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Richard Stallman Answers Your Questions

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the listen-up dept.

GNU is Not Unix 527

A while ago you had the chance to ask founder of the GNU Project, and free software advocate, Richard Stallman, about GNU/Linux, free software, and anything else. You can read his answers to a wide range of questions below. As usual, RMS didn't pull any punches.Capitalism and You
by eldavojohn

Your monkish lifestyle would leave most people who work in software screaming for a Lear Jet and you have stated "I've always lived cheaply ... like a student, basically. And I like that, because it means that money is not telling me what to do." Growing up in the United States, I have been served the koolaid of Capitalism several times and I have been taught that the inherent competition and struggle for money in all aspects of our lives make us the greatest country ever. I've read a lot of your comments on intellectual property reform and I can't help but feel that it just isn't compatible with capitalism. Have you ever had problems rectifying your stance on intellectual property with capitalism? Do you see any problems at all with no copyright or patent laws inside a capitalistic society?

RMS: First, I need to correct an apparent misunderstanding. I do not have a "stance on intellectual property", because that would mean using the term "intellectual property" in my thinking. I take pains never to do that, because that term is an obstacle to clear thinking. Every time it is used, it misrepresents the legal reality and spreads confusion.

I judge copyright law by its practical requirements and their practical effects. I judge patent law by its practical requirements and their practical effects -- totally different requirements and totally different effects. These two laws are different on every practical point; all they have in common is a very abstract idea which is of no practical significance.

I want to encourage clear thinking about copyright law. Separately, I want to encourage clear thinking about patent law. The first step in clear thinking about these laws is not to lump them together. In particular, never use the term "intellectual property", since it lumps them together.

I must not respond directly to a question that treats copyright law and patent law as a single issue. If I did, I'd be lumping them together and spreading the confusion I want to clear up.

However, I can split it into two separate questions.

First, copyright. Copyright is a legal restriction on certain kinds of use of works of authorship. The US has always had some sort of copyright law, but it has changed tremendously. The US has always practiced capitalism, but many sorts of works were, at some time in US history, not covered by copyright. Thus, we know it is possible to have capitalism without copyright.

However, I don't advocate simple elimination of copyright as a solution.

Works that are designed for use doing practical jobs must be free; however, simply eliminating copyright on those works would not have this result. In software, it would make things worse, because copyleft is based on copyright. Without copyright, programs could still be made nonfree using EULAs, tivoization, and nonrelease of source code, but we would no longer be able to prevent this using copyleft.

If we wanted to legislate to make all these works-for-use free, we would have to go further than just eliminating copyright on them. In an ideal world, we would do this, but I don't propose doing it now.

As for works of opinion and art, I don't think they must be free. I advocate some reforms of copyright for these works but I see no reason to abolish it.

Patent law is a totally different issue. A patent is an artificial monopoly on using a specified idea. There have been successful capitalist countries that didn't have a patent system. My expertise is in computing, so I campaign to eliminate patents from computing, where I know they are harmful. However, Boldrin and Levine present good arguments that patents do mostly harm in every field and that it would be better to eliminate patents entirely.

With any or all of these changes, we would still have capitalism; only some details would be different.

I feel like you have this admirable and altruistic quality where money isn't the ultimate driving force and when you speak to people who base their entire lives around money, there's a fundamental disconnect that is overlooked.

RMS: Arguments are always based on values. The free software movement is based on values of freedom and community -- that is where it differs from open source. People who don't share those values will simply not get it, no matter what I might say. Since that's inevitable, I don't worry about it. I do my best, and I persuade some, which is better than giving up and persuading none.

Re:Do you like being worshiped ?
by capt.Hij

This brings up a good point. Let me rephrase the question. Mr Stallman, you are regarded as a founding father of the free software movement, and your opinion on free software carries a lot of weight. Because of this you are put under a harsh spot light, and every little thing you do is magnified. For example, your comments about Steve Jobs immediately after his death were broadcast quite widely. To some people the timing showed a lack of taste and were seen as disrespectful.

RMS: Those people evidently were more concerned with forms of politeness that with substantive good and evil. Someone told me I should not criticize Jobs because he could not defend himself -- while thousands were lionizing him with the indirect support of Apple's PR machine. Compared to that, I was David against Goliath.

Because of your status in the free software movement your statement was used by some to smear the larger community. How do you feel about this kind of attention?

RMS: I stand by what I said about Jobs. Apple is your enemy, and if you don't recognize this and fight, you're being a chump.

If someone tried to spin my statement as something to be ashamed of, please fight back by arguing with his spin.

Have you given it much thought, and what kind of insight can you share about the situation you are in when your private and public mannerisms are misconstrued to be part of a larger group's views and outlooks?

RMS: I hope that a lot of the community shares my views of Jobs and Apple. I ask them to stand up and be counted.

Apple's favorable public image, including public admiration of Jobs for side issues, is a crucial asset in its war against our freedom. To tarnish its image, we need to speak loud and clear about Apple's wrongs. When Steve Jobs is praised for the elegant styling of the jails he designed, we must respond that it is wrong to put users in jail. Speak up and spread the word!

Role of the FSF
by ssam

It seems to me that in the early days of the FSF the main role was writing software. A huge chunk of that code is what makes up modern day free operating systems. A lot of it is class leading software (bash, gcc, emacs, etc). In the past few years it seems that the FSF is far more involved in campaigning than coding. Is this an accurate view of the situation? Is this intentional, and if so why? Should the FSF be trying to create a class leading web browser, for example.

RMS: In the first years of developing the GNU system, before Linux completed the system, not many people worked on free software. A few staff hired by the FSF made a big difference to our progress.

Once GNU/Linux caught on, lots more people got involved, so that the few people the FSF could hire were inevitably a tiny fraction of what the community did. Meanwhile, our other jobs became bigger and more important. For instance, once the DMCA made it illegal to release free software to handle common media formats, just writing free software was no longer enough, so we launched the DefectiveByDesign.org campaign. A year ago we launched our campaign against Restricted Boot, which is the way Microsoft perverts Secure Boot into an anti-security feature.

"Success" is not our goal; we're not here to win a race, we are here to win freedom. I didn't write GCC with the idea of making a "better" C compiler. I wrote it so there would be a freedom-respecting C compiler, and while I was at it, I did the best job I knew how. We didn't develop GNU to have a "better" operating system than Unix; we developed it so we could have a freedom-respecting operating system. It's the same today.

Thus, if we could raise money to hire a few software developers, we would spend it on projects that are more than technical improvements. For instance, it would make no sense to try to develop a web browser that is "better" in a merely practical sense. There is no reason to think we could outdo the Firefox developers in what they are good at, and it would be wasteful duplication to try.

Instead we are trying to do something that Firefox does not aim to do: protect the user's privacy from surveillance by web sites, and protect the user's freedom from nonfree Javascript code. A volunteer is working on our variant of Firefox, called IceCat, with changes for these purposes. We don't have funds for this, so would you like volunteer to help?

