Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

FSF Launches Associated Membership Program

CmdrTaco posted more than 11 years ago | from the i-guess-thats-neat-or-something dept.

GNU is Not Unix 277

Andy Tai writes "The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has launched an associated membership program. Support Free Software by becoming an FSF associated member. From the FSF website: On Monday 25 November 2002, we launched the FSF Associate Membership program. Now, you can support FSF by becoming a card-carrying associate member. You can find out about the rates and benefits of membership, sign up to be an Associate Member, login to edit your membership options, and even read briefly about some current projects of FSF. " Seems a little odd to me, but what do i know ;)

cancel ×

277 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Almost a simpson's episode... (0, Troll)

Rinikusu (28164) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940464)

Woohoo!
First the Communist Party, then the Stonecutters, now the FSF! :)

Re:Almost a simpson's episode... (1, Flamebait)

s20451 (410424) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940533)

Are you also the president of the gay and lesbian alliance for some reason?

Bad links (5, Informative)

mcgroarty (633843) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940474)

At present, the article's links are pointing back at Slashdot itself. The full page with the links pointing correctly are here [fsf.org] .

Re:Bad links (1)

koekepeer (197127) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940507)

yep, that's what you get when copy-pasting relative urls... one would expect more for a nerd/techie newssite ;-)

Re:Bad links (0, Offtopic)

Evro (18923) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940548)

And there you have, in a nutshell, the primary reason NOT to subscribe to, or otherwise support, Slashdot.

Re:Bad links (1)

mcgroarty (633843) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940581)

And there you have, in a nutshell, the primary reason NOT to subscribe to, or otherwise support, Slashdot.

Give 'im a break. I'm sure with the upcoming holiday, the new wife and all, this is about the last thing CmdrTaco wants to think about on a Sunday morning. :)

Re:Bad links (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4940776)

It's his fuckin' job. The subscribers are his paying customers.

Re:Bad links (1)

mcgroarty (633843) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940786)

It's his fuckin' job. The subscribers are his paying customers.

I browse with ads turned off, so I can't claim to be a "paying" customer. Even so, I'll join in the whipping after the holiday season. :)

For now, I'm happier with this than I am with having them shut off new content over the weekends and holidays like many other commercial sites.

Re:Bad links (2)

Mr.Ned (79679) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940564)

I think someone just pulled a fast one with the slashdot queue - maybe they'll read links from now on, or at least check to see what they are first.

Re:Bad links (2)

Dark Lord Seth (584963) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940668)

Don't mind Taco, he's prolly on cheap crack.

Re:Bad links (1)

mcgroarty (633843) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940704)

Don't mind Taco, he's prolly on cheap crack.

Doubtless, the finest that VMLinux shares can provide!

Am I the only one, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4940477)

who is having visions of somesort of computer-world National Geographic?
Come explore with RMS... find the source of the beast!

IN SOVIET RUSSIA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4940481)

the software foundation joins you

If I join (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4940484)

Does it mean that I have to stop showering like RMS so I start to smell like Kate Fent's vagina? Just checking, y'know, for good measure and all.

I just won't (and can't) do it (0, Offtopic)

SteweyGriffin (634046) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940485)

Most of us are unemployed as it is, yet it seems every day there's a new Linux corporation or group begging us for money.

Well, we're not economically viable at the moment, and these companies aren't either, so if we have to suffer without jobs I say the same should go for them.

Re:I just won't (and can't) do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4940492)

yet it seems every day there's a new Linux corporation or group begging us for money.

new? doesn't the fsf pre-date linux?

Re:I just won't (and can't) do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4940503)

plenty of jobs in the DC area

Re:I just won't (and can't) do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4940500)

Unlike some Linux companies, the FSF is not a for profit company and has never been such. It is a private foundation and has always operated by individual donations, much like other organizations like the EFF, etc. They have simply tried some new ideas in seperating potential donars from their money by offering additional services and benefits for those that choose to sponsor the FSF in this manner beyond those they have done in the past.

UNEMPLOYED?? THANK RICHARD STALLMAN! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4940583)

If it weren't for all the free software gpl crap, Linux could have been profitable and we'd all still have jobs now. Linux could have been what MacOS X is today, but since it chose the path of socialism it has been relegated to the dustbin of history. To a large degree I think the FSF, and particularly Richard Stallman, are responsible for the current economic meltdown in information technology. Don't believe me? Read the GNU manifesto. That asshole clearly has an agenda, and it's not just about computer software.

Re:UNEMPLOYED?? THANK RICHARD STALLMAN! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4940625)

Mod parent up. This guy hits it dead on. Maybe not about the current computer industry slow down, but linux is seriously hosed from the standpoint of having commercial software companies port their apps. Linux users don't like to pay money for software so Intuit can't make their 50 bucks, so good luck seeing any decent end user apps. Linux has great server stuff. However, most of that existed long before Linux was Linus' wet dream. Linux is built on 30+ year old technology.

