough to implement (fix) in the software. I would very like to fix these problems myself if I only knew how. That's why I'm studying C now. And reading all I can get my hands on (I'm not sure if reading non-free documentation is ethical - I sure hope it is). But I'm not very optimistic about my prospects of success. The source codes are damn complicated and my brain is overheating. I'm depressed a lot for it. Still it's all for a good cause. Free software is about ethics and humanity, not about practicality, so while my friends shootup UnrealTournament 2004, I'm limited to playing QuakeWorld - but only free maps. When I come over to my friends I can only watch and the other day I asked a friend to show me how original Quake looks so that I could see what I'm missing. I'm starting to hate proprietary software a lot for being superior in many ways. I feel like being left out. But enough of this whining right. It's all for a good cause. Join me troopers. Let's change the world.

#

Re:How Many Other Cases of Lock-In on Linux?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 11:48 PM
Is this sarcasm? I hope so.

#

Re:How Many Other Cases of Lock-In on Linux?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 27, 2005 01:19 AM
Sarcasm? I doubt it. Most likely it is just what he said - depression.

Sometimes I feel that way too. My coding skills consist of MS-DOS batch files and some very very simple Perl scripts. I almost feel like crying every time someone tells me "if it is missing X then write the code to fix it." Yea -- I wish.

What is it called when you join a revolution but you aren't qualified to be part of the revolution's army? What is called when the revolution's army laughs at you for trying to join?

#

Re:How Many Other Cases of Lock-In on Linux?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 27, 2005 01:25 AM
The "code it yourself" attitued is horrible, agreed, but I just don't get why this person uses free software only in the face of such inconvenience. Using Linux exclusively at home is just fine (I do it, for practical reasons), but refusing to play a game because it's nonfree, or worrying about the ethical ramifications of reading nonfree documentation... I just don't get how there's any ethical obligation to do this. If they don't want to give up their freedom that strongly that's fine, but if they feel some sense of obligation they should... reconsider.

#

Re:How Many Other Cases of Lock-In on Linux?

Posted by: cammoblammo on April 28, 2005 11:17 AM
On the games, RMS has said (sorry, too lazy to find it) that he believes that game maps are a work of art, and thus it's not necessarily unethical to make them non-free.

The game engine, on the other hand, is simply software whose job it is to tell the story. This should be free.

An analogy---a map is analogous to a story that I write. I can ethically prevent others from copying it, modifying it, and so on.

But the software I use to display the story (OpenOffice.org, xpdf, plucker, firefox, etc, depending on the format I choose) needs to be be free.

#

I agree, that is why MONO is bad

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 28, 2005 12:02 AM
I don't understand why people want to help Microsoft embrace and extend.

Instead of emulating Microsoft<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.NET and all of its libraries, the most that should be done is to implement a reference ECMA core along with migration tools to help the poor Windows programmers to something that is free and open.

OK, what free and open thingy should they migrate to? Well, I have to admit I'm a bit weak here -- perhaps because I've only been actively involved in Linux/Open Source for about a year. Perhaps should be many "mini" migration kits depending on the focus of the program (such as database with a front screen) and the end result (such as RealBasic with a MySQL backend).

Well anyway I just don't see how MONO is going to embrace and extend Microsoft because the MONO team will never catch up or provide a compelling reason for a Windows programmer to use special MONO extensions.

And I think that if you can't win against MS with an embrace and extend approach than you need to use a different approach.

#

What about the cost?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 07:04 PM
While I totally respect RMS for starting the revolution, I believe his views are too extreme. Software freedom is freedom to choose. Including freedom to chose "free like beer" or commercial software. As others have posted, despite what we run on our desktop we use proprietary sw (imbedded) everywhere we go today.


What I think is lost from this discussion is that we must now suffer a productivity loss by not using BitKeeper. If Linus, et al have to divert their efforts toward building a content mangament system, other projects will suffer at least for some time. One thing that can be said about BitKeeper is that it works and works well. It will take quite a while before an equally bug-free robust tool will be available to match the productivity of BK.

#

Re:What about the cost?

Posted by: cammoblammo on April 28, 2005 11:54 AM
Software freedom is freedom to choose. Including freedom to chose "free like beer" or commercial software.

This might be true. However, does 'personal freedom' include the right to kidnap others?

Just a thought.

#

Re:What about the cost?

Posted by: andrecaldas on May 16, 2005 01:07 PM


Stallman does not want to impose anything in your freedom of choice. He just belives that the copyright system gives too much power to software companies. And also that by making use of those powers, those companies are beeing unethical.




Please, let me recomend you this reading: <A HREF="http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.html" title="gnu.org">
right to read</a gnu.org>.




Stallman is worried about people puting political goals aside (freedom is the goal) in favor of some temporary convenience. Maybe you are closer to a techinically better 2.6 kernel. He is just allerting his community about this false sense of progress.




By the way, in this article, Stallman just took the oportunity to show you that "free (as in beer) != free (as in free-speach)".




You are free to choose whatever you want. But the companies should not be free to impose whatever they want on you. Stallman thinks you sould give-up a little convenience in order to archive a greater goal: freedom.

#

Another first..

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 07:37 PM
For the first time in my life I agree with RMS, this is a happy ending.<nobr> <wbr></nobr>/Olof

#

What a foul spirited man

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 08:12 PM
And yes, I've met him. Richard Stallman is rude, arrogant, abrasive, incapable of reasoned debate (he insists on defining the terms until any debate is pointless), and remains the single best reason for businesses not to switch to Free (as distinct from Open Source) software.

