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RMS Immature, Slashdot and Community Arrogant?

Hemos posted more than 15 years ago | from the interesting-food-for-thought dept.

Linux 375

Non-Newtonian Fluid writes "There's an article over at ZDNN that claims RMS is "immature politically" and "insists on a reward for [himself]" for claiming Linux should be called GNU/Linux. Furthermore, in a lengthy talkback article, Slashdot and the Linux community as a whole are accused of the same arrogance. Perhaps this merits a discussion of the way our community deals with outsiders.... " Now, before everyone turns on the flamethrowers, let's think about the matter-is this true? The problem with most of these situations is that they do have some inherent truth to them. The question, of course, is how much?

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I just don't post. (1)

Tsu (116) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962467)

I, for one, have opted to keep quiet rather than make a fool of myself and make the Linux community look bad. ]=)

It's worked so far.

But now I've said something.



Why on earth was Mettler given forum on here? (1)

Wakko Warner (324) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962468)

Has anyone read his absolute pathetic criticism of Open Source security? It basically amounts to "open source is bad because anyone can install a new version of the kernel and become root." I am not making this up.

It really would be a good idea to remove the Talkback link up above.

- A.P.

"One World, One Web, One Program" - Microsoft Promotional Ad

GNU/Linux (0)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962469)

I'm not a big fan of GNU/Linux. I hope they ditch the new formula and bring back Linux Classic.

RMS is making himself look like a crybaby. It doesn't take too many thought cycles to realize that nobody's ever going to start calling it GNU/Linux. Granted, he's done some great things and whatever, but he's still obviously capable of acting like a total git.


Idealism vs. Whining (1)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962470)

Idealism in this case would be explaining why you think it ought to be called GNU/Linux, then asking reporters to please call it such.

Immature whining is refusing to answer questions unless they use the term GNU/Linux. RMS might just as well have yelled "You must respect my authoritah!" at the top of his lungs for all the effect his little tantrum had.

Remember: Just because someone does some cool things doesn't mean that they're not also capable of acting like a complete nimrod.


RMS & Mr. Mettler, "Esq." (1)

opus (543) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962471)

Okay, so RMS is getting annoying. He's right that we should be thinking more about freedom, and it's true that without the GNU project we'd be nowhere: but unilaterally trying to change language is not only a waste of time, it pisses people off.

Just like it's true that women are discriminated against in almost every culture, but spelling it "wimmin" just makes you look stupid.

I'll call it GNU/Linux if the maintainers of the distro do. So it's "Debian GNU/Linux" and "Stampede GNU/Linux", but it's "Slackware Linux" and "RedHat Linux".

As for Mr. Mettler, "Esq.", I can't figure out what the hell he's talking about in his article. Does he mean that because the source code is available, it's easier to for an attacker to create a /bin/login with a back door? There are plenty of rootkits out there for proprietary systems! And has this guy never heard of MD5 checksums and hardware-locked volumes?

When it comes evaluating the security of a system, you should look at real-world track records. And if you'll do, you'll see that while Linux doesn't come out on top, another open-source OS does, viz. OpenBSD.

Absolutely true (1)

dmiller (581) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962472)

I am afraid that this criticism is well founded. For a community supposedly predicated on 'Freedom', it is very intolerant of dissenting views.

Witness the flamefest that ensues whenever a slashdot poster dares state that they like commrecial software, or preferrs M$ products.

IMO 'the community' should realise that bludgeoning people with your attitudes is not an effective way to change their minds. Quite the reverse, in fact.

Some thoughts...why RMS doesn't get credit (1)

Enry (630) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962473)

Take a picture of Linus. Nice clean cut boy. Short hair, no beard, no pocket protector. Wife and kids. Soft spoken, very modest.

Take a picture of RMS. Lived in his office for years. Typical "MIT nerd". Outspoken in his dislike of commercial (proprietary) softwate. Known (in our circles anyway) to incite people to the verge of riot (take the Tcl/Tk flamewars).

Now, if you were an editor of a major publication, who would you put on the front?

Let's be honest here. RMS has the right idea, but he's going about it wrong. To go around changing the name is just whining. Somehow, I don't think the press likes to be corrected that much.

RMS in London, supports slave-labour (0)

gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962476)

Posted by ChristianC:

I saw RMS talking in London a couple of nights ago. I couldn't help feeling he was being a bit over-the-top with the moral crusade aspect of Linux (sorry, GNU/Linux).
He was very insistent that it was everyones moral duty to not only use Linux, but make sure every app you run has the saintly blessing of being released under the GPL.

Strangely enough, he doesn't see anything strange about releasing an OS for Intel machines, despite Intel using slave-labour in Malaysia.

RMS (2)

gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962478)

Posted by Mike@ABC:

I like RMS. We've traded e-mails about GNU and Linux and this whole debate after one of my Linux stories ran and I didn't reference "GNU/Linux" throughout. He tried to convince me to change my site's entire style, but I can't and won't. People know it as Linux, and I won't confuse them because someone feels he's been given short shrift.

I think RMS does indeed feel left out, in a way, because of Linux' rampant popularity. But he shouldn't. The FSF did a great job with GNOME 1.0, and he's definitely got something with his views on intellectual property. I don't think RMS is any kind of has-been looking for his fair share of past glory.

THAT having been said...Linux is Linux, and trying to relabel the damn thing is counterproductive. Everybody wants Linux to succeed, but having RMS snipe at people for forgetting to place the GNU in front just won't help.

I fully believe in credit where credit is due. RMS and his GNU project have done some pretty incredible things. But this whole name game just makes him look like a cranky has-been rather than the dynamic, thoughtful visionary that he was, is and should be.

As for accusations of arrogance...well, yeah. The folks on here, and to a certain extent, programmers in general, are very proud of their abilities, and rightfully so. But for some, that ability also brings out a disdain for those who don't have it. If y'all want Linux to succeed, you will, at times, be forced to look at ineptitude in the face...and smile. Then help the people learn.

Again, this is just my opinion. I could be wrong.

arrogance is a UNIX tradition (2)

TedC (967) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962492)

I guess a lot of us picked it up in school, but arrogance seems to be part of the UNIX tradition. I'd even say that it's more of a hinderance to the mainstream acceptance of Linux than any of the perceived shortcomings of the software itself.

If we're going to get more people using Linux, then we're going to have to quit calling them clueless!


arrogance is a UNIX tradition (2)

TedC (967) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962493)

And are the reasons important enough that we should lie to people and pretend they're not clueless?

The problem with calling people clueless is that everyone is clueless about something, and of course don't even realize it. :-)


Naivite is in the eye of the beholder. (2)

X (1235) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962504)

I'm sure people thought Jesus was naive. I'm sure people thought the American revolutionaries were naive. I'm sure people thought Steve Jobs was naive. ;-)
The truth of the matter is, whenever you try to change the fundimental perspective of things, you look naive to the people who have accepted the status quo. Richard is a "fundamentalists free software advocate" in the sense that his views are driven by what he sees as being the right way for the world to be, and traditional pragmatic arguments don't make a lot of sense in that case.
If you want to change Richard's mind about his ideas, you have to show him how they'd be harmfull to society. Keep in mind though, his perspective turns traditional notions of what's good for society on it's head.

The comment about Slashdotters thinking it doesn't matter what they do is fair, if you are looking at the barrage of postings that appear on this site. What you have to keep in mind is that a lot of those posting are from people who are largely NOT contributing to the direction of Linux or OpenSource beyond their small little worlds.
If you talk with the Linus Torvalds, RMS's, ESR's, and Alan Cox's of the world, they all have well developed perspectives on what they're doing and where they intend to go with it. They don't all have the same idea, but I'm sure fate will sort the good ideas from the ones that aren't as good.
The irony of all this is that had an article on the APSL debacle, and it talked about how intelligent and sophisticated all the various free software/open source people were when evaluating the license.
It's all about how you spin it I guess. ;-)

GNU is asking for credit where credit is due (2)

X (1235) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962505)

I honestly think that Richard would be ok with GNU not getting all the headlines if he thought that the message about the name "Linux" were freedom. The problem is, he feels it isn't, so by forcing "GNU/Linux" on the table, it gives GNU some name recognition, and he hopes it will get people talking about freedom?

Hmmm. (2)

Drel (1281) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962507)

As has been said by many (perhaps most notably by ESR), the primary motivation for many free software developers is recognition. In many ways, RMS has been short-changed of the recognition he deserves for his work. I think it's perfectly reasonable for him to be upset that he, and the FSF / GNU, receive very little recognition for their work. I would be--wouldn't you?

As for many Slashdotters being arrogant, no argument there.

