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GNU is Not Unix Software

ZNet interviews Richard Stallman 586

ProgressiveCynic writes "ZNet has just published an interview with Richard Stallman. Much of the interview will be review for Slashdot folks, intended to introduce ZNet's audience to the free software movement, but many interesting bits remain including a discussion on the outlawing of free software, patents as applied to literature, and this quote: 'I'm a Liberal, in US terms (not Canadian terms). I'm against fascism.'"
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ZNet interviews Richard Stallman

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  • by John Nowak ( 872479 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @03:25AM (#14297154)
    RMS: The basic idea of the Free Software Movement is that the user of software deserves certain freedoms. There are four essential freedoms, which we label freedoms 0 through 3.

    I wonder how many Znet readers are confused out of their minds as to why he'd start with zero.
    • To Me, Nothingness is:
      Void
      Null
      Cipher
      Zero
      Nothing
      Jersey

      So I guess nothingness = zero for the non-technical persons, but actually 1 (one) for the /. crowd?

      Is that what you're trying to say?
    • How does Stallman get paid? What does he do that he recieves a paycheck to you know...buy food, pay the bills...perhaps rent or a house payment? Where does his money come from?

      Because it sounds like he doesn't accept money for any programming, and that's basically what he does all the time.

      Does he work at a company that does something totally different than computers and computer related things? Does he work at Pier 1 or Dennys or where ever during the day and at night he programs and writes his manifestos
      • I know that when I hung out at MIT, he was staff, not a professor, so I'd be very surprised to say the least if he taught any classes as another reply to your message says. From my acquiantance with him, there's no question that he was a man of principle, which is in both an admirable and a terrifying thing. I definitely would not accuse him of ever being less than genuine or willing to betray his principles.

        At the time I knew him, he was rebelling against the institution of passwords that had just been i
    • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @10:05AM (#14298503)
      I wonder how many Znet readers are confused out of their minds as to why he'd start with zero.

      I'm sorry, but as a loyal, God-fearing American I refuse to use any number invented by them A-Rabs.

      -Eric

  • Pay the Toll (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rodgster ( 671476 ) <rodgster@y[ ]o.com ['aho' in gap]> on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @03:26AM (#14297158) Journal
    RMS > You could not run free applications on such a system (sic, trusted computing). If you did figure out how, and told someone, that could be a crime.

    In other words. You Must Pay the Microsoft Tax.

    Wow, RMS was rather lucid in this interview. I'm impressed.
    • Re:Pay the Toll (Score:3, Insightful)

      by FireFury03 ( 653718 )
      Wow, RMS was rather lucid in this interview.

      I think he started showing his insanity when he suggested that everyone should boycott any hardware with closed specs such as nVidia chips.... I guess he'll be going back to working on a PDP-11 then coz there's no way in hell he'll find a modern computer which has published specs for all it's hardware. It's a nice idea in theory, but really (at the moment) there is no option but to accept a certain amount of closed hardware.
      • Re:Pay the Toll (Score:5, Insightful)

        by John Nowak ( 872479 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @04:46AM (#14297365)
        He didn't say to avoid ALL closed hardware -- Just nVidia specifically, because it is such a crucial component which can be very difficult to support.
        • Re:Pay the Toll (Score:3, Insightful)

          by FireFury03 ( 653718 )
          He didn't say to avoid ALL closed hardware -- Just nVidia specifically, because it is such a crucial component which can be very difficult to support.

          When calling for a boycott of a company because of their business practices, it seems somewhat wrong to only boycott that one company and say it's ok to buy from other people who have exactly the same business practices.

          There isn't a huge amount of choice amoungst half-decent graphics hardware, and whilest nVidia don't open their specs they _are_ some of the e
          • Re:Pay the Toll (Score:3, Interesting)

            by linefeed0 ( 550967 )
            I should also mention that I've heard from the horse's mouth (a Microsoft engineer that spoke to my operating systems class in college) that MS knows third-party drivers cause most of their kernel crashes (at least in 2000/XP). If Linux is made by hardware vendors to rely on binary drivers, where exactly does that leave its stability advantage?

            Also, yeah, that link is wrong in the above comment, it was a bug with the same symptoms but nvidia-caused, not an s/390 specific bug. Unfortunately I can't find a

            • Re:Pay the Toll (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Shakrai ( 717556 )

              I should also mention that I've heard from the horse's mouth (a Microsoft engineer that spoke to my operating systems class in college) that MS knows third-party drivers cause most of their kernel crashes (at least in 2000/XP). If Linux is made by hardware vendors to rely on binary drivers, where exactly does that leave its stability advantage?

