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GNU is Not Unix

Stallman To Respond To Mundie Tuesday 162

Sheetrock writes: "According to a press release from the Free Software Foundation, Richard M. Stallman will be delivering a speech entitled "Free Software: Freedom and Cooperation" at the New York University campus at 10:00AM on Tuesday, May 29, 2001. This speech is expected to counterbalance the one given at the university earlier this month by Craig Mundie of Microsoft (entitled "The Commercial Software Model"). Hopefully, this will get OGGed like some of RMS's other speeches so that those of us who can't attend will still get to listen to his rebuttal." Both Free and Open to the public.
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Stallman To Respond To Mundie Tuesday

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    These are buisness students, they don't care about freedom, they don't care about power.. they care about cost!

    Actually, if they are anything like actual business people they care a lot about power. Businesses spend huge amounts of money on politicians, press releases, etc. In order to gain and maintain power. Money is made principally through power - sure having low costs is nice, but this is difficult to achieve without power; more importantly charging high prices is even more important, and while any business can do this, only those with power will get customers to keep buying despite the high prices.

    I suggest you read the book Rich Media, Poor Democracy to get some insight into how business desires, fights for, and achieves political power.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Whom do you think businesses are going to listen to, a company they've done business with for years and know (for good and for ill, in the case of MS), or some guy who will very likely come across as a zealot, as he has numerous times in the past? Even taking into account that many companies don't like MS, they're much more likely to be swayed by the "devil they know" instead of some new-to-them guy named Stallman who (gasp!) doesn't even work for a software company. If someone moderately high profile from IBM gave the same speech it would carry at least ten times the weight with the business crowd.

    Don't flame me--I'm not advocating this point of view or in any way implying it's correct. I'm just pointing out how many overworked CIO's and CTO's, who make the decisions we care about regarding software and hardware, will look at this situation.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    what alternative business model can the Open Source offer. As has been pointed in earlier posts, the audience is not going to be interested in freedom, cooperation etc.. RMS has to deliver the dough.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 27, 2001 @04:46AM (#195645)
    Do you even know what distill means? Very ironic...
  • While you're at it, could you also encode it as an MP3 for the 99.999% of the rest of us who can't be there yet want to hear it?

    Can't listen to .OGGs on my Rio, y'know.

    - A.P.

    --
    Forget Napster. Why not really break the law?

  • His [RMS's] persuasiveness should be judged not on how he gets his sycophants in a frenzy, but on how he persuades people outside his core. He simply has not done this at all. Gates on the other hand, as much as I dislike the man, has persuaded many people from different backgrounds in the course of his business.
    How so? I mean, Gates has been very successful in business, but that doesn't imply persuasion particularly. I suppose Gates "persuaded" people to use Windows. Just like RMS persuaded people to write Free Software. But in both cases most people couldn't attribute their decision directly to that person.

    Gates has had the opportunity to be a highly influential and important figure of real persuasion, but hasn't done anything interesting with it. He's written a couple books, but they weren't particularly insightful, and certainly not influential. Lots of people read the books, sure, but that only makes his lack of success more apparent -- people have read him, and they still don't care. Few people say that about RMS writings, whether they agree or not.

    Gates has had a bully pulpit because he is the single most rich person in the world. He can get top billing in just about any medium he wants -- TV, radio, newspapers, even /. -- but that isn't due to his persuasiveness. Just his wealth and influence.

    To his credit, Bill Gates has written a number of essays [microsoft.com], even an article on genetically modified food [time.com].

  • Fine. Don't restrict. And if I license code under the GPL, I'm saying: if you want to restrict someone, you can't use my code in the process. That's all the GPL says. That isn't a restriction to anyone who isn't trying to restrict someone else. By licensing it that way you are serving the goals of freedom, by depriving benefit to those who oppose it.

    And your freedom to swing your fist isn't defined as illegal because it restricts. It doesn't restrict. It hurts. Taking someone's lunch money doesn't restrict either. It deprives. These things aren't as simple as you seem to want them to be. Libertarian, no doubt.

  • he [RMS] would lose solely on the basis that normal people would get freaked out at the intensity and seriousness of his thoughts and actions.
    You are probably right, but it's a shame. People can't deal with someone who actually believes what he is saying, and who believes it with complete sincerity and without apology or compromise. It embarrasses them.

    People know how to deal with spin and commercial bull. The educated among them know how to deal with intellectualism and the abstract arguments that go with. But someone who really believes something -- that's rather unusual, and people don't know how to deal with it at all.

    The audience will empathize to a degree, as they would for anyone they listened to. It's like trying the idea on for size. But they will feel nervous, because believing something just because of the rightness of it is something that makes you vulnerable. If you are just pragmatic, then you can change your mind and admit no real defeat. Pragmatism is very palatable. Open Source is a pragmatic approach. But to say something is right implies something else is wrong. That actually means something. That has implications. That might lead somewhere you don't expect. It doesn't fit with the postmodernism so many of us have internalized.

    It makes them uncomfortable. It is completely uncool. Entirely unmodern. People will dismiss him as a fanatic, which is just the word for anyone considerably less cynical than you are. It's too bad, really.

  • To them, freedom *requires* restriction, which is the whole point of the GPL.
    Well, RMS calls the GPL Pragmatic Idealism [gnu.org]. Read the article for more in his words.

    Your concept of freedom is a rather empty one. Freedom in a societal sense means the restriction of individuals' ability to restrict others.

    A free society restricts individuals' ability to hold slaves, for instance. In fact, one step further -- we restricts anyone from even voluntarily making themselves the slave of another! And that is not trivial -- voluntary slavery is historically rather common. So why won't we let people do it? It's their life to give away, isn't it?

    Well, you can figure that out for yourself. But don't mistake your naive notion of freedom with a real freedom for a society. And RMS believes too strongly to create a fragile and disempowered freedom -- let BSDers do that.

  • Define it however you want, the fact is that your idea of a free society is unworkable, where his idea is much more attainable. How do you propose to ensure freedom without restricting those that would restrict others?

  • You're playing semantic games. If your application depends on some library to provide some of its functionality, then it is a derivation! You require that code in order to provide some functionality. Whether that code exists as a separate file or not is of no consequence. It is part of your program. If you don't like the license, then write your own damn library or license one from someone else and quit complaining.

  • In the eyes of copyright law, the library that your program uses wouldn't even be seen as a separate thing. If it's providing some of the functionality of your program, then it is part of your program. There would be no distinction.

  • The LGPL differs from the GPL in how it treats linking to a library. Roughly speaking, the LGPL permits linking to a library without requiring disclosure of what's linked against it. However, changes to the library itself are still covered by the source distribution requirements. It certainly is not as weak as the BSD/X11 family of licenses.

    RMS has no difficulty with the LGPL under the right circumstances, and the FSF has laid out suggestions for when which license is appropriate. GPL'ing libc, for example, would be counterproductive.

    I am project lead for gimp-print, which is a package of high quality printer drivers for POSIX environments. The heart of the package is in a large shared library (libgimpprint.so). We have chosen to GPL rather than LGPL the package. I wouldn't particularly like to see a printer vendor take the package, add a dynamic loading facility to allow loading proprietary driver modules to it (they would have to distribute that part of it), and then using it as a core for a proprietary driver for their printers. I suspect that other printer vendor(s) that do cooperate with us wouldn't care to see that happen either.

    That said, though, getting around GPL'ed libraries isn't necessarily as hard as you might think. The key to doing it is to write a simple application that provides an IPC mechanism to access the library facilities. That part, of course, has to be released in source form. However, a binary application that talks to that IPC server is not covered by the GPL, as it is not a derivative of a GPL'ed work. Of course, that's a bit more work, and may (or may not!) result in less performance, but it can certainly be done in a lot of cases.
  • by rlk ( 1089 ) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @12:17PM (#195655)
    If Linux had been GPL it could not have been marketed by companies like IBM.

    Try that one again? The Linux kernel is GPL (with the binary module exception, admittedly). The core utilities in the vast majority of Linux distribution are all GPL.

    If Open Source were a political movement then we would keep RMS away from the podium as assiduously as the alleged President's handlers keep George Bush away from press interviews.

    The point is moot, since RMS doesn't claim to speak for Open Source.

  • by rlk ( 1089 ) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @05:33AM (#195656)

    Everytime I turn around, it seems like I read a letter to the editor from RMS making a distinction between open source and free software, or between the Linux kernel and the GNU/Linux operating system. By constantly using his position as a (semi-)celebrity to associate himself with one small, relatively radical subset of open source movement in general, I think he may alienate some folks out there.

