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When Stallman is Attacked 562

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the problem-with-zealots dept.
writes "Linux Tech Daily has an editorial slamming a recent Forbes.com attack piece on Richard Stallman and GPLv3. Loved or hated, do you agree with the author that the piece is FUD and completely unprofessional? Love him or hate him, is this unfair treatment of rms? Does he leave himself open to these kinds of attacks with his behavior?" The problem with the editorial of course is that many of the points made in the original Forbes piece are completely valid and true. So basically you get to choose between the linux zealot, and a writer who is obviously fairly hostile towards Stallman's ideas.
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When Stallman is Attacked

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  • by TechnoLust (528463) * <kai.technolustNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday October 26, 2006 @12:59PM (#16595832) Homepage Journal
    You could be like me and think they are both loud mouthed baffoons.
  • True of false? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:01PM (#16595864) Homepage Journal
    Did forbes report facts, or make stuff up?

    He does not deserve the treatment Forbes gave him. Quotes include:
    "a lesser-known programmer-infamously more obstinate and far more eccentric than Torvalds-wields a startling amount of control as this revolution's resident enforcer"
    "He and a band of anarchist acolytes long have waged war on the commercial software industry"
    "A cantankerous and finger-wagging freewheeler, Stallman won't comment on any of this because he was upset by a previous story written by this writer."
    "in some ways he is downright bizarre. He is corpulent and slovenly, with long, scraggly hair, strands of which he has been known to pluck out and toss into a bowl of soup he is eating."
    "Stallman engages in what he calls "rhinophytophilia"-"nasal sex" (also his term) with flowers"
    "His site also boasts a recording of him singing-a capella and badly-his own anthem to free software."
    "He hasn't hacked much new code in a decade or more."
    "Stallman labors mightily to control how others think, speak and act, arguing, in Orwellian doublespeak, that his rules are necessary for people to be "free.""
    "Long ago Stallman was a gifted programmer."
    "Most major tech vendors declined comment rather than risk tangling with Stallman's enforcers, such as his sidekick and attorney, Columbia Law School professor Eben Moglen."
  • by McFly777 (23881) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:03PM (#16595900) Homepage
    The main article post says:
    So basically you get to choose between the linux zealot, and a writer who is obviously fairly hostile towards Stallman's ideas.
    Which is an interesting typo, considering that Stallman has nothing to do with Linux, and that the article is about GPLv3, which Linus has said Linux will have nothing to do with.
  • Metadebate (Score:4, Insightful)

    by xymog (59935) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:04PM (#16595930)
    I know this is Slashdot, but do we really need a thread engaging in metadebate about an article? Why not spend time discussing and proving (or refuting) the points made in TFA. Even if TFA is using ad hominem attacks, just point them out and move on -- we really don't need "talk radio" on Slashdot, getting all frothed up about who is the bigger doo-doo head.
  • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:06PM (#16595964)
    The problem with the editorial of course is that many of the points made in the original Forbes piece are completely valid and true.
    Seriously, since you're editorializing aswell, which part of the Forbes article is correct about RMS? As I seem to recall I haven't found such part in that article, where the author would be right. The whole thing came off as something written by an ignorant uninformed person.
  • Forbes? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wobblie (191824) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:09PM (#16596010)
    Anyone who believes anything written in Forbes is either an elitist or some sort of incredible moron.

    Richard Stallman disagress with random Forbes magazine pundit. What a revelation.

    Stallman is not the most socially gifted, err, person. However, he is correct in his views on software and society. Moreover, he is absolutely correct to take the issue as seriously as he does.
  • Attacking Stallman (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Psionicist (561330) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:09PM (#16596014)
    For some reason many geeks like to attack what other geeks find popular to stand out and appear "different" or "superior". For example, in discussions of Linux one geek will stand out and write something anti-Linux (maybe pro-BSD) and get modded +5 Insightful. Same with anti-Apple, pro-Microsoft etc. However once in a while this gets completely un-productive. For example, when a girl starts posting naked pictures of herself on a message board. Reasonable persons write nice comments. Then comes the geek and writes "damn you're ugly". Thank you fucking much for spoiling it for everybody. Now no girl will post naked pictures of themselves. It's the same thing with attacking RMS. He is working for us, and you better damn appreciate it. Attacking RMS is like telling a girl she's ugly when she posts naked pictures of herself on a message board. Completely unproductive.

    ...

    Oh damn, I put "naked" and "RMS" in the same sentence.
  • by Cr0w T. Trollbot (848674) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:09PM (#16596020)
    A few points:

    1. The language of the Forbes piece is indeed injudicious. Anytime you see someone pile on adjectives like this, you're looking at either a bad writer, or someone with an axe to grind.
    2. That said, Pope Stallman is indeed an unyielding zelot when it comes to The One and True GPL Path, and many of the points the Forbes article rasies are valid.
    3. As usual, the counter-attack against the article displays the usual marks of Stallmanist zelotry whne it comes to Attacks on the Glorious Leader.
    4. However, the whole Forbes article, as well as Stallman's defenders, are irrelevant, since Linus has stated that he isn't going to place Linux under GPL, and few outside Stallman's hardcore Free Software Acolytes are going to use GPL3 as it stands now.

