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Stallman Unsure Whether Firefox Is Truly Free

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the more-left-than-left dept.

GNU is Not Unix 905

Slatterz writes "Among the theories Stallman bandies about in this Q&A are: Facebook may not share private data with the CIA, Firefox isn't really 'free software,' and his dreams of a day where nobody is involved in developing or promoting proprietary software. Agree or disagree?"

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I Just Took A Huge Shit (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25785483)

It was free!

Re:I Just Took A Huge Shit (5, Funny)

DrLang21 (900992) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785503)

You could offer a homeless man on the street a free sandwich, and if he had to walk a block to get it, Stallman wouldn't think it was free.

Re:I Just Took A Huge Shit (0, Flamebait)

initdeep (1073290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785525)

Thus the reason he is labeled a ZEALOT.

The man is delusional and just needs to go visit any communist/socialist society and live in it to discover that his ideals just don't work because human nature will not allow it.

Re:I Just Took A Huge Shit (5, Funny)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785595)

You could offer a homeless man on the street a free sandwich, and if he had to walk a block to get it, Stallman wouldn't think it was free.

He'd also have to make it himself, and not use any sauce with a logo on the bottle.

Re:I Just Took A Huge Shit (1, Funny)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786141)

I'm just thrilled to note that, at time of writing, and thanks to Slashdot's fervent disregard for logic, consistency, or relevancy; my brazenly flippant remark has somehow been modded DOWN to informative.

Trust me, if I was karma whoring, I'd be doing it for the lulz in this particular instance. And whilst it's true that the best comedy is fact presented without the veneer of contextualised bullshit, I really hadn't planned that far ahead in this case.

Re:I Just Took A Huge Shit (4, Funny)

Draek (916851) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785709)

As long as you don't prevent the homeless man from analyzing the sandwich, copying it, and giving it (or copies of it) away without making the recipients walk a block to get it, Stallman would probably say it's Free.

Re:I Just Took A Huge Shit (4, Funny)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785549)

I Just Took A Huge Shit. It was free!

Good for you buddy. I keep trying, but can only release vaporware.

I'll need to get some prune juice, it's the latest 'open sauce'.

Re:I Just Took A Huge Shit (2, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785597)

Not only that, but anyone who eats the FREE shit will likewise produce more FREE shit. And if you happen to have a virus, like hepatitis or AIDS, it will be passed along as well.

I think the FSF should change the GNU logo. Sure, a big smelly cow-like animal with unkempt hair and dingleberries hanging from it's asshole represents most FREE SOFTWARE programmers, but a steaming turd represents the ideals (and implementation!) of FREE SOFTWARE

The Only Safe Response (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25785487)

Agree or disagree?

I will not buy this record, it is scratched.

Leave Stallman alone *sobs* (4, Informative)

junglee_iitk (651040) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785499)

Firefox is a strange case, since initially the sources were free software but the binaries released by the Mozilla Foundation were not free. They were non-free for two reasons: they included one non-free module, Talkback, for which sources were not available (even to the Mozilla Foundation); and because they carried a restrictive EULA [end-user licence agreement].

I think these two problems have both been corrected, so maybe the distributed Firefox binaries are free software today.

He is sure Firefox was not free.

He is knows the problems have been corrected.

He is not sure right now because he uses lynx.

Re:Leave Stallman alone *sobs* (1)

junglee_iitk (651040) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785515)

Must be my keyboard layout messing with my grammar :(

Re:Leave Stallman alone *sobs* (5, Funny)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785773)

It's understandable, the keys is all right next to each other.

Re:Leave Stallman alone *sobs* (2, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785723)

There's still the trademark issue with the firefox logo. In any case, iceweasel is definitely free.

Re:Leave Stallman alone *sobs* (5, Informative)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785983)

He's said in the past that he doesn't have a problem with Trademarks as long as it is easy to remove them.

It's all part of the idea that you should make it clear that you modified the program so that the original programmer's reputation isn't harmed by any bugs you introduce.

The trademark problems don't make Firefox non-free (3, Insightful)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786015)

You can always replace the logos and distribute the same software you got, so, it is not Firefox that isn't free, it's the logos. There are packages where everything is free, but on Firefox, just the software is free.

That, of course, doesn't make the problem less anoying to distro makers.

Re:The trademark problems don't make Firefox non-f (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786163)

That, of course, doesn't make the problem less anoying to distro makers

Pot? Hello, Kettle! The distro makers are all doing the same thing. You can take the source code to Fedora Core and make your own Fedora-like distro, but you can't use the the trademark 'Fedora Core' nor can you use the Fedora logo or any other trademarks.

Hence, Iceweasel (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786183)

You can always replace the logos and distribute the same software you got, so, it is not Firefox that isn't free, it's the logos.

Well technically : the logos and the "FireFox" name itself. But the code is still free.

There are packages where everything is free, but on Firefox, just the software is free.

I think that's why the parent mentionned IceWeasel.