Truth, but only half-truth (4)

Thandor (1371) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962509)

I think that there is obviously a lot of truth in this. However, it's really only a half truth, in that while the observations may be correct, the conclusions the writers have drawn from them are less so.

For the RMS article, one has to agree that at times things do get sidetracked on to silly issues like the GNU/Linux one. However, the writer of the article fails to realise that to a lot of people, the political (ie freedom) aspects of open source/free software are just as or more important than the code itself. Thus it's neither surprising nor counter-constructive that a good proportion of discussion about such software is spent discussing these sorts of political issues.

Basically, the author looks on from the outside and percieves a problem that is only there because of his ignorance of the people and issues involved. Yes, it may look bad to him, but what would be worse is that people who don't know about free software never got the chance to hear about what the free is really supposed to mean.

Are some elements immature politically? Again, probably true, you can't expect everyone in a group as large and diverse as those who write/use/advocate open source software to all be informed or even interested in politics. In RMS's case, I believe this is true, he is politically immature in that he desperately clings on to the idea that he's a capitalist when all his writings on GNU's philosophy page are far more compatible with a socialist system. But he's not the only one guilty of this, or other contradictory political thoughts.

As for the second article, well, that is the nature of the beast that is the internet. If you speak out in a forum where there are enough people, you're bound to get flamed by at least a few. It wouldn't matter if it was Linux, MacOS, Windows, BeOS, FreeBSD, or something non computer related. He even acknowledges that he did get help, so I'm not quite sure what his problem is. He should just ignore the flames, and use the useful information, rather than taking them personally.

And it hardly takes a genius to point out that zealots of all OS religions are pretty much the same. That's why they're called zealots, dammit! If he's going to judge the usefulness of the software, or even the quality of the "community" based on the rantings of a few quick to flame zealots, then he's going to come up with the wrong answer every time.

As for his thoughts on slashdot, well, since he calls it a Linux site (It's news for nerds: stuff that matters - which is a whole lot more than just Linux), I think he shows himself to be so ill informed that it doesn't even need a response.

There are things we can take away from these articles, but nothing that wasn't already known by a lot of people - that some people in the open source/free software community are too quick to flame, and also that some of our "celebrities" aren't perfect, and don't necessarily know everything about everything.

Agreed (1)

MichaelKVance (1663) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962520)

I found little interesting or newsworthy in either of these links. Surprise! Someone thinks RMS is a little kooky. Surprise! Many people getting involved in a rapidly mainstreaming technology can be arrogant and childish!

What we need are better ways to transform that arrogance into something that is less combative and more helpful. Obviously these people have time and energy, let's use that to continue the "revolution".

Whoop! (1)

extremely (1681) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962524)

Whoop! Bring on the Legions of Immaturity!

That'd make a nice t-shirt...

And on a calmer note: There is truly a difference between arrogant and deliberately obnoxious. I sometimes think RMS works at obnoxiousness simply to get noticed and make people think.

We are the flaming, exploding, CGI-movie saturated MTV generation after all. If it isn't bright pink and green, naked, on fire and computer animated, I just yawn and walk away.

I just don't post. (0)

pberry (2549) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962535)

Better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt. 8-)

Possible Solution.... (1)

UberScoob (3015) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962542)

The solution to the RMS compulsion to call Linux GNU/Linux is easy. Call the next version of Linux (2.4 or whatever) , New Linux but spell it like Gnu Linux. Then when someone asks you what version of Linux you are running the conversation can go like this:
"What version of Linux are you running?"
"The new one."
"You mean the new (Gnu) Linux?"
"yep. thats it."
That way everyones happy as long as RMS doesn't insist on calling it Gnu/Gnu Linux.

OS -- the religion (2)

Jamuraa (3055) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962543)

Of course the whole linux community and slashdot are arrogant. Usually when people are going from one majority to a minority, they believe that it's because ther minority is better. I seem to remember a Dr. Seuss about some strange yellow bird-type things on the beach which preached alot of the same point. Once you switch, you don't want any part of what you came from.

We become heretics because we're still a minority. It might be that when the majority becomes Linux, we might be a little less arrogant about it. Of course then there will be some other arrogant minority...

Not GNU/Linux, GORE/Linux!!! (0)

burnsbert (3282) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962549)

Why doesn't Albert Gore ever get the credit he deserves. Since Al Gore invented Linux (after inventing the Internet) it should be called GORE/Linux.


I read the article... (4)

Dr. Evil (3501) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962557)

I read the article,

I read the talkback,

I read the essay on the "security hole" in open source.

By the same token this fellow should watch his back. His mechanic might put a bomb under his car just in case he doesn't pay up. His banks can be robbed by their employees, and his system administrators may design back-doors in his trusted networks.

After all the IE security holes, backorifice, the PGP exploits etc... this fellow has the gaul to say that a closed source system is immune to malicious backdoors? The only peer review closed-source seems to get is in backdoor exploits!

Excuse me while I kill my locksmith. He knows too much.

If he wants to make a point, he should at least place emphasis on the kind of subtle attacks which are possible. Unfortunately, I don't think he knows enough about computers to be able to recognize them.

I think I'll go put a floppy in my drive and "comprimize" my "top dog" access on my NT box. It is certainly harder to prevent than slipping backdoors into Linux.

(Damn, I've just wasted a half-hour of my life... oh well.)

Broad brushstrokes are never accurate... (1)

shadowd (4155) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962566)

While I agree that there is a security issue with Open Source and that Mr. Mettler has a point - he seems to be making a fairly pointed accusation at Slashdot.
Even Slashdot refuses to publish any article discussing it. Slashdot does promote Linux. But, they also claim to be open about their discussions. I would guess otherwise. (They do help publish any insults issued to anyone not supporting Linux 100%.) Did Rob send him a message saying I will never post anything detrimental to the Open Source movement, go fly a kite. Slashdot is a large system that doesn't post everything that it is presented. Having presented some insulting material regarding someone who does not support Linux at all, I can personally vouch that Slashdot isn't as one-sided as Mr. Mettler wishes the world to believe.

I've been attacked by the flame-throwers before regardless of what I am trying to convey. It seems to be a fact of life on the Internet, but it appears that Mr. Mettler is either taking it personally or assuming that the vocal attackers are the only Linux Supporters out there. Some people do actually follow the rule of If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

Having said all of that, I find it hard to imagine a perfectly secure system, whether it be Open or Closed source. As any experience hacker will tell you, anything is possible given the proper incentive.

Possible Solution.... (1)

morbid (4258) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962569)

Some of us pronounce "new" as "nyou".

Oh no, not L.A.M.E. again (2)

cthonious (5222) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962578)

Please don't pay attention to LAME (Lawrence A Mettler, Esq)

His major point was that someone with root access to an open source system could install a trojaned program. Duh.

I remember him from the infoworld forum he was talking about. Everyone was paying attention to what he was saying, but he wouldn't argue, he would just repeat the same thing over and over, even though several people were refuting everything he had to say.

Can't help but think about something... (2)

edgy (5399) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962580)

What if this is part of the attack on Linux by M$? Certainly, this is one area that has enough truth to it for people to come out with examples of how mean and nasty we are. Then again, maybe I'm paranoid about everything, since I would hate to see Linux coopted so late in the game.

OTOH, Free Software also has some of the best support out there, and that is another reason it has done so well. So, while we may have our little brawls, we still support our users, as a community.

So what if there is infighting. The same thing happens in any community. The people that make this community possible are the doers, not the talkers.

GGI does in fact compile on FreeBSD... (1)

MenTaLguY (5483) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962582)

...and other sundry Unixen. Some of the developers are avid FreeBSD users, which is one of the reasons for the switch to an X/BSD-esque licence from the LGPL.

Why does RMS feel this way? (2)

Pulver (5524) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962585)

I have a theory that explains why RMS feels this way. The original goal of the GNU project was to create a useful kernel. RMS has been working on this for well over a decade, and then this young guy from Finland pops out a kernel. RMS's original goal of creating a GNU kernel becomes redundant. GNU tools were added and a usable system was there.

RMS had his life's work pulled out from under him and I imagine that he resents that. I can understand that. He basically accuses Linux of riding on his coattails, though he didn't seem to care until it became popular. Now he wants to ride on the coattails of Linux. Keep in mind that in the early days of GNU, RMS said that the utilities were only a sideline that was needed for creating the GNU OS.

GNU does not make Linux. I beleive that if the GNU tools hadn't been available that tools would have been written. The GNU project has created many, many useful tools and RMS/GNU deserve credit for that. However, I do not beleive GNU deserves credit for Linux. There's more to Linux than GNU tools.

