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Linux Foundation quietly drops community representation (mjg59.dreamwidth.org)
778 points by logic on Jan 21, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 185 comments



Wow. Thanks for noticing and bringing this to our attention, Matthew.

I, for one, am ready to drop my membership and stop supporting the foundation. Not that they care. A single platinum sponsor is worth 5,000 individual "supporters" to them, but it's a matter of principle -- it's a withdrawal of endorsement.

What options do we have to give the community a voice as far as Linux governance goes?


You might switch your support to http://sfconservancy.org/supporter/ (the other organization mentioned in the article, and a charity rather than a trade association).


Seconded. They currently have a company matching donations through the end of the month, so now would be the perfect time to donate.


Thank you for your recommendation.


What options do we have to give the community a voice as far as Linux governance goes?

I think the consequences much more dire than 'just' losing a community voice, when you take VMWare and AllWinner into account.

The Linux Foundation is basically a funnel for multiple cooperations to collectively pay the pay checks of some important kernel developers. In other words, some major kernel developers are now indirectly working for companies that make proprietary forks of Linux.

If anything, it gives a lot of legitimacy to the actions of AllWinner and VMWare to the outside world.


One option is to migrate to FreeBSD.


Did you read the article? It said a major issue was the enforcement of copyright claims against GPL violators. The foundation has had a lax approach to this, but one of the community members planning to run for election has a much stricter view.

How would moving to a non-GPL alternative possibly be a rational response for community members who wanted to elect someone who would fight for the GPL in court?


What if one doesn't want to abandon the four freedoms the GPL provides? Is there another alternative?


BSD licensing also offers the same freedoms as the GPL. I do like the GPL for many reasons, and I would prefer contributing to a project that uses the GPL rather than licenses that allow proprietary derivatives of code that I spent time and effort writing.


Governance? Like they tell Linus what to do or something?

I don't think it's quite like that


As you might imagine, no, it's not. Linus, by choice, doesn't write most of the code in the kernel, and what code he does write is, again by choice, not primarily driven by what would most amuse him. The Linux Foundation organizes the major Linux development conferences (LinuxCon, Plumbers, Collaboration Summit, etc.), where development plans are discussed in person. Plenty of subsystems have formal workgroups hosted/organized by the Linux Foundation. That's what governance is. This isn't about being the parliament to the figurehead monarch Linus.


Wikipedia lists the Foundation as Torvalds' employer although their own web site states that "Torvalds remains the ultimate authority on what new code is incorporated into the standard Linux kernel".


They may already have basically dropped individual membership anyway if I'm reading between the lines of https://sillymon.ch/data/lfmail.txt correctly - having replaced it with a supporter package that doesn't just lack voting rights, but also emphasises funding for other organisations (currently Outreachy, FreeGeek and #YesWeCode - Outreachy is the spun-off and hopefully better managed version of the former Gnome Outreach Project for Women). Curiously, I think Outreachy is currently run by the Software Freedom Conservancy, though it's a passthrough program which doesn't help fund their GPL enforcement work.


I happened to be on the page for GPL violations by AllWinner today. That page also mentions AllWinner recently joining the Linux Foundation, and how their violations are getting worse! http://linux-sunxi.org/GPL_Violations


I'd like to point out that Linus's tree has at least 100 GPL violations by my count (from proprietary firmware blobs in the IHEX format).


In the sense of firmware being redistributed under the GPL in a form that is not the preferred form of modification? I don't think that's a violation per se since you're not actually infringing anyone's copyrights, though yes, it seems like an abuse of the spirit of the GPL.


Allwinner used to distribute "SDKs" which was their Linux kernel with binary modules for components that they could not open-source. Allwinner is a fabless semiconductor company and they source components from different vendors. They did not know that they had to split the Linux kernel source tarball from those binary modules! That wiki page is not constructive.


Doesn't matter whether they are fabless, or what they knew and when. They distribute GPL'ed software, they're on the hook, and they need to abide by the rules.

And after all this time and all the warnings they've received, it's not possible they're not aware of their obligations; they just choose to ignore it until the day someone actually sues them.


>They did not know

please ...


Ah. From reading the comments, the would-be community representative Karen Sandler is the former Gnome Foundation executive director who caused them to run out of money by running outreach programs for women on behalf of far bigger organisations like Google and Mozilla, charging them less for admin than the actual costs incurred, and agreeing to pay participants upfront and get paid back later until it completely depleted the Gnome Foundation's financial reserves. As a result they could no longer fulfil their role of supporting Gnome development, had to go begging for more money, and Gnome developers who were expecting to have their costs paid for attending Gnome events got paid months late because they had to prioritize the non-Gnome payments. (I believe this also screwed over women who were involved in Gnome too.)

Of course, mjg59 is a pretty loudly outspoken feminist activist, so I guess he's hardly going to object to all that.


I don't know enough to have an opinion on whether or not Karen Sandler would be a good or bad community representative for the Linux Foundation.

That being said, if the problem is that she would be a bad representative, the appropriate solution is for someone better to run against her and win the election. Eliminating the position suggests that the Linux Foundation doesn't trust the community to pick the "right" representative... and that says a lot about the situation.


Most "right" representatives don't want anything to do with corporate politics, they want to hunker down and write useful code.

That is why the sociopaths and busybodies "rise" to the top of any org, because those that started it all don't want to get involved in that (and will likely just pack up and move on if push comes to shove).


> Eliminating the position suggests that the Linux Foundation doesn't trust the community to pick the "right" representative... and that says a lot about the situation.

The idea that the linux community is dysfunctional and would elect a representative who wanted to push a particular political agenda at the expense of linux itself is sadly none too implausible.


On the other hand we should expect nothing but good things from esteemed GPL violators such as Allwinner and WMWare, right? /s EDIT: I guess I should qualify the statement wrt WMWare as "supposed violator", since the case isn't over and I haven't looked at the source code.


Allwinner actually signed up as part of an attempt not to be a GPL violator anymore, along with releasing the source to a bunch of their stuff as GPL or LGPL. Thanks to their newly-found interest in compliance I think they may actually be the only company shipping hardware-accelerated MPEG and h.264 decoders that don't require any kind of closed-source code. (Unfortunately, the VP8 decoder is closed still because VP8 isn't copyleft and they can get away with it.)


Was this intended to be a rebuttal? It's really just an unrelated tangent phrased in an misleading way.


It is a rebuttal to the implication that the possibility of the community electing some nefarious personality should be considered valid ground for denying said community any representation. By the same token a bunch of corporations should be denied one. I didn't interpret the post as call for reformed governance, unless you consider

1. Deny individual representation

2. ???

3. Governance problems fixed!

a plan (yeah, I'm being snarky, sorry).


It's not that I think they'll be motivated by altruism, but they presumably have some commercial skin in the linux game. Enough to get them paying those large foundation membership fees at least.