Apropos to the current SCO versus IBM lawsuit, he's probably the single best witness for SCOX to call in front of a jury of regular folks. It doesn't matter on what pretence, or what they ask him. They just have to identify him as being on the Other Side, and light the blue touch-paper. Mark my words.

#

It's the ideas, not the personality.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 26, 2005 10:31 PM
It's the ideas that matter, not the personality of the person imparting the ideas.

#

Funny..

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 27, 2005 12:11 AM
When people do not know what to say when they disagree, they just say things like nazi or communist;
While in fact it is "more" of a socialistic thing

Anybody using the term "nazi" or "communist" when calling names, has a lack of intelligence

I suspect those who say such things have NO clue what it means (stick with M$ you guy's-by monkeys for monkeys:)

(and is "trying" to shut him up by using these words not really "un-american", he's practicing free speech<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:)

Keep it up RMS.

#

Avoid the Sirens

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 27, 2005 12:46 AM
I'm sorry RMS just pointed out that using proprietary software is bad.
It is a much larger thing than that.



Relying on a Corporation leaving you some bits of freedom does not grant you freedom forever. It is an obvious thing, corporations are market and stock-exchange driven, so their attuitude may change at any time, and if you don't have real guarantees (i.e. open source code) you can't be sure they won't kick you in the ass someday.



Suppose you're using some free and cool Aspect Oriented Programming tool. Suddenly, today, you could be charged for patent infringement, even if ATM xerox seems kind toward you.



Or consider that the mono guys write a nice VB.net compiler. Tomorrow they could be smashed for using the patented "<tt>IsNot</tt>" operator (!!!).



Relying on Corporations to be NotEvil(TM) is a very bad approach, I hope people could realize this and ignore this Sirens singing..

#

Re:Avoid the Sirens

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 27, 2005 02:45 AM
Without corporations, where would people make a living? How would people be able to afford to eat? Should we go back to a hunter-gatherer society?

Where would you get your hardware from to run your "free" software? Don't even say you want "free" hardware. Where would the billions of dollars required to build the fabs come from? Who would work in them? Where would the raw materials come from?

Where is the guarantee from "free" software? Unless you are a coder, those that run the project can lose interest and you can be left without your software in the same way you are left without an abandoned proprietary solution. There are no guarantees in life.

Idealism only goes so far. Paroting RMS because you want to be an ubergeek does not make you cool. Think on your own, have your own thoughts. Look at how the world actually works. Be practical.

There certainly are some greedy corporations out there. They eventually die. There are also a lot of corporations that do good things.

One advantage of corporations is that when users want a feature, they add it. They look at requested features as additional revenue. Many FOSS projects respond with "show me the code". You can not expect all computer users to become coders. Our society works around people being specialists and trading goods/services (mostly through money) to gain peak efficiency. That is the model that got us out of the stone age and in to the modern world. Corporations add to that efficiency.

We live in a fairly free society. Vote with you wallet. If you don't like Microsoft and their products, don't buy them. Educate your friends and family about the alternatives. Don't feed them propaganda and socialist ideals. They don't care about the source code being "free". Tell them about using open standards, the quality of the software, and the other things they would see as a true benefit.

#

Re:Avoid the Sirens

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 28, 2005 05:01 AM
I never said something is bad with proprietary software, It pays my bills.

I just said that when you don't have guarantees you should avoid using things since you can't be sure people will always be good.

You would not put money in a bank where they tell you "well, you can leave your money here and we will give it back when you want it, you don't need a contract".

Open source license (or any clear agreement like the xiph/On2 one) are this contract.

#

FSF : Fucking Stupid Faggots

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on May 02, 2005 12:41 PM
People like RMS are bottlenecks and boulders in the path of progress of OpenSource.

While he has his "Free" beer world over,
he keeps slinging his shit over everybody.

The world cares about quality and fidelity,
not jerks like RMS.

More people have become drug addicts, homesexuals and lost their focus because of RMS free love et'al than any other peddler in the history of humanity.

RMS is a criminal!

#

Political Technology

Posted by: fiepoto on May 10, 2005 10:17 PM
This is my first post to news forge so easy does it ladies and gents...

RMS insists that the communication technology that we use is not merely technical but political...and there is a long tradition and nearly a half-century of research that backs him up on this point (see the work of Langdon Winner or Daniel Sclove for example).

RMS reminds us that if the technology we use is not created and available in a democratic manner (ie. free) than the technology we use will enable those with power to exert contol over the rest of us.

Why is the man chastised so much for merely pointing out that we must take our work more seriously, and realize that it does indeed have political ramifications?

A colleage and friend of my in China was recently arrested and interrogated in a cell for three days without due process by a government that did not approve of the free software work he was doing. It seems that communication technology that by-passes the government's oversight, that allows human beings to communicate with one-another freely, is dangerous.

Thanks
Fiepoto

#

Re:Political Technology

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on May 16, 2005 09:55 AM
> Why is the man chastised so much for merely
> pointing out that we must take our work more
> seriously, and realize that it does indeed have
> political ramifications?

People don't like to believe that they have made bad choices. Especially they don't like to think they may have harmed others unintentionally.

To raise the point that a choice made on technical merits (choosing software to use) has political implications, raises issues many people would prefer to ignore.

#

This story has been archived. Comments can no longer be posted.



 
Tableless layout Validate XHTML 1.0 Strict Validate CSS Powered by Xaraya