    RMS is the leader of the free software movement, which long (better than 10 years) predates the term "open source". He's arguing a very specific position -- that freedom is important in its own right, independent of any business advantages that may come from the use of open source. He's not trying to argue from a business perspective, and should not be judged on that basis.

    Since RMS most likely won't get up there and emphasize that there are alternatives to the GPL that may be attractive, I wonder how widely his ideas will be accepted by the people who have the money.

    Read the license page on the FSF's web site. It lists a very large number of licenses, which it groups into "GPL-compatible", free but not compatible with the GPL, and non-free, and gives specific reasons why each is placed in each category, and recommends reasons for choosing particular licenses. While I doubt that RMS will go into deep discussion of this at his talk -- that would be appropriate for a presentation at a conference, not a general lecture -- his position demonstrates extensive thought, certainly not "one size fits all". Again, as for the issue of money, that's not what he's trying to address.

    However, I could make a very strong case that in fact the GPL is one of the best licenses that a business could use in licensing its free source output. The reason, interestingly enough, is that the GPL is probably the strongest widely-accepted license there is for protecting program source against proprietary use by someone else. It's interesting that the situations where the FSF recommends use of the LGPL -- a weaker license -- are those where the software in question is a commodity implementation of a standard, such as libc. The parallels between software that a business would typically try to keep closed and sell for money and GPL'ed software, and software that a business would freely give away and LGPL'ed software, are significant. http://www.fsf.org/philosophy/why-not-lgpl.html [fsf.org] quite clearly notes that the purpose of the GPL is to build up a significant portfolio of IP that may be used freely by anyone so long as they agree to put any derived distributed work under the same conditions.

    I see in RMS passionate beliefs, and also unwillingness to compromise. Could it hurt the open source movement in the long run?

    As I noted above, RMS's position is in fact quite nuanced; the LGPL itself is a compromise of sorts, and he even agrees with the decision to LGPL Ogg Vorbis, on the grounds that uptake of a free alternative to MP3 is of sufficient importance that even the existence of proprietary programs using Ogg Vorbis will benefit the free community.

  • While I would hate to put words into Stallman's mouth, my guess is that he would much prefer a world without copyright, but given that we don't live in such a world, he feels justified in using copyright in a manner which prevents others from using it, and which advances his views.

    I see nothing wrong with this.

    --

  • The whole reason that he dislikes the term "Open Source" is that it glosses over the core philosophical underpinnings of Free Software, and makes the (rather weak) claim that writing Free Software makes good business sense.

    Stallman doesn't care about business because his goals are much deeper than merely making money, he is talking about the freedom to create.

    --

  • Where did I say I measure people by their education only? I only point out about this relationship between Bill Gates and RMS. It is well know that Bill Gates dropped out because he saw a business opportunity in proprietary software.

    If Bill Gates was not worth of at least something because he was a college dropout, would I have suggest a debate in the first place?

    I merely pointed out that RMS and Bill Gates were in similar places at one point in their life. And their ages are about the same. But the course they chose are exactly the opposite. For all possible timelines, it may be RMS, rather than Bill Gates, who earned the most money from the PC proprietary software business boom since the late 70s to 90s. But RMS did not choose that road. He is still relatively poor today, but his contribution to the human civilization will outweight Bill Gates'.
  • We need a face-to-face debate between Bill Gates, a Harvard dropout, and Richard Stallman, a Harvard graduate, and let their views be frankly shown to the world, side-by-side. And then people will know who is right.

    Microsoft, dare you send in Gates himself?

    ----

    "Most of you steal your software... What hobbyist can put years into programming, finding all bugs, documenting his product and distribute for free?"----An Open Letter to Hobbyists, Bill Gates, Micro-soft, 1976

    "GNU... is the name for the complete Unix-compatible software system which I am writing so that I can give it away free... Once GNU is written, everyone will be able to obtain good system software free, just like air."----The GNU Manifesto, Richard Stallman, Free Software Foundation, 1985

    Microsoft Windows vs. GNU/Linux, Today

  • Dynamically linking a library and an executable is not aggregation. Aggregation is having a copy of the book "Les Miserable" next to a your copy of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" on your book case.

    Linking GPLed code into your application (even dynamically) is much more like writing an entire novel except for Chapter 5 (which you borrowed word for word from Stephen King). It is easy for you to think that your work is "entirely original," but if it won't work without someone else's GPLed code, then clearly it is derivative. Argue that this isn't fair, but that is the way that copyright works. What's more there are plenty of examples of commercial libraries that have similar arrangements (you must pay the author if you want to link it into your application).

    Remember, Free Software is about the freedom, not about stealing software. If you don't like the terms of the GPL (and it appears that you don't) then I would suggest not using software that has been released under this license. I don't like the license that Microsoft Windows is released under, but that doesn't mean that I can legally (or even ethically) steal it.

    You are correct when you point out that the use of the term "Free" in Free Software is marketing (or propaganda if you prefer). But it's not any different from the "Shared" in Shared Source, or the "Open" in Open Group (or any number of similar constructs). The difference is that for most of it's users the Free in Free Software is quite appropriate. After all, if you aren't a programmer than the GPL is both free as in free speech and as in free beer.

  • it's your choice whether to link to a GPL'd
    library or not. no one forces you. RMS lets
    you choose whatever license you wish. if
    you want to use GPL'd software, follow the
    rules. no one is hiding them.
  • Ummm... Being a college graduate from a lofty named school doesn't make one intelligent or interesting.

    Case in point... President Bush is a Yale graduate.

  • RMS, a Harvard graduate? I didn't know that... I thought he was at MIT... did he go there before?
  • If you use headers from libfoo, you certainly are distributing part of it. You might have a case if you re-wrote the headers for libfoo yourself.
  • It's not hypocrasy, it's irony, hence the name, copyleft. It's using copyright against itself. Software should not be owned. The fact is, though, with our current laws, _someone will_ own the software. If you release it in the public domain, then anyone can go and own the software you created. Copyleft prevents this. It makes sure that free things stay free, and aren't hijacked into being owned by someone else, and distributed in such a manner. If there was no software ownership at all, there would be no need for the GPL. Since there _is_, then there is a strong need for the GPL.
  • It has nothing to do with money, it has to do with freedom. I can't believe people are still having problems with this concept.
  • Third, you should compare what both have actually done since leaving school, it is a far better measure.

    So, in your mind, making a lot of money by selling a crappy product with slick marketing is evidence that Bill Gates is in some way "right"?

  • There already *is* someone doing this. His name is Eric S. Raymond and he doesn't get along very well with Stallman. ;-)
  • The Open Source movement really have to understand that it has moved beyond RMS and that the decision to junk the GPL was essential for the success of the movement.

    Um, who has junked the GPL?

    If Linux had been GPL

    Linux is GPL'd.

    it could not have been marketed by companies like IBM.

    IBM makes their money from providing services. That's why they push Linux. They're cutting costs (and, I might add, raising quality at the same time ;-)

    The GPL is a self obsessed piece of control freakery. The whole point of GPL is that everything it touches must also become GPL.

    The GPL is intended to crush the concept of proprietary software. Everyone knows this. The phrase "everything it touches must also become GPL" is vague. If by "touches," you mean that you can't run GPL software on a proprietary platform, then you are wrong. If you mean "openly published derivative works," then you are correct. Any speaker that uses vague language is either ignorant or deceptive.

  • Sheesh, soon they'll have you believing that the Americal Civil War was actually about slavery and not the economic differences between the North and South... oh, yeah - you probably do believe that.

    The War Between the States was fought over the right to secede. The southern states formed their own nation and said, "We are an independent people!" Abraham Lincoln said, "That's what you think!" War ensued. Think of it as being similar to China vs. Tibet or Russia vs. Chechnya.

  • I think it's because we have a completely materialistic (in both senses of the word ;-) society where putting "gratis" in a list effectively erases the rest of the list. Just think of all the commercials you see that offer something for free.
  • Developers are users too.

    That's exactly right. No matter how much code you personally write, you are still dependant upon a far larger body of code (compilers, linkers, editors, libraries, etc.). Stallman and the FSF want to make sure that the tools you use as a developer are free, and continue to remain so.

    The primary, if not sole, user of a software library is a developer.

    I really don't know where you came up with this. The primary user of a software library is the person running the application it is linked into! Sure, the developer has much more intimate knowledge of the library, but the ultimate user is still the application user.

    All that being said, I obviously can't use GPL'ed libraries for my proprietary software development. But so what? If my only choices were proprietary libraries, then I'd have to either pay money, or do it myself. I'm no worse off with that GPL'ed library out there, even if I can't use it.

