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Will Stallman Kill the "Linux Revolution?" 741

frdmfghtr writes "The October 30 issue of Forbes Magazine has an article speculating that Richard Stallman's efforts to rewrite the GPL could threaten to 'tear it apart.' The article describes how the GPLv3 is expected to be incompatible with the GPLv2, causing trouble for Linux vendors such as Novell and Red Hat. The article wraps it up: 'And a big loser, eventually, could be Stallman himself. If he relents now, he likely would be branded a sellout by his hard-core followers, who might abandon him. If he stands his ground, customers and tech firms may suffer for a few years but ultimately could find a way to work around him. Either way, Stallman risks becoming irrelevant, a strange footnote in the history of computing: a radical hacker who went on a kamikaze mission against his own program and went down in flames, albeit after causing great turmoil for the people around him.'"
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Will Stallman Kill the "Linux Revolution?"

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  • by A beautiful mind ( 821714 ) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @08:28PM (#16540710)
    Exactly. Personally I think that Stallman is a visionary and Linus is too pragmatist in a sense, as Stallman clearly wants to avoid the DRM/"Trusted computing" trap with GPLv3 and Linus can't see medium/longterm about this. Also, he doesn't seem to be really understanding the v3, since he claimed things like digitally signed repositories like apt-get would be not allowed with v3, while Stallman clearly established that it's not the case.

    I think Linus is a good coder and project manager, but we shouldn't expect him to "show the way" in issues of principle/vision. He's an engineer, not a "freedom fighter".
  • by Eric Smith ( 4379 ) * on Sunday October 22, 2006 @08:31PM (#16540734) Homepage Journal
    Anonymous Coward wrote:
    PS eric your calculator emulators are breaching copyright law. I hope HP sues you into the ground.
    You are presumably referring to Nonpareil [brouhaha.com]. Please explain to me what copyrights I am infringing. I've researched this fairly carefully and do not believe that I'm infringing any copyrights, at least in the U.S. But if I'm mistaken, I'd like to know the details. Feel free to email me; my email address is not hard to find.
  • Footnote? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nijika ( 525558 ) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @08:41PM (#16540808) Homepage Journal
    Say what you will about Richard Stallman, footnote he will never be. That's like saying the Wright brothers are a footnote in aviation.

    And as far as any possible splinter goes, this will separate the wheat from the chaff in both directions. It may be painful, but good will come of it.

  • by Paul Fernhout ( 109597 ) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @08:46PM (#16540850) Homepage
    This has happened before. A while back I tried without success to convince Richard Stallman that continuing to promote a license (the GNU Free Documentation License or GFDL)
            http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html [gnu.org]
    which was incompatible with the GPL was a bad thing. :-)
    See for example some reasons at:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Free_Documentatio n_License [wikipedia.org]
        http://home.twcny.rr.com/nerode/neroden/fdl.html [rr.com]
    My particular interest was to use information from the GFDL-licensed Wikipedia in GPL programs. I'd go further and question the very reasons the GFDL was created in the first place -- just to make dead tree book publishers' lives easier? Where is the emphasis on freedom there?

    I think it is easy for any technologist to underestimate community issues and then to see a license as a program for individual behavior instead of a constitution for a community. The GPL works. It has problems, sure, but it works well enough as a constitution for cooperation. More variants of licenses mainly just make more problems IMHO.
  • by Eric Smith ( 4379 ) * on Sunday October 22, 2006 @08:49PM (#16540882) Homepage Journal
    I am using code from HP in Nonpareil. It is code that was in the public domain. I have copyrighted the derived work.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 22, 2006 @08:51PM (#16540902)
    It seems to me that it would be very difficult indeed to get all the contributers to Linux to go along with a license change/upgrade. And even then, you could fork from the last version... unless there's a provision in the GPL that would enforce the new license retroactively. Even if that's the case, I think it would cause so much acrimony among so many developers that it won't happen.

    On the other hand, Stallman has a long history of being proven right. The general form this takes is that Stallman predicts that "If you give up the right to X, you will be screwed over by somebody who does Y." And then, inevitably, it happens. It bothers me that just because Stallman is committed to his ideals, people treat him like a joke, despite the fact that he's done us a hell of a lot of good.