    Crow T. Trollbot

  • Slanted article (Score:4, Insightful)

    by opieum (979858) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:11PM (#16596064)
    By reading the article you can tell there is an obvious dislike for RMS there. When is the last time you saw someone from Forbes saying this about anyone else? IMO they basically made him out to be "hippie scum". Any person not knowing who he is will get that impression of the article. I think it is poor journalism on Forbes part. IMO there certainly were some valid points in terms of his actions but commenting on appearance and eating habits is just a low blow. Eccentricities aside he has done a great deal for the free software movement. It shows that forbes (or at least the article author) is more intrested in judging on the GQ level of a person rather than IQ. If I were a reporter in this case I would certainly refrain from personal eccentricities and focus on the accomplishments and proffessional failings of that person. This person injected way too much personal opinion into the article. Recently I am no big fan of RMS becuase of the GPLv3 DRM issues but he has done alot and is doing alot outside of that and should at least be recoginized for those things.
  • Re:True of false? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by smitty_one_each (243267) * on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:11PM (#16596072) Homepage Journal
    "He hasn't hacked much new code in a decade or more."
    This, at least, represents a questionable assertion.
    A glance at http://news.gmane.org/gmane.emacs.devel [gmane.org] indicates that the gentleman stays fully engaged in emacs development, though one could contend that he does more managing than hacking, I suppose.
    One could probably derive a text metric based on the number of gratuitous negative adjectives used in a piece against a target.
    Past a certain limit, the author is wasting the reader's time.
    This Forbes author broad-jumped past that limit, and deserves to be ignored.
  • by totallygeek (263191) <sellis@totallygeek.com> on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:13PM (#16596108) Homepage
    To me, his vision is too much of a good thing. When I saw his interview on "Revolution OS", I was shocked by his analogy about software sharing and freedom compared with what children are taught in elementary school regarding bringing snacks into the classroom. We are not ten anymore! Almost everything taught at that age is meant to build conformity, complacency, and fear of authority. While I agree that sharing ideas is a good thing, he slams everyone that doesn't feel as he does. At the same time, he wants to be sure that GNU is recognized for being responsible for Linux and free software in general, much like Al Gore wants to claim resposibility for building the Internet.

    In a nutshell: RMS is a sharp guy, but probably not someone you would want to be around for long. He has no delivery tact for his opinions, and is as close-minded to outside influence as any religious zealot.
  • by Llywelyn (531070) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:13PM (#16596110) Homepage
    """So basically you get to choose between the linux zealot, and a writer who is obviously fairly hostile towards Stallman's ideas.""""

    Logical Fallacy: Drawing the Line, also called False Dilemma.

    Is it too much to ask that the *editors* refrain from using these?
  • Re:True of false? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pantero Blanco (792776) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:16PM (#16596194)
    I got the same feeling from reading the article that I did when I watched a couple of episodes of the O'Reilly Factor. Someone with only a vague idea of an issue attacks an expert, and instead of actually debating the issue they launch a tirade of personal attacks and accusations, most of which are based on out-of-context quotes.

    The "rhinophytophilia" term is a joke that should have been terribly obvious. He's SMELLING FLOWERS. The attacks on his personal habits don't even make sense. An aging programmer is overweight? THE HORROR. He sings karaoke? SOMEBOY STOP HIM! And how would the writer know how much Stallman codes, does he watch him through a window at night?
  • by brennanw (5761) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:18PM (#16596244) Homepage Journal
    ... when it comes to how he chooses to preserve the fruits of the revolution he created, but this is a hit-piece. It is possible to respect the man and disagree with his methods.

    There *are* problems with GPLv3, in my opinion, and it's possible that GPLv3 contradicts some of Richard Stallman's "freedom of use" ideology [eviscerati.org], but there's no way it is going to "endanger Linux" because -- and I'm not entirely sure why the press doesn't get this -- GPL V3 DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY REPLACE GPL V2. This isn't a EULA, it can't be udpated and replaced at any time at the whim of Richard Stallman, the license you get when you get free software is the license you get, and that's that. If the person who created the software decides that the next version will be GPLv3, you are free to fork the old one and develop it yourself.

    Honestly, 90% of the media who covers the technology beat are the biggest pack of crybabies in the world. I'm pretty sure the reason so many of them hate Free Software is because they like being in a position where companies give them comp versions of software to play with. In the free software world, that's the only kind of software there is.
  • by crush (19364) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:22PM (#16596296)

    The Linux Tech Daily editorial makes good points. If fails to mention one of the startling inaccuracies in the Forbes piece: namely that they claim that RMS argues they should be giving it all away. This is one of the oldest slurs in the book (it has to be deliberate at this stage so I won't dignify it by calling it a mistake). There's nothing to stop you making money selling Free Software, you just can't stop people reading, modifying, distributing and selling the code you sold to them. They don't HAVE to do any of the above but they can if they want.

    What a garbage Forbes article. It reads like a piece written for a red-top tabloid.

    As regards the characterization of RMS as "extremist", I agree with him and thus see him as reasonable and everyone else as clinging onto their own unreasonable extremism, especially those people that run around trying to convert people to being a Moderate.