GNU visibility and factioning
by Digana

GNU is supposed to be a free operating system as well as a group of people working towards building this OS. To a casual observer, however, GNU does not appear very active.

RMS: I've decided to post new package releases in a more visible place in gnu.org.

Development of GNU is done by volunteers, so the level of activity is up to you. If you wish GNU were more active, join in the work on some GNU package that interests you. For instance, it would be useful to have more developers for LibreJS, which detects and blocks nonfree Javascript, and for IceCat.

Some of the most prominent and supposedly GNU packages, such as Gimp, Gnome, GTK+, and R are mostly GNU in name only. The hackers working on these projects have very little interaction with other hackers working on GNU projects and they very frequently espouse views contrary to GNU's philosophical aims. Thus to an outside observer, GNU does not appear to be a cohesive group of people working towards a common goal.

RMS: The GNU project is not as cohesive as I wish it were. To some extent, this is a consequence of an approach that was necessary. The only way to develop something as large as the GNU system through the work mostly of volunteers was to divide it into projects that could be implemented mostly independently by different people. The design of Unix lent itself to this. The fact that the GNU system incorporated programs such as X and TeX, that were developed by other people or groups that regarded the GNU Project as just a user, pushed in the same direction.

There is always a centrifugal tendency when many groups work mostly independently. It is often hard to persuade the developers of one component to do what improves the system as a whole rather than what will make their own component more useful and successful.

By 1990, when we started the HURD kernel, I expected that in a couple of years it would be working and we would integrate the GNU system. However, the HURD didn't work at all until 1996, and in the mean time the community began using GNU with Linux as the kernel. By the time we started using it that way, others had integrated the GNU/Linux combination, making various GNU/Linux distros.

The initial goal of GNU, to have a free operating system, has been achieved; the initial sharp focus on completing a free Unix-like system is no longer applicable. This doesn't mean our work is over; most GNU/Linux distros today contain nonfree software, and there are more things that we expect a system to do. We still need people to seek out and do the development jobs that need doing in order to win freedom for the users of computing.

My first step to make the GNU Project more cohesive was in 1999. In the 1980s and 90s, when I appointed someone as the maintainer for a GNU package, I took for granted that he would understand that his job was to manage a part of a larger project, and what that implied. In 1999 I realized this could not be taken for granted, so I began explaining this relationship to new maintainers and asking new maintainers to agree to it. However, the relationship with a few packages had already become distant.

Many GNU mailing lists being private further the public perception that GNU is not even actively producing software anymore.

RMS: Our main packages have public discussion lists, but that's a choice for the package maintainer to make. Feel free to suggest changes to the maintainer.

What can be done to remedy this situation? How can we strengthen GNU, make it reach out again to the people it's supposed to be freeing?

RMS: For the most part, this is up to you. When you start working on a new free program, do you propose making it a GNU package? Would you like it to be part of a coherent GNU Project? If so, please write to me.

How to reverse the aggregation problem?
by concealment

A problem with software and operating systems is what I call the "aggregation problem," which is that what we have now is an aggregate of past solutions to problems that may no longer exist. The stuff piles up, increasing complexity and decreasing the uniformity and effectiveness of the interface. At what point do software projects call for a top-down redesign? How can free software do this where industry cannot?

RMS: I don't have any solution to offer for this particular problem, other than the slow methods we are using now. Partly that's because I don't think this is the most important issue -- I think our freedom is more important than technical improvement.

However, this is not the only area in which more uniformity is desirable. Around 1990, I designed a protocol for configuring and building packages from source: you type `./configure; make install'. It would be nice if all free software packages supported this uniform interface, but they don't.

To help implement that uniformity, a GNU volunteer recently made it very easy to use Autoconf in Python packages, so that they can build and install using our uniform commands. If you maintain a program in Python, how about adding this support? Every user that isn't a Python programmer will be glad he can install your program without learning a special Python build method.

What project is using the wrong license?
by gQuigs

What free software project is using a license that doesn't actually match with it's mission - or hinders free software in other ways? In other words, if you could *magically* switch the license of one project - which would you choose and why? Examples: Move Mesa to GPLv3, Move Linux from GPLv2 to v3, Make android GPLv3, GCC - from GPLv3 to Apache.

RMS: If I could magically change one program to GPLv3, it would be Linux. One of the improvements of GPLv3 is that it blocks tivoization, and Linux is very frequently tivoized. (Many Android devices contain a tivoized copy of Linux.)

While we're talking about magic, I'd change the license of LLVM also.

Another program that is important to convert is LibreCAD. This is more than a fantasy: the developers of LibreCAD are working on replacing the old GPLv2-only code that they included, so as to switch to GPLv3-or-later. Would you like to help?

What do you think of non-free, non-software works?
by Shlomi Fish

Dear Dr. Stallman, In this Slashdot feature"Stallman is quoted here saying that game engines should be free, but approves of the notion that graphics, music, and stories could all be separate and treated differently (i.e., "Non-Free.")." However, this feature does not give a citation from you for that. To add to the confusion in a post to the Creative Commons Community mailing list, Rob Myers said:

"RMS's views on culture are coherent and consistent with his views on software. But he's treating game assets as a matter of functionality (software) rather than speech (culture). There is an issue with the latter not being free.."

So I'm a little confused. Do you approve of people using non-free licenses for cultural works, including the CC-by-nc, CC-by-nc-sa, CC-by-nd, and CC-by-nc-nd licenses? If so, when?

This is especially important given the fact that in the process for formulating the latest version of the Creative Commons licenses (4.0), there has been some requests to deprecate the non-commercial (nc) and/or no-derivatives (nd) options (which I doubt will happen, but is nonetheless some thing some people feel strongly about).


RMS: After some 12 years of stating my position in all my speeches on Copyright vs Community, and publishing transcripts, I'd expect interested people to have found it. But here it is.

Those works that are made for doing practical jobs must be free. This includes software, educational works, reference works, text fonts, recipes, and 3d-printer models for objects for practical use, as well as some other things.

Works of testimony and opinion, and artistic works, don't have to be free as in the four freedoms, but their users should have more freedom than now. I think people should be free to share them (noncommercial redistribution of exact copies), and to remix them. Putting DRM or EULAs on them should be banned too. I think all the CC licenses do these things, more or less, and I use CC-ND for my statements of my views, including this one.

Two of the nonfree CC licenses, CC-NC and CC-NC-SA, have a peculiar problem: they lead to making works which are orphan before they are born.

I call this a "peculiar problem" because I don't think these licenses are bad in principle. The problem is purely a matter of practical consequences, and it seems they should be avoidable, yet I can't see a way to avoid them. I hope one is found; in the mean time, I urge not using these two licenses.

Favorite hack
by vlm

Give me your best hack. Specifically something YOU did personally not hire / grad student. Hardware, software only (yes yes the GPL is cool but I'm looking for code or schematic or at least a description of something made out of source or solder) I can't put words in your mouth but the ideal answer would be something like "I'm particularly proud of the O(n) memory garbage collection routine in emacs implemented around '89 and how it worked was very roughly ..." or "I really like my homemade fully automatic automotive relay based routing system for my OH scale model railroad sorting yard" or "I built my own legal limit ham radio amplifier" almost certainly a different topic of course, but something of this form of answer.