    The point is that there will always be what in game theory is known as habitual defectors, people who will take advantage of anything that the think helps them out, no matter what the cost to others. If you want to evaluate the risks of giving up rights to somebody, you have to assume the worst. The GPL has been remarkably successful at protecting us from these people. I don't how Linux could have had nearly the success it has with, say, a BSD license. There's nothing in Linux that BSD hasn't done, or couldn't have done.

    Now, there are times when another license could make more sense. For example, one problem in the industry now is that FAT32 is the standard filesystem for removable devices such as USB flash devices. This is because it's the least common denominator, and until recently MS was willing to look the other way. But it's a bad filesystem, and now MS has been making noises about cracking down on it. What are the alternatives? Well, a GPL'd filesystem would probably not get a lot of support here, and licenses on things like ZFS are even more restrictive (plus it's rather new, and probably overkill). It seems like the BSD license would be the natural choice. UFS, maybe?

  • Problems.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by digitalhermit ( 113459 ) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @08:56PM (#16540960) Homepage
    Here's part of the problem:

    Stallman doesn't believe in compromising his ideals. His life's work is Free Software.

    We can call him a weirdo, mad, an ass, but without his conviction we would all be locked into proprietary products. Unlike some things that happened because the world was ready for it (cell phones, computers), I don't believe that Free Software would exist if not for Stallman. That is, without him, I don't think another person would have dedicated his/her life to the cause.

    Corporations don't compromise. Look at Microsoft's business tactics that were either outright illegal or bordering on the illegal. If they had their way we would not be allowed to write our own software, not be allowed to trade software with the original authors, not be allowed to listen to our own music. And this nightmare world is happening.

    Sure, there has to be regulations, but not those imposed by corporations. Look at the radio broadcast spectrum, the automobile industry, etc.. for parallels.

    So here is Richard Stallman. He's probably closer to the end of his years than to the beginning. His life's work is almost happening but Linux, for good or bad, is not at all what he envisioned. He's trying to fix it while he can. If I were in his position, I'd probably do the same thing (if only to be an ornery bastard).

    Stallman is not compromising, but neither is Microsoft.
  • by Tony Hoyle ( 11698 ) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Sunday October 22, 2006 @08:56PM (#16540968) Homepage
    If you're using a dependent library written by someone else and they are forced to GPL3 by using GPL3 contributions you're stuffed. If you see some opensource code that someone has written and want to use it if it's GPL3 you're stuffed.

    Basically it's a complete mess.

    Some of the GPL3 provisions are pretty nasty (like having to make it so your program spits out the source, and not being able to use encryption) so I'm not intending to use it in any projects now or in the future... OTOH I've been transitioning to LGPL for most stuff anyway...
  • by Aladrin ( 926209 ) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @08:59PM (#16540984)
    It's not libraries that you distribute he's talking about, it's libraries that you USE in your code, but someone else maintains.

    Example: You make application A. To work, it needs libraries Z, Y, and X. All of these are GPL v2, but library Y is 'or any later version.' Person P makes a contribution to library Y under GPLv3. Y is now GPLv3. If you wish to use the latest version of library Y, you must now license your application A under the GPLv3.

    If the libraries were under the LGPL, you wouldn't have to use GPLv3 as your license, but your application still has to follow ALL of the LGPLv3 stipulations for use, because of that library, if you want to use the latest version.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 22, 2006 @08:59PM (#16540986)
    As an open-source developer for 8 years building web and desktop apps, I am disgusted with GPLv3.
    I am glad I never trusted the GPL to remain the meaning I intended for my creation and remove the upgrade clause making my code GPLv2 only.
    The thought kept crossing my mind... what if someone like Microsoft created the official GPLv3 or v4 years from now.
    My future open-source apps will probably be a modified FreeBSD or MIT style license.
  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @09:00PM (#16540996) Homepage
    The 1990s called, they want their FUD back. Yes, we use apt-get because we want to but graphical installers have been around for ages now.

