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New Unix Implementation Turns 30

Unknown Lamer posted 1 year,3 days | from the edited-using-emacs dept.

GNU is Not Unix 290

Thirty years ago, rms wrote: "Free Unix! Starting this Thanksgiving I am going to write a complete Unix-compatible software system called GNU (for Gnu's Not Unix), and give it away free to everyone who can use it. Contributions of time, money, programs and equipment are greatly needed." And thus began the revolution. Thirty years after posting the initial announcement, it's hard to find someone who hasn't interacted with Free Software at some point, even if they didn't realize it. To celebrate, the FSF is holding an anniversary celebration and hackathon this weekend at MIT.

To begin with, GNU will be a kernel plus all the utilities needed to write and run C programs: editor, shell, C compiler, linker, assembler, and a few other things. After this we will add a text formatter, a YACC, an Empire game, a spreadsheet, and hundreds of other things. We hope to supply, eventually, everything useful that normally comes with a Unix system, and anything else useful, including on-line and hardcopy documentation.

GNU will be able to run Unix programs, but will not be identical to Unix. We will make all improvements that are convenient, based on our experience with other operating systems. In particular, we plan to have longer filenames, file version numbers, a crashproof file system, filename completion perhaps, terminal-independent display support, and eventually a Lisp-based window system through which several Lisp programs and ordinary Unix programs can share a screen. Both C and Lisp will be available as system programming languages. We will have network software based on MIT's chaosnet protocol, far superior to UUCP. We may also have something compatible with UUCP.

Who Am I?

I am Richard Stallman, inventor of the original much-imitated EMACS editor, now at the Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT. I have worked extensively on compilers, editors, debuggers, command interpreters, the Incompatible Timesharing System and the Lisp Machine operating system. I pioneered terminal-independent display support in ITS. In addition I have implemented one crashproof file system and two window systems for Lisp machines.

Why I Must Write GNU

I consider that the golden rule requires that if I like a program I must share it with other people who like it. I cannot in good conscience sign a nondisclosure agreement or a software license agreement.

So that I can continue to use computers without violating my principles, I have decided to put together a sufficient body of free software so that I will be able to get along without any software that is not free.

How You Can Contribute

I am asking computer manufacturers for donations of machines and money. I'm asking individuals for donations of programs and work.

One computer manufacturer has already offered to provide a machine. But we could use more. One consequence you can expect if you donate machines is that GNU will run on them at an early date. The machine had better be able to operate in a residential area, and not require sophisticated cooling or power.

Individual programmers can contribute by writing a compatible duplicate of some Unix utility and giving it to me. For most projects, such part-time distributed work would be very hard to coordinate; the independently-written parts would not work together. But for the particular task of replacing Unix, this problem is absent. Most interface specifications are fixed by Unix compatibility. If each contribution works with the rest of Unix, it will probably work with the rest of GNU.

If I get donations of money, I may be able to hire a few people full or part time. The salary won't be high, but I'm looking for people for whom knowing they are helping humanity is as important as money. I view this as a way of enabling dedicated people to devote their full energies to working on GNU by sparing them the need to make a living in another way.

For more information, contact me.
Arpanet mail:

  • RMS@MIT-MC.ARPA

Usenet:

  • ...!mit-eddie!RMS@OZ
  • ...!mit-vax!RMS@OZ

cancel ×

290 comments

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Megalomanic (5, Interesting)

CurryCamel (2265886) | 1 year,3 days | (#44972837)

"Ima gonna write a new unix". That's One Huge Task. Weird thing is - he pulled it off. Hats off to RMS. And thanks.

Re:Megalomanic (3, Funny)

Squiddie (1942230) | 1 year,3 days | (#44972891)

That's the power of autism.

Re:Megalomanic (3, Funny)

cyborg_zx (893396) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973295)

Don't need money, don't need fame,
Don't need no credit card to ride this train,
It's strong and it's sudden, it can be cruel sometimes,
But it might just change your life,
That's the power of Austim.

Re:Megalomanic (5, Funny)

Stormbringer (3643) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973621)

Are you saying he should have released it under an Autistic License?

Re:Megalomanic (0)

unixisc (2429386) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973985)

GPAL - GNU Public Autistic License

Re:Megalomanic (3, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973003)

"Ima gonna write a new unix". That's One Huge Task.

It was a much smaller task at the time.

It's worth remembering that Unix got its start as more or less as a fun project - there wasn't a plan to conquer the world.

Re:Megalomanic (5, Informative)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973343)

"It's worth remembering that Unix got its start as more or less as a fun project - there wasn't a plan to conquer the world."

I'm not sure if you actually believe that or it is more trolling. In case you really believe it, feel free to stand corrected [bell-labs.com] . Unix was a very serious project funded by a monopoly (at the time) called AT&T - specifically AT&T's Bell Labs, and the C language [wikipedia.org] was literally invented by Kerhnigan and Ritchie just so they could develop it. The goal was certainly not to have fun. You don't write a proposal and ask a company like AT&T to spend millions to have fun.

