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Richard Stallman on OLPC

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the no-not-literally-it-would-break dept.

GNU is Not Unix 218

memshankar writes "In an interview while he was in Hyderabad, India RMS praises for the One Laptop Per Child Project. He is even contemplating making a switch to XO, the flagship machine of the project, from his "old thinkpad". Stallman went on to say that the OLPC laptop has given people a way to use the free BIOS. He is, however dissatisfied with the wireless networking system used in the XO."

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RMS Proves One Thing.... (1, Funny)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#22320494)

If you write an important compiler, and you say something provocative, it's news. If you don't, it's flamebait!

Clearly, I can't troll without writing a compiler.

Sigh...

Must get to work!

Re:RMS Proves One Thing.... (0, Offtopic)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22320636)

I've written three compilers. My website http://symboltablese.cx/ [symboltablese.cx] was a huge disappointment.

Re:RMS Proves One Thing.... (4, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#22320672)

Actually, I think he is making these remarks in his capacity as the author of and important license, in which case it is quite newsworthy. Or it may be in his capacity as the originator of the "free software" concept, I'm not sure.

In any case, that puts the count of significant accomplishments to RMS's credit at two or three, depending on whether you count GPL as important in its own right or only as the most popular implementation of free software licensing. Not too shabby in either case.

Re:RMS Proves One Thing.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22321598)

Or it may be in his capacity as the originator of the "free software" concept, I'm not sure.

Of course those behind the BSD license would point out they originated it; RMS just redefined what free meant to meet his political agenda.

Re:RMS Proves One Thing.... (2, Informative)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322742)

Stallman's FSF and GNU project have got nothing to do with BSD. The BSD licence originated with the BSD Unix distribution and has since, in modified form, taken on a life of it's own as a permissive type of free software licence.

Stallman's goal with the FSF was originally to create an entirely free Unix replacement - the GNU (= GNU's Not Unix) project, starting from the ground up with tools like Emacs, GCC, the GNU C library, Bison (Yak replacement), replace ments for all the Unix user space tools, etc.

Stallman didn't hijack a BSD initiated free softare movement - he created the movement in the first place and created an entirely free Unix implementation (minus the kernel - intended to be HURD) that is an alternative to BSD, Sys V, etc. He's quite right to assert that "Linux" should be called GNU/Linux, since a Linux distribution is essentially GNU with Linus's kernel. You can even have a GNU system with another kernl (such as Mach), but without GNU (and Richard Stallman) "Linux" would not exist - you'd just have some sad hacker in Finland with a toy kernel and maybe dreams of building an operating system and user space tools around it one day.

Don't get me wrong, I deeply respect RMS (5, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322034)

Actually, I think he is making these remarks in his capacity as the author of and important license, in which case it is quite newsworthy. Or it may be in his capacity as the originator of the "free software" concept, I'm not sure.

Compiler writer, inventor of free software concept, really, not a bad resume at all. But that's the thing about RMS that makes me respect the socialist. The classic Republican retort, that I've used myself, to liberals that want the government to save the world, is, "if its so important to you, then why not do it yourself". And RMS DID just that. He didn't write a petition web site, he wasn't lobbying congress. He said that there ought to be bunch of free tools and he made it happen. He wrote the original gnu compiler, put a lot into emacs, put together the GNU project and the GPL and a whole bunch of things. He's done more for his cause by himself than 99% of most people do for theirs.

I may not agree with his politics, but I deeply respect the man, and yeah, I do donate to the GNU when I can, because, sometimes its better to support people that are just willing to work to make the world better in some way, regardless if it jives with your own half baked sensibilities. The work matters more than the politics, I say.

Re:RMS Proves One Thing.... (2, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22320890)

But what he's saying isn't provocative -- praising the OLPC is in. Calling attention to some of the flaws and corruption behind the OLPC project is considered provocative, especially here at slashdot, but praising it just makes you one of the crowd.

Re:RMS Proves One Thing.... (1)

Imsdal (930595) | more than 6 years ago | (#22320984)

But what he's saying isn't provocative -- praising the OLPC is in.

Oh, I thought praising the OLPC was last year's blogohype. Or possibly 2006's.

Wow (4, Funny)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 6 years ago | (#22320498)

Amazing, if this Stallman person is thinking of getting one then maybe I should too. I wonder what brand of washing powder he uses because I'm not totally satisfied with the softness ( or lack of ) I get with the persil tablets I am currently using.

