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Education GNU is Not Unix

MIT's Stata Center Dedicated 441

Posted by timothy
from the toys-to-work-inside dept.
AJL writes "On Friday, the long-in-coming, $280M Stata Center was dedicated at MIT. Featuring some pretty cool technology (including a row of Linux computers proclaiming 'Welcome to the William H. Gates Building' by Tux, the Linux Penguin), amazing design, and some pretty neat use of space, Stata is among the first of some high-budget, high-tech buildings being put on campuses these days. See some Pictures or go to the Main Stata Site for more details. Richard Stallman is now less than pleased that he has to work in the Gates Building, as well as having some other problems with his new office in general."
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MIT's Stata Center Dedicated

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  • Sigh (Score:2, Flamebait)

    Richard Stallman is such a baby. Doors that have to be opened with keycards are everywhere, and usually you can't leave them open for more than 30 or 60 seconds, or an alarm will go off.
    • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Funny)

      by caramelcarrot (778148) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @06:58PM (#9102314)
      As RMS' RFID card is blocked from the security system after he was found eating cheetos under a cluster, the entire MIT technical staff breathes a collective sigh of relief as the nightmare of getting all that beard fluff out of keyboards ends.
    • Re:Sigh (Score:2, Interesting)

      by 0racle (667029)
      He has grants to sit on his ass, fiddle with software, pretend to work on the Hurd, and in general talk about things in such a way that its obvious he doesn't have a real job, and he still complains about the free ride. Its a good thing that personalities don't mean much when choosing software otherwise he'd alienate a lot of people that are actually interested in the software he's associated with.

      No I don't have any proof he pretends to work on the Hurd, but its been 20 years since the GNU project was set
      • He doesn't work on the Hurd, he answers email.

        The only software project he continues to work on is Emacs, but mostly his days are spent giving talks, talking to journalists, talking to lawyers about how to create freedom from the set of laws we have, etc.

        P.S. RMS wrote GCC! (and GDB, and half of Make, and a dozen other GNU packages)
      • Re:Sigh (Score:2, Insightful)

        by saden1 (581102)
        You have accomplished nothing yet you have the audacity to insult a man who has accomplished much. Compared to Stallman you are a man of small stature. In the future please refrain from making an ass out of yourself.

        There are hundreds of universities that would love to have Stallman as a member of their research department. MIT would be foolish to just simply let a talent like Stallman walk away.
    • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gspr (602968) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @07:05PM (#9102351)
      You do not just call people "babies" because their views conflict with yours. Nomatter how you look at it, Stallman is a great and important character, whose views should be taken into consideration, or at least not dismissed immediately as that of a "baby".
      His fear of the Big Brother society is genuine, and if he feels that RFID technology like this one is turning our world into such a society, then he should raise his voice over it. This is exactly what he's doing. Be glad that someone is looking out for YOUR FREEDOM, since you obviously are not.
      • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by YOU LIKEWISE FAIL IT (651184) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @07:21PM (#9102433) Homepage Journal

        I don't think he has a legitimate complaint. While there is a potential that someone might mine the access logs, and, for example, find out he hasn't actually come to work in the last five years, stuff goes missing from these labs late at night, and it would be totally sweet if the long suffering admin at least had a shortlist of who they could ask if they saw 'anything suspicious'.

        Swipecards aren't a perfect solution to the building security problem. People prop doors, people let their friends in, people lose their cards in the quad and other people decide to see just how much access they had, but if they nuke the card program, the alternative proposed by security will probably be cameras, and let me tell you, they're a hell of a lot more intrusive than cards - a camera collects a lot more information than just whether you're there or not* - and they're a lot more labour intensive too.

        I guess the bottom line is that he's free to leave if he wants ( as he's indicated ), but the U. should also be free to implement whatever measures it feels are necessary to provide a safe environment for equipment and students. If they can't come to a compromise ( and while Stallman might be a "great and important character", compromise is not seen as one of his strong suits ) then I guess it's splitsville. I ( and I suspect many others here ) would endure a lot worse than an RFID doorlock to be granted a research position at MIT.

        B.D.

        * - If they'd used cameras in our student labs instead of pin numbers, I probably would have been ejected several times for slovenly appearance unbecoming to the university.

