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GNU is Not Unix

RMS says software licenses worsen Y2K bug 168

RMS at the Singapore Linux conference on Saturday pointed out the obvious: the bottleneck in fixing the Y2K problem comes from proprietary licensing practices. Perhaps Y2K damage will help hammer the free software point across... Notice thato RMS said "Business and making money are not bad" - only restricting others' freedoms.
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RMS says software licenses worsen Y2K bug

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  • It wasn't RMS who bought it, he just had to use it.
  • Posted by Windigo The Feral (NYAR!):

    Some anonymous coward wrote:

    You're missing the point. Suppose you had a really great meal, and it was cheap and easy to prepare. There would be nothing wrong with selling that meal. It would be a violation of someone's rights if you started telling someone that they could not attempt to figure out a recipe to the meal, could not tell other people about the construction of the meal, and could not change the meal in any way, even if it was quite nessecary (RMS uses such an example himself to emphasize why it is nessecary to allow modification). Even if they agreed to these terms, the restriction would still be artificial, unnessecary, and harmful. To correct your analogy, it's a restriction of people's right to free speech if you were to give a speech, and then forbid anyone from quoting any part of it, or telling anyone anything about the construction of the speech, or even trying to understand the ideas behind and inspiration for the speech.

    Just as a minor aside...I actually *do* know of a case where someone has basically banned reverse engineering of a food which is dead simple to prepare, has banned you from making the food for others without a license, and will NOT tell the recipe, and if you legally want to make a version and do get a license you cannot make substitutions.

    Specifically, a particular type of chocolate nut pie common in the Kentucky area for literally years is now trademarked as Derby Pie by one particular company that makes its own version. You literally CANNOT make your own version and call it Derby Pie (you have to call it "chocolate nut pie" or "festival pie"), you cannot use the ingredients they use in your own version (otherwise, they sue for trademark infringement) and they will not provide the recipe, and (assuming you were able to get a license to make your own Derby pie and call it Derby pie) you can't make necessary substitutions (i.e. leaving out the whisky, or substituting pecans if someone is deathly allergic to pecans or nuts). If you do this, and try to sell it, the company that trademarked the name (which was being used for YEARS before they came along) will have their lawyers sweep down on you like crazed banshees. Not that the company would ever give you a license to call your pie Derby pie anyways...

    from the land of proprietary pie,

  • by Tony ( 765 )
    Forgive me for interjecting a bit of history, but...

    Jobs did not start the Macintosh project. It started out as an experiment, and only after Jobs discovered it, did he use it against Steve Wozniak, who was the creator of the original Apple. Although Jobs was the business leader, the techheads at Apple liked Woz better, and followed his lead. This led to such spectacular disasters as the Lisa (man, did I want one of those when the came out). So yes, I *can* deny that Jobs assembled the team that brought the GUI to the end user.

    (As a side note: He did assemble the team that brought us the NeXT. Now *that* was an innovative machine-- that used the GNU compiler and the Mach kernel.)

    This is just a nit, but I think it is indicative of your general logic; make illogical conclusions based on scanty and often incorrect assumptions.

    The list of open successes (as opposed to open-source-software, which is a *very* recent development) is quite long: most successful languages are open (C, C++, Lisp, FORTRAN, COBOL, BASIC, etc), as are most successful networking protocols. (There's a reason Novell gave up on IPX and now uses IP.)

    History shows that proprietary non-standards fall to open standards. Why don't machines communicate in EBCDIC instead of ASCII? Why did Beta fail and VHS succeed?

    Standards. Open, non-proprietary standards.

    Only in the last three or four years has there been a significant number of people programming for Free Software. You have no history to make the judgements you've made; the ratio of developers to innovative ideas is *much* greater in the Open arena.

    So, although the Free Software movement may fail, and you may eventually be vindicated, you *cannot* make these great pronouncements as Truth. You may say they are your opinion, but they are demonstrably Not True. (Not the same as false, mind you.)

    The average American is so stuck on the idea of commercialism, it's hard to realize there is so much more to life than drinking Coke at a McDonalds after a good shop at the Gap. But commercialism is not the end-all, be-all of existence. Perhaps something better is finally coming along to supplant it, at least in the software field.

    Better luck on your next argument.

    -Tony
  • >Open source is a distinct lack of certain restrictions, not a set in stone method of coding and delivery, and certainly not a lack of revenue (if you claim this, then why is Red Hat still in business?)

    Um, because they sell SUPPORT? Red Hat pays for the development of a miniscule fraction of the software they sell, they don't sell their own open source product. The major vendor for the huge Linux effort, the combined product of what, 10,000 people, supports a grand total of ... 80 people. Ooo, I'm impressed.

    STOP making this bogus claim about Red Hat as a shining example of profiting by open source. And don't bring up Netscape either; they continue to work on browsers to keep themselves in the proprietary web server market.
  • Yeah, Y2K is nonsense. Just do
    sed s/Y/K/g
    to all the files that need the Y's changed to K's, and you're done.

    :-)
  • Let to add a different take to this than everyone else.
    Piracy runs almost exactly counter to what RMS wants! First, it's free beer, not free speech. Source code is not being distributed. Second, by making software free as in beer, it takes away a large part of the incentive to move to free as in speech software. If you can get commercial programs for free, then your incentive to get an open source program and fix the few problems that bother you is much reduced. And since your fixes aren't in there, there are more things that I'd need to fix in order to use it, so the bar is raised for me too.
  • >...Sendmail, Inc and Ghostscript?

    Both Sendmail and Ghostscript make money selling proprietary versions, and thus violate Stallman morals.

    >But why should I play YOUR game.

    It isn't my game, it's the question of whether companies can survive on open source. So Red Hat becomes an example of one company which supports ~100 people, and that mainly by selling support for software written mainly by other people.

    You Stallmanites* claim companies should just completely open their source and they'll make money. We Torvalders want a real examples, where the money is being made on a product primarily or at least largely coded by the company, not on a hook (Netscape makes some money selling Netcenter advertising) or by selling proprietary extensions.
  • (I'd written a nice long response in the school's computer lab and Windows went and crashed... Trying again on my Linux machine:)

    You write:

    Apache, Bind, Sendmail, etc are all very nice pieces of software. What they are not is innovative. They are predominantly all 'open' approaches to the original work for the most part. Granted, they are superior, more efficient, etc. But free/open is not perfect. None of these Open Projects developed all that rapidly. They represent years of work and they are relatively few.
    Not innovative? It depends on how you look at it. Apache was based on NCSA's httpd. Bind was written to the DNS specifications in various RFCs. Sendmail, well I'm sure sendmail was based on something. On the other hand, Apache was forked because the authors wanted to make too many changes, add too many new things. Rob's probably glad that someone came up with mod_perl. Bind was one of the first name servers around. Sendmail was one of the first mail-routing programs on the Internet. I think that there's plenty of innovation coming from your examples.

    The projects that you mention have been in development for a while. That doesn't imply that they've been unusable for that long. (I get the impression that's what you mean by "None of these Open Projects developed all that rapidly.") The nature of free software means that it's never quite done. Developers tend to be perfectionists. (Given the chance, I know I am.) The programs you mention have been in serious use despite being continually in development.