Re:Leave Stallman alone *sobs* (3, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785995)

I say leave Stallman alone and never give him any more attention. Give him credit for what he did. But now he is just trying to micromanage the process as best he can to try to meet his software Utopia. Universal Acceptance of Free and Open all the way software is impossible. There will be people who want to keep credit for their work, people who want to make money off of their work, and they do not want to make money supporting their software.

Re:Leave Stallman alone *sobs* (4, Insightful)

pirhana (577758) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786105)

> There will be people who want to keep credit for their work, people who want to make money off of their work, and they do not want to make money supporting their software.

Each and everyone of the above is possible with Free software too.

He doesn't say Firefox isn't really free software (5, Informative)

chrb (1083577) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785529)

He in fact says:

Firefox is a strange case, since initially the sources were free software but the binaries released by the Mozilla Foundation were not free. They were non-free for two reasons: they included one non-free module, Talkback, for which sources were not available (even to the Mozilla Foundation); and because they carried a restrictive EULA [end-user licence agreement].

I think these two problems have both been corrected, so maybe the distributed Firefox binaries are free software today.

Re:He doesn't say Firefox isn't really free softwa (1, Informative)

hummassa (157160) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785941)

No, they aren't, because the Firefox name and logo are registered and well-defended trademarks, so you can't modify them, etc. Iceweasel is Free, though.

So What? (1, Interesting)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786013)

You know what? So what if firefox is not completely free?

It is a superior piece of software - I would use it in preference of IE even if it were completely proprietary.

I would give Opera a more serious consideration if that were the case though.

Re:So What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25786137)

QUOTE:

I would give Opera a more serious consideration if that were the case though.

ENDQUOTE

Well, that's the "so what" answered right there. If FF wasn't as free as you suspect, you would consider moving to Opera. So if FF is lying or finessing, they are doing so to get you to use their work rather than someone else's.

And even though Opera isn't open, this is not the deal we want to see happening.

Re:He doesn't say Firefox isn't really free softwa (1, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786175)

So software written in C# or VB is not free software?
How about applications written in Java before it was open source.
Heck say you used cc vs. gcc to compile your code.

Using non free modules is just like using a non-free compiler as you are building in code that you may not have the full source with.

I myself am a larger support in Open Specification vs. Open Source. (Yes you can have Open Source code which isn't Open Specification) as Open Specification is real free speech as you explain how the application works. Vs. just giving them the source no matter how sloppy or cryptic or incorporating platform particular commands (Eg. Saving Floats in binary format of the particular hardware, Different platforms and hardware will save this data in different format). An Open spec tells the person what is happening and allows you to create a new app that can do the same thing or better or communicate with the app.

Pragmatism or idealism...? (4, Interesting)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785531)

I'm sure we're going to get debates about pragmatism versus idealism. Isn't idealism just pragmatism with an eye to the future? Both want to get the best. The pragmatist wants the best of what is available now, the idealist is prepared to sacrifice now for the best that it can be in the future.

Re:Pragmatism or idealism...? (5, Insightful)

Ren Hoak (1217024) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785665)

Ideally, they are the same. Pragmatically, there are differences.

Mod Parent Informative, not Funny (5, Insightful)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786037)

The -- ahem -- "idealist" says "these are my principles, I don't violate them".

The "pragmatist" says "I just want this done by Friday and will violate my principles for the sake of that."

At first glance, it looks like the second person values action and results more than principles. But that's actually not the case: She just has a different principle: expedience, "getting it done by Friday", and values this more than her other principles.

Thought experiment: make it so that the thing won't be finished on Friday unless the pragmatist kills someone. You will discover a closeted (horror!) *idealist. In most cases, the thing won't be done on Friday.

To sum up: this is a false dichotomy, and a tiresome one.

Re:Pragmatism or idealism...? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785869)

Only if you take the view that the sacrifices will eventually be necessary.

History doesn't seem to have much patience for extremism. It pops up over and over, but it doesn't persist. So acting to prevent an extreme from arising might be worth it, but basing that action on the assumption that the extreme will persist probably isn't (That is, none of the nightmare scenarios that ideologues use for persuasion would actually be permanent states; they would simply be uncomfortable periods).

Re:Pragmatism or idealism...? (5, Interesting)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786029)

Isn't idealism just pragmatism with an eye to the future?

Pretty much, yes. RMS's point - with which I agree entirely - is that it's impractical to give control of your data to someone else. If you go with proprietary software, that's exactly what you're doing. The other party may very well treat you respectfully, and it may even be in their best business interest to do so, but that says nothing about whether they'll stay in business or whether the giant corporation buying them will be so customer-oriented.

People talk about using proprietary solutions for their practicality. That might be true in the extreme short term, but in the long term that just doesn't make sense. Idealism is pragmatism. The two are inseparable.

People scoffed at my contention... (-1, Flamebait)

Jay Maynard (54798) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785541)

...that Stallman wasn't out to destroy the software industry as we know it. Now, his own words condemn him.