        • Re:Sigh (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Jane_Dozey (759010)
          "I ( and I suspect many others here ) would endure a lot worse than an RFID doorlock to be granted a research position at MIT."
          Yep, and I wouldn't consider the cards a compromise of my privacy either. You could think of them as a type of punchcard rolled together with a kind of pin number.
          IMHO the only people who need to be concerned with types of access cards are security specialists (due to the cards fallible nature, ie. someone stealing one) and people who don't have official access to the building/room
        • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Interesting)

          by YOU LIKEWISE FAIL IT (651184) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @08:54PM (#9102914) Homepage Journal

          I was thinking about this when I was at the watercooler, so I took the RFID access card I use to open the server room in my workplace, and one of those small steel ( I think they're steel ) business card "wallets" from a managers desk, and to my not very great surprise, once inside it was unable to interact with any of the RFID sensors in my office, even when placed flush against the readers front plate.

          This is a possible compromise if Stallman wants to be able to open the doors, but not be remotely scanned as he moves about the campus. You can open the "door" on the wallet to scan the card, and then latch it and slip it back into your jeans. I'm not a physics man, so I have no idea if this defense would be easily broken down by simply pouring more juice out of the reader, however.

    • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Interesting)

      by LostCluster (625375) * on Sunday May 09, 2004 @07:05PM (#9102352)
      Ironically, Fox 25 in Boston just ran a report about how insecure college dorms are because even with the magnetic-stripe or RFID based ID cards, somebody with a hidden TV camera could on every attempt get in simply by walking behind another student. In most cases, that other student even holds the door...

      This really isn't the strongest security measure, but at least its better than not having any at all.
      • Nothing special there -- when I was an undergrad, living the dorms in the Boston area, we had ordinary keys, and we still propped the door open and held it for other people.

        Locked doors to common areas are annoying as hell.
    • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by UserGoogol (623581) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @07:08PM (#9102371)
      Yes, but I've been to the Stata center. People (hell, maybe RMS) are propping doors open anyway.

      Anyway, a lot of buildings at MIT don't have very good security at all. The main campus (buildings 1-10) are pretty much open to all visitors, and they connect, via halls and basements, to much of the campus.

      I don't see why the CS/AI Lab and the Linguistics Departments need this much security anyway. I mean, I can understand the nuclear reactor or something having this kind of security, but why are they locking off people from here?
      • Re:Sigh (Score:2, Insightful)

        by treerex (743007)

        I don't see why the CS/AI Lab and the Linguistics Departments need this much security anyway.

        Perhaps the hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment available for the taking in the the AI Lab and LCS have something to do with it, no? Not to mention the technology under development and other property. IMHO security should be tight in these buildings. But as another poster said, physical security is useless unless because you'll always find people who will let you in. When I was in college the dorm door

        • by alexhmit01 (104757)
          For anyone that hasn't been to MIT's campus, the place is in a warehouse district. Sure the view from the River looks beautiful with Killian Court, but the otherside of the campus is pretty gross. The computer science buildings (32, 34, and 36 IIRC) were on a nearly abandonned ally, and walking in/out of that building late at night was creepy, I can't imagine what the girls in Course 6 (EECS) thought, or perhaps that is why they didn't stay late for labs...

          The new building here is in a even less school-l
      • Re:Sigh (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Broadcatch (100226)

        I don't see why the CS/AI Lab and the Linguistics Departments need this much security anyway.

        Exactly the question. Really, it's creeping Big Brother fad and supported by out-of-control corporatism. Back in the late 70's when I was there, there were no locks on any doors, and not even any passwords on the machines that were arguably some of the most powerful connected to the Arpanet. Security was maintained by a group camaraderie, and it worked really well.

        Then the corporations (in those days we ca

    • Re:Sigh (Score:2, Informative)

      by paroneayea (642895)
      Yes, it's easy to get moderator points up the wazoo when you post first :p Not that I've never done a first post myself. I just don't think this is that informative. Stallman isn't complaining about the usage of keycards to open doors... he's complaining about the use of RFID tags in the keycard, and a system that deliberately tracks where a person is going and when.
    • by nodwick (716348) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @07:21PM (#9102430)
      Richard Stallman is such a baby. Doors that have to be opened with keycards are everywhere, and usually you can't leave them open for more than 30 or 60 seconds, or an alarm will go off.
      Stallman is simply using the RFID angle to rehash his pet peeves. The big fuss being made over this issue overlooks the fact that MIT already has card reader access virtually everywhere, from the dorms to the labs to even some of the public buildings such as the medical center. The only difference here is that Stata, being newer, has chosen to install RFID readers instead of the standard swipe.