    He's either right or wrong. Stop putting silly monkey labels on people and deal with the issues: does the ability of manufacturers to sell hardware with non-modifiable (GPL'ed) software on them defeat the intention of the GPL? If so then if you don't like GPL3 how do you propose to stop this? If you don't object then why are you using Free or OpenSource software at all? Go use VxWorks, QNX or WinCE.

  • by St.Anne (651391) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:26PM (#16596382)
    The forbes article was a hack piece. Unfree NVIDIA driver blobs in linux, DRM nobody asked for in both major OSs, consumer "fair use" being reduced at every turn.. I'll take an ugly, uncompromising freedom fighter over corperate fascism any day.
    Linus is free to release his kernel under any terms he sees fit to, but the GNU folks are also not compelled to "port" to Linux .
  • by joshdick (619079) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:27PM (#16596394) Homepage
    "you are free to fork the old one and develop it yourself."

    That's easy for you to say. But now imagine you are running a publicly traded company like Red Hat and you're forced by Stallman to fork every single GNU program included in your distribution. And now imagine the FOSS movement without the backing of corporations like Red Hat and IBM.

    Stallman is hurting his own movement.
  • Re:True of false? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:27PM (#16596410) Homepage Journal

    But it's not all false! Especially:

    "Stallman labors mightily to control how others think, speak and act, arguing, in Orwellian doublespeak, that his rules are necessary for people to be "free.""

    And no, I haven't read the article. I've been reading on the GPLv3 and I don't like it. I think that RMS has done a lot for us, but he might do even more if he were more palatable to the mainstream. I don't think that's sufficient reason to ask or expect him to change - it's his life, after all - but it still is a valid point. If his real purpose is to provide freedom to others, then I think he should act like it.

    But seriously, that line pasted above is an excellent summary of what I don't like about him. He seems to think that his way is the only way. I don't know if GPLv3 is going to die or not but I do know that the GPLv3 will cause irreparable harm to the open source community and it already has caused enormous harm to the reputations of RMS and GNU. The clause in GPLv2 about applying any future version of the license to the code can be revealed for what it is: an attempt for stallman to retain personal power over the future of FOSS development. And the simple fact is that many have long complained that the GPL is less free than the BSD license (or similar) due to its viral nature, it is undeniable that not allowing the use of GPL in DRM is less free. You cannot create freedom for users by taking away freedom from programmers.

    On the rare occasion that I wrote anything worth releasing I used to use the BSD license. Today, I use the GPLv2. Anything released by me in the future will carry a modified GPLv2 that does not permit the use of any future version of the GPL simply because this is a deliberate railroading of the purpose of the GPL. What's next, the no-military-use clause? Because the GPLv3 is so different it will make many more licenses incompatible with the GPL, thus further forcing a rift in the "programming community" (whatever that really means.)

    I'm not saying RMS' heart isn't in the right place, it's the location of his head I'm concerned with.

  • Zealots! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by argoff (142580) * on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:27PM (#16596414)
    Ya know, those people who thought the earth wasn't the center of the universe when everyone else clearly knew it was. they were Zealouts.

    And those people who believed that religion and government should be chosen by individuals and not kings, they were zealots also.

    And those people who wanted to kill slavery and the US plantation system and go up against the big business plantations, they were also zealots.

    And those black people who wanted to use the same bathrooms, and sit at the front of the bus. They were zealots too.

    Well FUCK. The copyright cartell trys to treat information exactly like it's a property right when it's clearly not, and then force massive government regulations down our throat to fence off every bit of it, and then those of us who try to secure our right to share information freely in the information age - we're called the zealots? God fuckin dammit ... what's it gonna take. From the very first day we have been "warned" that our zealot IP attitude is going to ruin Linux and open source, well more bullshit. One of these days they're going to realise that they need us more than we need them, and that they're the followers while people like RMS are the leaders.
  • Re:True of false? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:29PM (#16596442)

    Stallman labors mightily to control how others think, speak and act, arguing, in Orwellian doublespeak, that his rules are necessary for people to be "free."

    That one, at least, is hard to challenge credibly. As H. L. Mencken once remarked, "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule." I don't see why Stallman is different to anyone else in this regard.

  • by tillerman35 (763054) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:30PM (#16596452)
    Oh No!!!! Big companies want to have their cake and eat it too. Well too bad for them. The Whinery tour is over. Either honor the license or don't use the software. Nobody cares which choice you make. It's a choice. As far as I know, RMS isn't going into corporations with a bazooka and forcing anyone to use GPL'd software. There's always MS Vista and expensive proprietary OS's out there. Apparently, it's perfectly OK to say "If you don't like the DRM don't buy the music," but somehow "If you don't like the GPL(v whatever) don't download the distro" is evil. Maybe it's because the latter is a perceived obstacle to profiting from the generousity of others???
  • Rosebud.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Himring (646324) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:35PM (#16596536) Homepage Journal
    I've watched Stallman in several interviews (techtv, etc.), read his stuff, etc. From my novice pov, most notably, I remember his presence in Revolution OS. Torvalds had just finished speaking, was remaining on stage, and Stallman gets up to give a rambling "talk" about open sournce. The gist of what Stallman was trying to say, to me, was, "I made open source! Not Linus! It was mine! I wanted herd to be the kernel! Rosebud!..."

