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GNU is Not Unix

Transcript of Eben Moglen's Harvard Speech 357

An anonymous reader writes "Groklaw has a transcript of Eben Moglen's Harvard Speech + Q&A up. Good Stuff. During the Q&A he made a good point to think about: 'We stand for free speech. We're the free speech movement of the moment. And that we have to insist upon, all the time, uncompromisingly. My dear friend, Mr. Stallman, has caused a certain amount of resistance in life by going around saying, "It's free software, it's not open source". He has a reason. This is the reason. We need to keep reminding people that what's at stake here is free speech. We need to keep reminding people that what we're doing is trying to keep the freedom of ideas in the 21st century, in a world where there are guys with little paste-it labels with price tags on it who would stick it on every idea on earth if it would make value for the shareholders. And what we have to do is to continue to reinforce the recognition that free speech in a technological society means technological free speech. I think we can do that. I think that's a deliverable message.'"
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Transcript of Eben Moglen's Harvard Speech

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  • Who? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gkelman ( 665809 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @11:56AM (#8409015) Homepage Journal
    Another great slashdot article which assumes you know _exactly_ who the person is featured in the article. Can't we have just a little one line in the first paragraph saying what it's all about?
    • by Phil John ( 576633 ) <`moc.dtlsratsbew' `ta' `lihp'> on Friday February 27, 2004 @11:58AM (#8409043)
      ...who works Pro Bono for them
      • by QuijiboIsAWord ( 715586 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @12:00PM (#8409068)
        I don't know why he bothers. U2 isn't exactly giving their music away for free... Seems like a conflict of interest to me.
        • I don't know why he bothers. U2 isn't exactly giving their music away for free... Seems like a conflict of interest to me.

          I know this was meant as a joke, but U2 isn't exactly into free speech [deuceofclubs.com] anyway.
          • So I read the article on deuceofclubs - what exactly does that have to do with Free Speech?

            Sounds to me like Trademark or copyright violation or maybe even fraud...but not free speech.

            If U2 sued them for saying 'U2 Sucks' then that would be about free speech.

            And they admitted that they were trying to dupe customers into thinking the album was a U2 album! I can see the point they were trying to make - but don't think they chose the right means to try and make the point.

            • So I read the article on deuceofclubs - what exactly does that have to do with Free Speech? Sounds to me like Trademark or copyright violation or maybe even fraud...but not free speech.

              To me, this particular case illustrates that there's a very nebulous line between intellectual property, trademarks, copyrights, and free speech, at least when it comes to art.

              Making a statement in art seems very much like an aspect of free speech. Is that only when the art doesn't cost anything? When you're an artist
    • Re:Who? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by thoth39 ( 583059 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @11:59AM (#8409054) Homepage
      Well, Slashdot articles usually carry these links to stories about the subject you can read...

      The way you put it, we should tell who is speaking so people can assess if it's worth listening.

      But I'd expect this is the purpose of the quote.
    • Re:Who? (Score:5, Informative)

      by syphax ( 189065 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @12:01PM (#8409086) Journal
      Here are you hints:

      (Richard) Stallman

      With apologies, these names should ring a bell to anyone who occasionally visits /.

      I'm feeling lucky [columbia.edu]
    • Re:Who? (Score:3, Informative)

      Eben Moglen is lead counsel for the Electronic Frontier Foundation [eff.org] and a professor [columbia.edu] at Columbia Law School in New York City . He's a proponent of freedom on-line, a friend (or at least acquaintence) of Lawrence Lessig, and someone who works actively as a lawyer to promote open software and copyright issues on the web.

      I had him as a professor for three of my classes while I was there, and he's a lightening rod for controversy. He often interacts with professor Jane Ginsburg, who takes an opposite view of

    • Re:Who? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Rakshasa Taisab ( 244699 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @12:05PM (#8409151) Homepage
      /. targets an audience that has basic web searching skills.
    • Re:Who? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Nurseman ( 161297 ) <nurseman@gma i l . com> on Friday February 27, 2004 @12:06PM (#8409155) Homepage Journal
      He is a laywer who represents/gives leagal advice to [gnu.org]
      The Free Software Foundation
      His Bio is Here [columbia.edu]

      He was responding to the talk given by our buddy Darl McBride Text here [groklaw.net]

    • Re:Who? (Score:3, Informative)

      by ThogScully ( 589935 )
      From the article summary, I can tell he's someone who's important enough to give a speech at Harvard on the topic of free software and is himself a supporter of free software and the spread of that message. I would assume clicking on the links would give me more details about him and his position on these matters.