Face it currently Unix is more scalable than Windows which is more scalable than Linux. Linux may ramp up to what Unix is, but by the time it does Windows will have gone past that. Windows has come to the point that people argue about it vs Unix. Windows has only been around 1/2 as long as Unix. So unless the Unix vendors get their heads out of their ass. Windows will own them. Yes, currently Unix hardware kicks ass, but Unisys and others are making some good Intel kit that will eventually outperform Unix if both platforms grow at their current respective growth rates.

Re:UNEMPLOYED?? THANK RICHARD STALLMAN! (2)

Lysol (11150) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940661)

Come ON! This is such bs! Granted Stallman if pretty far out there, but so is Gates. And in fact, so is Jobs too! Linux will probably, definitely, outlive OS X (I forget where I read, but the Linux desktop it will outnumber OS X desktops by next year or somethin), or at least out nubmer it substantially.

Personally, I don't think there's anything wrong with free software and I'd rather the public have access to code and ideas than just a few corporations via their rules. I think it takes two extremes to get people to find an acceptable medium. You sometimes need the extremes to wake people up for the long term. I have no problem with selling consulting services and contributing to the FSF not just with my pocketbook, but also with coding abilities. Like Lessig said "what have you contributed lately?"

As far as your 'unemployed' issue, it has absolutely nothing to do with Stallman. More to do with the banking industry over the past .con years and how they took the public on a ride off a cliff (which most went willingly I might add) and corporate America's insatiable appetite to gobble up more, pay their execs more, and lay off the average Joe more. But those are only a few reasons and frankly, it's not that simple.

Point really being, sell your brain power as services that you can dictate, or, punch a clock which someone else will dictate; the struggle of the worker since time began..

Re:UNEMPLOYED?? THANK RICHARD STALLMAN! (1)

Karn (172441) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940719)

Wow, talk about conspiracy theorists!

Listen. It's not Stallman's fault that thousands of people invested billions of dollars into thousands of companies who had no plan as to how they were going to make money by selling products below cost over the Internet.

You are confused.

Data (1, Offtopic)

Flamesplash (469287) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940629)

LoTR and ST:Nemesis: Weird! Gandalf is alive and Gollum betrays Frodo to a giant spider... but Data dies!

Must I remind you SteweyGriffin, I am not alive and cannot die. ;)

Data's not dead, he's just not operating within normal parameters

So when you get membership... (3, Funny)

jpt.d (444929) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940487)

...does everyone that you are linked with automatically become a member too?

Re:So when you get membership... (1)

Dionysus (12737) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940540)

Naaah, just your right to choosing your own license on the software you wrote.

Er... (1)

inerte (452992) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940490)

http://slashdot.org/ != http://member.fsf.org/

Is this Charity for Corporations week? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4940496)

First we have Mandrake begging for money for the SECOND time, and now the FSF?

Wtf?! (1)

Squidgee (565373) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940502)

Did taco even check the links? They all go to "Slashdot.org"

Bah, stupid "Editor". The actualy site is here.

Re:Wtf?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4940508)

did you even bother to check your spelling?

Re:Wtf?! (1)

Squidgee (565373) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940516)

Dangit, link didn't work. I need an "editor" (Or an "edit" command) =p.

The site is here. [fsf.org]

Change the name (4, Funny)

ToasterTester (95180) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940504)

They will have to change their name to the Fee Sofrware Foundation.

Guess Stallman finally wants a taste of the good life. Now Stallman can pay the course fee for that round of golf with McNeally and Gates.

Re:Change the name (0)

casiowatch (596956) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940519)

Come to think of it... What does Stallman do besides giving talks all the time? I haven't heard much come out, other than the GNU Radio (but that's run by an Electrical Engineer).

Re:Change the name (2)

Telex4 (265980) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940545)

For the umpteenth time, there is a difference between "free as in beer" and "free as in speech". Free Software gives you freedom in terms of use, but it does not guarantee free prices. The GPL even says that developers may sell their code for as much as they like, so long as they offer the source code with the provisions of the GPL for no more than that price again.

The Free Software Foundation need money, and they aren't a company, so this seems like a nice way of giving it to them, which will give us all good returns in terms of personal well-being (if you really belive in Free Software) and because it will help the FSF help spread Free Software.

And I very much doubt much of this will go into Stallman's pockets!

Re:Change the name (2)

NineNine (235196) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940566)

I believe in Free Enterprise. Being able to offer any product you'd like for sale at any price you'd like. I contribute by buying software that I feel is a good value to me, and I don't buy software that's not a good value to me. So far this seems to have been working pretty well. Software today is a hell of a lot better than it was even a few years ago, and it's helping to drive what's left of the US economy. Is there a good reason to support the Anti-Free Enterprise Foundation?

Re:Change the name (4, Insightful)

Synn (6288) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940622)

FSF software is actually quite a bit more business friendly than MS software. With Linux I don't have some corp looking over my shoulder telling me how I can use their software and asking me to upgrade every 2 years for large sums of cash.