Furthermore, 30 years ago was 1983, meaning that Unix had been around for about 13 years already, and had already forked into BSD Unix and AT&T System V. It was already quite huge by that time.

Re:Megalomanic (5, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973929)

"It's worth remembering that Unix got its start as more or less as a fun project - there wasn't a plan to conquer the world."

I'm not sure if you actually believe that or it is more trolling. In case you really believe it, feel free to stand corrected [bell-labs.com]

Unix was a very serious project funded by a monopoly (at the time) called AT&T - specifically AT&T's Bell Labs, and the C language [wikipedia.org] was literally invented by Kerhnigan and Ritchie just so they could develop it. The goal was certainly not to have fun.

You didn't get much right in your reply, in fact much of it is backwards. Allow me to correct you. They originally requested a computer to write an operating system, but that was denied. They then bootlegged a computer, wrote a game, and hacked on an operating system without it being an official project, and eventually got buy-in to buy a computer to build a text processing system, not an operating system. Unix was already in existence by the time they were allowed to purchase a computer for the text processing system. (I will also note that as a monopoly they were under very tight restrictions about what they could do with Unix in terms of sales.) From the above paper:

Throughout 1969 we (mainly Ossanna, Thompson, Ritchie) lobbied intensively for the purchase of a medium-scale machine for which we promised to write an operating system; the machines we suggested were the DEC PDP-10 and the SDS (later Xerox) Sigma 7. The effort was frustrating, because our proposals were never clearly and finally turned down, but yet were certainly never accepted. Several times it seemed we were very near success. The final blow to this effort came when we presented an exquisitely complicated proposal, designed to minimize financial outlay, that involved some outright purchase, some third-party lease, and a plan to turn in a DEC KA-10 processor on the soon-to-be-announced and more capable KI-10. The proposal was rejected, and rumor soon had it that W. O. Baker (then vice-president of Research) had reacted to it with the comment `Bell Laboratories just doesn't do business this way!' ....

Also during 1969, Thompson developed the game of `Space Travel.' First written on Multics, then transliterated into Fortran for GECOS (the operating system for the GE, later Honeywell, 635), it was nothing less than a simulation of the movement of the major bodies of the Solar System, with the player guiding a ship here and there, observing the scenery, and attempting to land on the various planets and moons. The GECOS version was unsatisfactory in two important respects: first, the display of the state of the game was jerky and hard to control because one had to type commands at it, and second, a game cost about $75 for CPU time on the big computer. It did not take long, therefore, for Thompson to find a little-used PDP-7 computer with an excellent display processor; the whole system was used as a Graphic-II terminal. He and I rewrote Space Travel to run on this machine. The undertaking was more ambitious than it might seem; because we disdained all existing software, we had to write a floating-point arithmetic package, the pointwise specification of the graphic characters for the display, and a debugging subsystem that continuously displayed the contents of typed-in locations in a corner of the screen. All this was written in assembly language for a cross-assembler that ran under GECOS and produced paper tapes to be carried to the PDP-7. ...

Space Travel, though it made a very attractive game, served mainly as an introduction to the clumsy technology of preparing programs for the PDP-7. Soon Thompson began implementing the paper file system (perhaps `chalk file system' would be more accurate) that had been designed earlier. A file system without a way to exercise it is a sterile proposition, so he proceeded to flesh it out with the other requirements for a working operating system, in particular the notion of processes. Then came a small set of user-level utilities: the means to copy, print, delete, and edit files, and of course a simple command interpreter (shell). Up to this time all the programs were written using GECOS and files were transferred to the PDP-7 on paper tape; but once an assembler was completed the system was able to support itself. Although it was not until well into 1970 that Brian Kernighan suggested the name `Unix,' in a somewhat treacherous pun on `Multics,' the operating system we know today was born. ....

By the beginning of 1970, PDP-7 Unix was a going concern. ... In early 1970 we proposed acquisition of a PDP-11, which had just been introduced by Digital. In some sense, this proposal was merely the latest in the series of attempts that had been made throughout the preceding year. It differed in two important ways. First, the amount of money (about $65,000) was an order of magnitude less than what we had previously asked; second, the charter sought was not merely to write some (unspecified) operating system, but instead to create a system specifically designed for editing and formatting text, what might today be called a `word-processing system.' ... Before long, however, funds were obtained through the efforts of L. E. McMahon and an order for a PDP-11 was placed in May. .... ... Every program for the original PDP-7 Unix system was written in assembly language, and bare assembly language it was—for example, there were no macros. Moreover, there was no loader or link-editor, so every program had to be complete in itself.

--------

Unix was originally written in Assembly language, not in the C language. The C programming language came well after Unix was written. The B language, influenced by BCPL, was developed on Unix written in assembly language, and eventually the C language was derived from B.

