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Stallman Responds To GNOME Questionaire

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the hello-champion-city dept.


proclus writes: "Stallman's response to the GNOME board election process is a lesson in the application of free software principles. For Stallman, GNOME is a GNU project, and the main goal is to promote free software. His consistancy and ethics are admirable, but one wonders if GNOME has grown beyond its roots in the free software community. Is Stallman's view of GNOME too narrow? The GNU-Darwin Distribution and The Fink projects are a case in point. It is simply amazing how many people want to use GNOME together with Mac OSX, and yet in Stallman's view, this would be an example of GNOME falling short of its goals. If free software is used together with proprietary, then the movement has failed to displace proprietary software, and free the users. Is it possible to reach such users with free software ideals, and is it necessary to divorce free software from proprietary in order to accomplish that goal?"

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stallman is a god (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2613237)

see title - 20 seconds... but I wanted FP!!!!

I think (4, Insightful)

nll8802 (536577) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613238)

I think using Free Software with Proprietary software is a way to reach people who are not yet informed about Free Software. I dont think this hurts Free Software in any way, it helps promote it.

Re:I think (1)

harryk (17509) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613257)

I agree. Especially since the end user doesn't really care what OS they are using. If a group of people are using GNOME on (example) a Windows based platform (I know, its not a reality), it would be transparent to move them to a linux, or other *Nix base when the interface is the same

on another note, the trolls today are apparently wide awake with a dick in their mouth.


Re:I think (2)

Oo.et.oO (6530) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613266)

i second that!
RMS has great ideals and i admire his strife.
But i think there are commercial softwares that realistically can't be replaced with free (as in beer) ones in a tight time frame. It is necessary to therefore try as best we can to integrate the free with the necessary ($$ softs). CAD tools for instance. I'd love to run cadence and/or Pro/E on my gnome desktop linux cluster and get stuff done faster than my collegues on ultra 10s!

free love/beer/software forever!

Re:I think (1)

gregRowe (173838) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613315)

Exactly! How many Linux users that used to use Windows made the switch all at once? It took me over a year before I stopped booting NT.

Re:I think (2, Troll)

MSBob (307239) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613368)

Yes. But guess what, it doesn't matter. Just like most muslim moderates believe that Islam can coexist with other religions, most of FS advocates believe different software licencing modules can coexist and compliment one another. However, every social movement (provided it's strong enough) tends to breed fanatics. Fanatics don't care about the cost of enforcing their viewpoint upon the rest of the society. Because they see their viewpoint as the only right way they will attack opposing views with full force of a blind zeal.

This begs the question: is RMS at all similar to Osama bin Laden?

Well, at first I thought, no. Osama bin Laden is a destructive force for the most part (terrorism) while RMS's actions have been mostly constructive (writing free software). But then I thought about the way he treated the KDE project and realised that RMS has a fair amount of "software terrorism" behind his belt. On the other hand OBL has indeed done some good in some parts of the world, such as building the highway network in Sudan. In other words RMS and OBL fight for completely different ideals but the methods they use are very alike. Both will trample on anything they don't fully agree with and both will show some compassion towards what they feel is a just and noble cause. We must ask ourselves however, whether we would like to have someone so strikingly similar in his behavioural patterns to OBL at the helm of the Free Software Foundation... Food for thought.

Doesn't Godwin's law apply here? (2, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613413)

This begs the question: is RMS at all similar to Osama bin Laden?

Comparing RMS to Bin Laden is nothing short of snotty. Sure, RMS can be abrasive, and I often disagree with him on all manner of issues, but to the best of my knowledge he's never threatened anyone with violence in his life.

You owe him an apology.


Re:Doesn't Godwin's law apply here? (2, Interesting)

MSBob (307239) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613450)

I don't disagree. Like I said the tools they use to conduct their Jihad are different. RMS has not threatened with violence but he did cast a FSF Fatwah on a project or two. What I have a problem with, and my point stands, is that both RMS and OBL's behavioural patterns are too similar to ignore.

Re:I think (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2613430)

FUCK YOU ASSHOLE. You would actually compare RMS to a terrorist who murdered nearly 5,000 people? RMS may be a pain in the ass at times, but he's no terrorist. You say "the methods they use are very alike." When did RMS crash four god damn planes into buildings? When did RMS blow up an apartment building in Saudi Arabia? When did RMS fill an inflatable raft with explosives and ram it into a fucking ship?

You are a complete fucking asshole.

Re:I think (1)

mrcparker (469158) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613434)

I think that you should think pretty hard before making any comparisons between a violent fanatic like OBL with a guy like RMS. That is like comparing Jimmy Swaggart and with Jim Jones because they both used religion to spread their messages.

Re:I think (0, Offtopic)

tippergore (32520) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613444)

What the hell are you talking about?

One kills people, the other really likes free software. I don't see the connection here.

You're a lot like Osama Bin Laden too, in that you drink water, breathe, and walk sometimes. Clearly you're a bloody terrorist.

You ass.

Re:I think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2613451)

"This begs the question: is RMS at all similar to Osama bin Laden?"

You can type. Now try to type words in such an order that what you say makes people think, not just dislike you for your trollish nonsense.

Of course, you may be related to Jon Katz. It doesnt excuse you, but it makes it more understandable.

Buy Dell (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2613408)

I'm advocating the purchase of DELL computers. Don't buy any other brand.

Visit their webiste [dell.com] today !!!

Stallman (-1)

Guns n' Roses Troll (207208) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613244)

You suck nigger cock. You fucking hippy. I _HATE_ hippys. Longhaired, tiedye wearing wastes. Please listen to the song "The Sixties Are Over" by the Oi band The Templars. Fucking faggot.

