Linked by David Adams on Sat 31st Jul 2010 05:58 UTC, submitted by waid0004
GNU, GPL, Open Source Richard Stallman, who's still taking on the role of the extremist who says extreme things so other Free Software advocates can look moderate in comparison, answers Reddit readers' questions. But there's some good stuff in there, and it seems he's dialed back the nutty a bit.
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Wow...
by UltraZelda64 on Sat 31st Jul 2010 07:34 UTC
UltraZelda64
Member since:
2006-12-05

"1. corevette: If you could have one proprietary package/software released as Free Software, which would it be and why?

RMS: I have not made an effort to study the possible candidates, since unless a genie offers me a wish of that kind, the results wouldn't enable me do anything constructive. Thus, I can only respond based on the few proprietary programs I happen by chance to know about."


LMFAO... I'm sorry, but that is just both funny and completely expected. Someone asks what proprietary program should be "free"... RMS really doesn't know. Duh! Dumb questions... right from the beginning. Considering he wouldn't even come near the stuff based on his beliefs, I don't know:

A. Why someone would actually ask this crap,
B. Why he would even answer, or
C. Why the hell the person doing the interview would even bother to add this one to it.

Can't wait to see what jewels await (still reading).

Edited 2010-07-31 07:44 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Wow...
by dylansmrjones on Sat 31st Jul 2010 08:55 UTC in reply to "Wow..."
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Yeah, some of the questions were quite silly, and his answers filled with ideology as expected. There are a few good and even some pointed questions, which he unfortunately doesn't really answer.

That said, he did reply that he would like Autocad to be free software, if a genie granted him such a wish.

I also like his answer about free software being free as in free speech, and not as in free beer (meaning gratis).

Reply Score: 3

Still kind of nutty
by Zifre on Sat 31st Jul 2010 15:57 UTC
Zifre
Member since:
2009-10-04

I respect RMS and appreciate what he has done, but it still doesn't sound like he's dialed down the nuttiness. Nearly all of his responses sounded like the usual statements: non-free software is unethical, it's GNU/Linux, DRM is evil, etc.

I understand and agree with his ideology, but that is the problem: it's only ideology. In the real world, non-free software is sometimes necessary, and I definitely wouldn't call it "unethical".

Pretty much the only question that I actually thought he answered with any real insight was the question about genetics.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Still kind of nutty
by Panajev on Sat 31st Jul 2010 17:09 UTC in reply to "Still kind of nutty"
Panajev Member since:
2008-01-09

He does not recommend any book to CS student because there are not any free ones.

Reply Score: 1

More of the same RMS
by jessesmith on Sat 31st Jul 2010 18:58 UTC
jessesmith
Member since:
2010-03-11

I respect what RMS has done for the FOSS community. he's a smart guy. But, he is pretty extreme in his views. Whenever I read an interview like this I cringe a little inside. His extreme stance is appealing to some people, but it's also a huge turn-off to most and I think it scares a lot of people off.

The stance of non-free software being unethical has resulted in some conversations where people ask me what I'm running these days and I'll say, "Linux" and they get that scared look. And I have to explain, "I'm not one of _those_ Linux users. I'm not going to try to convert you." And they relax again.

Reply Score: 2

nt_jerkface
Member since:
2009-08-26

He clearly has no answer to software that requires capital to fund a team of experts from various fields.

He had no solution for the programmer who pointed out that his software cannot rely on donations or support.

His response should have been to get an MIT scholarship and have them pay your bills while you work on open source software.

Reply Score: 1

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

He clearly has no answer to software that requires capital to fund a team of experts from various fields.

He had no solution for the programmer who pointed out that his software cannot rely on donations or support.

His response should have been to get an MIT scholarship and have them pay your bills while you work on open source software.