              Actually this is a very important point that I hope doesn't get overlooked in this discussion. Even going back to Win95/98 I think the lions share of the stabilit

            • Re:Pay the Toll (Score:4, Insightful)

              by FireFury03 ( 653718 ) <slashdot@ne[ ]uk.org ['xus' in gap]> on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @09:05AM (#14298141) Homepage
              If Linux is made by hardware vendors to rely on binary drivers, where exactly does that leave its stability advantage?

              I think I need to clarify my point: binary drivers are a Bad Thing (it's debatable whether they're better/worse than _no_ drivers, but I'll leave that discussion for now). My point was that if you're boycotting a manufacturer because you disagree with their business practices then why should it just be that one manufacturer - surely you have the same problem with other manufacturers employing the same business practices?

              And if you are going to boycott a single manufacturer it might make more sense to do it in an area of the market where there's more choice between closed drivers and open drivers rather than aiming for a market where there aren't many open devices to use _instead_ of the device you're boycotting.

              Another problem is manufacturers removing perfectly good well-supported devices from the market (whether they are supported through openness or reverse engineering) and replacing them with closed devices for cost reasons - it seems very difficult to put pressure on the manufacturers to keep making the old devices. A good example of this is Intersil stopping manufacture of the well supported Prism GT 802.11g chipset and replacing it with the Prism Javalin (softmac) chipset which isn't supported at all. Reverse engineering hardware is a lot of work and it's wasted if the hardware you reverse engineered is obsolete by the time you've got a working driver. (It should be noted that the hardware I'm talking about isn't obsolete because it lacked functionality, it's obsolete because the manufacturer invented something marginally cheaper).
  • Liberals (Score:5, Informative)

    by maggard ( 5579 ) <michael@michaelmaggard.com> on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @03:32AM (#14297181) Homepage Journal
    For those puzzled, RMS's Liberal comment is in reference to Canada's Liberal [liberal.ca] party.
    • Re:Liberals (Score:3, Informative)

      by LizardKing ( 5245 )

      For those puzzled, RMS's Liberal comment is in reference to Canada's Liberal party.

      Whoever transcribed the interview, or RMS himself if the interview was conducted via email, should have written "liberal" with a small "l". In political writing a capitalised word like Liberal indicates a party, while the lowercase form indicates a theory or dogma. For example, Conservative would imply the political party when speaking about UK politics, whereas conservative would imply the political theory. Exceptions i

  • by Gr1mm-R34p3r ( 312932 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @03:41AM (#14297205)
    In an otherwise informative article, I learned that Mr Stallman is yet another person doesnt know what the hell fascism is (nor do most people who throw around the term "Bush Regime"). :rolleyes:

    I quote RMS

    "Fascism is a system of government that sucks up to business and has no respect for human rights. So the Bush regime is an example, but there are lots of others. In fact, it seems we are moving towards more fascism globally."

    If you're going to throw the F word around at least learn what it means. Fascism has little to nothing to do with business, instead it is about the state or more specifically the ruler. It is a pragmatic form of government when it comes to business. If anything, it functions under a permanent war economy with the major industries cooperating. In other words, it is a centralized economy that still retains private property and freedom of commerce.

    The US and other countries today are not fascist nor resemble anything like a fascist nation. Does big business run the country? Yes. Do politicians suck up to it? Yes. Is this a good thing? NO! But its NOT fascism. To call it such is at the least a bit ignorant.

    Does anyone care? Probably not, but I have to try.

    PS:

    I'll have some ridiculous replies accusing me of being a Bush supporter (hardly).
    • by mqduck ( 232646 )
      You're basically right, but saying that fascism is a hyper-repressive form of capitalism is a much better summary than alot of people know. And I would say that Bush truely is a fascist, but that of course doesn't make the nation so. The thing is, there's no clear dividing line between fascism and "regular" capitalism.
    • by a_n_d_e_r_s ( 136412 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @04:06AM (#14297265) Homepage Journal
      "Fascism is associated with one or more of the following characteristics: a very high degree of nationalism, economic corporatism, and, after attaining political control of a country, a powerful, dictatorial state that views the nation as superior to the individuals or groups composing it."

