Richard Stallman wrote a short editorial on the 20th anniversary of GNU. It’s a summary of what he considers needs to be done now.
Stallman: State of Free Software Address
Submitted by bogey 2004-01-05 Open Source 75 Comments
Richard Stallman wrote a short editorial on the 20th anniversary of GNU. It’s a summary of what he considers needs to be done now.
Any post regarding Stallman should provide for some entertaining, if not painfully expected, comments.
Let me quickly get out of the way after stating that although individuals such as Stallman are vital to the health of the community, that fact doesn’t imply that I simply don’t agree with most of his stances.
Remember, in the evolution of anything, the initial protagonists are bound to be the most extreme and vocal. Over time, as any movement gains momentum, the pool of members is diluted with more common voices. Same with GNU and Linux.
I do believe that we will see more and more basic software systems and tools (OS and applications) become common and free over time.
But to say, “Non-free software carries with it an antisocial system that prohibits cooperation and community.” That’s just posturing and pontificating.
Replace “software” with any other noun in his statement, and you’ll quickly realize the unique gift of OSS/FSS. But try the universalization of this stance with any other industry, and it just gets absurd (medicine, law, etc).
Stallman survives financially somehow. Therefore, something he does, he considers to have value, and not-so-free.
I found Stallman’s attitude to the “temptation” posed by non-free programs that run on free OSs very strange – he seems to treat Free Software as some sort of religion. Free Software is a good thing, but the notion that all software should be free, or that someone should only use free software, is his opinion and no more. For someone who is an end-user and not a hacker, and for a company, it is madness to use an incomplete open-source package when they would not be able to make head or tail of the code, and when it is in a pre-release state and may break on them at any time!
Yes, don’t be tempted by pragmatism. Stick to idealogy, and you will have 36 virgins when you die.
By free he means ‘libre’ not ‘gratis’. You have the liberty ( right? ) to do as you see fit with software, source code, etc… That does not mean that you can access such material for no charge, and a person usually doesn’t. If you take into account utlities heh.
Replace “software” with any other noun in his statement, and you’ll quickly realize the unique gift of OSS/FSS. But try the universalization of this stance with any other industry, and it just gets absurd (medicine, law, etc).
I don’t know of any medical procedures that the process is secret. And legal information is publicly available as well.
Stallman survives financially somehow. Therefore, something he does, he considers to have value, and not-so-free.
You confuse free (rights) and free (zero price). You better have those two straight in order to enter a Stallman debate.
I may not agree with what he’s saying in general – but if I shared his vision I would. I admire his intelligence and dedication to his vision. I surely hope that the man does not get turned a deaf ear in the years to come, as he is one of the people most directly responsible for free software today and his words remain a valid appraisal of his original vision – which is indeed a very respectable and thought out vision that remains a pilliar in free software based systems worldwide. This man deserves to be heard and considered, even if we don’t always necessarily agree or share in his vision.
Actually, Stallman is the one misusing free. Free is not typically applied to inanimate objects. For example, a person. If you say a “person is free,” it’s quite obvious that you are reffering to liberty. If you talk about a car, for example – “that car is free” – there can be no confusion about the intent to indicate value. And yet, Stallman insists on referring to software, an inanimate object, as “Free”. Not only that, he seems suprised that this ambiguity (and possibly intentionally misleading terminology) has led to confusion. Who would have thought, that after abusing the word free, that people misunderstand him. People often have to say “free as in liberty” to clarify. Why not just say, liberty software?! Stallman has no one to blame for this confusion but himself.
The more cynical side of me (which pales in comparison to the paranoia of many associated with the FSF and OSI), think that Stallman did so on purpose. Advertise “free software” to people, and just happen to have it available for free as price initially. Then, when everyone is confused, and everyone thinks they are getting free (as in cost) software, bam, hit em over the head with his nutty idealogy and wiccanism. Truly, a good plan. Stallman has trolled us all.
You confuse free (rights) and free (zero price).
Stallman’s Free Software Definition includes
“Being free to do these things means (among other things) that you do not have to ask or pay for permission”
This means that you are free to use it without paying. Of course you are also free to pay if you like.
With a title like The Free Software Community After 20 Years you would expect a history of the “Free Software Community” over the last 20 years, wouldn’t you? But instead of any history, we get the same 2 points RMS always makes. I’m sorry if that gets me modded down, but as far as I can tell these are the only two things RMS ever says in any article, regardless of the title: 1) everyone is using “GNU/Linux” not just “Linux” and they don’t know it (this was the second sentence of the article) and 2) non-“free” software is bad for everyone.
Say what you will about point 1, but point 2 is indeed important. Unfortunately, the only argument in support of point 2 made in the article is that non-“free” equals “bad”. It may indeed be “bad”, but that is rarely a reason anyone ever changes their ways. Software is something people use every day, and to change that they need a practical reason, such as “OpenOffice is just as easy to use as MS Word and has just as many features, but you don’t have to pay $100 to upgrade every year”; or “Linux [err, excuse me, GNU/Linux] may be different from what you are used to, but it’s worth the learning curve because you won’t get all those nasy viruses anymore, and you can still browse the web“.
There are many practical reasons to switch to “free” software. RMS is outspoken enough that everyone would benefit it he could encorporate them into his arguments.
Stallman has become less and less pragmatic over the years.
If he would give more credit to his own creation the LGPL and pushed GPL only for end user apps a lot of people would be much more confortable with the his free software ideals.
Why don’t we all just take a breather and congratulate GNU on reaching the ripe age of 20.
Why does RMS insist that distributions based on Linux be called GNU/LINUX? I mean, it is open source. If he’d like, he could fork their software and use his EMACS editor to replace every mention of Linux with GNU/LINUX, right? Linus does not make any demands of how people refer to software derived from or including Linux. They onyl have to comply with the GPL, which does not have a RMS/ clause as far as I can tell (although it is quite convuluted and archaic, i could have missed it), so no one is obligated.
I find it sad that he is able to find an audience for these ridiculous claims, over and over again, and that some people have even complied. It seems like the man has too much power for his own good. Has anyone considered rewriting the software produced by RMS, so that they can officially end any claims of RMS/Linux? I tihnk this woudl be the most effective solution.
An idealist in a world that no longer tolerates such men. Wether you agree or disagree with his standpoints I wish people would give him more credit for actually standing up and fighting for what he believes in.
You are right, in terms of GNU, free(rights) includes resdistribution for free(price).