RMS: I can't remember all the hacks that I was proud of, so I can't pick the best. But here's something I remember fondly. The last piece of Gosmacs code that I replaced was the serial terminal scrolling optimizer, a few pages of Gosling's code which was proceeded by a comment with a skull and crossbones, meaning that it was so hard to understand that it was poison. I had to replace it, but worried that the job would be hard. I found a simpler algorithm and got it to work in a few hours, producing code that was shorter, faster, clearer, and more extensible. Then I made it use the terminal commands to insert or delete multiple lines as a single operation, which made screen updating far more efficient.

Why FDR and Churchill?
by eldavojohn

During a Q&A Session a while back you were asked about people and movements near and dear to your heart and you said "I admire Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, even though I criticize some of the things that they did." I love World War II history and I also find myself in a love-hate situation with Churchill. Could you go into further detail about what specifics lead you to single out these two over leaders like Lincoln, Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin or even historical figures who have enabled information itself like Turing, Shannon, etc?

RMS: I like math, and I respect good mathematicians, but I don't admire them as heroes. The people I admire are those who fight for freedom.

Why did I mention Roosevelt and Churchill in particular? I didn't make a list of all the leaders I admire and then choose the ones I admire most. That would be a big job, and my memory does not lend itself to that, so I didn't try. I mentioned the people that came to mind.

I was thinking of leaders that fought against evil tyranny. Of the five leaders you mentioned, Roosevelt and Churchill had the hardest fight against the greatest evil. King George trampled the colonists' rights, and the Confederacy fought for slavery, but Hitler's genocidal empire was much worse.

If I were judging peacetime political leadership, I would not choose Churchill; perhaps Jefferson.

Stolen bag / laptop in Argentina
by Cigarra

What ever happened with the stolen bag and laptop? Did you get something back? Did you LOSE data (that is, was something not backed up)? Are you mad with the organizers / country that hosted the event?

RMS: My friends never found any sign of what was stolen. I lost some files, those which were outside the directories that I regularly backed up, but nothing really important.

I don't blame the speech organizers or Argentina in general for this theft. The reason I will never go to Argentina again has nothing to do with the theft. I announced it before I arrived in Argentina: I object to the requirement for visitors to give their fingerprints. I refuse to go to any country which has that policy, and I hope you too will refuse to go to any country that would demand your fingerprints.

Revolution OS ...
by i.r.id10t

Interviews with you comprised a big percentage of the documentary Revolution OS. If it were to be remade today, and the financial aspects ignored, what do you think would be different? If you were producing such a documentary today, what would you focus on?

RMS: I didn't make that movie, so how to make it was not my decision, and how to make one today would not be my decision. But I see some things that would have to be different.

Much attention was paid to business leaders of the open source bubble, which popped after the interviews. The movie ended saying how some companies' stock had gone down. If the movie were made today, those people and their commercial claims would probably not be in it. Also, I would not be found at a "Linux" event; shortly after that time, I concluded it was self-defeating to legitimize events that call the GNU system "Linux".

Other advocates
by SirGarlon

Who, other than yourself and the FSF, do you consider to be effective advocates for software freedom? Please name individuals if you can.

RMS: Eben Moglen and SFLC, Bradley Kuhn and the Conservancy, Frederic Couchet and APRIL, Via Libre, Alexandre Oliva, Octavio Rossell, Quiliro Ordoñez, are the ones that occur to me. I have probably forgotten many.

Open Source and Ethics in research?
by tsquar3d

RMS, I am a PhD student in computing and I have run up against an interesting problem. I consider FOSS to be at the core of my personal philosophy.

RMS: I have to point out that there is no "FOSS" philosophy. The term "FOSS" is a way of referring to two different philosophies: free software is one, and open source is the other.

When you want to refer to both philosophies, I recommend "FLOSS" rather than "FOSS". "FLOSS", or "Free/Libre and Open Source Software", gives the two equal visibility, whereas with "FOSS", "Free and Open Source Software", "Open Source" is more prominent. But you can't possibly agree with both of these philosophies, because they disagree at the deepest level. Your views might be one, or the other, or a mixture, or something else, but it can't be both of them at once.

See here for more explanation of the difference between free software and open source. To me it is not just a pragmatic issue, but an ethical one.

RMS: It sounds like your philosophy may be closer to the free software movement. We consider this an ethical issue, whereas the usual open source philosophy presents it as a practical issue alone.

Therefore, in my research, I use all FOSS software. Now, the problem arises when trying to justify my use of FOSS to colleagues and supervisors.

RMS: Why do you need to try to justify your _own_ use of free software? I'd expect you to decide, and follow your own decision, with no need to justify it to anyone else. Is there something I have misunderstood?

The time you need to argue is to convince other teachers and researchers to move to free software.

I have tried to make the case that it is an ethical issue, and have argued the merits of freedom and academia, however, I invariably am told "that's not an academic argument".

RMS: I suggest you respond "I'm a citizen first, and an academic second, so I care about ethical arguments as well as academic arguments."

This is incredibly frustrating and annoying to me as, in academic research, we are constantly being restricted by "research ethics" (e.g. the ethical treatment of subjects, plagiarism, etc.) and I am more than willing to bet that if a researcher objected to a methodology based on "religious principles" they would be excused.

RMS: I don't understand -- "excused" from what? I am not sure now what issue the argument is about. Are they criticizing you for your decision? If so, you don't need to be "excused", you just need to stand firm and proud. Or are you asking them for permission? There, too, standing firm is best, but it is trickier.

Or are you asking them to change their practices? That is good to try, but there is no guaranteed recipe for persuading others. I suggest telling them about the malicious features commonly found in nonfree software, to bring home to them that this is an important issue. Also, raise the issue publicly so as to build consciousness of the issue and search for allies.

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"Elegant jails" (5, Insightful)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | about 2 years ago | (#42505737)

"Steve Jobs is praised for the elegant styling of the jails he designed"

Well said, RMS.

Re:"Elegant jails" (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506125)

Yeah. Not so much on the rest.

We've all heard the, "don't shower, don't get paid, abolish all patents" manifesto before, and we rejected it. Like it or not, foss has actually flourished since money was added to the equation.

Re:"Elegant jails" (-1, Troll)

Narcocide (102829) | about 2 years ago | (#42506673)

1) No. "FOSS" != Ubuntu, asshole.
2) NO! patents != "money"
3) ... forget it. you're a stupid, greedy troll, and also a coward. The world would be a much better place if you had any balls at all.

Re:"Elegant jails" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506839)

1) You attacked an point I didn't make.
2) That's not what I said. Read the interview.
3) Just call people stupid, greedy, troll, coward, assholes? Well, that sure makes for a convincing argument.

Care to try again?