ZDNN articles are a plant (0)

hazeii (5702) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962586)

Personally, I find ZDNN articles extremely suspect. Clever, yes, but at some deep level pure FUD. For example, it was ZD with the bogus story about "Microsoft porting Office to Linux" (yeah right!) and with talk of MS splitting into 4 companies, I read ZDNN are on the one hand trying to 1) pretend MS is going the way the DOJ wants and 2) using FUD to maintain MS's illgotten position.
(Me? Bitter? It only took 3 weeks to upgrade my NT system at work....)

RMS and GNU/Linux (1)

John Fulmer (5840) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962589)

BTW, Speling is optional....


RMS and GNU/Linux (2)

John Fulmer (5840) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962591)

Although I don't agree with all of RMS's political agenda's, you do have to respect the man for sticking to his guns and principals.

GNU/Linux? Well, Red Hat, Debian, SUSE, etc.. are definately a large percentage, so I would agree that they should probably be called GNU/Linux Distributions (tm).

The kernel is Linux. Period.

Fascism (2)

tomblackwell (6196) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962593)

Many slashdotters feel the need to shift discussion into one of their favourite few topics. Some of the top ones include:

1) Bill Gates is evil. Jon Katz is utterly worthless. Linus Torvalds is the messiah. CmdrTaco cured cancer.

2) People who can't (assemble a computer from a stick of gum and a piece of string\compile kernels\install Linux\get rid of ?s in their posts) should be burned alive

3) I know a lot and you don't. I have always known this much and was never a novice. You don't deserve my help.

This is a very unfortunate state of affairs, because there are always gems of wisdom amidst the normal Slashdot effluvia. The moderation does wonders in banishing some of the worst of the drivel, but I think many new users would rather go somewhere and be treated more civilly.

Did anybody read Mr Mettler's paper? (1)

pathos (6269) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962594)

Indeed... this looks like what's been described over and over again for years on any of my old unix sysadmin manuals.

Let's not confuse things - give RMS the credit (2)

pathos (6269) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962595)

So RMS's has a deficit on social and communication skills (at least when seen from a 'mainstream' frame of reference)... Well?

Myself, i do hold as RMS a spiritual father in many ways, despite all the personality 'quirks' he might have (and seems to even treasure), like them or not. We are all human after all, and we all have our naughty sides that other people might not like (or even ourselves!).

I don't think it makes his ideals, work and contribution to make this world a better place for all of us less valid.

Let's give him the credit for that.

The talkback article - what is he refering to? (1)

jwm (7499) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962598)

I presume the 'security issue' that the guy in the second article is talking about is the one in the disadvantages section on his web site. If so, it's a little unreasonable to expect Slashdo to publish it when Bruce Pernes(?) has already done so in a feature article that also proposed solutions to the problem (the problem being that anyone can maliciously alter software with open source code, so how do you go about establishing trust in a given set of source code).

If it was something else he was refering to, he didn't bother to say, and I didn't see any discussion of it on Bugtraq. Anyone else got any idea?

True or false... (3)

Signal 11 (7608) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962601)

I think some slashdotters are arrogant. Comes with the territory, like it or not. But while there is a kernel of truth here, in true ZDnet form, this is more FUD than Fact.

I think it would be more accurate to say that many in the technical community are looking for the Right Thing, both in coding practice, and in social convention. This doesn't suprise anyone one bit - except people new to the way things work around here.


Not sure what to make of Mettler? (1)

BrotherPope (8102) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962608)

One thing to remember is that Mettler has made a hobby of pissing off people in the Talkbacks on ZDNet. I can remember people fuming about him nine months back, here in the comments section of SlashDot. I've seen a few of his head-firmly-up-his-arse postings, and I refuse to be baited into reading this one.

Lewis Mettler (3)

Anonymous Coed (8203) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962609)

This Louis Mettler person (who wrote the post mentioning slashdot) is surprisingly clue-free in regards to security. You should read his site if only to discover how not to structure a security analysis. Actually I wrote him a brief note explaining that he presented no logic or evidence explaning why open source was less secure than closed source.

The essence of his argument runs like this: the bad evil hackers can change system binaries because they have the source! ph34r them! Closed source systems such as NT are perfectly safe, because the evil bad hackers will never be able to install any malicious software.

I got news for you: your gate is only as secure as your gate-keeper. If you're afraid of your admin and how he might be corrupted by having all that source code lying around, you need to find a new admin. Here is the letter I sent him.

I must say respectfully, sir, that you have only a dim illumination of what you are talking about. As far as I can tell, the crux of your arguement against open source is that a person can recompile and install software with hidden trap doors. Please correct me if I am wrong.

To be able to install software (especially system software such as a kernel) on any normal Unix-like system, one must already have root access. How did one get that access? One is either already a trusted administrator (most likely) or one has "hacked" into the system by whatever method.

Let's look at the first scenario, and the one you seem to address most directly in your article. A person is able to modify critical system binaries because he or she already "legal" root access (they are the designated administrator of the system.) It is no big surprise that the administrator is able to easy do a wide variety of damage, both overt and subtle, on *any* machine, including closed source systems such as Windows NT. They do not need source code for this. They can just walk over to the machine hit it with a hammer, or simply rm -rf /. Or they could install their own version of sendmail that cc's everything to their inbox. Why? They are root. They can already do *anything* they want, read every users' files, and so on. Sure, having source code availible greatly simplifies some of the more subtle tricks. But not having it availible certainly doesn't mean the system is now secure even against a malicious administrator.

Regular users cannot do any of this kind of damage unless the particular system is hopelessly buggy or malconfigured. In which case they deserve to be hacked, as it will teach them a lesson. So, besides administrators and regular users, that only leaves outsiders who gain root access to worry about. Never mind how he got access ... maybe your sysadmin talks in his sleep, or maybe he just guessed passwords, or maybe he exploited a hole in network software. All systems, closed and open source, are vulnerable to "social engineering" hacks. And it has been well demonstrated that open-source systems are much more likely to get security holes patched in a timely and efficient manner. No matter what kind of system you have, if it is mission-critical, it pays to keep up with security announcements and updates.

Do you think not having source code availible will prevent a stranger who has root access from being able to do harm? Let's say I gain root access on a closed source system such as Windows NT. I then proceed to install my replacement login program that I wrote & compiled on my own system to *appear* to be the NT login manager. I now have everyone's passwords forwarded to my hotmail account. How is a closed source system more secure because the kernel source isn't availible?

You say:
How do you attack an open source OS? Find the rule that gets into your way and change it. Compile the program. And, install the new build. Simple and unlimited. And, possibly not detectable.

If someone can "install the new build" of system software, or install a hacked Windows explorer.exe they can F*CK you over no matter what. And if you don't trust your own system adminstrator, who can you trust? Find someone trustworthy or do it yourself.

You present no convincing arguements whatsoever. I wonder if you have ever administered a real system in a production environment. Your lack of insight into the way security works in the real world is astounding.

Thank you for your time,
Anonymous Coed (I sent him the email under my real name.)

RMS Immature? (1)

eponymous cohort (8637) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962611)

If he's going to stand there and tell everybody questioner that uses the term "LINUX" that they MUST say "GNU/Linux", then yes he is immature.

As much as he speaks about freedom, it seems that he is only for the freedoms that he agrees with.

I will continue to excercise my freedom and call it just "Linux"

Idealism vs. Whining (1)

Yohahn (8680) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962619)

He explained it first.. by not using the term, the person is pretty much invalidating what RMS just told him.. I can understand why RMS would be insulted.

It's like telling somebody something, and then finding out that they wern't paying attention to you.

Language (3)

Yohahn (8680) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962620)

Maybe I'm just a little wacked out, but I can understand where RMS comes from.

Language shapes how we think. By insisting on saying GNU/Linux RMS creates a mindset in the people who do it. I don't think it's an ego thing for RMS, I actually don't think he cares if he get's the credit, but he does want The Free Software Foundation and GNU Project to get credit, if for no other reason than to help promote their cause. (he dosen't want to call it RMS/Linux)

People do this sort of thing in general. We teach children not to swear. We in trying to promote equal rights take offense to the term Nig*er. We are right to do these things, for it is a positive change to be made in the society.

RMS is an idealist. Frequently people confuse idealism with immaturity. I think this happens because people start out more idealistic when they are young, and then become more cynical when they get older. When people encounter an idealist, they confuse if with youth (and immaturity).

I like RMS for his being idealistic.
This SHOULD NEVER be confused with his being immature. (just because the press is cynical dosen't mean that RMS should stop trying)

I find it quite humorous that RMS is frequently refered to waging a holy war, as he is an atheist.
But I can understand where he is coming from, he sticks to his principals.