RMS asks "What about beards?" (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2613245)

Portman's Grits (Jingle Bells)
Written by NickTheGreek, London

Racing through the news
in an MS IE browse,
over the polls I cruise
can't wait for trouble to rouse;
trolling 'bout to start,
make my spirits bright,
oh what fun it is to curse and lie
when I'm trollin' slashdot tonight

Portman's Grits, Portman's Grits,
Miss Portman all the way!
O how much I'd like to see her ride,
My tiny knob today!

A day or two ago,
My mum caught me in bed,
rocking to and fro'
She laid one upside my head;
She said you shouldn't wank;
She asked if I did a lot,
I said I can't stop havin a crank,
I'm a lame asshole slashbot!

Portman's Grits, Portman's Grits,
Miss Portman all the way!
O how much I'd like to see her ride,
My tiny knob today!

About every damn fortnight,
Stephen King, he died;
I went back to the slashdot site,
Posted it and no-one replied!
Still at god damn school,
My future's pretty bleak,
Newbie coders like me just rule,
even though I'm just a fucking piss-streak.

Portman's Grits, Portman's Grits,
Miss Portman all the way!
O how much I'd like to see her ride,
My tiny knob today!

Re:RMS asks "What about beards?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2613316)

Time to assess your life, buddy.

Bah (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2613247)

You're all a bunch of Linus-worshipping assholes.

Everyone wants to know... (-1)

tt2k1 (532907) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613253)

RMS, if you were stranded on a desert island, how long would you be able to subsist on nutrients found in your luxurious beast-beard?

Well, technically, it's a GNU/beast-beard, but I'll ignore your ignorance and answer your question anyway. Forty-two days. If I had advance warning of the stranding, I would smother a few children with the beard, which could prolong my survival at least three weeks.

Re:Everyone wants to know... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2613277)

OMFG! That's the most hilarious thing I have ever read on Slashdot! I can't breathe, damnit! Jesus Christ, help me! Can I have your children, tt2k1?

I'm really getting sick and tired (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2613254)

of hearing every time RMS opens his mouth. You people make him sound like Jesus or something. Well, he's not! He's a socialist!

Re:I'm really getting sick and tired (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2613293)

Jesus was a socialist.

Get of my damn bed (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2613264)

Q: How do you stop a nigger from jumping on the bed?

A: Put velcro on the ceiling.

Wassup with RMS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2613265)

He's been quite active lately, applying to be a Debian developer [debianplanet.org] and all... he must be planning something big, I don't remember him being this "visible" for years.

If Stallman is so smart (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2613268)

why isn't he more popular THEN
lord god Willy Gates????

No! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2613272)

It is not required to divorce free software from non free software. One of the main strengths that open source has is its portability. Stallman needs to recognize this and embrace it. Take away my right to run software where and how I see fit and it is no longer FREE. Stallman is extremely hypocritical in this respect. I can understand his goal of creating a completely free system that is accessible to users, but this freedom he talks about must be applied, even when he doesn't like it.

EX. I may not like Microsoft bashing Linux, but I will defend their right to do so.

Now, that is somewhat of a contrived example of free speech at work, but, it is vital to defend all aspects of freedom. If you take away one person's freedom (the freedom to run Gnome with proprietary software) then what good is the rest of the freedom that is associated with Gnome? How long until other freedoms are taken away in the interest of "the greater good"?

Re:No! (1)

Oo.et.oO (6530) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613300)

i agree whole heartedly.
but the goal of free software and in this case gnome may not be best served if they concentrate on integration with proprietary software. i can't really think of an example...
But it is still absolutely necesary IMO to allow users ANY freedoms. as the above AC said.

the integration and therefore free marketing of proprietary softs in a free software product should be secondary to its own features and integration with othe rfree software.


Re:No! (3, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613320)

I think Stallman does recognize this, as evidenced by the nearly ubiquitous Win32 ports of GNU software (see here [gnusoftware.com] for a list).

Re:No! (5, Insightful)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613392)

It is not required to divorce free software from non free software. One of the main strengths that open source has is its portability. Stallman needs to recognize this and embrace it. Take away my right to run software where and how I see fit and it is no longer FREE. Stallman is extremely hypocritical in this respect.

Hypocritical os the wrong term. Stallman does not advocate free software then turn around and sell proprietary software. However, his idiology is cotradictory to his goal. he says that he wants freedom for software, however, in his thinking freedom means that everyone must use his modle. that is a contradiction not hypocracy.

Well (3, Insightful)

beefstu01 (520880) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613275)

A little healthy competition is good. People have to eat, you know, and proprietary software, if kept in a decent price range, can actually be complimentary to free software. Darwin, for example, could actually give back to the BSD community. I think the only problem w/ Linux is that here arent enough programs, because Linux geeks expect everything for free. If we start to show that you can sell things for linux, then more stuff will be developed, and BAM!, there you go.

Small victories... (2, Interesting)

rekoil (168689) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613281)

I have to agree that Stallman is being a bit shortsighted - just because the _entire_ system isn't free doesn't mean that the FSF's mission is a failure. The simple fact that there's a demand for open source software on a proprietary OS should mean something right there...

In other words, don't discount the small victories just because they're small. Keep going for the gold, but accept the bronze graciously.

Re:Small victories... (5, Insightful)

NetSettler (460623) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613379)

I haven't talked to Stallman personally in 6 or 7 years, but unless he's changed his tune of late, his goal is not to change the world, so there is no notion of "small victories" for him.