    I don't see anyone that's claimed getting software that isn't packaged for the distro being easy. In fact, I don't think installing the software is all that difficult on either. Doing an upgrade of every application on the other hand... show me Windows do that, no instead I got 50 "auto-update" apps that all want to punch my firewall and make management annoying. And installing Linux is much easier if all the hardware is supported - no, you might not install Windows but more often than not users will need to have it reinstalled. Plus, the average install for the average poweruser goes like this:

    1. apt-get install [foo] (or click-equivalent, but I can't paste images in a comment)

    1. Find warez download (time consuming)
    2. Download warez (crappy, unreliable P2P)
    3. Install warez (pray you're not hosed)
    4. Find crack (pray IE doesn't get hosed)
    5. Install crack (pray you're not hosed)

    There's a lot more of the "little things" that annoy me - for example, I recently installed azeureus on top of whatever dependencies debian gave me - turns out it was running on kaffe VM. The very nice thing about that, was that when checking files kaffe would spike to 100% CPU use and stay there using maybe 100x times as long, while sun's java would do it quite quickly at 5% CPU. Try swapping JVM, that's not very easy. Most people wouldn't have a clue or understand how the app depends on java anyway. That's probably the closest thing I've had to an install issue in ages.
  • by paulpach ( 798828 ) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @09:04PM (#16541036)
    Following the logic from FSF, if you use the software to kill someone, that person will no longer be free to run the software (he is dead ).

    Therefore, military use limits the freedom of potential users and is not in the spirit of the GPL.
    It should also restrict use in prisons for the same reason.
    It should forbid its use in ROM because the user can not replace the software.
    It should forbid locking down the software with a phisical lock.
    It should forbid farting near the equipment since noone will be able to get close to replace the software.

  • by Eric Smith ( 4379 ) * on Sunday October 22, 2006 @09:05PM (#16541044) Homepage Journal
    No, but the fact that they were published with no copyright notice back when that was a legal requirement in the US does mean that they are now in the public domain.
  • by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @09:16PM (#16541126) Journal
    This is Forbes magazine.

    The consequence of Richards vision is plenty for everyone and no capacity for hoarding, depriving, controlling and trading.

    You think global warming holds a candle to something like this? He's a dangerous athiest among the flock.
  • Re:Are you joking? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @09:33PM (#16541252) Journal
    I used to be a linux user and then a FBSD biggot and now an ubuntu Linux user again starting last year.

    Linux was very stable at kernel 2.0 when Allen Cox was Linus's right hand man and the distro's did not include alpha quality bleeding edge products. FreeBSD was also very stable and I loved FFBSD 4.x. It had USB support long before Linux did and a certain quality was there that was absent in most linux distributions. However RedHat 7.x and the awefull mandrake ruined Linux expectation as a stable bug free operating system compared to Windows. I gave up and went to FreeBSD 4.2 and loved it! FreeBSD had the highest uptimes and could handle loads that Linux could not.

    However the 1990's are over and FreeBSD 5.x and 6.x are terrible operating systems that are buggy under crazy locking schemes and spagehtti code. Most of hte core developers left and Linux distributions such as Ubuntu came with stable software and the kernel 2.6 is rock solid again like 2.0 was. Linux has caught up and beat FreeBSD.

    Also my USB keyboard that worked under FBSD 4.x still does not work with the recent versions and no BSD hacker can figure it out.

    FBSD is not the os it once was and neither is Linux.

  • by goofyheadedpunk ( 807517 ) <goofyheadedpunk@@@gmail...com> on Sunday October 22, 2006 @09:34PM (#16541266)
    I'd like to agree, but at this point who would use HURD? If it were '90 and the whole GNU system where availiable I could see myself as a HURD user rather than a Linux user, but now it's just irrelevant. Hell, the crazy fuckers can't even stick with their original design goals, they're thinking about switching micro-kernels _again_ without ever having gotten something usable. Stick with the original plan, motherfuckers! Then fix things!

    Argh, sorry. It just pisses me off. I'd love to use a complete GNU system, but there's no way that's ever going to happen. It's not even that the HURD is difficult to write because is a micro-kernel. MINIX has been rewritten three times, and has been usable, in one sense or another, in almost the same amount of time it's taken the GNU folks to get _nothing_ done with HURD.

    The two biggest jokes in software development are the GNU HURD and Duke Nukem Forever, and that's just sad. If HURD is ever finished (and I'm not holding my breath) there will be so many better GNU/Foo systems around, for various values of Foo, that HURD will never collect enough of a user base to be more than a curious little blip.

    I really wish, though, things had turned out differently. Might have been cool, who knows?
  • by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) * on Sunday October 22, 2006 @09:39PM (#16541290) Homepage

    When I read stuff like that, I recall a lot of the same things were said about Stallman and the GPL back when it was coming out. The GPL would drive companies away from open-source software, it was said, because the terms were too radical. Well, businesses didn't like the terms, it was true. But the main thing about the GPL businesses didn't like, the fact that it prevented them from taking GPL'd code and exploiting it for their own profit without letting others do the same, attracted developers in droves. And the result was software that was just too attractive for businesses to just ignore.