    You go on to ask:

    Let us imagine that I have a great idea, and this idea is to create the first MRP system. How would I, an OSS developer, go about recruiting talented people to join my project. How can I get them to put in the majority of their hours to get the product out the door.
    Your approach depends on your time schedule. If you have time, start writing. Release the code to the world and let people use it. You'll be doing most of the work, but as more people begin using your program, you'll get bug reports, some of which may even have fixes attached. If interest is wide enough, you could end up with multiple co-developers, and the code will benefit. If you don't have the time for that approach, hire some programmers to work on the program full time. If you're writing the program as an in-house solution, the budget should allow for the salaries. If not, you can pay for the development by means that have been discussed numerous times on Slashdot and elsewhere, including selling support, custom enhancements, or just "official" versions.

    (Mini-rant about expecting the "Open Source Community" to write your program included below.)

    Finally, you say

    Anyhow, I can point out many rational flaws in the free software logic, but I prefer the empirical examples. Commercial software has continued to break ground long before free software has. Where is the free mp3 algorthym. Why is it that a certain commercial firm has a lock on PGP. Why are there no OSS 3d shooters. Why hasn't there been a free GUI spreadsheet program until only recently. ......
    Let's see... Much of this is because the concept of free software has been spreading fairly slowly, and people are more accustomed to using proprietary methods of software development. The proprietary method still works a bit better in today's economy. (I believe that can be changed.) Let me address your points individually, though. The free mp3-style algorithm? I have no doubt that there are people working on it. Ideas are tricky things, though. You can have a whole community working on something, but ideas come from people. Music compression ideas come from a very narrow subset of people, and there are probably more of them working towards proprietary goals than free ones. As free software spreads, the balance should shift. Why does one company have a death-grip on PGP? Because today's world allows software patents, and companies routinely use them to try to cripple competitors. The free software world has, however, produced a href="http://www.d.shuttle.de/isil/gnupg/">GPG. No free 3D shooters? You've finally found a point I'll concede. From what I've seen, a good game has to be created by a very small group of talented people, and the idea is all it has. The former means that the free software world may not have as many game developers as the proprietary software world does. The latter means that it's hard (AFAIK) to make money from free games. The best solution I've heard is to free the engine and keep the data proprietary. Why no spreadsheet? You mean you don't do your taxes in hex? :) Actually, there have been spreadsheets. Look at what MetaLab has. I think that there's been a lot of work put into gnumeric because people perceive a greater need for a good spreadsheet program now that GNOME and KDE are making Linux "user-friendly" and "bringing Linux to the masses".

    I think that free software is a better development model. It allows more "innovation" because people are allowed to share ideas and build on them. I think that companies that decide to "Open Source" their programs in the hopes that the teeming hordes of programmers of the world will write their software for them are missing the point. (Not to mention that they're going to be disappointed.) Free software is (to me, at least) about sharing and writing better software, and maybe making the world just a little better



    --Phil (OK, sappiness is over. Thanks for reading this far.)
  • All this vehement flaming of RMS really reminds me of this tidbit from Albert Einstein:
    Great spirits will always encounter violent opposition from mediocre minds.
  • I have a great deal of respect for RMS but his comment about pirated software kind of took my breath away. I can't believe he said that. Wow. Sheesh. Jeeezus.

    What suprises you so much about it? He says as much in his "Why software should not have owners" paper in the philosophy section of www.fsf.org.

    RMS has demonstrated quite consistently that he isn't going to soften his image just to gain support. Give an inch, they take a mile you know? Perhaps you should read and digest the paper I've mentioned to gain some insight into the man *and* his motives.
  • Can someone refresh my memory as to how not_giving_software_away is "restricting others' freedoms"?

    First of all, RMS is perfectly happy if you sell your software. He does not advocate giving it away. He rallies against proprietary software licenses, because they undoubtedly restrict other people's freedoms.

    Consider this: If I buy a proprietary software product, I give up my freedom to explore, understand and improve my own property. I have to give up the freedom to help others and share my property with them. You, the software vendor, attempt to control what I do in the privacy of my own home.

    I think RMS has a point when he says that proprietary software makes the world ugly.

    How would you like a band-aid manufacturer who sells his product under the following license agreement: "Buyer agrees to apply product only to his or her own body". It is probably legal, and with the right marketing and price, it may even be successful. But there can be no question that it is immoral since it tries to prevent cooperation. Cooperation is a good thing.

    Note that RMS does not want to force anyone to abandon proprietary software. His approach is twofold: customers should avoid proprietary software because selling away ones freedom to cooperate is ugly, and developers should stop selling proprietary software because enticing people to stop cooperating is ugly. His arguments, at the core, are aestethical ones.

    --

  • by AxelBoldt ( 1490 )
    The problem is that the speech is the property of its creator. Unless specifically granted, what right do you have to take this material (someone else's property) and use it for your own benefit? Why should such a right exist?

    As long as the speech is in your head and in your head alone, it is your sole property. If however you give the speech to an audience, its contents enter the brains of the listeners. They turn into electro-chemical structures in those brains. Everybody owns their own brain; nobody has a right to control other people's body parts.

    --

  • Hmm, if people want solutions wouldn't the best way to accomplish that be to avoid reinventing the wheel?

    How many word processors are there in the proprieraty world and they are all more or less trying to do the same thing. WOuldn't it be wonderful to improve on the works of others' instead of starting from scratch yourself.

    Btw, I see a computer as a tool, but since I enjoy tinkering it is probably more like a toy.

    /mill
  • Now, if only the Crystal Space folks would autoconf-ize their stuff. (I'd do it but I can't understand the horrible tangle of Makefiles they use. :-(

    Daniel
  • but he also said (re. writing proprietary software):

    "I would have looked back and realized I had spent my life building walls and helping to divide and conquer people."

    Isn't that what he does mostly?

    I've spent my working life writing (mostly) "proprietary" software; I thought I was just helping to build power plants and video editing suites for people who didn't WANT to program it themselves. So, in case I get a burning desire to provide my local PSEG plant with "free" software, how many people in the open source community can I count on to turn their house into a coal-burning high-voltage supply for testing?

    Maybe Richard would? No, he lives in a rented room... maybe his children... oh no, can't have kids, that would interfere with his work. Unlike Linus, I guess. What a great contrast between those two! Fortunately, I can just admit I don't have kids because I'm selfish.

  • Of course, some people would just say he apparently didn't bother to research this one purchase and has thus let it drive his life.
  • The point IS that most software has narrow application and wouldn't be worked on by a distributed group of volunteers because nobody volunteers to do that kind of thing. Get it? No proprietary software=many things we don't have. In that example it would equal much more soot in the air, or much higher electric bills.

    As far as the consortium goes, the way reality works is that a "consortium" does fund it; that would be the set of power plants which buys the software. The company puts money into it and takes the risk that it WON'T be bought; that's why it remains proprietary. That's why there IS proprietary software. It's not evil, just a natural reaction to the normal process of funding a project.

