Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Time to fork the FSF (larrythefreesoftwareguy.wordpress.com)
345 points by pjhyett on Oct 8, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 323 comments



I don't get it, personally. Yes, Stallman's a loon - although as an aside I think that every good movement needs its loons. Who's going to say "you know what? I believe in Free Software so much that I will use nothing else, and publicly and harshly declare that anyone doing otherwise is a moron and a traitor to the future of humanity"? Anyone who is willing to sacrifice the usefulness of the last 30 years of proprietary tech to make a point has to be a bit barmy. But who else will make that point? All progress depends on unreasonable men.

And I agree that it would be helpful to have a moderate voice in Free Software. I use a Mac - sorry, it's really nice to use and I code a lot. I like my Kindle - sorry, it's better than the others and I read a lot. I live and work with proprietary software, but I believe in Free Software too. WebKit is popular because of Apple and Google. OS X is the most popular BSD, and the most popular consumer Unix. Non-free and free can and have worked together to mutual benefit. Is there anyone out there who can help me walk that line? If Larry is proposing to make that organisation, I would welcome it with open arms.

But what of this Jobs nonsense? Are we so timid and flammable that we can't handle a complex opinion that we don't agree with? Can you not accept that Jobs was a great leader who didn't deserve to die, but that he left a scary, proprietary footprint all over the mobile and tablet space? "I'm not glad he's dead, but I'm glad he's gone." is an opinion I don't agree with, but I don't think it's ludicrous, tactless and heartless.

Not everyone has to respect the things I respect, and feelings don't suddenly trump debate because of death. Jobs is one of the hacker community's sacred cows, and we wouldn't accept this level of sanctification on any other topic. I'm sure when Bill Gates or the Dalai Lama dies, there will be posts saying "let's not forget that Windows Vista was awful and religion is the other opiate of Tibet" Will they cause the same outcry?


The issue is not at all with his opinion. It is that he expressed it in a horrendously, gratuitously crass and offensive way. Here is a transliteration into humane language of what he said:

"My heart goes out to Steve Jobs' family in their time of grief. And my heart also goes to the millions of people who looked up to him as an icon and inspiration. But we need to not get so carried away honoring the dead that we forget the damage that Jobs' work had on the Free Software movement.

His pioneered the software walled garden, which destroys freedom and choice. And he targeted it at people who would not understand what they were sacrificing by giving up their freedoms.

We can only hope that his successors make Apple a more free company, or failing that, are not as effective at spreading it as he was."

Wasn't that better? And it communicated substantively the same thing, but without all the name calling and the seeming glee over the death of another human.

Disclaimer: I typed this on my Macbook Air.

Edit: One more thing to add. Saying "I'm not glad he's dead, but I'm glad he's gone" is tripe. Being gone is a euphemism for being dead. The reason we mourn when a loved one dies is precisely because that means they are gone.

Maybe RMS sees a subtle distinction between death and gone-ness in his head. But I promise you that people in grief see absolutely no distinction between the death and the loss of the person they mourn.


>Maybe RMS sees a subtle distinction between death and gone-ness in his head. But I promise you that people in grief see absolutely no distinction between the death and the loss of the person they mourn.

It is not legitimate for the mass of HN to be "in grief" because of Steve Jobs's death. You may be sad, but certainly no grieving period should be necessary for strangers.

Stallman was not overtly disrespectful imo, and there's a solid distinction between "gone" and "dead". "Gone" can mean retired just as well as it could mean dead -- the point is that that person is no longer influential in the circles they were affecting.


>It is not legitimate for the mass of HN to be "in grief" because of Steve Jobs's death. You may be sad, but certainly no grieving period should be necessary for strangers.

When was this decided? And by who? Did I miss a memo?

I've never owned an Apple product in my life, but the computers I have used, the smartphone I own, the tablet I will eventually get, the world I will live in 20 years from now, probably would not exist if it wasn't for Steve Jobs.

The world has lost an exceptional human being, and along with him, we have lost a chunk of the future he would have created if he'd lived longer.

So who's deciding how we are to legitimately feel about that?


> but the computers I have used, the smartphone I own, the tablet I will eventually get, the world I will live in 20 years from now, probably would not exist if it wasn't for Steve Jobs.

This is such an overstatement. What makes you so sure that Jobs had a positive influence on the world? You can't tell if in his absence something better would evolve. Not all his ideas were originall nor all the inventions were his own. And more importantly, neither was a better world his goal.

I see him more as a vanity figure and his contribution way overestimated. Sorry, if you had an image o Jobs running in a green forest along side with unicorns and rainbows, my opinion differs.


I think it's pretty telling that tablet computers have existed for ... what, 15 years? And that tablet computing didn't take off with consumers until iPad. I think that's a fine example of how Steve influenced a change in the world.

The Average Person has no concept of How Things Could Be Better. They just take what's available, get the job done, take their paycheck and live their lives. iPad seems to be the first time that Average Jane is saying things like "it'd be really nice if more of what I need to do could happen on my iPad." Maybe it's not to the point of consumers actually driving demand -- such as demanding text books in digital form -- but it's a start (and a welcome change from people just accepting the status quo.)

The reasons from iPad's success and other tablets' failures are irrelevant to my point. Would the rest of the industry have eventually figured out how to make tablets marketable to all of humanity? Perhaps eventually, but the world we live in today, the one where tablets (specifically iPads) are in demand now is the one in which we live.

"...probably would not exist if it wasn't for Steve Jobs." Exactly. And also if not for Steve Wozniak. And if not for Bill Gates. And a handful of other people in the industry that worked with and competed against each other early on in their careers.


>I think it's pretty telling that tablet computers have existed for ... what, 15 years? And that tablet computing didn't take off with consumers until iPad. I think that's a fine example of how Steve influenced a change in the world.

Consider that for most of these 15 years, the hardware wasn't good enough for mass appeal. The combination of a CPU powerful enough to render video and to support custom apps written in a high-level language, the RAM, the screen technology and the battery able to sustain all these for many hours didn't exist until probably 2006 or so.


Could not agree more.

But this Jobs fanboying surely indicates that world is not yet educated enough.

Even hacker's new crowd belives in Jobs magic and reality distortion.


And why wasn't the hardware "good enough"? Could it have been too much apathy and lack of innovation on behalf of the I.T. industry? And who actually made one where the hardware was good enough to sell millions of devices? Why didn't someone with the expertise come along and beat Apple to the punch?