Re:People scoffed at my contention... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785583)

...that Stallman wasn't out to destroy the software industry as we know it. Now, his own words condemn him.

I can't decide if you are trolling or not but Stallman is mostly harmless. I seriously doubt that he has the ability to destroy the software industry as we know it.

Re:People scoffed at my contention... (3, Insightful)

mellon (7048) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785795)

Stallman isn't mostly harmless. He's let the wind out of the sails of a really pernicious business model. For the people who were prospering on the basis of that model, he is pretty much the antichrist. The reason you think he's mostly harmless is that you are not one of those people, not that he is not effective (a less polite way of saying "mostly harmless.").

Re:People scoffed at my contention... (1)

Jay Maynard (54798) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785585)

...that Stallman wasn't out to destroy the software industry as we know it. Now, his own words condemn him.

argh. Stallman is out to destroy the software industry.

Re:People scoffed at my contention... (5, Interesting)

chrb (1083577) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785771)

No he isn't. He appears to support the idea of paid software development and paid services, but insists that the users of that developed software should have the right to copy, modify and redistribute it.

Anyway, I agree with him. Having worked for 2 years with a contracting company that was almost 100% Linux and open source, I can say that the open source software development and services arena is very profitable. We never had a customer complain that the solution we delivered was either based on open source, or that our changes would be open source due to the GPL or whatever. What customers cared about was a) did it work and b) did it not crash (the two are somewhat related). As long as we checked those boxes, they were very happy - you'd be surprised at the number of contractors who try to deliver overly fancy solutions but fail on those two basic points.

More software developers should ask themselves "What's the worst that could happen if my customers could modify and redistribute this software"? For proprietary software, it means you can no longer hold customers to ransom and insist on yearly revenue generating "updates". For developers who get paid for hours worked doing actual development and support, this is no problem. I prefer the latter - getting paid for actual work just seems more honest.

Re:People scoffed at my contention... (2, Insightful)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785933)

No he isn't. He appears to support the idea of paid software development and paid services, but insists that the users of that developed software should have the right to copy, modify and redistribute it.

If you believe that then you have never heard him talk.

He believes that all software should be free software and if you can't make a living off free software then that's not his problem. He say's you should get a different job instead of being a paid programmer while still working on free software.

Ironic from a man who lives in a bubble, he's never had to have a real job his whole life.

I can't remember the podcast, he said this on, it was around 5 months ago I would say.

Re:People scoffed at my contention... (5, Informative)

chrb (1083577) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786085)

"You can even be a programmer. Most paid programmers are developing custom software--only a small fraction are developing non-free software. The small fraction of proprietary software jobs are not hard to avoid." Richard Stallman [kerneltrap.org]

"Programmers could develop custom software by day, develop general purpose free software for fun. Or pay people for developing free software. Or sell support, or copies of free software." Richard Stallman [d-axel.dk]

It seems RMS fully supports the idea of paid software development. I wonder why so many people think differently - poor reporting, or just personal bias?

Re:People scoffed at my contention... (2, Insightful)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785653)

Good riddance to most of it. It's a vast economic inefficiency.

Re:People scoffed at my contention... (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785745)

I don't remember anyone scoffing such a statement. Mostly I've noticed people either agreeing it was a good thing, or disagreeing and saying it wasn't a good thing. Regardless, not enough people take him seriously to make him much of a threat. All of free, open source (but not quite free) and closed source software are all valid points in our modern computer industry. They all provide differing sets of pros and cons, each of which help out the industry as a whole. All categories have excellent software, and software that sucks. Each category, when it improves, encourages the other categories to improve as well.

Re:People scoffed at my contention... (5, Insightful)

mellon (7048) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785775)

Oh, the woe! Stallman is trying to get people to voluntarily stop engaging in practices that create artificial scarcity for the purposes of artificially inflating stock values. If he succeeds, the CEOs of our companies will no longer be able to justify their huge compensation and golden parachutes, and will no longer be able to dangle the promise of riches, in the form of stock options, in front of us so as to trick us into accepting lower pay, long hours and lousy benefits.

What a bad, bad man he is.

Re:People scoffed at my contention... (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785881)

Destroy as we know it? Evolution does that, something that used to be isnt that way exactly anymore. You can call it destruction, or call improvement, or change, for better or worse. And if the software industry dont fit exactly in reality, then it must adapt or die.

And if well i dont fully agree that everything must be open source in a future (as could be cases where is better that way, even if is the "guess how i did it" game), more openness is needed definately in a lot of areas. And that wont mean the end of software industry, nor the companies on it.

well, this part makes me wonder if I can share (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785555)

some of what he is smoking....

and his dreams of a day where nobody is involved in developing or promoting proprietary software

I mean, I'm all about open source but nobody developing or promoting proprietary software? What about the business world and the wide variety of custom made software tailored to specific business segments? What about gaming?

Re:well, this part makes me wonder if I can share (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25785673)

I don't see that as being a bad dream. Is there a necessity for software to be proprietary?