The point of that statement, however, was that the original poster was attempting to make Stallman look like a hypocrite because he makes a salary, when he promotes *free* software. My intent was to clarify the misunderstanding.
Anyone who has spent anytime on the GNU site, or reading anything else by or about Stallman knows that he has no problem with companies and employees getting paid for the services they provide.
GNU/Linux = Linux kernel with GNU tools to make OS. I have seen projects where they use the GNU tools but use one of the BSD kernels instead of Linux. Whether someone calls it GNU/Linux or just Linux, who cares, to each his own.
Medical: As you can view the source code for Gnumeric, feel free to ask Pfizer for their process, procedure and materials in production of any pharmaceutical. As you can view the bugzilla reports for Mozilla, go ahead and ask a pacemaker company for schematics. Almost nothing in the medical industry is free, apart from some webmd advice on how to use a rectal thermometer.
Law: Yes, the law of any country and the corresponding process is so accessible and understandable that you can see its success in the vast numbers of self-representing and self-defending citizens in court.
Free libre/gratis: There is no confusion. Libre/gratis concepts are not mutually exclusive whatsoever in the software industry. Others in this forum are equally as concerned. Even in the absence of software monopolies to impact software economics, free software (libre) leads to free software (gratis) through competition and consumer expectation.
It’s high time Stallman went back to the damn asylum. These high-priest, ivory tower, pseudo-cultist rantings were amusing 5 years ago, but now they are just annoying and an active deterrent to future expansion of OSS.
I’m not going to go through it line by line, just pick out one of the MANY points that annoyed me.
“”Simply by using a new and unfinished free replacement, before it technically compares with the non-free model, you can help encourage the free developers to persevere until it becomes superior. “”
This is such a dumbass statement that at first I believed it was some merry new year’s prank.
a) If the “free” replacement is not comparable to the “non-free” version then there is no incentive whatsoever to use the “free” replacement. To the vast majority of people software is a tool to get something done, not a moral crusade. It is only natural, and your right, to use software that lets you do that task efficiently.
b) If, as in Stallman’s world, the “free” replacement does not need to be comparable in ability to the “non-free” version then what driving force is there to improve the “free” version aside from tinkering? In other words treating “free” software as somehow different, or better, than “non-free” software simply because of its license stifles innovation. Competition with both “free” and “non-free” applications of a similar nature is what forces software quality up. Judging software by its license rather than its merits is very dangerous ground, the attitude is more akin to the medieval witch hunts than computer software.
c) The developers want to create the software, or they don’t. Either way they should neither need, nor require, cheerleading from the sidelines to improve their software. If they can’t motivate themselves to generate improvements under their own steam then they are showing a fairly complete disregard for their userbase and as such won’t have one for very long.
c) And possibly the most important one. YOUR USERS ARE NOT YOUR BETA TESTERS. On a large project a good beta tester is probably worth one or more of your weaker developers. Finding a bug and, more importantly, providing a developer with sufficient information to fix it is not something you can expect from a normal user of the software. Releasing bug-laden, half-baked, software is NOT a way to satisfy your users, build a userbase, or generate more confidence in Open Source Software. Users of such software are likely to simply drop the whole OSS idea and go back to their “non-free” platforms and software out of frustration.
“Non-free software carries with it an antisocial system that prohibits cooperation and community. You are typically unable to see the source code; you cannot tell what nasty tricks, or what foolish bugs, it might contain. If you don’t like it, you are helpless to change it. Worst of all, you are forbidden to share it with anyone else. To prohibit sharing software is to cut the bonds of society.”
This was the paragraph that really showed how out of it he is. There is nothing anti-social about non-free software, apple and microsoft cary communities rather nicely. You don’t need to see the source code to a program, if you buy or using a respectible program you don’t have much to worry about. Furthermore even if it was opensourced and had a bug most people would still be waiting for someone to fix it.
Then to say the worst things is you can’t share it blows my mind. No kidding, you can’t make money if one person buys it and shares it with everyone. I wonder how he can justify saying free-software doesn’t mean you can’t sell it then. Cause with an idea of people can give it away then you have no business. It has nothing to do with society, he truely is in some weird dream land trying to connect society to this all when it has ntohing to do with it. He’s trying to drag in peoples emotions like what he is saying is even remotely true.
Uhm, liberty is no adjective as you may have noticed, also it’s usually not used in conjunction with material objects. And one of the suggestions my dictionary gives for “free” is “at liberty”, so you point is pretty much meaningless drivel.
Another thing is, that the direct translation of the term “free” really doesn’t mean “gratis” in many or most (if not all) other languages. For example the german term “Freie Software” (translation of “Free Software”), usually isn’t confused with gratis software.
The french term is “libre” and I would be surprised if they would use this word regularly to mean “gratis”.
Also notice that there must be a reason the term “free of cost” exists. It would be rather redundant, if this would be implied already by saying “free” in relation to an object.
This all leads me to believe that “free” never was meant to mean “gratis” in the first place, unless it was used this way by marketing departments and it certainly isn’t its sole meaning.
Other related suggestions of my dictionary:
14. Thrown open, or made accessible, to all; to be enjoyed
without limitations; unrestricted; not obstructed,
engrossed, or appropriated; open; — said of a thing to
be possessed or enjoyed; as, a free school.
19. Not united or combined with anything else; separated;
dissevered; unattached; at liberty to escape; as, free
carbonic acid gas; free cells.
I can’t even find free of cost in that list, the only point which could be interpreted this way would be:
15. Not gained by importunity or purchase; gratuitous;
spontaneous; as, free admission; a free gift.
(if you are wondering, it’s from “Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)”)
And that’s also the only time when we use “Frei” in Germany to mean anything similar to “gratis”, for example “Freier Eintritt” (free entrance) or “Freibier” (free beer).
I suggest that you get a hand on the book “Hackers” by Steven Levy (it’s out of print today but try to find it anyway – it’s an early 1980 book – and very intetesting by the way). Read it and when you`ll read the chapter about “The Last of the True Hackers”, you’ll understand why Richard M. Stallman is is still very True & Honest to what he always been and what he has always believed in.
People should pay more respect to the Man who started it all. “It’s not because you do not understand him that he is not right.
The full name of the book is:
Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution
I can certainly understand how one would disagree with Stallman, but there seem to be many misconceptions about his thought. The first comment made suggested that these ideas cannot be usefully applied to other industries. Stallman does not apply them to other industries. In fact, in many of the speeches available on the Free Software Foundation’s website, he states this very explicitly. It applies to software because software is distinct in many ways.
