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GNU is Not Unix

RMS receives US$10K from Microsoft & Sun (Wins Award) 88

Daniel M. German writes "Reporting, live, from the WWW8 Conference in Toronto. RMS has been announced as the recipient of the Yuri Rubinsky Memorial Award, (which this year is mainly founded by Microsoft and Sun). Previous recipients of the Award are Vint Cerf --inventor or TCP/IP--, Doug Doug Englebart --inventor of the mouse, amongst many other things-- and Ted Nelson --who coined the term Hypertext. "
During his speech --broadcasted from the US-- he talked mainly about patents and their threat to Free Software.

The Award is an important recognition from the WWW Community to GNU and the Open Source movement in general.

I will write a complete report for Slashdot tomorrow.

Reporting, for Slashdot, from the Toronto Convention Centre.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

RMS receives US$10K from Microsoft & Sun (Wins Award)

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Or he could just very, very publicly donate it to the FSF to promote more free software projects. This would be much more satisfying than throwing it back in their faces I would think.

    (Of course, I'd actually imagine he'd do that anyway...)

    Jer - who is away from home without his SlashDot password (grrr...)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Sure it shouldnt of been downgraded, but since when has that mattered to the moderators. Wonder how long it will take before this one is also -1...
  • Check out the donation page [gnu.org] on the GNU site. Not quite halfway down, in the section on United Way donations, it reads:

    "If your employer has a policy of matching United Way donations, you can take advantage of that. We especially appreciate the donations from Microsoft matching the United Way donations of their employees."

    So I guess he doesn't have a problem with this.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The more free software there is, and the higher the quality of that software, the more likely other people are to do RMS's evangelization for him...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 13, 1999 @04:40PM (#1893247)
    We in the Slashdot community extend to you our warmest and most heartfelt congratulations for the honor you have received. As I enter this message, I know that it is being processed by software that was run through your compiler, GCC, the crown jewel of free software. Without GCC free software would be only a coolie's pipe dream. God bless you, Richard. May you have a long and happy life. You are the first hero of the next century.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 13, 1999 @02:03PM (#1893248)
    Most readers will not know who this award is named
    after. Yuri deserves to remembered. At one point he was one of the principles founder of Canada's marginally famous "Coach house press." They were famous for giving young writers a chance.

    Then he wanted to get into computer stuff. He started a company called SoftQuad to get into document processing software. He discovered the SGML standard and was one of the earliest participants in the movement towards structured markup.

    Some may not know this but there is an element of the SGML community committed not to SGML because it is a useful tool but rather because rather as a social force for preserving and communicating humanity's greatest resource: its knowledge.

    Yuri was one of these. He fought in particular to use SGML as a means of increasing the accessibility of documents to blind people. He was a tireless advocate for accessibility.

    Yuri called his work with Charles Goldfarb and many others a "Quiet Revolution". XML is the realization of their revolutionary ideas and it is tragic that Yuri did not live to see and guide it:

    Here's what Tim Berners-Lee had to say:

    "I learned of Yuri Rubinski's death with great sadness. If one thing distinguished Yuri it was untiring work toward what he thought was right. One of his recent and characteristic acts was to organize, and from his company financially support, an award for Doug Engelbart at the last
    WWW conference. Yuri worked hard to find what might really make a difference to Doug, to find his writings and have them quietly printed as a small book. Doug knew nothing about the award until he received it. Yuri just felt that this was the right thing to do, just as when he championed SGML, or disabled access to online information. Yuri had an irrepressible genial, almost mischievous, excitement about him which was always a great delight.

    Tim Berners-Lee

    http://www.oasis-open.org/cover/yuriMemColl.html

    About the foundation:

    http://www.yuri.org
  • Cysgod wrote:

    He is recieving this award as recognition for his work on GCC, GDB, Emacs and other programs that continue to be key to the internet being as successful as it is.