    My comments about his lifestyle were intended to point out that he wouldn't be capable of supporting a development effort IN the real world (i.e. not a gift lab from MIT) that required private facilities of the sort needed to build industrial software. And RMS was the one who gets up on his soapbox and says how pure he his for not having kids so he can be a better martyr. His reaction to the Xerox printer was that of a selfish child, and he can't even be honest that that's why he doesn't have kids. I'm also too selfish to have kids, but it's not to keep my work pure and I can admit as much. If following his creed requires living in a room and not having a life, then I think it's reasonable to reject his arguments on those grounds.
  • I've never heard of this term. It sounds like a provision where if the company goes out of business, then the source code to its products will be released to .... whom? Only the customers, or everyone?

    I was debating a clause like this with a friend of mine who has his own side company. I said that if he should include a clause that says that if he ever shuts down his company, the source code to all of his software will be released under the GPL. His response was that it was bad business to talk about shutting down the company and other such things.

    Plus, if a company does say they'll release the code under the GPL, then it means that if someone buys the product from the company, and the company goes under next month, then the person will have purchased a product right before it became free! Yeah, I know - there's still the support issue.

    --
    Timur Tabi
    Remove "nospam_" from email address
  • "What product is naturally unlimited? The years of man hours invested by the program's authors?"

    No, the resulting product. The author should be compensated for their labour but the software should be free.


    "Proprietary software is like a well you dug up closer to the town than the river. You spent the time,
    energy, and resourcefullness to create the well, not the towns folk, hence you have the right to charge
    whatever you want, and impose arbitrary limitations on it's use. "

    Again, you should be rewarded for your work but you should not act so bad towards the rest of the people or hide from them how to dig wells.


    You are right about the support. The best thing is if users pay for the (speach-free) software. Watch Red Hat.


    "As RMS says, these companies will never make as much money as Microsoft."

    And that's bad? Think about what much better things those resources could have been used for.


    "Well that is certainly a convincing argument...
    Motivation for proprietary software: we could get rich!
    Motivation for free software: we won't have to starve!"

    Motivation for proprietary software: we could get rich!
    Motivation for almost everything else: we won't have to starve!

    It works.


    "If everyone just did what was right for them (without using force upon
    another) and quit worrying about the other guy I think we'd all be better off."

    There is *many* who needs your help.
  • The entire concept of intellectual property is freedom-limiting. RMS assumes people understand this is what he is referring to.

    I must say I never thought of it before I heard hi say it, but its true. Code is speech. Restricting speech is a violation of your rights.


    --
    As long as each individual is facing the TV tube alone, formal freedom poses no threat to privilege.
  • OSS has evolved slowly?

    The GPL was only written in the early 80's. There was a MacOS and most of the features we would associate with a "modern" PC before the first piece of software was ever GPL'd.

    Now there is a sufficient GPL software to fill two Debian CD's and run an entire business without having to resort to payware, AND it is leaner, faster, more stable, more flexible, and better looking than anything else out there to boot.

    So sad there's no streaming video under GPL for you yet today, but the field is still a new one.

    Why don't you start a project to address these few remaining shortcomings?


    --
    As long as each individual is facing the TV tube alone, formal freedom poses no threat to privilege.
  • So choosing not to say something is violating other people's right of free speech?

    Did I say that?

    Rather, it's a violation of my right of speech to be forced to say what I think.

    ?

    In addition, property of any sort is a basic human right. If I choose not to give the means of making something to someone, I'm not limiting their freedom, since it's mine to do with as I please.

    Yours under intellectual property laws, not by nature.
    Code is basically logic and math. People don't "invent" it so much as "discover" it. (that is my own opinion)

    If you "invent" integral calculus, should you be able to prevent the rest of us from building bridges unless we pay you a royalty?


    That doesn't stop someone from making their own
    version of the same thing however, which extends to mean that patents are worthless, as they actually do limit people's rights.


    Now you're talking sense. Down with intellectual patents.


    --
    As long as each individual is facing the TV tube alone, formal freedom poses no threat to privilege.
  • No argument here. The thing is, there are about 500 company B's to every company A.

    A stands to lose it's edge, but the B's can only gain. What sort of companies make up the global software industry? B's of course.

    Who benefits? Everyone! ...Except the profit margins of poor poor company A.


    --
    As long as each individual is facing the TV tube alone, formal freedom poses no threat to privilege.
  • You are precisely the sort of person Einstein was talking about, aren't you.

    Brilliant quote by the way. Can I put it in my .signature?


    --
    As long as each individual is facing the TV tube alone, formal freedom poses no threat to privilege.
  • I mean, come on, we're all capitalists here, right?

    Hasta la revolucion siempre!

    Er, I mean, no one here but us capitalists! Go Microsoft!


    --
    As long as each individual is facing the TV tube alone, formal freedom poses no threat to privilege.
  • Alan, is that you?


    --
    As long as each individual is facing the TV tube alone, formal freedom poses no threat to privilege.
  • I was unaware that the developments at PARC were available for anyone else to review.

    Just to set the record straight, I think the first windowing system was actually made for VMS.

    That said, the mouse (and a windowing system that uses it), ethernet, and WYSIWYG are also PARC originals.

    I know I'm leaving some out.


    --
    As long as each individual is facing the TV tube alone, formal freedom poses no threat to privilege.
  • ^ May I quote you on this? If this is true, then why is it that everyone in Linux is awaiting the ports of all these different applications from the wintel platform.

    We like the warm fuzzies that come with outfits like Oracle telling us that our software is better for running big RDBMS's than MS's billion-dollar babies. Aside from that, we don't need the support of commercial vendors, at least I don't.

    In regards to the GUI. Xerox may have invented the GUI, but it never came anything even close to being capable of leaving the lab.

    Actually, Xerox didn't really invent the idea of the GUI. It had been available (and usable) for DEC machines previously.

    Steve Jobs _made_ it a reality. This is called innovation. It is one of the finer points of capitalism.

    Point of order. Jobs came up with the idea for the pretty case and picked the color beige. Jobs is a visionary, not a hacker.

    Many of the Mac developers were the same folks who worked at PARC. They left for Apple because their ideas were going nowhere under Xerox management.

    Ok, so maybe RMS was still in academia at the time of Macintosh's development. But this does not let Free software off the hook. Why is there no half powerfull GUI word processors, spreadsheet programs, MRP systems, 3d software, first person 3d shooter games.

    OSS hasn't been targeting the desktop until very very recently. These applications will come, but that hasn't been where the primary interest is. A keen first-person shooter takes a back seat to a stable underlying system.
    Hell, it was previously difficult to get hackers interested in graphical stuff at all. Gimp, Gnome, KDE, et al are very recent developments. Now that there are keen GUI's and graphic editors in abundance, folks uninterested in kernel work have a place to make their spreadsheets and games. They'll come. They're starting to already.

    Why is it that, gulp, NT had true SMP before Linux.

    NT still doesn't have true SMP. NT is also slightly older, and had much code contributed from the OS/2 project which is even older still.

    Linux would not be where it was if MS wasn't such a crappy company.

    ...and MS would not be where it is if IBM hadn't been so clueless. What's your point?


