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RMS Views on Linux, Java, DRM and Opensource 546

An anonymous reader writes "All About Linux is running a transcript of a recent talk given by Richard Stallman at the Australian National University. Stallman discussed various issues facing GNU like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Digital Rights Management, about why one should not install sun's java on your computer, his views on Opensource as well as why he thinks people should address Linux distribution as GNU/Linux."
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RMS Views on Linux, Java, DRM and Opensource

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  • Again? (Score:5, Funny)

    by MoxCamel ( 20484 ) * on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @06:17PM (#15061861)
    There's a lot to admire about RMS, but I gotta say if you've heard one RMS speech, you've pretty much heard (hurd?) 'em all.


    • Re:Again? (Score:5, Funny)

      by gooman ( 709147 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @07:14PM (#15062230) Journal
      Really! I mean how are we supposed to know if this article is a dupe or not?
    • Re:Again? (Score:5, Informative)

      by qortra ( 591818 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @07:20PM (#15062279)
      This is modded funny, but it really is true.

      I think that the most passionate advocates for change throughout history use this kind of repitition quite a bit. Of course, check through your RMS history, and you'll find that it works time and time again. Check out RMS v. Trolltech (about QT licensing), or RMS v. X/Open ("The Open Group" now). And when he wins, he drops it. Also, you can expect him to consistantly push those ideals that he thinks are worthy. Hell, I'd be dissapointed if he didn't.

      Plus, he adapts over time, constantly targeting key issues; DMCA, which really shouldn't have diminished in relevance as much as it has in the last 6 years, and now DRM which I believe to be key obstacle to a free future. It's unfortunate that the first point in the article is the GNU name issue, which I believe to be the least important of those the article mentions. I guess it's hard when a speech is transcribed to an article. In a speech the first point is usually the most trivial (you just use it to get the crowd warmed up), whereas in an article, half the people (and about 90% of the /. crowd) don't read past even the first screen of material.
  • GNU/Linux (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @06:17PM (#15061864)
    I'd like people to answer their phones "Hoy hoy" instead of "Hello," but I'm afraid I've already lost that battle as well.
    • Isn't that chinese for 'go fuck yourself'?
    • Surey if the spirit is true freedom then I should be able to use it without having to GNU/everything? Why should RMS feel he has naming rights on Linux boxes? There is nothing in the GPL (the agreement) suggesting we GNU/ everything.

      Stop this before it gets silly: "Announcing the GNU/Linux/Bell/GSM/Nokia 3477 phone that connects to the the DARPA/Al Gore/Internet for CERN/web browsing. The unit features a 400MHz Turing/von Neumann/Babbage/CPU and has a Faraday/battery providing 5 days of typical usage...."

  • Is it just me ? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tiger4 ( 840741 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @06:18PM (#15061875)
    Or is Stallman just a brilliant guy with some signs of lunacy? I'm pleased as hell that he has led the charge for Free Software and cracked the gates of proprietary software wide open. The only other significant movement I ever saw in that area was from the US Government itself, and they go co-opted pretty fast.

    But RMS seems to not be "with it" when it comes to actually closing the deal on the revolution. Computers taht really are by the people, for the people. Cryptic jibberish is OK, as long as it is Free cryptic jibberish.

    Or maybe I'm just missing something. Its OK, it happens a lot.
    • Re:Is it just me ? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by eln ( 21727 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @06:21PM (#15061889)
      Stallman is the very embodiment of the Free Software ideal in its purest form, or at least he strives to be. Unfortunately, he is also the embodiment of why virtually any philosophy, when taken to its logical extreme, is unworkable, and usually a little nutty.

      Stallman probably deserves more credit than he gets among most Linux users for basically founding the Free Software movement, but his relevance to what the movement has become since then is fading.
      • Re:Is it just me ? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by qortra ( 591818 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @06:54PM (#15062091)
        What do you mean, "unworkable"? Obviously, Stallman is pushing an ideal. I don't think anybody (including RMS) expects that one day, we'll suddenly find ourselves in an FSF utopia where advocates of software restriction have been totally repressed. However, RMS is the one that keeps us grounded, all the time! Consider the KDE fiasco. I would probably consider this to be "recent" ('99ish?). Because of pressure from RMS, qt was opened up in a copyleft license. And still, he continues to push forward to defend his ideal (just as he should) from subtle invasions by various groups including Macromedia, Nvidia, ATI, and Sun. Do you really think that the GNU ideal will survive if they (we?) totally get it get overrun by closed software? He isn't going to affect change with softcore stances.