    While he rambled, Torvalds played with his kids who had ran up on-stage. While having fun as a father in front of all, in seeming bliss with his children, Stallman continued to ramble in an obvious, "me! me!"

    I can empathize with Stallman. I work in a large corporation and have had ideas, projects, code stolen by others, presented as theirs and/or subtley been pushed aside by someone with an agenda I didn't see coming, or wasn't prepared for. But you have to learn to adapt, give, agree, comply and, yes, work with others.

    Stallman strikes me as a very bright, visionary guy who simply doesn't play well with others....

    Torvalds handles the whole affair with poise....

    Perhaps the best description of Stallman now is the man of yesterday wondering about, rambling "rosebud...."

  • Re:True of false? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alphager (957739) <florian.haas@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:38PM (#16596602) Homepage Journal
    Ok, explain me: How does DRM allow the user more freedom?
  • by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:38PM (#16596604)

    Since that time it appears that the real world operates on a different set of rules than RMS's "Free no matter what" and reality be damned.

    Actually, I think Stallman's changed more than the notion of free software. He's gone from "Source code should be free to anyone" to "Source code should be free to anyone who agrees with my politics." Right now, "politics" means DRM. But once that can of worms opens, it might be tough to close.

  • by Belial6 (794905) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:40PM (#16596650)
    I hear that regularly, and every time it sounds like the old "Nobody needs more than X amount of memory" line.

    RMS started his crusade because he had a comercial product with broken code. The company would not fix the code, and the company had taken actions that would prevent Stallman from fixing the code himself.

    The GPL was designed to allow developers to create code that would not be used in a manner that prevented people from making their own repairs. Yes, some companies have found ways to get around that purpose without violating the letter of the license. Ok, Stallman didn't just scream and yell about these companies intentionally trying to get around the license they agreed to. No, he went out and started making a newer revised version of his license that closed the holes that the license crackers found.

    No, RMS is no less relevent today than he was when the GPL 1 was first written. Do you think that any closed source company thought that the GPL would even be a ping on the radar? Yes, RMS might be odd, but in this age of always trying to find a middle ground, there is an obvious need for an extreamist on the side of right, because without people like him, the middle ground would be closed everything.
  • by Darren Hiebert (626456) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:41PM (#16596666) Homepage

    I really don't understand the hostility and vilification directed toward Stallman. He is simply a man with ideals who tries to persuade others of the merit of his ideas (something we all do). I have read many of his articles and interviews and he speaks only with calm deliberation and conviction. He goes further than most of us in "living the life", so to speak, by offering freely his work and time to the cause he espouses, which has benefitted us all tremendously. One can take or leave what he offers. Nothing Stallman has done has ever harmed anyone or deprived them of anything they might otherwise enjoy. There are numerous other individuals who have tried to destroy, undermine, or deprive us of things we enjoy, but towards whom no one directs similar hostility and vilification.

  • by brennanw (5761) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:41PM (#16596676) Homepage Journal
    Linux can't be distributed under anything other than the modified GPL license that it is distributed under. Red Hat is a Linux distribution. I may not fully understand what you're saying, but I don't see Red Hat forking its own distribution any time soon (though you might argue that Fedora is such a fork.)

    The only legitimate "end run" around the GPL -- the only one that I know of, anyway -- is to customize it and not distribute it. This is what companies like Google and Amazon do. In that case, they have already forked Linux, and any further development (in order to get their special pieces to do what they want) is their responsibility to begin with.
  • by lawpoop (604919) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:43PM (#16596702) Homepage Journal
    I don't understand your logic.

    If "the real world operates on a different set of rules than RMS's 'Free no matter what'", then why was RMS *ever* relevant? In the 1980s, when RMS was first developing the GPL and the GNU tools, was reality different? How could he have ever had any impact if he was totally out of touch with how reality?

    Did Stallman's contribution *change* the reality since the 1980s? If so, are you suggesting that the man whose *ideas* changed reality would have nothing more to say about the situation today, and should just sit down and shut up? He once changed reality, but somehow since then he became out of touch?
  • The obvious (Score:3, Insightful)

    by soccerisgod (585710) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:50PM (#16596856)

    I think we do not need to argue about the fact that that article is moronic. Lyons fails to attack the idea, so instead he attacks the messenger in a most pathetic way. He also distorts many things in a way that make RMS look like an overzealous lunatic to the uninitiated in a sad and again pathetic attempt to discredit the ideas he stands for.

    As far as the accusation of overzealousness from within the slashdot populace goes, my opinion is this: RMS has ideals that he fights for. 'Ideal' means "A conception of something in its absolute perfection" - not something you will ever achieve in reality. BUT reality is oft derived from ideals that pull it one way or another. The stronger an ideal, the stronger it's potential pulling power. If you start out with an ideal of "I want some freedom... maybe", you're just not going to get very far. If you want results, you have to have vision.

