Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 14th Dec 2009 15:16 UTC, submitted by chully
Gnome Over the weekend, there has been a bit of a ruffling of the feathers over in the GNOME camp. It started with complaints received about the content on Planet GNOME, and ended with people proposing and organising a vote to split GNOME from the GNU Project.
Thread beginning with comment 399336
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Spectrum of opinion.
by spudley99 on Mon 14th Dec 2009 16:18 UTC
spudley99
Member since:
2009-03-25

I disagree with him, but I believe it's good to have radicals like RMS.

It is important to have a spectrum of opinion, because the existence of the extremists is what makes the more moderate opinions seem moderate.

Being an extremist is merely being at the edge of a spectrum of opinion. If extremists like RMS weren't there, the spectrum of opinion would be narrower, but those on the edge would still be viewed as extremists.

So those open source advocates out there who are seen as fairly moderate can thank RMS for that. Without him we'd be the extremists.


As for what the GNOME project should do, I guess they should probably leave the GNU.

The GNU was originally a grand plan to create an OS, but it will never achieve that; that task has been delegated to the Distributions. So what is the GNU now, other than a loose collection of software projects with a common set of values. So if GNOME doesn't fit with those values any more, then it really doesn't belong in the GNU.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Spectrum of opinion.
by tylerdurden on Mon 14th Dec 2009 16:30 in reply to "Spectrum of opinion."
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

Agreed. I may disagree with some of Stallman's antics and points of view. But at least he believes in something, some organizations would benefit from having some purists at their hearts. And I think GNU is one of them.

I get a hoot to read the comments from people who trash Stallman, and I wonder how many of them have a similar track record regarding the organizations they have helped create... I think a lot of people trashing him, some doing so by using gnu-related tools, are just too chicken sh*t to actually stand for something.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Spectrum of opinion.
by google_ninja on Mon 14th Dec 2009 17:53 in reply to "RE: Spectrum of opinion."
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

I think a lot of people trashing him, some doing so by using gnu-related tools, are just too chicken sh*t to actually stand for something.


Agreed. In fact, Darl McBride is the only person I can think of who is willing to stand by his ideals and beliefs anywhere near as strongly as stallman, and not let the rest of the world, or in fact reality itself stand in his way.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Spectrum of opinion.
by sorpigal on Mon 14th Dec 2009 22:06 in reply to "Spectrum of opinion."
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

Good post.

The GNU was originally a grand plan to create an OS, but it will never achieve that; that task has been delegated to the Distributions. So what is the GNU now, other than a loose collection of software projects with a common set of values. So if GNOME doesn't fit with those values any more, then it really doesn't belong in the GNU.


I think it goes the other way: GNU should ditch GNOME. Since the GNU OS wont be done any time soon there is no imperative for its desktop environment to work at the moment. As such they should really choose the desktop environment that is best from a technical standpoint and back it. Just like the HURD is a great technical solution to an OS but is not presently as good as Linux in reality; this is no impediment to GNU because their goals don't include short term commercial viability, their goals are simply to make things that are good (and Free, of course).

GNOME was never a great project. It was a desperate attempt to undermine KDE, based on the then non-Free QT. Admittedly it succeeded, and we should be glad, but there is little else to recommend GNOME or any of its technologies.

If it were me and I could make it go any way I wanted I'd get GNU to back GNUStep. OpenStep is still the only open specification for a cross platform GUI that doesn't suck. The main issue with it is Obj-C, but there are many solutions for that.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Spectrum of opinion.
by lemur2 on Mon 14th Dec 2009 22:22 in reply to "RE: Spectrum of opinion."
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

GNOME was never a great project. It was a desperate attempt to undermine KDE, based on the then non-Free QT. Admittedly it succeeded,


How do you figure this?

Of the notable distributions: Ubuntu (via Kubuntu), OpenSuSe, Fedora, Mandriva, Mint, Arch, Sabayon, PCLinuxOS, Ultimate and Slackware all ship both KDE and GNOME desktop variants.

Pardus, Sidux/Knoppix and MEPIS ship only with KDE desktops.

I think it goes the other way: GNU should ditch GNOME.


That is an interesting concept. GNOME is currently a GNU project. AFAIK, it is one of the few GNU projects to refrain from adopting the GPL v3 (is that correct?).

OTOH, GNU itself is a Free Software project (and not simply an open source project).

If the GNOME board want GNOME to move towards being an open source project only, then a split of GNOME from GNU would seem to be quite logical. At least then GNOME would be what it is ... open source, but not Free Software. Truth in advertising.

