Linked by Michael L. Love on Mon 3rd Nov 2003 19:19 UTC
BSD and Darwin derivatives The GNU-Darwin Distribution is a free operating system and a popular source of free software for Mac OS X and Darwin-x86 users, but it is also a platform for digital activism. Founded in November of 2000, the Distribution has the stated goal of bringing software freedom to computer users of every stripe, and vigilantly defending digital liberties.
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RE: GNU
by RJW on Tue 4th Nov 2003 06:55 UTC

I never said that RMS' opinions were valid or invalid because he is obnoxious, what I said was people do not want to listen to him for that reason.

How is he a danger to freedom (please answer without an analogy)?

If he got what he wanted, it would be illegal to produce proprietary software. Yes, he wants this. I see this as a danger to freedom because I do not view proprietary software as limiting others' freedom in a harmful sense. There are software companies that would not survive on an open source model. Could a company that writes e.g. yacht designing software survive open source? Not likely. They need the proprietary model. I don't think such software could even exist if it were not for closed source. This is not immoral, it's the nature of the medium. Computers allow one to distribute a binary without access to the source, and it's natural. What I see as limiting freedom is the strongarming tactics many proprietary companies use against people who violate their licenses. But this is not the fault of binary-only distribution! It's a different problem.

RMS doesn't ask the government to ensure these freedoms, he asks computer users to. This is an important distinction, because trying to change the laws *is* "shoving" one's ideas on the world. However, there is nothing imposing about me telling you "You're wrong. I'm right. Here's why." It's not imposing values, it's believing in something strongly enough to convince others that you are right through peaceful discourse. That is a Good Thing (TM).

You're right about the last point, but I have read much of his writings, and I think he does want the government to "ensure these freedoms".

With all that said, I think he's extremely intelligent and I don't think he's a bad person. But he sees things from a religious perspective, and I think he's fundamentally confused about the concept of freedom. There can be many levels and types of freedom. It isn't all one thing. Software freedom is not the same as freedom of speech. While he has had a role to play in the success of free software, it wasn't until Linux and "open source" came along that it took off in a world changing way. There's a reason for this. The pragmatic, more reasonable open source approach works better than the brittle, religious "Free Software" approach.