    I agree that it's his software contributions rather than his IP views that got him this award. On the other hand, with the exception of Emacs, the programs you list were not done outside of GNU/FSF. If I recall correctly, GCC was the program that Stallman started the GNU project with. GDB came a little while after.
  • HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Haven't read anything this funny in ages!

    This must win some humour award for the silliest Troll in a long time. It is so silly, that as a Canadian, I can't be offended by it!

    Thank you Mr/Ms Coward, you lightened up my day!

    ttyl
    Farrell
  • "shut the hell up" is an immature thing to say to the leader of the Free Software movement. I'd guess that's why it was moderated down.
  • Posted by !ErrorBookmarkNotDefined:

    You would think a large company
    like Microsoft would sweeten the award
    with a free copy of Microsoft Office
    or something.


    -----------------------------
    Computers are useless. They can only give answers.
  • Posted by MrKurtz:

    Complete with his very own licensed copies of Bloatlook and IE5 - hell, I'd have thrown in "Visual C++!"
    At least we haven't seen "Visual Perl" or "Visual Python" - yet.
  • by gavinhall ( 33 ) on Thursday May 13, 1999 @01:24PM (#1893254)
    Posted by FascDot Killed My Previous Use:

    Microsoft didn't give money to RMS. They (and Sun) gave money to an award. The award was given to RMS.

    Why not get the facts before patronizing us all?
  • Has RMS ever indicated that he would have a problem taking money from an institution he has some fundamental problems with?

    Err, I don't think RMS has any problems taking money from a reputable award institution that decides he is deservant of the award.

    In fact, it would be insane to suggest that anyone would.

    Oh, did you mean Microsoft? :) AFAIK, the companies who donate money to these awards have nothing to do with them. The fact that Microsoft donated is either through philantropy (which I don't doubt, I don't think Gates is satan, just an idiot that uses money as a defense mechanism) or self-promotion (not unfeasible either).

    IOW, You're reading into this too much.

    -Erik-
  • Although Micro$oft may have had nothing to do with who received the award, RMS might care that he was taking money from them. But I'm not sure if he's that kind of guy...that's why I asked

    See, that's the point missed. RMS didn't take the money from microsoft, he took it from the institution giving the award. Microsoft gave the money to the institution, nothing more.

    The money that RMS recieves will either benefit himself or the FSF, more than likely both.

    I doubt that either Sun's or Microsoft's money would ever willingly go to the FSF, since they do deny everything both of those companies are standing for.

    If I read an article saying "RMS recieves $10k check from Microsoft", then, I would completely agree with you - he did recieve money directly from someone who denies the views that lead to the money he recieved. But this is not the case, as Microsoft nor Sun had any choice in who recieved the award, because we'd be seeing a Scott or a Bill this year instead of a Richard recieving the award.

    If the KKK were contributing money to an award for excellence in the persuit of personal freedom and I were to win an award for it (being very anti-KKK), I wouldn't care. They supported the ideals of the award, not the person recieving it. There is a large difference here I think you're missing.

    And if you want me to read your mind less consider thinking more about inferences you might create and justify.

    -Erik-
  • >The good Mr Phipps works for, hehehe, IBM. I leave it up you to interpret this.:)

    You mean there's a bunch of people over at IBM who's laughing themselves sick right about now?
  • Anyone with their thresholds set too high (like to zero) missed out on a real chuckler here.

    I really got a laugh out of the different GCC's. It reminded me of the "If OS's Were Airlines" text file that used to float around. Only I'm afraid this author was really serious. Scary.

    -Derek
  • RMS is not an 'off the wall' type of person, at least my communications with him have not given me that impression.

    He is thoughtful, precise, and very stubborn in sticking to his beliefs, but I, for one, consider that a good quality: he is the standard bearer for what free software represents.

    If anyone is off the wall it's those who fail to embrace any kind of consistency in their beliefs.
  • I thought Dave Clark over at MIT invented TCP/IP. What am I missing?

    Joe
  • The irony lies more in the direction the money's flowing.