        People said he was crazy back when he really did change the world, and it's no different now, except that now the people calling him crazy are so called "open source" advocates and individual developers that consider him to be more of a nuisance. They also call him a lunatic because he's constantly advocating the same things, but that, to me, is the sign of a dedicated man. I wonder if people got tired of MLKjr talking about racial equalization, or Gandhi talking about passive resistance? Clearly, the naming convention of GNU distributions is not a human rights issue, but RMS knows how battles are won, and repitition is key

        You give him credit, but I think he deserves even more than you're giving him. He's relevant today, and he ought to be respected because (not inspite of) his unwavering devotion to his ideals.

        BTW, I don't agree with Stallman on all his entire philosophy, but he is consistant, and that too should be respected.
        • Re:Is it just me ? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Brandybuck ( 704397 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @11:11PM (#15063440) Homepage Journal
          Consider the KDE fiasco.

          I consider it well. It tells me a lot about the motives of RMS and the FSF. When Qt was "free to use", it wasn't good enough. When the KDE Free Qt Foundation guaranteed that Qt would always be free to use, it wasn't good enough. When Qt was released under an approved Open Source license, it wasn't good enough. Even when it was finally released under the GPL, RMS STILL DEMANDED AN APOLOGY!
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @08:46PM (#15062740)
        We owe RMS a huge debt because he single-handedly kickstarted the free software movement. Linus gave us Linux... but he used GNU C compiler to do it. And the Linux kernel isn't very useful unless you have a shell like GNU bash, and you need command line tools like ls, cp, mv... all GNU provided. Thank you, RMS.

        But sorry, RMS, you are crazy and I hope your dearest wishes do not come true. RMS believes the only acceptable licenses are the ones he wrote; if he had the power, he would make it illegal to ship software under a proprietary licence. (How do I know this? Eric Raymond publicly challenged RMS about it and RMS did not respond, and I believe it was because ESR was right and RMS didn't want to say it out loud. Google for the words "Freedom Zero" to get the context of all this.)

        Somebody asked RMS how can software writers make enough money to live. RMS said that he would be in favor of a "free software tax" to pay the salaries of people writing free software. If it was illegal to ship software under a proprietary licence then maybe you would need something like this, but I do NOT want government involved in deciding who gets to write what software for pay. The free market is better.

        Only RMS could think that government paying of salaries to selected software writers is more free than people deciding what software to write and what licence to ship under.

        Actually that's an important point. RMS wants to maximise freedom for the USERS even at the expense of the PROGRAMMERS. He is willing to constrain the freedom of a programmer, because he wants all software to come with source code.

        The worst thing about RMS is that he doesn't care about anything else as much as his particular ideal for free software. Of all the Linux distros out there, you would think he would recommend Debian GNU/Linux, right? The only major distro that actually puts "GNU/" in their name?

        http://distrowatch.com/dwres.php?resource=major [distrowatch.com]

        But in an interview he recommended some obscure Linux called Extremadura or something like that, because he had read somewhere that they only provided GPL software.

        http://lists.debian.org/debian-user/2003/08/msg029 01.html [debian.org]

        If you set up a default Debian system, you will only have free software; Debian's "main" servers have nothing RMS would not approve. But Debian has for years had a server called "nonfree" where you could get things like Netscape Navigator. If you know what you are doing, you can set your Debian system to pull packages from "nonfree", and for this crime, RMS snubbed Debian in favor of the other one. And it turned out that the onther one isn't actually freeer than Debian; RMS had heard it was so, but it wasn't, really.

        It's sad that RMS can't even say something nice about Debian, the closest thing the world has seen to what RMS says he wants, because they aren't PERFECT and if they aren't PERFECT they aren't good enough for RMS.

        RMS, thank you for kick-starting the free software movement. Thank you for GCC, EMACS, and the other GNU utilities. But you are crazy.
        • And the Linux kernel isn't very useful unless you have a shell like GNU bash, and you need command line tools like ls, cp, mv... all GNU provided. Thank you, RMS.

          Don't forget the GNU C Library. This is a massive project, and it plays a very key role in allowing GNU to be a Unix replacement.

          Somebody asked RMS how can software writers make enough money to live. RMS said that he would be in favor of a "free software tax" to pay the salaries of people writing free software.