      And this is before I've read it and before I knew who he was. What exactly do you expect here? A paragraph explaining that Eben Moglen was the legal counsel for EFF doesn't tell me anything abo
    • Re:Who? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Pinky3 ( 22411 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @01:49PM (#8410281) Homepage
      It's amazing how many people thought the original poster, gkelman, was asking about Eben Moglen. The post asks a different question, one asked by Eric Raymond in "The Luxury of Ignorance," which was discussed on slashdot yesterday. The real question is why do slashdot postings, as do many configuration utilities, assume the reader already knows the answers?

      All the poster was suggesting was that the original post would have been much more informative if it had included a second sentence that read something like "Eben Moglen is the lawyer for the Free Software Foundation and spoke at the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology lecture on the 23rd on the topic of 'SCO and After SCO: The Legal Future of Free Software'."

      Wouldn't that have made the topic of the article much clearer?
  • by ansak ( 80421 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @12:03PM (#8409116) Homepage Journal
    I read the whole transcript yesterday. I just wish I could have watched it or at least listened to it. The online archive is in perpetual time-out mode. Has anyone got an (unofficial?) mirror of it? Is anyone allowed to? Can we 'torrent this?

    I just want to hear Eben's jokes in Eben's voice. Someone worth listening to for an hour and a half is a rare bird.


  • Eben Moglen resume (Score:5, Informative)

    by aacool ( 700143 ) <aamanlamba2gmail@com> on Friday February 27, 2004 @12:03PM (#8409121) Journal
    Eben Moglen

    1994-, Professor of Law and Legal History, Columbia Law School.(current)

    1987-94, Associate Professor of Law, Columbia Law School.

    1986-87, Law Clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall, United States Supreme Court.

    1985-86, Law Clerk to Judge Edward Weinfeld, United States District Court, Southern District of New York.

    1984, Associate, Cravath Swaine & Moore, New York.

    1983, IBM Corporation, Armonk, New York, Associate Corporation Counsel

    1979-84, IBM Corporation, San Jose, California, Programmer/Analyst, Programming Language Research & Development

    Selected Publications

    Anarchism Triumphant: Free Software and the Death of Copyright, First Monday (August, 1999)

    The Invisible Barbecue, 97 Colum. L. Rev. 945 (1997).

    Jewishness and the American Constitutional Tradition: The Cases of Brandeis and Frankfurter (Book Review), 89 Colum. L. Rev. 959 (1989).

    Taking the Fifth: Reconsidering the History of the Privilege Against Self-Incrimination, 92 Mich. L. Rev. 1086 (1994).

  • by IronClad ( 114176 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @12:03PM (#8409123) Homepage
    Did you ever wonder what would happen if we get this guy into the same room with Mr. McBride?

    My guess: A flash of gamma rays.
    • by Curtman ( 556920 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @12:16PM (#8409259)
      Heh, my favourite part of the speech was where he says that on the same day as Darl was speaking at Harvard, he was meeting with Darl's brother. Then says "The McBride's... Sometimes I feel like I'm in a Quentin Tarantino movie.. The McBride's..."
    • It went something like this.


      A mushroom cloud rises out of the room, and both Darl and him are vaporised.

      The Slashdot crowd are puzzled at how to feel.
  • Good message (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mao che minh ( 611166 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @12:05PM (#8409143) Journal
    "I think we can do that. I think that's a deliverable message."

    And I know that money talks and bullshit walks. Unless we get some thick-walleted lobbyists on our side, the souless corporations will continue to turn innovation and invention into commodities - and Open Source and Free Software will remain terms that no one but the choir ever hears.

    • Re:Good message (Score:5, Insightful)

      by *weasel ( 174362 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @12:57PM (#8409736)
      Or we get Instant Runoff Voting [fairvote.org] - and lobbyists lose the stranglehold they have on government (which only exists due our 'lesser of two evils' voting).

      With IRV you could vote for an independent without being concerned that you might 'spoil' an election, or 'throw your vote away'.

      More importantly, you could vote for different independent, if the previous independent turned out to not represent your views, or the values he advocated at election.

      Imagine being able to support Perot without risking Clinton, or voting Nader without risking Bush.

      Imagine being able to vote McCain 2k4 because Bush isn't nearly as conservative as you'd like.

      Or being able to say 'screw Kerry, I'll support Kucinich even if he doesn't get the nomination' - and not having to worry about your vote giving power to Bush.

      (indeed party nominations only exist to tone down the chances of 2 similar candidates spoiling the race and handing it to a 3rd party.)

      Get IRV and lobbying won't work because a single vote will be enough to keep you from re-election - and lobbyists can't buy everyone.
    • Re:Good message (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pavon ( 30274 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @12:57PM (#8409737)
      And I know that money talks and bullshit walks. Unless we get some thick-walleted lobbyists on our side, the souless corporations will continue to turn innovation and invention into commodities - and Open Source and Free Software will remain terms that no one but the choir ever hears.

      And the other souless corporations will continue to use the most cost effective solution, which is increasingly becoming open source.

