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RMS Objects To Support For LLVM's Debugger In GNU Emacs's Gud.el 551

An anonymous reader writes with the news that Richard Stallman is upset over the prospect of GNU Emacs's Grand Unified Debugger (Gud.el) supporting LLVM's LLDB debugger. Stallman says it looks like there is a systematic effort to attack GNU packages and calls for the GNU Project to respond strategically. He wrote his concerns to the mailing list after a patch emerged that would optionally support LLDB alongside GDB as an alternative debugger for Emacs. Other Emacs developers discounted RMS' claims by saying Emacs supports Windows and OS X, so why not support a BSD-licensed compiler/debugger? The Emacs maintainer has called the statements irrelevant and won't affect their decision to merge the LLDB support.
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RMS Objects To Support For LLVM's Debugger In GNU Emacs's Gud.el

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 08, 2015 @05:15PM (#49012275)

    ... especially when someone acts freely and in a way you object to.

    • by pegdhcp ( 1158827 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @05:34PM (#49012373)
      Excellent point, open and free but only in the way he sees freedom... We are talking about the man who is insisting to call Linux, GNU/Linux and likes to flame people for speaking up their minds, with different world visions...
      • by Aighearach ( 97333 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @05:43PM (#49012437) Homepage

        He's presenting and supporting a position that he holds. He's not flaming anybody, he is participating in a rational public debate about something that he helped to start, which seems entirely fair. He chose not to keep maintaining emacs day to day, and so that is his role; to say what he thinks the people running it now should do.

        What you're doing, though, is just to flame him... for speaking his mind... while trying to accuse him of being against the speaking of minds.

        It should be very easy to form a rational basis for views contrary to his. Unfortunately you abandon the attempt right at the start, and resort instead of a basket of logical fallacies. His views are at an extreme end, it shouldn't be hard at all to be both contrary and reasonable.

        • by Curtman ( 556920 ) * on Sunday February 08, 2015 @05:55PM (#49012521)
          I believe his position is that the mainline GNU Emacs should not accept patches that cater to non-GPL licensed plugins. The freedom exists for any user to apply those patches anyway. RMS is the original author of Emacs, and personally has copyright of a lot of that code. The current maintainer has said he will apply the patches anyway so it's really a non issue. None of that seems to be mentioned in the summary at least.
          • by laing ( 303349 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @06:09PM (#49012625)
            You've made a good point, and I want to emphasize that the LLVM License [llvm.org] *IS* an open source license, it's just not as restrictive as the GPLv3 license in terms of how the software can be used. RMS wants software to be free, but GPLv2 is more free than GPLv3 because GPLv2 has fewer restrictions on how the software can be used. RMS is marginalizing himself with his crusade against commercial software.
            • by Curtman ( 556920 ) *
              That's one way of looking at it. I see RMS as abrasive and pedantic, but all-in-all a visionary and due some respect. RMS has always marginalized himself, and life has gone on anyway. In his view GPL is more free because it ensures freedom to the user from being trapped in a ball of proprietary shit, or tries to anyway.
            • by TehZorroness ( 1104427 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @07:10PM (#49013137)

              RMS isn't against commercial (for profit) software at all. He's against software that is not completely transparent to the user about what it's doing (and that you can't fix yourself if it breaks). The additional restrictions in the GPLv3 are present to help prevent a company from monopolizing an open source project that was developed by someone else via threat of patent litigation. It also prevents TiVoization - because free software is meaningless to the end user if you can't tweak it and load up your modifications. Both are pretty legitimate concerns. If Canonical started selling Ubuntu laptops which will only load signed kernels (which they could do if they wanted, as the kernel is just GPL2), there's nothing stopping them other than the community gathering it's torches and pitchforks.

              I was curious one time a while back about trying to make my own compiled programming language, and was quite disappointed when I started fishing around in GCC and learned that it really is designed from the ground up not to be extensible. I'm pretty sure RMS quite the hacker, so it disappoints me to see his stubbornness get in the way of writing software with a technically superior design. He has the right intentions, but he's picking the wrong battles here. Free software ideally should be superior to proprietary software in every way. Nerfing GCC and Emacs is pretty reminiscent of Microsoft's (and co.) historic strategy of vendor lock-in via proprietary ill-defined file formats and refusal to implement open standards imho.

          • by BarbaraHudson ( 3785311 ) <barbarahudson@NOSPaM.gmail.com> on Sunday February 08, 2015 @06:21PM (#49012735) Journal

            The current maintainer has said he will apply the patches anyway so it's really a non issue. None of that seems to be mentioned in the summary at least.