> I think it's pretty telling that tablet computers have existed for ... what, 15 years? And that tablet computing didn't take off with consumers until iPad.

What is pretty telling is that although the first versions of apple's products are inferior in comparison with contemporary alternatives, and more expensive, people still rush to buy them because Jobs' face is in their advertisement. That was his charisma.

It's no secret that Jobs was a terrible boss, treating inhumanly his employees. He did exploit his friendships (duh). He used patents extremely to not let any room for other innovators of his time to have a chance on creating something better or more competitive. And he certainly knew that his products were made from children working all day in Chinese factories, but of-course that didn't matter much to him.

Vanity was clearly his drive. His goal was not to change the world or provide a better user experience, whatever happened there was just a side effect from his desire to be the "I win everything suckerz" guy.

And despite all this, you start a rant because Stallman expressed his opinion for Jobs sincerely and not in a politically correct way. Whatever criticism you have for FSF, it is a truly positive force on this planet. For what was the true influence of Jobs, that is very debatable.


Oh, I am sure we would have gone similar places without him... eventually. A windowing graphical user interface is objectively easier to use for most people than alternatives at the time, for example. But he saw it at Xerox, recognized it for what it was, refined it until it was sharp and crisp, and made such an impression that everyone followed suit. How long would it have taken otherwise? How many failed attempts and how many iterations? How many more failed tablets and how many more incremental improvements on feature phones? It's not like it only happened once.

Anyway, you may very well disagree. I was just trying to explain why some people who think differently might be more than a little sad about it. And that just because he was a stranger doesn't limit the amount of sadness people may legitimately feel.


"I've never owned an Apple product in my life, but the computers I have used, the smartphone I own, the tablet I will eventually get, the world I will live in 20 years from now, probably would not exist if it wasn't for Steve Jobs."

Steve Jobs has said many times that if he and Apple had not done the things they did, some other person or company -- within a short time period, would have done them.*

If you respect what he's done, then presumably you would respect his beliefs about how important he or Apple actually were.

* http://www.npr.org/2011/10/06/141115121/steve-jobs-computer-...


"Steve Jobs has said many times that if he and Apple had not done the things they did, some other person or company -- within a short time period, would have done them."

Yes, someone probably would "do them". Probably not as well. Probably without the attention to detail. Had the Lisa and Macintosh come out, Microsoft or someone else probably would have still shipped a really crappy GUI. Maybe we'd still be using Windows 1.0.


> It is not legitimate for the mass of HN to be "in grief" because of Steve Jobs's death. You may be sad, but certainly no grieving period should be necessary for strangers. > When was this decided? And by who? Did I miss a memo?

You need a memo to tell you others don't have to feel the same way you do?

> So who's deciding how we are to legitimately feel about that?

You, but keep it to yourself or risk other people sharing their feelings with you.

I too see Jobs like Bill Gates. He went out of his way to sue competitors out of business and hated the idea of anyone's success he couldn't charge rent for. The world is a far poorer place because of would-be monopolists like him.

As for the future he'd have created, it's on schedule. He's a product manager, not a materials scientist, graphics artist, programmer, etc. The same quality of work is being done by the same workers today as is was last week.

As the leader of an consumer protection organization, seeing how Jobs sought to ultimately undermine personal control of a user's computer through DRM and lawsuits, Stallman's response seems quite reasonable.


> You need a memo to tell you others don't have to feel the same way you do?

Wow. What utter, irredeemable hypocrisy. "It's not legitimate for HN to grieve" is met by indignation at being told how we should feel, and then you have the unmitigated gall to declare in opposition that others don't have to feel the same way we do?! That was the point!


> It is not legitimate for the mass of HN to be "in grief" because of Steve Jobs's death. You may be sad, but certainly no grieving period should be necessary for strangers.

You seem to have missed a critical piece of the message.


So, what, you think "grief" is not a "feeling"? Being neither a psychologist nor your mother, I really have no idea how to begin to correct that problem, except to say that you are deeply mistaken.


He could have made that statement when Jobs stepped down but chose to do it after he died, so I'm assuming that he made no such distinction.

That said, I do agree that walled gardens are bad but there are more effective ways of delivering that message, to use someones death and name recognition to further your agenda is not in good taste.


When Jobs "stepped down", he remained on the board of directors. He became remarkably less active, but certainly wasn't presented as being "gone".


Steve Jobs made an impact on me through his words, his actions, and even his products. While I was a complete stranger to him, he was not a stranger to me. I grieved.

Keep in mind that grieving is not a binary thing. The grief one feels at the loss of one's children is different than losing one's parents, or a close friend, or a neighbor, or a coworker, or someone in the community, or someone you've never heard of living halfway around the world. Or a visionary business leader.


It's ironic- it would seem to be RMS who is getting carried away. A great man has died, and all RMS can think about is what this means for the Free Software movement? To me, this discredits him more than anything I have ever heard him say. Software is not more important than life.

Disclaimer: Actively avoids Apple products


I think this is a microcosm of a problem I've seen in the open source area in general... a preference for code over people.

Open source software won't take over by being 1.86x faster and using a totally sweet heap sort algorithm. I'm a geek and I find that kind of thing interesting at an intellectual level, but it doesn't make me want to spend an entire Saturday trying to get Linux to recognize my sound card. "Normal" people absolutely don't care and won't put up with the hassle.

With Steve gone, there's a taste-shaped hole in the entire technology world that I can't see anyone stepping in and taking over. Until the open source world gets its own Steve Jobs -- someone out there who starts focusing relentlessly on the users (how to make software "just work" and look/feel great at the same time), it's never going to unseat the dominant players (as much as I might want it to).


> but it doesn't make me want to spend an entire Saturday trying to get Linux to recognize my sound card.

Stuff like that is FUD though, linux sound support is pretty good these days and the amount and variety of devices supported dwarfs the best the commercial world has to offer. In general, Linux support of legacy devices is amazing.

Newly minted hardware without a factory supported driver is a different kettle of fish but you can't really blame the Linux driver writers for that, they need information to work with and if manufacturers are not going to supply that info it needs to be painstakingly recovered, which is not always possible and almost always incomplete to some extent.


