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Behind the Doors of the Free Software Foundation

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the what-would-you-say-ya-do-here dept.

Software 144

Linux.com has an interesting look at the inner workings of the Free Software Foundation (FSF). "The purpose of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) is probably obvious from its name -- but what does promoting free software mean in terms of everyday activity? Examining the roles of the organization shows how complex the FSF's advocacy role has become. It also reveals the range of services available to the free software community, and helps to explain how such a small group has had such a major influence on computer technology. As a 501(c)3 charity in the United States, the FSF is run by a board of directors. The current board includes FSF founder and president Richard M. Stallman and long-term member Henry Poole, but, in the last few years, new faces have appeared on the board."

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Obviously. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24797415)

They abduct impoverished young boys and anally rape them until they are raw. Duh!

Thanks! (5, Insightful)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 6 years ago | (#24797421)

As a user of Free Software for about 10 years now I would just like to say that I really appreciate the efforts of the FSF. No matter how much RMS is bashed and doubted he sticks to his ethics and invariably the projections he makes seem to come true to at least some extent.

Long live the FSF.

Re:Thanks! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24797439)

Shut the fuck up, sycophant. Pull your lips off of Richard Stallman's cock.

Re:Thanks! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24797875)

A wise man once said, "better to suck cock then to eat pussy, because pussy is tainted, and cock is pure".

Re:Thanks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24799155)

A wise man once said, "better to suck cock then to eat pussy, because pussy is tainted, and cock is pure".

Your whole statement sounds like it is pure pussy...

Steve.....Steve.... (5, Funny)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | more than 6 years ago | (#24797951)

Steve...Steve...Steve...Steve...calm down, please. Put that chair down. Ok? It's a nice rainy day here [noaa.gov] , it's a beautiful campus, and we're THE rulers of the World. No problemo.

I know, I know, Stallman has the "moral high ground", a full head of hair, and everything, but what does it matter? You're filthy rich and he's a peasant selling GNU toys and t-shirts on the internet.

It's OK. Shhhh, sshhhh, it's OK...sh......

Lullaby, Lullaby, Lullaby,...shhh...

Re:Thanks! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24797643)

Long live the crappy subpar software creating lunatics that keep your crap OS at 1% market share. Yay!

Re:Thanks! (1)

Directrix1 (157787) | more than 6 years ago | (#24799519)

I know he was talking about Microsoft, but his 1% market share is way off.

Re:Thanks! (2, Insightful)

ypctx (1324269) | more than 6 years ago | (#24799819)

You opened my eyes, thank you. I'm going to purchase a non-crap OS (I will pay extra for the Ultimate version that allows me to do everything), where I can choose between playing a mp3 or downloading a file, because it can't do both reliably at the same time.
You sir should understand one thing - by using closed source OS software, you are fucking owned by whoever creates that software, and dependent completely on their mercy. Now go install your genuine 20 GB service packs while listening to the beautiful sounds of rin tin tin tin NTFS raping your harddrive.

Re:Thanks! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24800293)

And while I'm listening to that sound of my HD spinning, I shall sing along a beautiful song mocking your inability to connect to any form of wireless whatsoever or properly view any webpage that was authored this century. And for the chorus, I shall further mock the fact that your graphics subsystem will break everytime you attempt to use the monitor that wasn't hardcoded in at install time.

Re:Thanks! (5, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 6 years ago | (#24797755)

As a user of Free Software for about 10 years now I would just like to say that I really appreciate the efforts of the FSF. No matter how much RMS is bashed and doubted he sticks to his ethics and invariably the projections he makes seem to come true to at least some extent.

Long live the FSF.

I disagree with many of RMS's positions, but he has been vital to the open source cause. Sometimes we need extremists, and he is a good one. :)

Slippery Slope (1)

fictionpuss (1136565) | more than 6 years ago | (#24797977)

By that definition, we also need bad extremists too. Or even gooderer good extremists. But who can out-Stallman Stallman?

--
I saved my karma for this?

Re:Slippery Slope (2, Insightful)

Kozz (7764) | more than 6 years ago | (#24798551)

You're leading yourself to a rather pure philosophical argument. But I might agree that we need "bad" extremists.

Having nutjobs on both ends of a spectrum lends the rest of us (middle of the bell curve) a bit of perspective, whether it's in regards to technology, politics or religion.