            That part IS mentioned in the summary

            The Emacs maintainer has called the statements irrelevant and won't affect their decision to merge the LLDB support.

            You can be sure Stallman is miffed. Publicly calling his input irrelevant on code he wrote is one step away from calling him irrelevant.

            • by causality ( 777677 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @06:55PM (#49013015)

              The current maintainer has said he will apply the patches anyway so it's really a non issue. None of that seems to be mentioned in the summary at least.

              That part IS mentioned in the summary

              The Emacs maintainer has called the statements irrelevant and won't affect their decision to merge the LLDB support.

              You can be sure Stallman is miffed. Publicly calling his input irrelevant on code he wrote is one step away from calling him irrelevant.

              Whenever you relieve yourself of a responsibility by giving it to someone else, you accept that that person is not you and may not make the same decisions that you would make. If Stallman is to be blamed for anything, it should be in the form of Stallman blaming himself for choosing a maintainer who does not more closely share his views.

              Now that persuasion has failed, I suppose he could fork it.

              • The Emacs maintainer has called the statements irrelevant and won't affect their decision to merge the LLDB support.

                ... It should be in the form of Stallman blaming himself for choosing a maintainer who does not more closely share his views.

                Now that persuasion has failed, I suppose he could fork it.

                Winner! This is BRILLIANT : )

                This is the only time I have seen a *plausible* use of the "don't like it? fork it" on slashdot since my 1998 awakening to Slashdot*. The other 99.9% of the time the rest of you guys are just being jerks by asking us random non-coder slashdotters to fork stuff, like Firefox and Chrome. It's like being slapped in the face with a strawman and insult at the same time (fractaltiger *must be* lazy and dumb if he won't fork after pointing out some design flaw in that program, ignore i

      • by causality ( 777677 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @06:37PM (#49012861)

        Excellent point, open and free but only in the way he sees freedom... We are talking about the man who is insisting to call Linux, GNU/Linux and likes to flame people for speaking up their minds, with different world visions...

        So he tries to persuade people to agree with him, perhaps passionately, perhaps vehemently, maybe even not so nicely ... but (to my knowledge) he has never used force or fraud to coerce people into behaving the way he thinks they should. That sounds perfectly freedom-loving to me. I'm really not seeing the problem here.

        If your opinion of the guy is correct, then his methods will cause fewer people to listen to him and he will thereby undermine his own efforts. This means such a situation would be self-correcting. I've never heard of RMS using force or threat of force to make you call it "GNU/Linux". The degree of power he has over you is determined entirely by how much you decide to listen to him*. The ability to recognize this is generally called perspective.

        It's as though some people have an entitlement mentality, a manner in which they are self-centered. It leads to them feeling like they've been wronged or mistreated somehow when they discover that someone doesn't agree with them, won't support or otherwise validate them (probably the part that really bothers you), and speaks against them.

        * I started to add "and use his software", but then I realized that's not true - you could use Emacs with the LLVM debugger ... or not, whether anyone else likes it or not, because the GPL and LLDB's NCSA license are compatible [gnu.org]. RMS deliberately chose a license allowing this to happen. Did you fail to recognize the significance of that? That freedom means people might do things with which he disagrees does not remove his right to disagree. Are you suggesting it should? If not, what exactly are you trying to say, if you are not in fact expressing another entitlement mentality?

    • You mean by saying words you didn't want to hear? Yes, it is such a "bitch" that you chose to learn what RMS has to say. Luckily, since we're all free here, you can bitch about him bitching, and I can bitch about you bitching about him bitching about whatever those bitches did.

      The part I don't understand is why you "object" to others exercising the same freedom that you're using to... object.

    • Freedom and power are not the same thing [gnu.org]. When someone distributes a non-free derivative of a Free Software program, the distributors are exercising power over the users of that derivative.
  • NERD FIGHTTT!!!!!!

    seriously, why would someone care if you can do X in something but not Y, unless you are apple anyway i dont get it
    • i dont get it

      Gosh, he's been on the scene telling you why your whole life. If you still don't get it, just read 2 paragraphs and you'll be there. It seems like, regardless of if you agree with him or not, that it would be worthwhile to have a basic understanding of the concept of "software freedom" in the context of the GPL. Even if you don't care, it is still worthwhile to spend 5 minutes on it because it gets discussed a lot by others, and you'll end up spending a lot more than 5 minutes reading about what people say.

  • The rights of the user always triumphs the rights of the developer.

    But in this case the user and developer are one. With even Microsoft supporting clang, Android, and Linux development in the latest visual studio alphas it is now emacs that is becoming the most proprietary with locking in. What a bizarre universe this is becoming

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Cafe Alpha ( 891670 )

      Actually "users" don't touch source code, they might hire a programmer to do that, but then that's another developer.

