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!

LinuxDevCenter Interviews RMS

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the red-pill dept.

GNU is Not Unix 321

prostoalex writes "LinuxDevCenter interviews RMS. Interesting that Stallman supports the free software projects ported to proprietary operating systems: 'Porting free applications to nonfree operating systems is often useful. This allows users of those operating systems to try out using a few free programs and see that they can be good to use, that free software won't bite them. This can help people overcome worries about trying a free operating system such as GNU/Linux. Many users really do follow this path.'"

cancel ×

321 comments

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

Cygwin (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11176747)

Question is, does he support projects such as CygWin?

Re:Cygwin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11176857)

Well that's a silly question. What the hell does it matter? Not often are you going to run into people that are thinking 'hey, I'm gonna try a unix env for windows.' If they know about unix, they'll more than likely end up trying fedora or some live distro, before going through the hassle of installing cygwin.

Re:Cygwin (1)

Lachek (584890) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176967)

Done any Cygwin installs lately? Nowadays, it's easier than installing most Windows apps, and that's not supposed to be a funny.

Re:Cygwin (1, Funny)

homerules (688184) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176906)

I don't think he would understand the question. He seemed to be having a tough time at it.

GNAA more effective than Viagra/Cialis studies say (-1, Offtopic)

dranomax2 (839611) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176750)

GNAA more effective than Viagra, Cialis, study finds
GNAA more effective than Viagra, Cialis, study finds

WASHINGTON, DC (GNAA) - A thoroughly scientific study undertaken by researchers at the Beth Israel Hospital has concluded that membership in Internet troll group GNAA is more effective than Viagra or Cialis, competing brands of erectile dysfunction drugs, in achieving a lasting rigid penis and thoroughly enjoyable penetration.

Subjects were given access to a cable modem, a Windows-compatible PC and the movie "Gayniggers From Outer Space," a 1992 low-budget romp in which homosexual African-American extraterrestrials invade earth and eliminate women in order to expose men to the wonders of anal intercourse. Turgidity occurred "immediately," according to head research scientist Bernard Silverstein.

"We were at first highly skeptical of this research material," said Silverstein, "but then we realized that, because it features not only African-Americans but homosexuals in a positive light, we were up for a $2bn grant from the Tolerance department at Homeland Security." He said he was "disappointed" in the results but could not deny the absolute scientific objectivity of the study.

"We used the correct methodology, and double-confirmed our results. That's as close as you get to the Word of God in science," he said. "While this tasteless movie endorses frivolous sodomy and misogyny, it caused in our test subjects enduring hard-ons that didn't wilt for 3.9 hours on average."

The control group of men picked randomly from the general population experienced less success with both Viagra and Cialis. "We gave them a selection of stimulating pornography from Jewish-American actresses like Jenna Jameson and Pamela Anderson," said research associate Miriam Rothberg, "but mostly, they complained that the women whined too much."

"There's something about violent, masculine, assertive, and sticky gay sex that appeals to the modern gentile," Silverstein opined. "The corporate wonder drugs, Viagra and Cialis, could not match these erections, even when we ordered them from the paradise of open-mindedness and tolerance that is modern Canada."

Added Rothberg, "These cocks are so rigid we could submit them as alternate WTC designs." She added that she was "somewhat concerned and perplexed" by the lack of attention given to her as a female associate during this study.

A visit to the lab revealed the chaos of this experiment. "Back, female creature!" said test subject Eugene Maryland. "Only ass is true!" Rothberg calmed him with an injection of testosterone. "As you can see, turgidity occurs almost immediately, and we spend the rest of the experiment trying to prevent them raping Dr. Silverstein," she said. At that point, another test subject enjoined her to cease her feminine whining.

Silverstein said it was "regrettable" that this research appeared to endorse an organization which denigrates not only homosexuals and African-Americans, but the Internet as well. "At home, I've got AOL, because the Internet is our future," he said. "I'm thinking of ordering their Family Size Anal Porn pack to see if I can get these impressive results."



About GNAA:
GNAA (GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA) is the first organization which gathers GAY NIGGERS from all over America and abroad for one common goal - being GAY NIGGERS.

Are you GAY [klerck.org] ?
Are you a NIGGER [mugshots.org] ?
Are you a GAY NIGGER [gay-sex-access.com] ?

If you answered "Yes" to all of the above questions, then GNAA (GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA) might be exactly what you've been looking for!
Join GNAA (GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA) today, and enjoy all the benefits of being a full-time GNAA member.
GNAA (GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA) is the fastest-growing GAY NIGGER community with THOUSANDS of members all over United States of America and the World! You, too, can be a part of GNAA if you join today!

Why not? It's quick and easy - only 3 simple steps!
  • First, you have to obtain a copy of GAYNIGGERS FROM OUTER SPACE THE MOVIE [imdb.com] and watch it. You can download the movie [idge.net] (~130mb) using BitTorrent.
  • Second, you need to succeed in posting a GNAA First Post [wikipedia.org] on slashdot.org [slashdot.org] , a popular "news for trolls" website.
  • Third, you need to join the official GNAA irc channel #GNAA on irc.gnaa.us, and apply for membership.
Talk to one of the ops or any of the other members in the channel to sign up today! Upon submitting your application, you will be required to submit links to your successful First Post, and you will be tested on your knowledge of GAYNIGGERS FROM OUTER SPACE.

If you are having trouble locating #GNAA, the official GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA irc channel, you might be on a wrong irc network. The correct network is NiggerNET, and you can connect to irc.gnaa.us as our official server. Follow this link [irc] if you are using an irc client such as mIRC.

If you have mod points and would like to support GNAA, please moderate this post up.

.________________________________________________.
| ______________________________________._a,____ | Press contact:
| _______a_._______a_______aj#0s_____aWY!400.___ | Gary Niger
| __ad#7!!*P____a.d#0a____#!-_#0i___.#!__W#0#___ | gary_niger@gnaa.us [mailto]
| _j#'_.00#,___4#dP_"#,__j#,__0#Wi___*00P!_"#L,_ | GNAA Corporate Headquarters
| _"#ga#9!01___"#01__40,_"4Lj#!_4#g_________"01_ | 143 Rolloffle Avenue
| ________"#,___*@`__-N#____`___-!^_____________ | Tarzana, California 91356
| _________#1__________?________________________ |
| _________j1___________________________________ | All other inquiries:
| ____a,___jk_GAY_NIGGER_ASSOCIATION_OF_AMERICA_ | Enid Al-Punjabi
| ____!4yaa#l___________________________________ | enid_indian@gnaa.us [mailto]
| ______-"!^____________________________________ | GNAA World Headquarters
` _______________________________________________' 160-0023 Japan Tokyo-to Shinjuku-ku Nishi-Shinjuku 3-20-2

Copyright (c) 2003-2004 Gay Nigger Association of America [www.gnaa.us]

Free apps on non-free OS (4, Insightful)

Anml4ixoye (264762) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176755)

I am extremely glad that I was able to try open-source apps on Windows. By trying out Mozilla, and then Thunderbird, and then apps like The Gimpe and OpenOffice, I felt confident enough to make the switch. And once I had my primary files running in the software (like mail in Thunderbird on Windows) making the transition was almost flawless. And because the stuff I was using was already familiar, being productive on Linux helped overcome the learning hiccups.

Re:Free apps on non-free OS (2, Interesting)

slickbob13 (663609) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176787)

At work I'm required to use windows for a few apps that havn't been ported to linux yet. So having Firefox and Openoffice for windows is nice. Then when I go home I have the same apps on Linux.

Re:Free apps on non-free OS (3, Interesting)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176912)

You touched on the most important aspect of the F/OSS movement - free as in beer. Many of the adoption of apps like OpenOffice, Linux, and GIMP, have occurred because they're monetarily free (yeah Redhat charges a couple of people, but the installed base of these apps is astronomically greater than the number of payers). I use GIMP not because I care about OSS, but because I'd rather shell out that $50 for the new deluxe collector's edition of The Lord of the Rings - A Journey Too God Damn Long than for a copy of JASC. Ultimately the software industry is being eaten inside out by this sort of "let it all be free!". What was a profession is turning into a hobby.

Cue the standard replies of "but the money will be made up in service!". That's what India is for. And anyways it ignores the reality that most organizations (and individuals) are trying to reduce their IT spending to $0, and they'll do whatever they can to achieve that.

Re:Free apps on non-free OS (4, Insightful)

jbn-o (555068) | more than 9 years ago | (#11177036)

You have just described why price is not the most important aspect of free software: proprietors are willing to distribute their software at zero price in order to get you to pay later and restrict what you can do when you get the non-free software.