Newly minted hardware without a factory supported driver is a different kettle of fish but you can't really blame the Linux driver writers for that, they need information to work with and if manufacturers are not going to supply that info it needs to be painstakingly recovered, which is not always possible and almost always incomplete to some extent.

Who cares? It doesn't work. When I buy an Apple laptop I know all the hardware works. That's it. There is no blame to Linux devs (I've counted as one at times). This is the real world -- I'm not giving out consolation prizes to software that almost works.


I've encountered several printers and scanners that did not work on OSX but did have working Linux drivers. I've used graphic tablets, external sound cards, printers and scanners that just worked as I plugged them in under Ubuntu. Not so in Mac.


So you're after short-term profits instead of long-term gains? Supporting a locked-in system now strengthens that system, but supporting an open system may take longer to get to 'effortless', but you'll be able to do more down the track.


Unfounded assertion. Also, I'm mainly interested in the technology, not the license. I'll use whatever helps me get my job done the best and I'll pay good money for it too.


When a user installs Linux and can't get her brand new graphics card to work, she doesn't care whose fault that is. When the brightness adjustment keys don't work, all I think is "crap, my computer does not work".

The vast majority of people are like that; my use of the first person singular was not an accident, I count myself among them. It's not a matter of assigning blame, it's a matter of recognizing reality.

For Linux to take over the consumer desktop market, it doesn't just need to be as easy to install and maintain as Windows or OSX; it needs to be significantly easier. That is the hole a "Steve Jobs of free software" could fill.


Hey, NH, I'm not the poster, but why is this being down voted? Linux being easier to use and easier to maintain isn't something we all could benefit from?

And for fucks sake, don't say "it's FUD". I had a hard time installing drivers for an NVidia graphic card this month in Ubuntu's latest stable version, running in Dell workstation. I could even put out some videos.

I'm tired of people who had difficulties with Linux being called liars and getting down votes here.

Linux is great, but it's not finished yet. There's room for improvement. (Same with Windows. Same with OS X).


Did you contact Nvidia for support? That driver you were installing was proprietary software delivered by the vendor. Why are you blaming the free software for it not working?


Nope, I didn't. Actually the issue was getting the correct packages from apt-get. DLL hell all over again. In the end I simply formatted the machine with a non-stable version and the drivers installed as expected. Easy peasy.

EDIT: But that wasn't the point. The point is that those kinds of problems still happen with Linux, but only sometimes, with specific distros in specific gear, but when they don't happen (such as with Ubuntu 99% of the time) Linux gets praise and adoption from non-techies.


When a user installs Linux...

Someone who installs an OS has immediately gone beyond mere "user". A fairer comparison must include pre-installed machines.


> That is the hole a "Steve Jobs of free software" could fill.

How? By writing drivers for undocumented hardware?

> it doesn't just need to be as easy to install and maintain as Windows

Have you tried to install Windows recently? Fat-finger one prompt and you need to return it to the store to get it back. Make one little mistake in your backup and you need to buy install disks, etc. Don't buy anti-virus software and kiss it goodbye.

It's only easy because nobody does it - they all just pay the $100 install tax and have the store do it for them.

If you actually had to install a system and run a non-trivial program Mac would win, followed by Ubuntu, and then the rest would trickle in at the unusable-by-the-masses level.


Other than making baseless accusations without a shred of evidence I don't see any point in your post.

Windows 7 install (recently) from disk is dead simple, please give an example of something you could destroy through fat-fingering. Anti-virus is pointless for most users who don't pirate software and who use a modern browser (along with some common sense... Like say, not installing viruses). Kiss it all goodbye is ridiculous, when was the last time you heard of a virus doing anything other than installing spyware or a botnet?

Most people pay your so-called tax because there is no viable alternative, these aren't the kind of people who will buy the parts and put it together themselves.

Finally, I found ubuntu to be more difficult to install than windows. Think "proprietary" drivers... And there are a bunch of fat fingering opportunities in the ncurses version of the install.


> please give an example of something you could destroy through fat-fingering.

Destroy as in magic smoke? No. But have to take back to the store to have it reset. Yes.

This initial language prompt the computer booted to didn't have a back button once you'd chosen. If you get that wrong, good luck changing it if you're a casual user.

> Anti-virus is pointless for most users who don't pirate software and who use a modern browser (along with some common sense... Like say, not installing viruses).

That's fine for you and me. I've only ever found one virus despite scanning what I download.

But it was a malware posing as an archiving tool not warez, and malware is everywhere and does everything to look legit. Legitimate users get burned by this all the time.

As for a modern browser, sure - up to date IE is much better than before but Flash hardly is, so IE hardly is, so Windows hardly is... A single security layer simply isn't sufficient. A browser that's so plugin-happy needs to be better sandboxed.

Which is why for a computing environment where your browser is running as the primary user, you need a virus scanner.

> Most people pay your so-called tax because there is no viable alternative, these aren't the kind of people who will buy the parts and put it together themselves.

That's exactly what I mean. There's just enough hard about the install to make it not easy and thus it's hard by most people's reckoning.

Only the Mac is really good and that's because they supply the hardware so they know the drivers, the configuration, etc.

> Finally, I found ubuntu to be more difficult to install than windows. Think "proprietary" drivers...

"Here's a machine that won't run Ubuntu - see what a tough install Ubuntu is!"

Ouch.

> And there are a bunch of fat fingering opportunities in the ncurses version of the install.

Sure. But even still, less of a "there's no back button" kind of thing and more just complexity because of difficulty. Windows by default uses the entire drive, Ubuntu could but that'd make it harder in other ways. But judging it on that sort of thing misses their simplicity in areas that can be simple. As much as can work, just does. No EULAs, no trapdoor options, no hurried backups onto DVDs you forgot to buy and had to go back to get because it doesn't come with a $.30 install disk, etc...


This. I haven't had to troubleshoot a hardware problem in years, and I use Linux daily and install it quite often (I touch a lot of hardware). Don't subtly degrade something with FUD unless you speak from recent experience.


The open source world will also be better off when everyone stops using the word "FUD". It's a knee jerk term that allows the speaker to ignore criticism as lies. I am speaking from experience. The sound issue happened to me about two years ago. About six months ago I tried dual booting Linux on my MacBook and couldn't get it to shut down without hanging.

You're making my point. I (someone who works in the software industry) had a problem with a piece of open source software. If the open source world is going to go mainstream, the reaction can't be "That's FUD." It has to be "That's unacceptable, we need to fix this immediately."

