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RMS transcript on GPLv3, Novell/MS, Tivo and more

Hemos posted more than 7 years ago | from the years-of-adoption-and-version-battles-predicted dept.

GNU is Not Unix 255

H4x0r Jim Duggan writes "The 5th international GPLv3 conference was held in Tokyo last week. I've made and published a transcript of Stallman's talk where he described the latest on what GPLv3 will do about the MS/Novell deal, Treacherous Computing, patents, Tivo, and the other changes to the licence. While I was at it, I made a transcript of my talk from the next day where I tried to fill in some info that Richard didn't mention."

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Oh yes (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17000620)

It's firsties time!

RMS is always right. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17000654)

He might sometimes tend to "overkill"..

But I deeply admire that since I (finally) understood that overkill is necessary to avoid doing things twice.

Re:RMS is always right. Mod parent up. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17000786)

The things that matter to Stallman at one moment in time will only become really important to the rest of us in 10 years or so.

Right now, software patents aren't being used against free software in any serious way, and DRM problems are localised to a few specific types of software. But that's all going to change with "trusted computing" and the inevitable war that corporations are going to wage against people who want to use free software on their machines.

Stallman is fighting back. Even if you think he's over the top, a free software fundamentalist who has gone too far in his preaching, you should still listen to him. He's talking a lot of sense, on behalf of you.

Re:RMS is always right. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17000876)

Stallman is a zealot. We don't need this kind of software virus that turns everything GNU touches into a grey goo of OSS.

Re:RMS is always right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17000948)

grey goo of OSS

You spelled "free software" wrong.

Re:RMS is always right. Mod parent up. (2, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000968)

Stallman is fighting back. Even if you think he's over the top, a free software fundamentalist who has gone too far in his preaching, you should still listen to him. He's talking a lot of sense, on behalf of you.

I do think he's over the top (GNU/Linux? C'mon....) but reading this transcript has given me more respect for him. His opinions on 'Tivoisation' are quite interesting and probably my opinion and where I stand on the issue.

Ciarán O'Riordan's thoughts about the Linux developers needing to track everybody down and get ready for a license change are also well thought out. Even if they don't go to V3 they still need to be able to change licenses in the event that V2 is ever held to be unenforceable. It'll be a mess but it sounds like it's worth doing anyway.

Re:RMS is always right. Mod parent up. (1)

Chris_Jefferson (581445) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001476)

Changing the licence would require much more than finding all the contributors. It would require one of two extra things:

1) Everyone agreeing to a particular licence at the same time
2) Everyone agreeing to give someone (Linus? FSF?) the copyright to their submissions.

That is NEVER going to happen. Seriously. There are too many groups within linux kernel development to ever get everyone to agree on that kind of thing. The FSF has a long habit of taking copyright from submitters, but that isn't the kind of thing you can add on later.

Re:RMS is always right. Mod parent up. (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001774)

That is NEVER going to happen. Seriously. There are too many groups within linux kernel development to ever get everyone to agree on that kind of thing. The FSF has a long habit of taking copyright from submitters, but that isn't the kind of thing you can add on later.

I didn't say it was going to happen or even that it was possible. I merely said that it raised a couple of interesting points. What happens if the GPL V2 is thrown out? Where are projects like the Linux Kernel then?

Re:RMS is always right. Mod parent up. (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002680)

What happens if the GPL V2 is thrown out? Where are projects like the Linux Kernel then?

If the GPL v.2 is "thrown out" (presumably you mean "ruled invalid by a court"), the situation reverts to basic copyright law and all distribution is illegal.

Then, of course, the copyright holders would have to get together and agree on a new license in order to start distributing again (or they could make it public domain, but that would be their sole decision to make -- not the court's).

Re:RMS is always right. Mod parent up. (3, Informative)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002426)

Changing the [Linux] licence ... would require one of two extra things:

1) Everyone agreeing to a particular licence at the same time
2) Everyone agreeing to give someone (Linus? FSF?) the copyright to their submissions.

It's not really that hard. I wouldn't be surprised if 80% of the code was written by 20% of the contributors. Plus, some of the code in Linux is already GPLv3-compatible, since it's either taken from the BSDs, or it's licenced under GPLv2-or-later. Additionally, older code tends to be replaced over time. If a switch to GPLv3 became popular among today's kernel developers, and Linus imposed a policy of only accepting GPLv2-and-GPLv3-compatible patches, then I suspect that in 5 years, it would be fairly simple to replace the little bit of GPLv3-incompatible code that remains, and drop GPLv2 compatibility.

It could probably also be done in less time and/or without Linus' cooperation, but with substantially more work required.

Would it be a pain? Yes, but I'm very skeptical that it's the impossible task that you claim it to be.

Re:RMS is always right. Mod parent up. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17000984)

He's talking a lot of sense, on behalf of you.
The problem is that he's also talking a lot of nonsense, on behalf of us.

Re:RMS is always right. Mod parent up. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17001092)

That's right... many of the people commenting on his views of DRM simply haven't thought through the real implications. They think that DRM is about stopping some kids from copying music and video.

DRM is about forcing you to run particular EXACT code, and either not running at all or refusing to talk to you if you are not. This also happens to be the essence of DRM too... so it's a happy coincidence for the pro-DRMer within the technology companies.

Treacherous Computing is hardware that is meant to allow person X to set their hardware up to refuse to run (or not cage) software that is not digitally signed by them. As you can imagine, this COULD be extremely valuable for security. HOWEVER, the collection of companies making up the Trusted Computing Group (most of the tech companies) decided that the capability to TRUST should be reserved for them. You do not get to override it. This "trust" (only running approved code) starts with the BIOS, moves up to the kernel and in stuff like Vista it then moves into the media subsystem. In a few years, it will move into applications like web browsers, or word processors. Not running Microsoft Word? No you can't open that document, sorry. Add into this nasty mix, the ability of Trusted Computing hardware to execute code IN SECRET, and you have a control freak's wet dream. Not only can you not change what your computer does, you cannot even know what it is up to. The instructions are/can be encrypted.

Imagine it this way: a prison is very useful for keeping criminals in. It's not so good if YOU are the convict. In trusted computing as it is formulated today, YOU ARE THE CONVICT. You do not have the keys. Don't let them treat you like criminals. Demand the right to control your own PC -- you paid for it.

Trusted Computing is a political issue because it is a massive power grab by the technology companies. People may think Stallman is over-reacting, but I assure you that he is not. Look into the implications properly.

Re:RMS is always right. Mod parent up. (1)

s20451 (410424) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001758)

As you can imagine, this COULD be extremely valuable for security.

There is a huge number of crucial systems that are handled by computers connected to the internet -- including, but not limited to, power generation, banking, finance, telecommunication, and health care. Given that, prior to the proposal of DRM, there has been no systematic way to ensure that these critical systems are secured (and, in practice, security has been relatively lax), I think you underestimate the importance of security. The risk is neither theoretical nor trivial.

I would like to know whether RMS has a proposal for securing the internet, or if he considers it an important problem.

Re:RMS is always right. Mod parent up. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17001966)

I think you misunderstand the nature of the problem. Neither I nor Stallman have any issue with someone deciding for themselves that their machine will only run software signed by them... or indeed, DECIDING to trust software from X. My machine could be setup to refuse to run software unless it has been digitally signed by me, and there would be no problem.