> Karen Sandler is the former Gnome Foundation executive director who caused them to run out of money

For an in-depth argument from a Gnome board member on why this is a completely false accusation, see here: http://jeff.ecchi.ca/blog/2015/09/13/outrageous-outreach/


Errm, that's almost exactly the same as what I said, he's just spinning it differently to make it look like a minor issue and omitting certain facts, like the fact that the cash shortage he downplays as a "purely a business accounting issue" meant that they had to freeze promised reimbursements to Gnome developers for expenses they'd already incurred to attend Gnome development events because they no longer had enough cash in their bank account to pay them and still cover admin costs. This is mentioned in the mailing list announcement: http://article.gmane.org/gmane.comp.gnome.foundation.general...

(To be clear, I don't think their liabilities were ever in danger of exceeding their assets, but you can't pay wages and bills with a promise from Google to pay you money at some unspecified point in the future once it winds through their accounting process. I believe there was even some risk that they might not have enough money for the admin expenses involved in invoicing companies for OPW and chasing them up. Cashflow is never some minor accounting detail - screwing it up kills companies.)


No, it's not. The article they cited comprehensively rebuts your comment above --- it was as it was written specifically to object to that comment! And your attempt to retcon the comment into something congruent with the article further damages the credibility of your argument.

I'll note further that pejorative comments about "feminists" seems to be something of a "beat" of yours. Maybe you should lay off it for awhile.


Without knowing a thing about the case, just by reading your posts and the linked rebuttal:

No, that doesn't seem to be the same. The mailing list explicitly states what the rebuttal claims as well: They were bad at collecting money for a time.

The mailing list _doesn't_ state that the director was in any way responsible. Your words were "the former Gnome Foundation executive director who caused them to run out of money". The reponse to your post linked to a statement that claimed that this isn't true and your link doesn't support that argument either.

I'd say that this ("She is the reason/she caused the foundation to run out of money", directly implying a personal responsibility) is a very big difference between these two stories. You might be correct - I wouldn't know. But again: I wouldn't consider these two statements (exactly or even remotely) the same.


She was the Gnome Foundation head honcho and co-lead of the Outreach Project for Women (the other co-lead was apparently from Red Hat, not Gnome) during the time period in question. Of course she was responsible. No doubt other people screwed up too, but according to the official FAQ they simply didn't have enough admin staff to keep up with the accounting work generated by the OPW and that too was her responsibility, because that's what being in charge means. Incidentally, she resigned about a fortnight before that announcement.

They weren't just bad at collecting money either - if I'm understanding their announcements and FAQ correctly, the OPW came with contractual deadlines for Gnome to pay participants but no similar deadlines for sponsors to pay Gnome, which is why they had to prioritize OPW payments over everything else.


> After all companies paid their share, the foundation became solvent. This is purely a business accounting issue arising from dealing with rapid growth because the outreach program was so successful.

I am completely ignorant of this situation, but it is clear that the source you provided doesn't dispute the allegations but instead provides further support that the allegations are true.

The outreach program was so successful that the company went out of business!

And it was the accounting department's fault! Not the person in charge! (anyone care for a game of office politics?)

Honestly, the allegation came across as absurd in the original post, but your post makes me think that the story might actually be true.


Whether the actual admin costs outweighed the admin fees is debatable. Otherwise, as you said, it was strictly a cash-flow problem and not one of general financial mismanagement. I think this issue should have been spotted by the board of directors but it didn't because it was common practice to do it this way (pay upfront, cash in later) and then the amount of outreach participants increased significantly without anybody in control thinking about all the implications that would have on the Foundation's cash-flow.

And nobody really believed that increasing the amount of paid-for outreach-positions is a bad thing.


> ...it was strictly a cash-flow problem and not one of general financial mismanagement.

I have no opinion on this particular case, but why doesn't a cash-flow problem count as a financial mismanagement problem?


Absolutely, and in all the minimally smart organizations I've worked for it's something the financial people always keep foremost in their minds. Screw it up, and you have to lay off the people who are doing the work that'll pay for the next increment of the org's operations (or tell them "if thus and so happens we'll pay you, until then you're welcome to continue working, we're storing your paychecks in the safe", as happened with Lisp Machines Inc. a couple of months before TI started investing in us).


The main point of the article is

> The by-laws were amended to drop the clause that permitted individual members to elect any directors

An “ad hominem” argument against the would-be representative doesn't sound like an appropriate response to that …


The big irony would be for her to get onto the board anyways...


I'm sure someone else will chime in to name the logical fallacy you're setting us off on. It's completely besides the point whom these actions were targeted against. And if they objected to her on merits, they should have objected to her on merits, not restructure the organisation in the way they did.


Sure, take an article that doesn't mention gender at all and make it all about gender and not GPL enforcement.


The real issue here is how the LF has stopped funding Conservancy and how VMWare is (or was?) a big member of the LF. This conflict of interest has resulted in the LF pulling funding for Software Conservancy. VMWare and others have thus twisted the LF into allowing GPL violations.

Trying to spin the whole story as "it's those damn feminists again!!" is quite annoying.


That is interesting and I haven't seen any mention of it other than your comment. Don't suppose you could point me to more information?

Edit: Ah, looks like it probably didn't make the news because the President of the SFC didn't want to comment on it and the details were murky: https://lwn.net/Articles/665855/


Conservancy won't publicly name anyone, but we do know that LF has given donations to SFC but will not give them one now. You can see this by looking at SFC's list of donors in archive.org. Bradley Kuhn, without naming anyone in particular, has also publicly said that several companies have said told him that they would not give SFC money if SFC kept up its work on GPL compliance.

We also know that the LF has at least VMWare and AllWinner in its ranks, and perhaps other companies with a vested interest in declawing the GPL. That, at least, seems to me like a conflict of interest.

At least one person associated to LF has publicly denied that LF is punishing SFC, but I remain skeptical:

https://www.reddit.com/r/linux/comments/41x5ec/linux_foundat...


Ahs yes, greg KH. While he did good work with udev initially and stewarding the stable kernels, i fear he has sold out otherwise.

He was basically pitching kdbus on behalf on the automobile industry a year or two back, because they wanted a drop in replacement for QNX and its in-kernel RPC.

And you will find some "lovely" mailing list duels between him and Landley about documenting the interface between kernel and udev, as Landley was trying to develop a minimal udev replacement.


An executive director, as a rule, doesn't make choices, but carries the board's choices out. Jeff Fortin Tam (the president of the board of directors of GNOME) has pretty much confirmed this: http://jeff.ecchi.ca/blog/2015/09/13/outrageous-outreach/

I'm not disputing GNOME had (has?) a problem - I'm not following anyway - or Garrett having an agenda (I mean come on, the LF never gave the community a voice, and the community never cared), but there seems to be no reason to accuse Sandler of mismanaging funds.