      If the RFID chips they used could be easily read from a distance, then this might be more of a problem -- we joked about professors having real-time blips representing their students walking around, a la Harry Potter's Maurader's map :) However, the chips they installed are pretty short-range, so I don't see this as a viable problem: they won't even read from your pocket when you're standing in front of the reader; you have to wave it in front of the scanner.

      Near as I can tell, there's nothing "magical" about using the new readers as opposed to the old ones; any privacy issues you might perceive are exactly the same as they've been on campus for years now.

      • by InsaneFolder (206084) <Neuro_Mancer42@yahoo. c o m> on Sunday May 09, 2004 @08:48PM (#9102891) Homepage
        Firstly, the card reader access on camput is pretty minimal. Many outer doors have card readers and are locked after hours, but there are plenty of unlocked doors that grant access to almost all of campus.

        More of a problem is that the RFID system has almost no security. No challenge-response, the cards just send out their data when queried. And can be read from a distance. And can be linked to things like student financial accounts. I can't blame Stallman for being a little paranoid.
      • I can tell you, being at another university that uses swipe cards, it causes lots of wear and tear on cards and on readers. If you have a reader getting swiped 100 times a day, which isn't uncommon for one that controlls access to an area with lots of people, it wears out quick. Cards likewise. I've replaced my card 2 times at the university, both while I worked in a building with card access. Before and after that aren't a problem since it sits with my other cards in my wallet most of the time.

        RFID is a b
  • by penguinoid (724646) <spambait001@yahoo.com> on Sunday May 09, 2004 @06:59PM (#9102317) Homepage Journal
    ...a row of Linux computers proclaiming 'Welcome to the William H. Gates Building' by Tux

    Is this supposed to be an ironical joke, or have they been brainwashing penguins? Perhaps it's time to put on our tin foil hats.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 09, 2004 @07:31PM (#9102484)
      They were actually (imho) quite brilliant hacks. The kiosks were originally running WinXP. On the opening day, a group of students stormed the building and gave the kiosks a nicer look and feel. Here's a photo [mit.edu] I took of the hacked kiosks. A few hours later, though, the machines were all wiped and returned to XP =/

      FWIW, I really like the building. I wasn't sure at first, but after having worked in there for about a month now, it's quite nice for the most part.

  • by Phil John (576633) <phil@nosPaM.webstarsltd.com> on Sunday May 09, 2004 @06:59PM (#9102320)
    ...and working as an architect.

    All joking aside, how long must it have taken to a) design that and b) build the damn thing. I can imagine it being very complex to lay out...where would you start?

    Kudos to the architect and the builders, they've done a great job.
  • The man simply has no social graces. And I really don't understand why he is deified in the community. He has the social skills of a 14yr old, and is simply a leftover 60's idealistic whacko.

    Don't believe me? Try carrying on a conversation with him. If you happen to be female, guaranteed his eyes won't ever get above your breasts. This comes from experience folks (no, not mine :)
    • by fdawg (22521) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @07:11PM (#9102389)
      Do me a favor. Walk to any engineering school worth its salt, pay a girl 10 bucks to walk around and smile and say hello and watch the reactions while paying special attention to eyes. He works at MIT. Cut him some slack; eye candy cant be that prevalent.

      RMS is in a position to make a difference. Privacy is obviously important to him as it should be to the rest of us. If we were forced to use an RFID, we would gladly do so because, normally, we dont have the power or the opportunity to "just say no". If he doesnt want to, he doesnt have to and neither do you. The difference is if he doesnt use it, people notice. If you or I refuse to use the device, we'd be easily replaced by someone who will. I, personally, would have no problem lugging a key for every door use to get to my office and maintain my privacy than have my boss or some evil entity monitoring what time I come and go or what time I usually get up to relieve myself. Privacy doesnt necessarily have to stop the moment you go to work.
      • There are some cute female students at MIT, and also there are secretaries.

        The Boston colleges taken as a group have considerably more females than males.

        Guys at MIT actually behave pretty decently in comparison to others the same age.

      • I am graduating this upcoming weekend with a Computer and Systems Degree from RPI. I personally consider RPI to be an excellent Engineering school (although the city of Troy leaves something to be desired). Judging from Graduate Schools and Companies that are interested in my I would say so does industy ;-).