I would've thought a bad dream would be something like.. dreaming of everyone being balding monkeys and throwing chairs. *rollseyes*

Re:well, this part makes me wonder if I can share (3, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785721)

Is there a necessity for software to be proprietary?

It's necessary for there to be an economic incentive to develop software. Nobody is going to donate millions of man-hours to write the software for the F-22 out of the goodness of their heart. Nobody is going to donate the man-hours to write the software for my insurance agency or hospital.

I don't think open-source is inherently incompatible with that economic incentive but if Stallman thinks that open-source is the cure-all for every single problem that can be solved with software then he is just as much of a zealot as the Microsoft trolls that think all open-source software is communist and evil.

Re:well, this part makes me wonder if I can share (1)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785833)

There's nothing stopping people from paying programmers and contractors to work on a project that ends up as free once it's distributed. I would not expect the GPL to be compatible with the security restrictions around the F-22's avionics firmware though.

Re:well, this part makes me wonder if I can share (5, Interesting)

chrb (1083577) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785871)

It's necessary for there to be an economic incentive to develop software. Nobody is going to donate millions of man-hours to write the software for the F-22 out of the goodness of their heart. Nobody is going to donate the man-hours to write the software for my insurance agency or hospital.

Nobody is asking them to. The developers that wrote the F22/insurance/hospital software would still get paid, because the software has to actually be written, and they'll get paid for modifications and support too. What they can't do is get their customer reliant on some bit of closed software, and then jack up the cost of that software a couple of years down the line when replacing it with something else is almost impossible.

What's the worst that could happen if hospitals actually used open source systems? That open standards would be developed and utilised, and that information interchange between systems would be many times easier? That patients might have some degree of control over their own data? That vendor lock-in, the type leading to the failure of the "£50 billion, largest civilian IT programme in the entire history of the world" [blogspot.com] might be avoided? I could support that.

Re:well, this part makes me wonder if I can share (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785977)

Well, the F-22 is a special case, because as another post [slashdot.org] points out, the security around it's avionics software isn't really compatible with open source.

In the case of the hospital though, I agree, open-source would be great. But I still don't think it's compatible with Stallman's idea of open-source. How are you going to get the capital to pay your programmers if any idiot can take all of your hard work and redistribute it himself for a possibly lower (or even free) price?

Re:well, this part makes me wonder if I can share (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25786087)

Why, through support, obviously! Everyone knows that providing support gives you an unlimited, completely reliable income stream.

Re:well, this part makes me wonder if I can share (1)

richlv (778496) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785991)

It's necessary for there to be an economic incentive to develop software. Nobody is going to donate millions of man-hours to write the software for the F-22 out of the goodness of their heart. Nobody is going to donate the man-hours to write the software for my insurance agency or hospital.

nobody says that everybody is prohibited from paying for opensource software.

Re:well, this part makes me wonder if I can share (4, Informative)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786081)

You are talking about in-house software which employs about 90% of programmers out there. People will continue to commission that sort of software regardless of the copyright model or lack of one. The only difference free software makes is that they will have a pool of free libraries to use which will make development cheaper and the end product more reliable.

Re:well, this part makes me wonder if I can share (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786083)

"Nobody is going to donate millions of man-hours to write the software for the F-22 out of the goodness of their heart."

Nobody would do that, but somebody could quite well exchange that amount of men-hours worth for a piece of software that they own. People currently exchange bilions of men-hours worth for software that they can't own, why won't they invest on a better deal for them?

Re:well, this part makes me wonder if I can share (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786117)

"It's necessary for there to be an economic incentive to develop software. Nobody is going to donate millions of man-hours to write the software for the F-22 out of the goodness of their heart."

My guess would be that the people who need the F-22 to fly have a pretty convincing incentive to write software for it.

If no one develops proprietary software, all the software that is built is build for its value in *use, not its value in exchange. There would be lots.

Whether that's "enough" software or "the right software" is aseparate question. But saying there won't be any is idiotic.

Re:well, this part makes me wonder if I can share (1)

trendzetter (777091) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786131)

Users in need of specific features will pay for the development of the software. Or software could just be created in order to sell services. It's not because software is released as free software that there is no money to be made. One of the many already existing examples is openvista [sourceforge.net] , software for hospitals.

Re:well, this part makes me wonder if I can share (3, Insightful)

purpledinoz (573045) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785935)

The question is not whether it's necessary or not. Proprietary software will never disappear. If companies who develop software have nothing to gain by open sourcing it, why would they open source it? This especially applies to software that satisfies a niche market.

Re:well, this part makes me wonder if I can share (3, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785741)

TuxRacer is good enough for everyone, even business executives.

Re:well, this part makes me wonder if I can share (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785789)

What about the business world and the wide variety of custom made software tailored to specific business segments?

Why would they need to be propietary? in fact, are they? most custom-made software is called as such because it's only in use by a single company, which is usually the same one that customized it, ergo, has access to the source, a full F/OSS philosophy wouldn't change that a bit.

What about gaming?