It's when that choice is taken away from you... as it is with Trusted Computing hardware as it is designed today. The owner of the machine has his choices taken away -- his trust is forced.

Re:RMS is always right. Mod parent up. (1)

s20451 (410424) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002196)

It's when that choice is taken away from you... as it is with Trusted Computing hardware as it is designed today. The owner of the machine has his choices taken away -- his trust is forced.

To be honest with you, I don't have a problem with taking power away in principle, for the same reason that I think it's a good idea that drivers have licenses. You can't have a secure network that relies only on the good will and competence of the users.

Not everyone needs nor should have the power to do anything with their computer, because that power will be used for malicious ends without the user's awareness. Experience has demonstrated this conclusively.

I'm not sure "trusted computing (TM)" is the solution. I'm just wondering if RMS has thought about it. I think his position would be the opposite, that it is just fine to give root to anyone and everyone who wants it, but I'm wondering if he has any writings on the security and infrastructural implications of that point of view.

Re:RMS is always right. Mod parent up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17002770)

I'm not sure "trusted computing (TM)" is the solution. I'm just wondering if RMS has thought about it. I think his position would be the opposite, that it is just fine to give root to anyone and everyone who wants it, but I'm wondering if he has any writings on the security and infrastructural implications of that point of view.

Actually Stallman has been thinking about the implications of TCPA for a very long time. You might enjoy his essay "Right to Read [gnu.org] ", a prophecy of the TCPA future written in 1997.

Re:RMS is always right. Mod parent up. (1)

araemo (603185) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002572)

"Given that, prior to the proposal of DRM, there has been no systematic way to ensure that these critical systems are secured"
WRONG! there has been one, highly recommended and well known systematic way to ensure that these systems are secured:

Unplug the network cable and lock them in a closet/data center that only authorized people can get into.

If it doesn't NEED to be internet connected, why connect it to the internet?

Why do power generation and health care computers have to be internet connected?

Power generation and other industrial monitor computers especially - There are valid reasons to allow remote monitoring, but do pure monitoring stations have to be as secure as the control stations? Can't they be separate computers sitting next to each other?

Even 'trusted' computing will be hackable, it will just increase the likelihood that you really are talking to who you think you are. For truly critical systems, that ISN'T ENOUGH. I have no problem with hardware support for 'trusted computing', but many of my systems will never be running a 'trusted' software stack(As far as other computers are concerned), because: I cannot trust that software stack, as I am not being given the choice of what to put in it, or perhaps more importantly: What NOT to put in it.

My main computers will all be trusted in the sense that I chose all the software on them, and I control all of it. And I will use trusted computing features to keep them more secure from unwanted software and users.

I will likely have one or maybe two systems running whatever the OS Du Jour is, so that I can make any transactions of convenience that require a 'trusted' hardware/software stack.

If there are any simple, relatively open alternatives, such as a java(Or C# or whatever) VM that runs on whatever OS/arch I choose, and can be 'trusted' by other servers, that might make its way onto my main workstations, but only if I have enough control over what it is and is not allowed to do.

At work, running an IT department, I'm going to love this shit. It'll make it so much easier to implement the silly and arbitrary corporate policies about what kind of software and hardware can be plugged into the computers.

Hurd/Coyotos vs bugs in Trusted computing tools (1)

free2 (851653) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002578)

I would like to know whether RMS has a proposal for securing the internet, or if he considers it an important problem.

I think the answer is probably yes and it's probably an OS like GNU/Hurd (made of independant API servers) built on top of a mathematically proven microkernel like Coyotos.
http://coyotos.org/ [coyotos.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Computer _security&oldid=89887507#Techniques_for_Creating_S ecure_Systems [wikipedia.org]

As for TCPA/TCG/TPM being such a securing proposal, the answer is no.
You can't open the TPM chip in order to know if there are bugs or backdoors in it (security by obscurity).
Also, you can't update the wired cryptographic tools in the TPM to avoid new exploits or new cryptanalysis discoveries.
All softwares that are allowed to use the TPM, including the OS, won't become magically without bugs. A bad bug in those softwares (that are trusted by the TPM) can be used by an unauthorized person to manipulate the TPM and access its services like decryption of confidential data.

Re:RMS is always right. Mod parent up. (5, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002784)

You know what? Treacherous Computing could be "fixed" by the addition of one thing: an "owner override." In other words, a mechanism to allow the owner of the machine to maintain control by having the ability to instruct the TPM to lie on his behalf. It would still allow all the nice "securing the critical systems" applications you mention, while making it useless for the totalitarian things like DRM.

So, does the specification for Treacherous Computing include an owner override? NO! Why? Because the purpose of it is not for your noble cause of "securing critical systems," but for enforcing DRM. And that's why it's evil.

Re:RMS is always right. Mod parent up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17001810)

...This "trust" (only running approved code) starts with the BIOS, moves up to the kernel and in stuff like Vista it then moves into the media subsystem. ....

Do you mean like (gulp!) Viral!?

The "cure" proposal (2, Informative)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000728)

There was a bit in there about a way of handling GPL violators who want to be able to redistribute again. According to Stallman, this is because when you redistribute without following the terms of the GPL, you lose any further right you have to distribute it, even if you comply with the GPL later on. In the article, he says he's not sure where the idea originated, but I suspect it's somewhere in the KDE camp, as this is where the idea that you need "forgiveness" from the copyright holder was first seen [linuxtoday.com] . The "cure" proposal would be a way of granting that forgiveness automatically.

Re:The "cure" proposal (1)

fotbr (855184) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000810)

Interesting link, but it still comes across as more of Stallman's 'my way or the highway' attitude about free software. And he's rightfully entitled to act that way.

I'm just curious if the man has ever said anything good about ANY software license other than GPL.

Re:The "cure" proposal (5, Informative)

Cruise_WD (410599) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001404)

Yup - several times in that articles in fact. The Mozilla license, the second BSD-license, the Apache license and the Eclipse license are all recommended or commended for various reasons.

It appears GPLv3 is trying to pull the best bits from other licenses into as generally applicable license as possible, rather than being specific to one software program. I doubt anyone will ever agree on how well it succeeds, but it's a good idea to try, I feel.

Re:The "cure" proposal (2, Informative)

fotbr (855184) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001536)

Ah, missed that -- only had time to give it a quick look-through.

Mea Culpa.

GPL v"Rolling" (1, Insightful)

Bob54321 (911744) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000802)

I was interest to see what the GPL had to say about the Micrsoft/Novell deal. From the article

"It turns out that perhaps it's a good thing that Microsoft did this now, because we discovered that the text we had written for GPL version 3 would not have blocked this, but it's not too late and we're going to make sure that when GPL version 3 really comes out it will block such deals."


It seems to me like there might be a need to have a rolling release for the GPL, especially since even when trying to stop the problems associated with patents they initially failed... A lot of programs use the "or latest version" anyway so changing this to "GPL latest version" might be a way to keep dynamic threats to software freedom at bay.

Re:GPL v"Rolling" (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17000890)

You know things are bad when your LICENSE files need a patch update every Tuesday.

Serious question - will there be a GPLv3 fork of the Linux kernel? I know that Torvalds is dead against the idea, but an independent fork could be created if enough kernel contributors would agree to dual-licence their code.

