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The remark in context doesn't make him sound crazy. LLVM is "less free" than GCC, because LLVM doesn't take the same steps to preserve programmer freedom as GCC (a quintessetial GPL product).

I don't agree with him, but he's making a remark consistent with his worldview. And it's hardly outside the mainstream to target Apple for violating programmer freedom.

However, by making it sound as if a concern about LLVM was the theme of his talk, you've made him sound crazy. That's unfair and lowers the level of discourse at HN.

LLVM provides numerous purely technical benefits to Apple, including allowing for better graphics performance (which is an area that is important to one of Apple's key customer demographics), allowing better integration with debuggers, profilers, and IDEs, and allowing easier evolution of Objective-C.

Moglen is making it sound as if these technical benefits weren't a factor--Apple is supporting LLVM just to undermine free software.

First of all, he can't give any example of them doing anything with LLVM that actually undermines free software. He's just speculating that they could do so in the future.

Second, there is no rational basis for claiming that this hypothetical future ability to undermine free software is the sole (or even a major) reason Apple supports LLVM.

Moglen is just spreading FUD, pure and simple.

Also, how would you suggest that the submission title be worded?

I like LLVM more than I like GCC. Now that we've dispensed with that tangent:

Elbowing GCC out of the dominant position in the market with a non-GPL'd component --- one that can easily be "taken private" with enhanced, patent-encumbered, closed-source variants --- is not a win for the FSF. No doubt the FSF thinks its important that the most widely-used C compiler is Free Software.

For the N thousandth time, I don't agree with Moglen, and if Moglen had given a talk titled "LLVM is a Serious Threat To Free Software", I'd think he was a crazy person. But he didn't. He made an offhand comment that totally fits with the FSF's worldview.

You've now spent far more time talking about how crazy Moglen is than Moglen spent talking about LLVM.

The appropriate title for your submission is "Eben Moglen on The State Of Free Software", since that's the title of his talk. Don't editorialize in the title; just write a comment to make your point.

    The appropriate title for your submission is "Eben Moglen on
    The State Of Free Software", since that's the title of his
    talk. Don't editorialize in the title; just write a comment
    to make your point.
I did not editorialize in the title. If I had been submitting in order to bring to people's attention that Moglen gave a wide-ranging talk that contains many things people might want to discuss, then your suggested title would be appropriate--and then we'd have a bunch of unrelated things being discussed in the comments from the submission.

However, I was submitting to promote discussion of one particular point from his talk. If I was editorializing, I would have used a title like "Moglen makes unsupported accusation against Apple" or something like that, rather than a simple, accurate conveyance of what he said.

I also found his remarks on MySQL and Oracle interesting. If someone wants to discuss them, I would see no problem with them submitting a link to his talk with a title calling attention to those specific remarks, so as to promote discussion of that particular part of the talk.

For your benefit in future postings, here is a clue that you may have editorialized a title:

If the article you've submitted has 5,500 words in it, and the real title of that article (a) doesn't include the idea in your title and (b) accurately sums up the article, and you have to add a comment like "see minute 35:31 to see what I'm talking about" to have the title make sense, then you may have editorialized the title.

    editorialize |ˌɛdəˈtɔriəˌlaɪz| verb [ intrans. ]
    (of a newspaper, editor, or broadcasting organization) make comments
    or express opinions rather than just report the news.
    • offer one's opinion, as if in an editorial.
Since you cannot infer from the title I chose, nor the comment pointing to the particular place in the article I was talking about, my opinions on that part of the article could you please explain exactly how it is editorializing?

Alternatively, could you explain exactly how one should submit for discussion something that appeared in a longer article that discussed many unrelated things?

You don't get to take a large article and monopolize its coverage on Hacker News with your own point of view. Next time, submit the article on its own merits and leave your point of view to the comments.

How about if I make a blog somewhere, write a short blog entry calling attention to the part I'm interested in discussing, and submit that blog entry to HN? Would that be acceptable?


They're notorious control freaks about their platform. It's reasonable to assume they want to undermine free software. NeXT under Jobs refused to meet their GPL obligations for their new ObjC frontend until they were threatened with legal action. And their ObjC or C++ requirement for iOS development doesn't really make sense until they can prevent anyone from forking the compiler to produce a less painful dialect of those dated languages.

Which is not to say that LLVM has no technical advantages over GCC.

The change for Apple to clang and LLVM has nothing to do with "prevent anyone from forking the compiler to produce a less painful dialect of those dated languages". GCC has FORTRAN and Ada front-ends and those aren't allowed now. This is the weirdest conspiracy theory on LLVM / clang I have heard yet.

It has everything to do with wanting to use the same code in the IDE as the compiler and not wanting to GPL their development tools. Never mind the additional tools we are likely to see as clang and it associated projects mature.

The GPL is not concerned with programmer freedom, it is concerned with user freedom. The BSD/MIT camp favors the programmer side.

The FSF doesn't draw a distinction between programmer freedom and end-user freedom, so this dichotomy is misleading.

People who argue that we need to kill infidels also are making comments consistent with their world-view, however it's hardly what most people would argue is "freedom".

I have no idea what killing infidels has to do with whether we should promote software with GPL freedoms attached and shun alternatives that don't have those rights. That's not my worldview, but I don't see why it should be caricatured.

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