That's the hardest part, of course, due to the inherent differences with other types of software where the period of its usefulness is longer than that of developing it, but if a full F/OSS philosophy brings society-wide benefits, I don't think I'd sacrifice those for the sake of a small, entertainment-only niche.

Re:well, this part makes me wonder if I can share (1, Troll)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785815)

It's called, "communism".

Re:well, this part makes me wonder if I can share (1)

Paradigm_Complex (968558) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785849)

I mean, I'm all about open source but nobody developing or promoting proprietary software?

I agree that F/OSS isn't quite apt to replace all proprietary software. There are situations where proprietary software would be better off.

What about the business world and the wide variety of custom made software tailored to specific business segments?

In fact, this is an area I believe a F/OSS business model would work best. The business which wants it's custom-tailored software can pay people to make it just as they would proprietary stuff, but have it GPL'd. That could even reduce the price, being able to build off other F/OSS stuff instead of from scratch. And because it's tailored to the one company, there's little chance of competition taking advantage of it. Win-win.

What about gaming?

Aye, that's where the problems that I see are. When you have one unified group of people who want software and can pay for the whole development of it, GPL'd stuff is great as it helps lower the initial cost. However, when the funds for development are scattered, it can be extremely difficult to get all the money together where it needs to be. Few will want to contribute if they know that, once everyone else does and the project is done, they can just compile it themselves free of cost.

There are ways around that, though. Companies can easily fund the creation of F/OSS that will benefit them even if they can't sell it. Consider Google's relationship with Firefox and Android. This does not cover every possibility, and games are one area that a GPL business model doesn't hold up quite as well as proprietary. As F/OSS grows in popularity, hopefully others will think of successful ways to get F/OSS to work where I couldn't.

Re:well, this part makes me wonder if I can share (2, Informative)

Lazy Jones (8403) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786053)

What about gaming?

Yeah, what about it? Wesnoth [wesnoth.org] rocks and many old game engines are "free" already (well, Open Source for now). Companies could keep the content proprietary if they like and charge for serving it from their servers, I suppose. Meanwhile you could play with your own homemade content... Sounds good to me.

I think a whole lot of detail is being left out (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786109)

I doubt he means in house use only software. I really doubt he cares if that is open source. I do not think it even matters. For all intents and purposes to the world the software does not exist.

I think his concern about everything being open source is in reference to software available to the general public by any means. I seriously doubt game companies would give out source simply because staying ahead is coming up with tricks/effects your competitors don't have.

while his idea sounds cool the problem I see is providing incentive for people to do something. Who is going to write tax software, let alone stand behind it, and just provide source to where any competitor could get hints on how to do it? I know, extreme example, but writing good software does not require it to be open source or even have source code available. It is their work and they should be allowed to distribute it as they see fit. To that end Stallman is just the reverse of some corporate types - in that he is just as selfish as they are.

Re:well, this part makes me wonder if I can share (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25786129)

I'm going to make a leap here, and assume that RMS has not read anything about economics; micro or macro.

Re:well, this part makes me wonder if I can share (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786145)

I mean, I'm all about open source but nobody developing or promoting proprietary software? What about the business world and the wide variety of custom made software tailored to specific business segments?

That sort of thing is actually ideally suited for open software. Being open adds value to custom software, because if the vendor goes bankrupt, the customer can simply let another developer continue developing the software.

What about gaming?

You've got a much better argument here. While there are definitely open source games out there, it's not not even close to the scale of the proprietary games market. Tuxracer and Wesnoth not withstanding, this is the one area where OSS has a lot of catching up to do. And considering the time and investment involved, and the customer base's lack of money or eagerness to pirate, it doesn't look like an attractive market for large games. I suppose a patronage business model could work, but that's not easy to set up.

is GNU truly free? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25785611)

No.

So, stfu.

Facebook and the CIA (5, Interesting)

chrb (1083577) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785613)

If the CIA needed access to the Facebook databases and were unable to get it (either through social, legal or technical measures), I would consider that to be a massive display of incompetence. If the world's most highly funded spying agency isn't capable of accessing Facebook accounts from a cooperative company, then it (the CIA) should be shut down, since it's clearly going to be of no use at all against more determined opponents.

Re:Facebook and the CIA (1)

Big Nothing (229456) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785927)

"(the CIA) should be shut down"

Ok, how do we do that? What's the first step? How can I contribute? Is there an offical project that I can donate money to?

Re:Facebook and the CIA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25786061)

Um, or an apparent respect of US law.

.
.
.

Disclaimer: since that sentence might cause flamage, every word there is significant -- except 'Um'.

Re:Facebook and the CIA (3, Funny)

tacroy (813477) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786079)

Have you seen the new facebook UI? I can't find my own info!

Re:Facebook and the CIA (1)

N1AK (864906) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786155)

The point isn't that the CIA is incapable of getting it, but that they may be getting it unofficially in a way that may break the law or users contract with the company.