      GNU makes the right of "information" higher than that of people, ever.

      • What if a abiword and virtual box do not meet my needs. Would I be harming myself for purchasing VMWARE Workstation and Office2010 in return?

        I am a user who not only is buying but willing to pay for proprietary software. RMS would think I am crazy but I would argue my own self interests are better served investing in better tools for productivity more than the rights for me to get something for free and hack the complicated source code.

        • I use both.

          I get impressed by how much better for my needs a lot of free software is than Microsoft's bloat though.

  • Bit of a hatchet job (Score:5, Informative)

    by cfalcon ( 779563 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @05:26PM (#49012325)

    There's a little more than is being reported. Here's some other RMS lines in the same thread:

    First we have:

    "More precisely, Apple intends LLVM and Clang to make GCC cease to be a
    signal success and a reason for all sorts of companies to work on a
    compiler that always gives users freedom. That would be a victory for
    Apple and a defeat for freedom.

    I don't know what LLDB is, or what it might do. I am going to find
    out."

    That's a little bit paranoid, but it is still a cautious statement.

    Then:

    "This question is a small part of a big issue which is more or less bad.
    I want to find out what it is, and think about it. Please do not ask
    me to rush to a conclusion without finding out what is happening."

    Again, in all of his posts he mentions wanting to discuss it a bit more. RMS is pretty incendiary, eccentric, and often does or says crazy shit but... in this case it sounds like he said something alarmist to get attention and try to get some discussion, without stamping his foot down or flipping his shit. That he's being selectively quoted to make news is bad juju.

    • miss developers who've said that GCC has been made deliberately harder to understand than clang... Something about wanting to keep the wrong sort of developers out. Freedom to obfuscate your code isn't really freedom of information either.

      • by Nutria ( 679911 )

        Something about wanting to keep the wrong sort of developers out.

        Naturally: citation or you're just spewing more GPL FUD.

        • Citation = "I read it some time"

          I googled a little, if I'd found the link I would have included it.

          Lets face it though, LLVM started as an educational project, for years people complained that it was too pedagogical (and too fancy) to ever run quickly.

          GCC isn't so nicely documented.

    • by Nutria ( 679911 )

      That would be a victory for Apple and a defeat for freedom.

      So... the forces of GPL freedom need to step up their game.

    • If LLVM were a Microsoft product instead of an Apple product, we would all agree he had reason to be wary. Frankly the way Apple has acted since Jobs came back, there would still be enough justification to be wary of them as Microsoft.

      Still I don't see much harm in it.

      • by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @05:50PM (#49012485)

        If LLVM were a Microsoft product instead of an Apple product

        LLVM is not an Apple product. It's an open source project which Apple, amongst others, incorporate into their products, and to which they contribute source improvements.

        • by MouseTheLuckyDog ( 2752443 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @06:40PM (#49012895)

          If LLVM were a Microsoft product instead of an Apple product

          LLVM is not an Apple product. It's an open source project which Apple, amongst others, incorporate into their products, and to which they contribute source improvements.

          Right and Android LLVM is not an Google product. It's an open source project which Google, amongst others, incorporate into their products, and to which they contribute source improvements.

    • So he's basically afraid of competition from a better product, and instead of upping his game he's playing unfair with regard to access to "his" products?

      • by exomondo ( 1725132 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @06:56PM (#49013033)

        So he's basically afraid of competition from a better product, and instead of upping his game he's playing unfair with regard to access to "his" products?

        Most people could see this coming. Open source is great for developers, freeware is great for end users and free software just happens to be compatible with both of those and thus provided a vehicle for them. Now it's being done in a way that is also compatible with proprietary software and therefore RMS doesn't like it. So, as you say, he needs to up his game and create a better product that just so happens to be free software because nobody cares about free software in and of itself.

    • News is always selectively-quoted horse shit. That is not news. So causing the discussion to happen is an unequivocal success. That most of what is said is crap, that is just life among talking apes.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @05:27PM (#49012337)

    Take your time. But whatever you find out is irrelevant to whether or not the Emacs maintainer will accept LLVM support into gud.el, at least as long as I'm the maintainer.

    I think I like him.

    • That is the true value of what RMS gave us, both with the GPL generally, and Emacs specifically. His gifts keep on giving, not even he could stop them. That is the Freedom that RMS imbued into Emacs, and supported by handing maintenance over to somebody else when the time came.

      People have the right to disagree with RMS about Emacs precisely because of RMS's views and past involvement.