Don't do it for me. If I decide the tradeoff of effort vs. benefit is worthwhile, I can eventually resolve the problem myself. Do it for my mom, who just wants the printer to work so she can print handouts for her students. Do it for your grandparents who just want to check their email and look at their grandkid's pictures. Or just tell me I'm an anti-open source propagandist and dismiss me.

I've made my decision. Computers are made for people, not people for computers.


i want to install adobe flash on a colleagues iphone, I cant


Every once in a while, when I open up my (recent) laptop to take it off standby, it freezes, completely unresponsive. I have to hard-reboot it. I'm using nouveau on an Nvidia Optimus card; when I activated the proprietary driver X completely failed to start. The last incident was yesterday. This has never happened to me on Windows.


When I bought a new box last year I couldn't get wireless to work. Until I went in to some random config file and forced it to load an older version of the driver because the new fancy version that is shipped doesn't actually work.

But thanks for proving his point by calling him a liar.


Yes, because we all know that the occasional configuration problem is unique to Linux.

Really.

Counterpoint to your story: I bought a notebook with a 3G card in it, couldn't for the life of me get the thing to work under windows vista (which it came installed with). It got so bad that I suspected that the hardware must be broken.

For kicks I booted the machine using ubuntu NBR, not only did it detect and configure all the other peripherals properly but it also auto-detected the 3G card and it made it work instantly without further configuration, other than clicking the 'connect' entry in the menu and entering the PIN code (four times '0').

Just because there is the occasional glitch I'm not going to say 'windows vista doesn't support lots of hardware'.

If you say your soundcard/wireless/etc doesn't work under a major distribution then that's really unfortunate, but that does not make your story representative of the vast majority of Linux users. Personally I haven't seen any configuration issues in Linux for over a decade unless it was because I was using some very rare and either very new or totally obscure hardware, and even in those cases I could always get it to work by using google for a bit.

Except for that one time with the 3G card under windows. But that's not proof of anything other than that there was at least one instance where someone had a hardware issue with a windows machine.


My experience flipping through the bug reports for ubuntu is that hardware isn't 90% solved it is more like 70% solved(the scary part is that each release tends to move that 70% coverage around a bit.) Both windows' and Apple's hardware support is poor as well but they fixed it by non-technical means(control of the hardware distribution channel.) Which is a perfectly viable channel for Linux, and seems to be working well for them(System 76 and Dell's Ubuntu boxes.) However as an OS that is primarily distributed after the fact, it would be nice to see user friendly hardware configuration.


You must be a very lucky. Reason I am not running Linux is because I was not able to find a decent driver for my latop's Synaptic touchpad.

Now please do not say you can write a driver yourself.


I'm not lucky. I read before I buy.


Way to split hairs and miss the point, huh?

But that sorta proves his point. Linux isn't good to normal people today just because it's full of geeky magic dust. It is good today because it "Just Works™".


RMS is not part of the Open Source movement and he was never the one to claim the technical superiority of open source. He thinks that misses the point.


>Software is not more important than life. //

How about freedom? Is freedom from, for example, capitalist overlords more important than life?

People give their lives for freedom all the time.

>A great man has died, and all RMS can think about is what this means for the Free Software movement? //

Meh. I don't see the problem with someone who didn't know Steve Jobs personally simply addressing how a change in leadership of Apple Computers affects him and his causes.

Mountains out of mole hills if you ask me.


Ever heard of "blame the game, not the player"? Trying to put all the blame on Steve Jobs' shoulder, right after his death, is horrendous.

Steve Jobs wasn't the enemy of freedom RMS paints him as. That he personally wrote letters against DRM on media-stores and against the closed-platform called Flash asking everyone to favor HTML5 made much much difference in those two specific areas than most things Stallman did lately.

(Funny, reminds me that that FOSS advocates here on NH are okay with Android prolonging Flash's life and using closed-source software only as a means to gain market share)

Granted, he never open sourced the whole operating system, but why would he? To see Apple collapse again while Dell/HP and others strive? What's the point? Then we start all over again? We'll have open-source chips manufactured by 2 or 3 companies? What's the fucking point?

Seriously, I'm tired of Stallman's half-assed socialism. It's an offense to me. You don't destroy capitalism by destroying companies, or people. You destroy capitalism by destroying the core of it...


I actually agree with Stallman, not because I believe everything has to be FOSS, but because I believe users should have the freedom to make their own decisions about how they use their devices, and that's something that Apple products work hard to remove - case in point, their refusal to allow Flash to run on iOS. They may not want it there and HTML5 may be the better choice in the long run, but they are denying users the option to decide for themselves.


Stallman doesn't even want that users know about that option. From Wikiquote: "The Adobe flash plug-in is non-free software, and people should not install it, or suggest installing it, or even tell people it exists."


This is different than "people should write their operating systems to proactively disallow installation of non-free software."

Note that the FSF even produces and distributes builds for Windows. Here's an example: http://www.gnu.org/s/mit-scheme . Most FSF projects that don't produce Windows builds directly provide information on where they can be found.

Stallman may not want people raising the profile of proprietary software, but he certainly doesn't advocate cathedral-style control of a users' computing platform.


> Ever heard of "blame the game, not the player"?

Yeah, it's ridiculous. The "player" makes the choices, they get the blame.

Every time I see someone talking about how they just do what they have to do to feed their kids someone else steps up to say that they feed their kids without hurting others.

> Steve Jobs wasn't the enemy of freedom RMS paints him as. That he personally wrote letters against DRM on media-stores and against the closed-platform called Flash asking everyone to favor HTML5

Sure, against some DRM. But the iPhone and iPad are locked down.

Really, he was just against the other guy's walled garden while trying to steal bricks from it for his own.

> Funny, reminds me that that FOSS advocates here on NH are okay with Android prolonging Flash's life [...]

I wasn't aware I had to complain against all problems in every post. The love-in for Steve prompted these complaints. If there was a love-in for Android you'd see the anti-Android opinions coming out.

> Seriously, I'm tired of Stallman's half-assed socialism. It's an offense to me.

I don't think you know what the word means. I believe you're pretty offended though.

> You don't destroy capitalism by destroying companies, or people. You destroy capitalism by destroying the core of it...

Oh, do tell, our fully-assed socialist leader.


> I believe you're pretty offended though.