Personally as a none American, I fully expect that the US intelligence agencies won't give a flying fuck about whether what they are doing to none Americans is right, moral or legal the last 50 years has shown how completely cocksure they have become in that respect.
Amusingly the last few years has shown how little they care about the rights etc of US citizens, and even more incredibly how little most American's seem to care about it.

He shouldn't use Firefox then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25785633)

I think he should switch to Opera or Safari.

disagree (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25785647)

Wow, Stallman's done a lot of great things but he's marginalizing himself with these statements that are borderline silly.

It's similar those ridiculous things that hippies would say in the sixties like "I dream of a world where everyone takes LSD" or "drinks the kool-aid" and then everyone will form a Terra-wide circle and sing "age of aquarius".

The idea is out of touch, his hair is out of touch, he really needs a healthy dose of reality.

Well, if RMS says it ... (3, Funny)

Scholasticus (567646) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785707)

If Stallman says he isn't sure whether or not Firefox is free software, I'll just play it safe and surf the web with HURD.

Re:Well, if RMS says it ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25785845)

Hurd is a kernel my dear, not a web browser. You did get the subject right though. It's thanks to this man we have Linux and other Free software. He's the man to follow. Also, I know this is /. but actually reading the article wouldn't kill you. Talkback is closed source. I don't know what the issues with the EULA were. I think he could also have included the "branding" issue; the fact you can't mess with the trademarks, like Debian did. That's a queer can of worms though and I understand why he didn't want to bring it up in such a concise interview.

rms is a very reasonable genius who's given us so much. I hope he lives to be 200 years old.

Re:Well, if RMS says it ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25785943)

You wouldn't know a joke if it stabbed you in the eyeball.

Re:Well, if RMS says it ... (1)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785957)

I hope he lives to be 200 years old.

My goodness...I sure hope not. I imagine he's a stinky hippie now; think how bad the stench will be coming off that smelly hippie after another century-and-a-half...!

=Smidge=

Well Richard (2, Insightful)

Roland Piquepaille (780675) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785727)

Facebook may not share private data to the CIA

There's private data on Facebook? I thought the whole point of sites like this was to enable teenagers and not-quite-grown-ups to plaster all nitty gritty details of their lives on the internet in unreadable blue-on-pink pages.

Firefox isn't really "free software"

He's not the only one [wikipedia.org] . But as always, normal people don't really care if free software is 100% kosher as long as it works well for them.

and his dreams of a day where nobody is involved in developing or promoting proprietary software.

People who have trade secrets to hide will develop proprietary software, that's a fact of life. Video card manufacturers for instance may not want to reveal the underlying structure of their hardware through the driver code. I fail to see how this is morally wrong.

It's a royal pain in the ass to end users who may be forced into a particular OS because of feeble driver support, but the motives of the driver maker is understandable.

Yes (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25785739)

Agree or disagree?

Yes.

Who cares.... (3, Insightful)

johnlcallaway (165670) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785763)

Maybe people should stop drooling over every little thing the experts claim and make their own decisions using their own thoughts. Read what someone says, then make a decision about whether it is an opinion piece or they have some facts that are useful.

I realize his opinion was an 'I'm not sure' opinion rather than what the OP stated, but still. I use Firefox, it's free, and it does what I want. The other conditions he puts on it are irrelevant to me. If it stops being free (as in beer, not freedom) or doesn't do what I want, I'll go elsewhere.

Re:Who cares.... (4, Insightful)

Peaker (72084) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786009)

Then you should be thankful that he does CARE that it is free as in freedom. Because if everyone did what you did, we'd be stuck with free-as-in-beer crap (i.e: Crappy closed-source drivers, flash plugins, OS's) with no interoperability, tuned for the corporates' benefit rather than your benefit, etc.

Only caring about getting your immediate work done, and not caring at all about encouragement of the right kinds of software in the future is short-sighted and actually damaging to the causes.

I have a dream too (2, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785781)

Where people like Stallman stop begrudging others the right to make their own products and sell them. It's one thing to be critical of the fact that software is so much more restricted than say, a car or a new TV because of the contract they're able to get away. It's quite another to act like someone's rights are being violated because they have to buy a new copy of a program for each computer they want to run it on.

If corporations and other profit-seeking entities were not involved, free and open source software wouldn't have gotten anywhere. One inconvenient little fact that people like Stallman fail to understand is that consulting is no way to support a business that **makes** things. I doubt RedHat would be successful compared to Microsoft if they had to shoulder most of the R&D costs themselves.

You make ask yourself "why does this matter?" Because it turns the role of corporations in the economy on its head. They go from being the primary drivers of production, to being the primary beneficiaries of production because they are the ones making the few consulting bucks off of others' production of OSS code that can't be sold off as individual licenses due to it being open source.

I happen to like and support a lot of open source development, but having worked as a contractor since graduating college, I can't even imagine how fucked up our industry would be if it were run by consulting firms. They are some of the cheapest, most short-term thinking businesses in this country.

Re:I have a dream too (4, Insightful)

Peaker (72084) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786065)

If corporations and other profit-seeking entities were not involved, free and open source software wouldn't have gotten anywhere.