Of course, it might be that my "good" extremists are your "bad" extremists and so on.

Re:Slippery Slope (1)

fictionpuss (1136565) | more than 6 years ago | (#24798787)

Of course, it might be that my "good" extremists are your "bad" extremists and so on.

That's why I don't think of it as a bell curve but more of a massively multidimensional continuum with all sorts of localised minima and maxima. And possibly the occasional wormhole, at least when projecting to a reduced set of criteria.

Which would sound like a rather obtuse argument for moral relativism, unless you accept that these deliberations are part of the process and cannot be meta. Which I just did.

Re:Slippery Slope (1)

stevey (64018) | more than 6 years ago | (#24799299)

ESR ?

Re:Thanks! (2, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#24798343)

We need extremists to start. You need middle of the road people to keep it going. When the extremist stay there to long there is a point where their extreme views move from being progressive to oppressive. As using Free Software for over a decade myself. I feel RMS is starting to make Open Source more oppressive then progressive.

We should honor people for what they did but we shouldn't keep them there for ever in a changing world. That would be like saying George Washington would make a good president for 2008.

The same with other movements. Once they acheave some key goals they really should step aside while the moderates work for the smaller detail goals.

I disagree with the whole framework (4, Insightful)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 6 years ago | (#24799937)

Having principles is not extreme. It's actually not really possible *not to have them.

Abandoning your principles when they're inconvenient is not "moderate".

If you claim to have principle X, and abandon it when it's inconvenient, your *actual principle is "convenience", and it coincided with principle X for awhile.

X doesn't suddenly become extreme because it's not your principle.

Re:Thanks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24800071)

I'd vote for George Washington in 2008. Have you read any of his speeches? his farewell address? No matter the year I'd vote for him

Re:Thanks! (1)

mlc (16290) | more than 6 years ago | (#24798697)

I disagree with many of RMS's positions, but he has been vital to the open source cause.

RMS would be the first to tell you he's not at all interested in open source, which is a business model, not a cause.

Re:Thanks! (1)

427_ci_505 (1009677) | more than 6 years ago | (#24803979)

So closed source free software is ok?

Re:Thanks! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24802405)

Stallman's cause is NOT open source. It is free software. Open Source is about a development methodology, Fre Software is about freedom.

"Giving the Linus Torvalds Award to the Free Software Foundation is sort of like giving the Han Solo Award to the Rebel Fleet."

RMS

You must be new here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24797901)

You actually had 'bashed' in a comment about FSF and didn't go with a '/bin/bashed' joke?

No soup for you.

Re:Thanks! (2, Funny)

kingduct (144865) | more than 6 years ago | (#24797953)

"As a user of Free Software for about 10 years now I would just like to say that I really appreciate the efforts of the FSF. No matter how much RMS is bashed and doubted he sticks to his ethics and invariably the projections he makes seem to come true to at least some extent."

Ditto!
Thanks

Re:Thanks! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24798451)

""As a user of Free Software for about 10 years now I would just like to say that I really appreciate the efforts of the FSF. No matter how much RMS is bashed and doubted he sticks to his ethics and invariably the projections he makes seem to come true to at least some extent."

Ditto!

Thanks"

Yeah!

Re:Thanks! (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 6 years ago | (#24798581)

You're welcome!

(new fsf member)

Re:Thanks! (3, Interesting)

cparker15 (779546) | more than 6 years ago | (#24799101)

To those not aware, the FSF Associate Membership program [fsf.org] (referral link) is more of a supporter appreciation program. As such, Associate Members do not speak on behalf of the Free Software Foundation. Only FSF staff are authorized to make statements on behalf of the FSF.

Of course, I am an Associate Member (#795), so what I just said above is solely my opinion and not the official position of the Free Software Foundation.

Err... Or something.. like that. :)

No mention of the Propaganda Department? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24798929)

It's surprising- they made no mention of the department where the FSF comes up with their FUD campaigns against non-free software.

Did it get shut down after the "Mojave" thing embarrassed them? It definitely bears some looking in to.