Re:Wow (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22320558)

He doesn't use washing powder Posting anon because I'd like to get a cheap shot at stallman

Re:Wow (0, Troll)

hostyle (773991) | more than 6 years ago | (#22320660)

or clothes! Ever wondered what he's hiding in that beard ?

Re:Wow (0, Offtopic)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 6 years ago | (#22320870)

Off-topic ? Come on moderators can't you see the point that pronouncements by RMS on the subject of washing powder would be at least as interesting as this article ( such as it is ) and probably more useful.

Re:Wow (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22320956)

"Washing powder he uses"? Clearly sir and/or madame, you have not met Mr. Stallman!

Re:Wow (3, Funny)

darthdavid (835069) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321296)

Let's be honest with ourselves. This is Slashdot, there's no need for the madam...

Re:Wow (2, Funny)

xaxa (988988) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322042)

He uses Linux Washing Powder [roesch-swiss.ch] , of course!

(Also Vim limescale remover [choiceful.com] to clean the bathroom.)

Re:Wow (2, Funny)

fr4nk (1077037) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322468)

Make that "GNU/Linux Washing Powder" and "Emacs limescale remover" and you're set.

Give the full story: RMS:Hardware hacker (4, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#22320502)

He is, however dissatisfied with the wireless networking system used in the XO. Since it uses a proprietary technology,| he plans to remove it and use a separate device when he needs to make wireless communication with others.

You imagine the mumbling and grumbling grumbling coming from RMS as he wields his soldering iron over a naked XO.

Re:Give the full story: RMS:Hardware hacker (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22320564)

You imagine the mumbling and grumbling grumbling coming from RMS as he wields his soldering iron over a naked XO.

Better than imagining the moaning and groaning coming from a naked RMS as he wields his iron soldier over an XO.

Now I need... (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322458)

Thankyou for that image. Now I need some of this [clorox.com] , for my brain.

Re:Give the full story: RMS:Hardware hacker (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322526)

Fucker, you made me get mental picture.

Not pleasant!

For the first time, it is waranted not to RTFA (1, Insightful)

Gori (526248) | more than 6 years ago | (#22320506)

Ok, the actual TFA is maybe 3 times longer that the summary. Man, how does this stuff get past the editors...

Re:For the first time, it is waranted not to RTFA (1)

Harold Halloway (1047486) | more than 6 years ago | (#22320568)

"Ok, the actual TFA is maybe 3 times longer that the summary." ...and doesn't contain an awful lot more information! I spent a good minute looking for the link to the actual interview. Apart from a video clip there's nothing.

RMS is never happy (4, Funny)

chrishillman (852550) | more than 6 years ago | (#22320516)

Is RMS ever happy? I am going to start a project "One Puppy per child" and the first one goes to Stallman.

AIBO (4, Funny)

emj (15659) | more than 6 years ago | (#22320574)

Is RMS ever happy? I am going to start a project "One Puppy per child" and the first one goes to Stallman.


The SONY dogbot isn't open sourced, but there is a german one [makezine.com] you can use.

Re:RMS is never happy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22321162)

I pretty much guarantee you RMS would not appreciate the duty of care that comes with a "gift" of puppy. Now, I like puppies (difficult not to), but I am very much aware they take a lot of looking after.

Re:RMS is never happy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22322110)

Yes, he is happy when he is in Venezuela.

Wireless (1)

emj (15659) | more than 6 years ago | (#22320522)

is closed source, he isn't complaining about the technology... Good bad I'm not sure but maybe he could make a greater stance against how that is handled by Intel and all the other WLAN card designers.

Re:Wireless (1)

camcorder (759720) | more than 6 years ago | (#22320994)

I don't even think RMS knew what wireless technology those PCs have. Since RMS never interested in content most of time. I remember once I passed a signed book to him of a writer friend of mine titled as "Linux-something", his first response was "I didn't like this book, where's GNU in it". And I'm not kidding.

Wha? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22320530)

He didn't call it GNU/OLPC?

You sure they actually interviewed RMS?

Re:Wha? (3, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22320608)

Not sure there is much of anything GNU on it. Even the shell utils are busybox, not GNU.

Re:Wha? (1)

byolinux (535260) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321322)

I suspect he'll run on it. [gnewsense.org]

Re:Wha? (2, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321526)

Hmmm...it includes GTK+ and bits of Gnome. GTK+ is a part of Gnome, which in turn, is a part of GNU. And, of course, it uses glibc, which is also a part of GNU.