    The FSF cares more about the end user than the profit potential of proprietary software developers. That's fine by me.

  • by crovira ( 10242 ) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @05:07PM (#195674) Homepage
    M$ thinks its OS & apps are important. They really aren't.

    M$ gets away with closed source because its not "bet the farm," "screw this up and somebody gets killed," stuff. Its closed source because its trivial.

    When businesses pay real money, like a mil down and $10k per seat with MIS & DBA support on top of that, they get the source code.

    They sign non-disclosures and non-competition agreements out the wazoo but they get the source.

    You don't even think of selling software at this level without the source. You'd be shown the door.

    M$ doesn't even show up on the expenditure budget at this level.

    The best thing to do with M$ & Bill Gates is laugh at him or maybe pity him in his delusion.

    Nobody uses M$ products where there's any lives at stake or where there's any liability. Closed source is jack-off products for minor functionaries.

    People who can turn off their machines and go home to their lives in distant cities, get home to their lives because the equipment that they use to get make the trip has nothing to do with M$, from the car they drive to the airport, to the traffic lights along the way, to the air traffic control system, to the airframes they ride in, to the program that figured out the mix of airplane food meal ingredients on their little plastic plate, to the program that controlled the refinery that made the plastic, to the one that controlled the extruder.

    Anywhere that matters, M$ AIN'T there.
  • We need a face-to-face debate between Bill Gates, a Harvard dropout, and Richard Stallman, a Harvard graduate, and let their views be frankly shown to the world, side-by-side. And then people will know who is right.
    Yawn. I'm no fan of Bill Gates, but to measure the men, so many years out of school, by where and how far they were educated is simple foolishness. In the grand scheme of things it is a poor measure of man. First, empirically speaking, I've known many unimpressive Harvard graduates, as well as MIT, Princeton, etc. Acceptance or graduation from a "good" school is not a guarantee of intelligence, integrity, motivation, intellect, etc. Second, both were presumably admitted, given the extremely low rates of attrition at Ivy league schools and others (especially today), graduation speaks very little of relative intelligence. Third, you should compare what both have actually done since leaving school, it is a far better measure.

    Frankly, I'm not the least bit impressed with RMS. I would not at all be suprised if Gates would dominate in a debate like that. RMS has spent his entire life in academia, he's written a little software (yes, I know this is flame bait) of debatable quality. He may have a loyal following, but it is a relatively small following. His persuasiveness should be judged not on how he gets his sycophants in a frenzy, but on how he persuades people outside his core. He simply has not done this at all. Gates on the other hand, as much as I dislike the man, has persuaded many people from different backgrounds in the course of his business.

    "Most of you steal your software... What hobbyist can put years into programming, finding all bugs, documenting his product and distribute for free?"----An Open Letter to Hobbyists, Bill Gates, Micro-soft, 1976

    "GNU... is the name for the complete Unix-compatible software system which I am writing so that I can give it away free... Once GNU is written, everyone will be able to obtain good system software free, just like air."----The GNU Manifesto, Richard Stallman, Free Software Foundation, 1985
    This presumably means Gates was proven wrong, right? Ok maybe he stated his case a little too strongly, implying that NO software of reasonable quality would be produced for free. But the fact of the matter is, that for all of RMS's flatulence, most either lack ability to switch to free software OR consistently prefer non-free software most of the time. Now you can say this is going to change in the future, but is not demonstrably true, and I (and many others) disagree strongly.
  • No where did I say that I was blown away with Bill Gates, I simply stated that whether they graduated or not with an undergrad degree from Harvard is a very poor measure of capabilities. As a matter of act, I do think Microsoft's products are well below the quality that would be seen in a reasonably competetive market place (e.g., if their OS and Applications were split). However, that does not automatically mean that the man is stupid or less capable than RMS. The bottom line is that, yes, it is going to come down to a subjective measures, but those measures would be far better than focusing exclusively on the fact that one has a diploma from Harvard and the other does not.

    For instance, despite the fact that the man's company makes crappy software, he must still persuade business leaders, journalists, and others in the course of his work. RMS on the other hand is 100% idealist. Now you may disagree with my POV, but then name a better one. Don't just point to the degree.
  • The original question was an attempt to ascertain who would be the better debater. The original poster implies that we need only look at whether or not they recieved a diploma to arrive at a conclusion. I simply assert that focusing on attaining a diploma from the same school is almost certainly a poor measure of those kinds of capabilities, especially when you consider that both have left their undergraduate careers decades ago. Thus I point out alternatives, as a supplement to my argument, to things outside of their undergrad experiences. You may not agree with the elements that I point out, but they at least have a reasonable chance of being relevant, whereas actually recieving that diploma is relatively meaningless. Would you really assert that your average Harvard grad is more likely to succeed in a debate than Gates, a voluntary drop out from the same school, with many years of experience under his belt? No, most reasonable people that are familiar with these schools would not. The original poster wanted to imply that it was the degree the matters, when in fact, his real reason is his agreement with RMS' philosophy, his academic training, or what have you. [If he had simply said what he really felt, I probably would not have bothered wasting my time, no matter how wrong I feel he is.]

    I never said nor implied that there is a standard of "success". "Success" is only an incidental consideration here. Because of Gates' "success", we can reasonably presume that he has certain skills and abilities (e.g., writing ability, the ability to get to the point quickly, the ability to make public speeches to non-nerdy audiences,etc.), no matter how crappy his products tend to be. Conversely, I cannot say the same for RMS. He is an academic, now whether you consider this success or not is irrelevant. The fact of the matter is that persuasion is not instrumental or necessary to success in RMS' academic career. The same can be said for many other talents...
  • How so? I mean, Gates has been very successful in business, but that doesn't imply persuasion particularly. I suppose Gates "persuaded" people to use Windows. Just like RMS persuaded people to write Free Software. But in both cases most people couldn't attribute their decision directly to that person.
    Well I derive this from my experience with successful business people. By and large, they are successful communicators, because this is largely what their job is. As a CEO, it is very important to be able to persuade employees, perspective shareholders, the financial community, business partners, bankers, even customers. The vast majority of the business leaders power derives not from absolute authority, but from the unofficial forces, like persuasion, the ability to read people, etc. Not being able to communicate effectively as a CEO is equivalent to not being able to type as a programmer. In other words, you may know where you want to go, but if you can't employ it, it's not worth a damn. Are there some exceptions? Sure, but they're very unusual.

    That said, I happen to agree that his books were lousy and uninspiring. However, I see them as being the result of writing with ulterior motives. (e.g., persuading the financial community and others that he is some kind of visionary with a plan.) It's very hard to write well when what you're saying is bullshit. I have happened to read Gates' writing in the Economist and a few other places. From what little I have read, it strikes me as being much more lucid, coherant, and persuasive than RMS' typical inflamatory language. Also, remember there is a difference between arguing MS' business practices and intellectual property's strengths in general.

    Now I see no particular reason to believe that RMS is a good communicator. RMS' works certainly do not demonstrate it to me. His job does not require it. His technical training does not necessarily imply it either. (though I have known many technically trained people that are excellent writers and communicators). What's more, I think his extreme positions are much harder to justify logically [frankly, i think they're down right foolish]. Regardless of the logic, they're certainly not going to go down well with people that are neither academics, leftists, or free software advocates.

    In any event, my particular take on this issue is secondary to my primary point, that the undergraduate diploma is practically irrelevant at this point in their lives. If you, or he, wants to make a case that RMS would be better, then ground it in something more than a mere sheet of paper. It may still be subjective, but at least it won't be so clearly wrong.
  • Ah! Now I understand your argument, to which I must then point out that RMS has been invited on numerous occasions to speak publicly about free software, whereas Bill Gates hasn't. He has a record of publicly being able to defend his ideas simply becuase the Free Software movement has always been perceived as "fringe", whereas Bill Gate's performance in the courtroom in defending himself has been terribly lackluster.
    Umm, may I have some of what you're smoking? You are comparing YOUR ability to be impressed with RMS, whose philosophy you clearly agree with, in a favorable environment to like minded individuals against Bill Gates' HOSTILE questioning, in a court of law, where the stakes are high, where MS is quite clearly in the wrong, and other such factors? I'm sorry, but the very fact that, yes, GNU IS still fringe, after so many years, speaks very clearly about RMS' ability to persuade (especially when it comes to the GPL and IP). The vast majority of people would LIKE to be able to use free software, if it were all RMS proclaims it to be, for no other reason then the fact that it tends to be free or, at least, much cheaper.