When this happens (when Microsoft insists on not losing a sale, so they distribute Windows and Office to a big customer at no fee), if there is no mention of software freedom, the proprietor will get what they want. Focusing on price instead of freedom is a trap because you are tossing aside the only thing free software can compete on for something that plays into the hands of proprietors.

Re:Free apps on non-free OS (5, Insightful)

Lachek (584890) | more than 9 years ago | (#11177074)

I can't really tell by your post whether you have a problem with this development or not, but let me remind you: what used to be a hobby turned into a profession before it once again morphed into a hobby. In the beginning of time, the only way to make money off of writing software was if you wrote specialized software for one or perhaps a couple of enterprise sites. All other software, including much of the software developed by IT giants, was free-as-in-beer. People thought the notion of paying for software was ridiculous, before it was commodified.

Now, finally, the hobbyists and enthusiasts have started to catch up with those who made billions by commodifying what's essentially nothing but pancake recipes, and get booed as by the masses as economy-shattering un-American commies. There was never a viable business model in cranking out fancy text editors in VB and charging $9.99 for each installation to begin with, no more than there was a viable business model in "developing web-driven eTailing and interactive marketing solutions" in the 90s.

I have nothing but respect for software developers, but if someone can do something as well as you - except for free, and in their spare time - you have no right to complain while you are in a market-driven economy. There are plenty of business that will pay good money for an in-house system developer, to do the sort of work that software people got paid to do before commodification took place.

Contrary theories, little evidence presented. (2, Interesting)

jbn-o (555068) | more than 9 years ago | (#11177016)

While I can understand that logic, I can also understand the contrary logic of "doing nothing is easier than doing something" where users merely become more used to running non-free software because their computer came with non-free software and their friends are running non-free software, so they stick with what they "know". If more free software is better than less free software, then running The GIMP, OpenOffice.org, or Firefox on Microsoft Windows would be better than exclusively using their proprietary counterparts, but the question is whether users actually move to freedom.

So, I'll believe that users actually move to freedom because of free software on non-free OSes when I see random phone poll survey data that confirms this. So far, all I read are theories about how users would behave.

Therefore I will have to ask some of my survey-conducting friends how I would go about doing this in a way that would produce reliable data on which to build an informed opinion. Perhaps there has already been a study of this.

Stroke for RMS (4, Funny)

flosofl (626809) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176767)

I know this is OT. But I thought of a way to give RMS a stroke (or a facial tic at the vary least):

Me: Boy I sure like my Linux system

RMS : That's GNU/Linux!

Me: Yep, brand-spanking new

RMS: No, no, no! That's GNU G-N-U. GNU/Linux..

Me: GNU/Linux? What's that?

RMS: GAH! It's what you have installed!!

Me: Oh, you mean Linux

RMS: GNU/Linux!!!

*** Repeat ad infinitum :)

Bonus pts if you actually say Linux OS by the Red Hat people :)

Merry Chr.. er .. Happy Holidays

What RMS really means with GNU/Linux is... (3, Informative)

Singwolf (842847) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176837)

...just what he has explained one thousand times in everyone of his conferences.

Quoting and interview by Federico Biancuzzi [linuxdevcenter.com] :

FB: Today Linux is just a kernel, so you still have direct control over other parts of the OS. That's why the name GNU/Linux for the complete OS.

RMS: That isn't what the name GNU/Linux means; it has nothing to do with that. The name GNU/Linux means that the system started out as GNU, with Linux added.

Nowadays, the system includes thousands of packages developed by thousands of developers, but at the base it is still GNU with Linux added.

Re:What RMS really means with GNU/Linux is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11176851)

In other words, he's still just as immature and puerile as he's always been.

I don't see GNU with HURD added happening any time soon, do you?

Re:What RMS really means with GNU/Linux is... (1)

Singwolf (842847) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176872)

I don't, and RMS doesn't too. So what? You have Linux as a free kernel. What's the point? Do you plan to run an OS with just the kernel, and without applications? Duh.

Re:What RMS really means with GNU/Linux is... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11176928)

Do you run applications without an OS?

Do you?

DO YOU MOTHERFUCKER??????

GOd DAMN IT YOU FUCKER IF I EVER MEET YOU I WILL KICK YOUR ASS

Re:What RMS really means with GNU/Linux is... (1)

Frizzle Fry (149026) | more than 9 years ago | (#11177157)

What's the point? Do you plan to run an OS with just the kernel, and without applications?

The point is that naming the whole environment after all of the applications is ridiculuous. Otherwise it would be GNU/X Window/Gnome/KDE/Enlightenment/Opera/XMMS/.../Linu x. Doesn't that seem a bit absurd? And everyone running different software would have to use a different name? It's just not a reasonable way of constructing the name. Yes, we get that there is GNU software involved. But this isn't "the GNU system plus the Linux kernel", this is the Linux kernel plus a million other things. Trying to put them all in the name is just silly.

Re:What RMS really means with GNU/Linux is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11176864)

Ok, so what you're trying to say is that you are a humorless dildo just like him?

Re:What RMS really means with GNU/Linux is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11176879)

I love "with Linux added" bit like it was just the cherry on top.

The truth is Linux is the engine, that drives everything else. GNU is just the tools. If anything it should have been Linux/GNU, but than Stallman wouldn't get his glory.

Re:What RMS really means with GNU/Linux is... (1)

ion++ (134665) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176985)

GNU is "just" the tools that was, and still is used to develop and build the linux kernel, as well as all? other open source programs. Does other Free (as in speech and beer) C/C++ compilers than GCC exist?

Further more, GNU made GPL which is the license that Linux and alot of other open source programs use.

GNU was probably also the first to formalize a movement, a vision, the tools and the license. Atleast i have not heard of anyone before GNU. Sure software was shared before that, but did they have a common vision? Did they make a license for everyone to use?

RMS is a visionary man, that apparently sees the big picture long before the rest of us. (see the right to read). He made GNU, and Linux build ontop of the work that GNU did.

It is true that Linux got all the press lately, but GNU still deserves recognition. Besides Linux really is a better name than GNU - people dont like 3LA's.

Re:What RMS really means with GNU/Linux is... (3, Insightful)

MythMoth (73648) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176933)

I think it's a shame that RMS insists on pushing this point, because it makes him look pretty stupid. Language is essentially democratic, insisting that it's being used "wrong" looks and sounds like pedantry.

And nobody likes a pedant.

Re:What RMS really means with GNU/Linux is... (2, Insightful)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 9 years ago | (#11177286)

Language is essentially democratic

Except when it comes to trademarks and commerical use of names.

Call that Canon copier a "Xerox machine" and the fine folks at both Canon and Xerox will insist you get it right. No different here - though "GNU" isn't, IIRC, a trademark, "Linux" is.

Re:What RMS really means with GNU/Linux is... (3, Interesting)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 9 years ago | (#11177012)

In Canada, we have two official languages, English and French.

The good part of this is that its an active sign of respect for others background and culture. Language is an important of a person's identity.

The bad part is that there are insane laws that nitpick on what a person can and cannot do, in the name of protecting the French language. An example of thi is fineing a business if the French part of the signs is not so much larger than the English. It got to the point where common sense and respect for another got forgotten. The whole issue started to be about the motivation and maturity of the people involved.

This is the same with the term "GNU/Linux". People over look your message and just see how immature you are at nitpicking.

Re:Stroke for RMS (4, Insightful)

D. Book (534411) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176913)

RMS : That's GNU/Linux!

Me: Yep, brand-spanking new


GNU is pronounced with a hard G. If you listen to virtually any RMS speech on software freedom, you'll hear him explain how the name originated and a specific request that people not to call it the "new" operating system, as that may cause the type of confusion that you used in your joke. Part of being a philosopher king like RMS is having thought through pretty much everything, from the seemingly trivial to the profound.

Re:Stroke for RMS (2, Interesting)

fuzzy12345 (745891) | more than 9 years ago | (#11177055)

So he thought through using a word that few know how to pronounce? Name any other words in the english language where the 'g' is pronounced in 'gn'? Aside from 'eggnog', I say there aren't any.

Re:Stroke for RMS (1)

44BSD (701309) | more than 9 years ago | (#11177303)

You, sir, are an ignoramus. For another example, consider "gnostic".

All kidding aside (3, Informative)

pherris (314792) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176918)

An explaination in RMS' [gnu.org] own words.

Re:All kidding aside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11177043)


An explaination in RMS' own words.