I don't believe the FSF has ever sicked the BSA on anyone either.

What's driving the economy isn't the software business, it's businesses using software. When businesses use open source software they can take ownership of it in ways they never could with proprietary software. There are no license restrictions, no pay to be current upgrade schemes, no sales reps dropping by the manager's office selling beta technology.

If Linux wasn't helping to drive the US economy, then Oracle and IBM wouldn't be standing behind it.

Re:Change the name (4, Funny)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940577)

Free Software gives you freedom in terms of use...

Except for that bit about not being allowed to change the license terms. That's a bit of a sticky wicket, isn't it?

I've been lobbying for some time to get them to change their name to the "Partly Free Software Foundation," or the "Mostly Free Software Foundation," or the "Free-as-in-Restricted Software Foundation," or the "Free As Long As You Do What We Say Software Foundation." Strangely, none of these ideas have garnered much of a positive response from them.

Re:Change the name (2)

donutello (88309) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940616)

The GPL: Free as in Herpes.

Re:Change the name (2)

Telex4 (265980) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940658)

"That bit" is there to stop the license being useless, as its aim is to keep software being written in the interests of the community, rather than a few parties.

If you want a license whose aim is to give maximum freedom to the user, but not the community, use the X11 license - there's no point in making a duplicate.

Whether the GPL is then "Free" depends on whether you think individual freedom is more or less or equally important than/as the freedom of society.

Re:Change the name (2, Insightful)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940874)

"That bit" is there to stop the license being useless, as its aim is to keep software being written in the interests of the community, rather than a few parties.

Ah, yes. Let's put the good of this nebulous idea called "the community" ahead of the good of the individuals. That logic has worked so well in the past, you know.

This all boils down to the same thing: redefining "freedom" to suit one's own ends. Orwell had a name for that; he called it "newspeak."

Let's drop the euphemisms and speak plainly: the GPL is a restrictive license, just like any other restrictive license. The GPL differs from other restrictive licenses only in what activities it does and does not allow; it is not fundamentally different from any other restrictive license.

Re:Change the name (3, Insightful)

Synn (6288) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940722)

Except for that bit about not being allowed to change the license terms. That's a bit of a sticky wicket, isn't it?

If you own the copyright on the software you're free to change the license anytime you want.

If you don't own the copyright, then no you can't steal it and release it under your own license. Wow, what a bummer.

Re:Change the name (2, Insightful)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940772)

If you don't own the copyright, then no you can't steal it and release it under your own license.

How can I steal it if it's "free?" If it's "free" I should be able to do what I want with it, right? Let's take a very reasonable case: let's say I want to create a derivative of Readline. (Imagine some neato improvement to Readline, like allowing it to support Unicode [if it doesn't already].) Let's say that I want to release my derivative under the LGPL.

Damn! Can't do it! Readline is only available under the GPL, so people who create derivative works from it aren't allowed to release those works under any license less restrictive than the GPL.

Yeah. That's "free" for you. It astounds me that the same Slashdotters-- not necessarily yourself, though you may be one of them too-- can deride things like the DMCA and the Department of Homeland Security while upholding the FSF as standing for "freedom." The FSF commits Franklin's fallacy more blatantly than anyone else: those who would sacrifice liberty for security-- as the GPL most certainly does, in restricting the liberty of the user to ensure the continued availability of derivative works-- deserve neither.

Life is all about compromise. If you want to license your software under restrictive terms for your own ends, be my guest. But don't be so arrogant as to call what you're doing "freedom," and what others want to do "stealing."

Re:Change the name (2)

Synn (6288) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940894)

The GPL is a free license(as in free speach), because it guarantees the continued free access to the software code.

Your use of Franklink's fallacy is a straw man, the GPL restricts no liberties rather it inhibits the ability to restrict the freedom of the code. Get a dictionary, look up liberty, see if it says "restrict freedom".

Re:Change the name (1)

chrisseaton (573490) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940898)

You are exactly right here. The GPL is missing one important freedom - the freedom to apply whichever license you want.

Re:Change the name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4940930)

No you idiot.
The GPL does not remove the freedom to "apply whatever license you want" to your own works. If someone chooses to use the GPL they have decided that their copyright on the work is still important to them and they wish to also grant a few extra "freedoms" in addition to fair use. Yes I do think the actual person that writes the code should have a little more say about how it may be used than some idiot bystander.

No one is stopping you from rewriting the evil GPLed software and applying whatever license you want to it.

Re:Change the name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4940908)

You are trying to take a very overloaded word (free) in the English language and form a logical argument. This is fallacious. "If it's free I should be able to do what I want with it, right?" is not valid. You don't define "free" well enough, so how can we conclude that you indeed can "do what you want with it, right?"