    In any event, I have heard all sorts of RMS speeches, I'm not the least bit impressed with his speaking ability. While I am hardly blown away with Bill Gates' abilities (granted, most of the speaking that I've heard from him is for public consumption/marketing), reading between the lines, it is quite clear to me that he has a reasonable facility to get his point across, even when his position is not terribly strong. I believe that if you gave this man something as well studied, documented, and supported as intellectual property (in general, remember, not defending MS' crime(s))., that he would wipe RMS off the floor, at least so far as 99% of the audience is concerned. You should at least recognize that RMS is an idealist in the extreme, this severely constrains his ability to be a persuasive speaker, especially when the audience is so clearly opposed to his position. He does not have the credibility.

    As for being an academic or not, that quality correlates with the ability to form coherent arguments, although that correlation may be weak.
    Umm, I'd say this depends entirely on what kind of academic you're talking about. Furthermore, merely being coherant is not enough, one can be coherant without being a persuasive or correct. Whereas it's very hard to be a succesfull business leader without having that serious powers of persuasion, not to mention the ability to read, write, and think coherantly, the ability to get to the point quickly, etc.

    No, I don't think Gates is any sort of visionary. Yes, I think MS is a monopoly and such. In short, I would not put Gates on top of the list of best business leaders, not by a long short. But I have to give the man some credit...Even MS takes considerable skill to run. It is a very large organization and it hasn't stayed where it is magically, even with a strong monopoly position. Contrast this with RMS, he can afford to simply state his opinion and let it stand. Furthermore, I would argue that RMS' role in propping up free software has had less to do with him, then with the likes of Torvalds, Cox, and others. If it weren't for them, I think GNU would be very obscure these days. Not only can he afford to simply state "that is the way it is, it's my way or the highway", but he's been doing it for years. Enough said, bye
  • by Zico ( 14255 ) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @11:04AM (#195680)

    I don't think everyone here realizes the capacity that RMS has for making himself look like a complete raving lunatic whenever he's out in public. Well, in private, too, but that's a different subject. Oh man, I haven't even heard this yet (obviously), but chalk this round up to Microsoft. You guys just better hope RMS doesn't set your little movement back a couple of years in the process! :)


    Cheers,

  • You are nither a coder nore are you in business.

    Programmers don't have mono personalitys. In fact there is no such thing. I had to make the stupid term up.

    The best way to tell a person isn't a hacker is the person is willing to make an effort to tell who is one.

    There are many things hackers do care about. Who is or isn't a hacker isn't one of those items. They don't care. It dosn't matter.

    One of the things hackers DO care about is technology issues. Open source, etc. Hackers do not all fall on the same side of an issue. Hackers can and do put lipservice to closed source and security by obscurity.

    You are clearly not in business. You think marketting and advocacy is a waist of time.

    You don't give an opinion very often. Opinionists usually spill so much hot air they don't ever say bad things about hot air.

    In short your asking a group of people to be slient on opinions they have becouse you don't share those opinions or don't care about the issues others do care about.

    Try investing in your own advice for a month. Be silent when something you care about comes up.
    Don't advocate. Don't premote.

    You'll be a nervous wreck by the end of it.
    I don't advise trying that BTW if your in a compeditive work environment. Your carrer would be over if you didn't premote yourself a little.
  • What you call a "real coder" I call an "obsesive workaholic"...

    Even then obsessive programmers usually have more free time than slop artists simply becouse the code they wrote is easy to debug and rarely has bugs.

    Obsessive coders rarely have sereous problems to fix.
  • When a company (any) speaks of compeating products, services, philosophys or anything not conforming to the companys own needs the consummer should reguard anything said as the same tone and quality of a political canidate refering to other canidates for the same office.

    Like a political canidate the words may be true. Or they may be lies.

    What matters is there is a reason for the commentary. It wasn't done in the publics best intrests but the companys own intrests.

    Usually it is one of two reasons. You should do some research to identify the correct reason for the company or entity in question.

    Most of the time it's probably becouse the item in question is more successful and the speaker is losing to it. Or that the speaker and the topic item are very close. In short the speaker dose not have a clear lead over the topic item and needs to bring to light the benifits of the speaker over the topic item that the public is probably unaware of.
    If the speaker however has a clear lead over the topic item there is annother reason.

    The most likely othe reason is the topic item is vastly suppereor to the item the speaker represents.
    The speaker fears the topic item could in a head to head battle crush the item the speaker represents.

    In every case the speaker fears the item he supports may suffer at the hands of the topic item. Normally this is justifyed by pure numbers. But occasionally this fear is due more to the fact that the topic item is vastly supereor to the item the speaker represents.

    Microsoft has over 75% marketshare...
    Linux has less than 10% marketshare...

    Why is Microsoft conserned about Linux?
  • The typical non-hacker or un-geek sees freedom as being a lack of restriction. But RMS and the FSF does not see freedom that way. To them, freedom *requires* restriction, which is the whole point of the GPL. Strike one against him in the eyes of most people. In fact, the "free" in "free software" is meaningless without RMS's definition.

    They also see that RMS says that "software should not be owned" while at the same time encouraging everyone to GPL (copyright) their software. This smacks of outright hypocrisy to the average person.

    "Most people" don't know what copyleft is. But most sofware developers do. It is nearly impossible to be a developer for any period of time without knowing what it is. Yet the vast majority of developers do not espouse copyleft. The most successful free software project (Apache) is not copyleft. The second most successful (X11R6) is not copyleft. The third most successful (Perl) is not copyleft through it's dual licensing.

    "Most people" would view the premise of copyleft as nonsensical. "Freedom, but not too much" is pretty silly.
  • If you don't find the underlying hypocrisy in this, you don't really understand the issue. It would be like some political faction arguing that land ownership is wrong, then encouraging everyone to put deed restrictions on their homes.

    Ownership of property means control of the property. If no one owns it, no one controls it. But for the FSF to argue that the GPL is needed so that the authors can control the distribution of their software is to acknowledge that software should be owned. You can't have it both ways.

    RMS doesn't want individuals or corporations to own software. But he certainly intends for software to be owned. He wants it owned by the "community" in common for the "public good". Sort of like the classic village commons. Except that the real village commons in history were invariably owned by an enlightened nobility who only meant the best for their enslaved serfs.
  • By dynamically linking my original application with a hypothetical GPLd library, libfoo, I am not distributing libfoo. Neither do I distribute any of libfoo when I distribute my application. My application is 100% original and in no way a derivative of libfoo.

    At some point in time, my application will be loaded into the same process address space as libfoo, and this is the only time it gets copied. But it occurs at runtime in the privacy of the end user's computer, and does not involve the distribution of libfoo.

    If the developer has an original work, (s)he can choose whatever license (s)he pleases.

    My application that depends on libfoo is entirely original. Dependency is not derivation. Aggregation in RAM is not derivation. Yet RMS will not let me choose what license I please. The use of the GPL for shared libraries is wrong. It certainly ain't free. What it is is propaganda and bullshit.
  • GPL handouts are intended only for other GPL authors.

    You hit the nail on the head. In nine words you've managed to capture the spirit and morality of the GPL. Pardon me if I follow a higher calling...
  • It is easy for you to think that your work is "entirely original," but if it won't work without someone else's GPLed code, then clearly it is derivative.

    Not at all! There is no derivation, only reference. And copyright law is completely silent on the topic of reference. There are no analogies that fit this situation, since there are no similar toolkits for music or prose, so I won't attempt to create any.

    And besides, it's completely contradictory to the most of the GPL itself. "Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not covered by this License; they are outside its scope." By dynamically linking to a GPL library, I am neither copying, distributing or modifying the library. The user might have to copy the library into RAM, that isn't me.
  • I think it is your concept of freedom that is empty. Freedom is the absence of restriction. Period. The reason individuals cannot own slaves in a free society is because slavery is restriction. I don't need any laws defining your freedom to swing your fist to end at my nose, because once your fist connects, you are restricting me.

    Don't try to delineate specific freedoms, and who gets what rights, and who enforces them, and which restrictions are too restrictive and which ones are not restrictive enough. That's legalistic mumbo-jumbo that merely employs lawyers. Instead, just make one simple guideline: don't restrict.
  • If your application depends on some library to provide some of its functionality, then it is a derivation!

    In the programmatic sense, you are correct. But we're talking about copyright here. I can't find any place in copyright law that dependency creates derivation. Can you show me were in law it says this?

  • Define it however you want, the fact is that your idea of a free society is unworkable, where his idea is much more attainable.

    It may not be workable in societies where all children are sent to government indoctrination centers until age 18, and where the state actively bribes voters with promises of cash, and where public office is considered a prize and not a responsibility.