    --
    As long as each individual is facing the TV tube alone, formal freedom poses no threat to privilege.
  • EOF


    --
    As long as each individual is facing the TV tube alone, formal freedom poses no threat to privilege.
  • I can understand "do something nice, give it away". But "stop restricting people's freedom"? Come


    Having access to source code is good. It doesn't mean that you are giving anything away. Here is a little story, years ago I worked at a bank that had a bunch of PDP-11/70s that were used to send messages to many other systems. At one point I had written a job that read a tape backwards to remove some messages from the end of the tape and sent them via comm lines.


    Then we upgraded the O/S to a new version and as soon as we try to run my job the system crashed (this was a nightly job). Since the old PDP-11s came with the source to the operating system and all the drivers, I was able to find the problem (it was in the tape driver), fix it and have everything working in about a day.

    I then send my fix to DEC (via snail-mail) and it was published in the next set of monthly patches.


    Do that with Windows NT.


    ...richie
  • Friday, Nov. 20: I own how many O'Reilly animal books.
  • The problem is that, unlike in the physical world, there is no inherent scarcity with software.
    We're not talking about refusing to give away a physical product here, we're talking about preventing people from using a resource that is naturally unlimited.

    Proprietary software is like (and about as moral and ethical as) damming up a river, the only source of water for a town, and then selling it back to the townspeople in bottles under the stipulation that you can't even share your bottle of water with anyone else.

    "Now," you may say, "what about the limited real-world capital that goes into the initial production of the software?" The thing is, with any software, there are also associated real-world products and services (media, support, etc) that you can charge for and make a decent profit and pay your programmers too.

    There are companies do this for free software. Exclusively. They make money. Plenty of money. Cash. Moolah.

    Profit.

    I mean, come on, we're all capitalists here, right?

    In other words, it has been demonstrated many times in the real world that you won't starve (and in fact can still make a healthy profit) if you sell "free" (i.e speech) software.

    Another thing -- has the inherent inequity of most programmers being payed per project, and the companies they work for charging per copy of proprietary software, ever occurred to you?

    Companies that make proprietary software rip off their programmers as well as the consumers.
  • ...or I'm especially humour-impaired tonight; not sure which.
  • > What product is naturally unlimited? The years
    > of man hours invested by the program's authors?

    Nope. that's real-world capital, unlike the software. You're confusing the capital used for production with the good produced.

    > False. Proprietary software is like a well you
    > dug up closer to the town than the river. You
    > spent the time, energy, and resourcefullness to
    > create the well,

    > not the towns folk

    This applies only to "from scratch" software developed under a so-called "cathedral model", then.

    > hence you have the right to charge whatever you
    > want, and impose arbitrary limitations on it's
    > use.

    Yes, you did find a valid problem with my own analogy here -- I didn't include anything that adequately paralleled the initial capital investment required to make the software in the first place.

    Hrm. Okay, I'll bite. A well _would_ be a better analogy, except that well water is a finite, exhaustible, resource -- river water (at least as far as the needs of a single small town are concerned) is not, provided nobody upstream interferes.

    Basically, your well analogy would be valid if:

    - the groundwater was inexhaustible (note that digging another well would be analgous to creating a new software product)
    - you (or the townspeople) could take water from the well at zero cost (like duplicating software)
    - an essentially infinite number of people could have access to the well at once without causing problems
    - the physical nature of the well didn't imply concerns regarding land use rights

    > The part about sharing the water is a false
    > analogy.

    I don't think so. Very nearly all proprietary software licences that I've read restrict the use of a particular copy of the software to a specific set of people (generally one).

    I'm not sure either of our analogies are necessarily that valid, given that water is itself a physical, finite, resource (although in my river analogy, it is, considering the meagre needs of a small town, unlimited).

    Software itself (I'm not talking about production captial) can be duplicated and shared at zero cost; it's not a finite resource at all, and creating artificial scarcity (so you can get more money) in such a case is just unethical and wrong.

    > I have heard the opinion expressed in a previous
    > debate that people shouldn't be babied with
    > computers, that is, they should have to
    > understand how they work and be able to fix
    > them.

    To a limited extent, yes. Like people who drive cars know at least the basics of how the car works, and can open the hood if they need to and fix basic stuff. Beyond that, I agree with you in that users can't be expected to know everything about the internals of the system (even programmers can't), but I disagree with you in that they should have the chance to learn about the internals if they want to.

    > This "support" argument dumbfounds me.

    Yeah, support isn't the best way to get funds if you're a software producer, but yet even proprietary software companies are expected by their customers to provide support. Hrmm....

    Actually, with free software, I tend to see a proliferation of companies, some of which specialize in support, some of which specialize in software production and/or packaging. All around, the same amount of software generates more wealth (in general) than the equivalent proprietary software would.

    You'd be suprised how many people would rather buy a CD than download something.

    > This opinion fits quite nicely with the
    > idea of selling support -- you tell the customer
    > that you aren't going to make things easier for
    > them in the software, instead they'll have to
    > pay for training

    Yeah, and you've never seen people shell out big bucks to be trained on, say, basic usage of Microsoft Excel (and that is IMO, one of the best designed products of it's class, user-interface-wise). Convince me that people don't need to be trained to use proprietary software.

    Hrm. I kind of avoided your argument there. I think to remedy that I'll just point out the various projects that are working on increasing the usability of free software, many funded by companies that are selling it.

    (By the way... I do agree with that making a poor product just to do more business with support is just wrong. I just don't see companies producing free software doing that, though.)

    > and bug fixes.

    Could you please explain to me how a company producing could (on a practical level) charge money for bug fixes if they didn't place restrictions on the redistribution of the software? Charging for bugfixes is only seen in the world of proprietary software.

    > Go ahead, take this route. It won't be the
    > software produced by this reasoning that will
    > drive software progress to the next level.

    Oh ... I guess Mozilla w/ NGLayout comes to mind first here. Definitely shoddy, uninnovative, inefficient, non-standards-compliant stuff.

    > Why should anyone have any rights to my
    > brainchild except those that I grant them? In
    > the well analogy, I can sell the town the well,
    > but what right do they have to force me to tell
    > them how I built it, or to help them fix it?

    This is about the water in the well (the software product) not the well itself (the intial investment needed to produce the software). You're still confusing the capital used to produce the good with the good itself... in the case of software, a limited capital investment allows you to produce an infinite amount of the good.

    Presumably you're not selling your programmers to the end users, are you? (or is there a black market in programmers that I don't know about?)

    Presumably you're not being compelled to give them support (helping them fix the well) for _free_, are you? In most situations, the licensing fee you pay for proprietary software also pays for support.

    > -> Caveat: On the other hand, I don't have any
    > problems with people reverse engineering my
    > well, that would be imposing on their right to
    > reason about things.

    Okay. That's certainly fair.

    > Don't work for them if they don't pay you what
    > you think you're worth. If you do, then it is
    > you who is ripping yourself off.

    Can you think of any examples of proprietary software companies that do pay their programmers per copy licenced? ANY examples?

    > Why should a company do you any favours?

    Oh, I dunno. Moral obligation to pay their employees fairly?

    > By the same token, why should I do a company any
    > favours?

    Indeed. I could just make unauthorized copies for all my friends. But I don't, because that would be immoral (breach of contract, at minimum).