        First, I (and all my friends) are able to talk to girls without looking at their cleavage. *Shock* Quite possibly because we look at them as people instead of objects. I have a number of (female) frie
      • Do me a favor. Walk to any engineering school worth its salt, pay a girl 10 bucks to walk around and smile and say hello and watch the reactions while paying special attention to eyes. He works at MIT. Cut him some slack; eye candy cant be that prevalent.

        Perhaps if the engineering students and faculty tried to practice proper hygiene that wouldn't be such an issue. Stallman looks like Grizzly Adams for god's sake. I realize it's supposed to be cliche that old unix hackers have long hair and big scraggly


    • > He has the social skills of a 14yr old

      He's a programmer; what did you expect?

    • He just doesn't want anyone figuring out he's living in his office.
    • I don't know about "deified," but gcc and the GPL have earned him a certain amount of slack, and deservedly so. If you use any Open Source/Free software at all, certainly Linux, he deserves your gratitude. This stuff definitely wouldn't exist without gcc and the other GNU tools, and probably wouldn't exist without the GPL. (BSD folk may step in here and argue otherwise--is there/was there an independently developed BSD-licensed compiler in use on the BSDs?)

      Even if you disagree with his politics/philosophy
  • by mcfletch (557645) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @06:59PM (#9102322)
    Richard Stallman is now less than pleased that he has to work in the Gates Building, as well as having some other problems with his new office in general.
    Sure, it's a worthy cause ;) , but creating a whole building just to do it? I mean, really, he can be set off by the simplest misuse of a pet phrase or so. Those MIT/MS guys just like to make things more complex and expensive than they really need to be.
  • by lushman (251748) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @07:00PM (#9102323)
    Take a look at that building! It looks like its half falling down. It seriously looks like something from "The Nightmare Before Christmas".

    This is what happens when you give case modders the job of designing a building!
  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Sunday May 09, 2004 @07:00PM (#9102326)
    Aside giving him free office space in metro Boston... just what resources does RMS get out of being with MIT that he can't get from the FSF anyway?
  • Suck it up! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by angry_beaver (458910) * on Sunday May 09, 2004 @07:00PM (#9102330)
    I can't believe that he would complain about something like this! Oh wait, yes I can, because he's a fruit cake.

    Seriously, I don't understand the privacy concerns with this. Do you need to scan in and out of the bathroom or something? Is he afraid they're going to track his bowel movements?

    What I can understand is why they want this info. If there's equipment that goes missing.. it's quite usefull to know who is in the building, or who opened the door to the room.
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @07:02PM (#9102337)
    Stallman says that MIT could have implemented a different system that protected the visitors' privacy. Instead, he says, the Institute chose only convenience, and he's ready to call it a day and take his research elsewhere. "The big sacrifice is leaving MIT," he says. "I am prepared to make that sacrifice."

    I don't see any reason why the MIT wouldn't have the right, or wouldn't want to see who enters what building when. It's their premises, and if something gets stolen or damaged, RFID would help tracking down the culprit(s).

    This thing is a security issue in this case. It's not the same privacy issue as tracking the general public in malls and K-Marts for no good reason. I Stallman should ease off the 1984 Orwellian paranoia a little and adapted his points of views to the environments he's in.
    • by nighty5 (615965) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @07:07PM (#9102367)
      In other news Stallman leaves MIT, in a huff over the privacy debarcle.

      Research facilities all over the US and the world unite to install new RFID access devices.

      Stallman ends up staying at home.

    • If there is a consensus against the RFID badges, I have no doubt the collected talent at MIT can find a way around using them. IIRC it was at MIT that the practice of lock hacking originated back in the 1960's. Professors with interesting equipment in their rooms, and who locked their doors, would come in to find the lock had been picked and a polite message left to request the door be left open in the future so anyone who wanted could play with the equipment.

      I suspect that, while Stallman would have ha

    • I don't see any reason why the MIT wouldn't have the right, or wouldn't want to see who enters what building when. It's their premises, and if something gets stolen or damaged, RFID would help tracking down the culprit(s).

      This thing is a security issue in this case. It's not the same privacy issue as tracking the general public in malls and K-Marts for no good reason.


      I don't see any reason why K-Mart wouldn't have the right, or wouldn't want to see who enters their store. It's their premises, and if some
  • Sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Richard_at_work (517087) * <richardprice@@@gmail...com> on Sunday May 09, 2004 @07:04PM (#9102347)
    Now I think RMS jsut has his knickers in a twist, simply because people will listen.