In regard to calling Linux GNU/Linux. In the documentary Revolution OS, Linus Torvalds says he does not care as long as it is a GNU distribution of Linux (meaning a Linux system built using GNU tools – and not just emacs but the amazingly huge project: the GCC compiler that made Linux possible in the first place) but that he doesn’t consider it an important point. He also refers to Stallman as “the Great Philosopher;” a term that carries significantly more respect than many of you seem willing to give.
And one must remember the environment that Stallman emerged from. The AI lab at MIT was a tight community of developers. And to use propietary software, many of them decided to sign non-disclosure agreements that prevented them from working with their former colleagues on certain projects. There is also the classic story about the printer for which Stallman was not allowed to alter the driver to do what he wanted. He was directly affected by non-free software. Therefore is a staunch advocate of free software now.
There are reasons to promote slightly less robust free software than non-free software. If we simply accept non-free software because it is better now, we will see less and less competition in the future, as monopolies solidify and communities of hackers dissipate. If people did not use and contribute to Linux early on, if Stallman hadn’t thrown out all of the propietary Unix systems to write a new system from scratch, we would not have GNU/Linux today. That sacrifice has made the Internet possible, many new and useful technologies possible, has created one of the largest collaborative communties on earth, and is currently offering the only real competition to unethical businesses like Microsoft.
You may dispute Stallman’s ideology and call him a loon, but that does not seem wholly justified seeing as his ideology has created such an effective system that defied all prior wisdom. Access to source code DOES mean something very important. It does create communities. The cooperation between Redhat, SuSE, Novell, Ximiam, now even Sun, on some project Apple (Safari improvements being backported to KDE’s Konqueror), and the Linux community is truly inspiring, especially in contrast to the rest of the industry. This has allowed a community to create a system that in many ways is superior to propietary software in a short amount of time and in many cases even make it available FREE (as in gratis) to normal users). Hell, the very medium upon which we are now communicating was invented by a man who wanted to use Stallman’s GPL but was not allowed by his employer. Can you imagine all the pain that would have been saved if the internet protocols had been GPL’d, or LGPL’d, instead of public domain? It would be far more difficult for Microsoft to futz with all them then. Please show a little respect for the man who made all this possible initially. There would have been no GPL for Linus to use if Stallman wasn’t so bold (and by the way, the GPL is a legal document, it isn’t supposed to be pretty, people).
How can I freely modify software if I can’t afford to buy the sourcecode? To be ‘libre’ I think it has to be ‘gratis’ too.
By having someone who has bought, redistribute the source code to you. This is where the illusions of “commercial-ness” using the GPL start to fall apart.
If people are confused as to how free software is economically practical, read the GNU Manifesto – it’s the last chapter of the GNU Emacs manual. It inspired Cygnus – the first company based on selling services around free software.
What exactly is the difference between RMS and a wannabe sectleader?
I can just imagine how the expressions “Troll” and “FUD” got invented….. all of them must refer to the very RMS man himself!
It sad to see how people bash RMS for his opinions. RMS deserves respect and that includes being taken seriously. And those of you who can’t see that should read up on RMS and realize the impact he has had on the industry.
I may not agree with him on all his points – but I do not deem him a “madman” who should “crawl back to his asylumn”.
As for GNU/Linux. GNU was/is RMS vision and life long project. The popularity of the Linux kernel boosted the use of tools like gcc, gdb, emacs and killed (the already half dead) Hurd kernel IMHO. But GNU is RMS 20 year long project and is used by practically every Linux(kernel) user worldwide. The man only wants some credit(not beer) for a project he has been dooing since before many of you were born… cut him some slack…
1) Unique nature of software: I agree that software is unique in many ways. And it is similar to every new industry sector in even more ways. Software development is no different than producing art, and is no different than developing a hammer. Some software is meant for beauty, some for utility.
Software developers (such as myself) should stop flattering ourselves. Tyler Durden would remind us that we’re not unique and individual snowflakes.
My opinion is that the application of RMS’s thoughts on freedom (either definition) and IP are quite appropriate within the industries listed.
2) Stallman’s bakground and contribution: Understood. He’s a product of his past. Nothing new. As I stated previously, in any movement, the founders and most vocal always spike in importance and wane over time.
I never implied (or meant to imply) that myself and others aren’t appreciative for his accomplishments.
3) “You may dispute Stallman’s ideology and call him a loon, but that does not seem wholly justified seeing as his ideology has created such an effective system that defied all prior wisdom.” Defied all prior wisdom?
It’s called charity and public service, and it’s not new. People have put their time and effort for free with no expectation of financial or civic reward in every industry.
And every such sector has such elements. When I post a patch to the kernel, am I doing anything different than tutoring kids after school? When I create icons for GNU/Linux, is that any different than if I help paint an inner-city mural or house?
There are plenty of effective social networks involving humble and talented people. GNU does software, other groups do other things.
4) Commercial opportunites for free software: Yes, due to GNU/Linux/FSF/whatever else, the tangible product is being driven down in cost, and people/businesses are forced more and more to rely on the service model. That’s evolution in any industry. Razors and razorblades.
Funny how cell phones are now free with a monthly fee? Must be due to those open source cell phone and servicing groups.
I don’t defend every one of RMS’s pronouncements, views and strategies. But, these views arise from the relatively full extension of an important principle about human beings: We should be able to control the tools that we use to do our work.
When I buy a Tivo, for example, I can open it up, figure out how it works, upgrade the hard disk or processor, and so on. I could even start a business where I did this for other people. I can do this with tools I made myself or bought from others (and perhaps modified). If the Tivo example doesn’t work for you, think about the Shelby Mustang, or what you see on Monster Garage.
Having an environment where this can be done with a complete system of software requires a GPLed alternative to all existent software functionality. But notice the operative word — “alternative”. People are still free to choose to use “non-free” software. As indicated in RMS’s article, GNU is not yet at the point of giving all people the ability to choose to use only “free” software.
I remember that Stallman told the candy analogy in one of it’s speeches. It was ment to show that not sharing software is not natural and immoral.
A kid buys a bag of candy, brings it to school. The teacher encourages the kid to share the candy with his friends, because that’s the right thing to do. The kid brings a cool piece of software to school, and shares it with his friends. The teacher calls him a pirate.
The problem with Stallmans analogy, is that the sharing of software and the sharing of candy is different. Software you can copy, but you can’t copy candy. If the bag is empty, the kid will go back to the candy store, and buy a new bag. The software bag is never empty. A more correct analogy would be, if the kid shared 10 software licenses with his friends.