    Translation for geeks:

    Well, if you're going to make a point why not make it so that no one misses it?

    -- Delenn, Babylon 5 episode "The Paragon of Animals"

  • by McNihil (612243) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:52PM (#16596924)
    Regardless if you are with or against Richard Stallman the Forbes article is just VERY bad journalism. I would rather call it flamebait than an article.
  • by dingbatdr (702519) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @01:53PM (#16596934) Homepage
    I use his software every work day of my life. What have you done?

  • Re:Zealots! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by khallow (566160) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @02:00PM (#16597066)

    Actually, I think you'd be hard pressed to find a case where someone called one of the above groups "zealots". Perhaps the abolitionists might have been so accused. Accusations of zealotry get thrown around when one of the parties acts in a dogmatic way.

    I don't see anything particularly incorrect about accusing people like Stallman of zealotry. It does get overblown when the zealots are accused of "destroying" something that they are incapable of destroying. For example, we can route around damage like the new GPL license merely by forking GNU. It hasn't happened yet because the need isn't there yet.

    One of these days they're going to realise that they need us more than we need them, and that they're the followers while people like RMS are the leaders.

    This isn't saying much. Stallman doesn't need us and we don't need him.
  • Re:True of false? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Omnifarious (11933) * <eric-slashNO@SPAMomnifarious.org> on Thursday October 26, 2006 @02:01PM (#16597080) Homepage Journal

    I consider the GPLv2 to be less free than the BSD license in precisely the same way as living in a country with a constitution and laws is less free than living in a country without them. Which of those two countries would you rather live in? I know which I'd rather live in. The GPL is a statement of the rules under which we are all free.

    And the GPLv3's insistence that I be able to replace the GPL code in my Tivo with my own versions seems to me like a restriction much along the same lines. Whether this is an encroachment on freedom that the GPL should be concerned with is open to debate. But that restricting my ability to do this is an encroachment on my freedom is not open to debate.

  • by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @02:01PM (#16597088) Homepage
    i.e. suggest that he's radical (outside the mainstream) because he sticks with his principles. And implying that he's a hypocrity because he encourages freedom but nevertheless has ideas about what people ought to do.

    "He seems to think that his way is the only way"

    He thinks his way is the right way. You think your way is the right way.
  • Re:True of false? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrchaotica (681592) * on Thursday October 26, 2006 @02:05PM (#16597186)

    I'm sorry, but you are wrong. Absolutely, indefensibly, completely wrong. I usually don't make absolute statements like that because most issues are complicated, but this issue is not a complicated issue:

    Stallman, GNU, and the GPL are about freedom FOR. THE. USER. They always have been, and always will be. By definition, DRM is all about removing freedom from the USER, and therefore DRM is inherently incompatible with the GPL. Don't like it? Then you either don't like the GPL, or don't understand what the GPL is.

    As far as the GPL is concerned, developers and distributors can go fuck themselves -- they're not the ones who deserve freedom, except to the extent that they're also users.

  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Thursday October 26, 2006 @02:13PM (#16597322)
    He's gone from "Source code should be free to anyone"...

    Stallman was never about that. He was always, and continues to be, about "the user should have absolute control over the tools he uses." Source code freedom is required for this, but it is a means to an end, not the end itself.

    Once you realize this, you'll see that Stallman's anti-DRM stance is entirely consistent with what his goal has always been, and that the GPL v.3 has exactly the same purpose as the GPL v.2.

  • Re:True of false? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by h00pla (532294) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @02:15PM (#16597362) Homepage
    The fact that Lyons put so many of these anecdotes into the piece made me dismiss it as an ad hominem attack on Stallman and nothing more. I personally disagree with some of what Stallman says (and agree with other stuff) but if you write an article which pretends to explain why Stallman may be hurting Linux adoption, then write about what he's doing that hurts Linux. Don't write about how he eats soup with his own hair in it.


    That's like writing a piece to call into question Bush's handling of the Iraq war by starting by pointing out that he farts around the less experienced White House aides. It's apparently true, but that isn't the best way to back up your anti-war position.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 26, 2006 @02:22PM (#16597538)
    Linux can't be distributed under anything other than the modified GPL license that it is distributed under. Red Hat is a Linux distribution.
    Huh? What? This makes absolutely no sense. If you, perhaps, alledge that userspace software has to be GPL because Linux, the kernel, is GPL, you are wrong. In fact, you couldn't even run the Apache webserver on it because the Apache license is GPL incompatible.
    But, of course, don't believe me but maybe you believe Linus (quote from the Linux kernel COPYING file):
    NOTE! This copyright does *not* cover user programs that use kernel services by normal system calls - this is merely considered normal use of the kernel, and does *not* fall under the heading of "derived work".
  • Re:True of false? (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 26, 2006 @02:26PM (#16597604)

    In what way is that RMS wanting to control how I think, speak and act ?


    I'm sorry, you got that wrong. It is pronounced GNU/Linux.
  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Thursday October 26, 2006 @02:29PM (#16597660)

    Because the only "freedom" that a developer could want that a user doesn't already have (according to the GPL) would be the "freedom" to restrict others, and that's not actually a freedom. You've heard the saying "your freedom ends where my rights begin," right? This is exactly the same principle -- taken to an extreme, complaining that developers should be "free" to use DRM is analogous to saying that people should be "free" to own slaves.

