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The 2000 Beanies

Vote:Best Open Source Advocate 8

This is a tricky category. Advocacy is hard, and everyone has a different way to address the problem. Each of the nominees has a different viewpoint on Open Source/Free Software. And each has a different way of being an advocate for their ideals. Vote for the guy who has done the most to advocate this stuff: Eric S. Raymond, Bruce Perens, Richard Stallman, and Linus Torvalds.
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Vote:Best Open Source Advocate

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  • RMS started the open source movement wrote the GNU codebase and defends his ideals with such zeal he gets called a Zelot..
    Linus Wrote the Linux kernel and brought to life the first compleate open source os... acted as the offical spokesmen for Linux and moved forward the first open source comertal product.
    ESR wrote a great deal of code base and acted as a strong open source advocate as well as just pressing the case to busnesses (who need the more down to earth type than the zelot)
    Bruce breathed life into Debian and has some code to his credit has jumpped into action when things went awry....

    Each wrote some code and each pounded the flesh a little....
    Right now I'd say Bruce... Becouse RMSes phase is over to some extent... the spokesmen fase Linus holds isn't as importent anymore.. ESR has made his case for the most part and Linux now has the name space and is a hot property...
    But far to new new joinners to open source don't know how to take this... So for the time being Bruce is the most importent element of the open source movement...
    I'll bet he'll be GLAD when his phase is over and good busness ethics for open source can take hold...

    Don't get me wrong thies jobs are never really done.. We will need a RMS,Linus,ESR and Bruce as well as a CmdrTaco, a RedHat, a Caldera and an IBM for a long time ahead.... but as thies jobs become less focused they become more transportable... Linus isn't easly replaced yet but by the time he is ready to retired we'll have a smooth transition.. same goes for them all...
    Yes even CmdrTaco is vital...

    Oh yes... myself... I'm totally replaceable... the trolls can replace me :) I don't do anything :)
  • Stallman has probably written more code than any of the other windbags in OSS. But on the other hand, I see him as far too much of a radical. His statements and extremism do as much to scare people away fom the GPL as they do to stengthen and extend it.

    Raymond? The Cathedral and the Bazaar is an interesting look at OSS development, but he too is too much of a firebrand.

    I don't know Bruce Perens other than from his /. postings, which are often eloquent and on-target.

    Linus? He is the yin to RMS's yang. He symbolizes the "don't say, do" theory of changing things, and I don't know anyone who finds him disagreeable as a personality. I've heard some people differ with him on the finer points of Linux development, but overall, little of the attention that OSS now enjoys would exist without Linux. The choice seems clear.


  • Well, RMS himself disagrees with using the expression "Open Source", and prefers "Free Software", and has described why quite a few times, not least in the O'Reilly book "Open Sources". I, for one, agree with him, and with his reasoning.

    So I guess the question becomes would RMS be annoyed if he was awarded this? Would he think it only shows his point hasn't gotten through? Would it encourage him to try to hammer it home more forcefully?

    Who invented the term "Open Source" anyway? Since this is the first of these awards, it should go to the inventor of the term. At least those of us that dislike it would have somebody to point the finger at.

  • I agree, and I think that the reason some say he can come off as radical, is because he was one of the first OSS advocates, from a time when it wasnt as hip as it is now.
  • To answer who's the best advocate is an impossible question, all these advocates have very strong views on the subject and therefore RMS may encourage certain types of people to use free software (people concerned with freedom and liberty) but will put off other types of people (who consider him communist). Some of Eric Raymonds views and Bruce Perens views are very different as well. I suppose it's a matter of the right advocate for the job! I think I'd better abstain from this one.
  • The question was not who contributed most code, or who has maximized the integral over time of code contributions. RMS is a major contender and probable even winner, and the computer industry wouldn't have been where it is now if it weren't for the two great tools of GCC and Emacs; tools that have made my life as a developer and sysadmin bearable over the last ten years.

    The question was: who was the best Open Source advocate. IMHO, RMS is a loose cannon who is very good at galvanizing the body of like minded persons (think rebel leader in a divided nation), but a danger to their acceptance (think foreign politics).

    Perhaps an example from personal experience can paint the picture more clearly from my viewpoint. I once took a day off and drove the length of our country (not that it's that big) to hear RMS speak in Amsterdam on patents. This was in the early days of the revolt against patents on software, and I agreed with every word he said. But his mode of speach was such that I decided there and then not to associate myself with the LPF, because I did not wanted to be painted with the same brush that he would be painted with.

    My non-membership of the LPF was (and is) no big deal. I publicly and vocally express the LPF view at many occasions. But at a time when we need division between equally minded people like we need holes in our heads, putting RMS in the limelight for his advocacy does not bode well for freely available software.

    I wished the lawyers would stay out of it. The whole mess we got into was caused by someone slapping a copyright on code labeled Public Domain. If just a percentage of all the productivity lost in the world over license debates since would've been put into lobbying (or outright buying) Congress to change the laws to make the term Public Domain mean what every programmer understood it to mean back then, Linux would've taken over the world five years ago. Except it may have been called BSD or Minix in that case.

    What's in a name?

There is never time to do it right, but always time to do it over.