Re:GPL v"Rolling" (1)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001504)

Serious question - will there be a GPLv3 fork of the Linux kernel? I know that Torvalds is dead against the idea, but an independent fork could be created if enough kernel contributors would agree to dual-licence their code.


Sure, unless there happen to be some major kernel contributors who wrote huge chunks of the kernel who are dead set against the idea, that could work.

I don't think you can call something a "fork" anymore when you have to rewrite the entire thing from scratch to avoid having it be a derivative work of Linus' original code.

Re:GPL v"Rolling" (1)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002164)

Serious question - will there be a GPLv3 fork of the Linux kernel? I know that Torvalds is dead against the idea, but an independent fork could be created if enough kernel contributors would agree to dual-licence their code.

I don't think you would need to get permission for dual-licensing.

Doesn't GPL2 allow you to redistribute the software as long as it is covered by GPL2 **or any subsequent version of the GPL**?

Re:GPL v"Rolling" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17000936)

'A lot of programs use the "or latest version" anyway so changing this to "GPL latest version" '
yeah right, I trust a program where 'latest version' maybe the property of all the files created by the program....(who knows with Stallman)
you trust you life on it ? me not....

Re:GPL v"Rolling" (0, Troll)

DavidpFitz (136265) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001458)

'A lot of programs use the "or latest version" anyway so changing this to "GPL latest version" '
yeah right, I trust a program where 'latest version' maybe the property of all the files created by the program....(who knows with Stallman)
you trust you life on it ? me not....
Now, I am not the biggest fan of the GPL by any means - but this is just simple dual licensing as far as I can see. You could choose to use the software under the terms of the license you wish (i.e. GPL-2) rather than the "latest version" which dictates you surrender your first born.

If you have to update your license reactionarily (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001126)

... and without maintainer intervention, then maybe there is something wrong with the license. Or the code. Pick one.

Re:If you have to update your license reactionaril (1)

Chris Pimlott (16212) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001756)

Um, yeah. That's the point of updating the license - something was "wrong" with it because it technically allowed something that was against its intended spirit. So they are working on a new version.

They'd love to create the perfect license that covers all forseeable an unforseeable possibilities. They've done a pretty good job so far; version 2 has sufficed for over 15 years. They are being very cautious taking their time with v3 to make sure they "get it right" addressing v2's perceived shortcomings as best as they are able.

So what's your point?

Re:GPL v"Rolling" (1)

plover (150551) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001692)

Think about how you'd "upgrade" a license. Does it even make sense to release software saying "this is released under a license that is not yet written?" Let's just say that you do, but the new license contains features you disagree with. OK, so you feel bad and your software is licensed inappropriately. But what about the 'consumer' of your license, who thought he was getting it under these specific conditions, and those conditions have now been taken away?

While I agree completely with RMS regarding "tivoization" (lovely word, BTW) think about the GPL v2 license. If the software had been released saying "covered under future GPL licenses", then Tivo would be in violation the moment GPL v3 is released. Let's say that completely ended their business model, putting them out of business and leaving millions of Tivo users without a working directory service. The offenders are gone, but the "innocent" public is harmed by their absence. Overall, is this a good thing?

Or what if RMS gets hit by a bus, and the next license claiming to be the GPL is written by a consortium of corporations? For the sake of argument, suppose this new GPL v5 is written such that it permits companies to claim ownership over previously free software? Would you want your software to suddenly be misappropriated by Microsoft or IBM?

As a free software consumer, I don't think I want to be exposed to that risk. I'm willing to accept the terms of GPL versions 1, 2 and even 3. But I don't know what's in v4, and I'm not willing to trust that v4 will be something I ever agree with.

Re:GPL v"Rolling" (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001986)

``A lot of programs use the "or latest version" anyway so changing this to "GPL latest version" might be a way to keep dynamic threats to software freedom at bay.''

It also means you're putting your trust in the FSF. You know what the license terms are today...but you have no idea about tomorrow. The new license could allow your program to be used in ways you would never have supported...and you couldn't do anything about it, because you've given the FSF the power to dictate the terms and change them at will.

Re:GPL v"Rolling" (1)

NSIM (953498) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002190)

It seems to me like there might be a need to have a rolling release for the GPL, especially since even when trying to stop the problems associated with patents they initially failed... A lot of programs use the "or latest version" anyway so changing this to "GPL latest version" might be a way to keep dynamic threats to software freedom at bay.
So with all the commercial companies out there who are wary of Open Source, now you want to make the GPL be subject to retroactive change, i.e. A company deploys a GPL app to do something that at the time doesn't infringe the GPL3 licence, then a subsequent update to the license makes it illegal. This is a sure fire way to get corporations to run screaming from GPL software because they have no way of understanding any risks associated with the GPL.

Treacherous Computing (3, Insightful)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000816)

a conspiracy of companies to restrict the public - to restrict the public's access to technology. Such conspiracies ought to be a crime. The executives of those companies should be tried, and if convicted, sent to prison for conspiring to restrict the public's access to technology. However, that sort of policy would have required leaders that believe in government of the people, by the people, for the people. What we have today is government of the people, by the flunkies, for the corporations.
For a thought experiment, it would be fun to force RMS to run a company producing some hardware for a while.
There would need to be an incentive, say, the threat of being forced to use vi on Windows, or no technology at all, if he didn't dedicate himself sincerely to protecting shareholder value or expanding the market for the product.
Because, while I find myself admiring and agreeing with RMS quite often, I also feel that he fails to appreciate the merits of any opposing viewpoints. Experience beyond his catbird seat as chief agitator of the FSF might temper the fellow nicely.

Re:Treacherous Computing (5, Informative)

sequence_man (97765) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000976)

In the quote given, RMS isn't critizing the companies. He is critizing the government. So yes, companines should try to maximize share holder value. But the government should protect the "people" since that is how they represent. Of course, it is us people that need to keep the government in line. So, I think he is smart enough to view his critism as being directed at people like me--those how don't vote. :-)

Re:Treacherous Computing (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17001438)

"So yes, companines should try to maximize share holder value. But the government should protect the "people" since that is how they represent."

And yes, these companies are not owned by people that want their rights protected, nor do they employ others that would be at a disadvantage if they were put out of jobs due to laws that favor people that want to see intellectual properties abandoned simply because they cannot see the value of them.

Those of us that do work in the 'virtual' world, are glad these laws exist. The human condition is such that people are greedy. I may be able to make a living designing software for my employer, but in RMS's world, I'd get paid to simply design it. My employer would be happy for what I do, but then my employer's competitors whom have had no desire to pay for the development will then demand it for free.

It puts the folks that create and commission content at a disadvantage over the leachers. Unfortunately, the leachers are often better sales people. What was that article the other day about Samsung -- they tracked down the people responsible for ripping their phone designs (down to the chipsets) and did the honorable thing -- they offered the guys jobs because the quality was nearly identical, but the pirates were getting it done much cheaper. The pirates decided them make much more money doing so illegally and declined the offer. In a sense, they could deal with selling this at a much cheaper rate, living off someone elses name and reputation, and not have to worry about little issues such as customer service and warentees.