It really is a pity that such a bright and important guy got so hung up on an name that he is repeatedly willing to look like an idiot about it.

OK, sure. I get it. A kernel is not an operating system. Fine. but then neither is ls or pwd or even bash. These are applications and utilities, not an operating system. (or at least they weren't an operating system until RMS decided he controlled the english language and was free to modify it as he pleased.)

If you want an OS, I suggest you try RedHat, SuSE, Gentoo or something like that. These OS's all share the Linux kernel and the GNU applications as their basis.

Like I said, RMS is really smarter than this, but his ego seems to have overruled his brain on this one. Pathetic.

Re:Stroke for RMS (0, Offtopic)

northcat (827059) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176997)

If I had mod points, I would mod parent offtopic.(Ironically some moron is going to mod this off topic).

Re:Stroke for RMS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11177070)

YA, it is called Linux.........

Not perl/linux
Not python/linux
Not kde/linux
Not gnome/linux
JUST linux !!!

damn acid dropping hippie...get over it stallman
its LINUX

Gimp on Windows is useful (3, Interesting)

suso (153703) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176768)

My wife actually is using Gimp under Windows now because she prefers its interface to Photoshop. ;-)

Re:Gimp on Windows is useful (3, Funny)

christian simpleman (752938) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176803)

Does she have any sisters?

Re:Gimp on Windows is useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11176814)

Thats one person

Re:Gimp on Windows is useful (1)

northcat (827059) | more than 9 years ago | (#11177011)

she prefers its interface to Photoshop

Everyone does. Except for some self-enlightened, 14 year old hypocrites on slashdot who cant code hello world, let alone a complex program like GIMP.

Re:Gimp on Windows is useful (1)

pilkul (667659) | more than 9 years ago | (#11177223)

Er, are you using the same port of Gimp that I am? On my Windows machine the Gimp has like 5 little separate windows, and whenever I maximize another program it covers all of them and I have to click 5 times to bring them all back to the top. Very annoying. And the program is generally inconsistent with the rest of Windows, with everything being done by context menu, etc. I'm not sure how anyone could prefer its interface in a Windows context...

Freedom, Innovation, and Convenience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11176780)

Freedom, Innovation, and Convenience: The RMS Interview by Federico Biancuzzi [slashdot.org]
12/22/2004

Around 20 years ago a programmer at MIT [mit.edu] quit his job to develop a complete and free Unix-style operating system--the GNU system [gnu.org] . That programmer was Richard Stallman [stallman.org] , also known as rms, the founder of the Free Software Foundation [fsf.org] .

Since 1984 he has fought for software freedom and created the concept of free software. Software is considered free if users have the following four freedoms:

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

Copyleft licenses protect these four freedoms. The most prominent license is the GNU General Public License [gnu.org] , which allows the author to retain a copyright and permits redistribution and modification under terms designed to ensure that all modified versions of the software remain under copyleft terms.

In this period of threats to freedom, Federico Biancuzzi interviewed this freedom paladin.

FB: GNU/Linux [gnu.org] (the complete OS!) is probably the most known free software project. What do you think about the fact that Linux [kernel.org] (the kernel!) uses a proprietary program [bitkeeper.com] to manage its source code?

RMS: It is unfortunate when anyone uses proprietary software. Using it publicly for the development of a prominent free software package is particularly unfortunate, because it sets a bad example for the community.

FB: Isn't there any free alternative under development?

RMS: There are already free programs that do the same basic job. Linus Torvalds feels they are not convenient enough, and he values convenience more than he values standing firm for freedom. I think that is leading the community in the wrong direction.

As part of the GNU Project, Tom Lord is developing a new free source control system called Arch, which we hope will outdo the proprietary ones.

But just because we are competing with proprietary software on issues of technical merit doesn't mean we think people should choose the program for source control based on technical qualities alone. That would mean assigning zero value to freedom itself. If you value freedom, you will resist the temptation to use a program that takes away your freedom, whatever technical advantages it may have.

FB: What do you think about proprietary software? Does it have low quality? Is it unsecure? Does it restrict freedom too much? Is it unethical?

RMS: Proprietary software is unethical, because it denies the user the basic freedom to control her own computer and to cooperate. It may also be of low quality or insecure, but that's a secondary issue. I will reject it even if it is the best quality in the world, simply because I value my freedom too much to give it up for that.

FB: Would you accept a federal law in the United States to enforce the distribution of source code with every type of software?

RMS: I am not calling for such a law as of now, but I think that would be a valid consumer protection measure--like requiring food products to publish the list of ingredients.

Of course, some software companies would object to this, just as some food companies resisted the requirement to publish the ingredients and nutritional information. The question should not be up to them.

FB: Which license do you think should be chosen?

RMS: I don't understand that question clearly. Chosen by whom, for what?

FB: I mean if such a law were to pass, which license do you think the government should impose for software source code?

If the government gives any company freedom to choose or write a license for its source code, probably most of them will be very restrictive, something like "look but don't touch."

RMS: The question was about a hypothetical law requiring "every type of software to be distributed with its source code." This would not require any particular license for that source code; it would only require that the user get the source code. How users can use the source code is a separate question.

To consider that question, we have to start by asking ourselves what might limit the user in his use of said source code. The answer is, only government-enforced restrictions such as copyright law and contracts. So if the government wants to ensure that all source code is free software, it doesn't need to intervene to achieve this. It need only stop intervening to make the source code nonfree.

FB: Do you think it's a good idea to port a free software project to a proprietary OS such as Windows [windows.com] ?

RMS: Porting free applications to nonfree operating systems is often useful. This allows users of those operating systems to try out using a few free programs and see that they can be good to use, that free software won't bite them. This can help people overcome worries about trying a free operating system such as GNU/Linux. Many users really do follow this path.

However, we need to be careful to avoid suggesting that the purpose of free applications is to be used on a proprietary system in that way. Using free applications is a step forward, but it doesn't take you all the way to freedom. To reach that destination, we need to avoid the proprietary software that denies users their freedom.

FB: Don't you think that having all those tools free of charge will let common users on that platform?

RMS: I don't quite understand this question, but I should mention that "free software" means "software libre." It is not necessarily "free of charge." There are companies that sell thousands of copies of free software every month.

FB: I do know the difference between free as "free beer" and free as in "freedom." [gnu.org] This question is about "free beer." There are a lot of free software that comes free of charge. What I want to underline is the fact that most of the proprietary software for proprietary operating systems costs money. Imagine a common computer user, one that doesn't even know about software licenses. He bought his new computer and paid $100 for Windows. Now he would be able to use, free of charge, a lot of free software. Why should he try GNU/Linux? You say "freedom."

RMS: Yes, and I will keep saying "freedom." The advantages of saving money are sufficiently obvious--people don't need me to explain that. However, our age emphasizes money so much that people sometimes forget to value freedom. That is something we need to remind them about.

FB: OK, but how can we explain to him that he should change his OS because his current one doesn't provide the source code under a free-software license [gnu.org] ? He doesn't even know what source code is!

RMS: Free software is controlled by the users. When you get a copy, you own it.

If you buy a house, you are free to change it. If you don't know how to change it yourself, you can hire a carpenter or a plumber to change it for you. The same with software. Every user can take advantage of the the freedom to change the software. If it's free, you can persuade your cousin the programmer to change it for you, or you can hire someone.

Nonfree software is controlled by its developer. The developers often implement malicious features--for example, to spy on the user or to restrict the user. Sometimes they keep the malicious features secret. But they also figure that people will be so desperate for the software that they will accept it even with malicious features. Users can't remove the malicious features, because they don't have the source code.

This cannot happen with free software, because free software is controlled by the users. If ever a free program had a malicious feature, any programmer could remove the malicious feature and release a modified version--and all users would choose that version, including nonprogrammers. You won't have to make this change yourself, because someone else will have done the job for you before you get it.

The users of free software also decide how to develop it. On most issues, most users want the same thing. Sooner or later, some user who knows how to program, or has money to pay for changes, will make the changes that you want.

FB: What is your opinion on the fact that Linux (the kernel!) supports binary drivers without too many problems? I'll make an example: the OpenBSD project [openbsd.org] didn't support Atheros [atheros.com] wireless chips because they require a binary HAL [theaimsgroup.com] provided with an incompatible license for their goals [openbsd.org] and policy [openbsd.org] . They act consistently. Do you think that Linux (the kernel!) should try a similar rigorous approach?

RMS: Yes! And so should the developers of GNU/Linux distributions. This is very important.

FB: Do you think that hardware manufacturers should make public all the datasheets, docs, specifications, and details about their products? Something like free (as in freedom) hardware?