As to 1983, commercial Unix releases and clones shipping from multiple vendors were still often based on Unix Version 6 & 7. Nothing says that an independently developed Unix clone had to be based on any particular version. Porting Unix 6 & 7 to a new platform was still doable by one person in a reasonable period of time.

Re:Megalomanic (0)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973975)

I figured you were just trolling as usual. Everything I wrote came directly from sources.

"You didn't get much right in your reply"

The funny thing is, you just directly contradicted the very thing you so stupidly wrote originally in your effort to try to make me look bad. Evidently you think nobody is smart enough to figure out what a moron you really are.

Re:Megalomanic (1, Funny)

cold fjord (826450) | 1 year,3 days | (#44974043)

Everything I quoted is directly from the sources. Go read it, you'll be better for it. You didn't get much of that right, at all.

I don't really have to do much of anything to make you look bad to anyone knowledgeable, but your snark is very appealing to the uninformed.

Re:Megalomanic (0)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | 1 year,3 days | (#44974131)

"It's worth remembering that Unix got its start as more or less as a fun project "

Go ahead and link to the source for your original claim :-)

Re:Megalomanic (1)

interval1066 (668936) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973615)

It's worth remembering that Unix got its start as more or less as a fun project...

You mean GNU, not "unix", right? "Unix" began as one man's (Dennis M Ritchie) cry in the dark about how stupid his school's operating system (Multic's) was.

Re:Megalomanic (0)

cold fjord (826450) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973941)

Your history is a bit off.

Re:Megalomanic (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44973035)

Weird thing is - he pulled it off.

Please tell me what UNIX re-implementation he pulled off. Hurd? That's been a non-starter for years. Linux? That's not UNIX and also not written by RMS.

This sounds to me like celebrating 30 years of preaching and failure.

Re:Megalomanic (5, Informative)

DeKO (671377) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973091)

Good troll, sir. Try removing everything except /boot, see how much your computer can do.

Re:Megalomanic (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44973317)

That still doesn't change the fact that RMS did not re-implement UNIX as the summary suggests. UNIX user-space utilities are useful, yes, but are not UNIX in themselves.

Re:Megalomanic (-1, Flamebait)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973387)

I'm a Linux advocate and totally appreciate GNU and the tools they have literally given us all. That being said, don't make ridiculous statements. To start with, you are confusing Linux and Unix. Furthermore, without the Hurd it is a ridiculous statement to say the RMS "pulled it off". He has done a lot for Open Source (and a lot against it, unfortunately), but he never completed The Hurd, which he explicitly mentions in the post. The GP was dead on correct, and your response reflects a need to learn quite a great deal.

Re:Megalomanic (5, Interesting)

Skiron (735617) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973545)

AS I said on here before - if it wasn't for GCC (or the Gnu C compiler as it was then) written by RMS, then Linus couldn't have even started doing his stuff with linux.

RMS is the seed of *all* the free open source code/projects available now (and in the future). He is GOD and well done to him and his principles.

Re:Megalomanic (2)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973785)

I have also pointed out that GCC was was quintessential to the Open Source movement. That is completely besides the point, since the claim was that he succeeded in implementing a complete OS called GNU. He is definitely not GOD by any stretch of the imagination, and he definitely did not succeed in his original goal.

Re: Megalomanic (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44974077)

It's true people! There were no C compilers before gcc -- sure, the C language was created back in the earliest days of UNIX, but there was no compiler -- if you wanted your C code compiled, you had to mail it to Dennis Ritchie and, when he got around to it, he'd compile it by hand (with pencil, paper, and an opcodes list) then send you a tape with the resulting object code -- by the time Linus was ready to start his kernel, Ritchie was so swamped there'd be no way to get a project of that magnitude compiled! (Good thing Andrew Tanenbaum got in early having Ritchie compile the first version of ACK, so he had his own compiler for MINIX, huh?) There definitely wasn't any compiler, and particularly not a portable C compiler, being shipped with either AT&T or Berkeley UNIX.

TL;DR: shut up, you miserable mushbrain. RMS's worst enemy isn't the people who (whether out of ignorance, malice, or an honest disagreement of the relative importance of kernel and userland) refuse to acknowledge the presence of some GNU in GNU/Linux, but ignorant louts like you loudly giving him too much credit, which feeds the "arrogant jackass who demands credit for everything whether he did it or not" meme.

Re:Megalomanic (1)

Tyler Durden (136036) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973365)

Linux is just as much of a Unix kernel as he intended to build.

But really, for any reasonable definition of the term, Linux is essentially a Unix kernel.

Re:Megalomanic (1)

gcore (748374) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973435)

Didn't RMS want GNU to have a microkernel?

"any reasonable definition" (1)

tlambert (566799) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973751)

Linux is just as much of a Unix kernel as he intended to build.