And that is how the industry I am in is. Its very expensive to do some of the tasks I do. A lot of equipment to do so, a lot of human time as well, but in the end, its highly reproducible once everything is done. And our competitors are more than willing to put out a crappy product if thats all they have access to, and a certain amount of customers are willing to put up with it, but the competitors would be more than willing to take our work if they could do so without getting caught (and they do this already...we've found our products byte for byte in other companies roms, though they deny it...luckily, thats someones elses mess).

So, all in all, RMS is not protecting the 'people' if he is putting hard workers out of jobs and leaches of society into jobs. Where will the human spirit be in 200 years if all we do is ride each others coattails with Good Enough. You will have reduced everything to a hobbiest level, and there will be no reason to do anything that requires a big upfront investment as the hobbiest just can't get behind this.

I agree with RMS in some aspects -- IP laws are far too far in the favor of us content creators. Unfortunately, his rhetoric goes to show that he will not be satisfied with anything less that total anarchy in this regard with an anything goes attitude. Well, anything goes, so far as it bows down to him in the end. This is why communism has also failed...the human spirit is far too selfish for it to happen. It only takes one megalomaniac in the bunch to turn it into a dictatorship as opposed to a pure and giving ideal...and that megalomaniac is RMS.

I'm posting anonymously because I do some work with GPL based product-teams, and have turned over several of my personal projects to this end as they didn't affect my bottom line. I can live with GPL 2.0, but the 3.0 is simply a power grab.

Re:Treacherous Computing (2, Funny)

muellerr1 (868578) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001038)

I agree completely, except that I think he should be punished by using emacs on Windows.

Re:Treacherous Computing (2, Informative)

tokul (682258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001268)

For a thought experiment, it would be fun to force RMS to run a company producing some hardware for a while.

Chaintech - old motherboards are not supported. No video drivers for builtin 7AIV S3 ProSavage video card. Last VIA KM133 drivers cause black screen on Win98.

HP - HP Deskjet 1125c. Windows XP drivers are not available, because Windows XP includes drivers for this printer. Included driver sucks when compared with Win2k HP drivers and users use win2k drivers on winxp even when these drivers have quirks. Official HP response - use standard winxp driver. HP ColorLaserJet 3550 - no drivers for Vista and WinXP64. 64 bit drivers are only for IA64.

If you have to maintain older machines or support low end hardware, you know that drivers must be open. RMS and Theo de Raadt are right about open drivers.

If you want software examples - compare PhotoShop Elements 2, Photoshop Elements 5 and Photoshop itself. Try using older CorelDRAW when others use newer version. Get CDR viewer or CorelDRAW Essentials that work with CDR X3 format. Read and modify docx and xlsx documents. Compare Domino or Exchange IMAP implimentation with Cyrus or Courier.

Work some time as system admin on restricted budget and you will start disliking COTS.

Re:Treacherous Computing (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001558)

Sir, you missed my point entirely.
I've had my share of scanners "go brick" because the driver fell out of currency.
The point is that the demonization of companies would have more weight if, to pick from your list, RMS had actual executive experience running a company like S3.
The GPL makes wonderful common sense, hence the existence of OSDL.
And I agree that, as a customer, it sucks to have hardware requirements unmet by the vendor.
However, I don't think my own "baby with a full diaper" arguments constitute the full picture of how my crappy hardware got there, or how the development/distribution/market/maintenance/regula tion cycle works: there is just more to the situation than my whining.

Assumption (1)

Craig Ringer (302899) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001704)

You make the assumption here that a company must "protect shareholder value" (ie profiteer in an amoral manner) and "expand the market for the product".

That's true of most public companies. However, it's quite possible to write a corporate charter that limits such things, introducing issues of social responsibility and ethical behaviour. You just need to do it early and make potential shareholders aware of the rules. Few people are willing to do this, since it removes their excuse to profiteer in the name of the company, and makes it harder to get venture funding. But you know what? It's quite possible. And that's just for public companies - if you run a private company, none of this applies, and it's your ethics as the owner/partner that matters.

So ... what you're talking about isn't making RMS somehow face the real world (something that's probably not the worst idea in the world) but also to do so in a situation contrary to his if nothing else strongly held ethical framework and values. Not going to work, and it doesn't mean he just can't face the real world. Heck, there are companies I'd refuse to work for on basic ethical grounds, though I'm far from as strident as RMS, nor do I focus on the same things.

I guess my point is that you seem to equate "company" with "traditional large corporation with uncontrolled shareholder-driven amoral profiteering"... somthing I just can't accept.

Re:Assumption (1)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002716)

1. Charters can be changed at any time.

2. What would the charter restrict anyway? Also how would it possibly be effective in a world where said company would have competitors? If I saw a company that had a charter I'd jump for joy because that would mean it would be very easy for everyone else to get rich at its expense by merely pursuing the business opportunities that it would explicitly forgo.

Re:Treacherous Computing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17002148)

RMS isn't critizing the companies, he simply understands their nature. They are going to maximize shareholder value, to hell with long term public interests. He does complain about governments ... as he should as it is their JOB to protect the interests of the public... and he also designs licenses with all this in mind.

Re:Treacherous Computing (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002224)

he simply understands their nature
I'm unsure, given that he has not run one, that he has such an understanding. I suppose you could say that the FSF and any company, both being human organizations, share similarities.
I'd like to see the gentleman in charge of some profit-turning outfit for a while, though; it might help him more clearly define (and publish) his ethical system, such that it doesn't quite come off so much as "revealed truth" to the casual reader.

Re:Treacherous Computing (1)

slashbart (316113) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002688)

>> For a thought experiment, it would be fun to force RMS to run a company producing some hardware for a while.

So what's the problem? Write your own software instead of trying to steal it from people who believe in the GPL ideas.

I have no problem whatsoever with writing closed source proprietary software, I've earned loads of money doing it. The GPL rule is extremely simple to understand: "either join the rules, or stay out of it". That's all there is to it. It's not communist or anything, it just means you get to build on other peoples work, provided you give back what you add.

There are plenty of closed source, non-free operating systems, compilers, editors out there. Some of them are really good (UltraEdit, QNX, CodeWarrrior, ...) Nothing prevents you from using those exclusively. There is even the lesser GPL, which allows you to link with some libraries.

What is your complaint specifically, if I may ask ?

Bart

Very Easy... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17000834)

It is very easy for RMS to take the positions he does because he doesn't have to earn a living. Thru awards and people simply giving him money he brings in over 100,000 per year. He is isolated from the rest of us who have to earn a living programming - perhaps he should start walking the walk?

Re:Very Easy... (5, Interesting)

otacon (445694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000902)

You act like he's living the high life or something, he speaks that way because that is what he truly believes in. He supports himself with awards, speaker fees, but guess what, if he didn't take the positions he does he wouldn't win awards and no one would want to hear him speak. Consequently thats how he makes his living.

From his Wikipedia article:
Stallman maintains no permanent residence outside his office at MIT's CSAIL Lab,[28] describing himself as a "squatter" on campus.[29] He owns neither an automobile, common in pedestrian-friendly Cambridge, nor a cell phone, having stated his refusal to own a device with proprietary software.[28] Because his "research affiliate" position at MIT is unpaid,[30] he supports himself financially with speaker fees and prize money from awards he has won.

Re:Very Easy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17001000)

Funny how his money in his bank and investment is invested and managed by proprietary software. Guess that is different somehow.