RMS: If a hardware developer won't tell you how to use the hardware they sell you, don't buy it.

I am not campaigning for laws that would require all software to come with source code, but I do think that governments should require all new computer hardware that is sold commercially to come with full specifications.

FB: Would you sign and promote a petition or an initiative for free access to hardware specifications?

RMS: I'd endorse any sort of nonviolent democratic political activity to promote such a law.

FB: It seems that Sun Microsystems [sun.com] wants to release Java source code [zdnet.com.au] . Do you think that a language such as Java [sun.com] could spread more if it were covered by the GPL [gnu.org] ?

RMS: I think that's a secondary question. Whether a particular programming language becomes more or less popular is just a technical issue. That Sun's Java platform is nonfree is a social, ethical issue--more important than a merely technical issue.

We're not waiting for Sun to start respecting our freedom. We're developing free replacements for all the various parts of the Java platform. We don't have all the features yet, but you can write and run Java programs.

If you develop a Java program on Sun's Java platform, it won't really be platform-independent; it will depend on a specific proprietary platform. If you use our Java platform to develop it, then it really will run on all platforms.

FB: Don't you think that the problem is who controls its development and with what aim?

RMS: The problem with proprietary software is that a specific developer controls its development--you, the user, do not. Every nonfree program has a lord, a master--and if you use the program, he is your master.

Different masters have different aims; some masters are nicer than others. However, comparing one master with another is a distraction from the real issue, which is liberty. Liberty means is not having a master. With free software, you do not have to worry about what aims the master has for developing the program, because you are free to decide for yourself.

FB: What do you think about reports that Sun Microsystems will create an open source project around its Solaris 10 operating system [com.com] ?

RMS: I am not sure what that means concretely, and I do not advocate open source. If Sun makes Solaris free software, then it will be respecting the users' freedom. That is the right thing to do. Making Solaris free would be a substantial contribution to the free software community, but since we already have software (GNU/Linux) that does more or less the same thing, it would not be a major contribution such as OpenOffice was or as freeing Java would be.

FB: Do you think to promote something like a fork or maybe replace Hurd [gnu.org] with its kernel?

RMS: I do not understand that question. Fork of what? Replace Hurd with whose kernel?

FB: I was talking about replacing the Hurd kernel with the Solaris 10 [sun.com] kernel (obviously only if free software).

RMS: This would be possible, but I don't see a purpose in it. There is already a free kernel that works quite well with the GNU system--namely, Linux. Why would we want to replace it with the kernel of Solaris?

FB: For the same reason GNU develops Hurd?

RMS: When we started developing the Hurd, there was no free kernel. Our motive was to get a free kernel.

Since we now have a free kernel that works, namely Linux, it's no longer essential to develop the Hurd. We are continuing to work on it for two reasons:

  1. It has a more powerful design and that will provide some advantages.
  2. It would be a GNU kernel, from the GNU Project.

Neither of these advantages applies to the idea of using Solaris.

FB: What is the status of Hurd development?

RMS: The Hurd runs, but not reliably. The developers are working on it slowly now, although one is arranging to get funds to work on it a substantial fraction of his time. The developers have concluded that Mach is unreliable as a microkernel and that they need to transplant the Hurd to L4 instead. But this requires substantial rewrites.

FB: What type of competition there will be between a complete GNU/Hurd and GNU/Linux?

RMS: When GNU/Hurd is running reliably, it and GNU/Linux will both be free operating systems (provided one does not add nonfree packages to them). So the choice between them would be a purely practical choice. I hope that the Hurd will offer increased power from its architecture.

FB: This is a bit long to read ...

Quoting from The Hurd and Linux [gnu.org] :

When we started developing the Hurd in 1990, the question facing us was, "How can we get a free kernel for the GNU system?'' There was no free Unix-like kernel then, and we knew of no other plan to write one. The only way we could expect to have a free kernel was to write it ourselves. So we started.

Quoting from Linux and the GNU Project [gnu.org] :

Aside from GNU, one other project has independently produced a free Unix-like operating system. This system is known as BSD, and it was developed at UC Berkeley. It was non-free in the 80s, but became free in the early 90s.

Quoting from Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution [oreilly.com] :

The BSD originated networking code and supporting utilities were released in June 1989 as Networking Release 1, the first freely-redistributable code from Berkeley.

The licensing terms were liberal. A licensee could release the code modified or unmodified in source or binary form with no accounting or royalties to Berkeley. The only requirements were that the copyright notices in the source file be left intact and that products that incorporated the code indicate in their documentation that the product contained code from the University of California and its contributors. Although Berkeley charged a $1,000 fee to get a tape, anyone was free to get a copy from anyone who already had received it. Indeed, several large sites put it up for anonymous ftp shortly after it was released. Given that it was so easily available, the CSRG was pleased that several hundred organizations purchased copies, since their fees helped fund further development.

Reading these pages, I found something that I don't understand: if BSD was already available in June 1989 with a free license, why didn't you start with its kernel instead of writing Hurd from scratch? The same question is valid for the choice of the Linux kernel in 1991.

RMS: Only parts of BSD were available in June 1989 with a free license. Look carefully at what it says here:

The BSD originated networking code and supporting utilities were released in June 1989 as Networking Release 1

The "BSD-originated networking code" is just a part of a kernel.

FB: What type of free license were those parts using?

RMS: I think it was the original BSD license, same as BSD 4.4 later, but I am not certain.

FB: Wasn't that BSD license [fsf.org] free enough?

RMS: This license does qualify as free software, but I think it is not as good as some free software licenses because it doesn't protect the freedom of all users. It allows middlemen to make the software proprietary, which means they distribute the software to others but without the freedom.

FB: Why have you chosen to write a new license (the GPL)?

RMS: I think I see a confusion here. My decision to develop GNU licenses had nothing to do with any of the BSD licenses. The BSD licenses were used after the GNU GPL.

In 1985 or 1986 I visited the people at Berkeley CSRG and asked them to please separate their work from the AT&T Unix code. I asked them to release their code as free software rather than making it available only to AT&T licensees. I did this because I wanted to be able to use BSD code in GNU.

FB: I know you are the founder of the free (as in freedom) software movement; however, I don't understand how you could define as freedom all the limits that the GPL imposes. For example you must make available modified source code for software released to the public, and it must be under the same GPL. It seems to my eyes that the BSD license [fsf.org] gives more freedom to users, developers, and businesses. Am I wrong?

RMS: This is what ensures that the users have the four freedoms. The BSD licenses do not ensure this, and thus not all users have these freedoms.

The BSD licenses (there were more than one of them) do not give more freedom. What they offer, to those who can take advantage of it, is power: power to deny others' freedom. That is not a good thing.

See this page [gnu.org] for more explanation.

FB: The first GPL version [gnu.org] dates from February 1989. A second version [gnu.org] came out in June 1991. Why?

RMS: I don't remember what the specific changes were, but you could compare the two versions and see. We made each change for a very specific reason. It is like releasing version 1.2 of a program: you find bugs, so you fix them.

FB: Is there any version 3 planned?

RMS: We are working on another version, but there are some places where we are not sure of what is right to do.

FB: Why is the GPL so long and full of legalese?

RMS: The GPL is a legal document, so it is written in legalese. Otherwise it would not work. It has the simplest words I could find that unambiguously state these conditions clearly.

FB: On October 7, 2004, Jeff V. Merkey made the following offer [google.com] on the linux.kernel mailing list [tux.org] :

We offer to kernel.org the sum of $50,000.00 US for a one time license to the Linux Kernel Source for a single snapshot of a single Linux version by release number. This offer must be accepted by **ALL** copyright holders and this snapshot will subsequently convert the GPL license into a BSD style license for the code. In other words, what we are asking for is the ability to snapshot kernel.org at 50K a pop for a license to each 2.<even number> release, then take any even number release private. This allows all changes to a 2.<even number> release to be used for a particular release per license without returning changes. This money will be made payable to kernel.org and must be accepted by everyone.

What do you think about this offer?

RMS: It would be foolish for people to accept. Why let him provide Linux to users without respecting their freedom? If I had contributed to Linux, I would say no to him, and insist that he must respect the users' freedom.

I have not written any part of Linux, but that's what I do regarding the programs I have developed.

FB: Some developers promptly refused the offer, so it seems there are no chances to see a BSD-licensed Linux snapshot.

RMS: Good on them!

FB: However, I'm wondering if this situation will change in the future; after all, Linux already uses a proprietary software to manage its source code. It could be a really bad example for the free software movement: giving away freedom for money. Do you have any plan to be sure this would never happen?