    Some quotes:
    "There is no legitimate justification for keeping track of who opens these doors," Stallman says. "You can just leave these doors open, and the building would have the same amount of security as most of the rest of the campus." MIT says most buildings use the RFID cards.

    Well, actually, there are legitimate justifications for keeping track of who opens the doors. If something gets nicked from the lab, you can find out who was in the building and from there you can start to investigate the theft (by that I mean, ask those people if theysaw anything or anyone suspicious etc). If someone props open the doors, as he also hints on, then you can see who the last person was to open those doors using the card and take matters from there.

    We have a Proximity card solution at work, and its fine. Yes, you can get tracked, but then you are on private property, and tracking isnt always foolproof because you are not required to beep in if you are part of a group.

    Stallman says that MIT could have implemented a different system that protected the visitors' privacy. Instead, he says, the Institute chose only convenience, and he's ready to call it a day and take his research elsewhere. "The big sacrifice is leaving MIT," he says. "I am prepared to make that sacrifice."

    Well, MIT arent exactly making the visitors details public knowledge, now are they? From the situation with GNUs su program not supporting wheel (link [www.ifh.de]), I think its clear that RMS has a dubious and somewhat iffy personal view on security, and that much alone makes me want to dismiss him out of hand when he talks about security related matters. If hes prepared to "make that sacrifice" instead of allowing MIT to implement a bit of security to protect their building and valuables inside said building, then good riddence is all I can say.
    • Re:Sigh (Score:3, Insightful)

      by evilviper (135110)

      Well, actually, there are legitimate justifications for keeping track of who opens the doors. If something gets nicked from the lab, you can find out who was in the building and from there you can start to investigate the theft

      Yes, and the same reasoning could be applied to explain why you need to have somebody following you around, recording your every move all day, every day.

      RMS didn't say there was no reason to do it, he said it can be just as secure as the rest of the campus without the RFID... There

    • Re:Sigh (Score:3, Insightful)

      by zhenlin (722930)
      Recall that he doesn't support to use of passwords either.

      RMS is the embodiment of anarchism -- he wants everyone to be a peer, and equal in privileges.

      He sees it as unfortunate that trust among humans is so poor that passwords, logins, key cards are required.

      And honestly, I see it as unfortunate too. The only difference is that he wants to change it, and I don't care. In some ways, his stance is better.

      The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the

  • "proximity" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by frenztech (302220) <slashdot@COUGARfrenzy.org minus cat> on Sunday May 09, 2004 @07:05PM (#9102353) Homepage
    They state proximity RFIDs...just how far does this proximity go? I have no problems keeping track of who opens what doors inside a building, etc. for security reasons if they're doing classified or confidential work. However, an RFID is a little more invasive.

    So, what does MIT do with the data they could collect on how many trips to the watercooler I made?
    • They state proximity RFIDs...just how far does this proximity go?

      At work, we use proximity readers and cards manufactured by Casi-Rusco, which was apparently rolled into GE [geindustrial.com].

      Typically, readers are mounted next to a door at waist or shoulder height, and you must wave your card within 2-3 inches in order for it to be detected so that you can gain entry. It makes a faint beep and displays a green LED if you're allowed in, or a double-beep with a red LED if you're not.

      There's a second type of reader which is u

  • by joelparker (586428) <joel@school.net> on Sunday May 09, 2004 @07:06PM (#9102355) Homepage
    Bill Gates says the freakish buildings and twisted angles will be correctly aligned by the upcoming Stata Service Pack 1.