Stallman pushed to the sidelines (4, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#24797455)

For Stallman fans, it's a real shame to see him somewhat marginalized in his own community. If you know something of his life story (e.g. from Free as in Freedom [amazon.com] ), he's passionate about coding. Yet, the growth of the FSF distracted him from software development, and now great projects like Emacs have to move ahead without him. But now, the FSF is going off into directions this bearded old guru didn't have to think about when he launched his campaign, and here he must rely on others to take charge. Oh well, at least once in a while he gives us a successful trip to India to rejoice about.

Re:Stallman pushed to the sidelines (4, Informative)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 6 years ago | (#24797515)

While I believe it would be great for people to contribute to Free Software by buying a copy of Free as in Freedom from Amazon I would like to also point out (in a spirit that I hope RMS will appreciate) that you can read it online for free as well here [oreilly.com] .

As far as I'm concerned, pay or not, the more people that read it the better.

Re:Stallman pushed to the sidelines (2, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#24797551)

The book was typeset using proprietary closed source software.

Re:Stallman pushed to the sidelines (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#24798179)

Are you sure? Mine wasn't - I typeset it using LaTeX and sent the publisher camera-ready copy as PDFs. I'd imagine Stallman would use groff, although might secretly be a TeX user since the FSF uses a TeX derivative for documentation these days.

Re:Stallman pushed to the sidelines (-1, Troll)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#24798475)

I saw the book at barnes & noble once. I checked the back page... typeset with FrameMaker (or Quark, but it definitely wasn't FREE nor Open Source).

Re:Stallman pushed to the sidelines (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 6 years ago | (#24799049)

Yeah. Right.
You went to the store to check this, and you can't even remember the software?

You know, my little twitter. You're so desperately trying to be a troll, just so at least *someone* interacts with you... and you're not even good at that one thing...
The funny thing is, that people would interact with you, if you just were nice and acted like you had value. Because then you would have value.

But who knows what shit happened to you, so you can't do that.

I hope you get well soon... I really do...

Re:Stallman pushed to the sidelines (0, Troll)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#24802127)

It was about 8 years ago jizzmop.

Re:Stallman pushed to the sidelines (0, Troll)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#24802319)

PS -- since lick my asshole [oreilly.com]

Re:Stallman pushed to the sidelines (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 6 years ago | (#24803225)

What...?

You...are... Stallman??

That would explain a *lot*. :D

P.S.: In German, "Stallmann" means "barn man". But in Germany, when you think of a barn, you think of cows/pigs, manure and dirt. :)))

Re:Stallman pushed to the sidelines (1)

ThJ (641955) | more than 6 years ago | (#24803865)

In Norwegian, "stallmann" means stable man, stable as in the place you keep your horses.

Re:Stallman pushed to the sidelines (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 6 years ago | (#24799585)

I saw the book at barnes & noble once. I checked the back page... typeset with FrameMaker (or Quark, but it definitely wasn't FREE nor Open Source).

Well if you follow the OP link to Amazon and then use their "Look inside" feature you can see the front cover, back cover and front and back flaps and they don't say anything about FrameMaker or Quark. So I call shenanigans.

Re:Stallman pushed to the sidelines (1)

eaman (710548) | more than 6 years ago | (#24798355)

IMHO, it is a good gift to send the official paperbook to someone.
I just keep some around and some of smartest guys ask me to 'lend' them a copy.

Re:Stallman pushed to the sidelines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24801117)

Or you could buy Richard's book, "Free Software, Free Society: Selected Essays of Richard M. Stallman." And you can purchase it directly from the FSF, here: http://www.gnu.org/doc/book13.html

@larry_bagina -- this book was typeset with texinfo and created using only free software ;-)

Re:Stallman pushed to the sidelines (2, Insightful)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 6 years ago | (#24797529)

... and now tremendous projects like Emacs have to move ahead without him.Fixed that for you... Still, kudos for RMS, he made much for free software.

Re:Stallman pushed to the sidelines (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 6 years ago | (#24797701)

... and now tremendous projects like Emacs have to move ahead without him.Fixed that for you... Still, kudos for RMS, he made much for free software.

But what about those of us who don't have the disk space for a 5.89824e37 byte [gnu.org] executable?

Marginalized?!? (2, Insightful)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | more than 6 years ago | (#24797645)

These days, Stallman spends much of his time traveling to promote free software. However, contrary to what outsiders might expect, as president, he remains closely involved with FSF policy, asking frequently for status reports and making policy decisions that do not require other members of the board.