Re:Very Easy... (2, Funny)

odourpreventer (898853) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001114)

Apparently, he doesn't own a mattress in which to put his money. I guess he had to go for second best.

RMS has no problem with CSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17001436)

But it seems many people have a problem with FOSS.

Re:Very Easy... (5, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001530)

Funny how his money in his bank and investment is invested and managed by proprietary software.Guess that is different somehow.

As is the software running the trains and planes he rides in, the software used by the government that collects his taxes, the software that... you get the idea. It's not possible for RMS to control the software used by other people, he can only control what software he uses and encourage others to use non-proprietary software. I suspect that if he could find a bank that used only Free Software, he'd use that bank. Actually, so would I... not out of opposition to proprietary software but because a bank that is so-enlightened would probably be a good choice in other ways. I'd expect them to have better security than most other banks, for example.

Re:Very Easy... (1)

Kenshin (43036) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001042)

Stallman maintains no permanent residence outside his office at MIT's CSAIL Lab,[28] describing himself as a "squatter" on campus.

That's his lifestyle choice. (Gross as it may be.) Even burger flippers can get a basement apartment.

Re:Very Easy... (1)

otacon (445694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001104)

you are right those are all lifestyle choices, but the original poster implied that he was detached due to money and not having to "earn a living". I think he would live that way regardless of the money he makes.

Re:Very Easy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17001192)

You don't live in Cambridge, do you? Average rent for one room in an apartment is nearly $1000/month.

Re:Very Easy... (1)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002790)

You act like he's living the high life or something
He is living what some would consider "high life". From what you posted, he does no work, and supports very little financially.
He supports himself with awards, speaker fees, but guess what, if he didn't take the positions he does he wouldn't win awards and no one would want to hear him speak.
That suggests he only takes his often-ridiculous positions in order to get easy money. Which I doubt you were trying to say, but that statement is strangely worded and rather meaningless otherwise.

He'd fight at least twice as hard. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17001170)

If you disagree with his stance when it comes to software licensing, you as a developer can easily avoid it: don't use software released under the GPL.

You're not forced to release your code under any of his licenses. If you're doing open source development, there are numerous other licenses you can use, including the BSD license, the Apache license, the Artistic license, and the X11 license. Of course, you can always get your lawyers to roll you your own special license.

And if he were to "walk the walk", as you say, what would you expect to change? If anything, he'd probably become even more sure of his ideals. If he had to work with closed platforms like Windows and .NET for any length of time, I don't doubt for a second that he'd fight several times as hard for open systems. Working on such systems becomes a royal pain in the ass after you've become used to the software development freedom of open source, a cause that Stallman has given decades of his life to.

Wow (1)

z4pp4 (923705) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000874)

Is RMS still alive? I thought Linus killed him a long time ago.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17001006)

Is RMS still alive? I thought Linus killed him a long time ago.
You have mixed developers, it's Reiser who murders people.

ReiserFS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17002328)

ReiserFS4 is truly a killer filesystem.

Tivoisation? (1)

pegr (46683) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000944)

I always wondered how Tivo could use GPL'ed software that technically didn't violate the license but certainly tramples all over the spirit of it. If RMS feels so strongly about it, why didn't he (or anyone else, for that matter) go after Tivo?

Re:Tivoisation? (1)

cluelessTypeOfGuy (957079) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001016)

TiVo did not break GPL v2, it just found hole in it. Even if he went after TiVo he would not be able to do anything, since they did not break GPL licence. V3 should solve this problem.

Re:Tivoisation? (2, Interesting)

pegr (46683) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001158)

Gee, thanks. Now that you've cleared that up, let me restate my question. There is a concept within criminal law that allows for criminal prosecution of a defendant even if he/she is technically not in violation of the written law. The example I hear about most frequently is the prosecution of possession of canibis indica when only the possession of canibis sativa is against the law.

Is there such a concept within contract law? If a contract participate violates the spirit of the contract but not the letter, can that be used as a basis for a contract dispute? And if so, could there be a favorable judgement?

I guess I have to say no, there is no such concept within contract law, or MS and SCO would be sued into oblivion. Hey wait... :)

Re:Tivoisation? (2, Informative)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002200)

If a contract participate violates the spirit of the contract but not the letter, can that be used as a basis for a contract dispute?

My understanding is that (under US law, anyway -- you don't say where you and your pot are) if you draft a contract, you're expected to address and clarify all your own concerns. Courts take a dim view of your discovering new subtleties or "violations of spirit" in your own words, as you had ample opportunity to make them clear to begin with. The other party gets more benefit of the doubt if he has a similar complaint against you, though.

Re:Tivoisation? (2, Interesting)

pegr (46683) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002530)

My understanding is that (under US law, anyway -- you don't say where you and your pot are) if you draft a contract, you're expected to address and clarify all your own concerns. Courts take a dim view of your discovering new subtleties or "violations of spirit" in your own words, as you had ample opportunity to make them clear to begin with. The other party gets more benefit of the doubt if he has a similar complaint against you, though.
 
And, hence, the need for GPLv3. As these abuses of the GPL were not foreseen, there was never an opportunity to negotiate.

And while Tivo may or may not win a challenge that they violated the spirit of the GPL, just the publicity of such a challenge may be enough to have them change their ways.

I, too, am torn in regard to Tivo's actions. On one hand, they certainly make a great use of GPL software, demonstrating to the entire world that GPL is better than good enough.

On the other hand, making sure that you can't actually change the GPL code on their platform is reprehensible. I really don't believe Tivo cares if you hack their product (I have, of course. It can be done.) My take is that as long as Tivo get's their $12.95 a month, they couldn't care less what you do. But the real kicker is that Tivo is making these accomodations on behalf of the content industry, who just can't make up their mind if Tivo is good for them or not.

There is an unsubstantiated rumor going around that Tivo's Home Media software (that lets you store Tivo content on your PC) actually looks for and disables software that is known to be effective for removing Tivo DRM from Tivo media files. Now if that turns out to be the case, it really puts a razor's edge to the whole "Treacherous Computing" idiom!

Re:Tivoisation? (1)

AusIV (950840) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001118)

Tivo distributes hardware capable of running the Linux kernel. Like the Xbox, it is hardware sold below cost in order to promote other services. If Tivo didn't restrict what kernel could be run to those signed by Tivo, people would buy the Tivo box, install a vanilla kernel and use it as a cheap computer. I'd hope most people can see why Tivo objects to that.

By releasing the source that they are required to release, they are allowing people to use and learn from their code, even if they cannot put it back on a Tivo. While RMS and many other FOSS zealots seem to think this is inappropriate, Tivo simply couldn't survive if they turned into an underpriced hardware company - which is what would happen with GPL V3.

Re:Tivoisation? (4, Insightful)

pegr (46683) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001224)

I understand that Tivo would like to make money on their investment. If you are suggesting that they should be permitted to misuse GPL software in that pursuit, I would have to disagree with you. If Tivo doesn't like the idea of people running whatever kernel they want on their hardware, let them write their own kernel and not subvert GNU/Linux. (Like that would stop experimenters...)

Disclaimer: I own two Tivos and a home-built MythTV box.