      This is what I love about the GPL. I think everyone can agree, given that a peice of software has been created, it is better for society if everyone to has access to it. The only issue at question is whether by limiting access to the software, we can provide necisarry means and motivation for more software to be written. I look at the GPL as an experiment - if copyright really does provide necissarry means and incentive to produce software then GPL'd software will never be as good as proprietary software, and will reamain on the sidelines. However if GPL'ed software does surpass and surplant proprietary software, then it is proof that there is enough means and motivation to produce software without the burden of copyright. This is increasingly showing itself to be the case.

      The FSF focuses on the first issue, and think that the negative societal aspects of proprietary software are so bad that it doesn't matter whether copyright adds incentive or not, proprietary software is still intolerable.

      The OSI focuses on the second issue, and think that the only important thing about free software is that it is better than proprietary software, and have provided usefull theories which help explain why this is the case.

      But the real clincher is that both issues are true - that not only is software copyright harmfull, it is also unecissarry. It is for this reason that I agree with the FSF in treating it as an ethical situation, because while I am willing to put up with some "necissary evil", there is no reason to put up with proprietary software in the long run.
    • As the corporations corral little bits and pieces of things they consider important, the rest of the world moves on. Look at Disney, hanging on to that stupid little mouse. Look at SCO, hanging on to ancient old code as if it were their precioussssss.

      Sure there's immediate pain and loss when things are imprisoned. But what happends when wild horses are imprisoned? They lose their freshness. Put flowers in a vase? They wither and need replacement.

      Let Disney have their mouse. Popular culture has dese
  • by GillBates0 ( 664202 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @12:05PM (#8409152) Homepage Journal
    I live in the Boston area, and would've liked to attend the last 2 SCO related lectures at Harvard [harvard.edu] (yes, Darryl's too, out of morbid curiousity).

    Anybody from Harvard: Am I allowed to attend lectures without being part of Harvard? Are they public lectures? Can I obtain permission to attend them?

    Being a recent grad student at a tech school, I know that school ID's are seldom checked at these occasions, but would like to know if it's against the rules or something.

    Thank you.

    • by The Pim ( 140414 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @12:31PM (#8409425)
      The lectures were public. You should have come. (At least to Moglen's; I heard some people didn't feel well after McBride's.)
      • by sploxx ( 622853 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @01:04PM (#8409805)
        I don't know about the McBridge speak, but here (in germany), Microsoft came to my university a month or so ago to speak about their security program - a "Microsoft Security Roadshow".

        Because there were several interesting things stated on the announcement, such topics as DRM, TCPA etc., I did of course attend their show. Overall, it was a bit dull (and followed by a very boring marketing campaign for their firewall products), but I did not expect more. I was just curious how microsoft speaks to
        the university people, who are generally more pro-linux.

        I think you should know your "enemy", and, yes, If I had been in the appropiate region, I had attended McBride's speak.lecture.
        • by The Pim ( 140414 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @01:58PM (#8410375)
          That's a good point, but trust me, McBride's speech was nothing more than a joke on McBride, not an opportunity for the other side to voice its case. The organization that brought him, the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology [harvard.edu], is tech savvy and knows exactly what is going on. They invited him, under pretence of balance, in order to let him make himself look silly at a prestigious institution. His speech was worth attending only as an exhibition of practical satire.

          Or, to put it more bluntly, McBride doesn't have a "side". He is sheer incoherence, and you only waste your time trying to follow him.

  • My favorite Quote (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 27, 2004 @12:07PM (#8409170)
    There is no copyright license in the United States today more fitting to Thomas Jefferson's idea of copyright or indeed to the conception of copyright contained in Article 1 Section 8, than ours. For we are pursuing an attempt at the diffusion of knowledge and the useful arts which is already proving far more effective at diffusing knowledge than all of the profit-motivated proprietary software distribution being conducted by the grandest and best funded monopoly in the history of the world.
  • by Random BedHead Ed ( 602081 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @12:07PM (#8409182) Homepage Journal
    This was a great speech. I watched the whole video of the lecture, which is in Real Media on this page [harvard.edu]. I viewed it with the Helix player; Real's player obivously works as well.

    At about an hour in length, it was quite good. I really recommend it, because it puts both SCO and the things you hear Stallman say into very nice perspective, and shows how terribly confused Darl McBride really is. In particular you should watch for Moglen's description of the problems with using Eldred v. Ashcroft to support the odd notion that the GPL is unconstitutional. Darl doesn't realize it, but his argument indicates that he and the FSF are actually on the same side of that Supreme Court case.

    • Mplayer plays it too, but unfortunately it only seems to play with the Windows codec. I could be wrong, I didn't put too much effort into it, but this seemed to work: (remove any anti-lameness filter spaces in the URL of course)

      mplayer -vc rv40win -playlist http://media.law.harvard.edu:8888/ramgen/jolt/spri ng_04/2004-02-23_ae_0630-0830.rm
  • The Flip Side (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pave Low ( 566880 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @12:10PM (#8409201) Journal
    We need to keep reminding people that what's at stake here is free speech. We need to keep reminding people that what we're doing is trying to keep the freedom of ideas in the 21st century,

    Does this mean that any piece of closed-source software is a threat fo Free Speech?