      -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism [wikipedia.org]

      ""A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism."
      -- American Heritage Dictionary

      Even though there are no clear definition of Fascism there is definititly clear that corporatism - the merging of big business and the state - are part of Fascism.

      US today are leaning more and more towards fascism. Not many likes it - but its the sad truth.

      • by tetromino ( 807969 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @04:46AM (#14297369)
        Nah, the US is not fascist.

        First, because it is still a democracy (although Diebold is doing its best to undermine that). And second, because there is no systematic merger of business and government -- rather, certain businesses (RIAA, MPAA, oil, defense, etc) are one of the several special interest groups that the government pays too much attention to. Trial lawyers are another such group. So are fundamentalist Christians. So are mothers who want you to "think of the children". So are the gun-loving folks. So are the anti- and pro-abortion activists. So are the farmers. None of them has a monopoly on government attention - yet.

        What you see with Halliburton and Enron is good old-fashioned cronyism and corruption. It's nowhere near the type of horror that most countries in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East went through sometime in the past 50 years.
        • by gallir ( 171727 )
          > And second, because there is no systematic merger of business and government

          Lol, lol, freaking lol, funny, moderate my parent up: +1000 Funny.
          • by sstidman ( 323182 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @08:02AM (#14297835) Journal
            What's with the constant ad hominem attacks on Slashdot? If you disagree, then fine, please give some supporting facts and debate the issue. We might all be able to learn something from you. But just ridiculing someone ... how is that an "insightful" argument? What has happened to the Slashdot moderation system?
            • by s20451 ( 410424 )
              It's not just Slashdot. Just look at any political blog on the left or right -- there is no debate, just constant character assassination and sarcastic comments.

              Rhetoric is dead; the Internet killed it.
        • by EvilNight ( 11001 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @08:39AM (#14298003)
          I'm in agreement, but I'd like to point out something I think is rather important.

          Fascism as we have seen it in the past is not likely to recur. We're all familiar with it, and after WWII it isn't likely to be tolerated when it appears. What is likely to happen, however, is the emergence of a different (modern, if you like) form of fascism that is not immediately recognizable as such. I don't think this has happened yet, but it is certainly a possibility.

          I do think that the current political and economic climate in the USA has become more closed and dogmatic lately, which is not a good sign. I don't suppose it's any worse than the kinds of things that were happening when Nixon was in office, so calling it fascist is probably premature. It does bear watching closely, however.

          Check up on how Germany became fascist sometime. The chain of events that led them into fascism is not all that dissimilar from some of our own social and political movements. We're just lucky enough to have an environment that is less tolerant of them, for now at least. Most Germans certainly weren't fascists... they simply allowed it to happen. That's the mistake we can't afford to repeat.

          Eternal vigilance, and all that...
          • by Anonymous Coward
            America in the 21st century is lucky enough to have 20th century Germany as an illustrative example. The current admistration carefully works the PR to avoid comparisons, plus the widespread parroting of inane cliches such as Gowdin's 'law' prevent people from closely examining uncomfortable parallels. Extra-legal camps for political enemies, domestic surveillance without legal process (and incredibly, the 'leader' insisting it as his right!), absolving major corporations of convicted crimes, foreign wars o
      • by TrappedByMyself ( 861094 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @07:56AM (#14297822)
        The Wikipedia entry for Facism is currently flagged "The neutrality of this article is disputed."
        If you read through the discussion [wikipedia.org] you'll see claims that facism is incorrectly being tied with right wing politics

        And for that American Heritage Dictionary definition;
        A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism

        The dictionary.com refrence [reference.com] which also lists the American Heritage Dictionary as its source has something quite different
        A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.

        I want a neutral argument here, but that second definition doesn't have the "liberal spin" to it. In other words, you don't see extreme right or merging of state and business leadership, but instead the traditional definition of facism, which has a dictator with total control over the government and the economy.

        Interpret this as you will, but I see here a case where information does not equal truth. There are so many facts to choose from, that people pick the ones that suit them best. If you hate Bush, you pick the first definition, and count the ways in which Bush is worse than Hitler. If you support Bush, you pick the second one and accuse the smelly hippies of spreading misinformation.
    • Fascism has little to nothing to do with business

      Fascism and corporatism are closely linked.

      Fascism is associated with one or more of the following characteristics: a very high degree of nationalism, economic corporatism, and, after attaining political control of a country, a powerful, dictatorial state that views the nation as superior to the individuals or groups composing it.