So the top comment on a thread regarding dropping community representation from a preeminent OSS project, at the time posting this reply, spends its ink sharing the authors opinion about a single individual and lays the blame at the feet of this individual for causing an entire foundation to run out of money, despite having backing from organizations like Google and Mozilla, and then further insinuates that it was all due to poorly executed and questionably justified minority outreach programs. All this is then followed up by a personal dig at another individual, again bringing up "feminist activist" issues as though that is reason or rational enough for us all to nod our head in agreement with them.

A single individual is rarely ever the reason an entire organization runs out of money or implements bad policy. Others must sign on and implement and sign off and not object.

Let's not have personal attacks on character; let's keep the thread focused on the issue. To direct attacks on an individual's character in order to make one's argument borders on bigotry and almost always qualifies as a bad argument.


This has nothing to do with feminism. In this day and age we can expect most to agree that the causes are worthwhile.

The problem here is simply put; piss poor financial management.


Has anyone ever believed the Linux Foundation to be anything besides an ad-hoc promotional vehicle targeted by and toward large players?

Rob Landley sums it up well: http://landley.net/notes-2010.html#18-07-2010


Not really disagreeing with you or the link you posted. But I will just say that LF organize many important Linux conferences[1]. I know from experience many years ago that organizing conferences is difficult, tedious, time-consuming and incredibly expensive. The LF conferences that I have been to have been very well run.

[1] http://events.linuxfoundation.org/


it still doesn't work that way

and the pointy-hair still doesn't get it

and now they're taking over...

time for a fork (yeah I wish it was that simple)


One (now supposedly former?) individual member from the Linux Foundation received a message from Paypal(!) indicating that the Linux Foundation is not going to take his membership fee any longer. No further explanation given, no communication from the Linux Foundation.

"Dear <name redacted>,

The Linux Foundation canceled your automatic payments. This means we'll no longer automatically draw money from your account to pay the merchant.

If you have any questions, you may ask The Linux Foundation about this cancellation."



So? Did they ask? :)


Please forgive my ignorance. But does this corporate meddling in governance structure have anything to do with their recent corporations sponsored/bankrolled initiative "Designing Block chain for transactions". Which obviously calls for weeding out trouble making general public.


Are you confusing the Linux foundation with the Bitcoin foundation?



Missed that. Thanks for the info.


I don't care what they do, but I don't want them calling themselves the Linux Foundation and I don't want them owning linux.com


I've emailed the Foundation to ask them for the reasons for the change. I'll post any replies I get here.


They clearly have a for-profit mission. Linux means community, yet they have no community representation. Therefore, the foundation name is misleading.

"The IT Chamber of Commerce", however, isn't a misleading name.


LF is corporate entity, but I always liked and supported it. I think I will drop my support for them if this is what it seems like it is. I want to wait till I hear LF's response to these claims.


First the Wikimedia Foundation, now the Linux Foundation. "Membership" in a nonprofit is now about as meaningless as being an "AOL Member" was.


The OpenStreetMap Foundation is still quite community driven.


The linux foundation is not a non-profit.

But I'm curious about your statement about the wikimedia foundation, is their board not elected by general members?


throwaway7767 wrote: "The linux foundation is not a non-profit."

As late as a month ago, it claimed to be: "SAN FRANCISCO, December 17, 2015 -The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source..." (from the Block-chain page linked above, http://www.linuxfoundation.org/news-media/announcements/2015... )


I stand corrected regarding the linux foundation, I was under the impression they were a company and not a non-profit. Thanks for the info.


They're a 501(c)(6) trade association if you want to be technically correct. Which is different from 501(c)(3)'s which are what you normally think of as "non-profits" but it's still an exempt organization like a chamber of commerce.

Fun fact: The NFL was a 501(c)(6) organization at one point because "professional football leagues" were specifically named in the IRS code but they voluntarily dropped their status.


I don't think I know what the "linux foundation" is . . and I've used linux for 7 years.


Note who is the current employer of this obscure hacker: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linus_Torvalds


Your point is taken. At any rate, I am nonplussed about this story.


Terrible. I was about to make a donation because I read that other article saying they fund NTP and other critical free software projects.


If you were planning to donate because of NTP specifically, are you aware of the Network Time Foundation [0] that supports both the NTP Project (the original reference implementation), the Ntimed Project (phk's rewrite), and other related projects?

[0]: http://www.networktimefoundation.org


If you're considering a donation, the Software Freedom Conservancy could certainly use your help as well. https://sfconservancy.org/


How many of the "leadership" / "management", ie: the people raking the profits from this organization are coders? http://www.linuxfoundation.org/about/leadership


Mike Woster - graduated cum laude with a B.S. in Computer Science and Honors Engineering from Texas A&M University

Steve Westmorelander - He received his B.S in computer science from Louisiana Tech University. Westmoreland is based in Portland, Ore.

Dan Cauchy - Dan earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering (with a Computer Engineering major)

Dan Kohn - Dan received a bachelor's degree in Economics and Computer Science from the Honors program of Swarthmore College

And all the fellows:

Linus Greg Kroah-Hartman Till Kamppeter Richard Purdie Janina Sajka

Weird question, don't see why the management have to be coders. They work for the foundation. The foundations pay plenty of the kernel developers.


> don't see why the management have to be coders

I used to perceive LF to be the equivalent of centralized funding for linux kernel developers. I recognize now that is not correct. The reason I asked is because, if I perceived it that way, there's others who would have perceived it that way and donated to the cause for that reason or supported it for that reason (eg: paying for attending LF organized conferences). If say 10% of the foundation's budget goes towards management costs, and 90% goes to developers, then Yay!. If it is 90% management, 10% developers, then that's why I asked.


> The foundations pay plenty of the kernel developers.

Do you mean directly? How many do they pay?


Full disclosure, I've never asked LF to pay me for my contributions, nor have they offered. None of the people I know who are lk contributors who I've just asked have gotten anything from LF. They have been solicited to pay to attend LF organized conferences.


They don't pay contributors in a Patreon- or tip4commit-style scheme; they employ certain core developers. If you are not a subsystem maintainer / lieutenant, you're not going to get a job offer from them. (And even if you are you shouldn't expect one.)


This comment is useless without knowing what/how many contributions you have made.


"They have been solicited to pay to attend LF organized conferences."

That appears to be a big part of the business model of LF.


Scott Meyers is a world-renowned expert on C++, but he's not a coder.

> Weird question, don't see why the management have to be coders.

Would Apple have been as successful if Jobs wasn't deep into technology and design? What about Gates? When your organization provides code, shouldn't the strategic leadership have a rich and up-to-date understanding of code in general and your organization's code in particular?

All that being said, I don't know the above at all. As far as I know, they're all world class developers, but I haven't seen any evidence toward that end yet.


Is one person with $5000 more valuable than 5000 people with $1? If you're a person without $5000, no; if you're a foundation, apparently.