  • by October_30th (531777) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @02:33PM (#16597730) Homepage Journal
    EMACS

    Ah yes, there's another reason to hate RMS.

  • by swillden (191260) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Thursday October 26, 2006 @02:33PM (#16597732) Homepage Journal

    Why not?!

    Because developers are a strict subset of users. If all users have freedom, then developers automatically have freedom. Therefore, there's no reason to specifically focus on freedom for developers. Developers who would like to have freedom that users do not are the problem that the FSF was created to fix (or at least provide an alternative to).

  • Re:True of false? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OrangeTide (124937) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @02:40PM (#16597874) Homepage Journal
    It is hard to deny that RMS is a weird guy though. He has eccentric behavior and an unusual sense of humor. He does not fit in with the "suits" in the business world at all. His ideas are too strange and radical for most corporations, and he tends to go around and carry a big stick to enforce his will on others. To be fair, people ought to respect software licenses. If you think GPL is so evil, too bad, nobody is forcing you to use it and infect all your source code with it. The alternative is to pay through the nose for propriety software.

    I personally think RMS is a kook and GPL is usually the wrong license to choose. But what I think is irrelevant, I can safely ignore RMS and choose not to make my own software GPL. I never understood what all the crying was about.

    suit: boo hoo. they give us zero cost software, but there are strings attached. boo hoo. the horror of it all, I'm going to bash their leader because I am so upset that I can't get something without giving something in return. This has devastated my business, which is apparently based on ripping people off. I HATE YOU RMS.
  • Re:True of false? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bcrowell (177657) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @02:40PM (#16597886) Homepage

    Ok, explain me: How does DRM allow the user more freedom?
    Sure, I'll try. My conception of freedom is that as a free man, I get to make my own bargains. If I'm considering eating in a certain restaurant, I'll consider the price, how good the food and service are, and also maybe whether they allow smoking. I dont't smoke, and I don't like breathing other people's smoke, so I wouldn't eat in a restaurant where smoking is allowed. On the other hand, someone who smokes might want to eat there for the same reason. That's freedom. If there's a local ordinance that forbids smoking in all restaurants, then that's an ordinance that takes away some freedom; you could argue that the lost freedom is worth it, because it serves some public good, or because waiters and waitresses are in a weak bargaining position if they don't want to breathe smoke -- but there definitely a loss of freedom to be balanced against those considerations.

    DRM is the same way. I dislike DRM, and for that reason (among others) I don't use iTunes. My wife, on the other hand, likes iTunes, and doesn't feel that the DRM is that onerous (and knows how to circumvent it if she feels the need), so she uses iTunes. Because we live in a free society, we get to make that choice.

    Getting what you want is a good thing. Freedom is a good thing. They're not the same thing.

    Nobody is being forced to use GPL 2. Nobody is being forced to use GPL 3. If RMS made a press release tomorrow, and said, "I've changed my mind, and I no longer think GPL 3 was a good idea," the current draft of the GPL 3 would still be a perfectly valid possible license for people to use, if they didn't like DRM. Nobody is being forced to use DRM. If you hate DRM, but your favorite band is on a label that only sells their music in a DRM'd format, then you're sort of in the same position as someone who says, "That house on the corner is really nice. I'd like to buy it. Too bad it's not for sale." You don't have a God-given right to have that band, or that label, sell you something under conditions of you choosing.

  • Re:True of false? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by theStorminMormon (883615) <theStorminMormon@gmail. c o m> on Thursday October 26, 2006 @02:43PM (#16597938) Homepage Journal
    Nail. Hammer. Done.

    As a general rule it's incoherent to treat the word "freedom" as a grammatical entity rather than to think seriously about whether the words you're typing would mean more or less freedom. In other words, just because freedom is usually associate with saying things like "is allowed" doesn't mean that just plugging anything into this formula "x is allowed" gets you more freedom.

    This logic would result in fun things like: "kidnapping is allowed" because otherwise ("kidnapping is not allowed") you're restricting freedom. The trouble is that "kidnapping" inherently takes away someone else's rights, so we have no trouble saying that - in the interests of a free society - we're going to put a restriction on this particular activity. DRM works the same way. It is by definition restrictive and antithetical to freedom. Therefore we can say "no DRM" and have free software just like we can say "no kidnapping" and have a (relatively) free society.