And so are you, it seems... ;)

EDIT: Since you cherry-picked my points and completely ignored what I tried to say in order to attack me, I'll just repeat what I wrote, since it's what I would reply anyway.

    Trying to put all the blame on Steve Jobs' shoulder, right after his death, is horrendous.

    ...made much much difference in those two specific areas than most things Stallman did lately.
(notice the "specific areas")

    Granted, he never open sourced the whole operating system, but why would he? To see Apple collapse again while Dell/HP and others strive? What's the point? Then we start all over again? We'll have open-source chips manufactured by 2 or 3 companies? What's the fucking point?


I don't see the problem with someone who didn't know Steve Jobs personally simply addressing how a change in leadership of Apple Computers affects him and his causes.

The change in leadership at Apple occurred in mid-August when Jobs officially stepped down. You could even argue it happened back in January when Jobs took his final medical leave and turned day-to-day operations over to Tim Cook.

Where was RMS's sigh of relief then, when Jobs effectively relinquished his role? No, he chose to post this right after Jobs died. I find his post tactless and highly offensive. I've never been a fan of RMS, but this takes the cake.


The RMS posting is hardly "horrendously, gratuitously crass and offensive".


No, it is completely distasteful, and representative of actions that caused me to slowly change from being an FSF associate member to believing that FSF is a threat to free software rather than an asset.

Of course, RMS is not speaking for the FSF here, but there in recent years there is a history of missteps (Emacs virgins) and childish campaigns (Windows 7 sinds, Bad Vista, etc.) associated with the FSF.

It seems that RMS and the FSF (through zealotry) have become disconnect to most of society. Take the Apple Genius Bar DDoSing action of the FSF a few years ago. To the FSF it will probably seem heroic, but to the general public it's just annoying. You needed some help with your iPod, and then there is a bunch of annoying geeks blocking the Genius Bar, making you wait hours rather than minutes, just when you had to pick up your child from school. The next time that person reads about 'free software' or a 'free software operating system' he/she will think back about that bad experience and probably dismiss it.

Where is the humanity?


You've got to be reading a different RMS posting from the one I'm reading. It's certainly not "completely distasteful". As for the rest of your reply, I don't see how it relates to this.

For reference, this is the RMS posting I'm reading:

http://stallman.org/archives/2011-jul-oct.html#06_October_20...


Sounds like you are against pretty much all forms of public protest, due to 'inconveniencing'.


Stallman is paying Jobs a massive compliment, unless I am reading a different comment from you.


> Where is the humanity?

Exactly.


>horrendously, gratuitously crass and offensive way.

And?

It's rms. He's the biggest nerd in the world. Nerds are expected to be horrendously, gratuitously crass, offensive and insensitive of people's emotions.

This is like being mad that the sky is blue. Pointless outrage.


It's not outrage at Stallman's comments, but asking whether someone who is horrendously, gratuitously crass, offensive and insensitive of people's emotions should be "cheerleading" free software.

See also RMS's disappointment at the developer busy with a new child - start here (http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.emacs.devel/36137)

His inability to understand people is distracting from the aims of FSF.


Indeed:

>It doesn't take special talents to reproduce--even plants can do it. On the other hand, contributing to a program like Emacs takes real skill.


That wasn't the first time RMS had said something like that, but to say it to a fellow dev, when you're asking that person to fix someone else's bug, seems particularly unaware.

For sure, Asperger's or Autism explains it, but doesn't make it much easier to deal with.


It's black humour.


The point of the linked article, as I understood it, was that "it's just Stallman being Stallman" should no longer be an excuse for tolerating this behaviour. It casts bad light on the free software community as a whole.


I guess you need to specify what you mean by "tolerate"

If you're saying it's organizationally foolish to let Stallman be the face of the FSF due to his insensitivity... I can see a good argument there.

If you're saying we need to stop "tolerating" nerd insensitivity by condemning them on blogs and refusing to use their software and stuff like that, then I just think that is childish and pointless.


Gosh, I certainly did not mean the latter. I'm ok with Stallman being crude on his own. I am not ok with this behaviour representing the free software movement.


> Nerds are expected to be horrendously, gratuitously crass, offensive and insensitive of people's emotions. This is like being mad that the sky is blue.

Speaking as one of millions of pleasant, sensitive nerds, I find this offensive.


Millions? I doubt that.

There are socially sensitive nerds, but "pleasant" usually describes their SELF-image, not the view that others have of them.

Usually nerds like you describe are socially anxious and attempt to "take care" of everyone around them by conforming to their expectations and desires. Normal people actually find it exhausting to hang out with socially anxious "nice guy" nerds.

Also, almost all "nice guys" have a lot of repressed anger and rage from trauma in the past. The "nice guys" have repressed it and so are not aware of it, but others see the anger, usually manifesting as cynicism, sarcasm, or passivity.

Anyway true pleasant, sensitive people are rarely also described as nerds. They'd be described as socially comfortable, pleasant, emotionally sensitive, and intelligent.

"Nerd" would not enter the description unless there is some amount of social anxiety, awkwardness, or intense need for external validation.


Agreed. Stating that a big nerd is one of the worst candidates for spokesperson of a good cause is similarly pointless.

Yet somehow he still continues to be just that.


RMS has never tried to stop anyone from being a more charming and eloquent and popular advocate for free software. No one has volunteered; everyone has chosen to let him lead.


There're arguably several more charming, eloquent, and popular advocates for free software, notably people like Linus Torvalds, Chris DiBona, Brad Fitzpatrick, etc.


So smart necessarily means socially incapable? Haven't we had enough of this generalization yet?


Nerd doesn't mean smart. Nerd refers to a particular kind of obsessive skill in a narrow field.

People with laser-like obsessions tend to have poor social skills, whether they are programmers or otakus.


Mostly off-topic, but...

>The reason we mourn when a loved one dies is precisely because that means they are gone.

Not true! If I knew my close friend or family member was moving to a remote location such that I'd never see or hear from them again, I'd be sad but it would be a lot less sad than if they died. When someone dies, we don't just mourn the loss of their interactions we us (wouldn't that be a bit selfish?), we mourn the fact that they are aren't experiencing life anymore.


I think better still would be to say nothing.

By completely failing to acknowledge what Jobs did that was positive (even within his own value system) Stallman shows just how clueless he is. To put it another way, Stallman is fine with people being imprisoned in the walled garden of a computer priesthood, so long as the software they don't know how to use is "free".