RMS: I can't see the future, but I would guess that the people who said no this time will keep saying no.

Linus sets a bad example for the community by using nonfree software in this prominent, public way. I criticized him on the linux.kernel list when he did it, and I think that by raising the issue I helped dissuade other projects from doing likewise--if so, that has reduced the harmful effects of this example.

The FSF cannot do more than that in regard to Linux, since we are not involved in development of that particular program.

FB: Today Linux is just a kernel, so you still have direct control over other parts of the OS. That's why the name GNU/Linux for the complete OS.

RMS: That isn't what the name GNU/Linux means; it has nothing to do with that. The name GNU/Linux means that the system started out as GNU, with Linux added.

Nowadays, the system includes thousands of packages developed by thousands of developers, but at the base it is still GNU with Linux added.

FB: Thanks for this explanation. I think I wasn't the only one with this wrong idea, because the Debian project homepage [debian.org] states: "Debian uses the Linux kernel (the core of an operating system), but most of the basic OS tools come from the GNU project; hence the name GNU/Linux."

Have you ever thought that one day Linus Torvalds [wikipedia.org] could choose to become the leader of a GNU/Linux distribution?

RMS: No, because he has always said he isn't interested. If he wants to do it, of course he is entitled to. Anyone can do this.

FB: Today the magic word in IT is Linux, and there's a lot of confusion between the meaning of free software and open source, and Linux and GNU/Linux. Don't you fear that GNU [gnu.org] and the FSF [fsf.org] could lose acknowledgment and influence in that case?

RMS: The word fear is rather strong. What I feel is concern about a real problem. The GNU Project loses influence when people attribute our most important past work to someone else, and that reduces the effectiveness of the work we do today.

Tens of millions of people now use an operating system that was developed as a sustain campaign for freedom--something unique in the history of computing--and they don't know it. The name Linux has never been associated with making freedom the goal; that idea is associated with the name GNU. When people think the system is Linux, they learn a false picture of why it was developed. They think it was developed by Linus Torvalds, who wanted to learn and have fun.

Both enjoyment and freedom can motivate people to develop free software; each of these motivations can inspire people, if they know about it. I want the users of GNU/Linux to know that the system exists for the sake of freedom, because then some of them will be inspired to join in defending our freedom. There are never enough defenders of freedom in the world.

FB: As you said, there are "never enough defenders of freedom in the world"; however, DistroWatch.com [distrowatch.com] counted more than 350 GNU/Linux distributions [distrowatch.com] . Don't you think that this is a dispersion of resources?

RMS: There is a certain amount of waste, but not as much as you would think. Many, probably most of these distros are derived from other distros, and maintaining a derived distro is not a lot of work.

FB: How would you define Apple's Darwin [apple.com] ? Both proprietary and open source?

RMS: Darwin is currently free software, not proprietary. (It is also open source.)

However, two years ago some of the code in Darwin had a different license. It was open source, but it was not free software.

FB: I was looking at the operating systems market of the past few years. I think that every Mac OS X [apple.com] release keeps adding innovations that improve the experience of its users, but I don't see this type of improvements in any commercial (Red Hat [redhat.com] , Mandrake [mandrakesoft.com] , Novell/SuSE [novell.com] ...) GNU/Linux distribution. It seems to me that these big companies build a complete product simply putting together the result of various external projects. They take Linux (the kernel!), GCC [gnu.org] , and other GNU utilities, XFree [xfree.org] /X.Org [freedesktop.org] , KDE [kde.org] /Gnome [gnome.org] , and so on. Where are the innovations for the user?

RMS: Your last question embodies the assumption that innovation is what we want and freedom is secondary. I think it's just the opposite: freedom is most important, and innovation is nice as long as we maintain our freedom.

I never asked myself whether free software would mean more innovation, because what I want is freedom. Free software is software that respects your freedom. Proprietary software denies the user freedom. If proprietary software is innovative, I still won't use it. I've fought for 20 years for my freedom and yours, and I won't give it up just for the sake of convenience.

Innovation is good when it respects people's freedom, but bad when it is bait for people to give up their freedom.

FB: I was talking about business companies that already defend freedom releasing free software, so freedom is already there. They can innovate or not. That's just an aspect of business. They could prefer to spend money [com.com] on big [theregister.co.uk] marketing ads [clickz.com] . The only suspicion was that the GPL could be a deterrent to innovations.

RMS: The GPL prohibits nonfree modifications. The only "innovations" which the GPL might interfere with are those that would be nonfree. Do you see a problem in that? I don't. If a program is nonfree, it is an attack on social solidarity. I am glad if I can prevent that program from being developed.

FB: I read that Microsoft [microsoft.com] claimed that GPL kills innovation [isp-planet.com] for businesses.

RMS: The GPL is designed to protect the freedom of free software. It says that modified versions of the software must be free as well. This is what Microsoft does not like. Microsoft thinks it should be entitled to use our work in its own products--even when those products are proprietary.

Microsoft won't let us use their source code in our programs, but they think we are obliged to let them use our source code in their programs. Microsoft says, "What's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine."

But will our protection of the users' freedom prevent certain innovations? Perhaps. When an innovation would come only at the cost of our freedom, the GPL says no. Is that a bad thing? That depends on your values.

If all you value is innovation, and you don't value your freedom, then you might consider it a bad thing that the GPL firmly protects the users' freedom. If, on the other hand, you value freedom, you will be glad that the GPL prevents unscrupulous software developers from using some tempting innovation as bait for users to give up their freedom.

Since I am determined to keep my freedom, I won't use nonfree software. So if your innovation would be nonfree software, please don't write it. Please do something else, something that won't deny users their freedom.

FB: Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer [microsoft.com] said, "About three years ago, we made software security a top priority. [microsoft.com] " Is software security a primary goal of GNU?

RMS: I would not say that, but we do try to make it secure.

FB: Why hasn't GCC included any memory protection technology [ida.liu.se] (PDF) yet?

RMS: I will ask the GCC developers to take a look at these methods and report to me about the possibility of installing one or more of them in GCC.

FB: After reading the paper I've sent you, what do you and GCC developers [gnu.org] plan to do?

RMS: They are now prepared to work with the people who wrote ProPolice [ibm.com] . I hope the result will be to install ProPolice, but it will take some time.

FB: Does the GNU Project accept and recognize standards, such as IEEE standards [ieee.org] and de facto standards?

RMS: We follow all standards when doing so is useful for users. However, we do not treat them as authorities, merely as suggestions. When it is more convenient for the users if we depart from a standard, we do so.

For instance, the C standard "requires" that the compiler print a diagnostic for many kinds of input that doesn't fit the syntactic rules of the standard. GCC has various C extensions that give meaning to some cases that don't fit the syntactic rules of the standard. It does not print any diagnostic when you use them. This therefore conflicts with the standard.

For the sake of correct compilation of all standard C programs, I added an option called --ansi to turn off syntactic extensions. But even that doesn't print an error message for all cases where the standard demands one. So I added --pedantic also. To get the behavior demanded by the standard, you must specify --pedantic --ansi.

We say that there is no reason to use --pedantic; it is just there to satisfy pedants who would otherwise say, "This isn't really an ANSI C compiler!"

Some GNU utilities such as df and du do not follow the POSIX spec unless you set the environment variable POSIXLY_CORRECT. Normally GNU df and du print disk space figures in units of k. POSIX says to print disk space figures in units of 512 bytes. If you set POSIXLY_CORRECT, GNU df and du do that. (My original plan was to name it POSIX_ME_HARDER.) I would guess that very very few users set POSIXLY_CORRECT.

If users don't like these decisions (or any others we make), they are free to change them.

Federico Biancuzzi [slashdot.org] promotes *BSD systems in Italy as the director of the BSD Zone of an important magazine.

Tides of change (5, Insightful)

tedgyz (515156) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176791)

When I first read RMS' comments 15 years ago, I thought he was a crackpot. I worked for a large computer vendor (Wang) and could not comprehend the concepts he espoused.

Now I have aged and benefitted first hand from the freedom of software. Now I comprehend what he is trying to say and I recognize the benefit of open source software.

With that said, he still come across as a crackpot who is so entrenched in his views he will not budge. However, that is not necessarily a bad thing. Without gcc there would be a lot less free software.

Dog with a bone (was Re:Tides of change) (5, Insightful)

mankey wanker (673345) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176961)

I love RMS!!!

Do pay attention. Across the span of years assholes like Gates, Jobs, and Ellison will be mere blips on the radar of history. RMS will be considered one of the cornerstones of computer technology.