So, if you agree with him, change your language. If you don't, be vocal in not saying GNU/Linux.
But stick to what you believe. Thats what's amazing about this group.. you stick to what you belive and focus on being productive, and working together on common goals. This is exactally what Christian Churches are unable to do, Ironic isn't it. Don't end up where the christian churches are!

In short: Stick to what you believe and go code!

("I am Religous, but I frequestly find my self respecting those who aren't, and what they say."
-Play on an RMS quote)

GNU is asking for credit where credit is due (1)

kzinti (9651) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962627)

The problem is that RMS is asking for recognition on his own terms -- no one else's will do. So it's not good enough for Linus and other Linux proponents to credit GNU when they talk about Linux; instead RMS insists that we must use the politically correct name GNU/linux. This seems unfair to the Linux community; by and large, Linux people credit GNU's role when they talk about Linux's heritage -- it's the twits in the press who lump all the credit on Linus's plate.


Not sure what to make of any of this. (2)

Eric Hillman (9785) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962631)

The TalkBack article, while I won't go so far as to dismiss it as FUD, strikes me as whiny, at least... 30 posters flame poor Mr. Berst, and suddenly the Linux community is a bunch of immature brats. Heck, if a news agency can't get 30 flames out of an article, it's not doing its job.

The security problem that this article refers to ( [] ) seems accurate, but obvious. The gist of it is, with totally open source, there's nothing stopping Bad People from rewriting the code to do Evil Things. However, this just isn't all that startling a revelation. If an intruder can't get into your system, it won't work. If it's someone who already has access, Open Source is irrelevant to the issue -- anyone with the time and know-how can patch or introduce malicious software to any OS, open or not. In short, this seems to me like a rather shallow observation. Maybe I missed something.

As to the other article, I'm not sure whether Stallman is becoming a crank in his old age, or if the media is simply overeager to paint him as such. Obviously, a breakdown of the cooperative culture of Open Source is just the sort of thing any number of journalistic doomsayers would love to see -- not to mention The Redmond Menace. On the other hand, Stallman's behavior of late bespeaks an individual with a dire need to chill out a little. I guess my perspective is, I don't care what Stallman wants to call it, I'm just happy that it works.

This is to be expected (3)

Knight (10458) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962639)

In any unorthodox movement such as OSS is, there is going to be a wide variety of people involved, from the overstating zealot to the timid, level-headed thinker. The problem we see here is not one of an overzealous and arrogant community, but one of perception. Because those who speak the loudest are heard the most, they are assumed to represent the whole, when they really only represent a small portion. I love Linux. I love it a lot. I probably love it more than I should, but I am not going to condone the actions of RMS simply because of who he is. He is human. He has done a great amount of good for the software world, but he makes mistakes. The biggest fault of the OSS movement that this exposes is not arrogance. It's that we are to ready to jump onto whatever bandwagon certain persons in the community create.
No matter what the world thinks of the maturity of the OSS movement, it's here to stay, and we all know that. Let's stop talking and prove it.

New forum.... (1)

afniv (10789) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962642)

I think one thing to take into account is the new forums, like /., available for folks to voice their opinions. There are always those who "flame bait" to boost their ego or see their name in print.

There are bound to be many opinions and viewpoints, and that is the whole point. I think one has to be careful when summarizing any conclusions or general opinions in such an open forum. The louder people are not always voicing the most popular viewpoints.

Now, it took me a while to find that "reply" button. All these changes to keep up with....

"Man könnte froh sein, wenn die Luft so rein wäre wie das Bier"
"We could be happy if the air was as pure as the beer"

RS imature? (0)

dduck (10970) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962643)

I'm first poster!

Anyway: Before anyone start saying something they might regret, remember that Stallman deserves respect. You may not agree with everyting, or indeed anything, he says or writes, but we all owe him. He has worked passionately for a decade to give us the freedom we all enjoy now - there is no doubt he is at least sincere.

Think before you post.

Thank you

Stallman, Jihads, and general incivility (2)

JohnnyX (11429) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962649)

I met Richard M Stallman at last year's Linux Expo. Not a horrible person, not evil (not many people are really). He reminded me a lot of a SysAdmin that I know. Long hair, scraggly beard, technical knowledge that seemed to have replaced most social skills.

As I recall, He, ESR, and Brue Perens were giving a panel discussion about the Open Source movement. Mr. Stallman did waste about 15 minutes of the discussion harping on the GNU/Linux thing, which if you've ever been subjected to experiencing it personally, you know is even more annoying and childish than people make it sound.

What I remember the best is him standing up and yelling at me for making the point that while I appreciated the work of the GNU/OSM/etc., I believed that proprietary software had many advantages, including more money for me as a developer of said software.

That background being given, while I respect Mr. Stallman's work, I don't have much respect for Mr. Stallman outside of a very narrow segment of Computer Science, or stated another way, he is a socially inept, annoying, whiny man who vaguely resembles a street person, but he's really smart/talented (at least the MacArthur Foundation thinks so).

As to the general incivility/close-mindedness of the Linux community to non-free/open/GNU/Unix software and its creators, I have experienced it. It makes me a little sad really. I remember Bob Young getting up to do a presentation at the aforementioned Linux Expo, and stating loudly that he was using Applix Presents(?) as a presentation tool, as he unsuccessfully tried to get it to work. Most of the other presenters had used PowerPoint. What frustrated me was the way people applauded him settling for software that didn't work (which is just a tool for filling up HDs), in lieu of using a Microsoft product that did the job. I turned to the my friend and said, "I'll clap when it works". Sometimes MS software is better, and when I need something done, I don't want an ideology/religion, I want a workable tool.

In general, the Linux community needs to be just a little bit more civil to the larger Computer Science/Computer Industry/Software/Internet community.


Did anyone check the Attorney/Software guy? (1)

F2F (11474) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962650)

I think he was a complete whiny/bitchy ass*cough*le :)) What have we here -- he discovered an "error", posted it on bugtraq (I presume) tried to post it on slashdot, created a "security web page" (triple quotes here people!! the guy has created something that a 5yo kid would do using Netscape Composer.. and would probably choose better colour for the background) and is now goddamn whiny because NO ONE GAVE HIM THE CREDIT HE DESERVED!!! Sheesh! you should've staied just an attorney :) Or maybe post the bug report as an AC on slashdot :P

Absolutely true (1)

Col. Klink (retired) (11632) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962651)

In what way, exactly, does a flame threaten freedom?

Freedom means being able to say M$ is wonderful, but it also means you can get criticized, berated, called childish names, have funny pictures drawn of your mother, and you may even be ignored (which, frankly, I think most "pro-M$" posters fear the most).

I may not agree with what your bumper sticker says
But I'll defend to death your right to stick it!

Different social norms (3)

Davorama (11731) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962652)

From where I'm sitting, this fellow just outlined what any outsider sees apon entering our world. Anybody who's spent any time here or in the news/mail/chat groups knows that the our community prefers to use a bit less tact, diplomacy, and/or social grace than most folks. It was disconcerting to me the first time I saw Linus and the EGCS team flaming each other to black soot in public too. This community is mostly a bunch of engineers, programmers, and scientists who are trying to get things done the right way and to do that, you can't pull the punchs or let something like the APSL slide without trying to change it.

So, now that we are faced by an influx of PHB types, press, and other assorted newbies who aren't used to this sort of behaviour what should we do? Nothing. They will get used to it. In the meantime, the heated debate that goes on will shape our policies and make our world (and our software) better places to live and work in.

I agree.... mostly (1)

Oz0ne (13272) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962676)

I agree with the assesment of RMS. He's a very intelligent man, who's done quite a few good things. A lot of what he's done benefits me. But reading his rants always infuriates me. Rarely does he use rationality. He seems to be a wanna be altruist. I'm not sure if that's worse than an altruist, or better...

Arrogant? (1)

Androgynous Coward (13443) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962677)

I personally enjoy the aura of arrogance. When can we get a tux tee-shift with "Arrogant Linux User" written on the back? I prefer it to the alternate "Submissive Microsoft Victim".

Just another Anonymous-Cowardly,Culturally-Elite, A.U.L.


Mediocre people don't like excellence (1)

Prophet (13824) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962679)

Well sure, a common perception may be that Linux users are arrogant; part of the 'mines better than yours' or more appropriately part of the change in mindset for TYPICAL computer users.

If someone has scorn for a computer system you are happy with, what is your reaction? Sure, we all could play nice and live and let live - but if you aggrevate others, they sometimes form perls of wisdom and catch a clue.