          How recently? If I reca

    • Some might say that he's a lunatic with some signs of brilliance.
    • Re:Is it just me ? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      But RMS seems to not be "with it" when it comes to actually closing the deal on the revolution.

      Closing what deal? You seem to be spouting gibberish.

      Nothing in your message makes any sense. Stallman's effort towards software freedom are needed more than ever these days -- or do you really think we are all suddenly about to enter a sunlit upland with Trusted Computing about to put a DRM Big Brother chip in every computing device (and make lots of Free software un-Free in the process), software patents and

    • Like many visionaries, he's bound by the vision he had in the 1980s. (other visionaries have their own decades). Expectations of usability, and manner of interaction, have changed since then, but since RMS has found a system that worked for him then, and continues to work for him now, making it pretty and easy just isn't on his agenda. Thankfully others, having different visions, are working on the "computers for people, not for other computers" side of the problem. Those range from the obvious (GNOME/K
    • Or is Stallman just a brilliant guy with some signs of lunacy?

      It comes with the turf. No big deal. He's a cool dude. I could not imagine life w/o GNU software. Its quality stuff.

      Actually, I thought this was one of his most mellow talks ever, from what I read. I love the tidbit about flash and word files. Amen. If I never, ever see one of those again, that would be fine by me.

      Back on this lunacy thing, there really does appear to be a Gaussian distribution in things like human behavior. Most of it is
    • Re:Is it just me ? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by PenGun ( 794213 )
      Nope it's just that he's much smarter than you. With high intelligence comes vision denied the stupid ... understand ???

        Do What Now ??? ... Standards and Practices !
    • And now that the 'movement' is moving, he needs to step aside and let it happen on its own. His rants often make the rest of us look silly.
  • by dedazo ( 737510 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @06:20PM (#15061883) Journal
    He has a vision and he has spent a considerable amount of time and effort to realize that vision. I respect that. It's fine to criticize Microsoft. Everyone expects that anyway. I'll even give him Sun and this whole "Java is evil" spiel.

    But the more he goes around criticizing other concepts (open source) and other people who make his world possible (Torvalds), if not perfect, the more he will alienate them and the farther away his dream will be. It's impossible for Stallman to realize his vision on his own. He needs Sun and Java and Torvalds and ESR and Red Hat and everyone else. At this rate however... calling Linus insufficiently political is not going to win him any more fans. And more fans is exactly what he needs.

    • by Soko ( 17987 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @06:26PM (#15061923) Homepage
      Actually, RMS is more a John The Baptist than a saint - railing against the establishment, morally pure, living in the desert eating naught but locusts and honey and using over the top, fire and brimstone sermons to try and draw the masses towards salvation. And abso-fucking-loutley batshit crazy.

      He is however, necessary if we are to make it to the promised land. ;-)

      • What's "morally pure" about getting paid for the software you write?
        • Let me rephrase that:

          What's immoral about getting paid for the software you write?
          • Absolutely nothing. Where does Stallman say you shouldn't be paid money for writing software? Hint: nowhere.
      • RMS's biggest contribution in recent years to the software community is in being seen a nutbar. We need him out there in left field to make people who are slightly off center to look more reasonable. People see Richard out there frothing and it makes other people like Bruce Perens look eminently reasonable.

        "We need radical activism so that the moderates aren't ignored as a fringe element." - Tooker Gomberg
    • Re:He Needs... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mpapet ( 761907 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @06:58PM (#15062119) Homepage
      He needs Sun and Java and Torvalds and ESR and Red Hat and everyone else

      No. Emphatically no. It's the other way around. The corps desperately need him. Most of them tried it the proprietary way for years and lost to Microsoft.

      The best analogy I can give regarding a future with RMS serving the corps is an Animal Farm reference. The animals are running the humans off the farm right now. The animals are excited, no animals go into the house on pride. But pretty soon, the Pigs (red hat, et al) will be moving into the house. (I would argue they've already started) After that, they'll declare, "two legs good, 4 legs bad."

      A corporation is imbued with extra freedoms beyond what individuals get in the U.S. in order to return a profit to its shareholders. Distorting RMS's message to serve that end is approved by shareholders.

      RMS needs no corporation.
    • by killjoe ( 766577 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @07:01PM (#15062144)
      "But the more he goes around criticizing other concepts (open source) and other people who make his world possible (Torvalds), if not perfect, the more he will alienate them and the farther away his dream will be."