    I'll go out on a limb and predict that GPLv3 will follow the same path that GPLv2 and GPLv1 did. And it won't include dying.

  • FUD? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by WalksOnDirt ( 704461 ) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @10:03PM (#16541454)
    I really don't see any FUD here.

    Fear?: Fear of what? The GPL software movement is splitting. This may be annoying, but hardly anything to fear.

    Uncertainty?: There is little uncertainty, the split is now almost certain.

    Doubt?: Doubt of Linux's survival? Anyone paying the slightest attention should have no doubt about that.

    The article is filled with what I consider to be libelous comments about RMS: I don't think he is an anarchist, anti-corporate or against the sale of software. That sort of reckless disregard for the truth has no place in such a major publication, and I think Lyons should be fired.
  • by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @10:04PM (#16541456)
    I don't want to live in a world where companies like TiVo (although I love their DVRs) can use technological loopholes to build on the community's work while denying their end-users the ability to build on and tinker with the products they paid for. The open-source nature of Linux doesn't count for jack if your computer will only allow you to boot the signed copy of Linux that came preinstalled, and/or signed Linux upgrade CDs that you buy in a box at the store, does it?

    Sure it does - you can get the source and modify any way you want. You can build your own TiVO like box if you want - no one is stopping you. Just because you can't use any of your mods on their hardware no way limits your freedom to use the GPL'd software. To quote a common response to complaints about OSS - "if you don't like the way it works, modify yourself. Don't expect anyone else to do it for you."

    To expect manufacturers to allow you to run modified software on their hardware is ridiculous - they have every right to limit their hardware to working only with their software configurations. If you don't like that, don't buy their hardware.
  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @10:04PM (#16541460)
    Precisely. Forbes should stick to pork belly futures. It would be humourous to revisit Forbes' predictions about GPL v1 and v2, had they even been aware of such things at the time.
  • by smittyoneeach ( 243267 ) * on Sunday October 22, 2006 @10:11PM (#16541502) Homepage Journal
    None of the symbols we use to communicate are immutable.
    The opinions of the dudes who wrote the Bill of Rights were not constant, either.
    Why is this [imdb.com] dark vision so resonant?
    Because the increasingly complex legal system, far from being a means to the end of regulating society, is more a means unto itself.
    One wonders what a graph against time of the legal costs spent on software by all companies would be. Frightening, I'd expect.
    Your wish for an immortal law doesn't fit the legal business model and, ultimately, is just not quite real. ;)
  • by Ruie ( 30480 ) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @10:18PM (#16541550) Homepage
    But the main point is essentially correct: Stallman is trying to aggressively expand his "freedom empire" with the GPL 3, and it could just bite him on the ass.

    I don't think "expand" is the right term here. "Preserve" would be much better.

    Keep in mind that when GPL-2 was created there was no such thing as DMCA and software patents were a rather exotic idea. GPL-3 is the answer to new laws and aggressive interpretations of old ones.

    "Global" and "Internet" are not just empty words. Combine a potential loophole (as one can use GPL source and lock down binaries with crypto key and DMCA) and millions of people and there *will* be a few unscrupulous ones that will spoil it for everybody (example: e-mail).

    So, yes, we do need GPL-3, but the issue of how to deal with existing GPL-2 software is truly a hairy one.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 22, 2006 @10:23PM (#16541580)
    A conference of European IT professionals was held recently in Bern. One of the presenters was discussing how the financial firm he worked for switched from a multitude of Sun systems running Solaris to a much smaller number of Opteron servers running FreeBSD.

    He did a quick survey of the approximately 500 people who were viewing his presentation. His first question asked how many had already integrated FreeBSD into their network infrastructure. Approximately 20% of the people there raised their hands. His next question asked how many were in the process of integrating FreeBSD systems, with him getting a response of about 50% to 60% of all the attendees. His final question asked how many of those people had moved/were moving from Linux to FreeBSD, with about half answering that they were.