"Bob, you should try Linux" doesn't grab interest as much as "Bob, WinNT is crap in comparision to running that DNS on Linux - Linux wins handsdown." Arrogance? Perhaps.

As for RMS, I've never personally met him - but he does have the admirable quality of standing for something consistantly. And if anyone wants to be noticed they have to be perceived as unaccepted. He spreads the gospel of open source free software louder than ANYONE else. Peace and prosperity to him.

The meek shall inherit the earth - in the mean time the bold will make a pretty good living.

Arrogance and OSS (1)

Raindog (13847) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962680)

This is a problem that will probably occur repeatadly. I think two of the biggest factors contributing to open source software is ideology and need. This ideology can easily lead to arrogance, simply because of the strengh of these views that usually develops. This arrogance, however, is dangerous in a community that is depended on other as the linux community is. Face it, most linux user are dependent in a small way on most other linux users to develop new code, work out bugs....and stuff like that. It is what make the community neat, no one use is an island unto him or her self (horrible quote, but appropiate). When I picked up my first linux distro at the local software store, I was virtually attacked my helpful geeks. Many other nameless ones helped me learn how to actually use the darn thing. Like any community, new blood must keep coming in to keep things mixing, to add new ideas, new perspectives. The traditionally helpfull, open nature of the linux community is the strongest enabler to this process, and arrogance is a flaw that will turn off many. Pride in ones achievments, ideology and whatnot is one thing...but elavating that to the point where you position yourself above other is completely contrary to the whole point, and it will be a huge flaw if not controled. I think most people on /. and elseware are generally sane, respectfull and open, with just a few bad, loud, seeds making alot of noise. But we all need to make an effort to keep that openness available to all, else the entire point of the software is lost. As yet another horrible cliche, I leave you with a thought "open source, closed minds"....dont work does it. Everyone needs to chill just a bit. Dont abandon you guns; defend your views, just do it politiely, calmly and with at least polite respect for other, even inane, opinions. Elsewise we are just a huge, geeky mob.


Language (1)

Raindog (13847) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962681)

Was anyone actually at the Gnome launch who can confirm what happened.

I personally think that it probably be called GNU Linux.......gnu components make up a huge part of the OS, which goes beyond just the kernal. I don't actually call it that though, as the linux name is what has developed, and it is hard to change once in place....also GNU Linux sounds funny. Put RMS's and GNU's massive contributions should be acknowledged in some way.

Personal prejudice... (2)

theyman (13931) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962682)

There are always zealots in any forum that deals with a radical sociological change and the 'free' software/open source/linux community is just such a forum.
It's something to beware of how ever (as indicated by the subject...) personal prejudice run both ways the talkback article the post refers to has a reply which might put that in perspective: ml


Community Spirit?!? (5)

DLG (14172) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962684)

One of the things that I always appreciated about the 'hacker' community, was that you simply couldn't establish yourself in it without the respect of your peers. The general perception that there was a desire for knowledge and a desire to share knowledge, along with a certain lack of respect for those who did not have that ideology, made for a place where one was judged by ones contributions and not by ones status.

The development of Linux and the free software movement has always seemed to me to be a culmination on the kind of G-File hacker/phreaker of the 80's, with the benefit of resources that allowed an international and inexpensive media upon which to frame our world-view. The end result has brought a commercially sound status to what was never truly a business concept. Political skill was NEVER a benefit in this case. You can be an asshole but if you are right, someone is going to know. If no one knows you are right, well you tried.

Now alot of people are "NAMES" which is often a dangerous position. I remember associating with NAME hackers and knowing that for some of them, the NAME was all they had. This is true in ANY community, where past achievement is rewarded. The person who founded X or created X or did X is remembered with respect no matter WHAT they contribute recently.

Not so with Hackers. Respect for knowledge and skill is always there, and we worship some of the same idols, but to sustain a name in a world in which anyone can take your intellectual contribution, and modify it and make it theirs, requires a certain sense of promotion either by ones own effort, or by others.

The fact is that when I choose a product, I rarely base my opinion on that product on the specific person who invented it or the person who made it. We rely on umbrella organizations, corporations, research institutes, to give a mark of quality.

In the case of the Slashdot world, the people arguing over such things as the merits of different licenses to some extent are a rarefied breed. The majority of linux users don't care about the legal ramifications of using software because they would have taken it whether the license permitted it or not. By showing source code, it is all over. The license be damned. The fact that the corporate world needs those licenses to contribute to the movement, and the fact that the corporate world is BUYING the concept that those licenses have some value and that equivalent licenses (Apples) with certain restrictions, will be honestly followed, is a bunch of SHIT. Once I have your source code, you have to prove I have it. The hacker outside of the US doesn't have any obligations. The only thing that prevents abuse is HONOR, and that is a case in which any LEGAL effort is immediately suspect.

Control of information is not truly possible. Just as Microsofts patent on use of XOR to allow proper rendering of an onscreen pointer is absurd, so is the licenses. Those who create this show of legalese with terms like free or open as the adjective are marketing. The news sees the marketeers, they see the hype, then they realize that those 'hyping' are not really altruistic, despite the common sense that says that NO ONE who fights for abstracts is truly altruic, then they are offended by arrogance, aggressiveness, a sense of cockiness, that was part of our community when the term hacker wasn't even used in movies, let alone in boardrooms...

Every piece of software I design I provide legal protection for MY right to reuse code I developped. I attempt to avoid stealing other peoples code, but I often learn techniques of coding by looking at source code. In the end, I protect myself.

That is the goal of most of the public voices, as far as the press is concerned. Most of us are just taking advantage of every resource we have, and our interest in being a public face on a community so self-interested is not there. We are too busy...
We contribute to the movement because when we find a solution to a problem, we contact others and let them have our fix. When we take someone elses work and make it prettier, we thank the person who gave us that original work by returning the effort. But it is all self-interest. We are all arrogant thieves, stealing from each other, and happily calling it freedom and openness. If the walls came down, we would grab all the free software before it stopped being free and would hide it and share it more carefully, but we wouldn't lose a step. We would simply develop technical methods of protecting ourselves where legal methods failed...

A bizarre little rant cause I think it is time to stop patting ourselves on the back. I have been programming for 20 years and I want to remind folks that Apple ][+ came with a reference manual with the entirity of the intellectual property of Apples chip design, rom design, and listings for their OS, and basic. Open source isn't new. I used to type in programs from magazines. We aren't special. We are lucky to have seen in 30 years a transformation of computers into community builders, from corporate slaves.

Lucky... Not better or special...

Any sense of arrogance was there from the begining. It isn't new, and it isn't controllable.

RMS Immature? (0)

jpr (14287) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962685)

I think he can ask people to call it whatever he wants. Most ./ers try to force the distinction between hacker and cracker. Why not Linux and GNU/Linux?

Did anybody read Mr Mettler's paper? (1)

WilyHacker (14378) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962687)

Now, I don't pretend to be the end-all/be-all of geek knowledge and hacker wisdom, but he seems to be describing a plain jane sabotage attack. I don't understand. Is he making a big deal about nothing, or am I missing something?

The thing that gets me is that he claims that this attack is only possible on open source operating systems!

I quote:
How do you attack an open source OS? Find the rule that gets into your way and change it. Compile the program. And, install the new build. Simple and unlimited. And, possibly not detectable.

. . . "And, install the new build." . . . That is the tricky part.

This is not possible for a user (not root) to do. If an administrator (root) want's to do something like this, (s)he can do it, open source or not.

Am I missing something here?


arrogance is a UNIX tradition (1)

vawlk (14842) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962695)

>I guess a lot of us picked it up in school, but arrogance seems to be part of the UNIX tradition.

Yes it is...I am one who does not think UNIX is all that great, and the minute I say that, 2.34E23 people start flaming me. UNIX has a very steep learning curve, and a lot of us dont have the time to learn it. I'm sure it has it's place just like (cough) NT does, but I personally think that it is not for the desktop......yet.