  • by jbuhler (489) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @07:06PM (#9102357) Homepage
    Finally, a university has built a weirder-looking CS building than the one at my undergrad institution. MIT's new building makes good old Duncan Hall [rice.edu] look positively conservative.
  • by Tyrdium (670229) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @07:06PM (#9102359) Homepage
    I've passed by the building a few times on my way back home from the MIT Swapfest. Not only is the architecture itself pretty ugly, but it's surrounded by typical buildings. It's incredibly annoying to be walking down a street full of brick and stone buildings, and then, out of nowhere, you come upon this thing with random chunks of metal coming out at all angles. The design may be "modern" and "chic" (or whatever you want to call it), but I wish they'd picked a design that fit in better. Hell, there are zoning restrictions on height that say you can't have a 40-story building right in the middle of 1-story ones, so why not restrictions on design? Luckily, I rarely have to pass buy it, but I'd hate to live or work right next to it. Frankly, it's the only MIT building I can think of that looks that out of place...
    • I work next door to the Stata Center (so I have to look at it all day), and I think it's magnificent. As you correctly point out, every other building around is pretty plain. It's block after block of box-shaped buildings all over Kendall square. Glossy, professional looking, but rather architecturally uninteresting rectilinear buildings that all the big computing and biotech companies built when they closed all the grimy old brick machine shops that once ruled that end of Cambridge. The Stata center proudl
    • I've passed by the building a few times on my way back home from the MIT Swapfest. Not only is the architecture itself pretty ugly, but it's surrounded by typical buildings. It's incredibly annoying to be walking down a street full of brick and stone buildings, and then, out of nowhere, you come upon this thing with random chunks of metal coming out at all angles. The design may be "modern" and "chic" (or whatever you want to call it), but I wish they'd picked a design that fit in better.

      Whatever you thin
    • by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @08:22PM (#9102748) Journal
      As someone who's partner is a planner, and who's learned to appreciate all kinds of architecture as a result, I have to say that I find your thinking rather blinkered.

      Yes, you may not like it, and yes, it might not be a clone of every other building in the area but that doesn't make it a bad thing. If everyone thought as you do then we wouldn't have the Gugenheim Museums of New York [new-york-c...useums.com] and Bilbao [skewarch.com], The Sydney Opera House [travelsinparadise.com], La Defense [111parishotels.com] (in Paris), Swiss Re [link2content.co.uk] (in London) or the planned "Shard of Glass" [ananova.com] (also in London).

      And those are just modern examples. Virtually every noteworthy building in history has been on the receiving end of flak for being an eyesore at one time or another, yet today they are regarded as classic examples of their time.

      What would you rather have architects do? Design drab, uninteresting buildings? Isn't physical architecture a valid artform? Why not? Because you say so? Why is the building "pretty ugly"? Because you say so? Ah, so you've studied architecture at length, have you? You're an expert on the aesthetics of the built environment? No? I didn't think so.

      How would you feel about a world where everyone was required to dress the same way as people have always dressed, like the same art and music that people have always liked, and enjoy only the things that have been enjoyed for ages? Would you really want to live in a world that stood culturally still? Well, you might, but I don't.

      Try and appreciate that things change, and that, just because you don't like it, that doesn't mean everyone agrees with you. I guarantee you that, in twenty years time, 90 percent of the people who feel that the building is "pretty ugly" now will be looking at the same building and calling it fantastic.

      In fact, the building is beautiful right now. Anyone with a trained eye would rattle off a whole lot of reasons why, just as a good art student could tell you why Picasso's work is genius.

      What you call an eyesore is actually anything but. That you don't see it is a real pity.
      • The difference between this building and the ones you mention are that the others are actually pleasing to the eye. Hell, the Sydney Opera House is one of the most gorgeous designs I've ever seen. But this is just ugly.

        Also, I don't think you should need "a trained eye" to grasp why a certain building looks good. I'm a trained artist and I still think this design sucks. And how exactly does this relate to Picasso? He's genius was in showing three-dimensional objects in two-dimensional space (among oth
  • Looking at the pictures of Stata Center building, does anyone remember leaning tower of Pisa ?
  • Design (Score:3, Interesting)

    by john82 (68332) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @07:09PM (#9102379)
    I had two disparate thoughts about this article. First, looking at the exterior made me think that the designer had made the initial sketches under the influence of something like LSD. Architecture meets Jell-O(tm). But wait, I've seen that kind of hurts-my-head-to-look-at-it design before. Sure enough, Frank Gehry strikes again with a repeat of his design for the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. It would seem that this time he's added color to give an even more cartoon-ish appearance.

    Then again, we have the petulant RMS who threatens to make "the big sacrifice" of leaving MIT because they used RFID badges for building security. Please. Grow the heck up. Don't threaten, leave or shut up.
    • Then again, we have the petulant RMS who threatens to make "the big sacrifice" of leaving MIT because they used RFID badges for building security. Please. Grow the heck up. Don't threaten, leave or shut up.

      Leave where to? His goal is not to leave, it is to not have RFID in that building. Leaving quietly is stupid. So how long before his new boss decides to put RFID in their building, should he move again? Its almost like saying if you don't like spam, don't read it (only RFID is not all over the place
  • Classic Gehry (Score:5, Informative)

    by nate nice (672391) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @07:12PM (#9102394) Journal
    He's one of the great modern archetects and now the Boston area is blessed with another fabtastic looking building. They have a really cool I.M. Pei building around there as well I believe and now they just need a Calatrava.