I think his goal is (and I think this because my recollection is that he's told me, not because of some analysis I've done) to make the world work for him personally in the way he wants. I've never heard him say he really wants to change the world for its own sake. On that point, he's said the world is full of people he doesn't really necessarily like and has no interest in helping. So doing things "for the world" doesn't seem to matter to him.

People attribute all kinds of ethics and high moral principles to him, but I've never heard him say this was his motive. From all I can tell, and all I've ever heard him say, he's just single-mindedly selfish in a way that happens to have some positive community benefit. So people attribute all kinds of other attributes to him to explain the outcome.

If I'm right about this, it should help you see why things that only partly address an issue don't really make him happy. He wants things to work for him today, not for people generally some day. And so a partial solution is not a solution.

I'm 50-50 on the whole free software thing. I think it's got some pluses, but it also has some minuses. And definitely one of the minuses is having Richard at the helm. Because when I want to discuss social policy, I want to discuss it with someone who understands that compromise is not always evil, that partial solutions can sometimes be better than no solutions, and that there are ways of doing good for the world that don't fit into the narrow definition of free software. I get none of this from Richard.

I think it leads to confusion when the community looks to him for leadership, becuase I don't think he is offering what some see him as offering, and so it never comes out looking like what they expect. Maybe this continued sense of "unexpectedness" makes him look "mysterious", and maybe that's why people have such a continued interest, never being able to predict him because the model they have for him is never aligned with the reality of him. Just guessing.

Mod me down! (-1, Troll)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613287)

Looking around at the GNU/Linux system and the free software community, we've come pretty far.

Err, he sure is taking a lot of credit for stuff that isn't, even indirectly, the result of his actions. In fact a lot of it has happened in spite of his behavior. Dick (as he's known to the rest of the planet) needs to take a look around and adapt to the times.

Re:Mod me down! (2, Informative)

nomadic (141991) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613306)

He said "we". Considering there are thousands of free software programmers who use the same "we" in referring to the free software community, I don't think he went overboard there.

It's still free (0, Troll)

Xawen (514418) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613288)

Does this seem a little backwards to anyone else? Free software is simply software you can get for free (usually open source in our minds these days). GNOME is both. You can't say they've outgrown they're roots because they won't port to some platform, or because they've gotten too big. RMS may have a problem with it because it doesn't conform to HIS view of free software, but last time I checked, we weren't letting him rewrite the dictionary for us. Free is still free, and until GNOME isn't, it's still free software.

Pure Bigotry... (3, Insightful)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613301)

Might sound a tad tough but it is just pure bigotry. His definition of "pure" and his insistance that his way is right is down-right insulting. For me the whole point of Open Source is that I can do what I want with it, thats why I like the BSD license. Which basically trusts me to be a nice person and put stuff back, but also says "hell if you want to wrap it with summat else fine".

Open Source is about freedom of choice, if I choose to use proprietary stuff then so be it, that is my choice.

Anyone who mutters on about purity and ethos like this has me worried, I don't care how people use the Open Source stuff I've written, hell its nice that they have used it.

Freedom isn't about purity its about flexibility and choice.

Re:Pure Bigotry... (1)

tstock (213857) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613374)

I think you are confusing Open Source with Free Software, they are not one and the same. While its true that free software has to be open source, the reverse is not true.

Free Software fills a very important position in the software landscape, and it is hard to say if its more or less important than Open Source software.

That does it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2613305)

I have always preferred GNOME over KDE, but I can't see how I will be able to continue using GNO^H^H^H GNU/GNOME after this blow.

What about using the free version of GNU-Darwin? (2, Insightful)

melvin22 (523080) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613307)

Isn't there a version of the Mac OS X kernel that can be downloaded for free? I know all about the whole "but Apple is just taking without giving back to the community" deal, and I'm not about to argue that fact now. But what about the users who use it, along with Xfree and Gnome? I know that there are people who want to have rootless X along with the Mac OS Finder in order to use Gimp, or whatever. While some of them aren't actually replacing their systems completely with free software, they have to start somewhere, right? For most professionals with some pretty demanding needs, Photoshop is still the only way to go. But there are also those who either buy, or pirate Photoshop, to be used in simple taks that can be easily accomplished with Gimp. In a sense, that is slowly displacing the proprietary software, isn't it?

That's not really the point... (1)

benad (308052) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613369)

The point of Fink (well, for me) is to allow users to make GNOME co-exist with truely commercial software, something that's almost non-existing until now (except some "OK" Win32 ports).

Doing web pages with the *real* Emacs or vi and using Illustrator for the images (and GoLive for the rest) at the same time is something that a lot of people thought to be impossible until now.

- Benad

Stallman is building another cage for the users (1)

yanestra (526590) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613311)

If you take it literally, freedom is the posibility to do what you want. But Stallman is constructing an ideology which disallows some things to be done. Stallman is a man of yesterday...

Re:Stallman is building another cage for the users (2)

radja (58949) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613378)

in real life I don't have the 'freedom' to murder, but does that make me less free?


Where's the freedom ? (1)

dda (527064) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613313)

And the freedom to sell a sofware, where has it gone ?
I'm not against the Free software at all, but the author as the right to sell it if he wants.
That's where I disagree with RMS.
See this [01net.net] ( for french speaking only, sorry )

What users want is what is best (3, Flamebait)

dustpuppy (5260) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613321)

It seems to me that Stallman contradicts himself:

If some day GNOME, GCC, GNU Emacs, and all of GNU are obsolete and forgotten, but computer users generally are free to share and change the software they use, these programs will have done their job well.

This is all well and good.

If, on the other hand, GNOME and the rest of the GNU system are widely used, but mainly in combination with proprietary software, they will have succeeded only part-way, and a big task will remain ahead of us.