Restrictions on the distribution of something, does not necessarily forbid the sharing of things. Thus restricting the distribution of candy or of software is not an immoral thing to do.
I concur. However, the issue is a tricky one. RMS proposes a more republican (not to be confused w/ the political party) liberal view of the software industry, where intellectual property advocates would point to the fact that only by possession of property can individual liberties be maintained. I find that the classical (latter) view of liberalism would be ideal, IF humans were benevolent. However, we are not as a general rule, and many use their property as a means for violating the liberties of others. If only the (US) legal system were to respect the intellectual property rights of their holders, while preventing abuses of those same properties. The long-term control of means in the hands of a few sounds like what the writers of the U.S. constitution were trying to avoid. I like the idea of 3 year patents on software. Enough so that those innovators will be duely rewarded for their efforts, but not too much so that it hampers future swell-being. However, patents take so darn LONG to get in the US, that by the time they are granted, the rewards for innovation are small, and the likelyhood that these patents will be detrimental to the swell-being of humanity is greater.
Good points by both of you.
As Brad pointed out, this whole thing about non-free software being anti-social is just idiotic. This guy is the leader of his own little cult and he can’t back away now so he’ll continue to spout nonsense any chance he gets. It’s unfortunate that there are people buy the B.S. that he throws around. But I guess RMS is always good for a laugh or two.
Actually, Stallman is the one misusing free. Free is not typically applied to inanimate objects.
Some people have disagreed with this argument, but actually he’s quite right (except for the implication that Stallman is wilfully trying to hoodwink the simple). Most people who first hear of “free software” do in fact confuse the meaning of the word “free”. “Open” is a much better term than “free”, because “open software” doesn’t make a whole lot of sense EXCEPT in the sense of “open source.”
Regardless of whether the term CAN make sense according to Stallman’s intended definition, the term DOES NOT mean to most people what Stallman wants it to mean. It is a poorly-chosen title.
The more cynical side of me … think that Stallman did so on purpose.
That’s the trouble with cynical sides of people: they’re usually wrong.
Another thing is, that the direct translation of the term “free” really doesn’t mean “gratis” in many or most (if not all) other languages
Maybe not in other languages, no. But Stallman is supposedly speaking English, not French or German.
Other related suggestions of my dictionary: …I can’t even find free of cost in that list… Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
Maybe I misunderstand you, but today’s Merriam Webster makes it clear:
10 : not costing or charging anything
“”I remember that Stallman told the candy analogy in one of it’s speeches. It was ment to show that not sharing software is not natural and immoral. “”
Well here’s a different candy analogy.
A child is taken and placed at a desk. On the desk are a small number of sweets. The child is told that they can either eat the sweets, or they can wait a short period of time without eating them and receive many more sweets as a reward. The child is then left alone, with no distractions.
The vast majority of children eat the sweets they can see rather than wait for the sweets they can’t.
(I couldn’t find a link to the experiment. It’s a fairly well known one though)
In software terms proprietary software represents the sweets we can see, future OSS represents the sweets we are promised as a reward. It is no surprise whatsoever that the majority choose the proprietary software that is already available over the OSS software that is merely promised.
I suppose some respect should be shown to RMS for his efforts, but there is something about the man’s rhetoric that just annoys the hell out of me and I don’t think I’m the only one.
This guy really needs to get out more. When I look at an app, I care about two things mainly:
1. Is it stable?
2. Does it do what I want it to do?
If the answer to both of the above is yes, then I don’t give a rat’s ass if it’s open source or not. In fact, I have sometimes felt LESS free using something that was open source simply because what used to be easy with a closed-source alternative suddenly became difficult or impossible. And in this case, if I was as idealistic as Stallman, if free software doesn’t work right, I’d rather use no software at all.
I am not a programmer and would benefit little (if at all) if I had direct access to the source.
And what is this thing about closed source = antisocial? There are a lot of closed-source apps that have very thriving communities associated with them.
Using my favorite example, if I had a closed-source program tha measured the distance between my ass cheeks, and this program had 80% of the features I need, then perhaps Stallman is right .. I would be more free if I had access to the soruce code and could change it.
Now, assuming there was no free alternative to this program, Stallman suggests, what … that I simply do without? In this case, how would I be MORE free now that I’m not using this program and don’t have ANY of the functionality, than when I was using it and had the 80%?
I think the last twenty years have proven Stallman wrong. Look at the success of Microsoft since 1983. In the real world money talks. But if you quit a job at MIT to become a crusader you just aren’t going to understand business. Guess what software is a business.
That may be the best post I’ve read on this site. Like or hate, disagree or not, the achievments are there. I don’t think anyone can doubt the motives of Stallman, to give as much as possible to the community. After all, if it was self interest, he could have sold all the software he wrote.
There are reasons to promote slightly less robust free software than non-free software. If we simply accept non-free software because it is better now, we will see less and less competition in the future, as monopolies solidify and communities of hackers dissipate.
I understand and agree with the stuff you say about less competition, but what does this have to do with free software? What I mean is, why is free software considered to be the only thing that could/would prevent monopolies from crushing competition? In the radio and TV world, before our government sold out on us, corporations were only allowed to own a certain amount of radio/TV stations in order to keep any one company from getting too big. What if we were to translate this sort of rule to the software world? What I mean is, implement certain ‘checks and balances’ .. like, for example .. what if there was a law passed that said if your product were to reach 60-70% of the market, then you had to open up your APIs, or something like that? This (or something similar) seems to me a better alternative to businesses than to simply say ‘we want you to open up your source code because there are a few businesses out there who are not playing fair’ .. this greatly benefits people who want to modify source code, but doesn’t do much for the people who actually write it, unless people are feeling generous enough to contribute to the code that you write.
The problem we have now with monopolies and such is not because of closed-source software, it is because of greedy businesses. And sorry to say, businesses are not going to get any less greedy in an open source world. They may have to work just a littel harder at abusing the system, but they would find a way somehow. And if they couldn’t, they would just pay the government to do it for them.
If people did not use and contribute to Linux early on, if Stallman hadn’t thrown out all of the propietary Unix systems to write a new system from scratch, we would not have GNU/Linux today.
So, what exactly would I have gained by using Linux in, say, 1993? I still don’t have much use for it even now other than to tinker every once in awhile, so I’m not sure it would’ve been nothing but a huge waste of my time.
Just as a company or individual is allowed to copyright and sell their own software, so are other individuals allowed to distribute their programs for free. You can not take away the entities right to sell their product, and you can not take away the rights of a community to give away their product for free and have their choice of freedom protected by the GPL.