Reads like a well planned, step-by-step executed (hostile?) takeover of the full power over the board.

Why am I not suprised?


Can someone else please write up a substantial comment so that the top comment is not a bigoted feminist bashing, logical fallacy ridden comment. It's embarrassing.


[flagged]


Tedious ideological warfare is off topic on Hacker News. Please don't do this here.

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10945033 and marked it off-topic.


This crap has spread to the Linux community now too? Christ.


It hasn't spread there, it's been there all along simmering.


Gamergate and SJW wasn't even a thing until a couple of years ago. To be clear, I'm referring to the allegiances and labeling more so than the conflict/discussion. I'm all for having a sensible dissuasion about the under representation of women in tech. I'm not for removing all nuance and resulting to name calling and wagon circling.

The whole GG vs SJW is based on false pretenses to begin with, but I'm already deeper into this than I care to be, so I'll end the discussion here.


There is a basic set of requirements for a productive discussion that many SJWs eschew, hence you never want to have a "discussion" or debate with them. You want to absolutely remove them from any discussion in order to keep it productive.

SJWs are a subset of feminists. Misogynists are a subset of GGers. Both need to opposed.


[flagged]


“SJW” is the modern equivalent of saying “commie” or “pinko”. It says nothing about the target but suggests your goal is to attack rather than contribute anything of value to the conversation.


I often see terms like "patriarchy", "chauvinism", and "brogrammer" being used here on HN, which are also used to attack and inflame arguments. It would be good if both sides just stopped posting inflammatory terms.


The first two in your list are standard English words with well-defined meanings. You may or may not agree with their applicability in any particular situation but they weren't invented to serve as slurs.

“brogrammer” is indeed not helpful.


What is the 'proper' term for an SJW then?

I note that 'conversations' with SJWs are are laden with loaded SJW jargon. SJWs usually describe themselves as Social Activists, or feminists - but I call them neither because that would imply that either I am in opposition those roles, or believe that this is what they are.

I don't, and since I can't call them what they call themselves (or masquerade as), I need to invent my own terminology - which inherently biases the meaning of that terminology.


Use the terms people choose for themselves as a basic matter of respect. You can easily make it clear when you feel that a particular term is being used inappropriately or that you disagree with someone's interpretation. For example, referring to someone as a Catholic, Southern Baptist, or Jehovah's Witness avoids the inevitably contentious question of who considers whom a Christian or whether you personally agree.

If you felt a particular person was claiming one of those identities falsely, it's still better to specifically identify who and what you object to rather than assume that everyone else shares your definitions.


SJW may be a type of feminist, but it alters the meaning of the phrase: "The author is a SJW." as above.

Your example just conflates issues, but to use that example: "John is a catholic, so he isn't going to criticize the pope", has a different meaning to "John is a christian, so he isn't going to criticize the pope".

Furthermore, SJW is to feminist as Catholic is to Christian; namely, a subset. Hence avoiding the word 'feminist' is taking your advice.


Again, this is not that hard: if someone self-identifies as an SJW, you can use that term to refer to them. If they don't, avoid it. In both cases, it's better to specify the precise classification you have in mind rather than confuse everyone who doesn't know how _you_ define that term.

For example, you defined SJW as a subset of feminism but the term is also often directed against people who are protesting what they consider racism; gun violence; discrimination against people who are handicapped, practice non-mainstream religions, etc. I know of at least two conservative Republicans who were dismissed as SJWs because they disagreed with things said under the gamergate banner, and they certainly wouldn't label themselves as feminist or progressive.


Not that hard? That isn't the issue, and I'll take my own advice, Thanks. BTW, Do you avoid any word ending '-ist' unless someone self-identifies?

SJW is no more ambiguous than 'liberal'. If you want a precise classification, follow the context of the conversation. My definition of SJW isn't unique to me.

> you defined SJW as a subset of feminism > the term is also often directed against people who are protesting ...

Ok, subset of SJ activists, granted feminist activists aren't the only type.

But people can protest the same things and not get that label also. It's not what, it's how. That's the extra semantic behind it - Much like the label 'sycophant' will be applied on the basis not for trying to gain advantage, but for how they do it.

> who were dismissed as SJWs because they disagreed with things said under the gamergate

Many things can be used as a slur. Give me kosher version of SJW I'll use it.

In the end though, you can replace the slurs with more clinical descriptions of the kind of behaviors SJWs partake in, and it'll still be negative.

Calling someone an SJW is basically accusing them of a particular type of bias, and cultural membership, on the basis observations of their behavior being consistent with that culture. Throw out that practice, you'll be throwing out a lot more than just that phrase.


You could begin by trying to understand individually what they stand for before you paint them with a wide brush. Try asking them. There are lots of people who want to effect different kinds of social change. There isn't a uniform voice about what these changes should be, either. Labelling all voices of change as "SJW" is a tactic to help you avoid trying to understand what they really are talking about, and thus save yourself from being part of any change.


> You could begin by trying to understand individually what they stand for before you paint them with a wide brush. Try asking them.

Maybe I do? How do you know what criteria I use to decide if someone is an SJW?

> Labeling all voices of change as "SJW" is a tactic

I'm sure it is, what has it got to do with me?

> to help you avoid trying to understand

oh, right, another projected motive. You sure seem to know a lot about me.



upvoted for accuracy


For what it's worth to anyone else on the thread: nobody who takes a moment to read the article will believe that this is a fair summary of it.


I really don't see any hyperbole there. The first three quotes are accurate, and the fourth is an obvious Star Wars quote, which is fine for a blog post.

And are you serious about this rewriting history thing? Yeah I guess the author should have used the word "create" rather than "restore", but does that matter at all? The point is that there should be a balance, and working towards that is a worthwhile goal. I don't think there's any industry on the planet that started with a gender-neutral playing field, so "there's never been a balance" is not a valid argument.

>people are legitimately concerned about this Karen Sandler character

Yes, legitimate concerns are fine, but you can easily find examples that go way beyond that.

http://irishnationalist.tumblr.com/post/82729838321/feminism...

http://www.mgtowhq.com/viewtopic.php?f=43&t=10187

http://www.antifeministtech.info/2014/04/the-gnome-foundatio...

Do these count as "hate" and "public slandering" to you? Obviously these are cherry-picked examples, but they're easy to Google, they weren't buried in the depths of the internet somewhere.


Tedious ideological warfare is off topic on Hacker News. Please don't do this here.

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10944750 and marked it off-topic.


People have asked for years, when will Linux be a real OS, when it gets on the desktop?

No, when it part of underhanded dealings by large multi-national corporations. So Linux has finally arrived! Sorry to see it was the Linux Foundation, I've always had high hopes for them.


I don't know where to begin.

0) Linux is just a kernel, so if taken literally, it never will be an OS. But I will roll with your terminology for now.