Re:Wha? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321820)

It does *not* include GTK+.. but I think the python canvas widget it uses to draw on is actually part of GNOME, yes.

Re:Wha? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322214)

Well, I guess somebody better tell the OLPC project that they don't include GTK+ or PyGTK so they can fix their wiki [laptop.org] .

Re:Wha? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322318)

Ahh, sorry. I was thinking of Sugar specifically.

Re:Wha? (1)

ray-auch (454705) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321618)

But it runs on Linux - Uh, sorry - GNU/Linux.

Essentially, all linux systems are GNU/Linux to RMS (check out the source to configure).

Re:Wha? (4, Informative)

swillden (191260) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321754)

But it runs on Linux - Uh, sorry - GNU/Linux.

Essentially, all linux systems are GNU/Linux to RMS (check out the source to configure).

RMS has never claimed the Linux kernel as part of GNU. He uses GNU/Linux to refer to distributions which use all the GNU userland stuff on top of the Linux kernel. It's a pretty reasonable position, actually, except that it ignores some other major pieces that should be in the list, and that a proper list (e.g. GNOME/Xorg/GNU/Linux) would be so unwieldy that it's easier just to say "Linux".

Actually, Linux as RMS uses it really is pretty much just GNU/Linux. I understand he doesn't use X or anything that requires a GUI, just EMACS, GNU Screen and BASH.

Re:Wha? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22322114)

>> Actually, Linux as RMS uses it really is pretty much just GNU/Linux. I understand he doesn't use X or anything that requires a GUI, just EMACS, GNU Screen and BASH.

So one of the GURUS of IT today, still use computers like 20 years ago.

And we have people basing decisions on what he says... reminds me of people trusting the Pope speaking about sex.

Re:Wha? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22322700)

Why do you think regular use of a GUI is essential to be able to talk about ethics?

Re:Wha? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22321796)

Essentially, all linux systems are GNU/Linux to RMS

That's a lie, plain and simple. He will even correct you if you refer to Linux or non-GNU systems as GNU/Linux.

All systems where the traditional UNIX userspace is primarily composed of GNU software and the kernel is Linux are GNU/Linux to RMS. And that's not an unreasonable position to take. It's only the straw-men that constantly get put up in his place that gives the impression Stallman thinks all Linux systems are GNU/Linux. And you are continuing to perpetuate this myth. Knock it off.

Re:Wha? (1)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321704)

Not sure there is much of anything GNU on it. Even the shell utils are busybox, not GNU
Probably couldn't afford the licensing.

Re:Wha? (2, Informative)

punissuer (1036512) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322388)

Your comment is funny because Stallman has pleaded so many times for credit where it's due, but I do hope you noticed that the name he came up with for GNU wasn't StallmanOS or RMoS.

Do we care? (1)

imcclell (138690) | more than 6 years ago | (#22320536)

Do we really care? It's not really that surprising. A cheap laptop using free software for the masses. Isn't this like a dream come true for the man?

RMS = COMMUNIST LOVING FUCKTARD WHO SHOULD (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22320542)

go slit his fucking wrists.

GO AHEAD! FUCKING FLAME AWAY or
WASTE YOUR GODDAMNED MODPOINTS FUCKTARDED SHITDOT SHEEPLE!

Re:RMS = COMMUNIST LOVING FUCKTARD WHO SHOULD (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22320756)

and who forgot to take the white pill this morning?

Makes sense (4, Insightful)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 6 years ago | (#22320556)

I always thought that the XO made sense for RMS. Find another machine that is open source from the hardware to the bios to the OS to the applications. The XO is the only true FOSS device that I know about.

Re:Makes sense (3, Informative)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#22320614)

Except it's not. From TFA:

"He is, however dissatisfied with the wireless networking system used in the XO. Since it uses a proprietary technology, he plans to remove it and use a separate device when he needs to make wireless communication with others."

Re:Makes sense (4, Funny)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 6 years ago | (#22320684)

Information just wants to be free. Unfortunately, freedom comes with a Cat5 cable.

Re:Makes sense (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22320946)

Anyone know what program he's talking about? Or is he just talking about the wireless drivers?

Re:Makes sense (1, Funny)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321188)

And lucky for RMS, he doesn't have too many close, personal friends to communicate with ... so it should be only a minor inconvenience.