Stallman (1)

Mojojojo (15516) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962700)

Well I don't know any of these people personally, and going by my using Emacs out the wazoo and linux out the wazoo I think they both deserve their respect. That being said, everything I've read about how Stallman's and Linus' personalities are, I think Stallman does seem like a pain in the butt, but you gotta love the guy. I think that's a stupid article in the first place. I think with anything you're going to get retards, shit the world's full of them. And if these people are taking their opinions from the slashdot posts then get a clue. I don't post much, not because I'm not a hardcore /.er, but because I've got other shit to do. I am very hardcore on /. I feel funny if I don't check back a couple time a day to see what's going on. Most of the postings by reader are stupid though (this included :-), and they're an oportunity for us to bitch, and nothing more. I also think that all these people downplaying Linux have never taken the time to install it and check it out, or never had much experience with Unix, or never went to college for a CS degree, or whatever, but they don't understand the underlying way Unix and its variants are written, and the planning that went into it. Windows doesn't seem very well thought out, and it has inherent flaws in design. Sure, for example, games may work better if the programmer can write directly to the video hardware, but it's also a zillion times more likely to crash the system, so that's a tradeoff MS shouldn't have made. flaws such as this and poor design are evident also in the way they splinter windows into 98/NT/soon to bee 64-bit since they can't port the 32 bit one...etc etc etc. When most people say windows sucks, linux is great, I think a lot of them don't really have the answer to why, and they should. If that's what was implied by this article then it's right, but I think that there are more people on Linux that do know what the fuck's up and aren't just blowing steam out of their asses...know what I mean Vern?

Can't help but think about something... (1)

Roofus (15591) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962701)

yeah man, we're a COMMUNITY. we bond together for things we believe in.
and I....Love you man!

ZDNet said nothing about Slashdot (1)

Industrial Disease (16177) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962704)

Please don't blame ZDNet for what was said about Slashdot and Slashdotters. The comments about Slashdot came from one particular reader, who has a chip on his shoulder that is much too large to fit into a type 1 slot. I prefer to judge ZDNet articles on their own merits (or lack thereof) rather than on the Talkback; after all, Free Software advocates are free to post just as much FUD as anyone else.

Lewis A. Mettler, Esq. (2)

Industrial Disease (16177) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962705)

As somebody who reads ZDNet Commentaries on a fairly regular basis (whether I agree with them or not) I wouldn't worry too much about what Lewis A. Mettler, Esq. says. I see him as the ZDNet equivalent of the grumpy old men who write daily 10-page letters to the editor of the local newspaper, complaining about Those Darned Kids and describing how Things Were Better In Their Day. He posts long-widned responses to what seems like the vast majority of commentaries on Microsoft and Open Source. I rarely read his comments (or those of Robert "Boycott Crashware" Flash) because he seeems determined to say the same thing over and over again, every time he gets a chance. He seems to be carrying a grudge over a disagreement several months ago about the idea of "security through obscurity," which drew a few flames among the relatively civil debate. The idea of Lewis A. Mettler, Esq. having room to call anyone arrogant is amusing.

That's what's great about open source! (2)

sterno (16320) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962706)

Generally I like the motives of Richard Stallman, but he wreaks of arrogance and an absolute belief that he's right and everybody else is wrong. But what makes open source such a wonderful thing is that it doesn't matter one bit what Richard Stallman thinks about Linux or Emacs or anything else because they are open and he has no control over them.

Just think of what would happen if you had such an egomaniac in charge of a software company that lived off closed proprietary code. Well, I suppose we don't have to imagine this since we have a shining example in the industry, but I'm not going to mention any names *cough* Microsoft *cough* :)


The talkback article (1)

RedGuard (16401) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962707)

The guy who posted the talkback article
mentioned in the story deserved all the abuse
he got, his opinions where pure FUD. How could
any system (open source or not) be secure without
preventing modification of the system programs
and kernel, open source makes it slightly easier
to produce bogus versions but not much. If my
university let me install my own version of
ntoskrnl.exe where all security functions have
been modified to always return true, they deserve to be hacked

All true... and proud of it. (1)

sakti (16411) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962708)

Many in the Linux community, and Slashdot readers, are programmers. I forget who said it, but someone once pointed out that good programming skills and arrogance go hand-in-hand. I've generally found this to be true, and I take this as a compliment from ZD (a mixed blessing).

In regards to being politically immature, I think they have a point. As a community we tend to be passionate about our cause, and highly value the truth. To be "politically mature" means to give up these qualities and become bullshit artists. I think I'll take this one as a compliment as well. :)


"A society that will trade a little liberty for a little order will deserve neither and lose both."

GNU is asking for credit where credit is due (3)

Supermathie (16485) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962710)

From what I see, Richard is asking for credit for the tremendous amount of work that many developers have put into the GNU project, often with little or no reward. All they ask for is recognition! Is this so hard to give?

Richard's job is writing GNU code, with proceeds from talking. He gave a presentation on the GNU project a short while at my school (University of Waterloo) and he did come across as a very driven man. Driven by GNU? Driven by his ideals? Driven by his war against proprietary software? Driven insane? I'll not make that judgement. But I respect his views.

Personally, I view the name "Linux" as a short form for GNU/Linux. It means GNU software running under a Linux kernel. The name "Linux" is also easy to throw around verbally. Short and quick.

As to the opinion that many people in the {Linux,FSF,etc} community, /.'ers are arrogant, isn't that just the case of the pot calling the kettle black? I mean, often those reviewers aren't worth a grain of salt.

I wouldn't say arrogant. I'd say looking for recognition. After all, who would want to get recognition for writing that Windows crap? :-)

Is the world ready? (3)

ToyKeeper (17042) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962715)

The Linux movement isn't just about Linux. It's not just about open sources and free software. It's a major change in the way information is perceived, in a social and political (as well as technical, of course) sense.

Technology changes fast. But social issues take decades to change, and political movements can take hundreds of years. We can't seriously expect human culture to keep up with technology... but people like RMS can help speed things up, and make change less painful.

Information wants to be free! (but is the world ready to let go?)

So, should I also call ... [RMS's PC vocabulary] (1)

Lumpish Scholar (17107) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962716)

... "Red Hat" nothing shorter than "Red Hat GNU/Linux"? Am I failing to acknowledge Linus's work (and the work of the many other Linux developers, and the many FSF contributors) if I just say "Red Hat"?

Richard's and the FSF's contributions are worth acknowledging... but not in every breath I take.

Richard has a history of his own flavor of politically correct speech. See Confusing Words which You Might Want to Avoid [] ("because they imply an opinion that we hope you may not entirely agree with"): "Some of us might even prefer to use a positive term such as 'sharing information with your neighbor'" when discussing "piracy". After all, you wouldn't want to "imply that illegal copying is ethically equivalent to attacking ships on the high seas, kidnaping and murdering the people on them," would you? (*sigh*)

Re: Hmmm. (3)

Yohimbe (17439) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962719)

I join you in your opinion that RMS has been short changed, but with an addition: RMS's output has been short on CODE and long on Rhetoric lately. The community is just saying What have you done for us lately? to RMS.

Linus and Alan and Dave and the rest of the kernel team get TONS of hacker points, because they are long on code and short on rhetoric.
The media keep asking Linus for sound bites, and he's very understated. That one of the things that the community loves about him.
ESR's output is historically high on code (I use fetchmail every day), but lately his code output has been overtaken by his rhetoric output. Word to the wise: In your own document, that points to people who have less respect in the community. Same goes for Bruce P. Guys, don't damage your rep like RMS has.
While I am very appreciative of all that RMS has done, his holier than thou attitude is getting a bit thin. RMS: Code some more.
Before you jump on my ass, NO I have not done major Open source works. A line or two in the kernel and 10 lines in xkeycaps.

GPL does not ensure recognition - community does (2)

dillon_rinker (17944) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962728)

The GPL places NO limitations on further distribution. Nothing in there says I can't distribute the code without crediting the author. In fact, if there were credits, I could change them all to my name and redistribute the software.

However, while the GPL would let me get away with it (and rightly so - free is free; there are no partial freedoms), the hacker community wouldn't. Anyone who became aware of my actions would shun me. I would gain no recognition from them - and who else cares about what was in the source code?

I don't trust ZDNet on this one. (1)

Mr. Piccolo (18045) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962730)

The article makes it sound like RMS was yelling "CALL IT GNU/LINUX OR DIE!" at anyone who called it Linux. I'm pretty sure he wan't that impolite, though I've never met him in person.

Anyway, GNU/Linux is technically correct, if only for the reason that a large group of us could take the code for the FreeBSD utils that aren't already GNU utils, do a TON of porting work, and have your very own BSD/Linux system, thanks to the freeness ofthe BSD license. At present, EVERY part of the basic Linux system is a GNU project, so GNU/Linux and Linux may as well be the same. I think RMS just wants credit where credit is due. Too bad it makes the name of the operating system harder to say ;-)

Besides, his response to the APSL shows he CAN be rational.

I would have to agree that Slashdot users can be arrogant (even though the article doesn't even mention Slashdot!). Too many times have I seen someone saying something pro-Microsoft, followed by a gazillion Linux fanatics saying that there's no way in hell that what that person said is true, because Micro$loth sucks and the almighty Free Software rulez!