    -stormin
  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @03:01PM (#16598252) Journal
    It may not have much to do with the quality of his ideas or his code, but it does seriously affect their reception. I agree with most of what RMS says, but he does not present his ideas in a convincing way. I would much rather see him take a more behind-the-scenes rôle; have him remind everyone one the inside what the Free Software movement is about, but don't put him near anyone who doesn't already agree with him.
  • Re:True of false? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by smitty_one_each (243267) * on Thursday October 26, 2006 @03:16PM (#16598556) Homepage Journal
    Aw, c'mon.
    While I pretty much disagree with everything on http://stallman.org/archives/2006-jul-oct.html [stallman.org],
    I will say that if you drop RMS a dispassionate, sincere note discussing most anything, he will eventually respond in kind.
    Two points in particular he has made, privately (which I shall paraphrase here) that I'm still chewing on are:
    • Don't place blind faith in Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand" to guide the marketplace.
    • Don't confuse power and freedom
    The second one is still rather Yoda-ish to me.
    Wishing out loud, I'd like to see RMS publish a fully-worked philosophical system. I'm still trying to puzzle out the foundations of his thought.
    But, based on experience thus far, "gentleman" fits.
  • Re:True of false? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bill Grates (1012303) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @03:20PM (#16598640)
    But it should be noted that Stallman would be the most vigorous
    defender of your right to fork his codebase against his interest
    in the project. This in my view is fairly convincing that all the
    accusations of ego and agenda pushing on the part of rms are more
    than a little bit unfair. He is at least consistent and refreshing
    in his viewpoint.
     
  • Re:Slanted article (Score:3, Insightful)

    by davecb (6526) * <davec-b@rogers.com> on Thursday October 26, 2006 @03:21PM (#16598664) Homepage Journal

    The article is intended to sell magazines, and for that purpose it is well crafted.

    • To someone who doesn't know Stallman, it's misleading.
    • To someone who does know him and dislikes him, it's justification.
    • To someone who does know him and likes him, its a troll.
    All of the above sell dead trees. All of the above are evil.

    --dave

  • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionar ... m ['o.c' in gap]> on Thursday October 26, 2006 @03:34PM (#16598902) Journal
    The urge to save humanity is selfish, but doesn't necessarily come from a desire to rule. Me, I just don't want a bunch of desperate, unhappy humans around me. Personal preference, you know. Maybe other people enjoy watching people suffer. Me, not so much.
  • by Truekaiser (724672) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @03:38PM (#16598986)
    Stallman is a idealist, they don't really have too much contact with reality.
    there is a saying that a idealist rides on the shoulders of a pragmatist/realist. in this case, because stallman's ego is ridding on the people who use linux. the majority of whom just use it because it's the best tool for the job(like me) don't really care about how using binary drivers that i can't see the inside of or signed code that i can't get access too as long as they work and work good violate his idea of freedom. because of this his ego gets inflated and he thinks he actually matters when in reality his idealism turns people off, while there may be people who follow him because they too believe what he believes, they are the minority. for example, debain, they were the only ones to get into a nit fit and fork Firefox because *gasp* they changed the rules on how one should distribute their trademarked image.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 26, 2006 @03:39PM (#16599010)
    They always attack him on the personal level and not his ideas because they know too well that he is right.

    It's pathetic that Forbes has begun to publish this tabloid level garbage. It reads worse than a low budget attack ad. The author there, Lyons, has already shown his butt on the SCO case. Someone must have had a lot of leverage at Forbes to get him published again.

  • by spitzak (4019) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @03:40PM (#16599024) Homepage
    I do have some problems with it. Not with RMS writing a license with those DRM restrictions. But with making that be the GPL3. It perhaps could be called the GPL4.

    The GPL3 apparently contains a lot of cleanup of the writing, clarifications, and fixes for international use. In particular the text is clarified so that the LGPL is a small "exception" added to the GPL, rather than an entire seperate document. All of these have results identical to the intentions of the GPL2 or are slight relaxations of the requirements. All of this is good and everybody likes it, and I would like to use it.

    However it also has this stuff that most people here are calling the "DRM restriction". I actually have reasons to not want it:

    First I feel it is bad as it will reduce usage of GPL software in devices. Knowing how the device works is still extremely useful, including knowing the reason why you can't change the software. The GPL forces the company into allowing people to know how the device works. Stallman originally wanted to fix a printer *driver*, not the code in the printer! His attempt to make sure he can change the code in the printer may result in being unable to write the driver again, which is completely counter-productive. Knowing how the device works means you can probably communicate with it and emulate it and make competing products. (yes I know DRM can keep unauthorized things from communicating with it, but the GPL3 does not prevent that type of DRM anyway, as has been pointed out about six thousand times to anti-GPL trolls here).

    Second, my own software already contains an exception (to the LGPL), which is intended to make the LGPL work the way I think makes more sense. Basically you are allowed to link the unmodified software with your code and do anything you want with the result, such as sell it as closed-source. However if you *modify* the software, you must release the modifications (and then you can link with the modified version and release that any way you want). The purpose is so that the algorithims and code cannot be "stolen" but can be used by as many people as possible. You can remove the exception in your own version, so you can merge in GPL/LGPL code, though we can't accept any such changes. As far as I can tell, this exception makes the "DRM restriction" nullified, though I guess you can't build the DRM into the derived version of the library, it must be in your program.