But really, for any reasonable definition of the term, Linux is essentially a Unix kernel.

"any reasonable definition" - you mean like passing the VSX, VSC, VRTS test suites with no errors so that they could legally used the UNIX trademark?

Re: Megalomanic (5, Insightful)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973433)

You think Linux would have come this soon without GNU? Do you think early versions of Linux could have done without GanU? Do you really think one guy will write a FULL os on his own? All programs, all docs, distro etc...
Any huge achievement is a term work. Some members will be better. Some will get more exposure. Some will be awarded more. But in the end a team or community does it together.
I take my hat off to rms and to all contributors. Without you guys I'd probably be still at the mercy of businesses with undisclosed agendas.

Re:Megalomanic (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44973857)

The only thing they didn't pull off was Hurd... Because it turns out writing a kernel is hard. They pulled off essentially everything else.

Re:Megalomanic (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44973211)

He didn't. Not to the extend that Linus did.

Re:Megalomanic (2, Informative)

poet (8021) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973265)

No. He didn't. Was he a part of it? Absolutely but GNU has never produced a usable unix or unix like operating system and it certainly wasn't RMS it was hundreds of thousands of free software and open source developers.

Ask yourself, "What software projects does RMS devote his time too?". To my knowledge, not many if any. He is a great advocate and he has done many things for our community but he did not complete what he set out to do.

Re:Megalomanic (1)

jbolden (176878) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973331)

At this point none. Originally Emacs. Which was very important to the 1980s and early 1990s free software movement. I think he was heavily involved with the early movements for GCC like the debugger and its ability to handle multiple languages especially COBOL.

Re:Megalomanic (5, Insightful)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973383)

Ask yourself, "What software projects does RMS devote his time too?". To my knowledge, not many if any. He is a great advocate and he has done many things for our community but he did not complete what he set out to do.

Although to my understanding that's true today, he was largely responsible for several important projects, including emacs and gcc. The GNU project never achieved all of its goals, but his software contributions are integral to the free Unix(-like) operating systems of today.

Re:Megalomanic (0)

BitZtream (692029) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973269)

No, he didn't.

He took years to write emacs and help from others.

Oh, you didn't mean emacs... you meant hurd ... again, he didn't do it alone and I'd argue he didn't pull it off any better than my half assed OS I cobbled together during my more bored years, which also depends on the work of others to be usable.

30 years on (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44972843)

Where is that kernel, eh?

Re:30 years on (5, Funny)

Stormwatch (703920) | 1 year,3 days | (#44972875)

That bit's been hard to get right, but some Finnish guy cobbled up something you can use while they finish this.

Re:30 years on (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973015)

Bah! It'll never work I tells you. Nobody will use what that Finnish has built. :)

Re:30 years on (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973485)

Oh, It'll probably work somewhat, but it's a far fetch from the microkernel it should be. ;)

Re:30 years on (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44973991)

Go away, Tanenbaum!

Re:30 years on (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44972921)

HURD ain't done 'til Linux won't run!

Re:30 years on (3, Informative)

KiloByte (825081) | 1 year,3 days | (#44972997)

HURD ain't done 'til Linux won't run!

As Hurd can't run on any semi-modern machine anymore (lacking small details like SATA or USB support), you actually need Linux (/Windows/OSX/Solaris) to host a VM...

Re:30 years on (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973093)

"anymore"?

Re:30 years on (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973447)

Right - the machines Hurd will run on are not "semi-modern" anymore.

Re:30 years on (2)

TheloniousCoward (2941425) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973095)

These things take time. But when it *does* show up, I hope it will be something professional like Linux.

And nothing of value was gained (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44972865)

That is all.

Re:And nothing of value was gained (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44973121)

Actually, GNU does a pretty good job of being better than POSIX. For instance, GNU find -print0 | xargs -0

So at least that much value was gained.

Re:And nothing of value was gained (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973235)

Back when I was using Solaris, standard procedure (and not just for me) was to install all the GNU utilities and put them in the path ahead of the Sun stuff.

Re:And nothing of value was gained (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44973843)

And that when solaris comes with AT&T and BSD userland! You wuss, you.

Me, I happen to prefer a *BSD and occasionally stumble upon some k1dd13's cr4p c0d3 that assumes all the world is his 1337n0x and won't run anywhere else -- sometimes not even on fellow 1337n0x machines. So no, it's not automatic panacea.

In fact, currently using a dual-headed busybox-shelled machine, and the combination of having to do that because otherwise flash won't run (and I happen to need it, worse luck), the trouble with "modern websites" vs. the browser with that flash support ("HTML5" isn't even out yet but is busily re-kindling widespread browser incompatability all over again), and the years-old-very-noticeable-yet-still-not-fixed keyboard and mouse bugs under Xorg xinerama, simply reinforce that all software sucks. Given the differences in resources thrown at the various projects, though, the most noticeable problems are also the least excusable.