    Are the store shelves that are stocked with closed-source games and applications threatening the world? The customers who buy them don't seem much to care.

    Maybe some legislation is in order to free the source!!!!

    • Re:The Flip Side (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Soko ( 17987 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @12:26PM (#8409377) Homepage
      Does this mean that any piece of closed-source software is a threat fo (sic) Free Speech?

      Is it, now, right this moment? I really don't know for certain.

      Could it be in the future? You bet.

      Keeping the source open pretty well ensures that the software I use only serves my purposes, not anyone elses.

    • by SHEENmaster ( 581283 ) <{travis} {at} {utk.edu}> on Friday February 27, 2004 @12:37PM (#8409482) Homepage Journal
      My right to speak in no way infringes their right to remain silent. Those against open source itself, like the MPAA and SCO, are doing so because they don't like what is being said, as well as how it is being said. The MPAA doesn't want fair use rights, and SCO doesn't want a superior product for the X86.

      The code at the bottom of this post is illegal under the DMCA. Its very illegality violates my right to free speech, because it's only legal so long as it's closed source. That's why this is about free speech, and that's why we must protect it.

      It's not closed software that's the threat to free speech, it's the attacks that are being made upon open software. You have the right to remain silent, but please leave me my right to speak.

      efdtt.c Author: Charles M. Hannum <root@ihack.net>
      Thanks to Phil Carmody <fatphil@asdf.org> for additional tweaks.
      Length: 434 bytes (excluding unnecessary newlines)
      Usage is: cat title-key scrambled.vob | efdtt >clear.vob

      #define m(i)(x[i]^s[i+84])<<
      unsigned char x[5],y,s[2048];main(n){for(read(0,x,5);read(0,s,n= 2048);write(1,s ,n))if(s[y=s[13]%8+20]/16%4==1){int i=m(1)17^256+m(0)8,k=m(2)0,j=m(4)17^m(3)9^k
      *2-k% 8^8,a=0,c=26;for(s[y]-=16;--c;j*=2)a=a*2^i&1, i=i/2^j&1<<24;for(j=127;++j<n ;c=c>y)c+=y=i^i/8^i>>4^i>>12,i=i>>8^y<<17,a^=a>>14 ,y=a^a*8^a<<6,a=a>>8^y<<9,k=s
      [j],k="7Wo~'G_\216" [k&7]+2^"cr3sfw6v;*k+>/n."[k>>4 ]*2^k*257/8,s[j]=k^(k&k*2&34)
  • Confusing the issue (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pubjames ( 468013 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @12:11PM (#8409220)
    "It's free software, it's not open source"

    I think if they want to make this message strongly they should keep it simple. Making the distinction between "free software" and "open source" will just confuse most members of the public. Isn't "open source" also about free speech? The same general principals apply don't they? Why do they have to confuse the issue?
    • by Russ Nelson ( 33911 ) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Friday February 27, 2004 @12:18PM (#8409282) Homepage
      "Free Software" exists to sell the idea of freedom. "Open Source" exists to sell the reality of freedom.

    • by Communomancer ( 8024 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @12:23PM (#8409347)
      For those of you too "young" to remember, it was the "open source" advocates (Eric "ESR" Raymond leading the charge) that, imo, muddied the waters in the first place. The driving notion was that in order to find acceptance in the commercial marketplace (as if that were the holy grail we should all be shooting for), "Free Software" had to change its name and its image, because nobody whose job depended on it would ever use something that was "free". So, they created (and indeed trademarked) the moniker "Open Source Software".

      I'm not saying that their methods were not in line with their goals (though I always had reservations about the goals themselves). Name makes a difference in the image. Which is exactly the point that Eben is making in his speech when he advocates not forgetting the "Free" part.
    • Obviously the transcriber messed up here. That should read, "It's Free software, it's not open source."

      Obviously the transcriber has missed the point if Free doen't have the uppercase F.

    • by Telex4 ( 265980 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @12:32PM (#8409438) Homepage
      I think if they want to make this message strongly they should keep it simple. Making the distinction between "free software" and "open source" will just confuse most members of the public. Isn't "open source" also about free speech? The same general principals apply don't they? Why do they have to confuse the issue?

      But they are defining the issue by contrasting those two terms. In a sense, "open source" advocates are doing as much to defend and reclaim our civil liberties as proprietary vendors.

      Free Software is about making software work for communities, whereas Open Source is about development methodologies. By confusing the two you're sending people conflicting messages... we're about better development methodologies, and, oh, you get certain freedoms too.