    Like many people I would very much like to get the cleaned up and internationalized language of the GPL3. However I don't want the DRM stuff, as I disagree with it somewhat, and my exception probably nullifies it, so I don't want to confuse people. Unfortunatly my code says "GPL2 or any later version" and lots of others have contributed to it so I can't change that. So I am stuck, the only way to get the cleaned up language is for it to be in something the FSF calls a "later version of the GPL". So I would really like them to provide this option. This does not mean they have to back off on their DRM stuff. Just put that in a "GPL4" and let people choose. It would be no worse than the current situation where people who don't want the DRM stuff will stay at GPL2. (future changes would have to be called "GPL3.1" and "GPL4.1", etc, with rules that increasing any number is a "later version", so you can change 3.1 to 3.2 or 4.1, but cannot change 4.1 to 3.2 or 3.2 to 4.1).

    It also appears, as others have pointed out, that the DRM stuff (and perhaps the Patent stuff) is an "additional restriction" which means you are not allowed to modify code from saying "GPL2 and later" to saying "GPL3 and later". This kind of means the GPL3 can never be enforced unless the code is written from scratch. This could be another reason to make a GPL3 and a DRM-restriction GPL4.
  • by spitzak (4019) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @04:08PM (#16599518) Homepage
    Wrong. Your customer does NOT in any way have the option to get the software for free. You can refuse to give them your modification of the GPL software unless they give you money. Because you are not distributing it unless they pay you, you are not violating the copyright, and thus the GPL has no say in what you do.

    The GPL does say the customer can then give the software away for free or try to charge for it, or to modify it themselves and sell that. Because of this it is true that this isn't going to work very well if it is some kind of mass market software where you want to get paid individually for thousands of identical copies.

    However it works quite well if nobody but your customer is interested in the code you sell them (ie it is custom software like 90% of the software people are employed to write), or if your customer has an interest in keeping the code secret.
  • Re:True of false? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kimvette (919543) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @04:23PM (#16599848) Homepage Journal
    To be fair, there are no strings attached when it comes to USE of the software. Those strings only apply if you wish to incorporate that software into products you choose to distribute. There is a BIG difference.

    Compare to Apple's "Thou shall not install OS X on Non-Apple-Branded PeeCees even though you paid for it" or Microsoft's upcoming "We give you two activations, and if a video driver upgrade triggers the need for a third activation, tough shit, you need to buy another license."

      (and yes, a NIC or video card DRIVER upgrade CAN trigger Activation, I just had it happen on two machines last week. Fuck Microsoft)

    The point is, do you prefer Apple's or Microsoft's strings, or the GPL's strings?

    But when you come down to it, BSD's and MPL's strings (keeping copyright notices intact in the code, IIRC, and in certain cases having to give credit in an about screen) are the [i]most[/i] free.
  • Re:True of false? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wordsnyc (956034) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @05:11PM (#16600726) Homepage
    The first one is right on the money. The "wisdom of the free market" is as much specious bullshit as the manger scene and the Easter Bunny.
  • Re:True of false? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cultrhetor (961872) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @05:49PM (#16601308) Journal
    Stallman, GNU, and the GPL are about freedom FOR. THE. USER. They always have been, and always will be. By definition, DRM is all about removing freedom from the USER, and therefore DRM is inherently incompatible with the GPL. Don't like it? Then you either don't like the GPL, or don't understand what the GPL is.

    I have two problems with your line of reasoning:
    1 - No piece of code is "inherently" anything but code. Code, by definition, is a set of commands subject to constraints. It is the use to which that code is put that gives it value.
    2 - If the GPL and GNU licences are about "Freedom for the user," with software and source so licensed labeled free for all to use, then by definition, exclusion creates a contradiction. As soon as the GPL begins excluding end-users of any sort, it will subvert all of the meanings - explicit or implicit - that are associated with the "Open" source community. Any cultural caché that it has gained as being a software revolution will disappear: the OSS community will become what it supposedly grew to counter. If we're going to go on and on about "freedom" in any context, let's not be hypocritical.

  • Re:True of false? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sneakers563 (759525) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @05:52PM (#16601336)
    You don't need to wait for Richard Stallman to publish a fully-worked philosophical system. I almost hesitate to say this because of the knee-jerk reactions of most people, but both of those points come from, and are explained in great detail, by Karl Marx. If you can get past the fact that I just used the words "Karl" and "Marx", and would genuinely like to learn where Stallman is coming from with those two points, pick up Karx Marx: Selected Readings and read the excerpts from "The German Ideology" and the "Preface to a Critique of Political Economy". Read them as philosophy and an attempt to explain human history (which they are) and not as a recipe for a totalitarian society (which they are not) and you'll be fine.
  • Re:True of false? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rtb61 (674572) on Friday October 27, 2006 @12:26AM (#16604856) Homepage
    Since when aren't most computer geeks pretty adamant and stubborn. As for any individual choosing what they will or will not do, for what ever reason they deem appropriate, well, that's just freedom of choice. Being a Linux, a GNU/Linux or a GNU supporter does not make you a slave.

    The critical point about the critical article, is that any version GPL is not compulsary. Anybody should feel free to comment upon any part of the GPL, including the original creators. I am in favour of moral conditions for GPL4, restrictions on privacy invasive crap, or that code shouldn't be used in acts against freedom and democracy.

    I don't even see a problem with a GPL that allows greedy corporations to use code, with out returning code, as long as the make suitably large financial contributions to whatever open source organisations the creators of the code democratically decide is appropriate.

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