Moreover, Brown says, "Richard can be very hands-on in relation to a specific target that he needs to be speaking about."

You call that marginalized?

Re:Stallman pushed to the sidelines (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24797677)

You really have to wonder what kind of person a "Stallman Fan" would be. My guess is ignorant. Richard is a world class prick who cares about one single thing only, free software. What's ironic about that, is that while his movement is for people, he's actually against people. People living out their day to day lives and enjoying the simple things.

To quote the hobo directly [gmane.org] :

"It doesn't take special talents to reproduce-even plants can do it. On the other hand, contributing to a program like Emacs takes real skill. That is really something to be proud of.

It helps more people, too."

This is the kind of guy who needs to be dragged out and have his ass beat a few times, maybe he'd wise up. Instead, many are early to engage him, give him money, funding, and attention. Spanish speaking computer geeks in particular, who are entranced by the fact he can speak their language, but don't understand enough English in return to study his assholish history.

Re:Stallman pushed to the sidelines (4, Informative)

smclean (521851) | more than 6 years ago | (#24798195)

So you are arguing that reproducing is on par, talent-wise, with writing Emacs?

If that were true, we'd have a lot more text editors to choose from.

Re:Stallman pushed to the sidelines (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#24798525)

Those that can, fuck. Those that can't, write a text editor.

Re:Stallman pushed to the sidelines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24799097)

No, that's not what he was arguing, but congratulations on missing the point.

Re:Stallman pushed to the sidelines (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 6 years ago | (#24798885)

Richard is a world class prick who cares about one single thing only, free software.

Parent is clearly trolling -- http://www.stallman.org/ [stallman.org] has plenty of non-software things that Stallman clearly cares about.

Re:Stallman pushed to the sidelines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24797989)

He certainly is passionate about coding but even more so about freedom. The FSF slogan 'free software - free society' says it all. The former is the means, the latter is the goal.

rms is my personal savior.

Re:Stallman pushed to the sidelines (0, Troll)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 6 years ago | (#24799259)

He cares about his own version of Freedom. True freedom he doesn't like.

Re:Stallman pushed to the sidelines (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#24801439)

Quite so, he has a tendency to push for mandatory freedom on things.

Re:Stallman pushed to the sidelines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24801461)

that's because the GPL has restrictions, as opposed to more libertarian licences like BSD?

then what you understand for "true" freedom is naive, and you are a moron.

Re:Stallman pushed to the sidelines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24798811)

great projects like Emacs

Was this supposed to be modded as 'funny'.

Re:Stallman pushed to the sidelines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24802641)

Yet, the growth of the FSF distracted him from software development, and now great projects like Emacs have to move ahead without him.

Everyone uses vi anyway.

Re:Stallman pushed to the sidelines (1)

JoeBuck (7947) | more than 6 years ago | (#24802665)

RMS still actively works on Emacs, though he's no longer the release manager.

Importance of FSF (5, Insightful)

nobodylocalhost (1343981) | more than 6 years ago | (#24797485)

It is hard to grasp the importance of FSF, because one cannot see it until it is taken away. Free software is a good way to improve society as a whole just like the concept of a wheel, People use those free software all the time just like how wheels are incorporated in most of our technologies. Can anyone imagine what are the ramifications of a tightly controlled licensing scheme on wheel technology based fully on economics?

Re:Importance of FSF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24798871)

Tightly controlled licensing scheme on wheel technology? It'd have a monopoly for 15 years and then be completely free for everyone to use, everywhere.

And if a company patented but didn't copyright their software, it'd be much better for the community than GPL, because at least the patent wears off after 15 years; GPL will stick for 90+ years.

Re:Importance of FSF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24799075)

Can anyone imagine what are the ramifications of a tightly controlled licensing scheme on wheel technology based fully on economics?

Yes, I can. It's called the entertainment/media conglomerates. Sony, Time-Warner and the rest of the scumbags. Another one that's popular on slashdot is Microsoft's windows OS and Office crack pipes.

FSF has doors? (4, Funny)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 6 years ago | (#24797541)

That's not really "open" if you ask me.

Re:FSF has doors? (3, Funny)

dvh.tosomja (1235032) | more than 6 years ago | (#24797749)

It's "open" even with doors, unless it has windows.