      In the light of Microsoft, SCO, the DMCA, the EUCD, software patents, the EUIPD and all the other recent examples of the abuse of technology I'd say that Eben Moglen and the Free Software Foundation are spot on in their approach.
    • The FSF has written an essay to clarify this point [gnu.org]. I think it is one of their most underrated essays. This essay has been published by the FSF for years now and is also in RMS' book of selected essays "Free Software, Free Society: The Selected Essays of Richard M. Stallman [gnu.org]". Please notice how different this essay is from what the Open Source Initiative says about the free software movement (in case you don't already know, the OSI reduces the free software movement, from which it sprang, to "ideological

  • Transcript is good (Score:4, Informative)

    by overshoot ( 39700 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @12:12PM (#8409221)
    but for anyone with the time, it is absolutely worth going to actually see and hear the speech itself. [harvard.edu]

    Moglen is a treat to watch and hear; in an era of dismal public speakers he's a reminder that people once went to Court and campaign gatherings just to hear English rhetoric as a fine art.

  • by swillden ( 191260 ) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Friday February 27, 2004 @12:13PM (#8409231) Homepage Journal

    ... and one relevant to a much-debated topic here on slashdot.

    Those of us who believe in the GNU GPL as a particularly valuable license to use believe in that because we think that there are other licenses which too weakly protect the commons and which are more amenable to a form of appropriation that might be ultimately destructive -- this is our concern with the freedoms presented, for example, by the BSD license

    Moglen makes a very lucid explanation of why the apparently-more-free BSD license is less valuable to people who believe in freedom. He characterizes the the world of free software as a "self-healing commons", that cannot be appropriated, or destroyed, and points out that a BSD-style commons is much more vulnerable to being "proprietized".

    The really interesting parts of his talk, though, were the bits about open hardware and radio spectrum, and their implications on technological free speech, and of course his extensive and detailed explanation of why he thinks the free software battle is essentially already won.

    Even if you don't agree with him, Eben Moglen is a persuasive speaker with very deep and powerful ideas. Very well worth reading/listening to.

  • by argoff ( 142580 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @12:15PM (#8409247)
    Thank You!!!!! and Amen !!!!
    IMHO this is what all the other people (like Lessing) who want a compromize between the copyright lords and the information wants to be free crowd miss. That it's not about copyrights at all, it's about free speech. In the eyes of the internet there is no difference between copyright content, porn content, and free speech content. If you have someone in a position to restrict any information, you have someone in a position to restrict any information they disagree with - it's that simple.
    I think in the end though, we will not be able to rely on the government to secure our free speech rights online. We're simply gonna half to do it in ourselves in defiance. We're gonna half to force an all or nothing proposition. A) Shut down the internet, B) have no controll over content online. So other than that, the internet is completely outside the governments juristiction.
    • Are you an anarchist? Idea's like this don't work because absolute freedoms don't truly exist. Free speech is relative to the rights of others. The government sets up restrictions so that one person doesn't infringe on the rights of another. I agree that sometimes the government does a horrible job at this, but seriously, we NEED someone to do something. -ie- I just made a porn website based on pictures of your mom without her permission. Hmm, no content control online, hmm.
  • Interesting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Saeed al-Sahaf ( 665390 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @12:15PM (#8409254) Homepage
    If they really mean free as in freedom why don't they just call it that, "Freedom Software Foundation". Just to combat all the confusion about the multiple uses of the word 'free' in the EN-US language. Might also take a bit of the edge off the "terrorist" or "communist" coments directed at it. Although I think they actually would be more appropriately be called the "Software Freedom Foundation". That would require a change to their acronym but be closer to their intent of liberating software. I am in however in some disagreement on the "freeing of the spectrum". I think that if you removed regulation from that it would rapidly degenerate into anarchy ruled by nobody usable by nobody, e.g. bigest transmitter wins. You can have free bandwith on packet radio now under the current regulations. It is generally limitted bandwidth but that is the nature (physics if you want to be precise) of long distance low power radio. Another poster mentioned seeing bandwidth as a service like water or electricity. This is reasonable as the infrastructure (hardware) of the internet is not free. Being a radio node would probably not be as free as he envisions. Would you relay other peoples data? If you would not, would you expect someone else to? Somebody would have to relay packets and could charge a fee for the service (satelite internet service springs to mind as an example).
  • by cduffy ( 652 ) <charles+slashdot@dyfis.net> on Friday February 27, 2004 @12:20PM (#8409304)
    Having listened to the speech, I assure 'yall it's much better listened to than read.

    I've put together a BitTorrent share [quackerhead.com] with a Speex [speex.org] encoding of his speech. Please be gentle.
  • by Mr_Silver ( 213637 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @12:21PM (#8409325)
    We need to keep reminding people that what's at stake here is free speech. We need to keep reminding people that what we're doing is trying to keep the freedom of ideas in the 21st century, in a world where there are guys with little paste-it labels with price tags on it who would stick it on every idea on earth if it would make value for the shareholders.