      So cut out all that drama queen eye rolling, and quit supporting Bush. He's a fascist.

    • by Fred_A ( 10934 ) <[fred] [at] [fredshome.org]> on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @04:29AM (#14297327) Homepage
      Umberto Ecco's list [themodernword.com] is a good starting point as well.

      Fits well with a disturbing number of current western regimes...

    • by SolitaryMan ( 538416 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @04:40AM (#14297351) Homepage Journal
      Take a look at this [oldamericancentury.org] article, based on real-world fascism study. (The link to the original study can be found there).

      I can sorta agree that what article outlines is not exactly what _I_ understand as fascism too, but it confirms, that it is a rather controversial term and RMS's usage of this term is reasonable enough.
    • by node 3 ( 115640 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @05:40AM (#14297452)
      The US and other countries today are not fascist nor resemble anything like a fascist nation. Does big business run the country? Yes. Do politicians suck up to it? Yes. Is this a good thing? NO! But its NOT fascism. To call it such is at the least a bit ignorant.

      Absolutely false. What you've described is, in fact, the definition of Fascism.
      "Fascism should more properly be called Corporatism, because it is the merger of state and corporate power."
      -- Benito Mussolini


      Although the term "Fascism" is commonly met with revulsion, the ideals of Fascism are alive and well. In fact, there are people who openly support Fascism, whether they accept the title of Fascist or not.
      "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
      -- Sinclair Lewis (1935)


      Vice President Henry A. Wallace warned quite often of the dangers of Fascism in America.
      "With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power."
      -- US Vice President Henry A. Wallace


      He also defined it in the classical, Mussolini sense:

      "If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful. Most American fascists are enthusiastically supporting the war effort."

      -- US Vice President Henry A. Wallace, "The Danger of American Fascism," New York Times, 1944.
      • by s20451 ( 410424 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @08:59AM (#14298107) Journal
        The power in the word "fascist" is that it is strongly associated with the brutal national socialist regimes in Germany and Italy.

        But what you're saying is that most people are fascists if the definition is suitably relaxed. Similarly, you might read a medical textbook and recognize that you are suffering from "symptoms" of various disorders. It is not impossible to meet some of the criteria of being a "fascist" and still support constitutional rights, which are they keys to democratic government.
    • by smchris ( 464899 )
      To call it such is at the least a bit ignorant.

      Does anyone care? Probably not, but I have to try.


      Me too. You don't need extermination camps to be fascist. The issue was perhaps most recently arguing in the question of labeling apartheid South Africa fascist.

      I quote from Ebenstein, Today's Isms, 5th ed, p. 115 (because I'm old and I took PoliSc 101 a long time ago):

      "[T]he principle elements of the fascist outlook:

      (1) Distrust of reason
      (2) Denial of basic human equality
      (3) Code of behavior based on lies and
  • by cheekyboy ( 598084 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @03:47AM (#14297218) Homepage Journal
    Go to prisonplanet.com, its podcasts for 15th Dec has a interview with him too.

    Now yo'all stop voting for the 2 parties , vote independant, and no neo-cons any more.
    • If you could post a link, I'd appreciate it. For the life of me I can't find it.
    • Now yo'all stop voting for the 2 parties , vote independant, and no neo-cons any more.

      Reality is that in most cases, a vote for an independent candidate is a wasted vote. Sorry, I really hate that it's true, but it is.

      Presumably, one of the two major candidates is more preferable to the other (the lesser of two evils, or the evil of two lessers, if you want).

      If you have a choice at the cafeteria of day-old lasagne, or wiener-wraps, you can vote for "Filet Mignon" (or "Falafel", if you don't eat meat) all yo
      • by OverflowingBitBucket ( 464177 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @06:47AM (#14297621) Homepage Journal
        Massively offtopic, but this issue really ticks me off.

        Reality is that in most cases, a vote for an independent candidate is a wasted vote.

        Oh cut it out. This line of thought is why the US is stuck electing Republicrats every election. The only wasted vote is one that isn't cast.

        Sure, vote for someone outside of the major two parties and you won't "win" in the present loaded system. But you do throw your weight behind the numbers who have indicated that they aren't happy with Red and Blue but want someone else in. More importantly, you've thrown your weight behind a particular party or ideology, and as the numbers grow, more people can shake the "I must vote for one of the two main parties" mentality and vote for another viable party. Sure, it won't happen in one election, but if people vote for who they want rather than following the catchy "you're throwing your vote away" mentality, then the country as a whole will be much better off and it'll finally elect a capable representative leader.