    And it's not Alanis irony either.
  • RMS wouldn't burn a complementary version of MS Office. He'd put it to good use - he'd give it to someone who was writing GPL office software to assist them in their research into their 'competitiors'. Remember RMS has nothing against using proprietary software if it is used for research into making a free equivalent.
    --
  • by Dastardly ( 4204 ) on Thursday May 13, 1999 @02:13PM (#1893263)
    Sometimes I feel like a leech, I use all this opensource stuff and don't really give anything back.
    Well, while you may not have given back anything yet. Users are part of the Open source process as well, even the ones that don't write any code. If you were to run into a bug, would you just sit there and pout. Certainly not, you would go on the net and see if anyone else had seen it. Being an intelligent user you would give a detailed description of your system, OS config, and what you were doing. Then, a couple things might happen. The bug has been seen before, and there is a fix out or on its way. The bug hasn't been seen, but a programmer type or five see your problem and work with you on isolating, fixing and/or working around the bug. Or, improbably, no one is interested in fixing it, but you decide you need it fixed so with the advice of some of these net people you fix the problem yourself. Either way you have contributed to the open source process, though not necessarily as a programmer, but as a tester and QA person.
  • Has RMS ever indicated that he would have a problem taking money from an institution he has some fundamental problems with?

    That's a great sound bite, but isn't there a difference between a bribe and an award? If he wins a public award and he did not compromise his strong beliefs, more power to him. "Taking money" can sometime imply under the table, bribery, etc.

    I'd cash in a winning lottery ticket...

  • > RMS is not an 'off the wall' type of person, at least my communications with him have not given me that impression.

    That's easy for you to say. He wasn't standing behind you at the Atlanta Expo shouting insults at the speaker.

    Richard Stallman *is* a bit off the wall. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. He is also "thoughtful, precise, and very stubborn in sticking to his beliefs".
  • by craw ( 6958 ) on Thursday May 13, 1999 @01:36PM (#1893266) Homepage
    I'm not absolutely positive that Awards Committee was responsible for RMS receiving this award (but duh, I hope so). However, it should be pointed out that the chair of the Awards Committee is Simon Phipps. The good Mr Phipps works for, hehehe, IBM. I leave it up you to interpret this.:)

    Nonetheless, congrats to RMS!
  • I don't personally like RMS (and I'll reserve judgement on whether or not he's just jealous of Linus), but I think you have to credit him for much of what the Open Source movement is today. I think it was RMS who really fought for the distinction between "free" software (as in "free beer") and "free" as in Freedom. He may not even have contributed more to the OS movement than some others have, but his contribution came at a key moment in time, and I will credit him for his vision.
  • by Signal 11 ( 7608 ) on Thursday May 13, 1999 @01:11PM (#1893268)
    First, the obligatory congratulations: Way to go RMS! You deserve every award you get. I'm sure the money will go a long way towards helping you and the FSF out.

    Now to speak up on what's obviously on everybody's minds - why would microsoft...? I would encourage you not to read too deeply into this. I'm abit suprised (shocked) that Microsoft would give any money to somebody working for "the competition". Let's try to hold off on speculation though until the "official" report comes out tomorrow. I'm anxious to read it, I'm sure you are too. But please - let's avoid the "Microsoft is evil!" and the like until we have more details. This is really an unfinished story.. treat it as such.



    --
  • I don't know how willing I would be to accept an award from an award institution-no matter how reputable-that I knew got some of its money from the KKK. That's an extreme, I realize, but I'm trying to make a point.

    I see your point, but what if you used the opportunity of your acceptance speech to point out loudly and clearly what a bunch of racist pinheads the KKK are? Would that be okay? Or what if you publicly donated all of the award money to the Anti-Defamation League or the Southern Poverty Law Center? Perhaps that would be a more effective statement than quietly refusing the award.