    Somebody like yourself, who just isn't involved with the industry in any way, wouldn't understand how prevalent FreeBSD is becoming. People are getting fed up with the low quality of the Linux 2.6 branch. People are getting tired of the licensing uncertainty. IT departments around Europe want stability now and in the future, thus they are going with FreeBSD, because it can offer that.

  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <qg@biodome.org> on Sunday October 22, 2006 @10:33PM (#16541626) Homepage Journal
    It really isn't hard. Imagine Evil Inc develops a device that has an embedded signature checking chip that I can't get around. I bought the damn device, I just want to hack it so it doesn't have annoying-feature-X. I asked Evil Inc to fix annoying-feature-X but they just mwa-ha-ha-ed at me. What can I do? Well, it turns out that Evil Inc is running some GPL v3 software on this device. I know this because when I bought it I had to install the software myself. I thought this was kinda strange, after all, this is a consumer product, but I guess they needed to do that to get around the GPL v3 restrictions. If only I could make my own CD, I could insert whatever software I wanted.. hmm, but I'll need their private key so I can sign my binaries and make the device accept it. Right. No point asking Evil Inc nicely, they'll just mwa-ha-ha at me again. Who's the copyright owner for this GPL v3 work? That guy. Ok, I'll just get that guy to sue Evil Inc so they have to give up the key. He says he'll go along, just so long as I'm paying the legal costs (I really hate Evil Inc now, I'm in this to the death, pony up lawyer boy). Ok, so now that guy is telling me that Evil Inc had a cunning plan when they distributed those CDs.. turned out *they* didn't distribute it, Evil-Sub-Company distributed it and that's the only people I can sue. Right-o. Let's sue those bastards. The judge tells me that he can't order Evil-Sub-Company to hand over Evil Inc's private key, because it's not Evil-Sub-Company's private key to hand over. Fair enough. I've asked the judge to pass an injunction against Evil-Sub-Company and prevent them from distributing that guy's software at all. He says he'll do that. I've also asked the judge to award my legal costs and a nice big fat damages cheque. He's agreed to that too. Next time Evil Inc thinks they can subcontract their GPL-violations to a sub company I'll just sue them bastards too. Now we're off to buy a yaught and stock it with hookers. That guy is stoked.
  • by jmv ( 93421 ) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @11:09PM (#16541886) Homepage
    No, worst case is there's a nuclear war and we all die. Shouldn't the GPLv3 address that and say that you are not allowed to use GPLv3 software for launching missiles. That way, we'll be sure never to have a nuclear war, right? Do you really think changing the GPL will prevent DRM and "trusted computing"? I'm actually thinking the GPLv3 is worded in a way that would make it very easy to *exclude* free software from hardware. Say Linux was released under GPLv3, if I made a hack to port Linux to the XBox XYZ, I wouldn't be allowed to distribute it because I don't have the key (and possibly rely on a DRM hole or a mod chip). What this also means is that I can also start manufacturing computers that require a key to run software. I can then give the key to anyone freely under GPLv3-imcompatible terms. Everyone can now write software for my machine, but I'll make sure no GPLv3 code can be run on it legally. Nice!
  • by karl.auerbach ( 157250 ) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @11:25PM (#16542010) Homepage
    GPLv2 contains the following language in paragraph 9:

    If the Program specifies a version number of this License which applies to it and "any later version", you have the option of following the terms and conditions either of that version or of any later version published by the Free Software Foundation.

    This provision gives the option of deciding whether to follow V2 or V3 to the person making a copy of V2 code, not to the author.

    There is a serious ambiguity - if that person adds or changes some of the code, can that person convert the entire module to V3 or is the module now fragmented? And if the latter, how is anyone supposed to keep track of what statement of code is under what license?

    Personally I have abandoned publishing code under the GPL - I now use the less restrictive, non-viral MIT/BSD style licenses.

    There is another situation that few have discussed - The rules of copyright in the US are defined by statutes enacted by, and changable by, Congress.

    There is a chance that Congress could amend the US copyright law to deny the right of enforcement to anyone who has made only a partial or small contribution to the totality of the work or if that contribution has been subject to several intervening layers of further contributions. (It would be a bear to define these things, but the Congress critters would be getting a lot of help from the IP and non GPL software industry.)
  • by node 3 ( 115640 ) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @11:26PM (#16542020)
    Because it allows the *STATES* to have their own armies, just in case they need to defend themselves from external threats, including those from other states or the federal government itself.