Re:FSF has doors? (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 6 years ago | (#24798019)

That's not really "open" if you ask me.

No one said the doors were shut :-)

Re:FSF has doors? (1)

Kookus (653170) | more than 6 years ago | (#24798121)

glass doors, you can see in.

Re:FSF has doors? (1)

rfc11fan (922027) | more than 6 years ago | (#24798363)

As long as they're not windows, I'm happy.

Re:FSF has doors? (1)

CautionaryX (1061226) | more than 6 years ago | (#24798569)

Hahaha man that is something I've never heard before. You're probably sitting on a Windows Vista or XP machine at work right now... that's right, ALL of you are.

Board of Directors (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24797557)

What a freak show!

Behind the DOORS? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24797563)

Are you sure the FSF has DOORS?

I'd imagined the FSF as a sort of a Tepee or maybe a Mongolian Yurt, with maybe a flap or something.

Never anything as solid and 'non-open' as a door.

Re:Behind the DOORS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24797689)

They have a 'dutch door.' The bottom is closed to keep the chickens and pigs out, but the top is open to let fresh air in.

Re:Behind the DOORS? (1)

Magitek0777 (1170275) | more than 6 years ago | (#24799135)

Are you sure the FSF has DOORS?

It has a door, but no Windows...

Re:Behind the DOORS? (1)

saibot834 (1061528) | more than 6 years ago | (#24800511)

Well, I actually visited the FSF and I can assure you, that they at least have no Backdoors. ;-)

Live Free Or Die (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24797573)

Yes I know, that's a Unix saying.
Since I was old enough to comprehend building computers, I have been running Linux. Having open source has directly affected my life. Thanks FSF and the OSS community for giving me interest, and the biggest part, being able to have development tools and code that I can learn with and from. With most commercial products costing ALOT of money, Open Source gave me the ability to have corporate sized products, for no cost. And Microsoft fans out there I think realize this too. Anyone in the computer world at some point recognizes what FSF and the bunch has done to the technology based world.

oh shit, is this post about Steve Ballmer? shit, I'll delete all my bootleg M$ software, I PROMISE!!

Re:Live Free Or Die (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 6 years ago | (#24803905)

Since I was old enough to comprehend building computers, I have been running Linux.

Say what? Linux came out well after the period when it was feasible to build your own computers, and computers were sold as self-build kits.

Tax-Free baby! (0, Troll)

Itninja (937614) | more than 6 years ago | (#24797641)

What's the purpose of the Free Software Foundation? In my experience working for/with non-profits, I would suspect the entire organization is just a tax-shelter for some high rollers in the industry. Why pay tax on your 6 figure salary, when you can donate 80% to a 501(c)(3) 'foundation' and write it off as a deduction? Then you get hired by the foundation as a manager, consultant, etc....and make all if not more of your money back through car allowances, marginally monitored expense accounts, and things adorably referred to as 'living stipends'. It's really kind of a sweet deal if you can pull it off.

Re:Tax-Free baby! (1)

smclean (521851) | more than 6 years ago | (#24798221)

As long as they keep hanging around the courthouse, more power to them.

Interesting comment below the article: (3, Insightful)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#24797721)

Nice way to gloss over the fact that the FSF has essentially failed to grasp the point that the only way free software will be perceived as a valid replacement for proprietary software is if it is a 1:1 replacement. gNewSense's latest release should prove that FOSS developer's time would be better spent at improving their software rather than wasting their time with the FSF. Especially considering that the FSF is run in a non-democratic manner.

Thankfully other organizations exist that realize this and don't attempt to have us all waste time as the defective by design campaign does.

While I don't agree with this comment in all aspects, I do believe an important part of promoting free software is to give incentives to free software coders, especially those in charge of replacing popular proprietary products that still don't have a free-software equivalent.

Re:Interesting comment below the article: (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#24798157)

One thing that needs to be more widely understood is that while people are cost conscious, they are (especially business people) a great deal more value conscious than they are cost conscious.

Put simply: If no-cost software delivers $1,000 less value than $999 software, many people will opt for the $999 software.

Handbook? (0, Offtopic)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | more than 6 years ago | (#24797747)

Perhaps the best-known of the remaining roles in the FSF is the compliance engineer, a position currently held by Brett Smith.