    I'm personally not very worried about RMS selling out to the Dark Side for a few thousand bucks. He's had plenty of opportunities to sell out over the years, somehow I don't feel like he's going to start now.

  • >Has RMS ever indicated that he would have a problem taking money from an institution he has some fundamental
    >problems with?

    RMS has expressed that he has problems with a number of businesses who sell proprietary software -- Sun, Oracle, even Troll Tech in Norway. All software that does not include the source code is distasteful to him.

    The only difference is that he has been recorded giving the bird to Gates' name when he entered the CS building on Stanford's campus. But I'm sure fi Larry Ellison donates money to build a CS building at some university, RMS will extend to the structure the same respect. ;-)


    Geoff
  • well, I woudl gladly accept award money from the KKK (not that I'd do anythign to deserve an award from them, but anyway, we're just speculating). and then I'd make a point of using it in a way completly contrary to what they stand for, or more likely donating it to some institution that specializes in doing that.
  • What do you think the banner ads are for?

    Slashdot has the advantage that there are customers with good money willing to pay to advertise to ./'s audience, without wanting to dictate editorial content.

    Just click on the ads if you want to pay Rob for his services. Everybody wins, this isn't a Murdoch publication!

    J
  • Whaddayamean, martyr?

    Is there something you're hiding?
  • He doesn't have any fundamental problems with Microsoft, just with their way to do business. I am sure RMS would work with Microsoft if they developed free software (hahaha).

    Alejo.
  • [What does Microsoft preach?] Mostly their own products' superiority, and the supposed "freedom" one can gain from using said products.

    And I guess this is in stark contrast to, say, Linus, who never misses an opportunity to promote FreeBSD, or Larry Elison -- I've heard he sends out mailers praising the quality of Informix.

    Damn that Microsoft!

    Cheers,
    ZicoKnows@hotmail.com

  • Richard accepted the award, talked about evil
    multinational companies (that's how Bob Metcalfe
    summarized his remarks) for a while, the presenter
    mentioned who had made the award possible, and
    Richard said something like, "I appreciate the
    recognition, but it's more important that corporations
    like Microsoft not receive the patents that
    contribute to their power to ..."
  • I disagree. Monetary awards like this are often funded by private industry. The idealogy that the company follows and the idealogy that the award represents are not necessarily connected. For exapmle: Lots of people despise Exxon for the whole Valdez thing. So if Exxon donates money to say, Amnesty International, and they in turn give a cash award to someone who is being persecuted by their govt for their efforts to protect the environment from polluting corporations, does that make the recipient a sellout? I don't think so. If the recipient recieved money directly from Exxon, then you've got a case. Otherwise it's just coincidence really.
    If the awarding org was the Exxon foundation, then that makes sense also, but the fact is that corporations frequently make donations to charitable organizations, or even just industry related organizations. What the _independent_ organization does with the money ought not have anything to do with the corporations overall agenda. but that's just my $.02
    -earl
  • It looks like there might be a good chance of this award becoming the ideological equivalent of the Nobel Prize, but for computers/internet work.

  • "In fact, it would be insane to suggest that anyone would."

    Jean-Paul Sartre (1964 Nobel Prize for Lit) and Le Duc Tho (1973 Nobel Prize for Peace) did, for ideologically sound reasons thou.
    Sartre's reason [nobel.se]. Searching around at www.nobel.se will show a few other who didn't want to get, or were forced to refuse, the prize.

  • "I think, arguably, his development efforts have had as much an influence on free and open software as his public relations efforts through the FSF."

    Arguably? No. Definitely. I'm one of Stallman's detractors mind you-- I think he's out of touch with reality and the GNU/Linux thing just gets on my last nerve-- but the whole software world owes him a debt that we'll never be able to measure.

  • Two books, printed back-to-back so that either could be considered the front. It was reprinted some years later in slightly smaller format.

    Yes, and he had a system (Xanadu) based on the hypertext concept (which, AFAIK, is still a struggling project - they want to incorporate the idea of tiny royalties being paid the author for every click on a link leading to something the author wrote). This before the WWW or Hypercard.