Re:Tivoisation? (1)

AusIV (950840) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002556)

I disagree that they are misusing the GPL. The GPL is a software distribution license with no authority over hardware. As Linus Torvalds has pointed out, he signs every copy of the kernel he releases. If a hardware manufacturer decided to check for his signature before loading the kernel, then it is not Torvalds implementing the restrictions by signing the kernel, and the GPL only covers the distribution of the kernel, not the hardware that runs it. As I stated in my earlier post, people can still learn from and use the modifications made by Tivo, they just don't get to do it on the hardware provided by Tivo.

Re:Tivoisation? (1)

headshrinker (37311) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001584)

How about when the argument is reversed?
The Linux kernel developers distribute a kernel capable of running on many platforms and which may be easily ported to others. Like many Free Software projects, it is software provided under the GPL. If the kernel developers didn't restrict what people could do with their code when they distributed it under the GPL, people would take the Linux kernel, install it on hardware that restricts what can be run on it and benefit from not having to develop all the code themselves (breaking the spirit, if not the letter of the GPL). I'd hope most people can see why some kernel developers object to that.

Re:Tivoisation? (1)

bogado (25959) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002212)

If tivo wants to be non-free then tivo should develop their system from the ground up. The use of the kernel and possibly other gpl software, I don't own or know tivos well, against the idea of the GPL, even if there is a loophole is a treason to the people who worked in those programs.

Neuros is doing the thing right, as far as I can see, it is launching an open-source toolkit and allowing people to hack their hardware to do what ever they want. They make money on the hardware, not bleed their customers every month with a service that would not be necessary at all if the hardware wasn't closed.

Re:Tivoisation? (1)

pegr (46683) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002710)

They make money on the hardware, not bleed their customers every month with a service that would not be necessary at all if the hardware wasn't closed.

 
That is an excellent point. The Tivo Service that I pay for every month really isn't worth the cost, as I get a virtually identical service free with my MythTV box. What I pay for is really the whole "Tivo Experience", which is really becoming worth less and less as time goes on. When my MythTV box becomes as easy to use (for the family, not me...) as my Tivo, I and Tivo will likely part ways. (Bonus points if somebody can get MythTV working on Tivo hardware!)

Free Systems (4, Interesting)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000960)

``There are two basically free operating systems: GNU/Linux and BSD. Unfortunately, nearly all the versions that people use include non-free software, but basically they are free systems.''

Is that actually true? I don't use any non-free software. I know other people who don't, and other people who do. I know people who use mostly non-free systems. But what about the percentages? Time for a Slashdot poll?

How free is your software?

  - Mostly free (some proprietary)
  - Completely free
  - Mostly proprietary (some free)
  - Completely proprietary
  - CowboyNeal hasn't written an OS yet

PS. The first part of the statement (There are two basically free operating systems: GNU/Linux and BSD) isn't right, there are more than two. Syllable, Haiku, ReactOS, FreeDOS, ...

Re:Free Systems (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17001028)

He was talking about usable operating system. How many people browse the web under Syllabe, Haiku, ReactOS, FreeDOS ???

And you should know that RMS is a Hurd lover. If he was going to mention all the free OS, even the unusable ones, he would have quote the GNU Hurd. That's for sure.

I think most of the people uses non-free software, he's right. I know maybe two people who has NO non-free software on their systems. One of them is an openBSD junkie.

Re:Free Systems (1, Informative)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001494)

Well, I was going to ignore your trolling, but seeing that you got modded up, I feel forced to reply and correct the misinformation you're spreading.

``He was talking about usable operating system.''

No, he wasn't. At least, it doesn't say so in TFA.

``How many people browse the web under Syllabe, Haiku, ReactOS, FreeDOS ???''

Irrelevant; they're still free operating systems (well, maybe not Haiku; I don't know if it runs without proprietary BeOS parts, yet).

Re:Free Systems (1)

Scarblac (122480) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001240)

Well, I have a Flash player installed, so it's not entirely free. And doesn't mplayer include proprietary libraries? And depending on how your definitions are, is any mp3 player free? I think not. Also, nVidia drivers on one box, ATI drivers on another... Sigh.

I think many people using a free OS on the desktop have at least things like that on there, possibly without being aware of it.

Re:Free Systems (1)

headshrinker (37311) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001636)

From your listed email address, you seem to be in the Netherlands. MP3 codecs were legal for you to use and redistribute, last I checked...

Re:Free Systems (1)

yankpop (931224) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001364)

Well, if you consider that even the kernel provided by Debian includes non-free firmware, and those few distros that satisfy RMS's free standards are currently marginal (Utoto and Gnewsense), I'd guess most users of GNU/Linux are in fact using mostly free systems, not 100% free.

You can, with some effort and supported hardware, run a distro that satisfies the Debian Free Software Guidelines, but that will still include non-free firmware.

I run Debian, so I don't know if other distros provide completely free kernels. My limited understanding is that they don't, but correct me if I'm wrong. Judging from a quick poke around your website you might be the sort of person to build their own kernel and/or distro, but I don't think that is true of most users.

yp

Re:Free Systems (1)

cfulmer (3166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001374)

I think his point is that if you look at many of the Linux distributions, most include some software that's covered by a license other than ones that RMS would consider "Free." Recall that RMS distinguishes "Free" and "Open Source" software. So, if your favorite Linux distribution includes a copy of the Java VM, you no longer have a completely free OS. Another way this happens is when a hardware manufacturer distributes binary-only drivers.

I'm interested in how you get along without any proprietary software at all -- I've tried and while it was possible to do 99.5% of my job using free software, the other 1/2% was a nightmare. (Thank goodness for VMware.)

Re:Free Systems (1)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001444)

While it would be nice to do a poll, I wonder how many people even realise if they are using some proprietary wireless or graphics card driver?

These days distros can install them automatically. (not a move I'm against. In fact I voted for it (successfully) in Ubuntu, as long as the user is clearly told and informed about non-free)

Re:Free Systems (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001856)

Don't forget, RMS probably thinks if you have Apache on your machine you're running non-free software. So, it's a matter of degree.

No (1)

Shawn is an Asshole (845769) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002536)

Apache is Free Software, just not GPL compatible. I doubt RMS has a problem with it, especially as both gnu.org and fsf.org use it. Quoting GNU Licenses [gnu.org] :

Apache License, Version 1.0

This is a simple, permissive non-copyleft free software license with practical problems like those of the original BSD license, including incompatibility with the GNU GPL.

Apache License, Version 1.1

This is a permissive non-copyleft free software license with a few requirements that render it incompatible with the GNU GPL.

We urge you not to use the Apache licenses for software you write. However, there is no reason to avoid running programs that have been released under this license, such as Apache.

Apache Software License, version 2.0

This is a free software license but it is incompatible with the GPL. The Apache Software License is incompatible with the GPL because it has a specific requirement that is not in the GPL: it has certain patent termination cases that the GPL does not require. (We don't think those patent termination cases are inherently a bad idea, but nonetheless they are incompatible with the GNU GPL.)

Re:Free Systems (1)

petabyte (238821) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002004)

I think your average Linux/BSD user is going to be in Mostly Free. My desktop has the Nvidia Driver and flashplayer to make things run. I just ordered a new Dell Laptop and it will need Ndiswrapper for the wifi. The OpenSource drivers are coming (broadcom chip) but even then I have to use some binary firmware.