> All progress depends on unreasonable men.

This is a very bold generalization grounded on nothing. Once we had rational discussions here.


GP is presumably referring to George Bernard Shaw's use of the term. "Reasonable people," wrote Shaw, "adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people."


     Wasn't that better? And it communicated 
     substantively the same thing
Personally I'm tired of people kissing ass and sucking cock, delivering shit in chocolate coating with a cherry on top.

No, that isn't better and it does not communicate the same thing.


I think that every good movement needs its loons.

This is probably true but when they become an embarrassment and a liability it's better to distance yourself from them as much as possible. His latest comments are particularly insensitive but it goes a lot deeper than that. Most of the stuff he writes leaves me with a more negative view of free software. He basically wants people to reject most modern software/technology/services and devote their lives to being as spiritually pure as himself. Never-mind. I'll just use the closed software instead because that's not a commitment I'm willing to make. If everyone in his organization feels that way then it's doomed. He's now an intensely negative force.


> He basically wants people to reject most modern software/technology/services

No. If he wants anything from the average person, instead of for them, it's that they pay attention to the value of their freedom (to keep using your software when the key server goes offline, for instance) now instead of later when it's too late.

> Most of the stuff he writes leaves me with a more negative view of free software.

Of course. You resent what you see as his spiritual purity in rejecting Trojan horse DRMed products that lock you in because you know you aren't capable of going without something you want now for greater gain in the future.

You realize that going with the locked-down answer is as smart as selling your house for the short-term gain, but unlike Stallman, are unable to control your urges. Thus you hate him, and those who can.

Now, we both could be reading more into it than there is, but this is how your over-the-top hatred of a free software programmer comes across.

> This is probably true but when they become an embarrassment and a liability it's better to distance yourself from them as much as possible.

I'm sure you don't put 1/100th of the effort into actually attacking real evil people as you do in knocking down the other teams' supposedly sacred cows.

Or are you on the streets/otherwise fighting for freedom in Bahrain, Egypt, etc, freeing Bradley Manning, stopping censorship, women/children/men/the elderly's rights and all the other good fights, and this is just what's left for Stallman?

How is it that someone on such a high horse lacks perspective?


> Of course. You resent what you see as his spiritual purity in rejecting Trojan horse DRMed products that lock you in because you know you aren't capable of going without something you want now for greater gain in the future.

> You realize that going with the locked-down answer is as smart as selling your house for the short-term gain, but unlike Stallman, are unable to control your urges. Thus you hate him, and those who can.

I am reminded of this quote:

"Each one of us, in his timidity, has a limit beyond which he is outraged. It is inevitable that he who by concentrated application has extended this limit for himself, should arouse the resentment of those who have accepted conventions which, since accepted by all, require no initiative of application." - Man Ray


I am not everyone, but I believe that people deserve a little respect when they pass, even if they antagonized you in life.

There are perhaps exceptions in those who are essentially disgraces to the human race, but in general... Death is the one thing that binds us all. We all share the same destination. Have a little class. Even Gates had something nice to say, and I'm sure if Gates passed first, Jobs would have had something as well.

Death is not a time for bitterness.


Loon is NOT an adjective that you can apply to Stallman.

  loon
      n 1: a worthless lazy fellow
He is certainly not that. He founded the GNU project. Authored the GPL. Wrote dozens of open source applications. And overall contributed a lot to free software. Choose your words carefully!


Loon is used as slang to mean somebody who is a bit off the wall or crazy, as in that person belongs in the "loony bin" (mental hospital).


It's unclear to me why you're being so harshly downvoted. All that's needed is a quick trip to Wiktionary (or your favorite dictionary) to see that you're correct.

EDIT: Well, I should note that you're correct about the definition. I don't know about the etymology.


Loon: a silly or foolish person. From my apple dictionary.


It's also a bird. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loon

The bird does, notably, have better hygiene than RMS.


I always thought loon was a shortened term for "lunatic". Not that I'm calling RMS one.


Agreed. Without the extreme left, by definition the moderate viewpoint will slider further and further to the right.


I tweeted earlier that I see RMS as the Fred Phelps (Westboro Baptist Church) of Free Software. He may not have started out this way; but these days he's completely single issue. If you're not doing free software 100% his way; you not only disagree with him but you are actually evil. Not just free software; but free software as RMS defines it(see GNU/Linux) or you're wrong. He's so blinded by his own zealotry that I'd argue that beyond the inner, hard-core "free software circle, he's seen as much of an embarrassment to the notion of free software as Phelps and Westboro are likely seen by other Christians.

I've felt this way a long time about RMS; his comment about Steve Jobs's death was uncalled for--but it really was well-within character. Just like Phelps and Westboro are expected to show up at soldier's funerals to protest, we've come to expect this type of shit from RMS--and I agree with the OP that it's time to stop just accepting it.

[Edit] I want to state that RMS, like everyone, is fully entitled to his opinion and that opinion carries no more or less weight than my own. Moreover, you're completely entitled to agree with him. What I do have a problem with is what the OP described: he doesn't belong at the head of a major organization, nor does he belong at the apex of the free software movement. Beyond my earlier described "inner circle," in the past several years, he's done more to tarnish the image of the free software community than to help it.


While I don't always agree with RMS, I think he truly believes everything he says.

I don't think the same of Fred Phelps. I long ago reached the conclusion that he tries to say the most inflammatory thing possible wether he really believes it or not. I have no idea why, but I believe he has some other agenda than just the condemnation of homosexuality.

I've even almost seriously entertained the idea that he is a closet extreme atheist out to discredit theists.


The fact is though, RMS, today in 2011, isn't helping the free software movement any more than Phelps is helping Christianity

It's hard to understand the internal reality that either is basing their actions on anymore, but it doesn't change the fact that they both see the world through their own singular vision which they're no longer able to coherently share with others and convince others of - they've taken their premises as axioms and just go around preaching hate to a shrinking choir and offending the rest of us with their actions

If Larry Ellison had just died after his company purposely screwed up MySQL, OpenOffice, Java, Hudson, OpenSolaris ... RMSs comment would still be tasteless and inappropriate


I'm sure that if Larry Ellison died, it wouldn't only be RMS making this comment.


Some think he's just a novel con-artist:

1. http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/gro...