    But it can, and *does*, work in cyberspace. There is nothing anyone, anywhere can do to BSD or MIT licensed code that can alter your or my freedom with regards to it. Nothing. It is metaphysically impossible. Apple can take FreeBSD and mix it all up with proprietary code, but guess what? FreeBSD is still there. Unchanged. If you don't want to use OS X because it is proprietary, then it is your choice, and your free will, not to. Don't like it don't use it.
  • Libertarian, no doubt

    Duh! If I were I socialist/communist/communitarian, I would believe that all property should be owned in common, and the GPL would have to be a moral imperative. If I were a liberal/conservative, I would believe I had to protect the common person from making a wrong decision, and the GPL would again become a moral imperative.

    But since I am a libertarion (anarcho-capitalist, actually) then it doesn't bother me one bit if someone uses software whose license I would not have chosen. They are their own sovereigns, and it is not up to me to tell them what software they can or cannot use. It doesn't bother me if they choose Mandrake over Debian, or that Steve Jobs chose FreeBSD over Linux, or that Ransom Love doesn't like the GPL. And it doesn't bother me if a developer considers their software to be their property. If they license it in a way that I don't like, then I don't use it. My personal freedom is not affected by someone else's licensing. If the terms are too onerous, then it is I that chooses not use it. And should I choose to use it, then I can just as freely choose not to use it at a later date.
  • With all due respect to RMS, from the tone of the writings of his that I have read, he is NOT the speaker you want to speak to businesses and convince them to trust OSS.

    I used to feel the same way you did, having read his writings on gnu.org. However, I have noticed that he is very aware of his audiance, and pitches his philosophies accordingly (some of which the whole of open source accept, some of which fall under the flag of strictly Free software).

    He is very much aware of the meanings of words, and will often pause his point and explain his meaning. This seems unnnecessary, but is an important thing when you are discussing new concepts, indeed it is a prerequisite to know what terms mean in the context of the discussion before you can discuss new ideas.

    He will never tone down his firm beliefs, but he *does* lighten up on the depth of discussion, and works to relate his concepts to his audiance in a way they can understand. His writing tends to be to software engineers, who (presumably) are very intelligent and can read the text until they understand the concepts.

    His open speeches at universities in the past have not seemed so "anti-business" (your words) as his writings. Indeed, he often pitches it in the context of the academic process expanding into the rest of the world. It will be interesting when he speaks strictly to business people - AFAIK, this will be one of the first forums that is aimed at the business world and whose purpose is grabbing a soapbox to gain mindshare among non-technical people. It will be interesting to see his speech.

    --
    Evan

  • by rking ( 32070 ) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @04:51AM (#195700)
    GPL is a subset of open source; it is not equivalent to open source. It looks to me as though RMS will argue that GPL = Open Source.

    That seems incredibly unlikely.

    First, he's more likely to say that GPL is not just open source, that Free Software is something different to Open Source due to its emphasis on freedom, not just on the practicalities of source availability. You may or may not agree with the distinctions he makes, but to say that he will argue that "GPL=Open Source" is totally out of line with his position.

    Secondly, the FSF have never claimed that the GPL is all there is to Free Software, and I wouldn't expect Richard Stallman to try to claim this now. They do like the GPL especially of course, after all it's their creation and is aimed at achieving their goals, but they identify a wide range of licences as being "Free" licences.

    The subject of Free Software is obviously an important one to Richard Stallman and I would expect he'll cover the subject thoroughly. Obviously his own biases and prejudices will be very much in evidence but I doubt he'll simplify the way you sem to think he will.
  • I don't get this. Where, in the description of the article, the press release or any other of the links is Open Source _even_ _mentioned_?

    RMS doesn't argue for Open Source. He doesn't use the term Open Source, and doesn't claim to represent the Open Source movement. RMS speaks for Free Software. He claims the GPL as a 'subset' (if you want to call it that) of Free Software Licences - many other licences are also Free, the GPL is one of them. His argument is that companies wanting to Free their code ought to GPL it. Don't drag Open Source into this; this has _nothing_ to do with it.

  • It looks to me as though RMS will argue that GPL = Open Source.

    Not likely. RMS isn't at all fond of Open Source, and in the past has gone to great lengths to distinguish Free from Open. I couldn't even find an occurence of the work "Open" in the press release.

  • In a nutshell... and I leave it up to anyone who's up to the task to find evidence of what I'm saying, I'm just relying on my personal memory here... the general public in America, and even the world, tends not to feel so strongly about freedom of information. It's just not a priority in their lives, and they don't involve themselves in the debate... and when it comes to computers, people want something that will improve the quality of their lives, even if the underlying product comes from a source that is morally disjoint with their values. This is why there are organized boycotts in this country... because most people need to make a serious effort to punish companies by denying them sales or support. It's a world-wide thing... kind of like how people in China don't destroy their own government because of the human rights violations in their country, they're just happy until they reach their breaking point of tolerance and patience.

    RMS doesn't have any tolerance or patience. He's just, well, OUT THERE when it comes to freedom of information. History will either judge him as a pioneer (if society eventually turns to freedom of information and progress as being highly important) or perhaps as a kook (if he does all this grandstanding and we decide that information cannot be free, ever, as a society). I'm not taking any sides here, but I know that RMS is extreme in his actions and words. Furthermore, I would assume someone of his particular interests, lifestyle, and occupation would not be abreast of the current mindset of general society, in a nerdy sort of way... and my backup for this is that whole discussion about "Is it okay to make an open source game with non-open-source tools?" where he seemed not to know what a Playstation was (or something like that... if I'm wrong, please clarify for me). I'm assuming that he's not in touch with society - good for his personal causes, I assume, but bad for taking everything he says to heart.

    It's somewhat akin to the process of creating the atom bomb... you can't just do that in a laboratory and then expect society not to be affected or changed by it. Freedom of information in a lot of ways is like an atom bomb against our capitalist culture... and I'm not sure whether it's good or bad for the world. All I know is, RMS is pushing very hard for it... and the general public does not feel that strongly, as I said above. I suppose it's a coup for him if he gets the general public thinking like him, but like I said above, if he comes across on his beliefs too strongly... he'll look like a madman. And even for an educated, open minded person such as myself (not to pat myself too much on the back), at times I find him to seem like a madman, even if I agree with him on some things or not.
  • by brianvan ( 42539 ) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @06:33AM (#195708)
    Yea, I know all you guys are not happy about Mundie's mouth-spoutings, and I don't blame you if you disagree with him and want to argue against his points in a public forum. I think that would make a great debate.

    Just don't let RMS do it. For the love of god.

    I have to say, RMS does NOT share a mindset with most people, and he fights vigorously for what he believes in. While you might consider him inspiring, he's the last person you want to do a public debate to argue your opinions. Because he doesn't necessarily share your opinions... I find that his opinions are very extreme, in some cases off the deep end (this is a guy who would be Amish if someone held a patent on electricity). Some of his ideas are good, and some of his work has been extraordinary... but if you let him argue for your opinions, I guarantee he is going to make all of you look like extreme free software orthodox fundamentalists.

    Simply put, his arguments are not balanced or flexible enough to safely engage in a debate with Microsoft in a public forum - he would lose solely on the basis that normal people would get freaked out at the intensity and seriousness of his thoughts and actions. I mean, after all, this guy needs his speech encoded in OGG cause he hates MP3s... how does he expect normal people to relate to him on any level if he wants them to discard MP3s as well? He may be a very accomplished man in his own belief system, but most people don't think on his level.

    If you really want a good debate, we should find someone in the business world... someone in the role of a potential MS customer... who strongly advocates Linux, can argue and speak in public pretty well, and who doesn't sound like a zealot... and get them to argue our point. I think someone with that point of view would have the best ammunition and reasoning to counteract the FUD coming out of MS (since MS-FUD is always geared toward businesses, sort of like "You won't get fired for choosing IBM").
  • That sounds all very patriotic and all, but if you want to draw historical parallels I think you would be much better looking towards the student's revolution in France (which the book and musical Les Miserables was based on).

    The students rose up against the unfairness of the laws and oppression of the ruling class at the time, but unfortunately for them they failed to gather the support of the common people before they rose.

    I'm not suggesting that this is how the Linux "Revolution" will end, but it is certainly a warning that if you do not study history then you are doomed to repeat it.

    The American Revolution (as with most wars) was more about economics and trade restrictions than it was about personal freedoms. Sheesh, soon they'll have you believing that the Americal Civil War was actually about slavery and not the economic differences between the North and South... oh, yeah - you probably do believe that.
  • this guy needs his speech encoded in OGG cause he hates MP3s... how does he expect normal people to relate to him on any level if he wants them to discard MP3s as well?