But back to this here thing. In sheer zeal, arrogant assumption, and taking over the world-ness, the luser community is actually doing its level best to be as bad as their sworn enemy, you know, that really big software company with a streak for being deliberately incompatible with anyone else, even if they claim otherwise. Maybe it's because they're really gnu and linux. Twice the fun, eh.

Re:And nothing of value was gained (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44973391)

Yeah, that GNU/Linux thing really hasn't gone anywhere. Oh, wait...

Raise a glass to you, RMS (5, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | 1 year,3 days | (#44972895)

I was actually planning on installing Debian tonight on a spare box, completely unaware of this anniversary. Now I pretty much have to do it.

Re:Raise a glass to you, RMS (2)

KiloByte (825081) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973023)

So here's [debian.org] a port for you to run.

Re:Raise a glass to you, RMS (5, Insightful)

spike_gran (219938) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973135)

He may not have accomplished everything he set out to do, but, he certainly accomplished a great deal.

And while RMS and GNU alone didn't succeed at creating a free software OS and development stack, they got the ball rolling, and it exists now.

Give it away free to everyone who can use it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44973667)

So did that means he charged for people who couldn't use it?

Where can I get this? (4, Funny)

moonwatcher2001 (2710261) | 1 year,3 days | (#44972897)

> Starting this Thanksgiving I am going to write a complete Unix-compatible software system called GNU (for Gnu's Not Unix), and give it away free to everyone who can use it.
and
>To begin with, GNU will be a kernel plus all the utilities needed to write and run C programs: editor, shell, C compiler, linker, assembler, and a few other things

He started working on it 30 years ago so it must be available somewhere. Where can I get the GNU kernel? What hardware does it run on?

Re:Where can I get this? Here! (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44972949)

http://www.debian.org/ports/hurd/

Re:Where can I get this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44972979)

http://ftp.debian-ports.org/debian-cd/hurd-i386/current/

Re:Where can I get this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44972993)

It's called the Hurd.

Re:Where can I get this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44972995)

There are actually 2 gnu kernels at the moment. https://gnu.org/software/linux-libre/ is a version of linux purged of all non-free "blobs" which supports much the same hardware as linux does aside from more limited wifi, and https://gnu.org/software/hurd is the more idealistic microkernel which you'll just want to run in a vm.

Re:Where can I get this? (1)

armanox (826486) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973079)

Nope still one. Linux kernel IS NOT GNU, even if it is 'blessed' by them.

Re:Where can I get this? (3, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973111)

The GNU kernel - for people who think Linux is just too damn user friendly!

Re:Where can I get this? (1)

TheloniousCoward (2941425) | 1 year,3 days | (#44972999)

"One consequence you can expect if you donate machines is that GNU will run on them at an early date." So, exactly how many PDP-11's have *you* donated?...

Re:Where can I get this? (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973065)

"One consequence you can expect if you donate machines is that GNU will run on them at an early date." So, exactly how many PDP-11's have *you* donated?...

Every single one that I owned... I was equally generous with all of my VAXen and other minicomputers.

Re:Where can I get this? (4, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973137)

"One consequence you can expect if you donate machines is that GNU will run on them at an early date." So, exactly how many PDP-11's have *you* donated?...

None. GCC already supported compiling for the PDP-11 [gnu.org] . It has since March, 2002 according to the patch notes for GCC. Which, let's be honest -- getting hardware support into the compiler a mere 5 years after the line was discontinued is remarkably fast for the GNU project.

I'm still waiting for the day they include a warning when you derp a sizeof(x) into your code, when you really wanted a sizeof(*x) , something Visual Studio will happily warn me about when compiling something. Of course, gcc does what the code tells it to and reports the bytelength of a pointer variable (how useful!) without complaint, whereas Visual Studio will happily explode my system, then run screaming out of the hole with toilet paper stuck to its foot yelling "Why did you use that win32 call when, although we didn't bother putting it in the documentation, it was depreciated 8 years ago and replaced with seven other similar-sounding functions, equally badly documented and not backwards-compatable!" ...

So credit where credit is due: GCC will let you shoot your own foot without complaint, but it's a bit slow on the feature list. Whereas the big-time Windows compiler... it's got all the latest features, warnings, etc., but when you merely go for shooting your own foot, it instead blows your whole leg off, then drops a bomb on your head while muttering something about upgrading to the latest .NET and dll versions...

I can get Free Food! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44972935)

All I have to do is sit trough preaching and whining and Bible thumping to get it (or space out and ignore them).

I can get Free email!

All I have to do is watch ads (or block them)

And frankly, there are a lot of "free" stuff out there, but I'm not willing to put up with the BS to get it.

Re:I can get Free Food! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44973319)

Yeah, clicking a link sure is hard.