2. http://kanewj.com/wbc/

Looks like it equates to fairly decent take-home pay given that he probably works far less than the 2080 full time hours a year for it.

And remember, it's a church, so it's all tax free.


I would say that a very significant contingent of Protestant church men are in it for the money. We shouldn't fool ourselves into thinking that they're all sincere -- cons often come with a generous helping of scriptural glaze.


Unless you're working a seriously crazy angle like Phelps, there's generally more money to be made outside the church than within it. I think most people who have devoted their lives to a church are either sincere, or they started out sincere and started working an angle after becoming disillusioned.


Now that I believe.


Naww, he's just a zealot. The history of religion is the history of zealotry, as well as oppression and violence. Funny how you think he must be an atheist, when he fits the religious zealot profile to a 't.' Phelps fits the character of so many religious leaders who have millions of followers and millions of dollars. Phelps' big issue is that he's poor at monetizing his crazy, unlike other successful bigots like Falwell and Graham.

I'm sick of the conspiracy theories that he must be some kind of secret agent. Bigotry and hatred is typical in religion, especially for homosexuals. Theists need to call him an atheist or a con man to make them feel better about being theists and following the philosophy of 1st century madmen.


As an atheist, I think it's pretty clear from your post that hatred and bigotry is alive and well outside of religion. You know what else is typical in religion, including Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, etc.? Tolerance, love, and generosity. If you don't know religious people who are the epitome of these qualities and find strength to exhibit them from their religion, you are living in a bubble.


> "Tolerance, love, and generosity. If you don't know religious people who are the epitome of these qualities and find strength to exhibit them from their religion, you are living in a bubble."

Certainly there are many people of all cultures and religions who are tolerant, loving and generous. But mostly to those of their own culture/religion.

As for living in bubbles, that is _precisely_ the purpose of culture/religion - to enclose the individual with a selected group, keep him/her under control and prevent him/her from interacting with outside groups. Take food taboos as an example - it's difficult to be friends with someone if you can't eat with them.

And while there may be hatred and bigotry outside of religion, it pales compared to what religion has given the world. Of course I consider most "-ism"s to be religions too.


>hatred and bigotry outside of religion, it pales compared to what religion has given the world.

The 20th century is evidence enough that man is capable of resorting to the worst possible barbarism without invoking deities as justification, plenty of other excuses are readily available. Going by death count, political purges in officially atheist communist nations took the cake... by far. Ethnicity was a distant second behind politics, and religion a distant third.

> Of course I consider most "-ism"s to be religions too.

Communism, solipsism, humanism, socialism, nihilism? If the majority of philosophical and political beliefs, even those with a stated opposition to religion, are now redefined to be religion, then "religious belief" is no longer a subset of "belief", and you've expanded the categorical definition of that word to be useless at anything other than proving yourself correct.


Going by death count, political purges in officially atheist communist nations

Be careful how you phrase this - these purges were not done in the name of atheism. They do not compare 'death from atheism' to 'death from religion'. It's an important distinction that needs to be made.


Most zealots have a strong conviction, and will do whatever is necessary to further their cause. Sometimes what they deem necessary is shocking to the rest of us.

However, Phelps "ministry" seems to exist, simply to shock. He's like the one dimensional villain who is evil for the sake of being evil.

Since his public persona seems like a fictional character, I assume he is one.


Some corollary of Poe's law applies here. If some religious guy seems too batshit insane to be true, he's just as likely to be real as he is to be batshit insane.


If you're right, it's a pretty deep con he's playing:

www.atheistnexus.org/page/nate-phelps-2009-aa-speech

trigger warning/tl;dr: Phelps family is every bit as horrifically abusive as you'd imagine.


>He's like the one dimensional villain who is evil for the sake of being evil.

That's how I see the Pope or your typical small town preacher, yet I believe their sincerity. I'm not sure why you get to sit there and decide who is sincere and insincere without any proof. They are Christians, they follow scripture, they have opinions and audience. They're not con men, they are simply misguided and in IMHO evil because its impossible to have a non-evil religion. At the end of the day, believing woo that justifies your biases is evil.

Phelps is just a Christian. Accept it. Move on.


Given the degree to which Phelps has in fact monetized his craziness, I'm personally inclined to believe that it's at least partly an act. His whole family regularly engages in activities that are specifically calculated to make people angry enough to do something, and then they sue everyone they can get their hands on for as much money as possible.

I don't think he's an atheist, though. I know plenty of Christians who are almost as crazy and definitely not acting. I think he's just a fundamentalist who's smart enough to take advantage of adding a little on the top; a sort of larger-than-life "media personality."


Wow, I hadn't even read this comment yet. Who is the zealot again? Everyone, EVERYONE, including you, believes uncountable things purely through conditioning, purely through repeated exposure without direct confrontation of the ideas with the conscious mind. There is no evidence suggesting there are any people who believe only things for which they've carefully deliberated; in fact, there is lots of evidence that this is not the case. You believe untold woo this very moment while spewing sanctimonious claptrap.


The Hanlon and Occam Razors, when applied to Phelps: he's a deeply closeted gay man who has to keep doubling down on his cognitive dissonance in order to rationalize obsessing over gay sex, even to the point of violently manipulating his own family.


Fred Phelps is a lawyer and they simply do the things they do to get a violent reaction out of people so that they can then sue those individuals. It's simply about making money in one of the most scummy way possible (far worse than patent trolls even). I thought this was pretty common knowledge but judging by the comments under your post I guess not.

EDIT: With that being said, RMS and Phelps are nothing at all alike. RMS truly believes what he says and that his beliefs are right. Phelps is just an ass trying to elicit violent responses to get money out of people already dealing with horrible tragedies.


The inflammatory agenda makes sure his group stays alienated from society and within his control.


Phelps is the personal embodiment of Poe's Law.


As a side note, it is annoying to see you guys talk about a Phelbs that is not known outside US, and do not seem to be an interesting fellow. At least when you were talking about Jobs, the remains of the world knew who he was.


The problem is, RMS is part Fred Phelps, but also part Jesus Christ because he sortof started this whole thing, if my understanding is correct. Just like you got to respect Steve Jobs' accomplishments despite his own personal failings, I think (granted to a lesser extent) we gotta hand it to RMS, despite being a tactless fanatic, his moral compass always steers us toward the ideal for Free Software. And I should note I don't even agree with Free Software as a moral imperative, but freedom gives software more value none the less, and it's good to have someone there to point us in the right direction.