Need I remind you that Slashdot is "News for Nerds", not "The Pro-Linux Anti-Micros~1 Capital of the World!"

BTW, I have no favorite OS anymore. Windows sucks because it crashes way too often and takes too much HD space. (GNU/)Linux sucks because only one company has freely (as in beer) available 3-D video drivers for it. The BSDs suck because that company doesn't make drivers for them. Solaris sucks because it's slow plus has the problems of (GNU/)Linux*10 and Windows combined, at least on my x86 machine. Other "research" OSes don't compile, so they suck. MacOS sucks because you can't get real deep into the hardware and a "bus error" resets the machine automatically (is this still true?) I wish we still had the diversity in computers we had in the eighties... thanks to Microsoft, any computer store need only have one computer on display because they all work the same. There is no consumer choice anymore.

OK, sorry, that was off topic, but I needed to get that out.

RMS/FSF only being treated like corporate drones (1)

samf (18149) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962733)

By reputation, it seems that RMS (and maybe much of the FSF) is as far removed from the capitalist, corporate world as you can get. On the other hand, the way RMS/FSF have been treated with the advent of the Linux kernel is pretty typical of how corporate drones (like me) get treated all the time.

I remember 1990 very well, hearing about how FSF had access to Mach, and this was going to give rise to the GNU Hurd. I was so excited! The potential features that were being discussed, combined with the PC hardware that was cheap even then... I didn't expect anything right away, but...

Weeks became months, months became one year, two years, year after year... I think I remember something about it being "released" sometime back, but to this day, I don't know one single person running GNU/Hurd, almost ten years later.

Now, suppose the Hurd project had been run in a corporate setting. You're damned right they'd get dinged for slipping like that! Are there good technical arguments behind their decisions? I'm sure there are. Are the FSF folks good coders? Hell yes! So has their treatment been entirely fair? Probably not; I'd say they deserve more recognition than they get. But they do have my respect, and the respect of a large chunk of the more technical among us.

However, why is RMS clamoring about how unfair it is for Linus to get all this attention, and forcing (as much as it's possible to force someone) to say GNU/Linux instead of just Linux? These things really do get annoying. People sometimes behave this way in the corporate world, too. It's annoying in both places.

This, of course, is what's driving things like the 100% FSF-free Linux system. I'm not "mad enough at RMS and company" to participate in it, but I do see where they're coming from.

Do things like "100% FSF-free Linux" happen in the corporate world? Probably, in the form of political battles between big VPs who don't get along.

More Information (1)

platypus (18156) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962736)

on Mr.Mettler. A huge threat(search for Author:, subject: Mettler and Open Source Security ), were REALLY (imho) competent people from try to explain to him why they think he is wrong (watch out esp. for a kind of dialog between bruce barnett and him, this threat is long). He really doesn't get it. He would be able to get a stone mad at him.

Trying to understand his argument (1)

JosefK (21477) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962758)

Don't bother. His arguments were well-refuted in *several* InfoWorld forums several months back. His primary argument was that, if you run a business, you can't trust anyone who works for you, not even the person who has root on your system, and so if they have the source to the OS, they can rip you off. And he completely ignored the counter-arguments that the same can be done with less work on closed-source systems. Rather than addressing the multitude of rational counter-arguments, he simply re-asserted his argument (only grudgingly and in bits and pieces revealing the complete argument) over and over and over and over.... And of course, as people got fed up with his methods, he began to get seriously flamed. So he seized upon the flames as justification that open-source advocates didn't care about security and ignored the objections and has moved on to ZDNet, where I suppose he thinks that his Esq. will be taken more seriously.

Can moderators moderate entire subjects? (1)

Mr T (21709) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962759)

This is just a hot button issue and I'm inclined to start saying nasty, non-geek related things.

Any article where, RMS, Opensource, Linux, BSD, Linus or any of the other visionaries receive negative comments, any article where GNOME or KDE is reviewed (either favorably or unfavorably), any article about QT or GTK+ (especially if they mention looks or licenses) any articles about MS's practices, any article about religion, any article about politics or politicians and what they've invented, and any article about censorship (especially if a politician, political group, or religious group is implicated by the article or the commentors)

It's just tempting to be able to reply to articles like this and I know I've got nothing remotely productive to say.

Trying to understand his argument (2)

for(;;); (21766) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962760)

Okay, as far as I can tell, this guy posted some theories about security loopholes peculiar to opensource systems. He was flamed, and was put off by, in his eyes, the arrogance and short-sightedness of free software advocates. In his opinion, his security ideas were not given fair examination.

So I read his article. I found the prose a little clumsy, but as best I can tell his argument is as follows:

1) Having the source code allows you to alter software in very subtle ways, and recompile it
2) Installing this new software could be so subtle as to remain undetected by any administrators

At least I think that's his argument. My challenges to this theory would be: How is J. Random User able to reinstall altered software? Why would open source code pose such a security loophole, since machine code (being a programming language) can be reprogrammed by savvy coders just as easily (or easier!) than source code could?

If the author is reading this, I would recommend him to to Bruce Schneier's writings. Schneier, as far as I know, does not give a rat's ass about RMS's vision of a world free of proprietary software. But Schneier is fanatical about security systems and cryptographic protocols undergoing peer review, and the need to avoid "security by obscurity." Machine code can be reprogrammed. Machine code is a programming language. Just because code isn't easy to change doesn't mean it *can't* be changed.

I may well have misunderstood his arguments; if so, I apologize. It sounded like this dude is unused to getting flamed. (Who doesn't get mad at being flamed?) But that shit happens all the time in a public forum, and it happens to absolutely everyone who posts.

Its a club... (1)

toolie (22684) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962761)

Being a part of the Linux movement is kind of like belonging to a club. Each member has his own ideas who should be accepted into it. There is A LOT of arrogance associated with it, just like any fraternity or sorority. I was like that when I started using Linux (a LONG time ago). However, I feel that I grew out of the arrogance stage. Now, when people ask for help, I am happy to help. The more helpful people are to the newbies, the happier the newbies will be with Linux. If people are happy with it, they are a hell of a lot more apt to show it off to others, creating a snowball effect. That LAME guy has a point, but its nothing to worry about. Its the frustrations of somebody who hasn't had somebody show him the intricacies of the club yet (and from the tone of his post, never will).

RMS and GNU/Linux (1)

Rombuu (22914) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962763)

Well, I don't agree with Stalin's political agenda, but you do have to respect the man for sticking to his guns and principals...

..hmm... Well, I don't agree with Mao's political... hmm..

Nope RMS is way off his rocker most of the time trying to imply there is a moral dimension in software licensing, reguardless of how feverently he belives it.

arrogance of the Linux community (1)

beamin (23709) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962768)

Arrogance? It's definitely out there (Here? I don't feel that I know Linux well enough to count myself as part of it yet.) Not a majority, but rude and smart-ass postings tend to make more of an impression than others. Combine that with the learning curve to understand a new OS, and a lot of people get turned off.

If you want Linux (or GNU/Linux, though I'm not going to go around saying it; takes too long!) to catch on beyond the techno-savvy set, be more understanding of the capabilities of the teeming masses. You shouldn't have to be a Comp Sci graduate to use a PC.

There are always a few... (2)

twoflower (24166) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962769)

Of course, there are a number of Slashdotters or open-source zealots or whatever flavour of strongly opinionated people out there, and unfortunately it is their opinions which get the most coverage in the popular press. This undoubtedly has helped keep the "Linux is for students and crackpots" mentality around longer than it deserves.

Perhaps the Linux/free software community needs a few more level-headed and persuasive people who go out looking for FUD and rationally breaking down the walls, rather than flaming against an immovable marketing machine.

really (1)

swotl (24969) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962774)

if RMS is politically immature we need more politically immature people on this planet.

Oh no, not L.A.M.E. again (2)

mkramer (25004) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962775)

People like this can cause a FUD snowball picking up people who know even less than he does, unfortunately.

The fault behind his premis is that no where does he acknowledge that in order to install your altered version of the OS, you need to be root. Or bypass the BIOS security and boot from an alternative device.

If a would-be hacker can establish super-user access to install his/her modified kernel, a serious security flaw is present. One that IS best correct in an open-source model. Such flaws will always exist, but sure as hell shouldn't be trivial.

If said hacker could bypass BIOS security, that is a non-OS issue, completely unrelated to open or closed source models. If you want to take this into consideration, any "hacker" could easily bypass the currently installed OS and install their own, be it NT, Linux, or MS-DOS 2.11.