Re:"Elegant jails" (2, Interesting)

SilenceBE (1439827) | about 2 years ago | (#42506383)

It is ironic because it is people like RMS and people like you who praise him for his views, that are a part of Apple's succes.

The problem is that those jails serves a function. When you enforce very strict rules how somethings behave or look that it is decreases the learnability factor and that users will perceive it as easier to use. Even the "elegance" (look at the aesthetic usability effects) has a role.

You can argue that those "jails" aren't needed but unfortunately a lot of developers (and FOSS developers are even worse) couldn't design a good usable interface when somebody doesn't hold hands. Give them too much freedom and you will get things like The Gimp. It's a catch 22. It is the same reason why I see a big difference in quality between what is available on my android smartphone (where you can do much more what you want) and on the iPad. I'm not convinced that it is because iOS developers are so much more talented.

I don't think Jobs has been praised because of the jails, but because he has the balls to go the other way in a feature driven world. My mother doesn't care about multicore, SD cards, roots or any of that other stuff that would be the demise of Apple as so much predicted here on slashdot. The only thing she wants is a device that is easy to pick up.

I think there will be always a conflict in that regards between the FOSS world and the normal consumer.

Re:"Elegant jails" (-1, Flamebait)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#42506869)

Jobs was an egomaniac ass who made more harm to the industry than anyone else and contributed to basically nothing. Hopefully when Apple finally sinks, as it certainly will, we won't even remember of him anymore.

Re:"Elegant jails" (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506891)

The "my mother doesn't care about X, she just wants Y" argument is so tired and frankly worthless.

There was a time when the typical mother didn't care about freedom of religion, or freedom of speech, or any of dozens of other things that are rather important.
Just because your mother doesn't care about freedom of computing doesn't mean it isn't just as important.

Re:"Elegant jails" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506917)

You fucking geeks are the bottom slime of the intellectual universe. Seriously. You are the dumbest shits walking the earth today. Yes, I check email, the web and stream video on an iPad, therefore I'm some kind of prisoner. Fuck you, fuck Stallman, and fuck every useless piece of shit geek who needs to hyperpoliticize using the fucking Internet. Meanwhile, most of you are inept little twats with delusions of ruling the world. You are not leading the world. You are not freedom fighters. You not anything smart or special. You are human jokes with broken personalities and mental disorders. Get that through your thick skulls.

Wait a minute... (5, Insightful)

w_dragon (1802458) | about 2 years ago | (#42505781)

I object to the requirement for visitors to give their fingerprints. I refuse to go to any country which has that policy, and I hope you too will refuse to go to any country that would demand your fingerprints.

Such as the United States?

Re:Wait a minute... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42505881)

I suppose he doesn't need to give his finger prints because he's a citizen. But I'm not sure about that. However, that's only one of the reasons *I* don't visit USA.

Captcha: Probed

Re:Wait a minute... (4, Informative)

dskoll (99328) | about 2 years ago | (#42505969)

The United States doesn't yet demand my fingerprints because---lucky me---I'm Canadian.

But it does demand fingerprints of most visitors. Someone needs to file a Freedom of Information request to find out how many crimes or attacks this policy has prevented per dollar of implementation cost. Then compare that to the US deficit and use some common sense.

Re:Wait a minute... (5, Interesting)

asylumx (881307) | about 2 years ago | (#42506237)

I'm an US citizen and they asked for my fingerprint when I returned from a vacation in Mexico a couple of years ago.

Re:Wait a minute... (2)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#42506813)

"asked for" I'm pretty sure you meant to say they demanded your fingerprints.

Re:Wait a minute... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506435)

Well that's good. I'd be a little pissed to find out we were giving Canadians a hard time.

But there's a long list of countries where I would expect them to. Sorry, but it's national security, not a kindergarten classroom. I'd like everything to be hugs and handshakes as much as the next guy, but that won't actually work for the U.S. borders.

Re:Wait a minute... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506609)

Could a FOIA request also require the government to release all of the fingerprints it has collected in this way?

Re:Wait a minute... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506319)

You bet!

Re:Wait a minute... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506407)

That's exactly why I no longer travel or holiday in the United States. Grabbing my nut sack or pushing me into a microwave oven is NOT exactly laying out the welcome mat. I spend my money elsewhere.

What about validating fingerprints? (2)

xaxa (988988) | about 2 years ago | (#42506483)

I object to the requirement for visitors to give their fingerprints. I refuse to go to any country which has that policy, and I hope you too will refuse to go to any country that would demand your fingerprints.

Such as the United States?

Yes, they took mine last time I visited the US. I think if you were to visit here (UK) your fingerprints would be validated against those in the biometric passport (or visa), unless you live here.

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/customs-travel/Enteringtheuk/fingerprint-checks-at-border/ [homeoffice.gov.uk]
"Passengers will need to provide their fingerprints each time they travel to the UK with a visa, entry clearance or biometric residence permit. Fingerprints will be held for a maximum of two working days, and will then be destroyed."

Does the US destroy the data?

Re:What about validating fingerprints? (1)

Narcocide (102829) | about 2 years ago | (#42506719)

Not even if they claim to; guaranteed.

Re:Wait a minute... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506607)

I'm not sure about Argentina, but I suspect their reason for requiring fingerprints from American visitors is the same as in Brazil: reciprocity. Brazil only requires fingerprints (and Entry Visas) from citizens of those countries which require the same from Brazilian citizens. I know for sure that Argentina doesn't require fingerprints or visas from Brazilian visitors.

Intellectual Property (1, Interesting)

al3 (1285708) | about 2 years ago | (#42505801)

"I want to encourage clear thinking about copyright law. Separately, I want to encourage clear thinking about patent law." I have also seen (in these days of international trade pacts) counterfeiting lumped in with copyright infringement and patent violations. I am unsure of how the law looks upon this, but to me it seems different enough. If one illegally downloads a song or a movie and violates copyright, they know it is not an official copy, and are getting an exact copy of the original. I think of counterfeit products as in-exact copies being passed off as official ones. I don't want to put a value judgement on these scenarios here, but point out that grouping this too under "Intellectual Property" is a barrier to clearly thinking about these activities and how they should be dealt with.

Toejam, athletes foot, corn plaster ... (-1, Troll)

LizardKing (5245) | about 2 years ago | (#42505809)

Damn. I was hoping he'd answer the question inquiring what it was that he ate from his foot. My money was on a large verruca.

Re:Toejam, athletes foot, corn plaster ... (-1, Troll)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 2 years ago | (#42505993)

I see that he chose to ignore my question about what kind of flea comb he uses.

"Boldrine and Levine." (1, Interesting)

mumblestheclown (569987) | about 2 years ago | (#42505839)

I'm sorry, but as much as I respect RMS for some of his technical achievements, the moment he (or anybody) mentions "Boldrine and Levine" as a serious source of anti-copyright theory, this gives up the fact that they don't know what they are talking about. Boldrine and Levine are frauds, pure and simple. Their theoretical ideas don't hold up to even the most basic scrutiny and their empirical observations tend to be cherrypicked as well. Their entire body of work seems to simply exist for people of a certain mindset to obliquely refer to their work hoping against hope that the listener won't actually do their homework. If you're interested, I encourage you to go and actually read their "against intellctual monopoly." It's utter, and utterly uscientific trash.