What happened to choosing the best software that does the task that I require it to do? If the goal is for users to be 'free to share and change the software they use', then that should also include the freedom to mix and match software (be it proprietry or open source) to meet their requirements.

What Stallman is trying to do is ram his ideology (good aspects notwithstanding) down everyones throat in much the same way that Microsoft tries to ram their ideology down our throats.

Ultimately, what is best for the users is what the users want. And generally if you provide what the users want, you won't need to force them to do what you want them to do. So Stallman, the fact that you feel you need to physically intervene to stop 'Gnome' going off in the wrong direction, is actually the first sign that you are heading down the wrong path.

Re:What users want is what is best (1)

jas79 (196511) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613453)

What happened to choosing the best software that does the task that I require it to do? If the goal is for users to be 'free to share and change the software they use', then that should also include the freedom to mix and match software (be it proprietry or open source) to meet their requirements

if it is proprietary you aren't free to share and change the software. It isn't that complex to understand.

Cooperation with KDE forgotten ? (5, Interesting)

sl956 (200477) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613323)

I had a dinner with RMS last week in Paris. When I asked him that very question (why he was running for Gnome Board of Directors), he said that the first reason was to help improving the coperation with the KDE development team. He spoke of the duplicate development effort in the desktop area and he even made a parallel with the gnu-emacs vs x-emacs debate (just a couple days after he took the lead back in gnu-emacs!!!).

I cannot understand why KDE is not even cited in this response. Is this only electoral bulls**t ?

Re:Cooperation with KDE forgotten ? (3, Interesting)

HeUnique (187) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613396)

I don't speak as KDE representitive (David Faure, Kurt Granoth and others can), but if I recall correctly, RMS did "insult" them with his "forgivness" back in the days where there were some problem with QT license & KDE license.

A good co-operation between GNOME & KDE is more then welcome (look at freedesktop.org) but RMS pushing for this? I'll belive it when I see it.

Re:Cooperation with KDE forgotten ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2613431)

One word, four letters: ROFL

GPL does not prohibit comercial software (2)

vtechpilot (468543) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613324)

There is no clause in the GPL that prohibits using GPL software with comercial or any other non-GPL software. If it RMS though a divorce from comercial software was required, it would be in the GPL. RMS can sit on it and rotate if he doesn't like me writing GPL software for Windows.

Re:GPL does not prohibit comercial software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2613416)

No, that's all outlined in the GNU Manifesto. Especially the part where he complains about programmer's making money, and if they were good honest upstanding folk they'd grow beards, wear black turbans and work for free.

Oh wait, I might have that confused with the Taleban manifesto. Ohwell, same thing basically.

Stallman (2, Troll)

supernaut (35513) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613327)

You know, sometimes he remains calm enough to actually make rational and well thought out choices.

But, OTOH, he has shown himself in the past to be a purveyor of utterly ignorant dogma, almost on the level of religious zeal, that, as such, I dont consider him a leader of anything. He does not stand for me. And, to be honest, I dont think he stands for anyone.

He stands for the unrealistic little bubble world he has created in his own mind.

Yes, I like Free Software. Yes, I like Open Software. But, I am not about to embrace a surrealistic, and wholly unrealistic and non reality based approach.

OS/FS has its issues. But, if you ask me, there will be bumps in the road with any revolution.

The real question is, can we find a happy medium, across the whole map. I think we can. But, I dont think Stallman is our Jesus. I think, while he is an intelligent man, he also has the propensity to come off as a flaming idiot.

Which is why I really dont understand why OSDN gives him so much press. Yes, he has done his part. But, it really ticks me off how you think we all hang off his every word. I dont, and I am willing to bet only a very tiny percentage do.

Freedom (1)

jmu1 (183541) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613328)

The whole purpose of the FSF and GNU was to give people a choice, or even a whole slew of choices. Not to lock them into having to only use one type of software, be it proprietary or not. Stallman is being a bit too overzealous in this case. He can't see the forest for the trees

Great way to alienate potential Gnome users (2)

the_rev_matt (239420) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613330)

While I agree with most of what Stallman has to say, he has a tendency to be confrontational and to come off as belligerent and antagonistic. This tends to make people uncomfortable. I personally think it would be bad for Gnome if he became a board member, but I'm not a voter. I don't question his commitment or his ability, but rather his approach.

Stallman is NOT about Freedom (1, Insightful)

numbsafari (139135) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613333)

This is not flaim.

Stallman is NOT about Freedom. He wants you to be forced to use software in a manner that HE dictates. True freedom, freedom that is embodied by such licenses as the BSD licenses, allows you to use software in whatever manner you see fit. Forcing people to use free software is denying them the RIGHT TO CHOOSE software that is proprietary and potentially better that what is freely available. Having proprietary software available for use creates competition for free software, and can only make it better.

Stallman is not unlike a communist in his views (and I'm sure he is anyway)... they claim that subjecting yourself to communism will "free you" from the yoke of "bourgeois oppression", only to replace is with the yoke of mass exploitation.

To use the word "Free Software" when referring to the GPL and GNU software, is to be disingenuous to the point of lying outright.

Quite happy being opressed (1)

AIXadmin (10544) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613334)

I am quite happy being opressed. I am using Mac OS X 10.1, and while it has its low points. Mac OS X 10.1 has more high points. I write things in Python, and write VB macros for MS Office. Quit happy.
The world is not perfect, but it is a pretty good blend.

Stallman is a hippy, not a realist (2)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613336)

If he were a realist, he'd realize that spreading free software in as many ways as possible is a good thing. If he doesn't want free software running on commercial systems then he's just ensuring the continued viability of commercial software, not that I see that as a bad thing, being a professional programmer!