I also have Flashplayer on the system and (the real killer), Vmware with a Windows XP installation for times when a work app just needs windows.

Your average Windows user is probably Mostly Proprietary (some free). There is some middle ground.

What RMS should address (1)

cucucu (953756) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001052)

RMS and the GPL folks are doing a mistake in the way they address the Novell-Microsoft pact. They are patching the GPL instead of doing root cause analysis.
The root cause is that the GPL allows for the existence of non-free distros (Novell and RedHat are the ones I know). If all the distros were truly free, then the MS-Novel pact would benefit the whole community, for you could download the relevant SuSE and use it or distribute it according to the GPL.

I don't know what are the legal mechanisms by which such a thing could be done without hampering with people who sell Linux as a platform for proprietary software. Among others possibilities they could
  • Include a clause stating that if what you distribute is mainly an OS, then GPL still applies. This might be vague for a precise legal statement, but if viable it would not allow Red Hat to distribute Linux with some little obscure proprietary application and convert the whole CD into non-free.
  • Including a clause that states that if your product includes proprietary parts, then there must be a method for "extracting" the GPL parts from it. This would allow people who buy SuSE or RedHat to extract the GPLed parts and distribute them freely. This is vague too, and a technical problem.


Besides the legal issue I think it is annoying and perhaps unethical that companies take an open source product, extend it and close it. This is what RedHat is said to be planning to do to JBoss, but here the case is different because they acquired JBoss. In the case of Linux they are just enclosing behind fences part of a product they did not develop.

Re:What RMS should address (2, Informative)

linuxpoweredtrekkie (659492) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001238)

It sounds like you're just uninformed, rather than trolling, so thought I'd correct you.

You have always been able to download any version of SUSE and distribute the GPLed components according to the GPL, for the last several versions the non-oss components have been moved out of the core distribution and are on an additional CD/repository you may use if you wish , so there is not even any "extraction" required. Even the enterprise version is freely downloadable, but don't expect to get a free support contract with it. The same is true of Red hat/fedora.

Re:What RMS should address (1)

cucucu (953756) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001328)

Can you provide links to the download sites of the enterprise version?

Re:What RMS should address (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17001600)

Seems you are very confused heh...

Just because its GPL doesnt mean you dont need to pay for it. Just because its GPL doesnt mean you need to be able to download it for free.

Get a clue, please

Re:What RMS should address (1)

linuxpoweredtrekkie (659492) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001616)

http://www.novell.com/products/server/eval.html [novell.com] and http://www.novell.com/products/desktop/eval.html [novell.com] You get 60 days of free update subscriptions, or you can continue to use without support, or find someone else to support it. Also SUSE Linux/openSUSE is exactly the same codebase as the enterprise version, so if you want free updates you can use that. The enterprise versions are targetted at businesses which want support contracts, they are the same distribution.

Re:What RMS should address (1)

cucucu (953756) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001948)

This is a limited evaluation version. I was asking for one I can keep forever, modify, distribute, etc.
The same for RedHat.
I think it is ok to take a 3rd party open source product and sell support for it. But I think it is unethical to convert it to closed source (although perhaps it is legal -- in fact it seems it is if they do it and don't get sued). I want to be able to tell SuSE and RedHat: "your product is based 99% on community work, please make your best work available to all, don't just give us the community version or other bone". Neither you, nor me, nor Linus Torvalds can use SuSE's or RedHat's enterprise version without paying.
And I think this should be addresses by GPL.

Re:What RMS should address (1)

linuxpoweredtrekkie (659492) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002182)

No it is not limited in any way, only the amount of time you get free updates for is limited, the product is not limited in any way. You can also find a 3rd party to give you the support if you wish, for example centos for RHEL. Also as I said, SUSE Linux/openSUSE is the same codebase as the enterprise SLE product, the difference is that one is marketed at businesses who need the subscription, the other is targeted at people like you who don't, the product is the same.

Re:What RMS should address (4, Informative)

crush (19364) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002608)

The root cause is that the GPL allows for the existence of non-free distros (Novell and RedHat are the ones I know)

Dude, Red Hat Enterprise Linux is provided as source at Red Hat's site. There is at least one large, easy to use distribution which takes those sources and rebuilds them after removing any Red Hat trademarked logos. That distribution is CentOS [centos.org] . Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is completely free and GPL compliant. I recommend the contract-supported RHEL for customers that need that support, or need the certification on particular hardware for compliance issues and I recommend CentOS for customers that are comfortable dealing with (or paying me to deal with) a lot of extra issues.

Your statement that RHEL is non-free is thus completely false and demonstrably so.

Further RHEL, unlike SLES, is not complicated by an unclear patent-deal with Microsoft which seems to open Novell and Novell's customers to arcane legal threats due to implicit admission of the existence of infringement of Microsoft patents.

Add to this that Fedora Core is almost completely paid for by Red Hat in terms of infrastructure and developers and is also completely Free and I think that your comment if not a troll is unbelievably off-base.

Do It Right the First Time (TM) (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001068)

``The basic idea of GPL version 3 is unchanged: to protect the four freedoms for all users, but the details have to adapt to today's circumstances.''

IANAL, but the software developer in me says: if you want to ensure that the four freedoms aren't taken away, then that's what you ought to write. Instead of running after every special case (like bringing liquids on airplanes...err...different topic), why not simply write something to the effect that "by distributing the Software under this License, the Copyright Holder grants you the right to exercise the Freedoms described herein, regardless of any restrictions that might otherwise prevent you from doing so"? Freedoms granted and protected, and neither todays patents, nor tomorrows NIPP (Newfangled Intellectual Property Protection) will take them away.

People are the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17001308)

a computer will do what you've told it to do (whether that is what you meant or not).

People will misread or find a new interpretation of (or even just plain ignore) what you said, whether you meant it or not.

Re:Do It Right the First Time (TM) (1)

SolitaryMan (538416) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001396)

write something to the effect that "by distributing the Software under this License, the Copyright Holder grants you the right to exercise the Freedoms described herein
I'm afraid this violates the basic concept of "freedom" itself: you are free to do everything that is not prohibited (read: that does not restrict other people's freedoms)

The GPL v* does it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17002330)

All versions of the GPL have stated the four freedoms and the intention to protect them in the preamble. But there is no mechanism in law to make that directly enforceable. The actual terms of the GPL translate the four freedoms into code, interfacing with the copyright API, which our legal system(s) can compile.

Re:Do It Right the First Time (TM) (1)

Gabesword (964485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002672)

I think you hit the nail on the head, you are not a lawyer. To withstand the rigors of legal review and to be successful in court challenges against abusers the GPL will need to be much more specific than what you are suggesting. Protecting those four freedoms is still what the GPL is all about, but laywers the world over are working very hard to put those four freedoms into legal language that can't be bypassed by a clever corporate law team.

RMS (5, Insightful)

Enquest (579041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001156)

RMS is an excellent philosopher. He is the man we as programmers, nerds, and thinkers always should listen to very carefully. RMS has some bugs for sure but you can work around them.
I wonder sometimes how computing would be if he wouldn't be so hard fighting for digital freedom. GNU/Linux would not be here today. We would have to use mainly proprietary software. Even for your web applications it would be hard to get one free.

Even if you don't agree with RMS you always should at least read and listen what he has to say. And make arguments why you don't agree, don't simple say he is ******.