Re:"Boldrine and Levine." (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#42506539)

I'm not sure you read RMS's post, he didn't mention Boldrine and Levine at all as a source of anti-copyright theory. Do you know what you are talking about?

Re:"Boldrine and Levine." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506703)

Care to elaborate?

Re:"Boldrine and Levine." (2)

TopherC (412335) | about 2 years ago | (#42506811)

I'm enjoying reading the Washington Post article [washingtonpost.com] , linked from Stallman's reference. I'm no expert in this field, but the arguments seem reasonable. Do you have any specific objections beyond name-calling?

Foot Nibbling (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42505847)

He didn't answer MY question. "What is your favourite seasoning for foot nibbling?" ;-)
Now seriously, I know that many people think he is a zealot and a bit of a prick. But in my book he is one of the seminal individuals in computing. And his zealotry has had a lot to do with it.

I have exchanged emails with him on several occasions and I can only say he was always polite, engaging and frightenly quick to answer. Even if I sent some messages anonymously.

Rants, foot nibbling and all, I will take RMS over 99.9% of any h/activists any time. I think people owe him an eternal debt of gratitude. I certainly do.

Oh boy. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42505863)

There have been successful capitalist countries that didn't have a patent system.

I wish he named them.

I don't get this -

RMS: Those people evidently were more concerned with forms of politeness that with substantive good and evil.

Good and Evil?! To me, evil is some despot murdering people or starving them; not some business guy getting market share.

Perspective people!

His whole perception of "good and evil" with regards to software IP (Oops! He doesn't use that term!) is black and white thinking and doesn't lend itself to progress.

Re:Oh boy. (1)

dskoll (99328) | about 2 years ago | (#42506025)

His whole perception of "good and evil" with regards to software IP (Oops! He doesn't use that term!) is black and white thinking and doesn't lend itself to progress.

Well, OK. "Evil" is a strong term, but I can certainly agree with RMS's stance reworded as "Good and Bad".

Re:Oh boy. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506205)

RMS would take exception to your rewording. Just look at how he characterized Ubuntu
http://features.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3361593&cid=42506037

Called what Ubuntu did with the Amazon search in Unity a "shocking crime", and then called for Ubuntu to punished so harshly in order to make an example of them. The guy only sees the world in black-n-white because he's a fucking zealot.

Re:Oh boy. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506055)

I think the problem is that you define progress using monetary terms and he defines it in terms of freedom. It's a question of priorities.

No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506191)

I think the problem is that you define progress using monetary terms and he defines it in terms of freedom

No.

Labeling the other guy "evil" doesn't promote progress towards anything - let alone software freedom.

Saying to Microsoft or Apple or anyone for that matter, "You guys are EVIL and must change!" does absolutely nothing to get them to work with you. And if Stallman is really serious about software freedom, he will have to get those people on board. But that won't happen because he comes across as a petulant adolescent who demands his way or the highway.

That's not someone who will work with you.

Re:No. (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#42506699)

No it does not, but then again we don't need them to exist at all. There are times you must compromise, but there are times you must stand for what you believe. You don't need to compromise with big corporations. They are a cancer and should be purged.

Re:Oh boy. (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 2 years ago | (#42506165)

To me, evil is some despot murdering people or starving them

What about taking away someone's freedom?

Or do you only consider capital crimes as evil?

Re:Oh boy. (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 years ago | (#42506351)

Theres a huge difference between taking away market choices (ie, by not offering them) and stripping someone of personal liberty; a difference that he apparently does not get.

RMS comes across as an intelligent dude, and I respect that he is consistent, but he seriously lacks perspective and I think his priorities / values are all out of whack. I feel like if he had to compromise with MS for example to keep GNU alive and kicking, he would rather go down with the ship; its noble but its not terribly practical.

Re:Oh boy. (5, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 2 years ago | (#42506477)

Theres a huge difference between taking away market choices

OK, please fine one place ANYWHERE where RMS mentioned "market".

He didn't. It's about user freedom.

feel like if he had to compromise with MS for example to keep GNU alive and kickin...

If you don't stick to your principles then they are little more than fond notions.

Re:Oh boy. (1)

Narcocide (102829) | about 2 years ago | (#42506787)

WOW you don't get what the GPL is really for, do you? The day RMS has to compromise with Microsoft to "keep GNU alive and kicking" is the day you will notice that GNU and RMS have both been dead for decades and you are playing out a sad little self-contained fantasy entirely in your own head.

Re:Oh boy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506193)

To me, evil is some despot murdering people or starving them; not some business guy getting market share.

He didn't say getting market share was evil.
But it's certainly not inherently good, either.

It's possible to get market share through perfectly ethical means.

It's also possible to get market share by murdering or starving people, or bribing public officials, or fraudently adding cheap filler ingredients, or installing spyware, or leveraging a monopoly in another sector, or threatening competiors with frivolous but expensive litigation, or luring customers into elegant jails. You know, evil.

Re:Oh boy. (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#42506593)

I've worked with people who were very excited about finding ways to lock customers into their product, even though they knew this was not best for their customers.

Hurting other people for your own benefit? That's a reasonable definition of evil. Not every person is in a position to despotically murder or starve people.

Re:Oh boy. (5, Funny)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 2 years ago | (#42506633)

Not every person is in a position to despotically murder or starve people.

I like to call this my stretch goal.

Re:Oh boy. (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#42506755)

You call that a stretch goal? You're thinking inside of the box, pal. You need a paradigm change to lift your horizons. Dig deep to find out what you're really made of. Be a man, you can do better than that. Elevate your view. Pay it forward.

Re:Oh boy. (1)

beelsebob (529313) | about 2 years ago | (#42506679)

RMS: Those people evidently were more concerned with forms of politeness that with substantive good and evil.

There's inherent misunderstanding of what politeness is here... Politeness is an encoding of what people consider to be "evil" and how to avoid them.

Countries that take your fingerprints... (2)

Giftmacher (2621375) | about 2 years ago | (#42505871)

Now includes the US. I'm kind of surprised he didn't comment on that (given he's pretty outspoken anyway).

Re:Countries that take your fingerprints... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506255)

Apparently RMS is too principled to travel to a country that takes fingerprints of visitors, but not too principled to live a country that takes them from foreign travelers to its land.

Re:Countries that take your fingerprints... (2)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#42506731)

Well, he is a citizen. He can try to change and fix this in his country (as he does). He can't do a thing about Argentina except refusing to go back, though.

Stallman has some good ideas in there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42505879)

Some people you can't persuade. Accepting that is not a bad thing.

Forms of politeness to ignore evil is a treacherous thing.

Re:Stallman has some good ideas in there (1, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 years ago | (#42506369)

Its not about treachery, its about not trampling over someone's name while friends / family are still grieving his death.