Today (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | 1 year,3 days | (#44972983)

"Free Unix! Starting this Thanksgiving I am going to write a complete Unix-compatible software system called GNU (for Gnu's Not Unix), and give it away free to everyone who can use it. Contributions of time, money, programs and equipment are greatly needed."

If someone said that today, he'd be promptly sued by SCO, dragged into dark cavernous courtrooms filled with patent trolls, accused by the government of being a terrorist, and laughed at by the mainstream community of UNIX-like OS users, such as the ones reading this post; Absent Linux, we'd all be warring over which was better -- Macintosh or Windows. Both have UNIX buried in their guts.

My point is that RMS' achievement, organizing people into a cohesive political movement loosely termed 'open source', probably couldn't happen today. It is therefore particularly important that he did so thirty years ago, before the global international business and government communities were aware of the potential impact of his activities.

There are fewer and fewer like him every year -- old schoolers who grew up with the fervent belief that the internet, computers, all this digital technology, could empower, enlighten, and educate millions. And then set about proving just that. These days... the majority of people are content to watch Youtube videos of cats, and try not to see any potential beyond immediate gratification and entertainment. It's sad that the hacker ethic has become in such short supply, even within this community. Back then, nobody would think any less of you for going off on your own to reinvent the wheel... your peers thought, at worst, that it might be good practice for you. Today, it's a face full of rage and religious views if you even suggest things may not be as good as they could be.

Re:Today (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44973055)

My point is that RMS' achievement, organizing people into a cohesive political movement loosely termed 'open source', probably couldn't happen today.

RMS has nothing to do with "open source". Sad that to this day trolls and idiots keep intentionally attributing it to him, in order to misinform. Do everyone a favor and shut the fuck up.

And of course, keep your opinion about masses watching cat videos on Youtube to yourself, that has absolutely nothing to do with the topic.

Re:Today (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973215)

RMS has nothing to do with "open source". Sad that to this day trolls and idiots keep intentionally attributing it to him, in order to misinform. Do everyone a favor and shut the fuck up.

He was the principle author of the GNU GPL [gnu.org] , the first real open source license. The entire open source movement is based on licensing; That's how open source is defined -- by licensing terms. And RMS was the first to come up with a license that captured this essential quality and formalized it. Richard Stallman wants to use the term "free software" instead of "open source", but that doesn't make me a troll for using a different term for it than he does.

A pity so many Anonymous Cowards love replying to me with a casual "STFU" and claim I know nothing, it's off topic, etc., and people believe them. Further proof of the sad, sad state slashdot has descended into... that an informed and long-time contributor to the community gets mod-bombed while the trolls get up-modded.

Re:Today (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44973543)

Do you even know where the term "Open Source" comes from? It was invented in the late 90s by ESR and his friends.

RMS never supported the Open Source movement, and never will. He created the term "Free Software", and it has a particular meaning, namely, the "freedom" part. Open Source is just corporate bullshitting with no philosophy, where ESR spreads the fallacy that Open Source is "better" and "cheaper" because he says so. Of course Free Software fits into the OSI definition, as OSI is just taking FS and ripping out any requirements for freedom.

Calling the GPL "the first real open source license" shows how little you actually know. Good try at insinuating OS predates FS.

Re:Today (2, Informative)

jedidiah (1196) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973225)

> RMS has nothing to do with "open source".

"open source" is primarily just corporate friendly branding for Free Software. It's primarily a marketing job to accentuate the pragmatic benefits of Free Software over the political motivations RMS might tend to focus on.

Re:Today (1, Flamebait)

BitZtream (692029) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973325)

"open source" is primarily just corporate friendly branding for Free Software

No, not even a little fucking bit.

The corporate version of 'open' is ENTIRELY different than 'Free Software' be pretty much any definition you can find. Stallman and cult of GNU like to warp open source into something it isn't. They try to co-opt the term into meaning something it isn't and then bitch about people not doing it their way.

Open source means you can see the source. Period. It does NOT mean you can do anything with the source. It does not mean the software is 'free', in fact it could be under the most restrictive license terms on the planet and still be open source. For the right fee, Windows is open source. And yes, open source has not a god damn thing to do with what it takes to gain access to the source, such as paying for it.

Open in the real world doesn't have anything at all to do with Stallman, GNU or the FSFs view of copyleft.

H264 is open for example, as are the mpeg standards, my every definition that matters to a company trying to get something done, they are open standards. According to Stallman and the FSF they are evil bastards that need to die a horrible death because OMG NOT REQUIRES LICENSE FEES.

Do not taint open source by even associating it with 'free' software, it is no such thing.

Re:Today (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44973597)

Stallman and cult of GNU like to warp open source into something it isn't. They try to co-opt the term into meaning something it isn't and then bitch about people not doing it their way.

Really? Are you seriously trying to insinuate that the FSF took the idea from OSI and changed it to fit their own interests? How does the world look where you live, with time going backwards and all? Is it painful to go to the bathroom?