I don't know who holds up the FSF as standing for freedom, but unlike the DMCA and Homeland Security it has not, as far I am aware, actually presented a risk of taking freedoms from groups of people. Even though Stallman has published questionable essays (exercising his freedom speech) he and the FSF have not shown a movement to actually force their views through legislation. Comparing the two is ludicrous.

Although RMS has suggested that all software should be GPLed, and has very strong views on the topic, we don't see him rallying congress to pass laws that would require us all to follow the will of the FSF.

Copyright law is quite clear. The GPL as it stands, enhances your rights to a work over and above basic copyright. So, the GPL does add a measured amount of freedoms to a copyrighted work.
If you don't like the GPL on a work, you can actually ignore it! You will be left with a copyrighted work. This, in most jurisdictions, give you less

You really seem to have issue with copyright law. Perhaps you should campaign against it, and stop making shitty arguments on slashdot.

Re:Change the name (2)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940910)

How can I steal it if it's "free?"
Restate that to "how can I capture that if its to remain free.
The perspective you are missing is that the freedom has to do with the ability of the software to remain free. Hence, the BSD liscense grants you the user more "freedom" in that BSD-ed software can be caputured and enslaved to the benifit of the software-slaver. GPL-ed software has a "live free or die" clause. The software must remain free, so your "freedom" to enslave is denied to the greater benifit of freedom to the community.

In terms of sacrifing liberty for security, isn't that actually what you suggest: that the Liberty-as-in-Freedom forever of the GPL be sacrificed for the temporary Security-as-in-Economic rewards for a few right now?

Freedom (1)

marx (113442) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940911)

If it's "free" I should be able to do what I want with it, right?
No. Are you a free citizen? Are you allowed to do anything you want?

"I'm not allowed to murder my neighbor, I'm not free!". Bla bla bla.

Re:Change the name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4940788)

Uhhh...no. BSD code writers still own the copyright, and others can release it under their own license. WOW WHAT A CONCEPT?? YOU MEAN ITS TRULY FREE??? yes!

Remember when the lunix kernel team or whomever it was stole that BSD code for IDE stuff and didn't even credit them? Its said 20% of the code in lunix distrobutions, minimal, is straight from BSDs. They are allowed to take copyrighted code, under the BSD license, and put it straight to license under their RMS/GNU/GPL.

The lunix teams do not own the copyright, and yet they STOLE the code (by not giving credit where due) and released it under their own license without adhering to the license the BSD code was under...

I'm not trolling really, I just find it funny that a community that so strongly prides itself on its license and enforcing it, that it can't even respect others'.

Re:Change the name (1)

MeanMF (631837) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940606)

For the umpteenth time, there is a difference between "free as in beer" and "free as in speech". Free Software gives you freedom in terms of use, but it does not guarantee free prices. The GPL even says that developers may sell their code for as much as they like, so long as they offer the source code with the provisions of the GPL for no more than that price again.

Sure, and the person I sell it to is then "free" to sell my software to anybody they like for as much as they like, or just give it away. Check the GPL FAQ: [fsf.org]

"...if someone pays your fee and gets a copy, the GPL gives them the freedom to release it to the public, with or without a fee. For example, someone could pay your fee, and then put her copy on a web site for the general public."

Re:Change the name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4940571)

Maybe he can finally pay for a razor and a bar of soap...

Is it really Free then? (1)

Flamesplash (469287) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940509)

It seems that this just begs the question about whether it is actually free or not. The software may not cost anything, but if money has to come in from other directions for the software to be available then it is costing money.

This begs of RedHat's business model, make the software free but charge for the support. If a company goes into business knowing that they will be making all their money off of support then do I as a customer really want to use their software? Cause it seems to me like I'm just going to me turning around and paying them because it is not user friendly.

I love GNU software and all, but if FSF needs money for this Free Software to be available....

Pehaps I'm blurring the lines between Free Software and OSS too much

Re:Is it really Free then? (4, Insightful)

Dionysus (12737) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940525)

Free software foundation has never been about free software. It's about Free software, as in, freedom to do whatever you want with the software, as long as you don't limit other people's freedom too.

Free Software has never been about money (as in whether to charge for it or not)

Weird that someone who reads Slashdot regularly would ask this, since it comes up every time there is a story about FSF or RMS.

Re:Is it really Free then? (2, Insightful)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940559)

The fact that the "free" software foundation has to go to great lengths to explain what they mean by "free" pisses me off to no end. Their name and their overall public relations plan are downright deceptive. If I hear "free as in" one more time, I'm going to puke.

Oh, "except" pisses me off, too. "You're free to do whatever you want with our software! Except..."

So the "free" software foundation's software is neither free (zero cost, because that's not what it's about) nor free (without restriction, because the GPL ties your hands). Bah.