1) Linux was a Unix-like OS for tinkerers, programmers and soon for servers. A "real OS" is not defined by its availability on the Desktop. And indeed I very much used it exactly because of this, because I am a tinkerer who rather runs a Server OS on his private machines, that also allows him to do most Desktop-tasks with ease.

2) The voice of the Desktop camp inside of Linux is not ignored, if anything, the influence is too big. Think about systemd for example. This was not a move in order to run better on Servers, this was primarily Notebook and Server focused. The year of the Linux Desktop is not something we won't see because of evil big corporations, rather because it simply is not Linux's DNA to be that.

(And side note: Because of systemd I see more and more people using *BSDs)


To be fair, notebooks and desktops ran fine without systemd for a long time. To this day, I'm convinced systemd got there just to give Red Hat a big enough foot in the door.

Systemd is useful on servers, especially for the DevOps people. On a desktop, it solves no problem that cannot be -- and that has not been for years -- solved without it.

I don't use it enough to question its technical merits. The fact that it was packaged in Debian and the world hasn't fallen over implies that people may be unhappy with it, but can still do their jobs, which would mean it's not that bad. But the necessity of its existence on notebooks and desktops is questionable at best.

Edit: I know this is going to incite a lot of posts about how the times have changed and now storage devices aren't statical anymore and we NEED systemd. From a lot of people who are too young (or too recent Linux users) to remember the days when udev was still news.

Guys, we've been easily hotplugging devices on Linux, on USB, SATA and PCI for about half a decade before systemd's first release (and not as easily but reliably, nonetheless, for at least seven or eight). We've been reliably booting and using Linux off a combination of USB and NFS filesystems for even more than that. All that yadda yadda about devices coming and going at boottime is not without its technical merits, but unless you boot your computer with its case open while frantically plugging and unplugging SATA drives, trust me, it's of absolutely no consequence.

Devices appearing and disappearing dynamically used to be a problem. In 2.4. Do you remember the 2.4 kernel? That was (boy, does time pass...) more than ten years ago. Do you honestly think the smart people writing Linux sat on their thumbs for ten years while the arcane world of tape drives and 10 MB hard drives around them was giving way to this new world of magic SSDs and USB?


The evil part is that it's making it harder and harder to use a lot of OSS projects on non-Linux OSes. As a FreeBSD user I'm worried, and when it comes to Debian/kFreeBSD the world really has ended as far as I can tell ( and just when it was starting to look like a first-class architecture :'( ).

The conspiracy theory would be that it's a deliberate RedHat effort to cripple competitors like Solaris. Unfortunately \*BSD and freedom will be caught in the crossfire.


> As a FreeBSD user I'm worried

You need not be.

One of the lirc maintainers a few months ago moved all Debian support out from the main source tree (http://sourceforge.net/p/lirc/git/ci/44696400eb92de342444665...) and this month proposed dropping its System 5 rc scripts (which is what Debian still packages up and uses for running lirc even in "unstable" and "testing", incidentally) and providing only systemd service and socket units.

The issue of Debian kFreeBSD came up. As an exercise, I took the FreeBSD binaries for lirc, which I built from the FreeBSD port, ran the service and socket units through the conversion utilities in the nosh toolset, and (after selecting "ideal" mode and fixing a bug) the converted services successfully supervised the FreeBSD binary under the nosh service manager. This was on actual FreeBSD: on PC-BSD version 10.2, specifically. Even in a world where its maintainers provided only systemd ancillaries, lircd could be run on FreeBSD.

The bug was in the lircd units themselves that the lirc maintainers were wanting to switch to, ironically. lircd is putting stuff in an ephemeral runtime directory /var/run/lirc , without either making the directory itself or declaring it with a RuntimeDirectory=lirc directive in the systemd service units. I simply added RuntimeDirectory=lirc .


A RedHat ploy may be, but certainly not to fight Solaris of all systems. Not even Oracle believes in Solaris (they are pushing Linux everywhere, and their own devs always target Linux first), and its community is basically as big as AmigaOS.

Systemd is just the end result of RedHat employing a dominant share of infrastructure-critical Linux developers and making too much money compared to other players.


Well Oracle now have their own Linux distro, forked from RHEL6 (iirc).

This fork seems to have put RH on a war path, as their subsequent releases no longer separated out kernel patches from the main kernel source etc.

And now CentOS is part of the RH flock, where before it was an independent repack of RHEL.

And while Solaris itself may be "dead", there are still various tech that came out of its development that is of interest in the -nix world.

Just look at the continued lamentations that you can't get ZFS support in Linux because of incompatible licenses.


Was it really a fork? I was under the impression that they were just directly rebuilding the RH packages, and maybe adding a couple of new ones. Like CentOS, but it's another company doing it and profiting by free-riding on RedHat's work.

I can understand RedHat being pissed about that.


They do fork the kernel and add their own packages for some stuff but yeah, 90% of userland is just recompiled RedHat.


Trouble is, that part is not only evil in terms of moral -- it's detrimental to software quality.

A lot of people seem to think that portability is just a way of being nice to people who use obsolete devices. Nothing could be further from the truth. First, the simple act of isolating platform-dependent (whether "platform" means software or hardware) operations behind an uniform interface makes software more future-proof, makes the code better organized, and forces you to think about the problem until it's clearer in your own head.

I've seen a lot of software that was not meant to be portable, 'cause hey, we're only going to use it on <this CPU> running <this OS> and doing <these things>. Ten years down the line, no one is buying machines with <that cpu>, <that OS> hasn't been supported in half a decade and you have ten new customers that want different things, so <these things> are now <these 1000 things that we never thought about>. The software is now full of various small hacks and quirks and a compatibility layer has been bolted on top of a hundred thousand lines of code that make fifty small assumptions about the underlying platform.

As for conspiracies... I don't think there's an evil masterplan behind anything, but I'm hesitant to be happy about a big company playing an important role in a critical piece of unportable infrastructure. A lot of people jump on the "it works and I don't care about other platforms" bandwagon. Suuure, they'll say, systemd is Linux-specific, but there are good reasons for that, they use Linux-specific things so that they can be as well-integrated as possible and give the most flexibility to their users.

Win-win, right? Linux users win a better platform, systemd developers don't need to be worried about platforms their users don't care about.

Except "systemd developers" is Red Hat, a bunch of really young people who hope to work for Red Hat one day, and a community of people who have been writing SysV scripts for so long that they'll give a kidney for anything that will put a nail in that crap's coffin. It's basically Red Hat and a few people that the PR machine calls "community", but make no mistake about it, when the people who do it for fun go have fun somewhere else, Red Hat is still going to be the main engine behind it.

"Platforms their users don't care about" is -- by no mere coincidence -- Red Hat's competition. In this context, lack of portability is just a glorious term for vendor lock-in. Your infrastructure depends on systemd? Great, I hope you like Linux, 'cause you won't be moving it to something else any time soon.