    Gehry is rather unique in his designs as you can probably see. Let's see if form and function are one with this building, heh. Gehry actually paved his kitchen with asphault, to get an idea of this mans madness/greatness.

    • Gehry is a hack, a one-trick pony. His trick is composed of complicated curves, lack of right angles, and excessive stainless steel. Find me a Gehry building that does not contain these three things - there is no uniqueness there. These things are expensive, unneeded, and Do not confuse nor mingle too closely art and architecture. Art serves only itself, architecture serves the public. [construction.com]
      • Re:Classic Gehry (Score:5, Insightful)

        by nate nice (672391) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @08:15PM (#9102702) Journal
        Well, Gehry actually made a building in Spain, an art museum in fact, that used Titanium when it was built, mainly because it was in the 1980's and Titanium was rather cheap at this moment when the decision was built. Maybe he is a one-trick pony but all his curves and lack of right angels have to be proven to be stable and up to code, which they are. This is no easy task designing like this. As for uniqueness, well, I can list over 1000 cities that don't have one of his buildings or anything that resembles one, so he was able to develop a concept and go with it. Are they expensive? Very. Are they unneeded? Perhaps, but so much is unneeded but art serves a purpose to make things beautiful, to make things human and to explore ideas that create results we would have never thought of. It's proof that there is not just one way to do something. Not everything needs to be a single function with a single result. We are not ants. We should embrace our ability to think differently, to try new things and to do things for the sake of doing them.

        Architecture serves the public, but the only responsibility the architect really has to the people is that his design is safe, reliable, on budget and beautiful. The ones that can fulfill all 4 of these qualities are the great ones. Also, this building in particular was built using mainly private funds so the public actually has no say in anything about it except for it's safety and zoning considerations.

        But alas, art is subjective and one persons masterpiece is anothers eye sore and with someone like Gehry I can see how many people could be turned off by his designs. then again, I'm sure he doesn't care as he's walking to the bank with a nice little check because he dared to be different and do something others haven't thought of or thought were too expensive or unneeded even.

        Find me a Piccasso that doesn't contain complicated curves, lack or right angels and excessive paint.

  • by BillLeeLee (629420) <bashpenguin&gmail,com> on Sunday May 09, 2004 @07:17PM (#9102418)
    I can imagine the crack parties going on at universities when their board of trustees decide that they want some hip and edgy building.

    Trustee 1: "Hey, how can we waste a lot of money really fast?"
    Trustee 2: "We can hire a famous postmodern architect. Their buildings always go overbudget and run into schedule delays"
    Trustee 3: "A toast to postmodernism!"
    All: "Huzzah!"

    I've seen other pomo style buildings. MIT also has that weird dorm building that looks like a cross between a sponge and a retarded sponge. Harvard has some other dorm that looks a little more normal, but still not that appealing to me.

    Postmodernism: a synonym for "We like to throw legos around and see what we can make"
  • by BookRead (610258) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @07:28PM (#9102470)
    RMS isn't in the Gates Building. He's in the "warehouse" section. I've a friend who works on His Majesty's floor. The place might be dramatic to look at, but it's a pain to work in. When I visited it there were way more bizarre problems than any other half-constructed building I've ever seen. And it's really, really easy to get lost in it. I haven't gotten really lost at MIT for over 20 years until I set foot on the main floor of the Stata Center. The building's denizens are hiring architects to help fix it. I think that's part of Gehry's plan for participatory design. Leave it so unfinished that the inhabitants have to make their own nests!
  • It's like they had built an awesome model of this really funky building and on the way over to show it off to the people at MIT one of them sat on it...
  • by Otto (17870) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @07:37PM (#9102519) Homepage Journal
    Seriously, would RMS be bitching so much if, instead of RFID cards they use magstripe readers instead?

    I'm sure if you asked him, he'd say they're no different, but let's be honest here. RFID is the current hot topic to bitch and complain about.

    Fact: There are legitimate reasons for tracking who goes in and out of a building with a hell of a lot of expensive equipment in it.

    Fact: How they track this information is largely immaterial, it's a "privacy invasion" just as much with a magstripe card as it is with a RFID card as it is with a hidden camera recording everybody going in the damn door.