      What an utter bunch of crap this is. So if one disagrees with something Linus does or says what is he supposed to do? Is he not allowed to say that he disagrees with the most holy linus? Linus is not a god, nobody is a god. It's perfectly allowable nay encouraged to speak your mind when you think somebody is doing the wrong thing. That's the way "open source" works.

      RMS doesn't call people names, he isn't rude. He does not act like the slashdot hordes who insist on calling him a hippie, freak, smelly, unwashed etc. He talks about his ideas, he carefully explains where his ideals are different and contrasting to other peoples ideas. I have never heard him call anybody names though which is a lot more then you can say about his critics.

      "He needs Sun and Java and Torvalds and ESR and Red Hat and everyone else. "

      He does? Did you mean that you do? You need them because you want a free operating system that does the things he needs. I don't think he is thinking like you. I don't think he thinks he needs those people.

      "t this rate however... calling Linus insufficiently political is not going to win him any more fans. And more fans is exactly what he needs."

      GASP!. He called linus insufficiently political!. I bet Linus will never speak to him again.

      Thank god Linus is not fragile as you make him out to be. I bet Linus is perfectly capable of being called "insufficiently political" without holding grudges.

    • by JoeBuck ( 7947 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @07:24PM (#15062301) Homepage
      RMS's tools made Linux possible, not the other way around. Linux uses the GNU C compiler, GNU C library, and GNU make, together with the GNU assembler and linker. RMS had a hand in all of those, either as a developer or as a fund-raiser or both. Linux also, of course, uses RMS's license.

      True, RMS failed to produce a kernel, and the main reason he failed in my view is that instead of copying a proven design, he tried (and failed) to design something unprecedented. Linus succeeded because, unlike the GNU project, he copied a proven design (a monolithic Unix kernel). But Linus is not the only available source of kernels.

      If Linus had never come along, RMS would be running GNU tools on top of a BSD kernel and telling everyone why it should be called GNU/BSD. The free BSD kernels were under a legal cloud until 1994, which is what gave Linux time to take off. Of course, Linus' impressive skills as a developer and architect allowed Linux to come from behind and dominate. But we would have gotten to where we are without him, because so many in both GNU-land and BSD-land were committed to the vision of an entirely free operating system.

      Designing something completely new usually doesn't work. Other than Emacs, the rest of the GNU tools are re-implementations of designs from elsewhere, and so is the Linux kernel. That's not bad, by the way, as in both cases the copies are superior to the originals.

    • > He needs Sun and Java...

      Why? Care to explain why the Free Software world needs Java? The FSF is working on cloning it solely because ignorant people built up a lot of otherwise Free infrastructure on Java either not knowing it wasn't Free or not caring. Much like the early days of KDE where they just didn't care about QT being closed source, forcing RedHat to put up the money to help the FSF launch GNOME so as to avert a disaster. And now we have RedHat and the FSF working to clean up other people'
  • GNU/Old (Score:3, Funny)

    by isorox ( 205688 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @06:22PM (#15061895) Homepage Journal
    why he thinks people should address Linux distribution as GNU/Linux.

    It never gets old does it?
    • Re:GNU/Old (Score:5, Funny)

      by Spy der Mann ( 805235 ) <spydermann.slashdot@ g m ail.com> on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @06:38PM (#15061990) Homepage Journal
      It never gets old does it?

      GNO, it doesn't.
  • ...build a GNU-free Linux distro so we can tell RMS that not all Linux is GNU/Linux, thereby making the word Linux by itself an acceptable word :-)
    Surely this is possible.
  • by DrRobert ( 179090 ) * <rgbuice@macCOUGAR.com minus cat> on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @06:25PM (#15061912) Homepage
    is that in order to truly spread the "philosophy" the product must succeed on its own without the "philosophy" attached. When the product succeeds because it is a good product then the philosophy will inherently spread. That is why it is good to call it Linux and not GNU/Linux. That way people will buy into just because its good and not because it is a physical manifestation of RMS's philosophy. This is analagous to all those people who bought American cars in teh 70-80's even though they were crap because they philosophically thought it was important to buy American cars. Therefore the product got worse and worse. He gets it exactly wrong by saying that it must be called GNU/Linux to spread the philosphy. I'm not looking for a philosophy; I'm looking for an OS.
    • by DeepHurtn! ( 773713 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @06:46PM (#15062046)
      What's true for you is not true for everybody. For example, I switched to a GNU/Linux OS precisely because of the philosophy. I'm not a power user, or a coder, or anything like that, and Windows was "Good Enough" for me, just as it is for the overwhelming majority of consumers out there. I took the leap almost two years ago because the GNU philosophy resonated with me. I think that the values behind the FSF crucially important to encouraging the use of Free software.