Oh, but the options are open, you'll move to CentOS, you say? Right -- for now, that's an option, because the Linux enterprise market is still, by and large, up for grabs, and there are very few Linux companies that are large enough that Fortune 500-class companies can talk to. If Red Hat goes evil now, they'll just go out of business. Wait for ten more years, until it supports enough projects that are too vital to fail, before you tie yourself to their platform.

Remember all the fun we had with SMB and Kerberos a long, long time ago? Just because they have fluffy penguins doesn't mean they won't go Microsoft on our asses.

Even if you don't care about software quality (which is a bad idea but I've seen enough people who think that "it's good" means "it makes money for the people selling it"), portability is great, it's a free ticket to say you know what guys, fuck you, fuck your shit platform, fuck your shit licensing schemes and especially fuck every single one of you fuckers, I'm switching to <this>. FREE TICKET! All you have to do is talk to your sysadmin team and utter the words if they think it's a good idea.


> this was primarily Notebook and Server focused

Do you perhaps mean something else here? Notebook and Desktop focused maybe?


GP was pretty obviously tongue-in-cheek.


From HN guidelines: "Please avoid introducing classic flamewar topics unless you have something genuinely new to say about them." (specifically, the Linux on the desktop part of your comment.)


Yikes downvotes galore. Did anyone get to the second sentence before going off on a tear about Linux on the desktop? The article is about politics inside the Linux Foundation. I commented on that Linux has now become something that multi-nationals fight over and are trying to keep for themselves.

Lots of other posts about LF, the license issues, other companies doing similar things, etc. Not sure how or why this sub-thread got taken so far off topic. Are we, at the start of 2016 still so sensitive about Linux that a 10 word setup sentence starts a frenzy and draws me a reprimand on "flame-bait?" In that case I'm sorry, I'll be much more careful in the future to not write posts that assume the reader will make it past the first dozen words.


I am sorry that I have to say this, but large parts of the GNU/Linux community are just irrational idealists hard to work with. Read the GPLv3, it's a great political document, and somewhere in there there also is a software license, hidden between the lines.

Linus always said: He cares about the code back and otherwise not what vendors do with it. He is not in any sense one of those GNU-people about Software Freedom everywhere and for all. When the Free Software Foundation (FSF) created the GPLv3, indeed during the process, Linus already spoke out against it and said he would never ever use it[1]. He cited reasonable use-cases for which vendors have no other way than to not to give open access to devices, in part for example commercial license agreements.

The GPLv3 - from the perspective of the FSF - fixes some vital flaws in GPLv2, from Linus' perspective however is just too strict, forbids use-cases Linux has been used before previously and is extremely anti-business and would hurt the Linux project.

Whether this step of the Linux foundation is right or not, can't say for sure, but I totally understand it. A political anti-business pro-freedom-everywhere radical who already is involved in suing some of the companies she is supposed to work with on that said board? Sounds like a headache you would want to avoid at all costs.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaKIZ7gJlRU


Heavens, imagine how terrible it might have been if one person on a 16 person board disagreed with the consensus of the board. How could they have continued to perform their valuable work?

Sarcasm aside, you're presenting an argument against the GPL and the FSF. I might even agree, but that seems irrelevant to a more specific question of corporate governance of the Linux Foundation.

You're talking about avoiding headaches, but if you want to represent a diverse group of stakeholders, you're going to have some headaches. If the current role of the Linux Foundation is purely to be a voice for large enterprises who wish to exploit Linux, then why did this change? Is it a good change? What organisation does represent the interests of Linux stakeholders?

I mean, keep in mind, the core policy difference is whether or not the Linux Foundation supports following the license of Linux. That's the reason (as far as anyone can tell) that Sandler is disliked and the at large board seats were removed. Can you imagine the BSA working to keep a lawyer who sued software pirates off their board? The very idea is absurd.


First, the GPLv3 has absolutely nothing to do with this. The enforcement cases in question involve the GPLv2.

Second, it hardly seems "anti-business" to require everyone (businesses included) to comply with the license agreements of the software they use.

And third, the entire issue of enforcement only came up in this context because of this remarkably coincidental timing for LF to decide that it no longer wants community representation. It's sad that the best-case scenario is "just" that this change occurred for entirely unrelated reasons, despite the timing; I'd certainly hope that was the reason, rather than the much scummier possibility of changing the rules with one specific candidate in mind, out of fear that they might get elected.


> Second, it hardly seems "anti-business" to require everyone (businesses included) to comply with the license agreements of the software they use.

I'm old enough to remember when following license agreements was pro-business. Has anyone told the BSA yet?


For those of us not quite so old, who are the BSA?

I presume you don't mean the Birmingham Small Arms Company


Like Icelancer said, the Business Software Alliance (although apparently they've dropped the "Business" part of the name). Back in the day, they tried to be the RIAA/MPAA of the business software industry; somewhat infamously they ran campaigns urging employees to "bust their boss" by turning the company they work for in for using unlicensed software, and ran cringe-worthy PSAs about the evils of piracy.

A relic of the days when Microsoft was powerful and evil, Apple was for hippies, and clouds were things in the sky. Seemed kind of scary back then though. :)

Wikipedia has some juicy details (cash bounties, hounding third world countries, etc): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BSA_(The_Software_Alliance)


Likely the Software Alliance.

http://www.bsa.org/about-bsa


> large parts of the GNU/Linux community are just irrational idealists hard to work with. ... Linus always said: He cares about the code back and otherwise not what vendors do with it.

I imagine they were called "irrational" when they started the FOSS movement and created the licenses and other tools that are part of it. Yet look what they built and what has been built on top of it. Now it's cool for people who benefit enormously from it, including Linus Torvalds, to disparage it. It's all lefty, hippy 'idealism' after all - if you ignore the enormous practical results.

What foundation are we building for the next generation of engineers and tinkerers? Spying and tracking systems? Closed proprietary silos (like smartphones and web applications)? HTTP/2 and systemd - which may be technically great, but don't provide that same freedom-to-tinker for future hackers.


HTTP/2 really doesn't belong in that basket. One of these things is not like the others.


I really haven't dealt with HTTP/2 so perhaps I misunderstand: Doesn't it replace hacker-friendly (and flexible) plain text with a binary code?

I'm not saying the trade-off is bad or good, but there is a cost; it's not free.


Plain text protocols suck. They give you the illusion of readability, and they can make what looks like the obvious solution turn out to be bug-ridden and rife with security holes. The readability is overrated--even in protocols like XML or JSON, most of the time I need to filter down to a small subset anyways, which requires me to write some sort of tool. And if you're already using a tool for all of your poking, what's the benefit to the input format? A good tag/length/value format (particularly when the tag implies how to interpret the value without needing to know a grammar, sorry ASN.1) is even easier to decode than a CRLF-based protocol, since you don't worry about things like "how long could this line be" or "does a bare LF count as a CRLF? What do I need to do for compatibility?"