      Personally, I think Free Software being "Open Source" with a permissive-enough license is what caused us to become Free of

    • by Phillip2 ( 203612 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @06:28PM (#49012791)

      "Stefan"

  • by pikine ( 771084 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @05:37PM (#49012397) Journal

    The most important tenet of GNU General Public License is that anyone who distributes a derived program is obligated to reciprocate by sharing the modified source. This is the "freedom" when RMS talks about "free software." Many other open source licenses such as BSD, MIT, and Apache concern more about attribution and no reciprocation, which more and more people seem to embrace instead. Many companies have a policy to use GPL code only in very specific cases and strongly forbids Affero GPL. If you are the author of some open source project and you want more people to use your code and make you famous, you'd care more about attribution and less about reciprocation. That's where GPL is losing ground.

    I think RMS underestimates that many people are more than willing to exchange someone else's freedom for one's own fame. And famous projects tend to attract more contributors. I think RMS also overestimates that the proprietary code written by some company are worth contributing back to open source while most of them are garbage. Once he realizes his misunderstanding of people's motivation, he'd become less coercive.

    • by Cafe Alpha ( 891670 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @05:48PM (#49012473) Journal

      the issue is, can people make money selling software? You know, contributing to their own survival and success. Both for individuals and companies. RMS doesn't care about that.

      • by pikine ( 771084 )

        Software itself isn't valuable. The value is what the software allows you to accomplish compared to those without this software could. If you look at it this way, the real value is in the person who knows how to develop software that works and fulfills a purpose. The software itself is just a byproduct.

        Open source software projects can grow out of an arrangement where a developer worked as a consultant to solve a customer's problem. Some examples are Paul Vixie of ISC BIND and cron fame, Poul-Henning Kamp o

  • by murdocj ( 543661 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @05:44PM (#49012449)

    Ah, Open Source infighting: "We're not the People's Judean Front! We're the Popular Front for Judea. The People's Front is over there".

  • Richard Stallman needs to be brought up to spec on what computers are capable of. He's still living in a world where he doesn't experience even a small fraction of what technology has allowed. If we don't update his firmware soon, he's likely to become completely irrelevant within the decade. Unfortunately, I'm beginning to feel that decade may have already passed.
    • He hasn't even been on the world wide Web yet because Xorg and any browser is not free enough. Never used a cell phone either etc.

      In 2001 here there was a common belief on slashdot proprietary software would always be inferior and desktops would all be gnu by now. He still believes this.

  • I like clang better, recently. Nicer warnings and errors.

  • by borgheron ( 172546 ) on Sunday February 08, 2015 @10:55PM (#49014507) Homepage Journal

    RMS did the very same thing to GNUstep. GNUstep currently supports both GCC and LLVM/Clang. The project does this for good reason: because Objective-C is better supported in clang than it is in gcc. GCC doesn't even consider ObjC as a release critical compiler and LLVM/Clang looks on it as central. Additionally clang supports many modern features of ObjC that gcc lacks and shows no signs of ever attaining.

    RMS specifically indicated that supporting LLVM/Clang by mentioning it on our wiki page (http://wiki.gnustep.org/index.php/ObjC2_FAQ) was harming the GNU project in an important place. Our response was swift and unanimous against remove it since all we are doing is providing user choice and, given that GCC is inferior to LLVM/Clang for ObjC, we MUST support LLVM/Clang. To date we have gotten no response from RMS.

    I think it's grossly unfair of RMS to request this. By supporting Clang and LLVM and LLDB we are not impacting user freedom. All we are doing is offering users a choice which, last time I checked was completely okay. What we have here is a problem where RMS sees his role in the FLOSS community diminishing because someone has come up with a faster, more useful and better support compiler.

    If anyone has damaged the FSF it is not the folks at Clang/LLVM it is RMS and the FSF itself. They have systematically impacted developer freedom by doing the following to GCC:

    https://gcc.gnu.org/ml/gcc/2005-01/msg00008.html

    "One of our main goals for GCC is to prevent any parts of it from being
    used together with non-free software. Thus, we have deliberately
    avoided many things that might possibly have the effect of
    facilitating such usage, even if that consequence wasn't a certainty.

    We're looking for new methods now to try to prevent this, and the outcome
    of this search would be very important in our decision of what to do." -- RMS

    This is terrible! Why would you do this?! RMS is trying to achieve through technical means what proprietary software companies try to do via copyright and IP law.

    RMS is risking an all out rebellion of pretty much all of the FSF/GNU projects if he keeps this up. My advice to the FSF and to RMS is to allow developer freedom and stop viewing LLVM/Clang as a threat or a setback for it is neither.

    GC

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