    Fact: I don't hear anybody bitching about magstripe card entry systems, and they've been around for 50+ years, no?
  • um...back in the day, RMS encouraged people to use null passwords when MIT started using passwords ot log into its workstations...how is this different?

    he just needs to get to preachingthe goodness of propped open doors or duct taped-over latches (this keeps alarms from going off becuase the doors will be closed but not secure, just like the null passwords) and the same thing will happen...

    RMS will be against it, but in the near future, everyone else will use it

  • If George Jetson puttered by in his space car, he's puke on the windshield upon seeing that hideous abortion of architecture. WTF were they thinking when they approved that monstrosity?
  • That is utterly amazing architecture! At first I thought the buildings were colapsing, or that what I was looking at was some sort of odd artistic representation of the buildings - sort of like an initial commemorative mosaic or something - not the buildings themselves.

    It's fairly fitting, I think, that a building as full of mis-match shapes, sizes, colors, and poorly geometic angles would be named after the man that is predominantly responsible for such contortions within the software world.
  • What research? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by xquark (649804) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @07:51PM (#9102578) Homepage
    In the article it says RMS is willing to move his research elsewhere,
    just out of interest what is his research centered around? and why
    does he think leaving MIT will be such a big sacrifice?

    Arash Partow
    __________________________________________ ________
    http://www.partow.net

  • by surgeonsmate (633065) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @08:05PM (#9102639)
    I understand and feel the pain of those who have criticised the design and architecture of this complex. Sure, it looks like some demented giant has played a joke on we creatures of logic and good taste, but to my mind, it makes perfect sense.

    The building echoes the excitement, the lateral thinking, the bold strides into the unknown that characterise computing in the past, today and into the future. It is a challenge to try to come to grips with how the computing world has evolved and who can say where it is going next?

    The odd angles and shapes are deliberately unsettling. The viewer, the visitor, the worker; all must set aside their conventional, predictable, boring views, and try to look at things in a new way. It is almost as if the buildings are the shape of the thoughts of the pioneers of computing, those who could think outside the square grey boxes of the past and lead us into exciting new areas.

    Please don't criticise the building because it isn't the same as a million others. It's weird, different, stimulating and fun. Just like the wild ride that computing has given us over the past years and seems certain to keep on doing well into the future.

    Instead, rejoice in the exuberance and try to open up your own thinking along unknown, unpredictable ways. Who knows where you might end up?

  • When I look at these pictures I am reminded of the new building at my university [lakeheadu.ca], it has a very similar colour scheme (primary colours everywhere). It has only been open since Sept 2003 and has already beared the brunt of thousands of jokes.

    From the wheelchair ramp that curves in an S shape (it is one lane and impossible to see the bottom from the top, of course leading to collisions), to the fact that they put that corrogated metal that is normally used for Silos _on the walls_, this combined with the f

  • If it ever gets earthquake damaged, how will we know?
  • Yech! (Score:3, Funny)

    by ninejaguar (517729) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @08:31PM (#9102794)
    I took a look at the pictures of the building, and just discovered that money, even $280 million worth, can't buy taste. The thing is hideous. No wonder Stallman is upset; dementia emanates from the exterior in waves. Who knows how it would affect your personality day after day. It wouldn't surprise me if Bill Gates, knowing Stallman would end up in it, secretly demanded the most mentally disturbing and Nega-Feng-Shui design possible.

    = 9J =

  • by swordsaintzero (665343) on Sunday May 09, 2004 @08:44PM (#9102873)
    I find it amusing when I see comment after comment denigrating Richard Stallman, he made it through the math55 program. He has written more complex and well coded software than anyone I have met personally. He has strong opinions and sticks to his guns. Its almost like half the slashdot crowd wants lots of free software sans the opinions of the author. Be a good boy code me something I use every day but don't open your mouth. I am no stallman zealot but if most of the mental midgets who have such a problem with his insistence on precision in terminology, stopped and thought about where it stems from, the fact that he is a bigger math geek than practically and human walking this ball of mud today hence that type of mentality offers no lenience when it comes to imprecission. The man can be an asshole, and he is full of himself. To me he has earned the right to be full of himself. While most of you shooting your mouth off have never done anything for open source at all. As to being an asshole join the club most of us just dont get that kind of spotlight shown on our flaws. Ranting about the peanut gallery is useless I suppose goddamn hypocritical jackdaws.

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