Re:Is it really Free then? (2)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940611)

Free as in puke? ;)

Look, freedom is always relatively defined. Absolute freedom is anarchy, and nobody (except a few nutjobs who aren't generally concerned with legal matters pertaining to source code) really wants that. Personally, I agree with you that the GPL is too restrictive, which is why I don't use it for my own code (the stuff I write on my own time, I release under the Artistic License.) But GPL'd software is indisputably more "free" by any reasonable definition of the word than proprietary, closed-source stuff. For any piece of GPL'd software, you can do everything with it you can if that software is proprietary, plus more -- therefore it and you are more free.

I see the FSF as useful fanatics. I don't want to live in Richard Stallman's world (though I prefer it to Bill Gates') but sometimes you need the fanatics to widen the terms of debate, to shift people's ways of thinking out of a narrow rut. It's kind of like the role played by the Green Party in European politics (the role they play in American politics ... don't get me started) or the NRA in the US. They're absolutist to a degree most of us find counterproductive and kind of scary -- but they keep people talking and thinking instead of just giving up and saying, "Oh, well, that's just the way it is, what can you do?"

Re:Is it really Free then? (2)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940736)

But GPL'd software is indisputably more "free" by any reasonable definition of the word than proprietary, closed-source stuff.

Well, excepting for the moment that this is a giant straw-man argument, why don't they call it the "Freer Software Foundation?" How about the "More Free Software Foundation?" Calling it "free," without qualification, is just bullshit.

I see the FSF as useful fanatics.

Oh, I suppose you've got a point. What's the expression, "There but for the grace of God go I?" It concerns me that so many people take them quite seriously, though.

Re:Is it really Free then? (2)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940812)

How is what I said a straw man? Like I said, freedom is relatively defined. "More free" is "free," if the "more" is big enough. During the Cold War it was entirely reasonable to say that the US was a free country and the USSR wasn't, even though the US wasn't (and isn't) absolutely free by any means. Similarly it is reasonable to say that GPL software is free and proprietary software isn't.

I wasn't thinking about the "there but for the grace of God" thing (I can't see any circumstances whatsoever under which I'd turn into Richard Stallman) as about the fact that a lot of people do take the FSF seriously, and that's a good thing. Like I said, like the Greens and the NRA, they're doing the rest of us a favor by shouting so loud, by widening the terms of the debate.

Look, how long have the BSD and MIT licenses been around? Twenty, twenty-five years, something like that? And yet in all that time, they did jack shit to stop the rise of Microsoft; more importantly, jack shit to stop the idea of absurdly expensive, absolutely proprietary software from becoming "the way software is" in the mainstream view. It took the GPL, GNU, the FSF, and Linux to put a serious crack in that wall. Sometimes the squeaky wheel does get the grease.

Re:Is it really Free then? (2)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940869)

Ok, so then: Optimized for Globally-Not-Locally Maximized Freedom-as-in-Liberty Software-as-in-Human-Readable-Sourcecode Foundation? The OGNLMFLSHRSF does have a nice ring to it...

Re:Is it really Free then? (1)

quinticent (230886) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940882)

So I guess you take an issue with the phrase "Free Speech" or the line WE, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in GENERAL CONGRESS, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; which comes from the Decleration of Independence.

Perhaps those uses of the word free bring you to think they are talking about money. The problem is not with FSF's use of the word but with the English languge itself. These days most free people take their freedom for granted and are inundated with offer for "free" merchandise from the TV and other media. Get your free checking; free toy with every purchase of a happy meal. Funny that these things aren't ever realy free from money. Both meanings of the word "free" are valid and have been used throught history.

Re:Is it really Free then? (1)

quinticent (230886) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940570)

Yes it is real "free" as in freedom. FSF is a non-profit which prmotes free software. To do this they need money like you need money to do most things in this world. Free Software is created on computer that cost money. Food costs money. Making things free as in beer is not the goal of the FSF. Creating and fostering a development model that preserves the freedom of the user, is.

From Selling Free Software on FSF web site [gnu.org] :

The word ``free'' has two legitimate general meanings; it can refer either to freedom or to price. When we speak of ``free software'', we're talking about freedom, not price. (Think of ``free speech'', not ``free beer''.) Specifically, it means that a user is free to run the program, change the program, and redistribute the program with or without changes.

<snip>

Since free software is not a matter of price, a low price isn't more free, or closer to free. So if you are redistributing copies of free software, you might as well charge a substantial fee and make some money. Redistributing free software is a good and legitimate activity; if you do it, you might as well make a profit from it.

Free software is a community project, and everyone who depends on it ought to look for ways to contribute to building the community. For a distributor, the way to do this is to give a part of the profit to the Free Software Foundation or some other free software development project. By funding development, you can advance the world of free software.

Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4940579)

It seems you wish to live off the freedom supplied by others. Freedom is a two-way street. You have to work towards obtaining and maintaining your freedom. Did the freedom you know enjoy living in your country come without a cost (be it soldiers' lives or taxes)?
As far as I can tell you're just a cheap bastard leaching off the hard work of others and complaining when the hat is passed around.

hehe - Can O' Worms (2)

Flamesplash (469287) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940680)

Did the freedom you know enjoy living in your country come without a cost (be it soldiers' lives or taxes)?