WHERES MY LAPTOP (0, Troll)

w3bd4wg (938648) | more than 6 years ago | (#22320600)

I demand to get my free laptop now. What are the age requirements?

Re:WHERES MY LAPTOP (2, Funny)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 6 years ago | (#22320642)

The child needs to be under 5ft tall, anything bigger causes problems with their processing. As soon as they confirm delivery they'll mail the laptop out to you.

why? (5, Insightful)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 6 years ago | (#22320620)

I've always wondered about articles like this one.

Linus says something about an area he knows nothing about.

Stallman says something a particular product.

dont get me wrong, they are both interesting people, I have some Stallman lectures sitting on my hard drive, and I've actually watched them several times.

When these guys are talking about a topic where they are an authority on the matter, I find their comments to be '+5 insightful', but stuff like this is '+2 interesting' at best.

Re:why? (2, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321026)

Seen any Eben Moglen lectures? For example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NorfgQlEJv8 [youtube.com]

If you can handle his monotones, he really has some cool stuff to say.

Re:why? (5, Insightful)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321592)

Stallman says something a particular product.

You can't blame Stallman, he was asked a question and he answered it. And he said he was going to BUY an OLPC and use it in preference to his ThinkPad, a pretty ringing endorsement. But 90% of the posts seem to be about either his comments on the "unfree" wifi driver, or his beard. Again, not his fault for the weird way he is reported.

Re:why? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322658)

When these guys are talking about a topic where they are an authority on the matter


It seems to me a focus of Stallman's approval of the OLPC is freedom, particularly software but also hardware, throughout the system.

Now, it seems to me that that is pretty much Stallman's area of specialty.

RMS has a great guru image (4, Interesting)

Morgaine (4316) | more than 6 years ago | (#22320656)

Although some people can't see beyond the ends of their politically correct noses in the west and so talk down RMS for his shaggy look, that's not an issue in the guru culture of India. In fact, the picture of RMS in TFA fits in perfectly. You wouldn't trust a "wise old man" dressed in a slimy western business suit and tie.

Kudos to RMS for all his work over the years, and putting up with small-minded criticism.

Re:RMS has a great guru image (-1, Troll)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 6 years ago | (#22320762)

If was looking for someone to inaugarate my gurudwhana then I might look for a guru or if I was looking for someone to give my pop band a little of bit of credibility and some publicity I might have them go see a guru but if I wanted to consolidate my servers in an Active Directory forest and save my company tons of money I probably wouldn't look for a guru.

Re:RMS has a great guru image (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22321360)

Why would you even think RMS would help you with a Craptive Directory setup? You know, gnu+linux has non-micro$oft-polluted LDAP/Kerberos stacks to help consolidate your gnu+linux servers (If you're stupid enough to use windoze on a server, well, you're stupid).

Re:RMS has a great guru image (1, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22320976)

Nah it is because he has been so closed minded for many years. He was open minded then he came up with an Idea that a lot of people liked now he is closed minded in that idea and any concepts beyond his train of tought is evil. The Indian Guru look works because of the sience of humility to the world and or a connection with nature and not towards material possetions. Being the RMS is not humble, and being that he is pushing technology means a connection to material possetions (as a point in the article saying I am getting an OLPC laptop and I indorce it and I want you to get one too), and the fact if given the opertunity of an Open Sourced Hardware vs. more envriomental hardware he will go with open sourced, shows that he is not one with nature. So all the leaves him as a smelly unkempt old man. Who is hanging on to decade old ideas.

Re:RMS has a great guru image (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321872)

So all the leaves him as a smelly unkempt old man. Who is hanging on to decade old ideas.

25 years ago he was a smelly unkempt young man, who was hanging onto decades-old ideas, and look where that got us.

BTW, your opinions will carry a lot more weight with most people if they're expressed in grammatically-correct sentences. You may consider that wrong, but it's reality.

Re:RMS has a great guru image (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321930)

BTW, your opinions will carry a lot more weight with most people if they're expressed in grammatically-correct sentences. You may consider that wrong, but it's reality

Agree but I am stuck with IE 6 at my location. And I don't have time for slashdot to be perfect

Re:RMS has a great guru image (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322022)

BTW, your opinions will carry a lot more weight with most people if they're expressed in grammatically-correct sentences. You may consider that wrong, but it's reality

Agree but I am stuck with IE 6 at my location. And I don't have time for slashdot to be perfect

I fail to see the relevance of IE 6, and I don't think you have to worry: Slashdot will never be perfect.