        The whole logic of saying that because you won't "win" in one election you should vote for the best of the worst two is not only counterintuitive but is entrenching the present political stranglehold. All I can say is stop it. Stop repeating the "third party is a wasted vote" lie because gullible people keep believing it, and you keep getting rubbish government as a result. Don't you think you deserve better than the best of the worst two? Aren't you all sick of electing one of two fratboys offered up each election?

        • This line of thought is why the US is stuck electing Republicrats every election. The only wasted vote is one that isn't cast.

          No, the reason we are stuck electing "Republicrats" every election is that our system is at equilibrium only when there are two parties.

          Don't you think you deserve better than the best of the worst two? Aren't you all sick of electing one of two fratboys offered up each election?

          Yes, I am, but I have no other choice. The time for you Nader-ites to make a difference is before the elec
          • You've hit on something very important.

            I have no other choice

            The major party candidates know you think that way. John Kerry and Al Gore both ran campaigns betting that you'd hold your nose and vote for them rather than vote for someone you actually agreed with and believed could make a difference.

            I particularly enjoyed many anti-war activists who signed a petition saying that they were voting for Kerry, but expected him to change his position on the war after they had helped elect him, or risk losing their support in the 2008 election. Kerry didn't care that people were holding their nose for him because a vote is a vote, no matter why it was cast.

            Scenario:

            Let us assume node_3 is a traditional liberal, who often sides with the Democrats. I am a candidate for the Democratic party, who knows that he(she?) and many others will vote for me no matter what my positions are. No amount of lobbying by node_3 and others like him(her) will ever change my mind because I already have their vote. I will instead devote my energies to change my platform to suit those who may not vote for me (likely making me more conservative). That is, by saying outright that you will vote for me, because voting for an independent is "wasting my vote", you have lost your only hold on my issue positions.

            This scenario has been the core strategy of the DLC, a centrist Democratic party group, since the late 80s. This can be modeled as a game of chicken [wikipedia.org] with you declaring before the game even starts that you will swerve.

            My point is that we're going to have to crash a few times before the Democrats get their shit together. Sooner or later, they'll start swerving.
  • Interesting... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Chaffar ( 670874 )
    Non-free software is basically antisocial.

    An interesting use of the word antisocial... Reading Stallman's comments about the Open Source movement (or the Open Source campaign as he puts it), the vocabulary and tone he uses wouldn't be out of place in Marx's Communist Manifesto. Just like Karl's work though, you can't help but agree with every argument he gives, yet you know deep down inside that it just won't work :(

    Well at least I'm doing my part running Lin ^H^H^H GNU + Linux...

    • Re:Interesting... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by John Nowak ( 872479 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @04:09AM (#14297273)
      Free software has a much better chance of working than Communism (yes, I know, it has never been truly implemented, etc). Unlike a government for a country, not everyone has to be in on it. If you live in a "communist" nation, you fall under communist rule. However, free software and non-free software can mix. People can use one, or the other, or both. Provided that there is a critical mass of people in the free software community, and there is, we should be just fine.
    • GNU vs. Marx (Score:4, Informative)

      by tetromino ( 807969 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @05:08AM (#14297404)
      Free Software and Marx have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Marx was a social critic who (correctly) surmised that the workers of his day were unfairly exploited, but then used voodoo economics and bad Hegelism to go off on a wild apocalyptic-cult trajectory.

      By contrast, Free Software is not a cult, and it is not a "scientific" view of history. It is simply a proposition that one of the inalienable rights of Homo sapiens -- along with the right to free speech, free press, and democratic elections -- is the right to freely use one's computer. (Granted, computer use is not in the usual list, but if Locke, Rousseau, and Jefferson had computers, I am sure they would have put Free Software in the rights of man.)

      Marxism belongs to the general category of apocalyptic cults (like belief in rapture and the singularity).