Here is someone who is articulate, and can clearly explain the position of free software. He is also able to explain why and how it is funded, by big corporations.

http://www.fsf.org/blogs/community/lp2010-moglen-state-of-free-sw

Eben Moglen is the rational, moral voice of free software. Richrad Stallman is not able to explain the position like Eben can.

http://balance.fsf.org/video/lp2010-eben-moglen.ogv

The video of Eben's latest talk isn't a very professional video, but Eben's actual talk is very powerful.

So, do you have any comment on what the real position of free software is? What do you have to say about Eben's point that free software has now moved to a position where it cannot be eliminated, and that it is now in the direct best interest of many large and powerful players to actually support it?

Reply Score: 3

fresch Member since:
2006-09-12

The way I understand it - this is based on GPL v2 - the FSF does not require you to distribute the source without demand. Nor does it require you to distribute the binary without charge.

This is what I would do: Sell the binary package. Maybe also include the source along with the binary package, but I'm not required to. If somebody *asks* for the source, I'll provide it along with the GPL license.

What I'm not required to provide, is artwork, example files, data files, installers or package/build tools and scripts just to name a few.

So if you buy my software, you buy more than just the executables, you buy the total package. If you then decide you need to modify my software, you write me an e-mail asking me for the source, and I'll attach a tar-ball with it in my answer mail.

Again, this is the way I understood the GPL, and again version 2 of it.

Reply Score: 1

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

This is what I would do: Sell the binary package. Maybe also include the source along with the binary package, but I'm not required to. If somebody *asks* for the source, I'll provide it along with the GPL license.

What I'm not required to provide, is artwork, example files, data files, installers or package/build tools and scripts just to name a few.

So if you buy my software, you buy more than just the executables, you buy the total package. If you then decide you need to modify my software, you write me an e-mail asking me for the source, and I'll attach a tar-ball with it in my answer mail.

Again, this is the way I understood the GPL, and again version 2 of it.


I don't think you have understood the GPL.

Basically ... if someone else wrote the software and released it under the GPL ... then it isn't your software. Its their software. They get to put conditions on it, not you.

It really is very simple. If you want to sell something, sell your own work. Do your own work. Even little schoolkids understand this principle.

The source code which was written by someone else and licensed under the GPL isn't your own work. You can't legally sell that which is not yours. Period.

PS: The GPL license applies ONLY to the original code released by someone else under the GPL. Anything which you actually did, and which does not contain the GPL'd code, is yours to do with as you please. But the original GPL'd code, and derivatives of that code, remain under the GPL.

PPS: In this context, a "derivative" work is something which contains significant parts of an earlier work.

Edited 2010-08-01 14:32 UTC

Reply Score: 2

BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

I don't think you have understood the GPL.


And in your eagerness to hop onto your soapbox, it looks like you neglected to actually read the entire post.

Basically ... if someone else wrote the software and released it under the GPL ... then it isn't your software. Its their software. They get to put conditions on it, not you.


Why would you assume that fresch is talking about software written by someone else? That would make absolutely no sense in the context of the post he's replying to, and every indication is that he's referring to software written by himself or a company under his control.

It really is very simple. If you want to sell something, sell your own work. Do your own work. Even little schoolkids understand this principle.


Little schoolkids are also usually taught basic reading comprehension.

Reply Score: 2

RawMustard Member since:
2005-10-10

He's also completely failed to grasp the GPL himself. There is nothing stopping someone else from selling other peoples GPL code. All that is required is that the source is made available if requested and that any modifications to others code is also shared under the terms of the GPL. Again, there is nothing stopping you from selling other peoples GPL code!

Edited 2010-08-02 10:27 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Zifre Member since:
2009-10-04

Why did people vote nt_jerkface's comment down?

I'll admit that I'm often the one voting him down, but in this case, I don't understand it. Anyone who voted him down was simply avoiding the truth.

RMS clearly was evading all the questions about economics, and his principles are clearly very unrealistic for most other people who actually have to make money with their software.

Reply Score: 2