Stallman has lost it! (0, Troll)

cs668 (89484) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613337)

I used dig the FSF and GNU. But, Now that they don't think it is my right to choose whatever license I want for the work I do they seem to have slipped into insanity.

I just can not take him seriously anymore.

Okay so define proprietary (2)

isa-kuruption (317695) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613348)

If you say "GNOME shouldn't be used and/or worked with proprietary", then aren't you condeming GNOME as proprietary as well? The only way to break the proprietary mix is to make everything "work together"... this would mean GNOME working on MacOS... hey, In fact, I'd love to run GNOME in place of explorer.exe in WinXP. This would be great. If you're going to be narrow minded about the course of GNOME and other open source projects working *together*, then maybe we should start calling you Billy too.

Tough Medicine (5, Insightful)

abde (136025) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613351)

Many people disagree with RMS. Many people hate him, many people flame him, many people have honest and sincere disagreements with him, many people have sterotypical understanding of who he is and many have an understanding of who he is based on extensive personal contact.

In all of this, RMS has been a constant - he promotes Free Software.

is presence on teh GNOME board would be a case of Tough Medicine. Without an avowed extremist to act as a "conscience" of sorts, it is easy to imagine that GNOME might be tempted to compromise a little here and a little there. As long as you have RMS standing in the corner, reminding everyone (obstinately, ruthlessly, pick your adjective) exactly when we are moving towards the many slippery slopes that can be stumbled across, the concept of Free Software will benefit.

IMHO, RMS deserves a place on that board solely because of his constancy and vision. I personally may disagree with any number of his ideals or issues, but IMHO you need the full spectrum to ensure that the integrity of the project is maintained.

Only be listening to the extremes can you triangulate the middle ground.

Re:Tough Medicine (4, Insightful)

fredbsd (311595) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613420)

Interesting take on keeping the board on their toes.

However, most companies don't succeed with this type of leadership. If Gnome is to be successcul, they will need a board of like minded, energetic people to lead them. Do you think there was anyone on Microsquish's board who said "hey, I think we are doing the wrong thing here?".

If the goal of Gnome is to simply encourage 'free' software, then RMS is a good choice. But if they want to be successful as a product, then RMS would simply cause to much dissention to be effective.

Personally, as a businessman, I would never, ever have RMS on a board. He is quite good at pontificating his views, but he is absolutely horrible at seeing other sides of arguments. It's his way or the highway. Can you imagine the board meetings? He would drive everyone else crazy.

My biggest complaint is with Mr. Stallman is the hypocrisy in his definition of 'free'. Freedom = Choice. Mr. Stallman thinks freedom = his way.

But, I could be wrong.

free software (0)

kz45 (175825) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613356)

GNOME is not an independent software project; it is a part of the GNU system. This means GNOME does not exist just for its own success. It has a purpose: to provide the GNU system with a desktop. So while we should try to make GNOME successful (all else being equal), that's not the highest goal of the work on GNOME.

It seems the only reason stallman is even becoming a part of the GNOME project, is so he can serve his own political agenda. I think with stallman on board, the GNOME project will eventually fail.

Competition is also good (and im not talking about competition between open source and open source). If that wasn't the case, then why are monopolies so bad?

Gnome the desktop "environment" (2, Offtopic)

nsrbrake (233425) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613360)

Maybe I'm just on crack, but 2 weeks ago I ditched the Gnome desktop. I've always run Enlightenment as my window manager, and for a very long time now have run Gkrellm. So I looked at things and said, what am I running all this extra stuff for? Enlightenment has menus for apps, gkrellms holds any and all applet style things I need, and buttons for frequently used apps. Don't get me wrong, I love Gnome/GTK. All the apps I use use the Gnome and GTK libs, but there was no real reason to use the desktop environment. Plus my memory usage dropped about 20MB. Maybe this is off topic, but do we really need a desktop "environment"? I don't.

Stallman's honesty (5, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613361)

Say what you will about his goals, but at least he's perfectly honest and up-front about them (and everything else), even going so far as to admit that he hasn't been following the GNOME development.

Re:Stallman's honesty (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2613403)

Adolf Hitler was honest too.

yesterday, there was no air (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2613362)

80% of Slashdot [openbsd.org]


  • are nothing more than incompatent linux users.
  • Linux is dead. Linux will never
  • be what you hoped it would. Why,
  • you
ask? Because Linux is bad coding and
  • a bunch of rejects who can't help
each other out. Why are there so many Linux


Damn, _this_ Linux

distro is missing 1 thing. I think I will start my own..

putting words in his mouth (5, Insightful)

brlewis (214632) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613363)

He says that GNOME will have only part-way met its goals if it is used mainly in conjunction with proprietary software. The mere existence of projects that put GNOME in a proprietary environment does not constitute failure according to what RMS said.

...and this is where Stallman gets it wrong (5, Interesting)

blayd (3655) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613380)

Using free software with a non-free operating system should be viewed as a win, not a loss. More people using free software is a good thing. You start them off slow with a couple of nice applications. Then the user starts looking for free alternatives first before buying something proprietary. From there it's a short hop to running a free system.

For example, I used to be an OS/2 user. There is a ton of free software out there that has been ported to the OS/2 platform. I started out with GCC and some of the GNU tools. Pretty soon I was using free software for about 95% of my computing needs. One day I decided that since I was primarily using free software, why not move to a free system. That was 5 years ago. Today I run free systems exclusively at home, and I am in the process of getting the same at work. The only non-free software that I own are my Linux and console games. I don't dual boot or use wine or some other emulator. Maybe some day I will be able to dump non-free software altogether.