      Free Software belongs to the general category of campaigns for a specific rights (like womens' suffrage and the civil rights movement).
  • Can anyone please kindly tell me, what's the different of "Liberal" between US and Canada? I live in Asia and know less about this. Thanks in advance.
    • by John Nowak ( 872479 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @04:12AM (#14297283)
      This definition has some holes in it, but "liberal" in the US means left-leaning (more centralized government, welfare state, etc), whereas liberal in Canada and Europe and most other places means the same thing as "conservative" means in the US (or used to mean anyway), including smaller government, lower taxes, less government control, pro-business, etc. It is even confusing in the US, with the "Libertarian" party conforming to strict conservative ideas -- conservative in the classical-US sense, not the current big government, pro-war definition. I should also note that the "left" in the US is much more like the "center" or even "right" in many other countries.
      • "This definition has some holes in it, but "liberal" in the US means left-leaning (more centralized government, welfare state, etc), whereas liberal in Canada and Europe and most other places means the same thing as "conservative" means in the US (or used to mean anyway), including smaller government, lower taxes, less government control, pro-business, etc. It is even confusing in the US, with the "Libertarian" party conforming to strict conservative ideas -- conservative in the classical-US sense, not the
        • There's social-liberalism which are more about social issues (many socialdemocratic parties in europe are more or less social-liberal) and then its neo-liberalism which is more like the US libertarian party and wants less welfare and lower taxes.

        • There is some economic sides to it as well with HIGHER taxes (definitely not lower, as you said), and pro-welfare state.

          Not true. Liberal political theory promotes a "rolling back" of the state so that it interferes in the life of citizens as little as possible. This doesn't preclude a welfare state, far from it, however it does suggest having one that does not rely on excessive taxation. the reason the conservatism of Thatcher and Bush has become known as "neo-liberalism" is because it has adopted the

      • This definition has some holes in it, but "liberal" in the US means left-leaning (more centralized government, welfare state, etc), whereas liberal in Canada and Europe and most other places means the same thing as "conservative" means in the US (or used to mean anyway), including smaller government, lower taxes, less government control, pro-business, etc.

        That isn't true of Canada. There are several kinds of Liberals in Canada. Big-L Liberals are members of the Liberal party, as Big-R Republicans are me

  • by Mr. Flibble ( 12943 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @04:01AM (#14297250) Homepage
    I misread the title, and thought it was Ziff Davies and not Znet. As soon as I saw that an image flashed through my mind: "John Dvorak endorses Richard Stallman's philosphy as hell has frozen over."

    Scary that.
  • Fascism? (Score:3, Funny)

    by julesh ( 229690 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @04:06AM (#14297261)
    Did RMS really just call George W Bush a fascist?

    I'm not, like, imagining that, am I?
    • Re:Fascism? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Lifewish ( 724999 )
      Did a student just get visited by the feds for requestion Mao's Red Book from the university library? Did a toddler just get refused access to a plane on the basis that their name was on the ultrasecret no-fly list? Did my favourite guitar tab site just drop offline thanks to the unprecedented powers being granted to Big Business?

      I wouldn't call Bush a fascist because I don't think he's bad enough for it not to be a waste of a good label, but I can see how other people could disagree.
  • I love RMS. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by solios ( 53048 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @04:56AM (#14297388) Homepage
    Seriously, man. ESPECIALLY in this day and age, it takes BALLS to be absolutely a hundred percent no holds barred no bullshit 100% DEDICATED to the exact letter of What You Belive Is True. It might be "socially awkward" or "a career impairment" but this is, I firmly believe, the one possible instance in which a Dungeons & Dragons Paladin grade Lawful-lawful Good-good Dedication To Cause is actually - in some capacity - having a positive impact on the lives of many.

    That his intensity of focus could also make him an object of ridicule is a natural side effect of said dedication. i doubt I'd be able to talk to the guy about software or legal issues for more than a handful of syllables before the punching instinct kicked in, but where would modern software be if it weren't for GNU and the GPL?
  • Time to move on (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FishandChips ( 695645 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @05:21AM (#14297416) Journal
    The roots of Linux lie a long while ago now. Isn't it about time we all moved on?

    The Hairy Ranter aspects of Linux, these days, aren't a net positive. They keep Linux in the image of a previous generation. They foster the image of a cult and they politicize all discussion. This is not helpful. Folks want computer software, not an invitation to man the barricades in Paris 1968.