Re:Today (2)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44973059)

>Absent Linux, we'd all be warring over which was better -- Macintosh or Windows.

Really? What about the BSDs? Since I'm using those, I think they'd be in the argument for lots of folks who like Unix and open source software.

Re:Today (4, Informative)

mark-t (151149) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973179)

Absent Linux, there'd still be FreeBSD.

Re:Today (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973263)

And OpenBSD, and NetBSD, and what other flavors do they have this week?

Re:Today (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44973977)

RMS has some controversy, but I do remember in the early 1990s what was out there, UNIX-wise.

You had XENIX, ULTRIX, IRIX, A/UX, AIX PS/2, AIX/370, Dell UNIX, SunOS, and many other flavors. Almost none came with source, and if they did (Mt. Xinu was the only BSD that did), you had to get a special license for SVR4 programs.

If you wanted header files and libraries, pay up. C compiler? Better have that cash for the flexlm key. C++? Pony up a couple grand.

Had it not been for RMS and gcc, access to a C compiler would have been the bottleneck for most world software development.

Before 1991 and Jolitz and Linus inventions, if you were a college student and wanted to see a "#" prompt on a computer, good luck unless your blackhat skillz were good. Even just getting a "$" prompt (or a "%" prompt if you were a novice) took some doing as one had to be at a big university.

After 386BSD (not to be confused with Mt Xinu BSD-386) and Linux, a lot changed. Arguably, this allowed hardware and software to be less of what one had to concern themselves with, versus what application was being run. Had it not been for gcc, neither Linux, nor 386BSD would have been possible, because of EULA and copyright restrictions.

It is scary how much times have changed. Today, one did decide to go off and write a new OS, one might find themselves on the wrong side of the law because it didn't have a hardware-enforced DRM stack, or that "terrorists" might be able to use it. The irony of it all... In the mid 1990s, I remember a lot of improvements done on the SMP part of the Linux kernel by the the Iran University of Science and Technology. This wasn't even something that one would worry about, as back then, if you were on the Net, there was some respect [1]. These days, just the mention of that would get people screaming about terrorism and backdoors.

Of course, there was encouragement, especially if one had a reasonable effort going and mentioned it on USENET groups. You did have the occasional detractor, but generally writing something, anything was encouraged. Now, with the shills and trolls out there, one almost has to write something in a vacuum, release it, and expect consequences for the action like it was a crime.

[1]: At the time the buffoons were on the warez BBS systems bragging about their new US Robotics HST modems... well, until September came rolling around each year, and the wave of college freshmen came in only to get housebroken or access yanked by the sysadmins.

HEY (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44973019)

DUDE!

Let's Get Him Laid! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44973049)

The man deserves a good shag! I'm willing to contribute, how about you?

Captcha reads: nobleman

I'm not sure I could go that far, but I am flattered.

Re:Let's Get Him Laid! (3, Funny)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | 1 year,3 days | (#44974155)

I admire your brave offer to have sex with RMS, and wish you the best of luck. Suggest you bring a nose clip and blindfold. Don't think anyone will be joining you though, I'm sure not.

More than 30 years of free software (1)

moonwatcher2001 (2710261) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973081)

I had the source code to Adventure The Colossal Cave in 1981. There were already several versions floating around.

Re:More than 30 years of free software (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44973159)

Well, duh. RMS didn't invent free software, and he's never claimed that he did.
But GNU and the GPL brought it back to prominence in an era when it was seriously threatened.

Re:More than 30 years of free software (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44973467)

But most of the open source software back then didn't have a bunch of goose stepping fanboys to claim they're responsible for a "revolution." That's the difference!

Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44973131)

New Unix Implementation Turns 30

It's not very new then, is it?
More like middle age now.

Re:Hmm... (1)

mark-t (151149) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973377)

I think it's supposed to be a play on words. GNU --> New....

?

Maybe?

Contrary to popular belief (2, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973245)

Stallman did not invent open source, nor start 'the revolution'. It was there before him. It wasn't his idea. While he has contributed much to open source, he has also personally harmed it more than just about anyone I can think of. His religion may appear great at first glance, but it is, just like pretty much every religion, warped into his personal agenda and crusade against everyone who doesn't agree with him in entirety.

His behavior in public forums and disrespect for others around him is a good example of you should ignore him.

I suspect, the same sort of vigor will be unleashed against this comment. -5 disagree after all.

Re:Contrary to popular belief (5, Insightful)

StormReaver (59959) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973673)

His behavior in public forums and disrespect for others around him is a good example of [why] you should ignore him.

His consistent accuracy in predicting the consequences of disregarding Freedom is a great example of why you should listen to him.

Re:Contrary to popular belief (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44974083)

So how does your own toe jam taste?