You know, respect and courtesy for your common man and all that.

Seriously, his comments couldnt have waited a month or two?

Re:Stallman has some good ideas in there (4, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 2 years ago | (#42506509)

Seriously, his comments couldnt have waited a month or two?

No, because the press were busy holding him up as some kind of Jesus figure. It was those comments that sorely needed countering at the time they were made.

Re:Stallman has some good ideas in there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506559)

The fact that someone died does not exempt them from criticism. This "too soon" nonsense is just that: nonsense. Just because you or others are offended and believe in some objective notion that something can happen "too soon" doesn't mean it exists.

Re:Stallman has some good ideas in there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506909)

While I agree in principle with that, who was converted by these comments? Either you already know about these things and didn't like the man, or you didn't know or care and that just makes the people saying it sound like assholes. I don't see how anyone could have had no opinion on steve Jobs when he died and understood the reason people like RMS said the things he did objectively. You're either preaching to the choir or your words are falling on deaf ears.

Damn, forgot to ask (0)

rolfwind (528248) | about 2 years ago | (#42505883)

Dear RMS:

Would you rather fight 100 Clippy-sized Penguins or 1 Penguin-sized Clippy?

Fingerprints (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42505907)

"I object to the requirement for visitors to give their fingerprints. I refuse to go to any country which has that policy"

Like the USA?

RMS is an idiot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42505923)

open sores and freetard software have FAILED in the marketplace and have FAILED in the technology realm. ANyone who is anyone in tech uses OS X.

Re:RMS is an idiot (4, Insightful)

slim (1652) | about 2 years ago | (#42506001)

I'll remember that next time I install a closed-source web server.

Oh, wait. I'm never going to install a closed-source web server.

Re:RMS is an idiot (3, Funny)

dskoll (99328) | about 2 years ago | (#42506009)

Huh. I guess the shift key sticks on Macbooks.

Re:RMS is an idiot (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 2 years ago | (#42506557)

open sores and freetard software have FAILED in the marketplace and have FAILED in the technology realm. ANyone who is anyone in tech uses OS X.

While RMS might seem a bit wacky every now and then, we should remember that he speaks for many things that FOSS folk and Slashdot find important. Don't bite the helping hand.

Re:RMS is an idiot (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 2 years ago | (#42506761)

Don't bite the helping hand.

He's not biting the helping hand: don't feed the trolls.

Re:RMS is an idiot (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506757)

OS X is a toy for babies.

Never answered the most pressing question (1, Troll)

MrVictor (872700) | about 2 years ago | (#42505937)

Why does he fancy eating chunks of his own toe cheese in public?

Eldavojohn : your editor's best friend? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42505951)

What's up with all these EldavoJohn questions that get approved for every "ask Slashdot"?! It's not like they are the most interesting questions...

Re:Eldavojohn : your editor's best friend? (2)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#42506065)

What's up with all these EldavoJohn questions that get approved for every "ask Slashdot"?! It's not like they are the most interesting questions...

Nope. It's just one of my favorite aspects of Slashdot. They only ever take one or two of my questions no matter how many are +5 or +4 [slashdot.org] . The editors evidently have no time for editing let alone "friendship."

I'm sorry that you don't find my questions interesting but then again as an Anonymous Coward you're probably only interested in questions surrounding GNAA and Goatse.

I just like to ask questions. Is there something wrong with that? :-)

Cross-eyed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42505965)

When you want to refer to both philosophies, I recommend "FLOSS" rather than "FOSS". "FLOSS", or "Free/Libre and Open Source Software", gives the two equal visibility, whereas with "FOSS", "Free and Open Source Software", "Open Source" is more prominent. But you can't possibly agree with both of these philosophies, because they disagree at the deepest level. Your views might be one, or the other, or a mixture, or something else, but it can't be both of them at once.

I've just gone cross-eyed.

Too bad nobody asked him about Ubuntu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506037)

Cuz, he said a mouthful today...
Re: Reaching out to Amazon for credit? [gmane.org]

It's about Ubuntu. It's about Ubuntu's malicious functionality,
spyware. This is egregious behavior, and it calls for the strongest
response. If it is accepted as normal, others are likely to follow
the same path! We must respond to this as to a shocking crime.

Does Ubuntu have "positive aspect"? Does it have variants that don't
include the spyware? They don't change the conclusion. Positive
aspects can't excuse this crime. If Ubuntu is guilty only in some
variants, that's still guilty.

We must punish Ubuntu so hard that anyone else will think twice before
following the same route
-- and so that Ubuntu will either pull back
or be totally discredited.

Shorter Stallman: Kill Ubuntu!

"Works for use" versus "Art" (3, Interesting)

slim (1652) | about 2 years ago | (#42506067)

For the last 20 years I've been an advocate of free software, but I've also merrily made an exception for gaming systems -- buying a series of consoles and handhelds which are as closed as platforms can be. I wasn't *quite* able to explain why this was OK.

RMS helps:

As for works of opinion and art, I don't think they must be free. I advocate some reforms of copyright for these works but I see no reason to abolish it.

Word processors, printer drivers, operating systems, central heating controllers, sequencers, web servers, should be free - games, music compositions, etc. - not so much.

Re:"Works for use" versus "Art" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506143)

In death we have a name, his name was Robert Paulson!

Re:"Works for use" versus "Art" (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 2 years ago | (#42506203)

Word processors, printer drivers, operating systems, central heating controllers, sequencers, web servers, should be free - games, music compositions, etc. - not so much.

I don't understand - So if I create great software to manage an HVAC system to great efficiency I have to give it away, but if I make Angry Birds I don't? What's the difference?

Re:"Works for use" versus "Art" (1)

cgaertner (1004238) | about 2 years ago | (#42506397)

I image the rational goes something like this:

The quality of the software you use for work affects your livelihood. You should be allowed to hire the programmer of your choice to improve it.

Re:"Works for use" versus "Art" (1)

cgaertner (1004238) | about 2 years ago | (#42506507)

That should have read "I imagine the rationale goes something like this"

(I was hit by a 503/Guru Meditation while previewing and accidentally submitted)

Re:"Works for use" versus "Art" (2)

slim (1652) | about 2 years ago | (#42506497)

I don't understand - So if I create great software to manage an HVAC system to great efficiency I have to give it away, but if I make Angry Birds I don't? What's the difference?

Not quite. You can sell whatever you like, but we don't have to buy it.

Given the choice of your highly efficient non-free HVAC software, and somewhat less efficient free-as-in-speech HVAC software, many of us would prefer to use the free-as-in-speech one. At least we can understand and improve that one.

Whereas, I have no qualms about buying a non-free Angry Birds; I have no intention of every improving it, nor do I anticipate some other hacker doing so.

You've also made the classic false conflation of 'give away' and 'free software'. You can sell free software, and many companies do so.