Arrogance (1)

Balerion (25115) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962776)

There's no doubt that there's a lot of arrogance on the internet... especially in a place when freedom of expression is encouraged. However, I find it amusing that someone would choose to bash to arrogance and close mindedness of an entire group, and then turn around and stick an "esquire" on the end of their name.

Requesting recognition. (2)

Masker (25119) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962777)

And I thought that one of the points of the GPL was to ensure that the original developer of software would get recognition. Isn't it a trade off of monetary gain for recognition?

And by-the-way, doesn't any company that enforces trademarks or copyrights demand recognition for product names or work performed? Who does NOT request recognition for work that they have performed? (Unless that work was illegal or immoral...)

Recognition is all that the developer gets (in most cases) from the greater Linux community for writing a GPL'd piece of software. While it is not generally the main incentive, it's still there.

What is the argument here? Demanding money AND recognition for software is more mature than demanding recognition? I don't think so. By what standard of maturity is this to be gauged by?

I don't agree with Stallman's statement that Linux should be called GNU/Linux (although I do so from time to time). I think that is taking things a bit too far. However, so is building a distribution that is 100% GNU free (in fact, I think that the latter is a sillier suggestion).

Anyway, I think that the two extremes of demanding recognition above what other people have contributed (calls for GNU/Linux) and calling the practice of requesting recognition for a job well done (what this article does) are equally wrong.

Perhaps I can suggest two things which would make people happier: 1) Give recognition to people's hard work where it is due, and 2) Don't demand proportionally greater amounts of recognition than other people who have contributed to the greater effort.

Did anybody read Mr Mettler's paper? (1)

starling (26204) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962779)

>Am I missing something here?

No, you're not missing anything. L.A.M.E. has been parading this silly thesis wherever he can for ages now. Each time it gets shot down he moves on to somewhere else and spouts the same nonsense. Basically, L.A.M.E. is a classic net.kook and your analysis is right on the mark.

RS imature? (1)

Eric Savage (28245) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962785)

Politically immature, not immature in any other way, which is probably true. This has no bearing on his vision, integrity or ability. The author was simply stating that RMS ingeniously helped create something great that was intended to have no "master", yet he adamantly enforces something as miniscule as the correct variation of its name.

I for one will call it linux. GNU Linux is silly and when you say it, its like, "Hey I didn't even know there was an old linux".

Not sure what to make of any of this. (1)

gellor (28368) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962786)

I drew roughly the same conculsions after reading about this "security" issue with Open Source. I actually read the article twice to try to find the deeper meaning that I _had_ to have missed. Never found anything else though. Hmm, I just can't see this as a security problem inheirent to open source, but to source code in general. Ah well. The fact that there seems to be a certain condecending tone to the article does lower my opinion of the rest of what Mr. Mettler had to say.

Truth? (3)

JEP (28735) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962787)

I would say that there is definitely some truth to the accusations. However, there are a LOT of posters on slashdot. If you just go by the ones that make the most noise or post the best flamebait, you're bound to get a bad impression. I think we're a lot more of a diverse community than that. Shoot, some /.'ers even like Windows!


RMS's behaviour does not do any good (1)

harmonica (29841) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962793)

With all the merits RMS has, forcing anyone to call Linux "GNU Linux" or otherwise ignoring this person is simply

1) impolite

2) childish and

3) counter-productive for the OSS community.

If I'd be treated this way by him I'd simply walk away. I can expect a certain measure of respect from anyone I'm talking to. Maybe more communicative people should do the public relations for OSS projects!

Hmm (1)

Aqualung (29956) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962794)

You know, I seem to remember reading this guys article (linked from here, of course) about the dangers inherent in the OSS model... if I remember right, it was basically someone putting a back door in some open source software. (I didn't bother to re-read it because the guy's whiny tone put me off) If he can't handle a few flames than he's too sensitive or something, this is an open forum, flames happen ;-P As I remember, the premise of his argument was laughable anyways and showed a complete lack of understanding in the OSS development process.

Arrogant, me? (1)

wiggles (30088) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962795)

But we *are* a bunch of zealots. We're actively fighting for a cause which is almost religious to us, and in some cases (like RMS), IS religious, if taken to the far extreme. Personally, I don't like m$. I like Linux. I think Linux will eventually take over as the no. 1 OS. I want this to happen. But who gives a rats arse what we call it, so long as it works great, and we can hack it to shreds?

I disagree with a lot of RMS' philosophies. I think that companies should be able to sell the stuff they produce, software or not. If they don't want to open the source, then fine. Let them. It won't make any difference to me, because I know that an OSS alternative will be forthcoming, if not already out.

RMS is a kook in my opinion. A necessary one, but a kook none the less. Is he arrogant? yes. Do I think he goes overboard? Yes. Would I have it any other way? No. Someone has to fight for the extreme to make the moderate be the moderate.

GNU Refund Day (0)

rd (30144) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962796)

I want a refund for being forced to call it GNU/Linux when all I wanted was Linux.

RMS in London, supports slave-labour (2)

Shadowhawk (30195) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962797)

I severly doubt that RMS supports slave labour. But, more to the point, he probably doesn't think about it much. You can't even assume that he knows about it... and he might not care. He has one agenda: free software.

If you're going to pick on RMS's morality or lack of it, stick to what he talks about...

Some thoughts (2)

segmentation fault (30564) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962800)

I don't think fame is the reason Richard Stallman keeps telling people to call Linux GNU/Linux.

First of all, the FSF is the initiator of the GNU/Linux project, so they have the right to name it whatever they want.

Secondary, I think the reason for repeating the GNU/Linux phrase is that RMS don't want the GNU project to drown in the current Open Source Hype Wave. GNU is near equivalent with the FSF, the political organization. It is the political message, not the GNU software, which is FSFs and RMSs preferred product. The GNU project was, AFAIK, not only an Operating System project, but also the horse in front of the FSF wagon.

Now, the Open Source people are disconnecting the wagon, and keeps selling the Open Source idea. The GNU/Linux phrase is RMSs way of connecting the wagon to the horse.

Personally, I don't understand the Open Source people. They are selling Open Source big, but it doesn't look to me like they care about product quality, Right Ideas[tm], political messages or anything. So why do they sell Open Source? Do they just want to be part of something big? The "Hey, ma, I'm in the history books" attitude?

I think that might be the case. If you ask a standard Linux luser what kind of application to write, one that makes you work more effective and helps software evolution, or one who will kill all resistance and double the number of Linux users, he would go for the latter.

I like Richard Stallmans attitude; "It's better to go in the right direction than to go somewhere fast".

arrogance is a UNIX tradition (2)

segmentation fault (30564) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962801)

Why should we get more people to use Linux? And are the reasons important enough that we should lie to people and pretend they're not clueless?

I think linux has enough users for a while. Currently Linux has a lot of potential for incompability. Take a look at GGI and stuff. Does that compile on FreeBSD, Solaris, Irix?

Compability and following standards is a far more important issue than open source. We must not sacrify the first one for the second.

Open debate makes it seem louder (4)

DonkPunch (30957) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962806)

I think the fact that Free Software isues are debated openly makes disagreements SEEM larger.

Has anyone ever worked for a software company where there weren't serious disagreements over direction, features, etc.? Of course not. Can you imagine if members of the press where privy to every meeting in some of these companies? There would be non-stop articles like, "Serious battle at Abobe over licensing", "Microsoft divided over corporate direction".

The Free Software Community does not have one official designated spokesman to give reporters nice quotes that say everyone agrees and is happy. Instead, our discussions are open in forums such as slashdot. Any reporter (especially ones with FUD in mind) can grab an uninformed flame and quote it.

It's important for the public to understand that free software means input from EVERYONE. Of course there will be disagreements. That's a strength, not a weakness.

Free software more than marketing. (1)

BlackFlag (90262) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962831)

Charles Babcock's article seems to miss something that is rather obvious: free software, especially for RMS, is about more than just marketing. Babcock expected the free software crowd to act like a corporation would if there was disagreement among its members: hide it, cover it up, don't talk about it, leave to behind-the-scenes power struggle.

RMS is emphasizing the goals of the free software "movement" ... the technical merits stand up on their own for anyone with a computer.

Before criticizing what he saw the first time he was in a room full of free software programmers and advocates, Babcock should understand that free software is not just about toppling Microsoft and making us all a quick buck for the next 5 years. It is about changing -- or revolutionizing -- the process by which software, and ultimately anything, gets done.

Arrogant, me? (1)

Roadmaster (96317) | more than 15 years ago | (#1962832)

Modesty is a virtue for those who don't have others. Personally I'm one arrogant bastard but I think a lot of us are entitled to that, given that we actually have basis for being like that, unlike a lot of dudes who criticize us and label us as zealots.
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