    It essence, it means the states all have the right to have their national guards and state militias, and that Congress can't revoke that right, in the hopes of avoiding the sort of situation the colonies found themselves in relative to Great Britain.

    There is absolutely no way whatsoever the FF's intended it to mean that every American has an inalienable right to own any weapon they want whatsoever without limit.
  • by NotQuiteReal ( 608241 ) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @11:26PM (#16542028) Journal
    In general, I must agree with you. But clearly that is not the case all the time. Take my example, off the top of my head, of the 2nd amendment to the US constitution. Clearly there was room for more than a one-liner.

    All I am saying, is that when I write (usually about techie stuff), I try to write clearly, without taking for granted the audience. I assume my docs will be read by the corporate types who pay the bills, and the geek admin who will install and run my code. I define my terms, even if they are painfully obvious (to me) at the time. You need some perspective that some reader down the road may not have the same background as you or the same assumptions. (Heh, *that* reader might be myself three years from now.)

    Why can't law be the same? I guess it boils down to more docs are better. How about writing the "full manual" AND a "quick start", and a "for dummies", and ???, etc. As much as it takes, depending on how important the item your are writing about is. The GPLV3 might be worth more words. I have hundreds of GB of storage, if not TB. A few more words won't hurt me, but might make my legal bills smaller later.

    I know "the law" is all about dotting the "i"s and crossing the "t"s, but if you do the legalese first, then preface multiple, redundant, intended-to-clarify, clauses, how does that detract from the primary goal?

  • by bursch-X ( 458146 ) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @11:35PM (#16542086)
    Let's see:

    Ten commandments?

    I'm not religious, but...

    "Thou shalt not murder"

    Is pretty clear to me. Although apparently it wasn't to Christianity. Then again this wasn't an issue of not being clear rather than the people this is and was addressed to, putting their fingers in their ears and singing "LA LA LA LA LA LA I can't hear you LA LA LA!!"...
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @11:38PM (#16542116)
    The BSD lets you do what you want, while the GPL license defines Stallman's personal definition of "free" and then imposes it on you, which isn't freedom at all.

    You again. You are to GPL articles like Krell is to Islam articles - always making ridiculous, unsupportable claims in cute little sound-bites of vapidity. Just like Krell, no matter how often you are corrected, you can be counted on to spout the same tired old baloney in the next story on the GPL. Sure makes it easy to rebutt you, I can even use the same response I used last time.

    The GPL does not impose anything, it is the author of the software who choose what rules to impose on the people he gives his software too. The GPL is just one pre-defined set of rules that an author may choose to use. RMS ain't making the author chose a single one of the rules in the GPL, the author is completely free to choose whatever rules he likes.

    Don't like the author's choice? You are FREE to use some other code instead.
  • by Xtravar ( 725372 ) on Monday October 23, 2006 @12:21AM (#16542384) Homepage Journal
    So you have a law phrased in several different ways so that everyone understands... what do you do if there is ambiguity between phrasings?

    Nothing's ever going to be perfect and eternal. Things and language are changing all the time, and there's always going to be something that somebody never thought of. You can keep adding words and sentences and specifics until your face turns blue, but the law will still have uncharted territory - maybe not today, but eventually.

    The nature of this conversation reminds me of The Law of Leaky Abstractions ( http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/LeakyAbstra ctions.html [joelonsoftware.com] ), since language is just an abstract way of communicating our thoughts.

    Think of it this way: Was the Windows API perfect when Windows 3.1 hit the shelves? No. They've added functions and parameters, which most likely were not needed at the time of its original creation.
  • by The Bungi ( 221687 ) <thebungi@gmail.com> on Monday October 23, 2006 @01:46AM (#16542898) Homepage
    I do not know why you defend this obvious hatchet-job published by Forbes

    I'm not defending anything. I pointed out that among all the obviously inflammatory bullshit there are issues about the GPLv3 that are valid - issues that people like Torvalds and choice kernel hackers have raised repeatedly - and that have been consistently dismissed with the usual "nothing to see here, move along" line.

    Assuming the author knows anything at all about RMS and the Free Software Foundation

    It's of course disingenious to say that Stallman doesn't want anyone to charge for software; at the same time the confusion about "free-as-in-whatever" (confusion for normal people, not the normal Slashbots) is all the FSF's doing. They are sleeping in the bed they made. And of course Stallman himself has not exactly told the world how it is that you're supposed to make money while giving away software if you're not RedHat or Novell. And no, I don't include PayPal donations there.