    To give an idea of the timeframe, the idea of "computer lib" was publicly accessible dumb terminals linked to minicomputers...
  • Hey, this isn't funny anymore!

    Mmm, Jews... I think you're hiding something. Are you sure that Chinese and Indians are not involved as well?

    Boy, I'd give much to live in America but certainly not in a world like yours.
  • Actually, I'm not. But thanks for trying to be a mind reader.

    Where money comes from does in fact matter to some people. I don't know how willing I would be to accept an award from an award institution-no matter how reputable-that I knew got some of its money from the KKK. That's an extreme, I realize, but I'm trying to make a point.

    Although Micro$oft may have had nothing to do with who received the award, RMS might care that he was taking money from them. But I'm not sure if he's that kind of guy...that's why I asked

  • Has RMS ever indicated that he would have a problem taking money from an institution he has some fundamental problems with?
  • Hey, if /. ever runs into som legal problems or need a new server or something, ask for donations. I'm a poor student, but still, I, like most people can spend a $ or two, and a $ or two from all of the /. readers is quite a lot.. An example of this kind of support is www.flashback.org, they have recived donations from a lot of people (the owner is beig sued..). So if /. needs money, count me in!
  • Now that would have been a treat for RMS! ;)
  • There is an article on Tim Berners-Lee [w3.org], (the guy who invented http) by Financial Post (Toronto) during this conference. He espouses views that sound like RMS. In this light, RMS's award isn't too surprising. To wit:


    Mr. Berners-Lee also had harsh words to say about the application of patent law and intellectual property rights, suggesting that an ethos of "whatever you can get away with" will inhibit the adoption of common standards, essential to the continued growth of the Web.


    The article is here. [nationalpost.com]
  • Yeah, and the second place winner gets *TWO* copies of MS Office. ;-)
  • by Cysgod ( 21531 ) on Thursday May 13, 1999 @01:24PM (#1893291) Homepage
    Richard Stallman is not recieving this award for shooting his mouth off as an industry pundit, despite many readers beliefs. He is recieving this award as recognition for his work on GCC, GDB, Emacs and other programs that continue to be key to the internet being as successful as it is.

    Look at the history of the award. The inventor of TCP/IP, the inventor of the mouse, the person who tokened 'hypertext'. While Richard Stallman's continued involvment in internet culture probably helped him win this award, people should recognize that most of what he is being awarded for is his efforts to make a universal compiler available to internet hosts, allowing everyone to compile Apache (among other things) to their platform of choice.

    Congratulations to Richard Stallman, one of the more influential programmers of our time and author of a number of great utilities. I think, arguably, his development efforts have had as much an influence on free and open software as his public relations efforts through the FSF.

    - Cysgod
  • I beleive he and others have seen it as a spiritual victory to use a company's award money against them.

    Either way, this is great news. Congratulations Richard!

  • There are, uh, pot coffeeshops in Canada? Not that I care. *nervous cough.*

    BTW, Anonymous Coward who started this thread: Well done. I wish I had the privs to moderate your post up. Damn funny.
  • I'm glad to hear this. It's a shame that RMS is such an off the wall type of person. I think he would get a lot more respect if he coud "play the game" a little better. But then again... maybe it that *bizzare* gene that drives people like RMS to greatness.

    Sometimes I feel like a leech, I use all this opensource stuff and don't really give anything back. Sure I've plunked down money for the last couple versions of RedHat, but most of that went to the retailer.

    Anyways...I see people like RMS who donate some great stuf that I use daily (emacs, gcc) and even though I don't like everything he says, I am gratefull.
  • Seeing as Bill's net worth is increasing at a rate of billions a year, and even if somehow it were only increasing at 2% a year (which the most pathetic of savings account should give), he could give millions a year from interest alone forever.