    If these old war horses took up painting or playing the violin for a few hours a day instead of re-running yesterday's battles in black and white the world might be a happier place. And a lot more folks might be drawn into an open-minded comparison of pay-for and no-pay software. Yes, technically, it is GNU/Linux. But the world knows it as Linux. There is no turning back now.
  • Once I put my coat over a camera before giving my speech, when I learned it was webcasting in RealPlayer format.

    though i agree with much of what he says, this guy never ceases to amaze me.

    i think during the last 10 years he's grown a little more sour than he was before all this (GNU) linux "controversy". i certainly sympathize with the GNU project on being underrepresented in the public awareness, but RMS will not change this only by acting sullen!

    i'd like it if a majority of home users used free software,
  • by OneSmartFellow ( 716217 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @05:57AM (#14297502)
    of many of the 'intellectuals' which come out of MIT. Full of great ideas, and convction for them, but lacking some fundamental understanding of the 'real world'.

    I know I'll be slammed for that, but it's hard to say it any more clearly

    • I'm not saying he's not wrong now and then, but the man has achieved a lot for someone lacking ... understanding of the 'real world', don't you think?

      I'd say that practice has proven his ideas sound and quite applicable in the real world.

      • I'd say that practice has proven his ideas sound and quite applicable in the real world.

        Right on! Most of this Free Software stuff is basically the scientific method applied to computing. History tells that science didn't achieve much of anything while its practice was restricted to an elite of clergymen and alchemists. Modern science took off around the time of Galilei, Newton and other whose open rational arguments eventually won the fight against the 'closed source' of church.

    • Richard Stallman reminds me of many of the 'intellectuals' which come out of MIT. Full of great ideas, and convction for them, but lacking some fundamental understanding of the 'real world'.

      His analysis of the 'real world' seems quite insightful to me. Would you provide an example?

  • Help ZNet - register (Score:2, Informative)

    by efuzzyone ( 919327 )
    After reading the article I am really worried about software patents and treacherous computing. Please help ZNet migrate to free software by registering and showing your support at the following link. http://znet.2y.net/zbb/index.php [2y.net]
  • by tqft ( 619476 ) <ianburrows_au@yaho o . c om> on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @06:11AM (#14297534) Homepage Journal
    Many good, bad and trollish things have been said about RMS and he has done his share of stirring (which I think is good).

    But who will replace him? Nobody lives forever (unless the medical boffins crack the longevity thing).

    How would you recognise the person that you want to be the lead visionary of the FSF? An idealist? A pragmatist? A software engineer? Someone with a reputation as an uber coder?

    Does DVD Jon fit the bill? Too young and too "controversial"? No political rep.

    Linus? Probably doesn't care enough about politics.

    Bruce Schneier? On too many watch lists?

    There are probably at least a million people who would be good at the job and I have no clue (cue trolls) who they might be.

    By vote on a /. or other internet poll?

    Paid up members of the FSF will probably decide. If you don't care for the FSF ideals this may not be a problem, if you do care but aren't a member - sorry you don't count.

    Sucks doesn't it.

    Or will the political visionary thing die or "fork" when RMS isn't there to be the lightning rod to cop the abuse hurtling from all directions.

    Personally I wouldn't take the crap he deals with every day and the frustration at some of the idiocy in the world he deals must be enormous.
  • by greggman ( 102198 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @07:04AM (#14297653) Homepage
    a discussion on the outlawing of free software
    If you'd actually read RMS [gnu.org] maybe you'd know his goal is to outlaw non GPLed software.
    What the facts show is that people will program for reasons other than riches; but if given a chance to make a lot of money as well, they will come to expect and demand it. Low-paying organizations do poorly in competition with high-paying ones, but they do not have to do badly if the high-paying ones are banned. RMS
  • by mslinux ( 570958 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @09:02AM (#14298128)
    Calling the prez a facist?

    I bet he just got bumped up on W's list... don't be surprised if RMS meets a sudden and unfortunate demise... hope they don't arrest him and try him in court.

    Judge: "Please place your hand on the Bible and swear an oath to tell the truth..."

    RMS: "Judge. Notice that I did not call you, 'Your Honor' as I do not honor the authority that you claim to hold. Furthermore, I will not place my hand on a Bible and take an oath. The Bible is a book of fairy tales and fables that I hold no respect for as it enslaves the mind of man. And..."
  • by Hosiah ( 849792 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2005 @02:46PM (#14301656)
    'I'm a Liberal, in US terms (not Canadian terms). I'm against fascism.'"

    Oh, brother. Even HE can't see that liberal and conservative are both just two sides of the same worthless coin. All hope is lost.

"If you can, help others. If you can't, at least don't hurt others." -- the Dalai Lama

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