99.5% ( give or take ) americans do live without really giving up anything. Money as taxes is inconsiquental, but very very few americans I think would be willing or able to pick up a gun and go beat up some other country because they did something to us or we don't like them.

Personally my father was in the Marines for 30 years and was in Vietnam twice. My oldest brother is currently in the Marines. If my father hadn't come back from Vietnam, my family wouldn't be here. While this gives me no claim to defending my country it is scary to be that close too it.

As far as the FSF, another post summed it up. Their goals are a bit confusing, due in part to their misnomer name.

Re:Is it really Free then? (1)

bheerssen (534014) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940612)

Yep, it's still free - as in speech.

It's great to able to download software at no cost, but it's more important to be able to download software that's open and extensible.

Also, and please correct me if I'm wrong, but the FSF is a not-for-profit organization - which makes this sort of fund drive more palatable than fund drives for for-profit companies such as Mandrake.

I, for one, am seriously considering becoming an associate and will probably do so after a little more careful consideration. The FSF have done much to support OSS and the free software movement and they deserve support.

"Seems a little odd to me" ...? Not at all! (5, Insightful)

mcgroarty (633843) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940510)

Many will complain that they don't support the FSF 100%. The organization has many hard line views which are too binary for most.

Consider this, however: If you agree with the majority of their views, they still represent something closer than the alternative. And, you've already been supporting the alternative extreme every time you buy a closed source product or accept hardware with the understanding that you're at the vendor's mercy for updates and ongoing compatibility issues.

The FSF isn't mandating that you support them financially, as closed vendors typically do. There's another form of freedom for you there: If cash is tight, don't give. You're still doing the right thing. But if you can spare ten bucks a month without grief and you're benefitting from the FSF, you probably know what the right and responsible thing is there, too.

Re:"Seems a little odd to me" ...? Not at all! (3, Funny)

NineNine (235196) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940590)

You're still doing the right thing

Talk about binary. I don't agree. It's not that cut and dried. I think that by supporting the FSF, you're deliberately undermining the economy and the entire free enterprise financial construct by supporting volunteers who write code, yet contribute nothing to the economy. I'd much rather pay for good software that provides value to me than to give money to some nebulous organization that doesn't pay taxes, doesn't pay it's employees or workers (developers). Call me nuts, but I believe firmly that people should be compensated for work.

Re:"Seems a little odd to me" ...? Not at all! (1)

mcgroarty (633843) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940654)

I think that by supporting the FSF, you're deliberately undermining the economy and the entire free enterprise financial construct by supporting volunteers who write code, yet contribute nothing to the economy.

You're making a classic mistake here, confusing freedom and free stuff. The FSF does not prohibit charging for derivative works or related support products and similar.

The FSF does not work against the economy. Red Hat, SuSE and many others have managed to build large businesses atop a base of free software. Even IBM, Apple, Sun and Oracle are reaping significant rewards from free software. Free software is enabling free market competition: Microsoft would be impossible to compete with if free software weren't providing such a boost to smaller companies and individuals, while empowering the user to use the hardware he or she purchases with fewer arbitrary restrictions.

Re:"Seems a little odd to me" ...? Not at all! (3, Insightful)

Simon Brooke (45012) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940655)

It's not that cut and dried. I think that by supporting the FSF, you're deliberately undermining the economy and the entire free enterprise financial construct by supporting volunteers who write code, yet contribute nothing to the economy.

In future, try turning your brain on before posting.

If people write code which is useful, that is a real contribution to the economy. If they then make it freely available to all the enterprises which can make use of it, that is necessarily a bigger contribution to the economy than if those enterprises had to pay for it. Quite the opposite from undermining the economic system, free software is propping it up, making enterprises more felxible and profitable and therefore able to add more value for their stakeholders.

Re:"Seems a little odd to me" ...? Not at all! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4940678)

by supporting the FSF, you're deliberately undermining the economy

Oh look Mr. Frodo, it's one of Mr. Bilbo's trolls!

Re:"Seems a little odd to me" ...? Not at all! (1)

Ryan_Singer (114640) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940702)

THese people are being compensated for their work. They participate by their own free will, and in exchange, they benefit from the other participants programming knowlegde and time being added to their own to create a much better product than they could alone. One of the big things about free enterprise is free association, and this is a perfect ecample. We have here, people choosing to associate to provide themselves with partners for programming. The only ones who should be donating money are those who are members of this band of programmers who want their money to go towards facilitating this cooperation and also wish to carry a card that displays their afiliation.

Re:"Seems a little odd to me" ...? Not at all! (2)

abe ferlman (205607) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940710)

I for one am glad you constructed such a ridiculous straw man for the pro-FSF posters here to beat on.

Call me nuts, but I believe firmly that people should be compensated for work.