When I typed in "Compliance Engineer's handbook" into amazon's search, this is what I got - the book [amazon.com] .

So you need a Chemical engineering degree to be a compliance engineer?

Free as in... (5, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 6 years ago | (#24797773)

"The purpose of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) is probably obvious from its name -- but what does promoting free software mean in terms of everyday activity?

I think they have something to do with free beer or speech.
Free something. I can't remember. It's Friday and I've been drinking.

Re:Free as in... (5, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#24798237)

The line 'free as in speech, not free as in beer' always struck me as some very poor marketing, for two reasons:
  1. Lots of people will argue against free speech in certain cases (e.g. slander and libel), but very few people would argue against free beer.
  2. After a few pints of free beer, free (although possibly slightly slurred) speech is pretty much guaranteed.

Miguel de Icaza used to be on FSF Board (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24797845)

But he was kicked off the board due to mono releasing its class libraries under the MIT/X11 license instead of LGPL. You would have thought that MIT/X11 would be freer than the LGPL. MIT/X11 is like the BSD no advertising clause license.

Re:Miguel de Icaza used to be on FSF Board (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24798425)

Sure, it's more free, but it's incompatible with rms and fsf's goal, which is to control the source, namely to require (force) people to show what they did with it.

In general I prefer the MIT/X11 license and I distributed two or three things under that license -- mainly because they were smallish and I didn't really care what anyone did with them after I released them.

If I ever get the time to do some of the other things I want to do though, which would be quite a bit bigger and would also be things that I would want to have control over, I'd probably use the GPL or something similar.

Not this old debate again. (3, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#24798473)

Free means different things to different people. The GPL provides more freedom to users by requiring coders to give back to the community. The MIT/X11/BSD style license provides more freedom to coders, because they don't have to give back to the community.

Re:Not this old debate again. (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 6 years ago | (#24798627)

Free means different things to different people. The GPL provides more freedom to users by requiring coders to give back to the community. The MIT/X11/BSD style license provides more freedom to coders, because they don't have to give back to the community.

What license style increases user freedom by increasing the number of apps available to use?

Re:Not this old debate again. (1)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#24798679)

I don't think there's a correlation. One could argue that the MIT/X11/BSD style increases the number of apps one can BUY, but it doesn't increase the number a user can use for free. So the license isn't increasing the number of apps the user could use, the user is increasing the number of apps they can use, by paying for them.

Re:Not this old debate again. (3, Insightful)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#24798675)

Free means different things to different people. The GPL provides more freedom to users by requiring coders to give back to the community. The MIT/X11/BSD style license provides more freedom to coders, because they don't have to give back to the community.

A perfect example for this is when the Cedega project promised to give back to the community their advances with DirectX under WINE. Fortunately (for them), WINE was licensed under the X11 license. Guess what happened? Nothing, that's what happened! Thanks to that, DirectX work under WINE froze for several years, leaving users pissed off and having to purchase Cedega for something they were supposed to enjoy for free in the first place.

And for this reason, I'm glad that Stallman kicked Miguel out of the FSF Board.

Re:Not this old debate again. (3, Insightful)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 6 years ago | (#24799273)

Isn't that more of a "dishonest asshole" or "naive fool" issue than a licensing issue? You also can't just say that with GPL, wine would obviously have gotten all of the cedega work, you also have to account for the (probably very hard to quantify) possibility that cedega wouldn't have existed at all...

Re:Not this old debate again. (3, Insightful)

TheSunborn (68004) | more than 6 years ago | (#24801205)

And let's just look at the alternative here.

If Cedega gave all the code back to wine, then wine would be as good as Cedega, and nobody would buy Cedega. Cedega would thus close down which would
leaving DirectX work under WINE frozen for several years.

I fail to se how that is a better solution.

Re:Not this old debate again. (2, Informative)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#24801861)

Because people said "why work on DirectX? The Cedega guys promised they'd give us the code". Remember that Cedega weren't the ONLY people who knew how to implement DirectX under wine, but they cheated on WINE so that NOBODY worked on it and they'd be ahead of WINE.

Only after the WINE team reacted, changed the license to GPL (or LGPL in case of winelib) and began to work, WINE recovered.