Plain text protocols help keep interoperability honest and open. They also have benefits that are often overlooked, such as more easily avoiding integer overflow and endian issues.

> If you're already using a tool

Often, I'm not.

> illusion of readability

That depends entirely on the protocol design; some are better than others. Binary protocol can also be a mess. More importantly, binary protocols will always require external definitions, while some text protocols do not.

> bug-ridden and rife with security holes

Changing from readable tokens and ASCIIified intege4rs to packed binary doesn't magically fix bus or security holes.

> what do I need to do for compatibility

That's easy: use the robustness principle[1].

(and most RFC-based protocols say you should send a CRLF).

A possible argument against this could...

> how long could this line be

...also be an argument against length fields. If you want reliable parsing - a very good idea - a good argument[2] can be made to only use context-free protocols (i.e. use parser-combinators).

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robustness_principle

[2] https://media.ccc.de/v/28c3-4763-en-the_science_of_insecurit...


To anyone who takes your advice on the robustness principle, don't. Liberal acceptance is a maintenance and security nightmare. Be strict on all boundaries and provide clear errors.


The robustness principle is fine, but it does need to be strictly interpreted, which I should have mentioned. Too often robustness is used as a license to be sloppy or to abuse lenient parsers with invalid input.

Meredith covers this specific issue at 33:25 in her 28c3 talk I referenced ([2]). "Be definite in what you accept" can emulate traditional "liberal" parsers if the compatibility is strictly defined in the grammar.

I really should have phrased that better; the robustness principle is great historically, and is therefor necessary in many current protocols, but newer protocols should be using well-defined either regular grammars or deterministic context-free grammars. As Meredith and Sergey explain in that talk, moving away form Turing complete protocols would prevent an important class of exploits.


> Plain text protocols suck. They give you the illusion of readability...

They don't, and the readability is a feature.

I'm not sure how you conflate XML and JSON as synonymous to "protocol" and also requiring tools to filter, but than imply that a "good tag/length/value" format would somehow be superior to the former.


Exactly what feature binary protocols can have that make protocols less bug ridden and with less security holes?

Because, well except for readability and ease of debug, that you lose completely by going binary, and message size that improves by going binary, I can't find any other difference.


> Plain text protocols suck

An honest question: Is it possible that they suck for you and people like you, skilled, experienced engineers with sophisticated tools, and with much less time than money - but they don't suck for less experienced, less equipped, hackers or tinkerers with time to try things but little money or expertise?

Remember that those people built quite a few things, from Facebook to Napster to Dell to the web browser to the web itself (just off the top of my head). Empowering them is arguably the key to innovation.


Last I checked, ASCII is an encoding, and was transmitted in packets, so if you're relying on tools to decode and unpack your messages, why not simply upgrade them?

Also, people don't seem to complain about the cost of HTTP over SSL in these discussions on HTTP/2. I've never understood that. If you're allowing for TLS, why not HTTP/2?


Because TLS works with many protocols. Encryption software is hard to write and should be reusable for multiple services; the world is not the web.


> ASCII is an encoding, and was transmitted in packets, so if you're relying on tools to decode and unpack your messages, why not simply upgrade them?

ASCII has a much lower barrier to entry. By the same reasoning, everything is 1's and 0's so everything is the same - just use better tools.


While I agree with that view on GPLv3, the foundation went much further by actually supporting companies which ignore software licenses. You may not like GPLv3, but you're bound by the rules.

In the commercial license world it would be like starting an organisation of companies which repackage windows with new features and sell it, never acknowledging or paying MS.

There's debatable right or wrong and understanding or not, but what some of those companies do is just violation of law and supporting illegal activities. That is what GPL violators do.


> While I agree with that view on GPLv3, the foundation went much further by actually supporting companies which ignore software licenses. You may not like GPLv3, but you're bound by the rules.

Just to note: the Linux kernel is explicitly[1] licensed under GPLv2 (without the the "or later" clause). This makes GP even more offtopic.

1. http://git.kernel.org/cgit/linux/kernel/git/torvalds/linux.g...


Without bad intentions: Could you point me to some of the cases you are talking about? I am honestly interested, can't promise I will read everything the next hours, but I will definitely read up on it.


The links are already in the comments here... but here you go again:

"Allwinner is joining the Linux Foundation to support Linux and to improve what we see as two important open source software development capabilities: collaboration and compliance" http://www.linuxfoundation.org/news-media/announcements/2015...

Allwinner GPL violations: https://linux-sunxi.org/GPL_Violations

Other ones - just google big sponsors of LF + gpl violation, there are a few.


Context:

"Allwinner is joining the Linux Foundation to support Linux and to improve what we see as two important open source software development capabilities: collaboration and compliance," said Jack Lee, Chief Marketing Officer, Allwinner Technology. "These two concepts are critical yet difficult to master for new Linux community entrants like ourselves."

Is the Linux Foundation "supporting" Allwinner? Or is, as I suspect, Allwinner paying them dues?

https://wiki.linuxfoundation.org/en/Corporate_Membership


Consider LF goals "The Linux Foundation protects and promotes the ideals of freedom and generous collaboration established through the development of Linux, and shares these ideals to power any endeavor aiming to make the future a better place in which to live."

How can they have a member organisation which plainly goes against the goals of the foundation? And yes, even by statements like the one published on joining, it's supporting Allwinner by giving them recognition.


Is the Linux Foundation "supporting" Allwinner? Or is, as I suspect, Allwinner paying them dues?

Both? The accusation being made is that Allwinner are bribing them to ignore GPL non-compliance.



@grsecurity went to a sponsor-based model because they kept getting ripped off

Edit: Source https://grsecurity.net/announce.php


Linus is not a god, and his proclamations are not gospel.

He can crow all he likes about how he wishes he never used the GPL and how he is not political... but the truth is, no one knows what would have happened if he didn't use the GNU license or distribute GNU software. Its theoretically possible that his project would have died on the vine without members of the community who cared about those things and made considerable contributions. Nobody knows, not even Linus.


> He can crow all he likes about how he wishes he never used the GPL

Torvalds seems to like v2 and not v3[1]. I can't find a source of him saying he wishes he hadn't used the GPL at all - do you have one? It seems that v2 does exactly what he wants - get code back.

[1] "I still think version 2 is a great license": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaKIZ7gJlRU - in fact, in this talk, he says v3 is fine as a license (though not for his needs), but his problems with it were the way that the FSF was trying to submarine it into all existing v2 licenses, and misleading people about how it worked.


> He can crow all he likes about how he wishes he never used the GPL

Wikipedia [1] has this quote:

> Torvalds has described licensing Linux under the GPL as the "best thing I ever did."

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_kernel#Licensing_terms


That quotation is from 1997.


He didn't reverse course as late as 2007 [1]. Where's the article/quote where he "wishes he never used the GPL"?