    How many people would actually download a 2.5 hour speech? Probably hardly any. Now how many people who never heard of ogg before will do so because of RMS's position about this speech? Again, hardly any - but probably at least as many as the previous question.

    BTW you do know the problem with Fraunhofer's mp3 patents, don't you? People object to the format for a good reason - though different people take it to different lengths.

  • If you look at those Ogg files, they claim to be like ~100MB. That seems insane to me. Last time I checked, I think an hour's worth of normal speech fit in ~10MB in MP3 format. What is up with Ogg? Who is going to download >100MB for 2 hours of speech?
  • by Pseudonym ( 62607 ) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @06:21AM (#195714)

    Say what you will about RMS, but he's a geek like you and me. Geeks don't lie in the name of artistic licence. They'd rather spend an hour explaining the technical distinctions than dumb it down.

    So I find it next to impossible that RMS will argue that GPL = Open Source. In fact, knowing RMS, he won't even mention "open source" except to distinguish it from "free software".

  • > They do put software and freedom of using/modifying it above rights of a programmer.

    What rights would the programmer had? If he wrote it, he can pick the license he wants. GPL'd code is a gift, with a string attached. No one MADE the programmer give the gift away.

  • > Have you seen what ideals the kathlolik church has? Priests as an example sacrifice their sexuality for their ideals.

    Those idiots can't even read what they are teaching: http://rpchurch.cc/Bible/1Timothy/003.html [rpchurch.cc]

    2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

    and again

    12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

    > I guess people aren't meant to be idealists to that extend.

    &lt sarcasm on &gt

    Yes! We should toss out idealism because a few people can't do it right. Way to go McFly.

    &lt sarcasm off &gt
  • Actually, if you read stallman's speaches, or listen to his .ogg's, you will notice that he makes significant mention of OpenSource and how it relates to Free Software. He is disturbed by the blurring of the lines between Free Software and Open source, and emphasizes they are not the same. Then he goes on to illuminate the differences between the camps, based on his philosophy, and why it matters more to preserve Freedom than Openness. (As a homework lesson, compare and contrast Parastroika(sp) and Representative Democracy).
  • A proper analogy would be, RMS is the architect of the Free Software movement, not the marketing director. Details matter. Structural integrity matters. These things are annoyances to the marketeer trying to seel realestate.
  • I see that this is upposed to be funny but it's also wrong.

    Software has always been created to serve people, not the other way around. Someof us may work in conditions that are the other way around but it's wrong headed thinking.
  • No he won't. RMS would *never* do that. He'll spend half the time arguing the differences beteen Free Software and Open Source, that it's GNU/Linux, not Linux, and get too caught up in details.

    While RMS is a great thinker, and has done a lot for free software, if he worried less about details and more about getting the message across he could do a lot more.

  • by he-sk ( 103163 ) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @05:14AM (#195733)

    Some people sacrifice their life for what they believe in. Now, IHMO, that's just plain stupid, but putting money over your ideals is sick.

    Having said that, if you define normal as average, you're probably right. Which is very unfortunate.

  • by bockman ( 104837 ) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @08:17AM (#195734)
    Just don't let RMS do it. For the love of god.

    Nobody let (or did not let) RMS do it. He just got invited.And of course he will go and speak his mind. This is called free of speech.
    OTOH, its years that ESR is going everywhere to advocate the more pragmatic side of free software (i.e. open source), that you seem to prefere. So, don't worry too much.

    ...

    I mean, after all, this guy needs his speech encoded in OGG cause he hates MP3s...

    This is called 'vote with your (equivalent) dollar'. Just like not buying a product which has been produced with child labor in some third world country.It shows that life can go on also without close software and software patents. Because RMS do believes that it can. The rest of the world (including you and me) is free of not believing it. This is called free of thought.

  • And how goes that logic again? I can see ten thousand blades of grass before me, but only one beautiful flower.

    I am not arguing for or against graduates. But your reasoning makes no sense.

  • I agree with you. The original poster is simply pretending that a standard of success outside of academia exists.

    Nobody denies that one has the freedom to choose one criteria of success over the other. Someone will be impressed with Bill Gate's money and influence, with others with Stallman's vision and influence. We are all free to choose which qualities deserve our admiration.

    Given that simple fact, you can see that the above poster made to move to justify his own choice for us. You might ask why he needs to justify it -- becuase that is what the damn argument is about: persuading us to believe Gates is more successful that Stallman. It does no good to simply aseert your values and expect people to agree.

  • Ah! Now I understand your argument, to which I must then point out that RMS has been invited on numerous occasions to speak publicly about free software, whereas Bill Gates hasn't. He has a record of publicly being able to defend his ideas simply becuase the Free Software movement has always been perceived as "fringe", whereas Bill Gate's performance in the courtroom in defending himself has been terribly lackluster.

    As for being an academic or not, that quality correlates with the ability to form coherent arguments, although that correlation may be weak.

  • NYU is right across the river from me, (maybe 15 minutes from where I work) and I just asked my boss, and he said, "NO! You cannot skip work to see some raving zealot!" NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    Fuck the transcript, I just want to see the man in action.

    Peace,
    Amit
    ICQ 77863057
  • You want the SOULPLAYER http://www.soulplayer.com/

    I upgraded my firmware yesterday. They also take feature requests. Why not request OGG support?

    CB
  • I asked the secretary if she wanted to do something for her word processor. She looked at me like I was nuts.

  • Stallman has always tried to associate himself with the term "free software", not "open source". Also, he acknowledges the differences between free software licenses (which encompasses things like the X11 and Artistic licenses) and copyleft licenses like the GPL. Try studying the FSF's publications; their position is very clear and well thought-out.
  • ...must all fight for survival, battling for the only natural resource: living minds. Those ideas that are shared by many are more alive than those known only to a select few.

    The most sucessful ideas are those that gain wide acceptance, and if there is any chance that evangelization will gain fertile minds, then there will be evangelization.

    For example, how did you come to learn of Free software?

  • No, but one could argue that coding skill is related to the amount of evangelization that one performs. I mean, when a real coder is given the choice of either going to shoot his mouth off or squashing that particularly devious bug in his code, he goes for fixing his code every time.

    Those who can, code. Those who can't, evangelize.

    --

  • by electricmonk ( 169355 ) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @08:09AM (#195753) Homepage
    There is quite a difference between getting the word out about Free Software and getting in a pointless pissing contest with Microsoft or whoever else the instigator might be.

    I think that Mundie's speech might even have been aimed at destroying the productivity of the Free Software movement. Think about it this way: while MS allocates a few execs to trash Free Software (and really, what else are execs good for?) about a million coders who work on Free Software each write their own 2000 word point-by-point rebuttal of what was more or less an obvious troll in the first place.

    Interestingly enough, I think the Slashdot "community" is a very close metaphor to this situation. There are several rather skilled trolls that frequent this site who write essentially inflammatory or unpopular opinions in their comments for the sole purpose of getting exactly the kind of rebuttals that MS is getting now.

    --

  • by electricmonk ( 169355 ) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @06:57AM (#195754) Homepage
    Who cares what Craig Mundie says? Who cares what RMS says in rebuttal? You all act like there's some sort of competition occuring here.

    Seriously, evangelization is just a waste of time and resources. I've said it in the past, and I'll say it again: Free Software is NEVER in a competition to survive. The only reason that people start to get into this competitive mentality is that they work in big corporations for a living and are thus stuck in that mindset. Besides, evangelization makes it easier to tell who the real hackers are. Just make a list of all the people that you think are good coders, and cross off all the ones who'd rather blow hot air about Free Software than code.

    --

  • Bill Gates, a Harvard dropout, and Richard Stallman, a Harvard graduate,

    Hmmm. One point for Gates, in my book. I know more brilliant people that are college drop-outs than brilliant people with college degrees.


    --

  • by acumen ( 179458 ) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @04:32AM (#195757)
    "My fellow users, ask not what your software can do for you: Ask what you can do for your software"

    - Richard M. Stallman, May 29th 2001, New York.

    ;)

  • by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @05:28AM (#195758) Journal
    (Acually.. marketing people are fine as long as they are kept in there cage and feed twice a day!) =)

    I think you may have put your finger on something. I have heard rumors that MS keeps their marketing people in a cage, and only feeds them once a day. This not only keeps them hungry but reduces the time devoted to independent thought.

    I would probably take MS spokesmen more seriously if it didn't seem like you had to put on hip boots every time you got close to them.

    I don't mind giving a company a second chance, but they used up theirs a long time ago. They are going to have to make a lot of changes before I give them a chance again.