Re:RMS has a great guru image (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322554)

Lack of spelling and grammar checking. Normally if I am at home or different locations I am using OS X which the Text Boxes have spelling and grammar checking almost independant of the Browsers... Or at other locations where I have firefox I at least have spell checking on it. On IE 6 in particular there is no spell checking or grammer checking... and as I type fast to get my point there is nothing telling me that my spelling sucks until I hit submit.

who modded this garbage up Interesting .. (1)

rs232 (849320) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322282)

The spelling erors and general incoherance were a nice touch .. ;)

Re:RMS has a great guru image (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22321152)

You wouldn't trust a "wise old man" dressed in a slimy western business suit and tie.
Me? I wouldn't trust a "wise old man" sleeping on a park bench who looks like he hasn't bathed in the last decade. RMS would do himself well to shave that ridiculous beard and buy himself a pair of shoes. Sure, he'd probably lose his current core of a dozen or so flower-child "disciples", but he'd gain ten times as many who actually held some sway, and hence gain that much more of the power he so craves.

Re:RMS has a great guru image (4, Insightful)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322596)

Why do you focus on the messenger and not the message?

RMS doesn't care what you think of him -- either you will respect him for his principles, or judge him based on his external appearance. He is smart enough to know which is more important, and assumes you are too.

Blimey... (4, Funny)

peterprior (319967) | more than 6 years ago | (#22320726)

Next thing you know he'll start using a web browser to view websites [lwn.net] . :O

Re:Blimey... (1)

wikinerd (809585) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321742)

It may sound funny, but in fact it is the perfect way to browse the WWW without subjecting yourself to stupid privacy-offending beacons used by ad networks etc.

Re:Blimey... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22322362)

How does viewing an ad "offend" your privacy? Or is the concept of blocking cookies too much for you to handle? I'm just not sure which way you were going with your comment.

XO is not for grownups (2, Informative)

seeker_1us (1203072) | more than 6 years ago | (#22320732)

the keyboard is purposefully small (kid sized) so it wouldn't get stolen.

RMS, who has had crippling repetitive stress injuries in the past, should know better than to make a statement like this, let alone even use the XO for anything but experimentation.

Re:XO is not for grownups (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22321032)

let alone even use the XO for anything but experimentation.
Yeah, I bet RMS is really just going to take it home and freebase it.

Nothing has that smooth rolling kick and euphoria like the cheapest Chinese LCD screen a "$100 laptop" can afford!

Re:XO is not for grownups (2, Informative)

KarmaRundi (880281) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321970)

It has 3 USB ports, so you can plug in an ergonomic keyboard and mouse (which you might want to do with any laptop if you have RSI).

They're working on a fully Free driver... (4, Informative)

Hobart (32767) | more than 6 years ago | (#22320978)

http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Marvell_microkernel [laptop.org]

The microkernel on the Marvell 88W8388 wireless chip is one of 2 to 4 pieces of non-Free user-modifiable software on the XO laptop. (the others being the EC firmware, and possibly the touchpad and keyboard firmware) This is where we explain what needs to be done to create a Free replacement, who is doing it, and what progress we have made.

Yeah, I'll believe it when I see it. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22320988)

He won't even put down the laptop he owns now, even for a second. Not even when he is dancing [youtube.com] . :)

MPU - Re:Yeah, I'll believe it when I see it. (1)

u38cg (607297) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322268)

That is without question the best video I have ever seen posted on /. Good find.

I knew it! (3, Funny)

travdaddy (527149) | more than 6 years ago | (#22320998)

Richard Stallman on OLPC

I knew it! I knew that guy had to be on something! But, I thought it would be PCP.

Ah, RM "Proprietary is Never Good" Stallman... (2, Insightful)

nweaver (113078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321064)

The XO's networking capabilities is fantastic. It gets far better range (thanks to its dual rabbit ears), has ultra low power mesh networking, and a bunch of other capabilities.

But because it uses binary blobs for the driver and firmware, RMS fees it is hopelessly compromised?!

Does RMS not drive a car built in the past 20 years because you aren't supposed to change the computer running the engine? What about fly in a commercial airliner?