People are not compensated for work. The US Supreme Court rejected the "sweat of the brow" theory of copyright in the Feist case quite a while ago. People are compensated for ownership of a monopoly, not for "work". People who choose not to participate in the idea ownership system are at a competitive disadvantage against government granted monopolies, so there's less money for that sector of the market right now. But like the Whos in Whoville, they do it anyway because it's not about the presents. You are nuts, and you're welcome.

Not so "binary"... (1)

alecu (5018) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940838)

The organization has many hard line views which are too binary for most.

Quite the opposite. The FSF is well known for its desire for "source".

So... (2)

bconway (63464) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940520)

Are we going to start seeing Ameritrade commercials about "I bought FSF."? Since this is Charity for Corporations week, how about spoofs where the punchline is "I bought Mandrake. All of it."?

rates and benefits (1)

altaic (559466) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940521)

The links on the story are broken. Here are the actual links: rates [fsf.org] benefits [fsf.org]

Re:rates and benefits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4940537)

All the links are broken.

Re:rates and benefits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4940591)

All links are broken. You're just not smart enough to realize this.

Benefits (1)

linuxwrangler (582055) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940529)

And as a special benefit, all members will get special deep discount prices on all Free Software Foundation programs.

Did anybody read the "Benefits of Membership"? (2)

Dunark (621237) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940536)

If so, I'd love to know what a "bootable membership card" is.

Re:Did anybody read the "Benefits of Membership"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4940574)

It's a mini-CD, the size of a business card. The printing on it carries your memebership information, while the data on it carries Debian.

Re:Did anybody read the "Benefits of Membership"? (1)

bheerssen (534014) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940670)

from the benefits page [fsf.org] : You will receive a personalized, bootable, business-card-sized GNU/Linux distribution as your membership card.

This GNU/Linux distribution is based on LNX-BCC. New cards will be sent to renewing members every year if and only if there is a new major release of LNX-BBC.


Sounds like a linux distro on a business card shaped CD. I don't personally know much about LNX-BBC, but I think the idea's pretty nifty.

IN NAZI GERMANY (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4940541)

You get SHOT for joining the software foundation!

DEAD bloody links! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4940543)

The links in the story go to nowhere! I got 404 pages.. folks, please check your links.. jeez!

beast (1)

grub (11606) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940544)


Free Software Foundation
123 Whatever St.
Anytown, USA

Dear Sirs,

I'd like to become an associate member of your group. Free software is becoming a real force in the world and I'd like to be there to embrace and extend it for all to benefit.

Yours very truly,

William Gates III


IN SOVIET RUSSIA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4940547)

The software foundation joins YOU!

ah Did someone ask for the Free Masons? (1)

linuxislandsucks (461335) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940551)

..did someone ask for the Free Masons?

No?

How about different membership levels? (1)

SpookyR (115189) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940561)

US $120 is a lot of money in many countries. Not long ago this was how much I used to make in a month at my job!

Perhaps, the FSF would consider different levels of membership so that more supporters from around the world can join.

Secondly, as part of its membership benefits, the FSF should try and get popular distros to offer discounts to FSF members on upgrades. That would be a tempting benefit.

It is the coming thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4940567)

A lot of open source software is now 75% of the way there. That last 25% of polishing takes more time and resources than the first 75%. Open source is starting to realize they do need money. Looks like the 60's is over and its back to the establishment.

Why do they need money? (1)

claygate (531826) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940572)

If its free software, then why do they need money? Maybe people should start thinking "open source" more like "i pay for the product but get the source". But of course no many people would pay for some of the subpar products out there that are free. For those products which are worth the money advertising is just too expensive. Seems like a dead end. I think someone will find a way out, but the weak must die first.

Re:Why do they need money? (1)

webworm (265121) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940609)

Every organisation has it constant costs. Also, free software hasn't has to be gratis.

Legal battles! (5, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940673)

Perhaps you've heard of the DMCA?

If you dislike laws like that, wouldn't it be great to have an organization to help fight legal battles that might eventually bring down bad laws, or perhaps loobby to help stop them in the first place?

Well there is such an organization, it's called the EFF!! By giving money to them you aren't just helping develop free software, you are helping to pay for legal fight that make it possible to keep writing Free software.

Rather than waste any time and effort of futile boycotts, why not join the EFF instead and help an organization that is actually doing something real.

Communists? (2)

bahwi (43111) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940575)

"by becoming a card-carrying associate member. "

Great, and when people call us communists they can now just say "card carrying commie!"

Re:Communists? (3, Informative)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940686)

Well, yeah, and of course that's the association Daddy Bush was going for when he called Michael Dukakis a "card-carrying member of the ACLU." Dukakis missed a golden opportunity at that moment, because at that time (IIRC) ACLU membership cards had the Bill of Rights printed on the back. Dukakis could have pulled out his card, read the Bill of Rights, and then said, "Okay, George, which of these do you object to?" Unfortunately, Dukakis didn't have the showmanship for something like that.