[1] http://www.informationweek.com/the-torvalds-transcript-why-i...?


Has Linus said he wishes he'd never used the GPL? That's news to me. I guess it'd have to have been after he wrote Git?


Linux would have never been as successful if someone like rms would have called the shots. People still tinker with the GNU Hurd microkernel and it's less usable than Minix. Linus is also no god for me, but he is delightfully pragmatic, someone companies can work with, not against.


This explains the failure of gcc, glibc and gnu utils/userland to completely fail to gain traction too! /sarcasm

(Although the egcc split was painful, and at long last there are some viable alternatives - it took decades for them to rise up. So it's a little odd that the FSF/RMS would never have successfully been able to develop a project? Obviously the need for a (new) GPL licensed [kernel] is less when there exists a decent GPL licensed kernel (Linux)).


gcc was largely ignored until UNIX vendors started to sell the development tools instead of bundling them with the OS.

The majority of FOSS users are actually people that don't want to pay for software and never give anything back to the community.


I don't think the issue is that they don't want to pay, but that they don't realize they can. Often, when a open source solution lacks some required feature, a proprietary one is chosen. Paying the developer to implement that feature is just not something that comes to mind.


> The majority of FOSS users are actually people that don't want to pay for software and never give anything back to the community.

That's two pretty bold (perhaps even inflammatory) statements.

[Perhaps contigent on a) the number of users of commmercial software that either do not pay, or do pay, but do not want to pay - and b) the definition of "giving back to the community" (Is paying for a Windows license "giving back to the community"?) and to wich extent most users of (any-license) software ever give anything back to the community.]


It is based on my experience on how most companies I ever had any sort of contact, work with FOSS.

Also how the majority of everyone that I know, that isn't a technical user, deals with FOSS. They don't care if it is pirated or FOSS, just that they didn't pay for it.

Why do you think there is hardly any money to be done for desktop FOSS software, which usually isn't subjected to trainings or consulting fees?


gcc is already beginning to lose traction to llvm.


My point was that "already", means "it took a long time". See also: embedded development.


I've heard this unsubstantiated claim for years now. It certainly depends on your metric. LLVM still lacks behind in generated code quality on most mainstream platforms [my own unpublished benchmarks]. LLVM appears to attract more mind-share from people leveraging the infrastructure, including writing new front- and back-ends; I'm guessing the code is easier to understand and better documented.

A few years ago I had expected LLVM to have caught up to GCC by now, but I hadn't anticipated the accelerated pace of GCC improvements. I don't know if the competition from LLVM had anything to do with this, but GCC is showing no signs of slowing down.


could you elaborate ?


"Linux would have never been as successful if someone like rms would have called the shots."

I'm not sure how you can think that when GNU, which is the operating system for just about every single server running Linux, was started by RMS.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU


A lot of userland-stuff is GNU, Linux is the kernel. Kernel + Userland is OS!

So saying "GNU ... is the operating system for just about every single server running Linux" does not make sense.


Don't start that again. The "GNU/Linux" vs. "GNU" vs. "Linux" argument has been going on long enough without resolution that it's pointless to rehash it.


I vote for LiGNUx. (Always add one more option when there is already a lot of confusion).


I've seen some of RMS's early work in relation to LMI, TI, and open source in the early days, before Linux. RMS has never been anti-business. Just anti the idea that closed-source software licensing is a sustainable business model. Very few people in any part of any flavor of FOSS are actively anti-business.


The problem with that statement is that the vast majority of the software business world interprets anti-proprietary software as being anti-business. And, not entirely without reason given that it's extremely difficult (almost impossible) to build a large software business without licensing. If you're RMS then you point to things like contracting for changes, but much of the software industry would be unsustainable on that footing. For a bad analogy - it's like watching two people speaking variants of English - they're using roughly the right words but both come away confused.


You say "but much of the software industry would be unsustainable on that footing." That's what you call a tautology: It's very difficult to charge a unit license for open source software. Sure, but is taht relevant anymore?

Android is the most widely used OS on the planet, and it became so faster than anyone expected. What advantage do closed-source vendors actually derive from a fetish for secrecy? Do their customers believe they've got some secret advantage? Does anyone believe Windows has some secret sauce in it that makes it better than other OSs?

Much of the software industry today sustains itself on indirect revenue. Even Microsoft admits it must pivot to ecosystem revenue and away from unit licensing revenue.


To ne fair, if many hackers hadnt embraced linux in the 90s, they might have worked on hurd, there is only a finite amount of hackerness.


I agree but the opposite is also true. For many developers who may or may not know very much about the FSF and RMS, Linux represents the "free as in libre" operating system. They compare it to Apple and Microsoft and see it favorably.

Without the GPL and GNU, Linux would not have the same brand. The GPL is part of Linux's public image and a public image is what drives usage.


    Let me ask you one question
    Is your money that good
    Will it buy you forgiveness
    Do you think that it could

    I think you will find
    When your death takes its toll
    All the money you made
    Will never buy back your soul


1. Attribute that quote.

2. This has nothing to do with Linus, and from what I can tell, parent did not deserve it either.

Linus hasn't made a fortune off Linux. He could have, but he didn't.


1. http://www.bobdylan.com/us/songs/masters-war

2. To clarify, I wasn't referring to Linus


However, if there is no forgiveness and no soul, money is a useful (but not the only) metric.


Like it or not, but those "irrational idealists" are also contributors to the Linux kernel anyway. I do not understand that it is reasonable to remove some stakeholders' rights at all.

(I have another words to say about the GNU/Linux ideology, but I think that's close to irrelevant here.)


Agreed, Linus is a man with great knowledge of kernel, but he may be wrong at times, just like RMS ( ;-) )

I can see why anti-corporate licenses are big win for users. PS4 and Macs use BSD kernel. The whole PS4 is locked up and it totally blocks users from doing anything else, though Sony built it from the components they took from community (BSD, LLVM etc.), they don't have to give it back.

On the other hand, I am still waiting for a distro based on Apple's OSS.

Linux, GCC, KDE, Qt, GNOME, Java are GPL (or at least LGPL) and there lies the innovation by masses, we see them running on so much variety of form factors. IMHO they need polish and marketing, but at the end of the day my work gets done and I am very much happy with it.

As a contributor I am sure if I work on OSS, no company should take it, make a product selling like hotcakes (PS4, Macs, iPhone) and then refuse to open it, lock down the devices and not even be obliged publish the modifications.

GPL rocks!


Idealists made the world we live in, usually for the better.

In any case, I don't understand how "pro-freedom-everywhere" is in any sense a slur.


"Idealist" is one of those non-descriptive and popular terms like "Agnostic". They describe everyone.


The GPL has always been political.


I'd like to add that a few "anti-business pro-freedom-everywhere radical[s]" thrown in the mix might be just what consumer software needs...




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