    Check out the Vinny the Vampire [eplugz.com] comic strip

  • by Bodrius ( 191265 ) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @06:26AM (#195763) Homepage
    With all due respect to RMS, from the tone of the writings of his that I have read, he is NOT the speaker you want to speak to businesses and convince them to trust OSS.

    Mr. Stallman's way of thinking seems very much anti-business at the personal level (as in he considers immoral to be selfish/greedy and benefit from it), and to convince business people you would need someone who speaks the same language as them. Talk to them about how "information wants to be free" and closed-source is immoral and they're going to hear "communism!".

    If you send RMS in a tour to talk to business people, it would only take a couple of weeks before they start talking over each others' heads and Stallman "cofirms" Microsofts' FUD about OSS being handled by communists and what-not.

    Actually, I suspect that was the whole point of Microsoft's FUD. Or at the very least, to point PHBs to most of the Slashdot posts on the Mundie article and say "See? They want to banish copyrights and IP laws! They want to destroy corporations! They're radicals that accept no compromises!".
  • Everytime I turn around, it seems like I read a letter to the editor from RMS making a distinction between open source and free software, or between the Linux kernel and the GNU/Linux operating system. By constantly using his position as a (semi-)celebrity to associate himself with one small, relatively radical subset of open source movement in general, I think he may alienate some folks out there.

    Since RMS most likely won't get up there and emphasize that there are alternatives to the GPL that may be attractive, I wonder how widely his ideas will be accepted by the people who have the money.

    I see in RMS passionate beliefs, and also unwillingness to compromise. Could it hurt the open source movement in the long run?


  • Agreed. "Free Software" is better than "Open Source" [gnu.org].

    Anyway, shouldn't that have read gpl==oss? We're all geeks here, you meant to say "gpl is equivelant to oss" and not "assign oss to the gpl".

    Well, your fingers weave quick minarets; Speak in secret alphabets;
  • The American Revolution (as with most wars) was more about economics and trade restrictions than it was about personal freedoms.

    Right. And what this current debacle is really about, when you look under the writhing surface, is Microsoft futures, shareholers, et. al. It doesn't matter what the real reason is, just the public perception that matters.

    My original post attempts to gain readership by a trade-off between realism and an attempt to capture the reader's imagination :-P



    Well, your fingers weave quick minarets; Speak in secret alphabets;
  • This post will probably just get lost in all the noise, but here we go anyway.

    To me, this clash of the titans represents the modern day equivelant of Washington and friends telling the British to go stick an egg up their nose. Those original Americans (no offence meant to Native Americans) left an opressive government to start their own that made more sense for the common man. A direct analogy can be made between Microsoft in it's current form and the sovereignty in 18th century England. [ you will use our sotware vs. you will worship our god ]

    This monopoly will be tackled someday. I believe with all my heart that if anyone can lead such a rebellion, it is Richard Stallman [gnu.org]. Such a battle will inevitably crush some peoples fortunes, and create new fortunes. The GNU GPL [gnu.org] ensures that no one entity in the Free Software future possess all power. This scares the bejesus out of Microsoft, and with good reason.

    Sorry for the rant, but this is the reason I volunteer my time to work with the Free Software Foundation [gnu.org], and watch Free Developers [freedevelopers.net] with interest.

    --dave

    Well, your fingers weave quick minarets; Speak in secret alphabets;

  • The idea that people who have strong beliefs about free software aren't "real hackers" is ridiculous. Coding skill is not related to your political alignment in that way.

  • Let's be honest. Mundie's/Microsoft's plot here is not to convince businesses that free software would undermine them. It's not to convince senators and congressmen that open source is "unamerican". It's not even to persuade free software developers to avoid using the GPL.

    No, the real reason is to ensure that free software developers spend so much time writing rebuttals that they cease to get any real work done...

    You can read more by reading my 10,000 word piece: The Mundie Speech: Why he's wrong and just trying to stop free software developers from getting any work done [slashdot.org].

    ;-)
    --

  • Unwilling to compromise? Take a look at

    I would not call RMS unwilling to compromise, completely incapable of understanding the point of view that would lead to compromise would be nearer the mark.

    He tried to persuade me that building a cyclotron in space was a good plan (make it cheaper since there is plenty of vaccum in space was his idea).

    The Open Source movement really have to understand that it has moved beyond RMS and that the decision to junk the GPL was essential for the success of the movement.

    If Apache had been GPL it could not have been sold commercially with add-ons like the SSL encryption module. If Linux had been GPL it could not have been marketed by companies like IBM.

    The GPL is a self obsessed piece of control freakery. The whole point of GPL is that everything it touches must also become GPL.

    The open source movement promotes free software in an entirely different way. Instead of insisting that every addition must add to the RMS empire the true open source licenses work by simply allowing the cost of software to fall to the marginal cost of production - which is pretty close to zero.

    If Open Source were a political movement then we would keep RMS away from the podium as assiduously as the alleged President's handlers keep George Bush away from press interviews.

    Microsoft are using an old political trick - choosing their opponent. It is the same trick the 'religious' reich use when they dredge up some loopy crackpot who would otherwise be ignored to attack for promoting 'political correctness'. It is the same trick liberals use when they dredge up octogenarian+ advocates of seggregation such as Jessie Helms and Strom Thurmond and claim that they are representative of the modern leadership of the Republican party.

  • When I was in school 1989-1993
    It was around when I was in high school in 88-92 too. Your school had a shell account? Where did you go to school? I had to borrow an account from one of the non-geeks at Cornell who did not have any use for her account (with her permission, of course)...Until a cool guy set up an isp that provided shell accounts.

    The reasons that I stated for defending the movements remains true. I remain convinced that if microsoft had it's way there would be no sourceforge, no freshmeat, no linux, and no apache.

    And I appreciate the fact that the movement was a cool little counter main stream 'back in the day'. If I remember correctly, I thought that they were a little preachy back then. That was before MS stomped out (or bought up) a whole bunch of free/ shareware. I still see them as a little preachy, but I also see MS as preachy ... and far more insidious. I do not agree with half the things that the OSS movement states, but I believe that someone has to stand up and counter MS's claims.

    I personally do not see why the two types of software could not co-exist, except that ms has attacked, and made it it's personal vendetta, to kill any model not it's own, and force all of the other companies with the same model out of the market (not necessarily in that order).

    And there are multiple alternative schemes to making money with software. Sun has done it. Red hat has done it. Apache is very popular, and those that 'make money' off of it, make money off of their skill as administrators. As an aside, most software companies make their money off of support and training anyway ... not off of the initial sale of the product.

    If it works for MS to sell software, and the OSS is incompatible with making money, then fine, let the best software win. and I think that MS shouted fire first in this round, right after they defended their claim that they were not a monopoly by pointing to RedHat (and after they lumped all of the alternative software licensing/ os's/ movements into one). I agree that all things have a motive. They did not intend to give other companies validity. What is your motive? The last time I argued with a person on a similar vein it turned out that they owned MS stock, and were going to put their kid through college with it. They (despite being technically challenged) decided that MS was the best, and that all else should be destroyed, and, in fact preached that on an almost daily basis. They refused to listen to any argument that I had because they already had their mind made up.

    I will tell you my motivation, I use linux. I use a lot of free software. I think that it performs better than windows on non-gaming tasks. I would like to see further development in this area. I do not want businesses and individuals to turn away from software because "A technical representative (never mind that they are a microsoft rep) said that it is BAD ". I want software to be judged on it's own merits. I want to be able to recommend to my boss that we use a particular piece of software without him remebering only MS's argument that this is BAD software. aside:It is not a central tenant of mine. When did I state anything about my central tenet's?

    -CrackElf
  • just how many Americans do you think are not of the upper middle class (or higher)?

    I assume from your slightly cryptic comment that you believe that everyone in america lives in some kind of 90210, friends, or buffy fantasy. That is a gross misconception. I know this from personal experience. Not to mention the statement was about the socio-economic structure of the past where there were more striking and prominent dividing lines between the classes (such as literacy and slavery).

    Not everyone lives in dreamland suburbia... We have squats. We have homeless. We have ghettos. We have our slums. People die of starvation. And exposure. Some people eat out of dumpsters (I will grant that american dumpsters are some of the best). There is malnutrition due to poverty. The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer here just like everywhere else.

    I do not have a head count of how many people live in poverty (lower classes). Yes, amreica is a first world country. That means that the average is higher than in a second or third world country. But keep in mind that that is the average. America has less people on the bottom than some third and second world countries. But dying of starvation or exposure is still pretty much the same wether you are in a first world or a third world country.