  • BEER RUN! :-)


    ps, Chicago Cubs suck, as do the fans (imo)
  • We have a quaint little custome here in Chicago when the opposing team hits a homerun into the bleachers and a Cubs fan catches it.

    "throw... it... back!"

    Should he take it? Should he throw it back in their faces?

  • I agree...
    Those darn Canadians are always up to no good. In fact I hate Canada, it takes me way too long to drive to the pot coffeshops in Vancouver from Oregon... Im forced to break our American laws and speed in order to avoid traffic times... those sneaky bastards!
  • Dream Weavers or something. He talked about hypertext systems in it and I didn't even recognize it as html until recently. Oh yeah, it had a picture of a naked chick in it. And it is in my high school library.

    --

  • I wonder how many folks are getting pleasure from MS inadvertantly giving this kind of recognition to GNU and Open Source. It goes against almost all of what they preach! =)
  • He addressed this point indirectly at the end of his acceptance speech. (I was there.) He told us to remember that it is better not to make money from software patents than to be able to give it away in prizes, as much as he appreciated the money.

    Microsoft did not choose the award winner. The decision was made by the past winners of the award. This implies that RMS will have an influence in future years.

  • And we all know how popular it's been to refuse nobel prizes (Sartre and a couple others notwithstanding)
  • by Garpenlov ( 34711 ) on Thursday May 13, 1999 @04:45PM (#1893305) Homepage
    First, I don't see how anyone (and it doesn't look like many have, but still) could view this as RMS "selling out" or "throwing his ideals out the window for money." It was an award. Recognition of the work he's already done. It's not as if Microsoft paid him $10K for consulting work. What the hell would he do for them, anyway? Evangelize about NT? Even more people would ignore him and dismiss him as a crackpot than do now.

    To those who are tired of his "ranting" about GNU/Linux and think it's based solely on his personal jealousy of Linus' popularity while people still say "RMS? Who's that?" and those who say "If only he knew how to play the game a little better, he might be more accepted" -- by his actions he is totally selfless. He is willing to sacrifice his dignity / self-respect in order to educate people. Which is definitely putting the good of the many above the good of one.

    And at least a few people out there do respect him for it. So in our eyes, he hasn't sacrificed anything but mass market appeal -- and that only because he wants to educate people, make sure they don't forget where all this great FREE, OPEN software comes from, and keep people contributing to it.

    [And don't take the subject too seriously, although I'm sure plenty of people will do so.]
  • Or he could just [...] donate it to the FSF to promote more free software projects.

    Knowing RMS's past actions, this seems fairly likely indeed.
    --
  • First, I don't see how anyone (and it doesn't look like many have, but still) could view this as RMS "selling out"
    Uh, no one but you has said that....
    To those who are tired of his "ranting" about GNU/Linux...
    I'm certainly tired of those who insist on introducing this tired old argument into random threads about RMS.
    And at least a few people out there do respect him
    There are those of us who've known Richard and his body of work far too long to a) not respect him or b) fail to recognize that the man has some serious problems. These two are not mutually exclusive. However, there seem to be a very vocal contingent of his cheering squad who feel the need to turn every "I don't agree with RMS" comment into a holy-war. I have to admit that turning an award anouncement into a holy-war is a new twist that I would not have thought of....
  • "...Yuri just felt that this was the right thing to do, just as when he championed SGML, or disabled access to online information...."

    Ah, fond memories of both my old English teacher and my Old English teacher. It is amazing what an extra comma can do to destroy a man's reputation. [grin] This excerpt is much more complimentary if the second comma is removed!

  • You could also buy something from FSF. They make a little profit off the CDs and books they distribute. And they are happy to take donations. And, if you're really feeling guilty, they have a list of projects that need help, including documentation--if you're not a coder.
  • Hey, go to [cheapbytes.com]
    www.cheapbytes.com and you can donate money by credit card to all sorts of causes, such as RMS and Slashdot.
  • Mostly their own products' superiority, and the supposed "freedom" one can gain from using said products.

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