What is seldom discussed is that vendor software produced by Microsoft is fundamentally different than open source software. It is designed completely differently. Programs built to run on Linux, and meant to take advantage of the environment that Linux provides are fundamentally at contrast to vendor software.
What GPL software (on Linux) offers are simple, clear, and general applications that can be combined at the command line interface (CLI), working with text formats, to accomplish a general set of tasks. Small software tools, that are clear and complete. This allows an individual to be able to understand the ‘source code’, and to learn, to be in control. The fact that these programs are not monoliths but instead are complete, and simple applications, that are made very powerful by their general ability to be combined with each other to accomplish the task. This type of software model is not available on software products like MS, but it is a requirement for information technology to be successful in a platform environment.
With regard to ‘making money’. They way you make money is by solving problems using information technology. The way you make money is to put your money in the bank and invest it, instead of spending every penny. Most people will never make money because they are not skillful with their investments, they don’t have a strategy other than income, but income is futile when you don’t save money, when you don’t keep your expenses down and retain equity. You will never have money unless you learn how to save money and make money from your investments. The work that contributors are providing to open source Linux is their effort to give back to society the education, the control, and the civil rights to freedom from power elites. Linux ballences society, it serves the majority, perhaps not in North America, but in the world context. And the most important thing of all, is that things are the way that they are and you can only make a choice for yourself. You must choose as an individual. The world will choose as individuals in the context of society. It is critical that knowledge is made available to everyone. This will make society stronger, and that’s why society was agreed upon in the first place. When our parents agreed to the social contract, we were bound to society as the context for our lives. Society comes first and it must protect the people, or else it has to be circumvented, and it’s not possible to destroy society without blowing up the world.
>> Programs built to run on Linux, and meant to take advantage of the environment that Linux provides are fundamentally at contrast to vendor software.
You are, my friend, living in a world of illusions. And you know little about computer languages. Do some programming in your spare time rather than spouting nonsense.
Most people who first hear of “free software” do in fact confuse the meaning of the word “free”.
Nobody denies that. Of course this is the case today, all I’m disagreeing with is that the primary meaning of “free” would be “free of cost”, whether applied to humans or not. With my examples of translations and the dictionary lookup (this specific one is the one used by the GNOME dictionary utility), I just tried to proof this point.
Don’t get fooled by the FREE VIAGRA ads.
The term Open Source isn’t better, because it means something completely different (I mean the word “open” means something completely different than “free”). So it’s not a solution, it just avoids the problem. It also has it’s own ambiguity (which isn’t exclusive to the english language in this case). Many people still think that software would be open source if one can access the source. See YAST and the constant discussions about it. The term doesn’t make it clear at all that the source has to be “free”.
I don’t know any better term, so I use both whenever I want and don’t really understand how anyone can get all worked up about either. It’s sad that we have no better term, but blame the language! Nobody is forcing you to use english.
Just like the principal of communism or socialism fail because of corruption, not because the ‘ideas’ were bad, but because some individuals abused their positions of authority, and failed the system that was ‘supposed’ to be fair. In a ‘perfect world’, those ideas of communism would beat out capitalism, hands down, however in the context however of society, capitalism is stronger because it relies on rational self interest. Capitalism is decentralized, and the society of thieves that don’t rely on the government except to punish crime, is not dependent on someone else for providing them with consignment. The idea that you can make money building software when you are totally dependent on some vendor will fail in the same way that communism failed. I am a millionaire, and my family made money from investments. The way that you make money is by planning for the future and improving your current situation by eliminating expenses. You have to sacrifice for the future. What Linux offers is one of the only platforms out there. A platform in which no single entity can control. So this ‘operating system layer’ is the decentralized pilliar that you need in order to be rewarded for a successful product. The problem with one entity controlling everything, is that y our ideas are smothered by that controlling interest.
Like I said though, the fact is that the average family wealth in North America is only $60,000.00. In other words, the majority are not rich! In order to become rich you have to use your head. This will not even happen on Linux because people don’t have the ability to plan for the future. People are more likely to follow the leader, to make poor choices. Seniors are the wealthies group out of the whole believe it or not, followed by educated people (people with a degree).
Vendor software is different than open source software because vendor software is monolithic software in which one application is tied to another with binary formats. This means that you can not use vendor software generically, you must have the proper vendor tool in order to view the document or to use the other component. Open source software in contrast relies on small, clear, and general programs. Text is the glue that allows these small tools to be combined in order to solve complex problems. With small, clear, and complete programs, the user is able to study and understand the source code. These programs are complete, they are not tied to each other like vendor software is.
This is why command line interfaces are a critically important tool to open source software. You should build your solution from combining a common set of proven tools, bound by text. It just so happens that Linux focuses on the GUI interface as well as the command line interface but not one interface at the exclusion of the other. Don’t lose your way. It is important know about your environment, in order to use it properly. It’s important to not be a victom.
>>These programs are complete, they are not tied to each other like vendor software is.
Please spare us, will you? KDE is not tied together? GNOME is not tied together? For Pete’s sake, will you stop spreading this crap? The WHOLE *NIX OS is designed to “work together” with piping. In fact PERL is little more than tying together the various parts of the *NIX OS _even tighter_ than the original design.
Again I repeat, you are living in a world of illusions. But I shan’t correct you again, as it is obviously a quixotic and useless task.
Random thought: Following RMS’s thinking, does Mac OS X become “GNU/Mac OS X”, “Mac OS GNU/X” or some other variant?
After all, it does use GNU tools.
“”Open source software in contrast relies on small, clear, and general programs. Text is the glue that allows these small tools to be combined in order to solve complex problems.””
Care to explain Emacs? Or is the presence of a Lisp interpreter actually a requirement for a text editor?
I explain Emacs by saying that it is still here, and the reason is that it is quality software (although it could use a new interface in my opionion).
If you want a quick explanation of some of the original concepts of Unix, which had a significant influence on the design of Linux, than read the free book ‘The Art Of Unix Programming’ as well as ‘The Practice Of Programming’ by Brian Kernighan and Rob Pike.
Small, clear, and simple programs that can be combined to solve complex solutions due to their generality and their reliance on standard text are more powerful tools than huge monolithic programs that are tied to binary formats and programs that have intimate knowledge of the internals of other programs. If you don’t understand what goals to aim for than you will be condemned to incompatible and restrictive vendor products, who’s design goal is to force you to rely on them.