I'm very happy that once again he defends FREEDOM with GPL 3 and will make the company's who want to use copyleft software play nice with you and me. I hope we (nerds, programmers, it-users) will use GPL 3 and help RMS. It is after all in our best interest to do so.

Gosh, I thought RMS came off as totally reasonable (5, Insightful)

jjn1056 (85209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001412)

I can see already the RMS bashers are out in force, but after reading this article I thought it came off as very reasonable in comparison to many other speeches. Sure there was the 'GNU/linux' thing and a short rant against open source, but that is all old hat really.

All I can see here is him talking about cleaning up the language of the GPL so that is works better in various countries and making sure it's properly compatible with other important free licenses, like the Eclipse and Apache license. That's important stuff. Some stuff about making unclear things clear, and setting it up so that you can more easily and clearly add additional rights, such as if you are using the GPL for a font set you made you can explicitly say that documents using that font can be under any license the document creator wants (which isn't a problem really, but it makes some people nervous so you can be explicit if you want).

I'm not sure what all the ranting here about RMS not having to work for a living is coming from, except maybe jealously. He's making a decent living at doing what he loves, which I thought was what we all want. Good for him, I hope someday to have a career as successful and important as his.

Re:Gosh, I thought RMS came off as totally reasona (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17001818)

'I'm not sure what all the ranting here about RMS not having to work for a living is coming from, except maybe jealously. He's making a decent living at doing what he loves, which I thought was what we all want. Good for him, I hope someday to have a career as successful and important as his.'
Like most philosophers or utopist, he lives in 'another world' not the one you me and other people with common sense live in.
Common sense that tells us that when someone can just copy the work we have done for free without gigving us a dime is allowed there is absolutely no incentive to keep doing it because we do not choose to live in a basement or have a family to care off.
And just dont tell me support, support is only needed when your stuff is absolut crap....if it were working in the first place, who the hell would need support...
Most of the open source success have private funding by either hardware makers or concurrents of microsoft....
That's like telling commercials is actually a good business model beause price of some stuff decreased.....just forgetting you paid way higher on something else because of that...
Well I prefere to pay for what I choose to buy....and be paid directly for what I've done instead of having my OS for free...
GPLv3 is a nightmare if it ever succeeds, by basically requiring everything being developped on top of it to be GPLv3 too....
imagine if linux was the only os and it was in gplv3....
What would not be a 'derivated work' in Stallman spirit ?
The hell with him and the hell with Microsoft....
Whatever you buy you should be allowed to do whatever you want (except redistribute it to more than one other person) in your home....
And if you want the source, either just pay more, ask for it, or dont freaking buy from a vendor that dont guarantee that you will have it if he either dont support it or wont fix it....
And makes that mandatory by law....I am kind of fed up of these 'no guarantee' eula....
Anytime I see 'no guarantee' in an eula, I have to think:yeah no guarantee i give a dam to your eula either then...

TAKE A FUCKING BATH YOU GODDAMN HIPPY! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17001548)

"I am a goat fucker!" -Richard Stallman, 1994

A bit of MIT/LCS lore here.

RMS used to live on the 7th floor of LCS. That's where he used to have his office before he resigned in protest over the commercialization of something or another. But they let him keep his office, and he lives there, because he refuses to have an apartment. (Given the rent rates in Cambridge, the assholeness of most landlords, I don't blame him. Rather than live in my office, I chose to move to Texas, and the change in rent rates and lack of state income tax resulted in an immediate %25 pay raise. RMS doesn't have that option because we have the death penalty for people like him down here.)

Anyway, RMS has or had a number or geek chick groupies. I wouldn't call any of the ones I've seen "hot", really -- well except for this one little psycho jewish undergrad from NYC. He would sleep with them on the sofa in his office. That's why he got kicked out off floor 7, and down to the 3 floor, is that the cleaning staff complained about pulling used condoms out from behind the sofas. No joke. You can use this information for trolling if you wish, but it's all true.

RMS has a phobia of water that prevents him from showering. This is part of this post I know from first hand experience, because I myself have observed him taking a sponge bath in the 3d floor mens room in LCS. Apparently once he had a girlfriend who he was totally in love with, and she convinced him to take one shower a week. It was a traumatic experience for him each time.

RMS also has a phobia of spider plants. When RMS starts bothering a grad student and going to his office and talking to him constantly and getting him to spend all his time writing free software, the grad student will complain to someone on the floor, and they'll let them in on the secrete -- get a spider plant in your office. The next time RMS drops by, his eyes will bulge a little and he'll say " Umm. . . I wanted to talk to you about hacking some elisp code . . . why don't you stop by my office sometime ?" and make a hasty exit.

One of his more nasty habits is picking huge flakes of dandruff out of his hair while talking to you. At least he doesn't eat them, like some people I know.

Now, I know everyone loves to make fun of RMS, and I'm feeding that a bit here, so I'd just like to say that I think he really is a genius, on the order of Socrates (another filthy slob who couldn't keep a normal living arrangement, and lived in a barrel) or Ghandi or Ezekiel. Everything he has ever said to me, while sounding naive and idealistic and stupid at the time, turned out to later be correct.

The only thing I fear in his philosophy is his interest in reducing population growth. Everyone else I know of who was obsessed with that "problem" turned out to have facist or totolitarian tendencies, and I think that the problem will solve itself as more and more of the world moves into a middle class type existence.

But on everything else, bitter experiences have taught me he is right. I will not use any non-GPLd or lGPLd software, and I look forward to being able to buy only "open" hardware. I would like to see software patents completely eliminated, and with the development of digitial communication, I see no reason why shouldn't simply repeal all of Title 17 and do away with all copyrights. They just aren't needed. I expect to spend much of my life being paid to write software, and I just don't see copyrights has helping me in anyway.

Market pressure doesn't mean that (1)

Gregory Cox (997625) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002310)

The section in Ciarán O'Riordan's speech called "Could we use market pressure instead?"

This looks to be a summary of the argument put forward by Linus Torvalds for why you don't need to change the GPL to exclude things like tivolisation or Trusted(*) Computing. Except O'Riordan doesn't get it. "Market pressure" does not mean Free Software advocates ganging up together and deciding not to buy things on principle. It means consumers - all consumers - making choices based purely on self-interest.

For example, multi-region DVD players. If the content makers had their way, multi-region players wouldn't exist. They do exist because consumers realise that multi-region is better than single-region, creating a demand. That in turn produced an incentive for manufacturers to make them.

Tivo could work out the same way. Imagine if the FSF somehow stopped Tivo using Linux like they do now. Tivo would probably respond by dropping Linux and licensing Windows, or some other proprietary system. On the other hand, if tivolisation is really such a bad thing for consumers, eventually someone would bring out an FSF-friendly Tivo clone without the tivolisation problems, and everyone will buy that instead.

I think it's a telling mistake that the FSF people see "pressure" only in terms of an ideological struggle between factions, and don't notice that there's a natural pressure from market forces.

A lot of what RMS says is right, and he may win some people over by making speeches, but in the end, the best way to gain allies is via Linus-style pragmatism - by giving people a selfish motive to do what you want them to.

(*) I prefer the term "Trusted Computing". The Microsoft doublespeak sounds far more sinister than any nasty name the FSF can think up.
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