Anyway ... seems to me "card-carrying" FSF'ers could do something similar. If you really believe in the ideology of the FSF (I don't, exactly, though I'm in sympathy with it; I posted elsewhere in this topic about "useful fanatics") then get a card. If someone then uses "card-carrying member of the FSF" as an insult, give them the "free as in ..." spiel and then ask, "What exactly do you object to?" If you're reasonably polite about it, and assuming you bathe more frequently than Stallman, you might even change someone's mind.

not expensive (1)

webworm (265121) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940580)

In fact, if you join you get RMS' new book ($2$), and 20% on all FSF merchandise. So just buy some manuals and tshirts and your $60 will be well spent. Not to forget you are helping the FSF

Re:not expensive (1)

webworm (265121) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940599)

if you are a student ofcourse. If you aren't and you work then it isn't expensive too.

This is one of the rare time I see a student fee be payable.

IN SOVIET RUSSIA (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4940586)

even they don't like linux

I think I will... (2)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940589)

I've paid monthly as a member of a lobby group to support the company I work for. Why not support a more important politcal organization?

GPL Memberships (1)

MeanMF (631837) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940640)

Here's my plan - I'm going to sign up for a membership card, and then under the terms of the GPL I can resell memberships to anybody I'd like to.. So if you want a membership card, don't send $120 to the FSF, send me $20 instead and I'll give you one!

Do we see an PBS business model? (2, Interesting)

dachang (258727) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940641)

The way FSF is operating is getting closer to the PBS model everyday.

First, they plead for memberships. Pretty soon they will have a yearly membership pledge drive. Perhaps they will start holding off releases until they can reach a goal of 1.5 million dollors every year.

Second, they will solicit corporate sponsorship. Maybe in the next version of emacs, you will have to stare at an ad disclaiming that "Our gold sponsor is Micro$oft Corporation. Micro$oft. We bring windows to your desktop. (Or whatever their tagline is.)" Perhaps when you do C-x C-h you will see first "This feature is sponsored by GeeEee, GeeEee, we bring good things to life."

The problems with PBS model are two fold: 1) it sure is annoying to endure these pledge drives and the sponsorship messages; 2) the sponsorship messages are not much different than commercial ads. It can be argued that PBS is not that much different than your regular commercial station. As such, it is inevitable when your sponsor will exert influence on your content, especially your editorial content.

Similarly, it is not hard to imagine when a sponsor of FSF "gentlely" suggests that a project be cancelled or a feature be altered because of conflict.

That will be the end of the free software movement.

Corected Links Here... (1, Informative)

qtp (461286) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940672)

Here are the corrected links:

Benefits [fsf.org]

Sign Up [fsf.org]

Yeah, I'm cheap...
so what.

Look at the "Gnu is not Linux" Icon (1)

dachang (258727) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940734)

Is it me or does the icon look like a robed penis?

Unbelievable.. (4, Insightful)

Lysol (11150) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940813)

Jesus, it's amazing! $10 a month!? Everyone bitches about M$ and Windows day in and day out. Yet I'm sure IE is prob /.'s biggest browser client. How do you get that? Uh, you have to have Windows (or CX Office/Wine :). So, short of pirating copies to install, you've all bought $100 of M$ crap! Possibly on a yearly or so basis. Then people whine about $10 for a foundation that, at least tries to help distribution of code instead of locking it all up for just a few people to benefit from!

Does Stallman own all GPL code? No. Do users get to keep copyright to the code they contribute? Yes. Are you free to use pretty much any GPL code in your application *and* sell it? Yes. Just include the source.

Oh, you're right, grandma and grandpa and mom and dad and Jim VC-less research Nerd down the street will wanna steal your trade secrets and compile your latest source for the coolest Mozilla plugin, therefore, screwing you out of a fortune. Get real! The reason M$ has switched from panic mode to embrace mode is because they see Linux server and desktop shipments are on the rise. Without the GPL, the computer industry would be in worse shape than it is now. If Quicken doesn't wanna write a client because they can't innovate some way to make money on Linux, then so be it. Where they fall, others will rise.

Everyone want's freedom when it's gone or don't care about it when it's there. Well, screw that. If you don't want an IE dominated web, use Mozilla or the OS equiv. If you want a M$-less domintate office, use Open Office. If you want to have control of your own audio or video content use a GPL OS or OS X. And if you want freedom in an industry that mostly doesn't care much about your freedom, then consider a piddly, measely, $10/mo. Something you probably wouldn't think twice about paying to the latest crappy blockbuster movie out there. Jeeze, 10$..

Free software not free? (1)

qute (78334) | more than 11 years ago | (#4940815)

Why is it that fsf needs people to donate money?
Is this the future for free software? People beg for money.

I love open source/free software, but I cannot help but see the money problem.

As I see it there are three ways of making money:
support
manuels
t-shirts, coffee-cups and so on.

Any thoughts?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>