These small tools are more powerful because you can actually understand the source code of a small, clear, and simple tool. The open standard of text and their ability to apply to general problems is what makes them powerful.
Mumic is living in the world of illusions. It’s the illusion that Microsoft wants you to believe so that they can line their pockets with money.
I am telling you to research the traditional data model and design model of the Unix and Linux platforms. That will give you insight into how to write long lasting software. Take the advice of learned experience over the new hype out of Redmond.
I’ve just read the article and to be completely honest there is nothing new in it. I was hoping to see some leadership from RMS outlining what needs to be done to not only make OSS more accepted but also more accessible to the average end user.
This is typical RMS assuming that mana will fall from heaven and suddenly all and sundry will start using OSS because he said that they, FSF, have the moral high ground.
The vast majority of users don’t use OSS software because the majority of it is crap, plain and simple. From the lack of direction to ignoring valid complaints about a certain piece of software.
Just look at GIMP and compare it to Photoshop and Photo-Paint, it is a usability nightmare and yet after how many releases they have YET to work out that the layout of the menus are completely crap. If you offer advice on the gimp channel on irc.gimp.org, you’re kicked out of the room and banned from the server.
What OSS projects NEED to do is look at a sucessful piece of software, lets say for example Photoshop, reimplement how things are done and the features that are available THEN talk to end users and ask, “what feature you really want” or “what thing really bugs you”, get the feed back and improve this Photoshop clone.
The whole idea of OSS should be that there is no barriers between the end user and developers, however, the developers in many cases isolate themselves and refuse to listen to any feedback.
Personally, I don’t see OSS software becoming a major “force” in the desktop world anytime soon. There are too many clueless, anti-social geeks running the OSS community who are unwilling to listen to feed back and there are already a number of people like ME disgruntled over the fact they nothing has come to fruition even after all the hype and promises that were made by distributors.
If it is open source than there is no need to wait for anyone to make the changes. If it is quality software than you only have to write a new front end module, not the whole program.
Just look at GIMP and compare it to Photoshop and Photo-Paint, it is a usability nightmare and yet after how many releases they have YET to work out that the layout of the menus are completely crap.
This is certainly not in defense of the Gimp, but I have never really considered Photoshop to have a stellar user interface either; I think that’s a bad example to use
“If it is open source than there is no need to wait for anyone to make the changes. If it is quality software than you only have to write a new front end module, not the whole program.”
I want to do my job with the program, I don’t want
to write a bloody module for it!
Heck, even if I cared, I don’t even know how to do it!
(actually, I do, since I studied Computer Science, but
the vast majority of people can’t “just write a module”,
so the argument holds).
Also, regarding the crap you spread about “The UNIX way”,
“little programs” stop reading crap like Eric Raymond and go read the source code of a real Linux distribution.
Linux offers is one of the only platforms out there. A platform in which no single entity can control.
And how you figure any BSD stuff would be any different? Oh you mean because people choose to contribute back to main source tree, well that is not a must and it is indeed uncontrollable AND without restrictions. By normal people referred to as “free” as in “free software”.
“Just look at GIMP and compare it to Photoshop and Photo-Paint, it is a usability nightmare and yet after how many releases they have YET to work out that the layout of the menus are completely crap.”
This is certainly not in defense of the Gimp, but I have never really considered Photoshop to have a stellar user interface either; I think that’s a bad example to use
True, the number of people I have heard complaining is legendary, HOWEVER, this is where OSS can have an edge by keeping the good aspects and fixing the bad ones.
Users can then say, “WOW, its exactly like Photoshop without all those annoying ideosyncracies”. That is what Microsoft did, they realised that Wordperfect had some great features, however, they also realised that people want to be able to integrate information from different applications and this is where Office got the edge over the lotus-123/Wordperfect/Harvard Graphics/DBV combo which was a nightmare sometimes.
OSS community needs to look at commercial applications, completely embrace them and then work DIRECTLY with with the end user to add features THEY want and fix issues THEY find with in the application and when these issues are found, they’re actually fixed and the end user are included in the whole diagnose, solution and testing phase to ensure that the problem is fixed properly the first time rather than the “stab in the dark” approach commercial software companies do.
Yep, I see that the Open Source community is following a tradition that we celebrate in my family where we drag out the old geezer for the holidays and give him his time for his yearly rant.
Now can someone please slap RMS on the back, I think his record is skipping.
It just seems to me that each year he becomes more and more bitter that Linus beat him to the punch when it came to writing a usable Unix variant. RMS might want to learn a lesson from this: stop talking about it and just do it.
>It sad to see how people bash RMS for his opinions. RMS deserves respect and that
> includes being taken seriously.
He has a lot of respect and a has been taken seriously: there’s a whole industry built on (some of) his ideas but there’s a limit which he has clearly stepped over. There’s a couple of things called ‘pragmatism’ and ‘reality’ and Mr. Stallman has eveidently some problems in accepting those concepts as he reminds us in every statement disguised as ‘message’ he kindly propinates to the masses.
this is someone that is supposed to be intelligent? Someone who doesn’t even understand the basics of a free market economy/society. Consumer choice is one of the most powerful forces in this industry i.e. Microsoft. Why as a consumer would i want to modify the code of an application i don’t like? There is a little thing called choice. If i don’t like the application i ditch it for something better. Why is it that i have a plethora of web browsers to choose from? Because most are free? If that true why do people still pay money for Opera? Maybe because the software does what i want it to do and it does it well. Surprise, surprise! the people that the develop the applications i have bought and use daily like Secure CRT and Win RAR need to eat! maybe they have a family to support. One of the primary reasons i do not pirate software. These people are part of the community that Stallman says doesn’t exist. The workers that make IT live and breath. According to Stallman I am being subjugated by buying closed source software and making it possible for these people to get paid live a good life and develop even better software. What is the incentive to develop software that is given away? reason to maintain it? NONE besides an ethereal belief that you contributing to saving man from evil capitalists like Bill Gates. Even Linus gets paid for what he does as he should be.Stallman is smart maybe but lacks common sense. He is half a car.
Stallman is passionate about computers and programming. He is trying to create that which hackers love, a programmer’s paradise in which anyone is free to use and explore the wonders of computer technology in ways not allowed when using software produced by mega-corporations. His only problem is that he is ahead of his time. OSS is inevitable. The GNU model will one day be the defacto standard for distribution of all information. People will demand it to be this way since we will learn through a long process of trial and error that secrets are extremely detrimental and counter-productive when living in a society based on science and technology. The schmatics for a pacemaker should be available to the public free of charge, but the actual device will probably have to be purchased with money. Because the profit system works just fine for the distribution of goods and services, but not for information. And yes, I realize that writing software is a service, and programmers will have to be paid for that service, but it does not mean that people will be forced into paying for a copy of that software. I’m personally going to make it a goal of this new year to make some sort of code contribution to an open source project rather than simply being a user.
