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GNU is Not Unix Education

Richard Stallman on OLPC 218

memshankar writes "In an interview while he was in Hyderabad, India RMS praises for the One Laptop Per Child Project. He is even contemplating making a switch to XO, the flagship machine of the project, from his "old thinkpad". Stallman went on to say that the OLPC laptop has given people a way to use the free BIOS. He is, however dissatisfied with the wireless networking system used in the XO."
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Richard Stallman on OLPC

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  • Re:Wha? (Score:4, Informative)

    by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:44AM (#22320608) Homepage Journal
    Not sure there is much of anything GNU on it. Even the shell utils are busybox, not GNU.
  • Re:Makes sense (Score:4, Informative)

    by Macthorpe ( 960048 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:45AM (#22320614) Journal
    Except it's not. From TFA:

    "He is, however dissatisfied with the wireless networking system used in the XO. Since it uses a proprietary technology, he plans to remove it and use a separate device when he needs to make wireless communication with others."
  • by seeker_1us ( 1203072 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @10:52AM (#22320732)
    the keyboard is purposefully small (kid sized) so it wouldn't get stolen.

    RMS, who has had crippling repetitive stress injuries in the past, should know better than to make a statement like this, let alone even use the XO for anything but experimentation.

  • by Hobart ( 32767 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @11:12AM (#22320978) Homepage Journal
    http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Marvell_microkernel [laptop.org]

    The microkernel on the Marvell 88W8388 wireless chip is one of 2 to 4 pieces of non-Free user-modifiable software on the XO laptop. (the others being the EC firmware, and possibly the touchpad and keyboard firmware) This is where we explain what needs to be done to create a Free replacement, who is doing it, and what progress we have made.
  • Re:why? (Score:3, Informative)

    by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @11:16AM (#22321026) Homepage Journal
    Seen any Eben Moglen lectures? For example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NorfgQlEJv8 [youtube.com]

    If you can handle his monotones, he really has some cool stuff to say.
  • Re:Wha? (Score:2, Informative)

    by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @11:44AM (#22321526) Homepage Journal
    Hmmm...it includes GTK+ and bits of Gnome. GTK+ is a part of Gnome, which in turn, is a part of GNU. And, of course, it uses glibc, which is also a part of GNU.

  • by novakyu ( 636495 ) <novakyu@novakyu.net> on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @11:55AM (#22321684) Homepage
    I think you misunderstand him. I quote from Why "Open Source" misses the point of Free Software [gnu.org]:

    "For the free software movement, free software is an ethical imperative, because only free software respects the users' freedom. By contrast, the philosophy of open source considers issues in terms of how to make software "better"--in a practical sense only. It says that non-free software is a suboptimal solution. For the free software movement, however, non-free software is a social problem, and moving to free software is the solution."

    I suppose it's O.K. if you don't think freedom is the most important thing—everyone has an opinion and you have every right to disagree. But you should understand that free software has never been about making a good reliable program (although that is often a by-product)—it is about the freedom itself.

    As for not using GPLv3, I don't think rms himself would hold that against anybody. As a matter of course, GNU projects will be under GPLv3, but rms has repeatedly said, for example, in the case of Linux, the kernel, it is entirely up to the kernel developers (the strongest statement you have from him is that he hopes that they will decide to upgrade to GPLv3), and as you can see in the list of free licenses [gnu.org] (well, some not), he never held being not copyleft against any license—it's just that when one values freedom, GPL (and admittedly, it's latest version, in FSF's opinion) does the best job of protecting that freedom for everyone (or, the most number of people).
  • Re:Wha? (Score:5, Informative)

    by swillden ( 191260 ) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @12:00PM (#22321754) Homepage Journal

    But it runs on Linux - Uh, sorry - GNU/Linux.

    Essentially, all linux systems are GNU/Linux to RMS (check out the source to configure).

    RMS has never claimed the Linux kernel as part of GNU. He uses GNU/Linux to refer to distributions which use all the GNU userland stuff on top of the Linux kernel. It's a pretty reasonable position, actually, except that it ignores some other major pieces that should be in the list, and that a proper list (e.g. GNOME/Xorg/GNU/Linux) would be so unwieldy that it's easier just to say "Linux".