      For example, take the ODF. I haven't gotten *anywhere* promoting its use (to friends, family, other grad students, etc.) based on its technical merits -- .doc is certainly fine for people. It's when I start talking about GNUish stuff like the right to read that people start paying attention.

      Now, obviously, the softare promoted by the philosophy does need to be good. I'm just saying that I think you're being a little overhasty dismissing the power that the GNU philosophy can have in encouraging adoption.

    • can't say i totally agree...

      the diference between rms and pepsi is how overt they are with the description of philosophy

      pepsi doesn't take tv adds where a guy in a suit stands in front of a plain background and says "pepsi: it embodies youthfulness"; their hot people playing voleyball conveys the same message, just more effectively

      the thing about (please pardon while I use these terms loosely) the "products" that rms is "pitching" is that they don't get 15 second add spots on friends, but, they still

    • by Stalyn ( 662 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @07:37PM (#15062396) Homepage Journal
      You don't get it. The OSS philosophy is the product. The various OSS projects like Linux, gcc, etc are direct results of this philosophy. The philosophy itself leads to success.

      If you try to sell the projects first without the philosophy, business will think they are two different things. They will try to seperate the philosophy(what they don't like) from the project(what they like). Then you will have removed the very thing that made the project a success in the first place. No we should sell the philosophy first, because without it in essence what is the difference between open-source and proprietary software?
  • Linux vs GNU/Linux (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AuMatar ( 183847 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @06:27PM (#15061927)
    This is the best explanation of why he does that yet, IMO. I've always been a little confused and thought he just wanted more credit, which seemed petty. But by pointing out that its basicly advertisement of the GNU philosophy and Free Software makes a lot more sense. I'm not sure if I'm going to join him in doing so, but I'm a lot more likely to now.

    Oh, and I know people are going to flame his last Q&A. I thought it was funny. Shows he doesn't need to take himself seriously all the time.
  • "Recent"? (Score:5, Informative)

    by D. Book ( 534411 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @06:28PM (#15061939)
    The speech the article extracts from was delivered at ANU back in 2004. I believe that was his last visit to Australia (he also spoke at UNSW). There are numerous, more recent speeches by RMS available in audio and video format on the same subjects, and I don't see why this one makes news.
    • Dupe! (Score:3, Funny)

      by dbIII ( 701233 )
      more recent speeches by RMS available
      Don't worry - it's RMS we are talking about, so those speeches are all dupes anyway.
  • not his St. IGNUtius jokes again :(
  • by FishandChips ( 695645 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @06:39PM (#15062002) Journal
    It seems the usual Stallman stuff we've heard before with some bitter-sounding remarks about Linus Torvalds thrown in. It makes one wonder whether Stallman is really motivated by a massive grudge against Torvalds for stealing his thunder all those years ago. Creepier still is a comment later on - "I don't criticise and condemn people just because they don't stand up for free software strongly as I do" - which is completely undermined by what he has said earlier about Torvalds.

    By now a great number of highly talented people have contributed a lot to Linux. It's rather revealing that only one of them hogs the limelight and witters on about "the community" all the time. Your community but not necessarily mine, RMS. The fact that I use GNU/Linux gives you no right to speak on my behalf.
  • by pandrijeczko ( 588093 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @06:42PM (#15062015)
    ...despite being three days late for April Fools Day.
  • While RMS of course is right that the free Java implementations out there don't yet implement all of Sun's features, things are REALLY beginning to look bright lately! The GNU Classpath [gnu.org] project, which can be used with free VMs such as JamVM [sourceforge.net] now even include most of Swing and AWT. For those that prefer working in a familiar environment, the version of GCJ [gnu.org] that shipped with GCC 4.1.0 introduced a new enough (late-2005, I believe) checkout of the GNU Classpath that most of Swing and AWT were available.
    When I
  • by RLiegh ( 247921 ) * on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @06:43PM (#15062033) Homepage Journal
    However, that and two bucks will get you a cup of coffee. People value what they value; if they aren't rioting in the streets after finding out that our conntry is spying on them and sending people to syria for torture, then they most certainly aren't going to give one half of one shit that word documents cannot be universally read.