    RMS, as far as I can tell, has little interest in damaging the commercial software industry

    Huh? He has repeatedly attacked them for not following his mantra. Where have you been the last 20 years? To Stallman anyone who writes "non-free software" is immoral, and by definition an enemy of his ideals. Please, I'd love for you to prove me wrong. Where do people like you who like to sing his praises get off telling everyone else that they "dont get it"? It's very convenient to ignore anything that complicates your rationalization of these issues, isn't it?

    "dubbing tech giants "evil" and "enemies of freedom" because they rake in sales and enforce patents and copyrights--when he argues they should be giving it all away." Again, utter nonsense

    Utter nonesense? That's *exactly* what Stallman does! I'm not going to argue the relative moral value of what he does, but how can you deny that that is exactly Stallman's modus operandi?

    If there are such unthinking followers, I have not met them

    Really? You must be new here.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 23, 2006 @02:49AM (#16543230)
    Actually he just wants things to work. He likes the GPL because it's the best way to keep a project going and wont fuck you over like the bsd license (which someone can just close off and kill innovation, but that's another arguement) He doesnt care about ideals as much as Stallman. He's more liberal with the GPL. He's a programmer and designer, not someone making a statement, he just happens to be popular because his little open source project is the only thing most GNU apps can play under. He is also powerful because without his little project, GNU probably wouldnt be near as popular as it is these days. I know I'm starting to see more GPL licensed apps on windows than when I did when I was using windows. You can thank linux for that as many people discovered the GPL through playing around with linux. Many GPL'd windows apps started on linux as well.

    However, in the end, I can see there will be a split in opinion. the beauty of OSS is that you can fork projects or clone them.
    So if people want to recreate the linux kernel as something else (dont mention that steaming pile of crap called hurd) that is gplv3, or any userland utils to gplv3, they can. or if any projects switch to gpl3, the releases before the license change will be forked.
    Xorg did it and look where it is now.

    However, I doubt Linus did it for all those pretty games, he did it so shit would work because he knew the companies werent going to give any time soon, and the users were going to be hurt the most, and as much as you may disagree, the users do matter as they use the software. without the users, you're simply wasting bytes and your time. OSS should care about its users, as the alternative doesnt care.

    Plus, the fact you can put blobs in the kernel is a freedom of the software (proxied with a gpl compatible wrapper) not having that is a freedom taken away, yes, proprietary can take over this way, that is, if people let proprietary take control. if people really care, instead of finding ways to block proprietary code, compete with it, competition is healthy, try to one up the people who make proprietary modules for linux with free drivers. Here's the sweet part: the free code will always be default in a vanilla distribution. all restricted drivers will always be separate. So, if someone say, makes a free nvidia kernel driver with full direct rendering support and 3d support that is mostly on par with the proprietary driver, either that will win out or the nvidia guys, like intel, will give in and give code to make their hardware work right, and since most of the work has been done, they dont have to worry. Besides, there isnt too much to open up, the current nvidia driver is really a windows driver hacked to work with linux, I dont think that code is even worth opening.
  • by Procyon101 ( 61366 ) on Monday October 23, 2006 @03:03AM (#16543318) Journal
    Well, this gem is included:

    Amendment VII

    In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

    I'm pretty sure they didn't mean $20 the way you and I mean $20.
  • by ThePhilips ( 752041 ) on Monday October 23, 2006 @05:36AM (#16543986) Homepage Journal

    Your version of freedom seems to be anarchy.

    Absolute freedom - everybody does what he wishes - is anarchy. Nothing surprising.

    GPL tries to give everyone more freedom by restricting the freedom of the slick and sharp to take freedoms away from the less sophisticated.

    Have you read what you have wrote? Are you from US? Are you listening speeches of George W. Bush often? Because he uses the same pattern: to stop wars, we need to wage a war.

    Restricting people for sake of freedom? How more dumber it could be.

    What you are trying in fact to say, is that GPL tries to establish system of compromises which leads to sustainable software ecosystem. Rules and discipline are must for any system to be sustainable in long term. But also, both rules and discipline has to be flexible so that system can survive cataclysms.

    As sign that Stallman/FSF are not capable of building such system, you can take the fact, that they have never managed to produce usable OS kernel. In other words, they have not compromised enough. End of story.