Far from being a crackpot, RMS stands for exactly what is needed in terms of free software. The steadfast nature of his resolve is with a view to all possible attacks from within and without the free software movement.

The things that RMS says are sort of like the Bill of Rights. People try to mess with it, to rewrite it, to mess with it in a thousand ways - and RMS has always been right on the first try.

It's a pity that more do not see that plainly. In my view, RMS sees things with startling clarity. He already sees what you have not even begun to anticipate.

I apologize for being cryptic, but it's one of those things that you either "get" or you just don't.

Re:Tides of change (-1, Flamebait)

0racle (667029) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176996)

He is a crackpot. He nice and clearly states that you should not choose a system based upon its technical merits alone, but on its confomance to the one trur GNU religion. A computer is a tool, its technical merits are of prime importance and the only one that really matters. He does not live in the real world, he lives in this fantasy where what he says is law. If everything he wants OSS to be, prevent closed apps from running, no binary only drivers and choose to use it even if its complete crap, I will stop using it, it will become completely useless. I'm suprised he didnt advocate using the Hurd for everything.

In 5 or so years he's going to be commited. Not because of free software, but because he's nuts. It just becomes more and more apperent with every interview.

Quote, don't FUD! (1)

xtermin8 (719661) | more than 9 years ago | (#11177147)

Even a quote taken out of context would be better than this flamebait. If he was talking about short-term technical merits versus long-term support and maintainence, what you say he said makes perfect sense. Maybe he is a Nikoli Tesla type of crazy, but he deserve some respect for laying himself on the line for his ideas.

Re:Tides of change (2, Insightful)

mankey wanker (673345) | more than 9 years ago | (#11177194)

You must have missed the point he made about freedom. Based on your comments, you value freedom not at all.

I don't want to go off-topic in this thread, but this is one of the things that I was going to say about the Opera v. Firebird portion of another thread today (I think others may have already made the point anyway). I value that Firebird is free. Opera is really great (although there are a few flaws I have found in it over time) but it is not free.

It really makes all the difference in the world. I can wait for Firebird to become as kick ass as Opera - it is very close already.

Frankly, there are very few instances where proprietary software beats free software, esp when it comes to desktop use. I am not saying none, I am saying few. But I also think there are many instances where free software beats proprietary software. And I think it's getting better for the free side of the equation all the time.

Re:Tides of change (1)

BobNET (119675) | more than 9 years ago | (#11177316)

I value that Firebird is free. Opera is really great (although there are a few flaws I have found in it over time) but it is not free.

Sure it is, you just have to ignore the ads in the corner!

Re:Tides of change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11177004)

Did you enjoy working for wang?

Re:Tides of change (1)

Frizzle Fry (149026) | more than 9 years ago | (#11177175)

From his comments, it was apparently a large wang.

Re:Tides of change (3, Insightful)

falsified (638041) | more than 9 years ago | (#11177140)

FB: What do you think about proprietary software? Does it have low quality? Is it unsecure? Does it restrict freedom too much? Is it unethical?

RMS: Proprietary software is unethical, because it denies the user the basic freedom to control her own computer and to cooperate.

Here's the problem. Not many people care about controlling their computer in the sense that he's blabbing on about. They want to use it. Stallman and others find it more fun to ignore that fact. If a person wants to control their computer, they can bang out code and get the results they want. The computer isn't some mystical realm in which we must adhere to philosophies and Lockeian ideals of natural rights because it's simply irrelevent. People freely choose what goes on their hard drive and it shouldn't be put upon programmers to freely release their code if they don't want to. Even entertaining the idea of forcing code to be opened is disgusting. Should we then ban secrets? Along with freedom of speech is the right to remain silent and the right to maintain your livelihood as long as it doesn't harm others. That right is stronger than the right to know about buffer overflows in your email program.

Re:Tides of change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11177167)

Now I have aged and benefitted first hand from the freedom of software. Now I comprehend what he is trying to say and I recognize the benefit of open source software.

Yes, but remember not all open source software is free as in freedom. It is one of RMS's main points which distinguishes GNU philosophy from other open source philosophies. Freedom is the number one priority, not innovation, security, or other priorities. And in this day in age with wacky patent laws, (and companies who think licences with end users are contracts) it is, to him and many who see likewise the main motivation that is driving their work.

Ingredients? (3, Insightful)

Icarus1919 (802533) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176795)

FB: Would you accept a federal law in the United States to enforce the distribution of source code with every type of software?

RMS: I am not calling for such a law as of now, but I think that would be a valid consumer protection measure--like requiring food products to publish the list of ingredients.

Of course, some software companies would object to this, just as some food companies resisted the requirement to publish the ingredients and nutritional information. The question should not be up to them.


I don't think it's the same at all. Publishing ingredients in food is a lot different from publishing source code. Publishing the sourcecode is like sending someone the blueprint schematics of your new machine, practically inviting them to make their own; whereas the ingredients label doesn't list in what quantities the ingredients were mixed in at, or what time, etc. I know Stallman simply made a poor analogy, but I think he truly believes it.

Re:Ingredients? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11176809)

Ingredients:

Assignments - 30%
If statements - 30%
For statements - 20%
While statements - 5%
Dodgy pointer accesses - trace

Re:Ingredients? (1)

Kadmium (679058) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176977)

  1. Pre-heat a for-loop to 180 degrees
  2. Mix together 3 integers, stirring constantly...

Re:Ingredients? (3, Funny)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 9 years ago | (#11177138)

Warning: Made in a production environment where nuts are present.

Re:Ingredients? (4, Insightful)

belmolis (702863) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176813)

Agreed. A closer analogy to publishing food ingredients is probably publishing APIs and interface specifications.

Re:Ingredients? (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 9 years ago | (#11177069)

Not exactly. Even with the ingredients listed it is still not easy to guess the exact recipe and the preparation methods, so the food company doesn't really lose its 'copyright' when it prints ingredients. With software I imagine ingredients would be packages, libraries used to 'prepare' the code. But of-course just like during preparation of food the ingredients change, and where there was no hydrogenated oil in ingredients it can become part of food after preparation (boiling oil would do that,) so are the software APIs and side-effects (installs files, opens ports, whatever.)

Re:Ingredients? (1)

Bob_Robertson (454888) | more than 9 years ago | (#11177156)

Luckily, we still have the option not to buy products that do not give us the attributes we want.

I really like the project to produce an entirely open-source accelerated video card. If ATI and NVidia see their cards being passed over for this upstart "open" card, they will open their APIs in an instant to try to get the customers back.

It really surprises me that hardware vendors don't open their APIs, because for them software is a cost. If they can have developers refine the software (and support it!) for nothing, it's a win-win for them!

Bob-

Re:Ingredients? (1)

Taladar (717494) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176874)

He is correct however in one aspect. The question wether they should ship all programs with code shouldn't be up to the vendors.

Re:Ingredients? (1)

caino59 (313096) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176952)

Its their code. Whether the end user gets to see it or not is up to the creator. If you don't like the fact you can't see the code behind the app, you have a choice whether to use that sotware or not.

If you don't have a choice - I think seeing the code is of little concern.

However, I do think it would be a good idea, although it would never happen, for companies to do peer review on each other's software. You know, like you did with papers in English class.

Re:Ingredients? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11176934)

I think it's a rather good analogy for what he's trying to tell people. He's using the food ingredients example so that everyone can understand basically what he means.. I don't think you should be proud of being able to find a flaw in his statement by deliberatele mis-interpretation.

In case you really don't understand his analogy;

-> Not knowing the ingredients in food could be harmful

-> Not knowing what procedures are in software could be harmful

I call that a *good* analogy. He's talking about stuff like hidden spyware or backdoors.. which is also harmful.

Re:Ingredients? Engineering Bridges and blueprint (1)

xtermin8 (719661) | more than 9 years ago | (#11177275)

"Publishing ingredients in food is a lot different from publishing source code." Agreed, but you're analogy is no better. For bridges and buildings, the blueprints must be published and become public record so they can be reviewed by town/city engineers and others responsible for saftey. I think RMS's problem was the lack of good examples for transparency in American public life. Does "Truly beleives it" mean that the question of consumer protection should not be up to software developers? Should complete secrecy replace legitimate enforcement of copywrite (or copyleft) What are you saying?