    > If everyone just did what was right for them
    > (without using force upon another) and quit
    > worrying about the other guy I think we'd all be
    > better off.

    By "right", do you mean moral, or beneficial? The context indicates the latter...

    The problem is that people who are only looking out for their own (immediate; people are short-sighted) interests will inevitably resort to force to resolve conflicts between their interests and other people's interests.

    Maybe you're right ... let's see ... does a consumer who makes unauthorized copies of software do so because:

    a. the software company doesn't use force to prevent them from doing that?
    b. they are looking out for their own interests, and not those of the software companies?

    It cuts both ways, man.

    Despite this, I will say that I think that looking out for the interests of others (occasionally, at least) is the only thing that's kept us (as a species) alive for this long.

    > Keeping source closed is not fueled by an
    > intentional desire to rob others of their
    > freedom. It is simply the most convenient way to
    > create a barrier to entry in a market.

    I think I'll refrain from comment.

    > As RMS says, these companies will never make as
    > much money as Microsoft.

    So, there are other proprietary software companies that make as much money as Microsoft?

    > Don't buy a companies software if you don't
    > think it's worth it. If it's the only thing on
    > the market then tough luck, do without, create
    > your own solution, or buy the software.

    Unfortunately, as software is becoming more and more important to our society, doing without is becoming less and less of an option daily. I would venture to say that in the space of a few decades, access to software will be as important as, say, access to water or food (moreover, our access to those resources may be at least partially dependent on software).

    Water and food are finite resources; software (itself, separate from production methods) is not. More's the pity that people try and play tollkeeper to software resources it as if they were.

    Now, as for making my own solution, at home, I do just that. I have not payed money to license any of the software on my machine, and yet I'm 100% legal. (yet note that I have still exchanged money for goods with software companies like RedHat ... how's that work, I wonder?)
  • > This solution does have a problem in that after
    > one has recouped ones expenses one can continue
    > raking in pure profit.

    Pure profit is (in and of itself) fine, but inflating the value of your product by creating scarcity (which is what proprietary software licensing amounts to) is to my mind immoral, and an unprovoked application of force. I think this is especially true of critical products, like food and (soon, if not already in some cases) software.

    > I disagree with the last sentance. I am selling
    > you software, I value it by the work that I put
    > in to create the software, not by the cost of
    > the media it's on.

    You have no way to directly recoup that cost; you're not selling the well, you're selling the water. Bleah. I still can't find a good physical analogy for this. Software just can't be validly compared to a physical good.

    Anyway, the thing is that charging for media is one thing -- you can include the value of your development work in the price you charge. That goes for any other physical goods or services associated with the software.

    Forcing people to pay you for additional copies of the software, however, is wrong. If they made a copy of the software once they had it, it would expend _none_ of your resources. They're not taking anything away from you that you already posessed. Why, then, should they be obligated to pay you?

    > Why is this unethical?

    Because you're coercing people into paying you money for a service that they do not need you to provide. In your terms, it's an unprovoked use of force.

    > Are you under the false assumption that I use
    > Microsoft's products (or any other proprietary
    > products)?

    No, I didn't know enough to assume that. I suspected you were an author of proprietary software, however.

    I'll stop here because Netscape has started flaking out on me.
  • phew. I think you win this one. Sorry if I've taken a while to respond;
    I'm in lynx now; it seems that there's a serious memory leak in the text area widget supplied by the version of Motif statically linked with Netscape, aggravated by long replies. (my last two were done from work, where I apparently have a less buggy Motif implementation) ... I wish I could relink the thing.
    I guess I needed the time to think about this anyway.
    I guess I can at least agree unreservedly for small markets --
    the small markets thing was nagging in the back of my mind for some months, actually, due to unrelated conversations.
  • I have a great deal of respect for RMS but his comment about pirated software kind of took my breath away. I can't believe he said that. Wow. Sheesh. Jeeezus.

    Sometimes you just have to keep your mouth shut.
  • Come over here to Asia and see the extremely high prices for legal software and then you'll understand why people *have* to pirate it. These companies exploit people all over the world but here it's more evident.
    BTW, the policy of bringing in lower paid foreign programmers to work in the United States serves 2 purposes:
    (1) Keeps programmers pay low in the US.
    (2) Removes the possibility of foreign countries being able to compete in producing software because of lack of skilled programmers.

    Software can and *is* being used as a tool of economic and political oppression. If some of you people in the US would get out in the rest of the world, you might realize that. I have a good friend in Indonesia who works at a local ISP. He's paid approximately $12.00US per month and works 6 days a week. Think about *that* for 5 minutes.
  • Not that you could even own bought proprietary software. They just grant you a license to use the current version in exchange for money.
  • It is real fucking simple.

    Either you view computers and software as tools
    to enhance our collective understanding of the
    world and each other, or you view them as toys;
    toasters; products to be marketed and hawked to
    gullible, illiterate consumers

    Douglas Engelbart and Richard Stallman fall into
    the the former category; Steve Jobs and William
    Gates III into the latter.

    RealNetworks; Id Software; the Macintosh?

    Quite obvious which category you fall into.
    ---------------------------------
    "The Internet interprets censorship as damage,

  • Ok; if you say so.
    ---------------------------------
    "The Internet interprets censorship as damage,
  • For the people who get paid to do it.

    As far as what "non-nerds" want, they do not know
    what they want. They get told what they want by
    zealous hucksters.
    ---------------------------------
    "The Internet interprets censorship as damage,

  • It is on his Macintosh, which runs the Macintosh
    Operating System.

    None of which seem to help him very much.
    ---------------------------------
    "The Internet interprets censorship as damage,

  • > The Internet was and is built on "Free" software.

    Lemme know when Cisco open-sources IOS, okay?
  • For all his high-minded speechmongering on Free Software ... I agree. Wholeheartedly. However, software that is currently closed must be allowed to die friendless and alone (nice little image there), not perpetuated by piracy. RMS's cavalier attitude on software piracy is something I can never agree with.

    Okay, perhaps you're not "stealing" ideas if you can't really "own" them. What about all the artists that design the cut scenes, or the special effects or the voice acting? How about the managers who order in pizza for the team, or the salespeople who take the orders?

  • Can someone refresh my memory as to how not_giving_software_away is "restricting others' freedoms"? People would have even less freedom if it weren't published at all.

    I can understand "do something nice, give it away". But "stop restricting people's freedom"? Come on.

    Nothing like starting a nice flame war to liven up your afternoon.

  • My point was about the word RESTRICTING.

    An author not_GPLing something is only "restrictive" in the sense that he COULD HAVE GIVEN AWAY MORE (the source, the right to modify & distribute, etc.) It's not restrictive in the sense that it takes away something that you already have (like the right to free speech, or water).

    Does RMS actually argue that we all have the inalienable right to modify and distribute everything that other people create? That for someone not to offer me those rights is not just a choice not to be altruistic, but an act of oppression?

    We own our ideas even more than we own any physical thing. Maybe we should give them away. But we are not restricting others by not doing so.

  • Your example of the recipe is off topic. When you go to a restaurant, do you feel restricted if you do not receive a copy of the recipe when your dinner comes?