    Actually, Linux as RMS uses it really is pretty much just GNU/Linux. I understand he doesn't use X or anything that requires a GUI, just EMACS, GNU Screen and BASH.

  • by KarmaRundi ( 880281 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @12:15PM (#22321970)
    It has 3 USB ports, so you can plug in an ergonomic keyboard and mouse (which you might want to do with any laptop if you have RSI).
  • Re:Wha? (Score:2, Informative)

    by punissuer ( 1036512 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @12:57PM (#22322388) Journal
    Your comment is funny because Stallman has pleaded so many times for credit where it's due, but I do hope you noticed that the name he came up with for GNU wasn't StallmanOS or RMoS.
  • by Mesa MIke ( 1193721 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @01:05PM (#22322502) Homepage
    RMS has always been known as RMS.
    Likewise, ESR has always been known as ESR.

    If that confuses you, you must be new here.
  • by SpinyNorman ( 33776 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @01:25PM (#22322742)
    Stallman's FSF and GNU project have got nothing to do with BSD. The BSD licence originated with the BSD Unix distribution and has since, in modified form, taken on a life of it's own as a permissive type of free software licence.

    Stallman's goal with the FSF was originally to create an entirely free Unix replacement - the GNU (= GNU's Not Unix) project, starting from the ground up with tools like Emacs, GCC, the GNU C library, Bison (Yak replacement), replace ments for all the Unix user space tools, etc.

    Stallman didn't hijack a BSD initiated free softare movement - he created the movement in the first place and created an entirely free Unix implementation (minus the kernel - intended to be HURD) that is an alternative to BSD, Sys V, etc. He's quite right to assert that "Linux" should be called GNU/Linux, since a Linux distribution is essentially GNU with Linus's kernel. You can even have a GNU system with another kernl (such as Mach), but without GNU (and Richard Stallman) "Linux" would not exist - you'd just have some sad hacker in Finland with a toy kernel and maybe dreams of building an operating system and user space tools around it one day.
  • by wurp ( 51446 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @01:41PM (#22322948) Homepage
    FIC produces a phone that qualifies. The firmware for the GSM is closed, but I believe that's a legal requirement in most areas.

    The Neo 1973 & Neo FreeRunner [openmoko.com] are linux ARM computers with full GPS, bluetooth, GSM/GPRS, USB (client & unpowered host) and 480 x 640 touchscreens. The FreeRunner also has two accelerometers and wi-fi. You can buy the Neo 1973 [openmoko.com] now, and the FreeRunner is expected in March or April.

    You can (of course) play video, music, and run PDA apps on the devices. You can also view PDFs and the web, use bluetooth keyboards (or bluetooth anything else, for that matter), or do anything that you or someone else cares to port from the desktop, assuming the hardware resources are sufficient.

    I've been playing with my Neo 1973 (currently recommended only for people willing to debug, and tolerate alpha level software) for a few weeks, and I'm having a great time with it.

    Not only the software is open - you can get CAD files for the case, and schematics as well. There are also i2c, etc. bus standards used so adding new hardware is easy as well, if you're so inclined. Obviously the real market there is for a cottage industry distributing neos with extra hardware built-in, but the hobbyist can experiment at home, too.
  • by skeeto ( 1138903 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @06:24PM (#22326430)

    BSD existed long before GNU. In fact, all GNU did for the most part was hack on BSD tools and release them under a license that effectively forbade the new code from being rolled back in.

    True, BSD was around before GNU, but the GNU project didn't touch BSD code for a long time (not for 16 years at least) due to two problems. First, the BSD code was in a legal limbo [wikipedia.org], thanks to copyright problems with AT&T. Using it would be dangerous.

    Second, the original BSD license had an annoying advertising clause making it incompatable with the GPL [gnu.org]. This clause wasn't removed until 1999, after Richard Stallman convinced Berkeley to remove it [wikipedia.org]. This finally allowed GPL and BSD code to be mixed. The GNU project was already well established by then.

    So, no, the GNU project wrote their software from scratch. They didn't just hack the BSD tools.

  • by Starky ( 236203 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2008 @11:39PM (#22329568)
    Would someone be so kind as to set up a mirror for those of us in China? Blogspot is blocked by the Great Firewall.

    Thanks in advance.

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