    Hear hear. Now can someone please point this out to the PocketPC developers out there? I got myself this new fangled PDA from Microsoft and the complete lack of GPL code out there for it is truely amazing.

    There are plenty of applications, most of them are shockingly written but the developer has stuck it up on Handago with a tag of $15 in the hope that he/she can make a quick buck off it.

    I, on the other hand, tried to garner interest in developing a simple framework to allow embedded visual basic programmers to create today plugins really easily. The idea was that the code to produce the today screen (which had to be eVC++) would be GPL and that the code for interfacing to it would be free (for use under any licence). Anyone who improved the protocol had to share it, but you didn't have to share the code for your own application if you really didn't want to.

    Unfortunately I can't programme today screens (or evc++ for that matter) for toffee to I advertised for people to help me.

    I had interest from 10 people - not one of them was interested in it being GPL. They would only agree to work with me on it if it was going to be sold and licenced to "approved" people. In short, they wanted to make money from something closed and hidden.

    So what can I do? Learning eVC++ is not really an option unless people want to see something in 2010. Is there anywhere I can find good people who are willing to spread the GPL word in the PocketPC community?

    • by sremick ( 91371 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @01:09PM (#8409853)
      Hmmm... a PDA designed to run a OS created by the biggest closed-source anti-GPL capitalistic monopoly in the world. which can only be programmed using a language created by the same said vendor, which caters to and encourages a similar mindset amongst developers. Many of whom are already used to the same sort of closed-source OS/tool/hardware lock-in on the desktop by same said vendor.

      And you wonder why you're having trouble finding GPL programmers for it? :)

      You might have better luck trying to sell the same idea to the Palm community. Not only do you already have a bunch of "anything-but-Microsoft" folks, but even the new development tools [palmos.com] are based on the Eclipse open-source IDE [eclipse.org]. There are FAR more apps and developers out for Palm, many of them free [freewarepalm.com].

    • Shocking! (Score:3, Funny)

      by amightywind ( 691887 )
      I got myself this new fangled PDA from Microsoft and the complete lack of GPL code out there for it is truely amazing.

      You entered a whorehouse and expected to find virtue?

  • by braddock ( 78796 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @12:34PM (#8409452)
    There should be an inspiring spokesman like this at every Open Source convention. The community needs it.

    Stallman has done a great service to the community by keeping this aspect of the movement alive. I have had direct correspondance with him multiple times and he has NEVER failed to personally write back with elaboration on a point or a rebuff to an argument. He must have spent the majority of every day for the past 25 years spreading the case for Free Software one person at a time like that without compromise, which is how he has achieved what he has achieved and deserves respect in the community regardless of personal wranglings.

    However, Stallman is so marred with 25 years of personal politics that it is difficult for him to inspire. It never seems like he can quite decouple the ideals of freedom of expression from a certain "I _AM_ THE IDEALS, RECOGNIZE ME, the GPL is the ONLY way to go" attitude.

    If the entire community can be inspired to the real ideals of Free Expression, than the GPL itself would almost be irrelevant. Stallman has used the GPL as the glue to keep the community together regardless of it's beliefs on the issue of free expression, but this needs to be seen as an entirely secondary issue.

    I hope to at least see Eben Moglen and similar speakers invited to more software conferences.

    Braddock Gaskill
    • by Magnus Pym ( 237274 ) * on Friday February 27, 2004 @01:17PM (#8409926)
      I have had conversations with many folks from various countries about Stallman. My feeling is that he is held in VERY high regard by both the technical and political classes in every country except his own. The unfortunate fact is that in the USA, (which, BTW, is my home country) most people are anti-intellectual, and do not have the capacity to comprehend the magnitude of his accomplishments. Even most technical folks in the USA are so decidedly one-dimensional that their frame of reference in worldly matters is like a postage stamp.

      In almost any other country, a man who has sacrificed his earning potential to pursue a larger cause is revered. In the USA, that is considered the sign of a loser or a crank. This is the root cause of the differences in perceptions.

    • by The Pim ( 140414 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @01:20PM (#8409959)
      I hope to at least see Eben Moglen and similar speakers invited to more software conferences.

      I do too, and I bet it will come to pass. But (from someone who attended the speech) there's something we should realize: Moglen and RMS are championing almost exactly the same principles and agenda. The differences are in how they serve the agenda: Stallman by writing code (in the beginning) and playing the visionary, Moglen by plotting legal strategy and fighting the legal ground war; and in their particular communication styles.

      So while I agree that RMS's personality may be getting worn and he is somewhat tainted by politics, it is important that we see Moglen not as a less orthodox RMS, but as a new, and perhaps more effective, conveyor of the same fundamental message. It may help to note Moglen's pointed expressions of respect and admiration for RMS during the speech.