    >> Congratulations, you have been brainwashed into believing that you can own software (duh, just like you can own cooking recipes and building designs and mathematical formulas...)
    We are not talking about licensing vs. selling as means of distribution. We are talking about whether it's appropriate to define lack of generosity as restriction.


  • I suggest you do as RMS does and refuse to use software that isn't free. Then your freedom would remain "unrestricted".

    The world would be a better place if all software were free. Probably so much better that people who think they have something to gain by not freeing their software are mistaken. And it's obvious that more and more software WILL be free; BUT

    If you want people to free their software, make them feel good about it. Don't badger them into thinking they are doing a disservice by not contributing.
  • Even if all the buggy code was made open source right now, its far too late to get changes in before 2000. Sorry folks, you're going to have to sweat it out. Its officially too late to really go at this problem in a new way. You'll have to hope that existing Y2K efforts bear fruit, or pray that it simply passes you by.
  • "Apache, Bind, Sendmail, etc are all very nice pieces of software. What they are not is innovative"

    Oh, I really remember there were a huge amount of competing commercial offers for every one of your examples when they were released. Care to name one?

    The fundamental problem with free software is that of direction of resources. The only areas which OSS is successfull in is in areas where there is an obvious need. eg: previously existing and well used commercial software.

    Ok, let me continue your paragraph for you. Let us imagine I have a grat idea, and this idea is to create a protocol, a server and a client to allow image and text to be send using the existing internet infra-structure. Now what should I do? You would probably incorporate and make Xanadu. Bernes-Lee thought it better and created the Web.

    Might it have ever occurred to you that what interests the programmer who wants to develop an OSS project might not appeal to 99% of the population.

    That is hardly the case. There will always be someone to create anything. Even tax software (a bad example, as tax laws vary wildly from country to country).

    Where was Richard Stallman and Co when Macintosh brought the GUI to the end user

    When Jobs stole the GUI idea from Xerox PARC Stallman was probably at MIT. The GUI idea entered Unix world by the way of X some time after that.

    Anyhow, I can point out many rational flaws in the free software logic, but I prefer the empirical examples

    Gimme the rational flaws, your empirical examples are all making water.
  • This is again and again the old english-only confusion between free and free.
    Says who you can not sell your software? Not only you can sell it, entering first in the market as open source will probably prevent B companies from entering the same market (except for the microsoft-like types , but are you seeing hordes of sysadmins throwing away their Apaches and running to buy Site Servers and NT boxes?).

    Besisdes, if there is a problems there will be a solution. That is what is being advocated. The custumers themselves will finance the development even if A Company manager do not let it go ahead.
  • Sorry about the breaking up of your previous post, but the paragraphs were so well formed (one idea per paragraph, etc) that I could not resist. Let me try another format this time, so as not to add noise to our little conversation.

    I am prepared to admit that up to now (now being sometime between 1997 and 1999), little or no consideration was given to graphical applications that seem to be your main point of dispute. Why should it be so?

    First, Linux, FreeBSD and Unix were always closely related to academia (where graphical needs are highly specialized) and/or to high-end server space (where gui are IMHO a handcap, not a plus). Second, Linux (or mainly Linux by now) is just now being seem as a possible desktop alternative. Before that you had only Windows, Apple and those one hundred guys using Amiga. So, development of client-side gui apps was no one's priority.

    In this respect, you should consider Linux is where PC GUIs were in the mid-80s. Only now standards are being discussed and tested. Hopefully the Gnome/KDE thing will result in a better desktop for all.

    I tend to look at Free Software as a new way of doing things. I certanly do not think the only way of innovating is by incorporating and selling the new idea in a beautiful package. I dont know exactly how the existing economic system will deal with it. But it will have to deal with it. We now have many many examples of developers being paid to develop free software. Are they all under some kind of charity? I dont think so.

  • What product is naturally unlimited? The years of man hours invested by the program's authors?

    No, but the product is, and that's what's being kept and charged for, etc.
    Demanding payment for labour is fine, but, if you're going to do that, say that that's what you're doing.
    Typically, labour-payment is based upon man-hours..., anyway..., what was I saying?
    Oh, yes: doing something is not the same as having done something, and, if you want to recognise one, then do, but don't recognise one and call it the other.
  • Wow. I remember that old printer, at the MIT AI lab, which was my major teenage haunt when I was a kid. It printed about a page a minute and it put giant streaks in the middle of the paper. It was ancient.

    The new printer was gorgeous and shiny and was supposed to spit out a two pages every second. It was more like a page every two seconds, but it was still a magnificient beast. Its software ran on a Xerox Alto, a computer so marginal in performance that it blanked its display whenever it did any processing, because there wasn't enough CPU power to both display and process.

    It was a pretty thing, though - first computer I ever saw capable of displaying fonts.

    Oddly enough, even though I'd met RMS and my then-girlfriend and I even had him over for a party or two, I never heard him complain about the printer. At that time, he was truly vehement about letting people have free access to the AI computer system over the net ("Tourists", they were called). He had a crusade to make all passwords blank, so that anyone could get in to the new-fangled login program administrators hastily added to his beloved ITS.

    The old tourist policy worked well when anyone who had even heard of the AI Lab's computers had to have at least a modicum of clues, but I fear it would be a disaster today. Pity.

    D

    ----
  • I believe the Xerox printer was a gift from Xerox, not a purchase. That's very nice of the Xerox folks, of course, but you certainly don't have much of a choice of vendors :-).

    D

    ----
  • by symbolic ( 11752 )
    To correct your analogy, it's a restriction of people's right to free speech if you were to give a speech, and then forbid anyone from quoting any part of it, or telling anyone anything about the construction of the speech, or even trying to understand the ideas behind and inspiration for the speech.

    What you've cited isn't the problem. The problem is that the speech is the property of its creator. Unless specifically granted, what right do you have to take this material (someone else's property) and use it for your own benefit? Why should such a right exist?

    Information is a unique beast in this aspect. I agree that nobody should be able to force you to give up arbitrary information, but once you give out that information, it no longer belongs exclusively to you, and you should not be able to dictate what people can do with it.

    Since when is listening to (or reading) a speech tantamount to granting ownership of its contents?
  • Oh, I really remember there were a huge amount of competing commercial offers for {Apache, Sendmail, Bind} when they were released. Care to name one?

    I'll bite on this:

    Sendmail - There's been hundreds of propretary e-mail products, some of which must pre-date sendmail. How about X.400 systems?

    Apache - Lotus Notes predates the HTTP by quite a bit, and does essentially the same thing. There's been other document delivery systems

    Bind - Can't name any off hand, but IBM had large internal mainframe networks long ago. Surely they must have had some form of name resolution. SNA?
    --


  • I respect RMS, but come on. Granted GPL and OSS has brought us Linux and other great things, but to say that propietary software can bring us nothing good is foolish. This GPL/OSI software isnt exactly that innovative. Where are the RealNetworks, the Id softwares, Macintosh, etc of the 'free' software community. There are some fundamental problems with 'free' software. Granted Linux is a great OS precisely because it is Open and Free, but it is not ground breaking. It has evolved relatively slowly, its features have been gradually improved upon by the community.