Re:Contrary to popular belief (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44974079)

Stallman did not invent open source, nor start 'the revolution'. It was there before him. It wasn't his idea. While he has contributed much to open source, he has also personally harmed it more than just about anyone I can think of. His religion may appear great at first glance, but it is, just like pretty much every religion, warped into his personal agenda and crusade against everyone who doesn't agree with him in entirety.

If you actually knew anything about Stallman you would know that he absolutely hates the term "open source". In fact, the term "open source" was coined as an alternative to "free software" because of people like you who found his Free Software movement too 'idealogical' and 'religious'. It was explicitly designed to appeal to suits who wanted to get involved with Linux but were put off by the rhetoric of freedom, and wanted something that sounded more compatible with absurd share option packages in the stock-market bubble of the late 1990's.

His behavior in public forums and disrespect for others around him is a good example of you should ignore him.

Yes, he comes across as a nut-case, and maybe he is. But a nut-case who accomplishes things is more significant than a regular guy who has all the right opinions but who actually does nothing.

I suspect, the same sort of vigor will be unleashed against this comment. -5 disagree after all.

Ah yes, the famous "Haters' gonna hate" pre-emptive strike to encourage people with mod points to spend them on you so they can prove to themselves how open-minded they are.

I seriously forgot I was at work :( (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44973259)

WTF? I just held down my home button and said "Siri, how many sand niggers live in America?". SHIT!!! My boss wants to see me in a conference room in 15 minutes. I GOTTA stop drinkin' every night.

Earlier free software (1)

lpress (707742) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973323)

Not to take away from GNU, but it was not the first freely exchanged open source software. In the batch processing days, every IBM branch office had a file cabinet full of shared software and organizations like SHARE did what the name suggests. Share was formed in 1955 and is still going [share.org] .

Re:Earlier free software (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44973655)

Who claimed anything of such? Why are so many of the comments so full of uninformed people making absurd claims about Open Source? The term was invented by Eric Raymond and others as a marketing strategy in 1998, to make it appealing to companies that didn't want to go as far as to include the freedom requirements.

Software has been freely charged since its conception, RMS always make sure to point this out. All he did was to realize the practice of sharing software freely was in danger, and created rules that developers could attach to their source code to make sure its free distribution and usage would never be endangered.

So what... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44973353)

If Hurd isn't what he'd hope it would be. RMS started an idea that has been a significant force in software engineering: Open Source. His ideas also made us all realize that our data is, well, our data and that software shouldn't allow a corporation to keep it hostage.

I know that his ideas made me realize my worth as a programmer. My worth is in my knowledge and not in the product I produce. He made me realize value as someone who can manipulate software is worth more than the software I produce or modify.

People can argue all they want about whether rms is a genius, a fraud or something in between. I know that he is an inspiration for me.

RMS is a bad ass (0)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973361)

Only guy to survive a ninja attack. While *in bed* nonetheless.

Re:RMS is a bad ass (1)

tokiko (560961) | 1 year,3 days | (#44974027)

This is a reference to: http://xkcd.com/225/ [xkcd.com]

But then, if RMS did sleep with a samurai sword, I'm sure he would have gone after them for their taunt mentioning "open source" instead of "free software."

mo3 0p (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44973413)

frre-loving climate the 'community' Large - keep your under the GPL. transfer, Netscape

Huh? (0)

spudnic (32107) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973519)

Never hurd of it.

Thanks, Richard! (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44973581)

The subject says it all...

And I'm just delighted... (2, Funny)

gwolf (26339) | 1 year,3 days | (#44973661)

To see that the kind of discussion (and the depth of it, and the arguments raised, and all that yada-yada) are *so* similar to what I read for GNU's 20th anniversary. Or for the 15th anniversary. New kids learn our beloved traditions and repeat our same flames as if they were chanting ancient mantrams.

Now, get off my lawn!

Unbelievable! (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44973787)

It's just unbelievable what he wrote. Wow, great job, Richard. You're incredible.

So.. (0)

Daemonik (171801) | 1 year,3 days | (#44974063)

RMS is still using that Communist slave labor built laptop but refuses to touch commercial software, right? Stay classy, you bearded troll person you!

GNU was and is great stuff, but some preceded it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44974147)

The DECUS symposium tapes had by this time been sharing software widely, generally in source, for 6 years by 1983. There were many other free exchanges around also (remember the Usenix tapes, anyone? though those were not I think available to just anyone - you were supposed to have I believe an ATT
license, which as I recall cost $40,000 unless you were a school. The DECUS materials were free (you supplied tape to someone on the tree to get
copies made). They did not attempt to rewrite entire OSs much (there were a few interesting prototype bits though) but did get involved heavily in developing
and distributing utilities, compilers, network stacks, games, and so on. The Gnu project started as I recall with Emacs and got around to replacing kernel
last. The revolution got started though by many, not only RMS.
    Those old collections should be better known, since they have much in them that can still be useful as prior art when the old patent troll comes around. There
were for example a number of networks before the Internet, using other protocols, but on which some commerce was done.

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