      That said, Moglen did put the free software movement in a wider legal and intellectual context better than RMS usually does. Moglen can play the visionary very well if he wishes! Perhaps if we are inspired by Moglen, we can reconsider RMS with renewed appreciation.

  • by sarastro_us ( 745933 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @01:07PM (#8409832)
    IANAL. Hell, IAN even a software developer. I'm just an interested, educated computer user who likes to have a bit of variety in his life. I can clearly see the arguments on both sides of this issue. I have no personal problem with people seeking to make money off software they've written, so long as they don't force me into paying them if I don't want it. And yet I find the constant "How free is Free" argument within the FSS community to be extremely off-putting. Zealotry is never friendly to a new convert, and when even asking a simple question about the merits of KDE vs Gnome on an email list results in a flame war of epic proportions, what kind of impression is this supposed to leave upon those who view the movement from outside? I think the real issue at stake here is the freedom of the developer to see what he or she chooses done with their own product. Some will choose to attempt to make a profit off of their hard work. I say, good luck. It's a tough market out there. Others will choose to release their products gratis. I say, good for you. You are giving back to the community from which you came. Yet others will choose to release their products completely, allowing other developers to take them off in new and perhaps interesting ways. I say, wonderful. You have done a brave thing in giving your creation completely over to the world. Ultimately, the freedom which we are speaking of, and, in many cases, fighting for, is the freedom of a creator to choose the destiny of their creation. Should they be forced to accept one route by law, eschewing all other possibilities? I certainly don't think so. No matter what route might be forced upon the creator, legislating compulsory 'freedom' is contrary to the very meaning of the word.
  • by agslashdot ( 574098 ) <sundararaman.krishnan@NOsPam.gmail.com> on Friday February 27, 2004 @01:14PM (#8409892)
    The good Professor is simply reiterating what Marx said about 150 years ago.

    eg. Lets say bicycle is an idea. The state outlaws private ownership of bicycles, because ideas belong to the masses, they are not one man's private property. So nobody can own a bicycle.
    But the state places free bicycles at the corner of every street and every avenue.
    So you walk to a corner, pick up a bicycle & pedal to wherever you want & leave it at the other corner. No tolls, no insurance, no gasoline, no ownership, no maintainence, no hassle.

    Malthus read this and told Marx he was an ostrich.

    That's the problem right there. You can't pretend man is an ostrich, so lets be benign & do away with the notion of private property & share & take just what we need & so on. This socialist utopia is ideal, but unfortunately we don't live there.
    Capitalism says man is not benign - man is malign. He will want ownership. In that sense of the principle, you can own intangible ideas just as much as you own actual tangible objects - no difference. That's just the reality we live in.
    Deal with it.
  • by firewrought ( 36952 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @01:17PM (#8409921)
    "It's free software, it's not open source". He has a reason. This is the reason.

    I have enough trouble getting my boss to distinguish b/t "open source" and "shareware". Throwing "free software" into the mix is going to hurt corporate adoption, not help civil liberties.

    The thing that Bruce Perens, etc., understand that Stallman does not is "branding". "Open Source" is a distinct, brandable term. It has successfully fought off imitation brands like Microsoft's "Shared Source" concept. It even has a crisp, compact logo [opensource.org]. The FSF does not understand this game, and they can't seem to produce a brand name w/o botching it up with recursive algorithms ("HURD"), semantic ambiguitiy ("free software"), or phonetic confusion ("GNU"). And their logo [gnu.org] sprawls all over the place.

    Furthermore, the FSF appears to have a touch of NIH syndrome ("not invented here"). Stallman tries to draw a distinction [gnu.org] b/t the terms "free software" and "open source", but they mean the same thing [opensource.org], practically speaking. Why hair-split the semantics when you could present a unified, prepackaged concept to the world?

    Sigh... enough ranting. I just want to see FSF do the little things that would help give it corporate cred.

    FYI, the GNU homepage has a lot of actions [gnu.org] you can take to support free software politically. Take a look.

    • They don't mean the same thing.
      For many practical purposes they are similar, and provide many of the same benefits.

      What many people like you don't realize is that the distinction _IS_ important.
      It is mostly an ideological issue IMO.

      When you have a founding idea that you follow or pursue it can help guide your efforts in a unified and more productive way.

      RMS is pursuing a moral/ethical goal, by keeping that in mind has been able to retain this focus and become quite successful in his pursuit.
      The Open sour
    • by groomed ( 202061 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @02:56PM (#8411050)
      I agree with most of your criticisms wrt branding, but I think you are completely distorting the point when it comes to the distinction between open source and free software.

      The open source movement aims for better software. They claim the open source development methodology achieves this. (A claim which, by the way, I think is preposterous and nonsensical.)