I realize that my use of non-free software, even just for entertaintment purposes, would get me blacklisted by Stallman and his fanatics. It is this my-way-or-the-highway, no compromise attitude that turns me off to Stallman and the FSF. In my opinion, this makes him more of a hindrance than a help to the free software movement.

You're right (2)

benad (308052) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613449)

Here's what Stallman said:
If some day GNOME, GCC, GNU Emacs, and all of GNU are obsolete and forgotten, but computer users generally are free to share and change the software they use, these programs will have done their job well. If, on the other hand, GNOME and the rest of the GNU system are widely used, but mainly in combination with proprietary software, they will have succeeded only part-way, and a big task will remain ahead of us.
As implied, their goal is that your whole computing experience is based only on "free" software. This is crazy. Computing can grow only if you have both commercial and "free" software. Remove one of the two and you have something like technology without science, or science without technology. We have to be realistic.

I almost always mix "free" and non-free software without rebooting, and I'm OK with that. At least I have the freedom of writing GPL, Shareware or commercial software if I want to. That's what I don't like about Linux: you feel "forced" to write only "free" software...

- Benad

Stallman is an honest man (5, Interesting)

avdi (66548) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613381)

I think this response says a lot about RMS's personal character. Some salient quotes:

In our community I often encounter personal insults, sometimes simply reflecting personal enmity, sometimes used as a tactic. You know what I mean. Could you face such hostility for years and respond as dispassionately as this?


People have given me have a reputation for being uncompromising.

and especially:

By nature, I am not diplomatic at all.

Whatever people say about his being "out of touch", I think this shows that he is well aware of the criticisms levelled at him. He is also admirably aware of his own stubborn nature, and of the ideals he stands for. This guy knows what he's fighting for, knows his personal limits, and has no illusions about how he comes across to others.

his definition of success (2, Informative)

hopeless case (49791) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613388)

He gives an interesting definition of success. He says that if, years down the road, GNOME is widely used, but is used in conjunction with proprietary tools, then it will have only been partly successful. If, on the other hand, it is obselete and forgotten, but users largely are using free software then it will have been successful.

I must admit this is a clever way of looking at it. However, how would he compare these two worlds:

A) propreitary software rules, but it is well within the budget of the average peasant. Hardware is cheap and powerful.

B) free software rules, but hardware is expensive and not as powerful as A.

I'm guessing Stallman would rather live in B than A, which is where he looses his sanity.

The whole point, or bottom line, of freedom is that it works. Free soceities are rich, effective soceities. Libertarians sometimes forget this, thinking that freedom is the bottom line. It isn't, material welfare is.

The same goes for software. Free software is better than propreitary software (as we know those terms today) because it allows more people to partake of greater computing power.

To the extent that propreitary software mutates so as to serve this purpose as well as or better than free software, it looses its "badness" as we should embrace it.

I can't imagine what such a mutation might be, mind you, and until I see such a thing, free software is that way to go.

A fanatic is one who, forgetting his purpose, redoubles his effort.

Free isn't free if it comes with strings attached (5, Insightful)

swb (14022) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613389)

Really. If you have meet a sociopolitical standard to use free software, how free is it?

Free Software Kits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2613390)

"Free Software" User Kit

For a limited time only, get your FSF member kit.
Each kit includes:

- one of pair sandals / jesus boots (beige, one size fits all) white socks not included
- fresh roadkill which can be stuck to face with white pvc children's glue
- humorous computing t-shirt (poorly printed logo and unwashed)
- various biro pens (chewed)
- techie book of nostalgic MIT in-jokes which are no longer funny
- souped up calculator with go-faster stripe and supports Linux
- set book "Communism : The Red Way"
- Halitosis Voucher - Buy one garlic based meal, get another free

All this can be yours for the bargain price of US$99.95 plus $10.95 shipping and handling.

RMS is a jackass... (-1, Troll)

bytes256 (519140) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613395)

I think everybody should stop listening to Stallman and start listening to Eric S. Raymond

Stallman is just a fringe figure who radicalizes and in general embarasses the OSS community in general.



Ok you can mod me down now.

Re:RMS is a jackass... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2613447)

ESR is twice the jackass. I will hand it to RMS, he never spouted off about how rich he got off VA Lin... uh, Software. Haha, serves the bastard right.

Stallman is right (5, Interesting)

deno (814) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613399)

GNU != freeware.

The idea behind GNU software isn't "let's do something to help producers of propriatery software". Just on the contrary: the idea is: "let's do something AGAINST propriatery software".

Those who disagree are free to use software which is "freeware", or licenced under one of BSD licences, but the point of GNU licence has always been very clear: Even in the case where licence itself allows some kind of mixed propriatery and GNU-licenced software, this is clearly an "unwanted artefact" by whoever choose to put his/hers software under GNU licence, and one should not expect to be greated as a hero if doing so.

The fact that "oh so many people want to do it" is completely irrelevant, because these "oh-so-many-people" haven't written the programs in question, and thus have nothing to say about the way these should be used apart from kindly asking the author(s). Let me state this once more:

GNU != freeware

Re:Stallman is right (1)

MrEd (60684) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613419)

Bang on my friend.

License choice is entirely up to the author of the code, and that's that.

Re:Stallman is right (1)

hopeless case (49791) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613425)

I thought the idea was to do something FOR computer users better than propriatery software, not to tear down peopriatery software.

The idea is not to reduce the size of Bill Gate's bank account, but to increase the ability of the great mass of computer users to effectively use software.

If you could hurt Bill Gates at the expense of hurting the average computer user in the process, would you?