  • I totally agree. The only reason RMS is griping is because many times there is great propietary software out there when there is no Open software. If there is superior free software out there, that does a better job then closed source software is a non issue. The fact is that 'free' software has only been marginally successfull.

  • Unix was invented by AT&T. The internet was created by the US military originally. Granted that the Berkley had a large and positive effect on Unix, but it was not a rapidly innovative approach. The internet was not the first networking protocol. The internet's success has been largely due to Open Standards. Open Standards != Open Source. If you'd look carefully you'd see that the initial and the larger implimentations were commercial products.

  • Apache, Bind, Sendmail, etc are all very nice pieces of software. What they are not is innovative. They are predominantly all 'open' approaches to the original work for the most part. Granted, they are superior, more efficient, etc. But free/open is not perfect. None of these Open Projects developed all that rapidly. They represent years of work and they are relatively few.

    The fundamental problem with free software is that of direction of resources. The only areas which OSS is successfull in is in areas where there is an obvious need. eg: previously existing and well used commercial software. Let us imagine that I have a great idea, and this idea is to create the first MRP system. How would I, an OSS developer, go about recruiting talented people to join my project. How can I get them to put in the majority of their hours to get the product out the door. The issue is that not all great ideas sound so great on face value. Or perhaps its just an issue of passing the next, seemingly insurmountable, obstacle. In OSS all you can do is pull and hope. Atleast with commercial software you can pull and push, you have salaries to draw talented individuals to YOUR vision, you have stock options to get them psyched, etc.

    Then you have the issue of divergent interests. Might it have ever occurred to you that what interests the programmer who wants to develop an OSS project might not appeal to 99% of the population. The fact that 99% of the population seems to want popup menus, integrated help system, etc, has eluded the OSS world for far too long. I find it hard to believe that you're going to find 100 interested programmers who want to create a really good piece of tax software. And remember, these programmers are only working part time on this. Where was Richard Stallman and Co when Macintosh brought the GUI to the end user.

    Anyhow, I can point out many rational flaws in the free software logic, but I prefer the empirical examples. Commercial software has continued to break ground long before free software has. Where is the free mp3 algorthym. Why is it that a certain commercial firm has a lock on PGP. Why are there no OSS 3d shooters. Why hasn't there been a free GUI spreadsheet program until only recently. ......

  • I hate people who attempt to break down every posting into minute details in an attempt to somehow get a leg up. But...

    'There will always be someone to create anything.'

    ^ May I quote you on this? If this is true, then why is it that everyone in Linux is awaiting the ports of all these different applications from the wintel platform.

    In regards to the GUI. Xerox may have invented the GUI, but it never came anything even close to being capable of leaving the lab. Steve Jobs _made_ it a reality. This is called innovation. It is one of the finer points of capitalism. There is a world of difference between pure research and actually developing a working product. By the way, Xerox had email in PARC, they had filesharing, they had a laser printer, and many other things.

    I never once said _all_ Open Source projects are predated by commercial software. I merely said that the projects were essentially inevitable. Not only that, but they are relatively few. The web was primarily a fluke.

    Ok, so maybe RMS was still in academia at the time of Macintosh's development. But this does not let Free software off the hook. Why is there no half powerfull GUI word processors, spreadsheet programs, MRP systems, 3d software, first person 3d shooter games. Why is it that, gulp, NT had true SMP before Linux. Linux would not be where it was if MS wasn't such a crappy company. Why is it that most coders need to turn to O'Rielly to get sufficient documentation to learn a new language.


  • The key word here is innovation. The distinction between innovation and invention is one of the finer points of capitalism. You are right to say that PARC invented the first GUI, laser printer, networking, etc. None of these products however were ready for the real world. Most of them were pretty crude, and expensive. Steve Jobs brought these products into the real world, where they actually did people some good. You may scoff at the distinction, but it is a large one none the less.

    Id software has developed a whole series of games that people have enjoyed for a long time now. These games may not have been 100% state of the art, but they've certainly done the users alot more good than Crystal Space has.


    Where are the GPL'd equivelents in anything that might be regarded as fun. Where are the GPL'd Word processors......

  • Jobs may not have been a master hacker. But he was, as you say, a visionary. He assembled the team that brought the GUI to the end user. He made it happen plain and simple. This you can not deny.

    I see OSS's historical failures as a general trend, not just something left in history. I think this slow development will continue. I have given my reasons, and I've seen a general trend that confirms this. Time will tell. I hope Linux suceeds in knocking MS down. But I suspect that if it does, it'll suceed only in cooperation with commercial outfits.
  • Stupid people say stupid things.

    That is one of the most stupid post I have read on Slashdot.

    Are you trying to make a little confession?

    AFC


  • Not that he'd listen.

    Notice that RMS said "Business and making money are not bad" - only restricting others' freedoms.

    "Radical socialism" my ass. If you want somebody who's done great work but who's a divisive, arrogant knucklehead when he opens his mouth, you can start with Tim O'Reilly as well as with Stallman.

    (Yeah, I've got a shelf full of O'Reilly books too, just like everybody who flames Stallman has a bin directory full of GNU programs and a GPL'd Linux kernel. Deal.)


    -j

  • You know, by chance, here I am sitting and listening the the first Velvet Underground album, and I decided to have a look at Slashdot . . .

    Over the past thirty-three years, how many bands have come and gone who wanted to sound like the Velvets, but "better", more "reasonable", more "accessible"? And now, after all these years, which record am I listening to?

    Just a thought.


    Oops, the record ended. Stooges time! (Gee, a lot of bands have "improved on" them, too . . . :)


    -j
  • You forgot something.

    Neither company A nor company B would bother do the R&D to start the product under a GPL license. There just wouldn't be an economic incentive to do so.
  • They called GNU "Gee Is Not Unix"! Had to write to the Straits Times of Singapore to get it right.

    Also, my 'unofficial' take on parts of the Singapore Linux Conference and my mail to the newspaper is here [geocities.com] on my web-site. Today (9th March) there's another article [asia1.com.sg] in the press about RMS's talk at the National University of Singapore. This time they got the GNU right (but still spelled Gnu) - duh? (Straits Times online only releases todays edition at 12 noon local time).
  • by yeeker ( 13195 )
    Oh. My. Gawd. RMS has ventured into the deep end without his waterwings again. Please understand I have a huge amount of repect for the man(aside from his assinine insistance of prepending GNU to linux), but lately he seems to just be getting weird.

    First off, most of the systems that companies of >20 people run are either custom (especially Fortune 1000 corps), or the licensing agreements are fine tuned to the individual purchasor. Almost all have a source escrow provision, in case the vendor goes out of business, and almost all vendors of business systems have been Y2K compliant for at least the last year. Conclusion: companies either need to upgrade their own software, that of a defunct vendor's, or move to the latest rev of an existing vendor.

    The biggest problem most companies have isn't with systems that were purchased, but with their own in-house developed software. Between a lack of resources to wade through the code and sloppy configuration management over the years (I have the binary, has anybody seen the source?), most business system problems are *internal* to a company's IT department, not to an external supplier. Obviously, there are exceptions, but for RMS to make a blanket statement like that is just one more demonstration that he has never lived in the real world.