You are ignorant and wrong. Software up to 1979 was not copyrighted (it was an "innovative" use of copyright by Bill Gates at the time that started this trend).

Many interesting software advances: OS design (Multics, Unix, etc), programming language design (Lisp, C) were all done without software copyrights and were really "open source" or "Free Software" by today's definitions.

If anything, the involvement of for-profit corporations using closed-source has crippled the progress of software, as you would expect exponential progress in a field such as software, but arguably software progress has slowed down since 1979.

Re:I have a dream too (5, Insightful)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786091)

You seem to be pretty knowledgeable about free and open-source software... so I'm a little surprised by some of the things in your post.

Specifically, you say:

Stallman [should] stop begrudging others the right to make their own products and sell them

Stallman has been very clear over the years that he has no issue with people monetizing software, making money off of programming, or even selling software. He merely emphasizes that anyone who obtains software must have access to code.

You seem to think that consulting is the only way to make money in an all-OSS software ecology. I don't think that's the case. In addition to programmers being paid by the hour to code, it's not hard to imagine situations where well-organized "payment requests" are created. Someone codes v1 of a product (or releases a beta), and then requests funds to deliver the completed version. Once the requested money has been sent in (by interested buyers), the full version (with source code) is delivered. (The buyer could be other companies or many individual consumers.)

Would that be different from current software business methods? Yes. But I don't think it's impossible (the main reason it doesn't exist more routinely today is because everyone finds it simpler to just do the same thing as everyone else), and companies could continue to make profits from selling innovating new software. I'm not trying to specifically advocate that this would be better; merely pointing out that Stallman's "software should be free" is not in conflict with people making money. (You may not like the details of alternate money-making models, but that doesn't mean they are not viable.)

I just don't think it's fair to say that Stallman is against selling software, or that consulting is the only way to make money off OSS.

Pass the pipe (1)

Venture37 (654305) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785787)

I'd wish he'd drop dead but that may just make him a bigger "hero" for more RMS goodness see: http://kerneltrap.org/mailarchive/openbsd-misc/2007/12/10/486713 [kerneltrap.org] *sigh* The guy is nothing short of mental

Re:Pass the pipe (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786167)

Thanks for that! Absolutely hilarious. At least now I know where 4.3 release song [openbsd.org] came from!

That is easy (5, Informative)

DVega (211997) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785793)

It is not. The Firefox logo is not free [mozilla.org] . Thus, any software that includes that logo is non-free also, and Debian developers know it very well [debian.org]

Re:That is easy (5, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786001)

The logo isn't source code, it's just a picture. A picture which happens to be a trademark. Mozilla's beef is with Debian or anybody else messing around with code or the settings and still trying to palm it off as Mozilla Firefox. People are still free to branch the code and call it anything they like, which is just what Debian has done. I really don't see what the issue is here. There are lots of registered trademarks in the open source movement - Linux, Ubuntu, Debian, FSF, Firefox, Java, Apache, Red Hat, Novell, Sun etc. etc. etc.

Of course it's free (3, Informative)

DrXym (126579) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785823)

All of the code is open source and tri-licenced. Do with it what you want.

Say about him what you want.... (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785873)

I received an EeePC as a gift, but I could not run it because my conscience will not let me agree to the EULA. Finally, I asked someone to install a free GNU/Linux distro so the machine could be used.

Say about him what you want.... He does stand for his principles. That said: I never managed to get Debian Etch to run on my EEE 701 4G. The wired network card isn't even supported. :-(

I don't think Stallman's in reality... (3, Interesting)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785879)

Okay, many people have accused him of this, but reading his response how he came about to his free software ideals really doesn't strike me that he quite understands why software costs money. Kind of like how warez kiddies I knew in highschool didn't quite understand why those pirated copies of Photoshop weren't free to begin with. Coding on a PDP-10 in the 80's is great ... but now we're at an age where thousands upon thousands of software developers have to make a living *somehow.* Calling commercially closed source developed software a social problem is extreme. I couldn't imagine an age of software development where I could buy something, freely replicate it and expect the application developer to make money on it in other ways than dragging their heels on supporting it. How does he expect software developers to make a living?!

RMS is a troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25785889)

that is all

Stallman, F/OSS' Jesse Jackson (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25785909)

It seams as though Stallman is becoming as relevant to the F/OSS community as Jesse Jackson is to the Black Community.

In other words, does anyone actually give a shit what this man says?

I'm unsure if RMS is truly free. (5, Funny)

victim (30647) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785911)

I have no personal evidence that he is currently free, thus he falls into the same category for me as Firefox does for him.

More disturbing (from TFA)...

I received an EeePC as a gift, but I could not run it because my conscience will not let me agree to the EULA. Finally, I asked someone to install a free GNU/Linux distro so the machine could be used.