      The free software foundation aims for a better world, by protecting people's freedom to share and use information.

      I really don't see how you can claim they mean the same thing.
    • I have enough trouble getting my boss to distinguish b/t "open source" and "shareware". Throwing "free software" into the mix is going to hurt corporate adoption, not help civil liberties.

      So dont! Thats the whole point of the "Open Source" foundation: to package and sell the Free software concept to busineses is a way they can understand.

      I just want to see FSF do the little things that would help give it corporate cred.

      Thats not what the FSF is about.
      If the FSF had a slick corporate logo, catch-phr

  • The Power of Free (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thoth39 ( 583059 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @01:25PM (#8410021) Homepage
    What I find most interesting in these great speeches about freedom of information, like what I read in http://www.creativecommons.org/, is that the more strict legislation over what you can do is passed, the more people react to it.

    When we were feeling sad about the state of copyright law, feeling that nothing would never enter public domain and become humanity's propery, there comes all these people sharing because they want to. Everything is automagically copyrighted? Fine. I'll explicitly license it to everybody. What are you evil people going to do, tell me I can't license what is mine?

    Give them (or us, as I write a little free software here and there) twenty years more; the body of freely licensed knowledge will be so huge there won't be any benefit in anything proprietary. There will be so many musicians and artists licensing their cool stuff that we won't need to infringe on anyone's copyright to listen to good music. Those that try to say "Hey, come here and buy the right to hear this song" will face the question "Why? There's so many free stuff to hear I actually haven't got the time".

    The last time I bought a CD was more than two years ago, because they're expensive. But I gladly buy very expensive beer and pay the artist's fee at this jazz cafe I go almost every week. The music is just too good.
  • It's not... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Brandybuck ( 704397 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @01:31PM (#8410098) Homepage Journal
    It's not "Free Linux", it's "GNU/Linux". We need to keep reminding people that what's at stake here is GNU.
  • by thomas_klopf ( 672359 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @01:45PM (#8410253)

    According to "Rebel Code - Linux and the Open Source Revolution" by Glyn Moody (chap. 10), the term "Open Source" was coined in Winter/Spring 1998 (February 3rd?). Eric Raymond initiated the search for a term for this "free software" coming out, and later "open source" was decided upon. It seems they were looking for something less ambigious and more business-friendly than "free software". The term itself was originally suggested by Christine Peterson of the Foresight Institute.

    regarding Stallman (quoting from the book)

    "Richard Stallman always viewed this shift [from terms like 'free software' to 'open source'] with alarm. 'The open source movement is Eric Raymond's attempt to redirect the free software movement away from a focus on freedom,' he says. 'He does not agree that freedom to share software is an ethical/social issue. So he decided to try to replace the term 'free software' with another term, one that would in no way call to mind that way of framing the issue."

    So it seems that, historically, there is something of a difference between "open source" and "free software"

  • Enligthening Q/A (Score:5, Informative)

    by Shane ( 3950 ) on Friday February 27, 2004 @02:04PM (#8410429) Homepage
    Q: But what about the software writer?

    Moglen: Ah, the software. . .

    Q: That's the kind of stuff I think I was more getting at with my question. So you have somebody who creates something useful but it has a zero distribution cost, and it's useful in a way that's not, not useful like celebrity, though I'm not sure, I don't think that's useful in some ways, but it's useful in the different sense that it takes a long time to create well.

    Moglen: See, the programmers I worked with all my life thought of themselves as artisans, and it was very hard to unionize them. They thought that they were individual creators. Software writers at the moment have begun to lose that feeling, as the world proletarianizes them much more severely than it used to. They're beginning to notice that they're workers, and not only that, but if you pay attention to the Presidential campaign currently going on around us, they are becoming aware of the fact that they are workers whose jobs are movable in international trade.

    We are actually doing more to sustain the livelihood of programmers than the proprietary people are. Mr. Gates has only so many jobs, and he will move them to where the programming is cheapest. Just you watch. We, on the other hand, are enabling people to gain technical knowledge which they can customize and market in the world where they live. We are making people programmers, right? And we are giving them a base upon which to perform their service activity at every level in the economy, from small to large.


    There is programming work for fourteen-year-olds in the world now because they have the whole of GNU upon which to erect whatever it is that somebody in their neighbourhood wants to buy, and we are making enough value for the IBM corporation that it's worth putting billions of dollars behind.

    If I were an employee of the IBM corporation right this moment, I would consider my job more secure where it is because of free software than if free software disappeared from the face of the earth, and I don't think most of the people who work at IBM would disagree with me.

    Of all the people who participate in the economy of zero marginal cost, I think the programmers can see most clearly where their benefits lie, and if you just wait for a few more tens of thousands of programming jobs to go from here to Bangalore, they'll see it even more clearly.

The closest to perfection a person ever comes is when he fills out a job application form. -- Stanley J. Randall