Also, the XO can never use GPLv3 code. For the US market, they will give the unlock key, but for the third world, this key is the responsibility of the educational ministry, which often needs to keep the software base consistent (among other things, this helps manage theft).

Re:Ah, RM "Proprietary is Never Good" Stallman... (4, Insightful)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321184)

Yes, he says proprietary is never good and, you know what? He is right.

Re:Ah, RM "Proprietary is Never Good" Stallman... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22321484)

No, he is not right. You are not right. Both of you need to go take a shower, pinko hippies.

Re:Ah, RM "Proprietary is Never Good" Stallman... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22322432)

The fact that this is modded up to 4, Informative without providing any useful information at all says more about Slashdot than I ever could.

Re:Ah, RM "Proprietary is Never Good" Stallman... (1)

simong (32944) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321604)

RMS doesn't drive. There are better reasons for this than the car's computer.

Re:Ah, RM "Proprietary is Never Good" Stallman... (4, Informative)

novakyu (636495) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321684)

I think you misunderstand him. I quote from Why "Open Source" misses the point of Free Software [gnu.org] :

"For the free software movement, free software is an ethical imperative, because only free software respects the users' freedom. By contrast, the philosophy of open source considers issues in terms of how to make software "better"--in a practical sense only. It says that non-free software is a suboptimal solution. For the free software movement, however, non-free software is a social problem, and moving to free software is the solution."

I suppose it's O.K. if you don't think freedom is the most important thing—everyone has an opinion and you have every right to disagree. But you should understand that free software has never been about making a good reliable program (although that is often a by-product)—it is about the freedom itself.

As for not using GPLv3, I don't think rms himself would hold that against anybody. As a matter of course, GNU projects will be under GPLv3, but rms has repeatedly said, for example, in the case of Linux, the kernel, it is entirely up to the kernel developers (the strongest statement you have from him is that he hopes that they will decide to upgrade to GPLv3), and as you can see in the list of free licenses [gnu.org] (well, some not), he never held being not copyleft against any license—it's just that when one values freedom, GPL (and admittedly, it's latest version, in FSF's opinion) does the best job of protecting that freedom for everyone (or, the most number of people).

Re:Ah, RM "Proprietary is Never Good" Stallman... (1)

ray-auch (454705) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322016)

I don't think RMS drives.

As to planes, he possibly hasn't yet realised that "fly by wire" means software, not pulling on real wires. If he ever finds out that FBW (and similar) software developement can require independent implementations, developed by separaate teams who are not allowed to look at each other's code, then I guess he won't fly.

Re:Ah, RM "Proprietary is Never Good" Stallman... (1)

cparker15 (779546) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322290)

Does RMS not drive a car built in the past 20 years because you aren't supposed to change the computer running the engine? What about fly in a commercial airliner?
The software that's running on the car's computer is not user-modifiable. It's a black box. The same goes for the software used to fly planes. That software is not being distributed to the planes' passengers. The proprietary wireless driver issue would be solved if all of the proprietary components were stored in the firmware and if the firmware weren't meant to be re-flashed. Think of the idea as a sticker on a piece of consumer electronics (or a PSU) that says NO USER SERVICEABLE PARTS INSIDE.

Re:Ah, RM "Proprietary is Never Good" Stallman... (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322678)

But because it uses binary blobs for the driver and firmware, RMS fees it is hopelessly compromised?!

If this surprises you at all, it must be the first time you've heard of the man. Yeah, RMS is like that. Once he got pissed off at a printer driver and wrote an OS.

Also, the XO can never use GPLv3 code. For the US market, they will give the unlock key, but for the third world, this key is the responsibility of the educational ministry, which often needs to keep the software base consistent (among other things, this helps manage theft).

Did this make sense to you when you wrote it?

Just wish he'd go back to singing... (2, Funny)

jpellino (202698) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321260)

... about an obscure restaurant in Western Mass.

Are you kidding me? (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321268)

I didn't RTFA, but is he really thinking of switching to one full-time? I think it's a great device, but I can't imagine typing on one for any amount of time. And I'm sure he types a lot. I hear he kinda likes Emacs. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Are you kidding me? (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321910)

I'm sure he types a lot.

I'm sure he doesn't. He suffers from chronic RSI and has hired people to type for him in the past (not sure what his current situation is though).