I wonder which of these is true:

  • It's ok to get some other sap to commit unconscionable behavior on your behalf?
  • He is not able to install Linux? (Possibly because he keeps looking in the library under 'G'.)
  • Installing Linux is not worth his time, but he has a sap with less worthy time to do these things?

Re:I'm unsure if RMS is truly free. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25786039)

Breaking news: Nerd god-idol RMS may not be that great of a human being. Film at 11.

Who cares? (1)

erlando (88533) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785917)

Richard Stallman has had his stay in the limelight. The world moved on.

Tagged "whothefuckcares" (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785939)

Because honestly... who does? Mozilla is free. Saying otherwise is pure pedantry.

What is free? (1, Flamebait)

firewood (41230) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785953)

Stallman's definition of "free": stuff he likes. His definition of "not free": stuff he doesn't like.

Never enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25785981)

If firefox isn't free enough whats stopping him from making his own free browser?

I agree (1)

killmenow (184444) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786019)

...and his dreams of a day where nobody is involved in developing or promoting proprietary software. Agree or disagree?

Yes, I agree, Richard Stallman dreams of a day where nobody is involved in developing or promoting proprietary software.

I'm concerned (1)

EvilIntelligence (1339913) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786073)

Stallman was not talking about cost in $$$ or effort. He was talking about "freedom" (free as in speech). He believes that there must be some piece of code in Firefox that is tied into some corporate governance which does not allow people to take, use, modify, distribute, etc, etc. It's really a sorry thing. Back in the day when FOSS was getting started, people like Stallman were critical. The community needed people like him to ensure that FOSS started free and stayed free. It kept the corporate money mongers at bay and made sure free software (as in speech) had a place to grow and mature. Every time there was an encroachment by somebody trying to corrupt that, the GPL and other such licenses were there to push back. Unfortunately, it seems that lately Stallman and his crew have gone beyond simply "protecting the idea" and have moved into fanaticism. This could be potentially dangerous for the community. While many view Stallman as a crackpot, he really has been critical to the open source community. Sometimes, an idea needs an empassioned person to keep the fire alive for the good of all. But if he really does go further around the bend and really does become a raving lunatic, conspiracy theorist, a true wackpot: then he will simply be ignored, even by his own FOSS community. Then he will be irrelevant, and the staunch support of the open source ideal will be marginalized, and then FOSS will have no protectorate. Stallman is hurting his own cause, which does make me concerned for the community as a whole.

Back in the day... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786179)

Back in the day when FOSS was getting started, people like Stallman were critical. The community needed people like him to ensure that FOSS started free and stayed free.

Back in the day when FOSS was getting started, Richard Stallman was still working on Emacs and the Free Software Foundation wasn't even a twinkle in his eye. It wasn't yet called any single name, let alone "free software" or "open source software", but it was incredibly common and was being promoted and distributed without restrictions by companies like AT&T (the Software Tools virtual operating system grew out of code published in Software Tools) as well as individuals and user groups like DECUS and FIG.

Who cares what Stallman thinks? (1)

gschwim (413230) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786119)

I really don't get it. He's ideologies are extremist and not realistic for what most of us call the "real world". Said real world is most definitely both free and not free. Air, for example, is free. The home in which you live, is not, although I'm sure RMS would argue that THAT should be free too.

What a flipping wacko.

And anyway, what does he exactly mean by "free" and how does it affect me? Why should I care what he thinks?

We need to get this communistic line of thinking out of our software development, people.

Brilliant but clueless (0, Troll)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786139)

What kind of freedom do I lose by using a GNU browser? Does one exist?

Oh yeah there is Konqueror. It requires me uninstall Windows Vista, give up on ms office, wow, and many apps and use an os that is not supported fully by my laptop. I lose wifi, sound, lan, and 3d graphics. I would have to purchase an expensive mobile wifi card by sprint or verizon which is against the spirit of free software.

  Oh that is right its my fault for buying a laptop that is not fully supported, but Linux or Gnu Turd is the saint and why is not everyone using? I do not have time nor should the average user care to look up every device in every computer for excellent linux driver support. Most stores wont give out all the hardware detail anyway for things like the 5-1 card reader. THe average Joe will just shake his head and prefer Windows after hearing about hardware support and blaming the user for problems with GNU/Linux.

Linux is great in the server room but not for the average Joe for the reasons I dscribe above. Installing Linux or other GNU software does lose time and freedom for people who want to get work done and use their equipment. Windows already comes with the price so they might as well use it. Install and work and have no problems.

After all of this I then end up with a browser that sucks and can't support sites like my bank and my schools outlook program.

Time is money. If free as in GNU is inferior and costs time then its not worth the free price.

Also in business I need things done and I do not care about freedom. Free things cost money to implement and support and I am willing to pay $$$ off of my employers dime if it helps us achieve the required results. RMS does not understand economics 101.

Firefox is both opensource and free to download and offers little drawbacks. In my opinion its freerer than the GNU alternatives.

I will take firefox with its source code anyday.

Also RMS should take an economics 101 class. Money is freedom as it gives incentives for people to work and offers rewards and excellent products and support.

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