Many times advocates of the GNU GPL say that copyleft is necessary because it prevents parasites on their community. They say that the sharing of code doesn’t necessarily harm the original developer; this is why they don’t understand the “ownership” of code. They extend these ideas to music. They say that when music is copied and shared digitally no one is really harmed because nothing has been taken like physical matter.
Well I would like to know why copyleft is neccessary if this is the case. Why not use a BSD license and let companies use your code without sharing any changes? According to your premise YOU don’t lose anything afterall. In my opinion this is no worse than any other kind of monopoly. For example GCC is the best GPL’d compiler suite; if companies want to use it they have to share their changes. Isn’t this a monopoly?
I’m leaning more and more towards BSD-license every day.
You say that it’s important that we be able to control the tools we use to do our work. Well I think this is true to an extent.
I think that technology is best left designed by those who have degree’s and know how to deal with things. I respect the spirit of the always curious and questioning hacker, but honestly in the end I just want shit to work. If we let people detract from whatever it is they’re doing in every instance so they can marvel at the tools they’re using they will not become more profecient; they will become more pre-occupied with things that don’t matter. I think yes user-preferences are important, but computers are limited to what they do. We have a lot of very expensive advanced software out there but that’s left to hobbiests and researchers.
I see a lot of wasted potential generally in the “hacker” scene. There is a lot of brilliant folks there: the smartest people I have ever known to exist. It’s just sad because they would rather obssess about tweaking something than actually do their work, such as a school paper. I feign to bring up personal examples, but I will say that I don’t really care about tweakability anymore. I don’t run Gentoo anymore. I don’t care about speedy ICC USE-flag compiled binaries. In the end of the day I want to do my work, download some nice music which I could care less is DRM’d, and enjoy my life. Besides the lot of Gentoo users are narcissists, but I know that their are some good folks over their in Gentoo land. Anyway, I’m out of the “Free Software Movement”. I use BSD with soviet-like manufactured binares. I use the file system that the BSD team has decided is decent. I don’t care about whether reiser4, xfs, and jfs is better than the other. I don’t care about daily cron builds of gnome-cvs.
Mark says, “GNU is not yet at the point of giving all people the ability to choose to use only “free” software.”
Does anyone else see danger in this statement? You mean everyone has yet to be forced into something? That is hardly freedom. Mark I don’t mean to pick on you, I just decided to respond to your post I see no problem in the community that GNU has created, but when your infering a forced system of control and such I see a problem.
A company can make changes and not share them. If that company redistributes or sells that program which included the changed code, than the complete source code has to be made accessible.
A monopoly is an organization that can control the market by setting the prices (arbitrarily raising and lowering prices) in order to smother competition. A competitor can not successfully win the market based on their innovation, because the monopoly simply copies the innovation and smothers the competition. A monopoly is able to enter a market and suffer huge losses, and drive away successful businesses in that now saturated market.
The GPL does many things for example, it protects intellectual property and quality software. The research and development of a system is made accessible to the general public, therefore knowledge can not be used for the purpose of criminal bondage. Instead an organization that deploys superior service and support to the enterprise will become profitable. Learning how to develop for a platform creates opportunities for developers and a host of new corporations to enter the market rather than having all of the rules and all of the players in the market dictated by a monopoly which controls everything.
The BSD liscence does not protect intellectual property. It allows companies to abuse their customers.
I believe that there is probably some refinement needed by the industry as to the strategy of deploying their products on a platform. That refinement will be discovered by innovation, there is a software solution. It appears that some vendors will be commercializing a software layer that lies ontop of the platform layer. There are more solutions on the way.
A monopoly is a forced system of control that serves a single power elite and a very small oligarchy. The GPL is a forced system of control that serves the general public, the customer, community, society, and competition based on innovation.
Nothing that forces you to do something should be called free… You MUST do this, you MUST do that… that isn’t freedom. BSD licenses truly allow freedom of choice, when people have true freedom, they can choose to be evil or good, when you force someone to be good it is no longer freedom, it limits and insults your ability to choose.
I am left of center, I admit, especially in my loathing for MS and Gates, but this “free the citizens of cyber space” stuff is not only silly, it wastes valuable energies and probably even money (time is money).
Why should a good or great product be free?
The problems in “proprietary” software come when your computer life becomes enslaved to it. Chief example: Windows. But let sfotware be proprietary, as long as your finished product is enformed in a universal file format, which any software in that genre can read.
Think of how much code has been created in order for Linux programs to open Windows files. What a bloated overhead! The user buys and upgrades good software only for its features and reliability, and not for its proprietary insistence on producing “unique” file types. That the user will grow “tired” of a program and move to another one which can open those files is indeed a risk softawre makers take.
Think of drivers. These codes render even your hardware unusable under a “foreign” OS. The chief example, because it’s so basic, is the “Winmodem”. Even at this late date the major distros may or may not be able to supply a driver for your Winmodem. The uncertainty alone reveals the absurd situation.
Stallman’s efforts and influence (he does have some) should be directed at more functional results, getting software manufacturers–forget about all the MS shills–to come to aggreements on universal file types. The chief example of the most successful effort ever made to get hard- and software manufacturers to come to this kind of aggreement: MIDI. Roland, Yamaha, Kawai, Korg, etc all conformed. They all went about their business then trying to make the best musical instruments–which all recognized the same file: MIDI
Linux lacks excellent applications. Ones for music I have seen are years behind Windows and Mac apps. Why would anyone want to produce a superior product which will be given away? If people want to work on free product they should. If the user wants to use free software, s’he should. But when you get your teeth fixed for free in a university dental school–as I once did–watch out. True, it may be better than no treatment … but it may not be.
Maybe ask the Ximian hackers who created Evolution?
It doesn’t matter whether you directly make money by selling a software, as long as developers get payed to work on it. And that’s possible with Free Software. I wonder why people tend to overlook this point.
When we talk about making money with Free Software, we don’t talk about selling products which will then be given away, we talk about offering your services, either as a company or as a programmer to work on something.