    Once again, RMS demonstrates that being right isn't the only thing; hell, in this age, being right isn't (worth) any thing.
  • by cant_get_a_good_nick ( 172131 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @06:44PM (#15062036)
    1) calling all software licenses equal is not Microsoft's position. They don't particularly like GPL, and wish they could stamp it out. They don't mind BSD license so much, they still ship with BSD code (some command line tools), had a BSD network stack for a while (NT 3.5 days or so, been ripped out completely in favor of MS code), and AD authentication is from MITs Kerberos, with some extensions.

    2) Calling it "like Microsoft" is just an emotional attack. If he said "Linux thinks all licenses are valid" then he'd have to come up with a reason why this shouldn't happen. I've never bought his arguments.

    3) "wrong to ever violate them". Stalman makes it sound like this is bad, but never gives reasons why. Can i violate GPL and he'd be happy?

    In a way i wish RMS would stop talking about GNU/Linux and get back to the HURD. Instead of a decades old OS with various security patches on top of it to work in a networked world, have some ideas for a truly clean OS. Port stuff to it. WHy in this day in age do most machines have this all powerful root (or Administrator) user? Build in sub-permissioning from Day 1, don't add on later and wait for thigns to break. Why does a bug in glibc put my whole computer at risk? Why cant we re-engineer things to have message passing and isolated address spaces for libraries? Is the inefficiency of message passing vs. direct method calls going to kill a user who really just wants to be on the net safely? Use the HURD as a research project, get new ideas out into the OS world, where it's stagnating now.
    • Vista Flames (Score:3, Insightful)

      by twitter ( 104583 )
      I've never bought his arguments.

      That's because he does not sell them. If it makes you feel better, make a donation or join the FSF [fsf.org].

      Can i violate GPL and he'd be happy?


      The point of said, "violations," is to help your neighbor. Your obligations to people around you should always outweigh your obligation to Bill Gates and other greed heads. Public libraries are founded on this principle. Sharing and co-operation are good for everyone. Information, unlike all physical goods, has always been free to

  • To become a saint in the church of Emacs does not require celibacy
    Inseert standard joke abut geeks not having gf's here

    Jokes aside, maybe it's true. RMS's personal ad is still on his websit [stallman.org]. Still single after all these years?
  • GNU/Java (Score:3, Insightful)

    by chrisbtoo ( 41029 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @06:56PM (#15062109) Homepage Journal
    I'm actually coming round to his POV on the GNU/Linux thing (X/Linux, KDE/Linux notwithstanding) - GNU was there first, they do still have a way to go, and "Linux distros" do use a lot of GNU stuff. OTOH, of course, there's nothing in the GPL that says you have to call the software a particular name, so he's kinda SOL on that.

    Reading his reasoning behind the "Java trap" makes me chuckle, though. His main argument there seems to be that the Free Software implementations can't keep up with the proprietary ones, and therefore people should stop using the proprietary implementations. Surely the whole reason they're behind is that they waited until the Java gained traction before starting up on a Free version. If it hadn't had that traction, then it wouldn't have been worth doing a Free implementation in the first place.
  • Celibacy (Score:5, Funny)

    by the.Ceph ( 863988 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @07:56PM (#15062496)
    To become a saint in the church of Emacs does not require celibacy.
    And strangely enough if this rule changed not a single one of the saints would notice a difference.
  • Self centered (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Julian Morrison ( 5575 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @09:59PM (#15063067)
    The "GNU/Linux" thing has always stuck me as self-centered. I mean, sure it's both GNU and Linux, but... A name is not a chemical formula out of which a thing's structure can be parsed. Otherwise my OS would be something more like OnceKnoppix SortaDebianTesting Gnu/Linux/bitsOfBSD/Xorg/KDE/SunJava/OpenOffice.or g... and it wouldn't stop there. Heck I could just dump a list of my apt packages, their repository and version, but even that would be incomplete as it would miss out historical influences since purged.

    At which point does a name come to encompass the totality of elapsed events since absolute tick zero?

    I'll continue calling it "Linux" or maybe "Debian testing", because that's good enough and does nobody any special favours.

The relative importance of files depends on their cost in terms of the human effort needed to regenerate them. -- T.A. Dolotta