Coexistence is reasonable (2, Interesting)

ewe2 (47163) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613404)

If you look at it the Microsoft way, then free software is only there to provide communities that you can sell to, providing it doesn't get in your way.

If you look at it the FSF way, commercial software is only a hindrance to the march of progress.

The truth is in between: freely-available and commercial software have lived side by side for years, and however Bill and Richard want to cancel each other out, its not going to change any time soon. Whether its GNOME or KDE on any proprietory OS isn't the point, its that users are getting something useful.

We currently have almost a symbiotic relationship that is producing great results, and excluding one from the other isn't realistic, much less productive.

At the funeral . . . (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2613405)

At a funeral service, the clergyman invited mourners to share their memories of the departed. After several people had spoken, the room was quiet; and the minister asked softly, "Anyone else?"

And Stallman said, "If no one else has anything to say, I'd like to say a few words about Free Software."

please don't firebomb my house but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2613406)

RMS has always been a bit of a fanatic. His definition of "free" is a bit odd. As long as you do what he tells you to it's free and pure. True freedom, be it in software or political speach, isn't about purity or a religious view of what people should do. It is about letting people do with their creations what they will.

I have no problem with RMS putting socialist or capitalist or any other sort rhetoric into the licensing of his products but the arguement that everyone else ought to be forced to do the same is short-sighted to say the least.

The concept of freedom in software should be more along the lines of if you create it feel free to control it how you will. The problem is that with idiot legislation like the DCMA and others this has become an unpopular view in the Geek Nation and we have gone overboard by claiming that software is speech and as such everyone should release their source code and everyone should play the same way we do. This legislation goes beyond the basic principal above, however, and we need to recognize the difference between controling the rights to software or holding a copyright and the total lunacy of patenting things such as math...but alas that is a different rant.

A much better system would be a live an let live attitude with comercial software. If you wish to allow your creation to be packaged with commercial software then fine, if not, that's also fine, but speaking out against people who choose one way or the other is ignorant and shows that the speaker doesn't truly understand the concept of free anything.

Good read! (2, Insightful)

underpaidISPtech (409395) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613410)

AHHAHAHAHAHAAHAHHAHAHAHAHA!!! Ooh! ouch Oooohhhh... <sniff>...ooh my sides...

Among other things question 9 stands out:

Gnome: Will you represent the interests of GNOME and the GNOME Foundation over all other personal or corporate interests you may represent?

Stallman: All personal and corporate interests, certainly. But there are two higher interests that rightfully apply to GNOME: the GNU system, and free software.

Translation: No. I will use the BOD position to surreptitiously hijack the goals of this project and subvert them until I alone control all your projects and they are under my license. MUWHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Moderators, realise that if the comment was made about anyone else, it would be +1 Funny, so watch it.

HURD, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2613423)

I believe that Stallman has tried this method before. And while it took him forever to get HURD ready for release, this Torvalds guy showed up with something that wasn't perfect, but met the needs of the people. It was used (despite being imperfect) and has swept HURD off to be a footnote.

If Gnome works well with MacOSX (and people find that useful), then who cares what Stallman thinks? Computers are here to make our lives easier. Not to make us slaves to exactatude.

Proprietary software is not evil. It has advantages and disadvantages. If Free and Proprietary are useful together, then step aside and let it through!

Solaris? HP-UX? (1, Interesting)

yaba (218529) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613426)

Gnome is not to be used on proprietary platforms? What about Sun Solaris or HP-UX? Are both OpenSource? - No?

So what about the agreements between HP and Ximian to make Gnome the default desktop of HP-UX 11i (or any later version). Sun also already announced Gnome as default desktop for an upcoming Solaris version. Will RMS tell them "Sorry, you are proprietary and may not use Gnome"?

OS X and Gnome, Super! (1)

tickle_me_perl (538703) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613427)

Well I have never been a huge fan of Mac's, simply because I was use to DOS when I was first intoduced to them. Although, I thought that the GUI interface was terrific. Unlike anything I had ever seen. It's been many years since then. An about six month ago I was intoduced to Linux and it's GUIs. The only different is that with linux I had exactly what I wanted when I used dos. Control. I haven't use a Mac since the 1988. I have always thought that it was stupid to be proprietary. If Gnome can be run under OS X then that's terrific. Who cares what others invision for the GUI. Personally I think that anyones vision is valid and if there are enough that agree with that vision, something should and hopefully will be done about it. I would like to see more Linux OSes for the MAC. Maybe that would compel me to give them a shot.

How is this different fron GNU on proprietary UNIX (4, Interesting)

Craig Maloney (1104) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613436)

How is this much different from GNU running on proprietary UNIX machines all these years? GNU wouldn't have had the visibility it does and the loyalty it does if they hadn't had Sun and HP versions of GNU tools. I think the real reason GNU is where it's at is because it's always been there to scratch the users itch. What's so wrong about having GNOME or other GNU tools there to scratch OSX users itches? I think it's a big win for GNU that people are ready to accept these tools on OSX.

I think this is more of a purity issue than a political issue. Yes, in a perfect world users would prefer to run GNU tools on GNU operating systems and pass around GNU blessed formatted documents. We're closer to that goal if people become more familiar with the GNU tools, and not a moment before. I can't think how GNOME or other tools running on OSX hurts the end goal.

there will always be proprietary software... (1)

jptxs (95600) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613437)

...and the only way to flourish is to operat along with it. As long as people can make money by making software, they will keep it closed. So if you want to push free, open software to the fullest extent it can reach you'll need it to interoperate with the money makers. Not to do that will be counter-productive.

Extremism is detrimental to free software (2, Interesting)

jdreed1024 (443938) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613439)

After reading Stallman's responses to the poll, my impression of him has not changed.