This model doesn’t work in every case, for example it doesn’t really work when it comes to artistic products like music or games (the artwork/story/gameplay part of it), but it surely works for software that is of common interest. If someone wants a software to do something, he is likely to pay someone to modify the software (or do it himself if he can), in many cases this can already be the more economic decision compared to buying closed source licenses and it definitely is the more economic decision compared to writing a closed source application from scratch.
So what mainly drives commercial Free Software isn’t the commercial interest to sell software, it’s the commercial interest to use software.
I think most of the comments by now has shown that GPL is hardly a good choice of license. However some people here are concerned of the BSD styled license too….
People forget about the licenses which are in between protected and non protected land… like Sleepycat software license. It just locks the license for 2 years then you’re free to do whatever you want.
In what way would GPL and it’s life long restrictions be superioer to that?
Even though I must admit I personally prefer simple BSD/MIT licenses
1) everyone is using “GNU/Linux” not just “Linux” and they don’t know it (this was the second sentence of the article)
2) non-free software is bad for everyone.
1: Everyone using Linux is in some way using GNU software. In fact you can’t use Linux unless you accept a GNU license.
2: non-free software usually prohibits copying, disassembly and modification of their products. How is this not bad for their customers? Does anyone actually believe commercial software is perfect and has no bugs or security holes? If not, then why shouldn’t any customers expect to get access to the source code or at least a guarantee that the software will be supported indefinitely?
Companies that sell non-free IP get an instant monopoly on their products. This is great for companies like Microsoft, but I don’t see how this helps everyone else. Linux companies don’t get a monopoly on GNU software, nobody does, but everyone gets a license to modify the source code.
These 2 points are just details, but sometimes the fine print is important. From now on I suggest you read every line of your End User License Agreements if you want to comment about the flaws of the FSF movement.
apple and microsoft cary communities rather nicely
They’re called consumers, not communities.
Thus restricting the distribution of candy or of software is not an immoral thing to do.
I think it is, when the monopoly wants to charge a price that’s too expensive for most kids to afford. An operating system, essential to this PC tool, should be free or affordable. $350 is not affordable. And Windows ME is not a tool, its a toy.
If software cost $5 a CD then perhaps your candy analogy would work. Lets say that company A sell candy, they are the only company that can sell candy, and they sell it for $500 a piece. Do you think that kid is going to share his extra pieces of candy with his classmates? It would be the ethical thing to do, or else the teacher wouldn’t recommend it, but nobody, including the teacher, could afford to do such a thing. Even though the software could easily be copied infinitely. See the problem?
If computers are tools we are denying these tools to many people who would be more productive if they had them. This means our economy is not doing as well as it would be if we gave everyone a computer and a free operating system. Gee, I wonder why.
You MUST do this, you MUST do that… that isn’t freedom. BSD licenses truly allow freedom of choice, when people have true freedom, they can choose to be evil or good, when you force someone to be good it is no longer freedom, it limits and insults your ability to choose.
So I should be free to go out and beat up old ladies, is that it?
I could choose to do that to some of your grandmas, if they got in my way. Shouldn’t I have the freedom to do that? Why not? Because I’d be evil if I did? So…
As you can see there are reasons we write laws. These laws protect freedom by limiting freedom. That is why GNU software will always be more free than BSD software. There is no GPL software in closed-source non-free products because the license requires they provide the source code to any customers that request it. BSD software can be used, modified, put into a closed project and sold without ever giving away any company secrets. But I maintain any professional businesses should not keep secrets from their customers reguarding their products. The GPL protects my interests in this manner.
“Can you imagine all the pain that would have been saved if the internet protocols had been GPL’d, or LGPL’d, instead of public domain? It would be far more difficult for Microsoft to futz with all them then.”
I agree with most of the rest of your post, but disagree with this. Having a BSD implementation of tcp/ip was one of the reasons it became the standard – there were many competing protocols. Microsoft could futz about even more if it had to write the implementation from scratch.
You have failed to realize my point, which admitably wasn’t presented in it’s best form.
Free Software and Open Source advocates use the arguement against copyrights and patents in their traditional implementation, and propose a new way of handling the non-tangible creations of human beings, such as music, art, etc… One common thing that they say is that sharing those intagible creations freely is not harmful to the creator, especially if that individual seeks money for their creation, because nothing has been “taken” essentially; Digital information is just copied effortlessly. All this is true.
However these same people say that copyleft is necessary to prevent against “community parasites” which are specifically propreitary software developers. According to their initial premise nothing is lost when digital information, code in this instance, is copied. Therefore it is not harmful for companies to use GPL code without releasing changes while re-distributing.
The “Free Software/Open Source” advocates say that it’s only natural to build off idea’s, but say I wanted to build off a large chunk of code of GPL’d source. I am not free to do so. The GPL restricts me from freely building off idea’s.
One could than think that these companies would simply wait for free code to be developed and go ahead and sell the code with slight modifications. It is possible for this to happen. However I don’t think it would be universally practiced; I know that their is more to the world than just making money like this. Companies have their own deadlines to meet and often cannot just sit around and wait to leech off someone else. They have to invest wisely in their resources and plan goals accordingly.
I’m sorry I just don’t believe that “all software should be free”. I’ve grown into this view after much thought. I would guess this makes me as retardant to your goals of univeral GPL’d software. I personally see a quite reasonable and doable equilibrium between open software and propreitary software. I think that open protocols are important. I think that having vendor-monopolies on services like if I can only access a online store using Windows than that is wrong. However if people choose to support that system than so-be-it. I will either be forced to comply by using that software, or will opt to not use those services. And it is quite possible to opt out of computers totally. So if everything does become a globalized controlled computer network where Redmond and Washington get in be together, I can opt out of that quite easily. As long as things like C are available, and we have open protocols like TCP/IP, than no such monstor could stop me from communicating online. I could set up a BBS again, or revert back to mail. I think we could all live without the net. I thihnk we all might benefit from such a situation.
Also the GPL relies on copyright enforcemnet implicitly. ANy knowledgable person won’t deny this. This is scary. Enforcement might one day mean violence. Sure proprietary licenses can be violently enforced, but if everyone use BSD at their choice it would be peace. GPL and EULA advocates are both control freaks. You can’t enforce the BSD license because you truly are realizing inherint freedoms; you’re not giving or taking away freedom. With the BSD licnse you’re saying, “use this in any way you want and don’t owe me anything. = freedom.”
I honestly don’t see how the freedom to beat people up is relevant. I’m free to punch someone regardless, unless I’m in some type of restraint. Laws are after the fact. You can’t really give/take away someones freedom to attack another person. What you need to do is realize that their right to attack isn’t what the issue is. The issue