Re:Ingredients? (1)

Lachek (584890) | more than 9 years ago | (#11177296)

As the big software companies races to collect the full set of software patents, software may actually be quantified to such a degree that an ingredient list may be feasible. I can see the label on a box of Windows XP in my mind's eye:

Contains:
Method for visual representation of files as common house-hold items
Method for executing commands by an external rodent-like device
Method for not really deleting files, even though you said so, just in case you change your mind
...
Method for integrating superfluous applications into the inner workings of the OS to increase complexity
Method for integrating superfluous applications into the inner workings of the OS to lock out competitors
Method for integrating superfluous applications into the inner workings of the OS to ensure a benficial user experience for virus writers
[this section would just go on and on]
...
Method for increasing hardware spending
Method for ensuring future upgrades
Method for continuous application failures
Method for invoking a graphical blue robed wizard for no apparent reason
Method for invoking a blue screen showing arbitrary numbers for no apparent reason
...

Contains 250% of recommended daily frustration.
SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: Should not be used by people with heart conditions or IQ's about 80. May be hazardous to your health, as well as the health of others. Only for rectal use.

Definately makes switching easier (2, Insightful)

usalug.org (812800) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176798)

Having people use Mozilla, Thunderbird, OpenOffice, and other applications prior to switching/trying Linux has halped me convert more than a few to a more stable OS. Being able to do the basics and be comfortable doing those things, (surfing the net/email/irc) makes for a much happier and productive Linux newbie.

software wants to be free (3, Insightful)

trybywrench (584843) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176811)

The mindset that porting open source software to proprietary operating systems is Bad(tm) is rediculous.You can't give something wings then chain it to the nest.

O/T (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11176909)

Ridiculous. Not rediculous.

Why do so many people spell this word incorrectly?

Search for rediculous using Google. See how few results there are. See the 'Did you mean: ridiculous' notice. Follow the correctly spelled link. Wow! Over five million more results with the correct spelling! It is Christmas! Santa and Jesus are real!

I admire RMS for his consistency. (3, Insightful)

Bob_Robertson (454888) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176820)

RMS is one of the strongest people I have heard of. He stands firm, not even allowing an allusion to get past his quest for accuracy. When he corrected the interviewer, who said "free" but meant "gratis", I smiled and thought, "Way to go, Richard. Never let people get complacent."

That said, I disagree with him that all software must be libre. I don't like being told that I may not release my own work as I see fit. At the same time he is welcome to not use it as he sees fit.

Bob-

Re:I admire RMS for his consistency. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11177105)

However, if a commercial software product is
killed off (like the company goes belly-up),
wouldn't it be better for (their) consumers
if the source code had been held in escrow,
and released as GPL a year after it's untimely
death. (Providing that the relatively new
USPTO "bizzaro-world" software patent crapola
eventually goes away? Has the USPTO never ever
heard of "prior art" in software design?)

Better? (1)

Bob_Robertson (454888) | more than 9 years ago | (#11177214)

wouldn't it be better for (their) consumers
if...


Of course. It would also be better if everyone ate brown rice, drank water instead of sugar soda, drove electric cars, and turned off their water heater when they went on vacation.

But I'm not going to put a gun to their head (which is all that government is) to make them do it.

Bob-

Re:I admire RMS for his consistency. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 9 years ago | (#11177305)

That said, I disagree with him that all software must be libre. I don't like being told that I may not release my own work as I see fit. At the same time he is welcome to not use it as he sees fit.

And I don't like being told that I may not use software as I see fit. Including making modifications and releasing them. It is simply not your right to take away those of others.

The Hurd runs, but not reliably. (3, Funny)

IO ERROR (128968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176823)

RMS: The Hurd runs, but not reliably. The developers are working on it slowly now, although one is arranging to get funds to work on it a substantial fraction of his time. The developers have concluded that Mach is unreliable as a microkernel and that they need to transplant the Hurd to L4 instead. But this requires substantial rewrites.

I was going to make a comment on the Hurd, but rms beat me to it.

RMS knows. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11176826)

Again RMS echos true wisdom. Flexibility and Interoperability are features users enjoy and do more good for society overall.

I like freedom... (3, Insightful)

agraupe (769778) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176829)

but I find RMS a bit militantly Free. I mean, I don't like the idea of having to use binary drives (for nvidia graphics cards, for example), but I would still prefer to have binary drivers than no 3d support at all. I think RMS should take the stance "I support only Free software, but users should have the choice". The fact is that some companies will never open up their driver source code, so users shouldn't be punished for it.

Re:I like freedom... (1)

Taladar (717494) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176887)

That is your opinion. You can't say, RMS should have this opinion. That is something you can not change.

Re:I like freedom... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11176907)

That is your opinion. It is my opinion that RMS should have this opinion and that this is something I can change. You should change your opinion. Fucking fucker.

Re:I like freedom... (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176991)

He can try and persuade him though, if he thinks that that is a better position. If people's opinions were unchangeable, what would be the point of debates?

Re:I like freedom... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11176962)

I don't understand why people just won't respect his opinion. He's been fighting for our freedom on the software front for over 20 years.. but I feel he is not respected at all. It's ashame if you ask me.

Re:I like freedom... (1)

agraupe (769778) | more than 9 years ago | (#11177024)

I respect him, and he has done great things for Free Software, but the truth is that if people can't use their video card or wifi ethernet with linux or any other Free operating system, they just won't use it at all. I think it is more important that people accept *some* free software, than having to accept all or nothing.

Re:I like freedom... (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 9 years ago | (#11177084)

Why should I respect someone whose views are flat-out wrong?

Re:I like freedom... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11176993)

The fact is that some companies will never open up their driver source code, so users shouldn't be punished for it.

The fact of the matter is that users are being punished continually for accepting close source code. There are lots of instances from spyware incorporated into BIOS code to Microsoft monitoring of the simplest things like opening help files to proprietary spyware removal programs that actually ADD spyware to your system.

Corporate behavior has shown time and again that corporations cannot be trusted to provide closed source solutions without abusing the privilige of keeping their code private.

Re:I like freedom... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11177039)

I think RMS should take the stance "I support only Free software, but users should have the choice".

Since RMS believes that non-free software is bad for our society, you are asserting that RMS should say he supports your choice to harm society.

What you are really saying is that you disagree with his premise (that non-free software is harmful).

The fact is that some companies will never open up their driver source code, so users shouldn't be punished for it.

The idea is not to punish users, but to punish the companies which sell hardware that can be used only by employing non-free software.

Re:Psychology of RMS: not just another advocate (1)

xtermin8 (719661) | more than 9 years ago | (#11177061)

For someone to start a movement against such well-funded interests, takes a militant attitude and at least a bit of arrogance. Google Stallman's personal experiences with Symbolics Inc.: Stallman gave up a lot of money to champion his "free software" ideals, and he takes his crusade very personally. Many people find him abrasive, but his pig-headedness is exactly what got "free" software to progress as far as it has.

Re:I like freedom... (2, Insightful)

Geekboy(Wizard) (87906) | more than 9 years ago | (#11177085)

RMS (and Theo, and others) have gotten companies to change their policies, by being militantly free. SCSI and Ethernet docs are being published, specificly because Theo hounded the companies, and got them to open up the docs. I applaud their efforts, and support them the best I can.

The users choice includes not purchasing hardware that requires unfree drivers.

Try using hardware for which free drivers work. (1)

jbn-o (555068) | more than 9 years ago | (#11177307)

I think that's a false dichotomy--use binary drivers or have no 3D support at all. I have 3D and free software drivers because I choose video cards for which the 3D support works. Maybe it's not as technically sophisticated as your binary drivers, but I play 3D games and use 3D charting programs that depend on OpenGL just fine with my Radeon cards (9200se, 9000, and friends of mine use more advanced cards) all with X.org.

As for what video card makers will do, power concedes nothing without a demand. When users are willing to buy what they're selling without freedom, there is no reason for them to consider changing their ways.

Tilting at windmills (4, Insightful)

christian simpleman (752938) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176843)

In the grand equation, our champions must, by definition, be absurd. Over time, this is the only possible way to nudge the median. RMS catches a lot of flack for his "purist" views, but stop and think how our shared mindspace would look without his a-priori input. If all people are endowed with an inalienable right to benefit from, and particapate in, our shared human technology, then the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. We have been choked, screwed, and robbed by a greedy marketing monster, and are sorely in need of champions. "If no one tilts at windmills, the damn things will take over the world!"- christian simpleman

RMS: Props to OpenBSD! (I paraphrase...) (1)

44BSD (701309) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176849)

FB: What is your opinion on the fact that Linux (the kernel!) supports binary drivers without too many problems? I'll make an example: the OpenBSD project didn't support Atheros wireless chips because they require a binary HAL provided with an incompatible license for their goals and policy. They act consistently. Do you think that Linux (the kernel!) should try a similar rigorous approach?