Re:"Works for use" versus "Art" (2)

xaxa (988988) | about 2 years ago | (#42506525)

Word processors, printer drivers, operating systems, central heating controllers, sequencers, web servers, should be free - games, music compositions, etc. - not so much.

I don't understand - So if I create great software to manage an HVAC system to great efficiency I have to give it away, but if I make Angry Birds I don't? What's the difference?

Having purchased the HVAC system I might want to make changes to it, by changing the software. It's an important thing. (RMS started all this stuff when he couldn't get the source code to a printer driver).

Angry Birds isn't important.

Re:"Works for use" versus "Art" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506543)

I have to give it away

You're reading this story (or at least the comments), and don't know what definition of "free" is being used?
[facepalm]

Re:"Works for use" versus "Art" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506615)

I don't understand - So if I create great software to manage an HVAC system to great efficiency I have to give it away, but if I make Angry Birds I don't? What's the difference?

Art is very subjective, and sharing the artistry of making a video game between loosely connected contributors is going to be problematic, because contributors won't agree on what the game should be. That's probably one reason why there aren't many original free (libre) video games: everyone wants to their own, but nobody wants to make someone else's for free. This doesn't apply to general-purpose programmes, libraries or game engines where adding features just makes the project more useful, and it's much easier to agree about what the project should be.

Re:"Works for use" versus "Art" (1)

N!k0N (883435) | about 2 years ago | (#42506789)

Word processors, printer drivers, operating systems, central heating controllers, sequencers, web servers, should be free - games, music compositions, etc. - not so much.

I don't understand - So if I create great software to manage an HVAC system to great efficiency I have to give it away, but if I make Angry Birds I don't? What's the difference?

I took "Free driver/OS/HVAC Controller" as "not encumbered by something*" (i.e. "free as in speech") rather than "not without cost" (i.e. "free as in beer"). Granted I might have it completely backwards...

* = "you need a HVAC with $specs" doesn't count as an encumbrance.

Re:"Works for use" versus "Art" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506857)

Why do you need to explain it? You presumably liked them and derived pleasure from them. That's all that matters. Someone sold a product you saw value in purchasing. It's not Stallman's fucking business. All this other shit is Ideological Personality Disorder where everything in life must be politicized,. It's a sickness. Fuck Stallman. He's just another pile of shit who thinks his way of life is holy doctrine. Fuck every last person in the world like that because they cause most of the misery.

free work(s)?? (2)

blue_adept (40915) | about 2 years ago | (#42506073)

"Works that are designed for use doing practical jobs must be free; " ... uhmm... and that would be because...??

Re:free work(s)?? (3, Insightful)

cgaertner (1004238) | about 2 years ago | (#42506173)

Because vendor lock-in is a form of monopoly and interferes with free market economy. In general, it's not possible to hire the programmer of your choice to enhance the software you own, and RMS considers this unethical.

Re:free work(s)?? (1)

ToadProphet (1148333) | about 2 years ago | (#42506229)

Levels the playing field. If everyone has access to the same tools, anyone can produce a competitive product - good for innovation, job creation, etc, etc.

Re:free work(s)?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506625)

And what's wrong with there being free and nonfree software and letting the market decide which one wears the crown?

Re:free work(s)?? (1)

slim (1652) | about 2 years ago | (#42506713)

I don't *think* RMS advocates making it illegal to create non-free software (because that in itself would be an infringement of personal freedom).

What he wants is to educate people into recognising what they're choosing when they choose non-free software. Most people sleepwalk into using non-free software. They live with the constraints because they're not aware that the constrains can be taken away. They think of software as something you accept as-is, rather than something malleable that can be adapted to your needs.

(Note - you don't need to be a programmer to modify free software -- you could modify it by proxy, simply by chucking some money at a programmer)

Re:free work(s)?? (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#42506805)

Because the market is not that good in doing so anymore for sometime now. Adam Smith theory does not work anymore save for very few scenarios. There are big corporations with too much power to influence the market and do as their will, regardless of the user's wishes.

Incredible. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506145)

RMS manages to alienate even the people who quite obviously "worshipped" him with his arrogance. I suppose in a way he does promote open source software even though he doesn't intend to, he's so supreme and egotistical that I'm considering using LLVM just in the hopes that it might offend him someday.

LLVM (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506157)

While we're talking about magic, I'd change the license of LLVM also.

Yes, Richard, I bet you would. LLVM proves that much of what you say is a lie, and that the industry can co-operate perfectly well on important tools without coercion via copyleft or any psuedo-religious nonsense about "good" and "evil". Getting that under GPL would be a huge win for the walled garden you are attempting to construct yourself. I can't imagine anything worse for the progress of LLVM, though, than to eliminate most of its contributors by arbitrarily changing its licence to something that's not useful for them.

Waste of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506219)

I see that "how do you consider yourself relevant in the technology world when you refuse to embrace any of it?" didn't make the list.

I'll look forward to the day that Stallman and his crazy ilk are out of the picture so that the free software world can actually have some kind of chance to grow without being tied down to a legal document thousands of words long.

LLVM to GPL? yeah right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506221)

Code that is truly free allows you to do something with it that someone else hates.

quote (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#42506251)

" I do my best, and I persuade some, which is better than giving up and persuading none.:" --RMS

And this is why he is successful.

koolaid indeed (-1, Redundant)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 years ago | (#42506273)

Growing up in the United States, I have been served the koolaid of Capitalism several times and I have been taught that the inherent competition and struggle for money in all aspects of our lives make us the greatest country ever.

- here is a person that doesn't understand anything about the US system.

USA is not "the greatest country ever" because of capitalism. I say that it used to be "greatest country ever" at some point because it was a country that recognised and protected individual freedoms, understood that the collective is not above the individual, that the collective (government) must be authorised only a limited role.

Adhering to the principles of freedom unlike any other nation on the planet, with the federal government being structured around those principles, trying to preserve and protect them (protecting the Constitution being the actual oath that politicians take when they come into the office and of-course it is what they break every single minute of every single day today, which is why USA is falling apart) - that is what made USA "the greatest country ever".

Capitalism is only a consequence of a free society, it's not a prerequisite. Free market competitive capitalism is a consequence of people being free to try and fail and to try again and some will succeed, it's economic Darvinism: survival of the fittest ideas and implementations given free market principles, which are necessarily based on individual freedoms.

That's the actual greatness that USA used to have, nothing else - individual freedoms that were codified as the main principle.

It is no longer true, hasn't been for decades. That's why the economy is really falling apart and the society with it.

Re:koolaid indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506553)

I say that it used to be "greatest country ever" at some point because it was a country that recognised and protected individual freedoms, understood that the collective is not above the individual, that the collective (government) must be authorised only a limited role.

Nonsense. The US government from the beginning did not respect the individual freedoms of blacks (and women and American Indians and other people who basically aren't considered real people at the time). The civil war ended slavery for blacks (on paper) but the US government simply switched to targeting other peoples (Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, Mexicans, etc.), and slavery just came in different forms under different names (i.e Jim Crow laws, income taxes)

Did you know the same President who supposedly ended slavery also introduced personal income taxes?