Re:Not this old debate again. (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#24801693)

So, in other words, you'd rather have nothing at all rather than give up this sort of superficial freedom. Good call chief. I mean, how on earth would one have freedom if it weren't forced upon us.

This is one of the reasons why people hate RMS, the FSF doesn't represent freedom, it represents a very narrow definition of freedom, which removes a lot of the choices involved.

Re:Not this old debate again. (2, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#24802991)

Wrong, the GPL removes a few immoral choices from a small set of people (coders and software company owners) and increases choices for a larger set (end users.) And I think it's only a small set of people that hate RMS, the people who want to profit off the work of others without giving anything back.

Re:Miguel de Icaza used to be on FSF Board (1)

pinky0x51 (951042) | more than 6 years ago | (#24800869)

>But he was kicked off the board due to mono releasing its class libraries under the MIT/X11 license instead of LGPL

That's just wrong! Miguel leaves the FSF long before mono or even .Net exists!

Resources for .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24798351)

That website has resource links for a variety of occupations:

# For everybody
# For computer scientists
# For economists
# For lawyers

Where's the link "For hitmen" ? They can certainly leverage their core-competency to fix this problem.

Not Obvious (4, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#24798589)

The purpose of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) is probably obvious from its name...

That's a pretty clueless statement. If it were obvious, then we wouldn't have to make the Beer/Speech distinction every time we used the word.

One reason this is unclear: to many of us, it's not at all clear that whether you have the right to hack somebody else's code is a first amendment issue. In a technical sense, I suppose it is. But that's the same technical sense that Comcast uses when they assert their right to give us 500 channels of crap. Even if legally valid, it's hard to get worked up over it.

The main contribution of the FSF to posterity has been to create the Open Source movement, which has proven to be a superior model for large-scale collaboration than the old standards committees it replaced. This was obvious to me the first time I compared early prototype of open source desktops like KDE and GNOME to their committee-managed predecessors, such as (the late, unlamented) CDE [wikipedia.org] . Even early betas of the OS desktops had more functionality than CDE, which had been under development for many years.

But does FSF boast about their role in inventing Open Source? They do not. They consider OS, arguably their biggest accomplishment, as a distraction. That's because the FSF is about changing all the intellectual property rules as it relates to software, not about better development models. And IMHO, they don't really have a lot to show for 25 years of attacks on that particular windmill.

Henry Poole? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24798713)

Henry Poole.. as in the Henry Poole who nearly single-handedly sunk (then) Mandrake? Hope it's a different Henry Poole as I'm not sure what *that* HP would be doing on the FSF board other than trying to bleed it dry.

Behind WHAT door?!? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 6 years ago | (#24799293)

It must be Slashdot's choice of background color.

I wacky-parsed that title to read:

"Behind the Green Door of the Free Software Foundation"

Please announce torrent and seed.

Not exactly (0, Troll)

Secret Rabbit (914973) | more than 6 years ago | (#24799737)

"""
The purpose of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) is probably obvious from its name
"""

Not exactly. See, Free to most people means free. And unfortunately, RMS redefined free as Free. The devil is in the details. Reading the fine print reveals that there is profound restrictions on developers (the users of the libraries, utilities, etc). So, Free by way of the (L)GPL isn't exactly free. In other words, citing freedom for one group (end users) by way of clobbering the freedom of another group (the developers) doesn't exactly mean free in any rational definition of the word.

So yah, not exactly obvious by its name. You really have to dig to find out exactly what these guys are up to.

Re:Not exactly (1)

pinky0x51 (951042) | more than 6 years ago | (#24800963)

>So, Free by way of the (L)GPL isn't exactly free.

But the GPL isn't the Free Software Definition [gnu.org] , the GPL is just one of many Free Software licenses! And i can't find anything in the Free Software definition which doesn't fit any rational definition of the word.

first read the whole, then judge. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24800587)

http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/ [gnu.org]
do you have read all of these stuff, guys?

A look at the finances of the FSF (1)

bratgitarre (862529) | more than 6 years ago | (#24803785)

And for those interested in the finances of the FSF, see Charity Navigator [charitynavigator.org] .

Behind the doors of the FSF... (3, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | more than 6 years ago | (#24803815)

... you are eaten by a Grue.
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