RMS: Yes! And so should the developers of GNU/Linux distributions. This is very important.

Re:RMS: Props to OpenBSD! (I paraphrase...) (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 9 years ago | (#11177005)

The kernel people take the position that they won't do anything extra to support binary stuff, but they won't make it deliberately difficult either. To my mind that's a pretty consistent policy. It's what RMS originally did with glibc after all.

ROB MALDA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11176854)

ROB MALDA HATES BLACK PEOPLE

unless they are doing him up the but

POSIX ME HARDER (4, Funny)

Laxitive (10360) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176858)

Quote:

Some GNU utilities such as df and du do not follow the POSIX spec unless you set the environment variable POSIXLY_CORRECT. Normally GNU df and du print disk space figures in units of k. POSIX says to print disk space figures in units of 512 bytes. If you set POSIXLY_CORRECT, GNU df and du do that. (My original plan was to name it POSIX_ME_HARDER.) I would guess that very very few users set POSIXLY_CORRECT.

Good to see RMS has a sense of humour. I got a nice chuckle out of that comment :)

-Laxitive

Open software on a closed kernel (3, Insightful)

Paiway (842782) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176886)

A few years ago, before i started using Linux seriously, I started building an almost free/open Windows XP system. Here's the basic breakdown of the so-called free system:
Shell: http://www.bb4win.org/ [bb4win.org]
Burning prog: http://www.burnatonce.com/ [burnatonce.com]
DC client: http://gempond.com/odc/ [gempond.com]
Graphics: http://gempond.com/odc/ [gempond.com]
IM: http://gaim.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]
Browser:
Mail: http://www.mozilla.org/products/thunderbird/ [mozilla.org]
Office suite: http://www.openoffice.org/ [openoffice.org]
et cetera...
But then it dawned on me: All these programs are avaliable under GNU/Linux.

That day was the day that i switched to Debian. I haven't looked back.

GNU tools on non-free kernels (2, Insightful)

bheading (467684) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176910)

There is nothing surprising in reading that RMS supports the use of GNU tools on non-free kernels. Outside of the kernel, much of the original tools were developed on platforms such as Solaris. This was pretty necessary at the time because Linux wasn't yet mature and the Hurd was, well, pretty much where the Hurd is now.

If RMS criticized this idea he'd be a hypocrite.

Re:GNU tools on non-free kernels (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11177263)

In principle, that's correct. Except that Solaris wasn't around back then. They may have used something like SUNOS or more likely one of the older unixes (i.e. basic AT&T System V Release whichever).

Anyway, it isn't really hypocrisy, since they always had the view that once a free kernel was available, they'd switch over and never go back. Hypocrisy is when you say one thing and then, afterward, do the exact opposite.

True (2, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176923)

Many users really do follow this path.

That is so true. Seen it happen over and over again. Use Firefox and Thunderbird to move them into OSS tools for the internet. Then introduce OpenOffice and pretty soon the underlying OS is immaterial.

It's odd that it seems to take time to sink in that part of the value in OSS is that it comes bundled with all those goodies and there's no need to buy anything else. For instance (these are retail prices):

  • XP Pro $120.00
  • Office XP Pro $320.00
  • Norton Antivirus $39.95
  • McAfee antispyware $24.95

OEM pricing may vary as will the prices to big buyers. But even counting that where's the value? You still have to spend an insane amount of time keeping everything updated to combat the threat of the day and even that won't stop all the crap. It's insane. Get off Windows.

Re:True (3, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176966)

You still have to spend an insane amount of time keeping everything updated to combat the threat of the day and even that won't stop all the crap. It's insane. Get off Windows.

As opposed to the insane amount of time learning and dicking around with Linux trying to get it to work properly? Or what about the tens thousands needed to pay programmers to develop Linux based apps that simply don't exist yet?

Your assumption that every (or even most) computer users simply email, surf the web, and print up pretty documents is wrong at best. Linux is not even remotely a possiblity for me and my business because we use apps that are not available (or even good counterparts) for Linux.

Have you Hurd? (2, Funny)

fuzzy12345 (745891) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176938)

Yep, it's great that RMS sez we can port GNU stuff to the operating systems we have now, rather than having to wait until GNU Hurd thunders into view. Or does it only run on the Itanium?

Libre on non-free environments (5, Interesting)

merc (115854) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176942)

I work in a large corporate environment that uses VMS, Tru64, AIX, HP/UX and large scale IBM mainframe systems such as MVS. The corporate policy is basically that open source is strictly forbidden, but only as far as being installed as a system tool--only "supported" products can be installed.

However there isn't a policy regarding what tool sets individual shell users can install. It's interesting to browse various /home directories on the largest of the UNIX servers and see 500 people with their own individual copies of emacs, vim, bash, etc.

The point is, at least with mainstream IT people most already see and understand the value and quality of open source or free software.

I agree (1)

northcat (827059) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176955)

I'll have to agree with RMS on this one.

Not surprising (5, Informative)

jdavidb (449077) | more than 9 years ago | (#11176968)

As I said the other day [slashdot.org] , Stallman himself is the perfect example of using free software on proprietary OS'es. That's how the GNU project started, and today they still make reasonable efforts to keep their software portable.

A lot of people dismiss and mock RMS, but he already asked and answered a lot of these questions himself many years ago. Maybe it would help some people to periodically read through some of his writings. (I know reading things you don't agree with or like is unpopular with many around here.) RMS has made intelligent decisions on a lot of these issues.

Another thing that comes up all the time around here is selling free software, which seems to confuse a lot of people but was handled by RMS a long time ago [gnu.org] , too.

Hmm. (4, Interesting)

oGMo (379) | more than 9 years ago | (#11177110)

Many users really do follow this path.

I was slightly skeptical about this, until I realized that I actually followed this path, more or less. Back in the day when OS/2 was still around, I was using that over DOS/Win3.1, and eventually NT, as I couldn't afford a box that would run that, but it turned out for the better. I had tried Linux once, and found it too hard to get anything done with (remember this was like 92-93, and I had never used anything *nix before): it was interesting, but I wasn't familiar with any of the applications, so I couldn't do much.

Of course, if OS/2 is remembered for one thing, it's the overflowing of native applications, by which I mean there were few. So eventually, I started using "EMX" (iirc) ports of *nix applications: emacs, gcc, (La)TeX, bash, ghostscript. After awhile (and putting up with some deficiencies), I realized that I was no longer really using OS/2. I was trying to use Linux. So, I got that infomagic set of "modern" distros (like redhat 4, debian something ancient, slackware, and a copy of sunsite and tsx). I've never looked back.

It's been interesting over the years to see the application base grow by leaps and bounds; the open culture for Free Software is really what Linux has created, and what has in turn driven its success. OS/2 never had it. HURD was too idealist to gather momentum. The BSD's seem to have a different focus. All the other OS's drive a purely commercial culture: Windows, MacOS, PalmOS, Symbian, the commercial Unices, etc.

So perhaps... perhaps... if you transform the other OS's into a semblance of Linux (or other "Free" OS, I guess, but let's be realistic here), once people are familiar with the software, you can switch the OS and give them the full experience, and not only will they fall right in, they'll be happier, because everything works as it should.

This, I believe, is what Microsoft should truly fear.

RMS (briefly) forgot what freedom means (2, Insightful)

cpeikert (9457) | more than 9 years ago | (#11177180)

From the interview:

FB: Would you sign and promote a petition or an initiative for free access to hardware specifications?

RMS: I'd endorse any sort of nonviolent democratic political activity to promote such a law.


Of course, such a law (like all laws) would have to be backed up by violence -- don't obey it, have your freedom or property taken away. I think it's disingenuous for RMS to claim the high road of "non-violence" while advocating exactly the opposite.

Except for this, I think his stances are in general very admirable.

Re:RMS (briefly) forgot what freedom means (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11177313)

We all forget this simple idea when making an appeal to 'Law'. One only needs to read Freuds exchanges with Einstein to grasp that Law and Violence are not diametric opposites rather the former is merely the consensual version of the latter.

The abridged version (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11177186)

Interviewer: So, Richard, I --

RMS: Free Free Freedom Free Freedom. Freedom Free Free software Freedom Free. Free libre Free free Freedom freedom.

emulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11177209)

Whats RMS's oppinion on Wine/Qemu ?

sound familliar to anyone else? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11177318)

- Overuse of the word "freedom"
- Overuse of vague rhetoric, which annoyingly dodges specific questions

RMS should run for President!
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?