That's what made the US was the "greatest country ever" - it was the greatest enslaving people while making people THINK they aren't enslaved. They did it through tricks like the above: replacing one form of slavery (of blacks) with another (income taxes)

Re:koolaid indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506747)

Growing up in the United States, I have been served the koolaid of Capitalism several times and I have been taught that the inherent competition and struggle for money in all aspects of our lives make us the greatest country ever.

- here is a person that doesn't understand anything about the US system.

USA is not "the greatest country ever" because of capitalism. I say that it used to be "greatest country ever" at some point because it was a country that recognised and protected individual freedoms, understood that the collective is not above the individual, that the collective (government) must be authorised only a limited role.

Adhering to the principles of freedom unlike any other nation on the planet, with the federal government being structured around those principles, trying to preserve and protect them (protecting the Constitution being the actual oath that politicians take when they come into the office and of-course it is what they break every single minute of every single day today, which is why USA is falling apart) - that is what made USA "the greatest country ever".

Capitalism is only a consequence of a free society, it's not a prerequisite. Free market competitive capitalism is a consequence of people being free to try and fail and to try again and some will succeed, it's economic Darvinism: survival of the fittest ideas and implementations given free market principles, which are necessarily based on individual freedoms.

That's the actual greatness that USA used to have, nothing else - individual freedoms that were codified as the main principle.

It is no longer true, hasn't been for decades. That's why the economy is really falling apart and the society with it.

Firstly, what constitutes the greatest country ever depends heavily on your values and quite frankly, while the USA is indeed a remarkable country, calling it the greatest ever is nationalistic schmaltz. Secondly, most of human evolutionary success has been a case of the pack triumphing over the individual i.e. "survival of the best team players", that's how our ancestors brought down giant creatures like woolly mammoths which predators that were way more powerful than any individual human avoided attacking. It is our social nature that makes us the most successful complex organism in the history of the know universe not our dogged determination to be the most individualistic loners. Some people are better than others at certain things a few are even brilliant but none of them would have achieved anything of note without the support of the rest of the pack. It's the rest of the pack that builds and runs universities, highways, canals, railways, electric distribution networks, sewer systems, communications infrastructure.... not quite as glorious as making tons of money but where would the billionaires of this world be without the ants that run the hive.

FLOSS in research (4, Informative)

PSVMOrnot (885854) | about 2 years ago | (#42506289)

Regarding tsquar3d's question on FLOSS in research; I too have come across this in other fields of academia.

There are a lot of pro's to using FLOSS for research besides the ethical, and if you do need to justify your use of it then it is likely these you will need to rely on. So, off the top of my head, and with a more general not necessarily CS view:

Verifiability: you can trace the source code and know precisely what is being done in your analysis.

Reproducibility: you can distribute the exact version of the software you used for your analysis, to allow others to reproduce your results.

Longevity: proprietary products will stop being supported eventually and as such make it much harder to reproduce results at a later date.

Extensibility: it's quicker to make your awesome new twist on an existing analysis if you can just extend the existing software

Naturally this doesn't apply to all fields, or situations but these are all things I have come across while doing various things with applied machine learning.

On the other hand you will need to consider these points from the other side too. If you switch from the standard proprietary software your department uses then you have to prove that your new software provides the same results, or account for any discrepancies.

Similarly, if any extensions to the proprietary software have been made you may have to reproduce them yourself (and verify them, and so on).

In the end you have to weigh up the pro's and con's and see if the pro's of using FLOSS out weigh the con's, and in your case as a PhD student, also consider whether you actually have enough time to make the switch. (Unless you already have).

Non javascript browser? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506333)

That non javascript browser is going to have a rough ride. Almost any site I visit with any sort of regularity requires some noscript permission giving to work properly. I wish them luck.

LibreWhat (0)

jjohn_h (674302) | about 2 years ago | (#42506417)

>>> it would be useful to have more developers for LibreJS

Richard, fighting for free software is difficult enough. Trying to smuggle "libre" into English is hopeless. In the case of LibreJS, it does not matter. But something like LibreOffice is just hindering success.

Regards

john

Semantics (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506491)

If he spent as much time writing code as he spends soapboxing about the semantics of phrases like "Intellectual Property" and "FOSS", the GNU OS would be done and he wouldn't have to piggyback the GNU name on Linux.

Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506601)

"RMS: If I could magically change one program to GPLv3, it would be Linux. One of the improvements of GPLv3 is that it blocks tivoization, and Linux is very frequently tivoized. (Many Android devices contain a tivoized copy of Linux.) "

Yet, quoted from his website:

"Free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it refers to four kinds of freedom, for the users of the software:

The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this."

Is it just me, or do these two statements seem rather contradictory?

Re:Irony (2)

flimm (1626043) | about 2 years ago | (#42506773)

It's just you. Remember, those four freedoms apply to the user of the software.

Re:Irony (0)

slim (1652) | about 2 years ago | (#42506875)

Guessing you don't know what tivoisation is?

See, when the TiVo was being developed, hard drives weren't fast enough to reliably read a streaming video while simultaneously writing another; at least not with the available Linux filesystems. So the TiVo guys wrote their own super-duper proprietary filesystem optimised for this use case.

But, normally Linux filesystems are part of the kernel, and so any filesystem you write comes under the same GPL licence as the kernel. TiVo didn't want to share their super-duper proprietary filesystem code. So they wrote a little stub filesystem which communicated with a user program, and implemented their proprietary filesystem as a user program. The stub had to be GPL, but the rest did not.

The GPL deal is "I give you this source code so you can adapt it to your needs; all I ask in return is that you do the same with your modifications". TiVo had found a way to weasel around that deal.

TiVo were taking advantage of the freedom the Linux developers had bestowed upon their code, without bestowing the same freedom on what they added.

RMS doesn't want free software to be an enabler for creating non-free software. Actually that's a little fuzzy - of course you can create non-free software with GCC. I suspect there are pragmatic reasons for that -- maybe he realised that it would never get the uptake it needed otherwise.

If you wish GNU were more active, join [our] work (2)

mfwitten (1906728) | about 2 years ago | (#42506639)

Not while you impose that one-sided, open-ended contract you portray as a 'copyright assignment'...

My question for RMS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506683)

Why did you chimpout in Brazil? If information wants to be free, why did you ask people not to publish photos/videos of said chimpout?

Go fuck yourself Stallman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506795)

I use my Apple products as I intended when I bought them. Have Windows and Linux stuff, too. They work well and I've gotten more than my money's worth out of them. If you can't accept that there are different people with different needs and use cases, then fuck off. You are not better than me because you choose a different way. There is nothing better or worse if we are both satisfied by our choices. Your need to belittle and insult people who DARE make a different choice than you is telling, and that attitude is what is behind most of the misery in this world. You're just another intolerant, blinkered, talking head geek with atomic personality disorders feeding the sound and fury of a disintegrating world.

Who picked these questions? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42506819)

This is one of the least interesting things I've ever read.

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