Transcript: (1)

Hobart (32767) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321310)

"I don't actually know - it's a rather old ThinkPad, and I've basically decided to switch to a One-Laptop-Per-Child, and the reason is that has a Free BIOS, and I want to get rid of the non-Free BIOS, and IBM wouldn't tell us how to do that in this machine. So, finally I have a way to get rid of it, and that is the One-Laptop-Per-Child.

"However, I'm sad to say, the usual configuration of the One-Laptop-Per-Child does use a non-Free program, it's the program that does the mesh network. So I'm just going to delete that program, which means that the internal wireless device won't work, so I'll have to have an external WiFi device, and that's what I'll use if I need to talk to a wireless network."

RMS acts as a Role Model (5, Insightful)

AceJohnny (253840) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321534)

I admire RMS' unmoving stance on Free. Will I emulate it? Certainly not. I believe RMS places himself, consciously or not, as a role model. He sits at an extreme of the Free/Proprietary spectrum, and will continuously push and pull in that direction.

For the rest of us who live in the real world and accept compromises to make our lives more comfortable, he's ridiculous. But that's not the point. The point is that he aims for an ideal that won't be attained by everyone, but that can be strived to.

So the fact that his complaints about the non-free wireless is ridiculous to the rest of us, but it does motivate some to provide a free alternative, and that is his objective.

Re:RMS acts as a Role Model (4, Insightful)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322310)

Even to people who don't highly value freedom, his stand on drivers isn't necessarily ridiculous. There is a pragmatic reason to be skeptical about closed drivers: unauditable/unreviewable code is a security risk [kerneltrap.org] .

What's with the RMS crap? (1)

smitth1276 (832902) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321716)

You sound like a bunch of Scientologists. Just say "Stallman".

Re:What's with the RMS crap? (2, Informative)

Mesa MIke (1193721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322502)

RMS has always been known as RMS.
Likewise, ESR has always been known as ESR.

If that confuses you, you must be new here.

The XO can't replace your laptop (1)

wodelltech (168047) | more than 6 years ago | (#22321908)

The keyboard alone is unusable for touch-typists. Although I haven't tried, I presume a USB keyboard would work. But who wants to carry that around. I've been tinkering with an XO for a few weeks now, and the membrane, too-small keyboard is the killer.

-Mike

He does answer his emails (4, Insightful)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322262)

I've sent emails to RMS at GNU in the past and he actually will reply.
He can be dogmatic about his views, but he won't flame you for having
a different opinion. He WILL give you a good argument why HE is right
and YOU are wrong, but in a VERY polite way. (He's like a true politician,
he can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you will look forward to
the trip!).

Binary blobs vs. hardware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22322506)

Let's compare two imaginary network interface cards:

The Foo networking card uses a binary blob, for which no source is currently available. If you can get a new blob you can change what it does.

The Bar networking card has no firmware at all; it has hard-coded logic, unchangeable because it is implemented in hardware. It does what it does, forever.

If I understand RMS's position correctly, the Bar card is perfectly acceptable and laudable; the Foo card is evil and proprietary and should be avoided.

In other words, it is far, far better to have an inflexible device, than a flexible device that contains a binary blob. It is wrong to not have the source for software, but it is okay to have functions fixed forever by particular hardware.

Corollary: a digital watch is evil, a mechanical watch is just fine.

Corollary: I'll bet RMS has a toaster oven but no microwave oven.

Corollary: If RMS got an OLPC XO laptop, he'd probably try to delete all driver software for the Marvell networking chips, and use some sort of external WiFi device. Oh wait, he actually said that one!

I'm not trying to troll here; I'm pointing out what seems to me like a silly extreme position. You can take any good idea to extremes and end up in a silly position.

P.S. Now imagine that some of the logic in the Bar card was done in an FPLA. You can say that an FPLA has "source code" of a sort, even though it's hardware... Is that enough to make the Bar card proprietary and evil now?

P.P.S. Now imagine we burn the binary blob into a ROM, forever unchangeable. Is that enough to make the Foo card good? (I really want to know that one. I don't think you can get a network card in the real world that doesn't have SOME kind of firmware. Does it really make that big a difference whether the firmware is in ROM or downloaded as part of the software driver stack?)

Thinkpad?!?!? (1)

rockhome (97505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22322902)

RMS uses a Thinkpad? That's not free, is it?
Shouldn't the XO be free to everyone? I mean, if it has free software, the hardware ought to be free as well.

I am going to go start the Free Hardware Foundation and agitate for free hardware.
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