    Besides, the Y2K stuff that really worries me isn't the big business "mission critical" stuff, but all that code out there floating around in embedded systems. I'd hate to have my VCR get confused and not record "Friends" when I'm hiding in the mountains around Dec 31!
  • So, what you're saying is that your boss aquired the source code under some agreement with the original vendor? The proprietary software got fixed. Seems you've just proven the opposite of what you intended.

    -Bzzzz-
    Thanks for playing. Please try again later.
  • by Damion ( 13279 )
    So choosing not to say something is violating other people's right of free speech? Rather, it's a violation of my right of speech to be forced to say what I think.
    In addition, property of any sort is a basic human right. If I choose not to give the means of making something to someone, I'm not limiting their freedom, since it's mine to do with as I please. That doesn't stop someone from making their own version of the same thing however, which extends to mean that patents are worthless, as they actually do limit people's rights.
  • Unix and the Internet are innovative ideas from the open source community? Ya, right! Neither of these things originated from any open source movement (btw, back then it was called shareware). And certainly, neither came from RMS.

    I guess that is the next big thing. Open source taking credit for all computer innovations. Sound like some corporate entity you know and hate?
  • The Web was fluke in the sense that TBL didn't set out to create something of this magnitude. His original intent was to create a system to dissiminate scientific information at CERN. The fact that it took off like it did was, like many other technical innovations, accidental. It didn't take off simply because it was open. You are incredibly naive to think this is the reason.


    SMP: Ummm...I just tried to install a DUAL NT setup a few weeks ago, and I can tell you it doesn't have SMP even NOW.


    And I can tell you it does. I have a dual processor system at work running NT very nicely.
  • Hypocrite. You belittle someone (and require the use of profanity to do it), and attack the speaker and not the argument. Then you quote the
    following "The Internet interprets censorship as damage, and routes around it."

    I use to believe in open source, Linux, the FSF, etc. (and I backed up my belief with monetary donations to the cause as well as developing software). But, it is becoming very clear to me by the example of people like you that OSS is not about freedom. It is about power. You want to be number one, just like MS, Sun, etc. and are no different. The problem is this effort is populated with people who think they have all the answers for the use of computers. News alert! 99.99% of the people don't give a crap about gcc, gdb, emacs, the GIMP, or KDE vs. GNOME. They want solutions. They don't want to spend hours of their free time diddling aroung with /etc files or recompiling their kernel every other day. You can go off and claim these people are stupid because they are hackers, but you would be exposing you immaturity. Most people want things to work, and Windows, for the most part, delivers.

    You even start off by claiming that people view computers in one of two ways: as tools or as toys. I hate to break it to ya, but most Linux users probably fall into this latter category.

  • by ja ( 14684 )
    Personally I agree with you (Stallman) in most parts,BUT if you do not wish to participate in the ongoing discussion here at slash, it makes it very difficult to discuss anything at all ...

    I use this platform as a developer, it is my "HOME", do you read me ?

    Major corporations are putting in more and more free code into this little OS. They undrestand that the currency respected here is code ...

    Aghh forget it... Nevermind ... (Lost my temper ...)

  • By "not giving away 'whatever'", you imply that yo are the greatest slice since bread ...

    Nevermind
    ----------------------
    The last time I fucked my girlfriend, I actually checkced that she was having a good time as well as I .. (duh)

    But to answer your question;

    Well made software can enslave people that do not know how to produce equally well looking products with freely available products (like TeX)

    I know TeX, and you know TeX ...

    If Knuth and Lambert had not shared their knowledge, I would have known nada and been lying to my friends .. (dunno 'bout you) and probably used "Word" today!

    "Shared software" is not enforcing anybody to use it.

    Lack of alternatives forces Bill Gates to be the wealthiest man on the planet (he can't help it >;->)







  • IIRC, Apache was an outgrowth of NCSA httpd, which was the first HTTP server in widespread use. I don't recall what kind of licensing the original httpd server used, but I think it was similar in principle to modern Open Source licenses. At any rate, the program and source code were pretty freely available. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong...
  • I can personally attest to the accuracy of Mr. Stallman's analysis. The company I work for was founded four years ago to fix Y2K bugs in (unnamed) proprietary mainframe software, when customers who used the software were not being supported by the producer of the software. Because my boss had the foresight four years ago to quit and start his own company, a lot of companies are now fixed (hopefully) that would not have been. If my boss had not been feeling entrepeneurial the day he quit, those companies would have been wholly dependent on the manufacturer of the (unnamed) software.
  • Does RMS actually argue that we all have the inalienable right to modify and distribute everything that other people create? That for someone not to offer me those rights is not just a choice not to be altruistic, but an act of oppression?

    I have an 'inalienable right' to read a book of recipes, modify some recipes to my liking, and publish a new book containing the modified recipes (and the original ones, too). Good recipes take a lot of work to come up with, too...

    At one point some people simply decided that software should be treated differently. This idea has then been hammered into your head. Congratulations, you have been brainwashed into believing that you can own software (duh, just like you can own cooking recipes and building designs and mathematical formulas...)
  • One problem here: just because I have the specs for a Ford engine, doesn't mean I can build that engine to same level of quality that Ford might. With software, a copy is indistinguishable from the original. If I buy a knockoff Red Hat CD for $2, I know (objectively at least) that I'm getting the exact same code I would receive from the original vendor.

    Having open software specifications isn't the same as having open *code*. I think the former is really more important, since it's necessary for products to interoperate. Open source is a good thing, but it's not the only thing. If a closed-source product gets along with my other software and has capabilities significantly greater than the free alternatives, then more power to it.
  • I think you're right on target here. If a company is developing a breakthrough piece of software in a narrow market, then they need short-term control of the market to recoup their development costs. Open development isn't an option prior to release because 1) there won't be many volunteers since there isn't much demand for the product, and 2) a small group of dedicated programmers has a better shot at breaking new ground.

    Once the product takes off and becomes mainstream, the equation changes. There are now enough people who depend on it that you could realistically recruit developers for a free alternative. Also, the fundamental design of the application is already done, so bazaar-style development becomes an efficient option. The original developers have hopefully raked in a pile of profits at this point, so they will be more willing to consider a partial or complete opening of their source code. Since they've already made their name, they can continue to sell branded versions of the software and support. This could even be beneficial to the company in the long run, since it forces them to keep producing new products instead of milking what they've already created.

    This is how I see proprietary software companies working peacefully with the free software community. I think, for example, that we would all like to see a quality free word processor (no, LyX doesn't count). When we have that, though, I would still be willing to pay for proprietary add-ons if they offered functionality that was useful to me. If, however, that add-on became a "must-have" feature for most users, I would like to see a free alternative developed.
  • shelf full of O'Reilly books

    Yeah, I was just noticing the other day how many of those suckers I had. Might make yet another stup^h^h^h^h interesting /. poll to see how many folks have.
  • I'm the main author of the Crystal Space project.
    It is not exactly fair to compare a finished
    product (Quake and all ID games) with an
    unfinished product (Crystal Space). Of course
    Crystal Space has done the users no good for
    now. There is nothing for the users yet.

    But just give us a little time...

    Greetings,

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming

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