    It's no fun dodging debris falling off a poorly maintained, slow, overloaded truck in front.

    So you think GPLv3 does it right? Prohibit trucks? And prohibit debris? That's just dumb. You cannot prohibit everything.

  • by coaxial ( 28297 ) on Monday October 23, 2006 @06:37AM (#16544276) Homepage
    Never read Misquoting Jesus [amazon.com] huh? Here's the highlights:
    • There's no definitive interpretation of the Bible. Never was. You can go all the way back to the earliest copies, and they're different, sometimes in substantive ways.
    • The combination of scribes and lack of widespread literacy, and copies, people -- sometimes accidently, sometimes willfully -- changed the Bible. Case in point, one of the most popular Jesus quotes in the Bible, "He who is without sin, cast the first stone." Not just the quote, but the entire story of the stoning of the woman doesn't even exist in the earliest copies. Good story. Consistent with Jesus's teachings, but it wasn't part of the Bible.

    Oh, and what got Author Bart D. Ehrman interested in this topic? He was raised a Biblical literalist and wanted to read THE definitive earliest copy of the Bible. While the historical truth of the Bible hasn't shaken he's belief in Christianity, he's no longer a literalist.
  • by dwandy ( 907337 ) on Monday October 23, 2006 @06:41AM (#16544294) Homepage Journal
    Also, Stallman isn't a lawyer, although his intent is well and good, does he really understand what the consequences of his intent are?
    Stallman might not be a lawyer, but he has one [columbia.edu], and I think it's pretty safe to say that (as far as is possible) the legal consequences have been studied.
    Of course, tivoisation is an unexpected consequence of the v.2 wording ... so nothing is perfect, and depending on how the v.3 transition goes there may be a v.4 in another dozen years.

    imho, Stallman's intent has never changed and he's never hidden his intent ... anyone who believes that GPLv.3 is different than v.2 in intent has obviously never read Stallman.

  • Well, actually... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Poromenos1 ( 830658 ) on Monday October 23, 2006 @07:16AM (#16544450) Homepage
    ... in Exodus 34, there's a completely different set of commandments [nccbuscc.org].
  • by tinkerghost ( 944862 ) on Monday October 23, 2006 @09:24AM (#16545492) Homepage
    Linus does not care about free software. He never had, he never will. He doesn't understand or he does not accept the idea of free code. He has this idea that he is "pragmatic" (whatever that means) but that basically means code works.

    I think if you actually read what he writes, you'll find that the only thing he cares about is that the sourcecode be 'free' as in speech. That's why TIVO doesn't bother him. It's a hardware issue. The sourcecode is 'free'.

    There was a discussion on Groklaw a few weeks back & for him, the whole issue is tit-for-tat - we give companies code, they give us back the changes, what they do with that code is their issue. As long as the code changes come back, the community has been improved & the process continues. It doesn't matter if the company ships that code in a ROM based brick, an open flash system, or a Locked down flash box - if the code is available, you can make one yourself & impliment any changes you want.

  • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Monday October 23, 2006 @01:20PM (#16548602)
    > Ten commandments?

    The Egyptians had them first, in the "Egyptian Book of the Dead", Spell 125
    1. BotD [wsu.edu]
    2. BotD [bardo.org]

    > Is pretty clear to me. Although apparently it wasn't to Christianity.

    The exact Hebrew in Ex 20:13 for "murder" is "lo tirtzach" (It is derived from H#7523 ratzach / ratsach.) Dr. Reuben Alcalay's (modern Hebrew Scholar) Complete Hebrew/English Dictionary says that the word tirtzach, especially in classical Hebrew usage, refers to "any kind of killing," and not necessarily the murder of a human being.

    Aside: If God is a God of Love, why isn't he contradictory and a hypocrite for commanding to kill every man, woman, and child in Ex 32:27 or 1. Sam 15:2?

    What did Paul hear, that he was not allowed to tell others when he had his OBE in 2 Cor 12:4
  • by alizard ( 107678 ) <alizard.ecis@com> on Monday October 23, 2006 @10:35PM (#16555232) Homepage
    Forbes Magazine subscriptions are great Xmas gifts. For the competitors' CEOs and CIOs. Getting technology right is the difference between corporate profit and corporate disaster, and Forbes usually gets it wrong

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