I have no idea what that would do to its relative popularity.

Edited 2009-12-14 22:29 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Spectrum of opinion.
by Ed W. Cogburn on Mon 14th Dec 2009 22:55 in reply to "RE: Spectrum of opinion."
Ed W. Cogburn Member since:
2009-07-24

OpenStep is still the only open specification for a cross platform GUI that doesn't suck. The main issue with it is Obj-C


I have nothing against OpenStep or ObjC, but its ironic you seem to have forgotten the very thing that created Gnome in the first place: Qt.

Its now dual-licensed under commercial/GPL3/LGPL2, which makes it as Free and Open (if not more so?) than GTK, and is now *more* cross-platform than GTK is and likely even OpenStep (has that been ported to Nokia's phone platforms?). At least the major platforms are all actively supported by Qt now: Win, Mac, X11, Embedded Linux, Win Mobile, plus Nokia's Symbian and Maemo platforms.

Now for some people, Qt being written in C++ may be as problematic as OpenStep being written in ObjC, but probably like OpenStep, its got wrappers/bindings to use it with just about every other language out there.

Since Qt is (now) also an "open specification for a cross platform GUI", to say that OpenStep is the only one is just false I believe.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Spectrum of opinion.
by silix on Tue 15th Dec 2009 19:41 in reply to "Spectrum of opinion."
silix Member since:
2006-03-01

I disagree with him, but I believe it's good to have radicals like RMS.

i who work as a sw developer find his very existence utterly embarrassing since stallman put me (and all those like me) in the same league as murderers and rapists, but to each his own opinion, i guess

It is important to have a spectrum of opinion, because the existence of the extremists is what makes the more moderate opinions seem moderate.


moderate opinions does not seem such because they are "more moderate" than current extremists
they are moderate because they come from people who acts and reasons pragmatically (instead of dogmatically) and (more important) respects other's opinions and arguments even when they dissent - common traits of moderate people, the opposite of what an extremist or radical usually is and does

Being an extremist is merely being at the edge of a spectrum of opinion.

except that being a character trait, what makes someone an extremist (or moderate) person, isnt strictly tied to a specific topic but affects all aspects of public conduct as far as expressing opinions (and discussin them with others) is concerned, or applies to all kinds of public endeavours where people don't agree on something

If extremists like RMS weren't there, the spectrum of opinion would be narrower, but those on the edge would still be viewed as extremists.
So those open source advocates out there who are seen as fairly moderate can thank RMS for that. Without him we'd be the extremists.

current moderates have none of the traits (blind faith, leader's personality cult, "black or white" "with us or against us" attitude wrt others and so on) of other extremist social, religious, political fringes (namely communists, fascists, talibans), so it's not like they would be considered in the same league, if RMS and his followers (who on the contrary share the aforementioned traits) weren't there
just, the FOSS one would be described as a single, friendly, open and pragmatical community

As for what the GNOME project should do, I guess they should probably leave the GNU.

that would be funny, since GNOME stands for GNU Network Object Model Environment, ie GNOME is supposed to be an integral part of the GNU - i'm somewhat inclined to think that if GNOME spins off, the whole GNU ecosystem will start to fall apart in some time..

The GNU was originally a grand plan to create an OS

of which GNOME was supposed to be what the WorkPlace Shell was for OS/2, the official GUI and graphical environment

So what is the GNU now, other than a loose collection of software projects with a common set of values.So if GNOME doesn't fit with those values any more, then it really doesn't belong in the GNU.

but the point is: what are those values?
at the very beginning, free software was (or was depicted as being) about giving something (value, power, customizeability, assurance, at least choice) to the user - thus FOSS was user centric (by definition)
immediately after that came the vision of a world without proprietary software, thus a world without people like me and without professional applications ( since, you know, individual hobbysts hardly have the time, programming skills, and field knowledge to implement another AutoCAD or Photoshop), and the exploitation of half baked, perpetual beta software to push one man's agenda and values onto others (something that i'm personally disgusted by, and which has convinced me to quit touching linux or anything foss to even avoid dirtying myself with senseless idiocy)

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Spectrum of opinion.
by Morty on Tue 15th Dec 2009 22:17 in reply to "RE: Spectrum of opinion."
Morty Member since:
2005-07-06

"As for what the GNOME project should do, I guess they should probably leave the GNU.

that would be funny, since GNOME stands for GNU Network Object Model Environment,
"

Quite funny, since they already abandoned the Network Object Model part years ago.

Edited 2009-12-15 22:18 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2