First of all, he should be commended for having the guts to go out and make the statements he does. Look at his responses - he's basically telling the GNOME Board "Look, you can get as enthusiastic as you want about GNOME, but it's an integral part of GNU software, and don't you forget it." Whether right or wrong, you have to believe strongly in something to say that to their [virtual] faces.

The problem is, Stallman's viewpoint only serves to support the stereotype of the free software movement: "A bunch of opinionated geeks, who have all these high and mighty principles, but won't actually help Joe User learn how to use this stuff, because they don't consider him worthy."

If you wish to obey both the letter and spirit of the "laws" of the free software community, then yes, Stallman's view that free is free, and proprietary is proprietary, and never the twain shall meet, is right on target. However, it's impossible to do that in the real world. In today's society of capitalism and instant gratificaton, you need to offer people an incentive to use your software. Simply appealing to their ideals isn't going to be that successful.

Here's an example: Imagine Joe User is given a Windows PC. Let's pretend that Windows PC runs the GNOME desktop, but still runs Windows as the OS. Once Joe User figures it out, he's pretty happy with it. In a year or so, Microsoft wants to charge him some more money for his license. His friend says "Hey, you don't need to do that. Try installing Linux." Joe User sets it up, and when it boots up, he sees the familiar GNOME desktop. Joe User is a happy user, and sticks with Linux, and another ones bites the dust as far as MS is concerned. This is a good thing, right?

Now imagine another scenario: GNOME can't be used with any proprietary software. It doesn't exist for for Windows. Joe User's friend comes along, and installs Linux for him to alleviate Microsoft's licensing. Joe User is very confused. "WTF is this bear claw doing where the Start menu should be?" he says. "Well, I see Netscape, but damned if I know how to manage my windows. I'm a busy man - I don't have time to read this documentation when I'm supposed to be working. I can't get anything done.", he laments. "Screw it," he says. "I'll just pay Microsoft the extra money."

The difference between the two scenarios is that in the first case, the user can take his time to learn GNOME. It's not essential to get his work done. Joe User views the idea of having to learn about Windows as a done deal. To him, you can't use computers unless you can figure out Windows. Because of this, he can fall back onto Windows if GNOME is confusing. But he'll eventually master it, at his own pace. If you throw it at him, and say "You can't do squat until you figure out how to use this, he's going to be unhappy."

There's lots of free (speech, not beer) software available for commerical OS's. I love Apache, but because of some applications I use, I can't boot into Linux 24-7. Thank goodness Apache is available for Windows, and not just because it's more secure than IIS - it's also a better product.
Imagine if it wasn't available for anything but GNU/Linux.

The point is, if you irreparably sever the connections between free and proprietary software, it can only serve to be detrimental to the movement. It's like opening "Joe's Fast-Food Burgers" right between a McDonald's and a Burger King, and wondering why no one is showing up to buy your food. You need to offer the average person an incentive to come to YOU instead of competitors.

As much as we may hate it, "It runs under Windows" is a good incentive for some people. Then we can say: "Hey - why don't you try out CygWin? It looks a lot like a UN*X console, but it runs under Windows. If you get fed up with it, just click that "X" in the corner, and you can go back to what you were doing."

Now it's up to the free software community to take it to the next step. As in, "Hey, buddy. I noticed you've got cygwin, Apache, and StarOffice on that Windows box. Want to try installing Linux? You get the exact same thing, but without paying money to Microsoft. Give it a try."

The "free as in speech" idea will appeal to users once they're involved in the movement. The "free as in beer" is what is necessary to draw them into the movement. Stallman would do well to understand this.

And this leaves the GNOME Foundation where? (1)

the-banker (169258) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613440)

The most disappointing aspect of RMS's views is the potential impact on the GNOME Foundation.

One Board member cannot change things drastically working alone, so in that I am somewhat relieved. What concerns me is that we actually have multiple UNIX vendors (as well as Linux) looking to make GNOME a default desktop. Once again, Free Software is on the precipice of becoming a standard - it would be a shame to see that fail to materialize due to squabbles. What his statement amounts to is that GNOME is to provide a desktop to an - as of now - incomplete operating system.

Propaganda (1)

under_score (65824) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613442)

Stallman uses the word "free" in a propagandist manner. Whenever he is asked to explain what he means by the word, he is always perfectly honest and always applies it in his life in that manner(therefore not hypocritical). But, he does not use the word in the same way that you or I might. He does not mean free-as-in-beer. He does not mean free-as-in-speech (although sometimes it appears so). Rather, he means the GPL. "Free" is one-to-one with "GPL" as far as Stallman is concerned. And that is okay, because he is clear about it. Why does he use the word "free"? Probably because it is closest to what he feels is the underlying philosophy of the GPL, and he needs a simple recognizable, marketable word to communicate his goals.

King Richard (2, Funny)

Dix (73628) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613446)

He's a bit like the British royal family.
They get endless flak in the press, but their reaction is a consistent non-inflamatory one-liner and a speech once or twice per year.
Also, they have about as much power ...

Nevertheless, somehow, they wield great influence.
(Resting on past greatness perhaps?)

I can't believe it: Mark Hamill Dead at Age 50 (-1)

CmderTaco (533794) | more than 12 years ago | (#2613458)

I just heard on the radio that Mark Hamill was found dead today at his home in Malibu. I couldn't find any further details. If anyone hears anything else, please post it here.

We will all remember his wonderful performances as Luke Skywalker on Star Wars Episodes 4-6 and several other small roles including many cameo appearances. Whether you liked his work or not, I'm sure he will be greatly missed by the readers of Slashdot.
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