    But, to speak historically, the people involved with instigating the rebellion were wealthy merchants and landowners. (and it was not a first world country at the time, it was a colony, with similar situations to many other colonies, the natives were screwed, the slaves were bad off as well, and anyone who was not 'somebody' kept their heads down and tried to get by. Not everyone in america was a wealthy merchant or landowner. In fact there was a class below poor called indentured servant. And a class below that simply called slave.

    Question: do you live in america, and refuse to see the bad parts, or are you judging from the outside. If you are judging from the outside, I wish to inform you that you are mistaken. If you are in America, I would say that you should count yourself lucky for never having seen how the other half lives.

    -CrackElf
  • There wasn't anything cryptic about my comment. I did twist your words "upper middle class Americans" to "Americans who are in the upper middle class" to make my point.

    A one line question with implications and no statements is cryptic.

    The bottom of the barrel here is so much better than most anywhere else. Why do you think people from Cambodia, Guatemala and China give up everything and risk their lives to come here and live in "poverty". East LA is 90120 to a lot of people.

    And I repeat, dying of starvation and exposure is pretty much the same here as anywhere else. Yes, there is a smaller % on the bottom, but it still exists.

    Our problem here has very little to do with poverty. Nobody starves in America (except rich, pretty girls who don't feel good about themselves) and the malnutrition is because the dumpsters are full of the same food everyone else eats.

    And here again you are misinformed. I do not have statistics, but people starve due to lack of food.

    To answer my own question, the other half in America is actually the other three-quarters. And I've been there. Almost my whole life, until recently. I'm glad you've had a personal experience to help you understand that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is fiction. But I've never had Glaucoma, or Scurvy, or Diptheria. I got a Tetanus shot when I cut myself, I buy iodine and penecillin at the drug store (but I rarely need them). I was born in a hospital.

    Well, the point was to make you aware that the social constructs in buffy the vamire slayer, 90210 and friends are fantasy. You have been there? Then tell me how long does it take to qualify for welfare? Have you ever watched a friend die because they caught a disease due to poor living conditions? How many forms do you have to fill out? How often do people get booted on technicalities? Have you ever lived in a box? have you ever lost 50 lbs in one month (making you pass out on a regular basis) waiting for your forms to go through? Have you ever seen death up close and personal? How many times? How many of them were friends? Have you ever sold your body (or done other things that you would consider degrading ... some people do not consider it degrading to sell their body) so that you can eat and put a roof over your head? Have you ever known your friends do that? Have you ever watched them get into drugs to forget the degradation that they endured to try and make it out? Have you ever tried to make it out, and made less than minimum wage, barely making it by, and had to go to the hospital, and get 5k in bills that you cannot pay, but since you have a 'job', you can not qualify for medicaid? Have you ever tried to ignore the pain in your chest because you can not afford medical treatment? Have you ever lived in a squat, because it was better than the cardboard box? Have you ever looked around you in the shelter at the pasty faces of the people who have given up, and just coast from day to day? Have you ever wondered when you would become one of them? (note that these questions are rhetorical, and designed to demonstrate my experiential evidence, and I do not actually expect you to have answers) I have been there, and you may or may not have been poor, but your statements prove that you were not in the same environment that I was. Being poor sucks everywhere.

    Poverty is a social problem here, not economic. I've lived on food stamps. I've walked to work. I have a friend who paid $34 a month to live in Government housing. Now he's paying $350 to live in the same roach infested complex because he has a job but can't afford a rent deposit and has bad credit. But that's political.

    Yeah it was political, it is the politicians (all of them, not just one party) being bought out by the big business to look after their interests instead of the peoples.

    I'm probably still poorer than your parents, but I'm grateful to have free TV and be able to afford groceries and a computer and make payments on a new car.

    Really? you are poorer than my parents? That was an incorrect guess (although a good try since I am literate and have computer access ... and that has to do with school ... which is a benefit, but I had to fight even for that ... but that is a diff. rant.), and the fact that I moved out when I was 14 makes even that irrelevant but for the record ... my parents did not have electricity most of the time. Let alone a tv or car. One year that I remember, the gross income of the household was about 9k.

    To speak historically, a lot of wealthy merchants and landowners fled to Canada. Indentured servants and even slaves died to bring freedom to America.

    Yes slaves died to bring freedom to the wealthy merchants who had stayed. I again challenge you to name one of the founding fathers who was !((wealthy and literate) and (a land owner or a merchant)).

    -CrackElf
  • by CrackElf ( 318113 ) on Monday May 28, 2001 @12:07AM (#195788) Homepage
    The point remains valid, but the us separated not because of religion, but because of representation / taxes. hence the phrase 'No taxation without representation' and the whole Boston tea party thing. I would agree that it is similar, but in that we are not represented in the decisions of the design of what we use, rather, we are handed the end product. And it was not for the common man, it was for the business elite, just how many of the founding fathers did you think were not of the upper middle class (or higher) of Americans?
    -CrackElf
  • by CrackElf ( 318113 ) on Monday May 28, 2001 @01:17AM (#195789) Homepage
    Beware the man who quotes philosophers without offering a proper analysis.

    I do not believe that he can possibly be as full of tripe as the Microsoft representative. Someone has to challenge ms's bold statements that creatively interpret reality. Making assertive statements that are false will not turn those statements into truth, but it will make those who are impressionable believe the statements to be true. It needs to be balanced by another prospective.

    I would say that 'beware anyone who plays in the political field' would be more apt. And that is where this is being played. Not by the FSF or the open source community, but by the biggest sotware company. Microsoft. I believe that the consequences of not replying are far more dangerous than ignoring it. If it is not responded to, the masses will see it as an acquiescence to the MS dogma, an acceptance of their words as the gospel. And, I believe that that would be the most dangerous path to follow, if you are interested in the future of OSS(or free softaware), or interested in the future of the industry (software/os). To address the later, Do you want there to be only one voice in the debate over software? I think that given the MS politicians tendency to creatively interpret reality, that would be a very bad thing. As for the future of the open source model (and free software), MS is trying to kill everything that is not MS. They are afraid of the legitimacy that the movements have acquired, and it is their desire that they be shunned by the public. If it is shunned, there will be less resources available for it. Resources that help to maintain things like, say, slashdot, sourceforge, freshmeat, linux.org, and any of a number of other valuable resources for the open source and free software communities.

    What group does not have it's extremists? All groups have their extremists and the visible people. Many of them end up spouting the same rhetoric and dogma until it is possible to predict exactly what they will say. This is not new, nor does it invalidate the movement that they represent. Those who defend what they believe exist in the realm of politics. The art of politics includes speaking to the dirty unwashed masses, and trying to convince them of your argument. As these people are unlikely to respond to a dry technical debate, or to unemotionally charged rundown of the pro's and con's, dogma and rhetoric have become the tool of politicians. And microsoft is most definitely politically aware (not to mention marketing aware and the saboteurs, ... er I mean embrace and extend technicians ... but that is a different rant). Since the debates are being played out in the political arena, the challenges must be answered in the political arena. And if the OSS movement is not represented by someone who is passionate, then Microsoft will have won before the debate begins.

    And, in more general terms, I take it from your very negative charged (and way oversimplified) statement about dragging on into lunacy that you believe that the extremists do not serve a purpose. I would theorize that they do, and that this purpose is to keep in check the extremists of the other side. By providing extreme arguments on both sides of an argument, an observer is given the opportunity to evaluate what is valid from both sides (rather than only hearing one side of the argument).

    -CrackElf
  • GPL is a subset of open source; it is not equivalent to open source. It looks to me as though RMS will argue that GPL = Open Source. GPL is merely a subset of open source, which has particular features that are attractive to certain developers. There are many other open source licences available which meet the needs of others.

    Claiming that GPL is equivalent or necessary for open source plays into Microsoft's hands. When Mundie argued against open source, he set up his argument against GPL, implying that companies wishing to do open source had to GPL their code.

  • MP3 is not free software because it is patented.

    Stallman does not like his speech broadcast in non-free software.

    This is why there are no GIFs on the FSF web site.
  • by SilentChris ( 452960 ) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @08:51AM (#195802) Homepage
    There is only one problem. Mundie's speech was done while student were still on campus. The school is now closed for the summer (commencement was last week). Who is going to listen to Stallman's speech?
  • This has been needing to be done for a while. Now, we just need to get a speaker like Stallman to do a tour and speak to businesses around the US so as to distill their mistrust of OSS.

    We could use more people who are willing to intelligently discuss and explain GNU/GPL and OSS. If there were any way I could make it; I'd be hearing Stallman.

    Phoenix

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