   I think (granted to a lesser extent) we gotta hand it to RMS
Why "to a lesser extent"?

I'm honestly curious because from my outsider's perspective (being affiliated with neither Apple nor FSF), RMS is vastly more admirable than CEO of a for-profit company.

The ability to cater to customers and sell them expensive products is precious and certainly good for the shareholders. And, to a lesser degree, even for the customers I guess... but why this worship and e-drama? How can turning huge profits be comparable to FSF's mission -- lofty even if you don't identify with it -- and why are non-shareholders so ecstatic about it? (leaving Job's death aside now, R.I.P. man)


I don't know that people worship him just out of love of his products, but in more of a sort of hero worship. Here's a guy who had an uncompromising vision that nobody appreciated until he was proven right, and changed the world as a result. It's something we all want to see in ourselves.


Are you talking about RMS or about Jobs?


When I first saw the post by RMS, I tried to hold back my initial desire to simply post "He's an asshole". I tried to take the emotion away from it but found that I couldn't. I couldn't find the right words so I posted nothing.

You posted my exact feelings in a more intelligent way than I ever could have.

RMS and people like him in the free software community is why I have never 100% committed to a free software way of doing things. I do a lot of development in Linux but I do just as much in Windows. Even though I contribute to the open source world in my own small way and see the importance of it, I find myself caring less and less about the philosophy behind it, At least when it comes to the zealots that are involved.

We all know that both Apple and Microsoft have pulled asshole moves before. But I can't help thinking that zealots like RMS would do the same thing if the FSF was in control.


The fundamental difference between the ones like Apple/Microsoft and RMS/FSF is that the latter don't seek to be in control in the way the former do. RMS/FSF actually oppose to the idea and instead seek to educate people for the peoples own benefit.


I don't see choice in the message when it comes to the FSF. I do in other open source communities but not when it comes to the FSF. I see "use our alternative" but I do not see choice.

Choice would be to educate someone about the benefits of open source technology and then let them make the decision on what philosophy they would like to follow. Not, "your company choose to make your product closed source so you are now going down an evil path". I'm exaggerating a bit so I can illustrate my point. You can think that your philosophy is the right path without necessarily thinking that the other path is "evil".


Really, RMS being a dick keeps you from using, developing, and supporting free software?

Your level of support is not that great, then.


You're right, my level of support now is not as great as it could be. When I was initially introduced to the idea, I loved it. I still do. This is why I am still involved. But I do not like the zealotry behind it. You can believe in an ideal without casting out everyone who does not fall in line 100%.

I use and contribute to open source because I believe a lot of the best technology comes from it. I do not use it because I believe closed source is inherently evil.

RMS is a dick and I can accept that. What bothers me is the pass that he gets when he is a dick and the percentage of others who are like him in the free software community.


I didn't read anything about being kept from "using, developing, and supporting free software".

I did read: "Even though I contribute to the open source world in my own small way and see the importance of it, I find myself caring less and less about the philosophy behind it".

Please enlighten us, what level of support would you deem acceptable? Anything less than complete and exclusive acceptance of the goals of the FSF?

I'm sure a middle road exists.


> Not just free software; but free software as RMS defines it

Trouble is, RMS is the guy who defined free software in the first place. If you want to do something else than what he intends, it's probably better to pick a different term.


OS X would not be possible without RMS.

You have to remember that Stallman was around before Jobs' day -- he was performing real work at MIT when Apple was initially conceptualized. Stallman therefore is apparently less vulnerable to the reality distortion field and does not unduly offer oblations to a guy who was obsessed with shininess at the expense of hacker culture. Jobs went to lengths on many products to prevent tinkering in an age when computing was still very open and very academic, because Jobs didn't want any little peons messing up his perfect devices. Hence Stallman's quip that Jobs made computers as a jail cool.

If you think about this statement from Stallman's perspective it really makes a lot of sense, and I think it is ridiculous that the Steve Jobs hero worship pervades so deeply as to not recognize that Jobs was a control freak even after Apple products were sold and in the possession of customers, and that some people, particular contemporaries of Stallman's stripe, may not have been fond of that. I doubt that the release of the iPhone really did much to persuade that set of people.


This isn't about OS X. This is about Stallman being effective as the leader of the FSF, which apparently he feels entitles him to say any damn thing he wants, regardless of how tasteless it is. That's not the mark of a leader.

That's the mark of a self-inflated ass.


I didn't find it tasteless. Is it really such a criminal thing to say that you are glad Jobs's influence is gone? Can't reasonable people disagree on that point?

People totally go overboard wrt Steve Jobs, as they do his company, Apple. RMS comes from a time when computers were generally open for tinkering, and Apple strove to make its products impenetrable lest Jobs' pain-stakingly "perfected" designs be gaudied up by consumers. From the original Mac which didn't have expansion slots to today's iDevices that don't allow the consumer to do so much as change the battery, Apple has a long history of tight lock down.

Do you not see how an old-school hacker could be disgruntled by that philosophy? The beliefs and experience of that group runs deep enough that they are not hoodwinked into deifying Steve Jobs because the iMac is the sleekest desktop computer around.


I don't think it was anywhere near offensive, but once people start loudly complaining about how offended they are, the conversation inevitably focuses on their feelings instead of our freedoms.

In the end, they will win. Either RMS will tone down to focus on the "real" stuff, or he won't, and his influence will wane in favor of more widely-acceptable voices. In this as in many other parts of life, watered-down moderates will be the only ones able to maintain relevance, and uncompromising advocates will be marginalized.

It's just how humans are.


So Steve Jobs was a watered-down moderate?


No - my point is that RMS isn't.


I should have been clearer. If it's inevitable that the influence of someone like RMS will wane because he's an uncompromising advocate, doesn't that suggest that Steve Jobs' influence would have waned as well?

My point is that someone's relevance depends on much more than if a majority of people find their views acceptable. Steve Jobs oversaw products that people loved by uncompromisingly advocating improvements on the status quo in design, while RMS uncompromisingly advocates something that, for many people in the world's present state, is impractical.


No, this is about the OP blaming Stallman for being glad somebody died because it furthers his cause (the FSF's goals).

Which is clearly not the case. Stallman specifically says that Jobs did not deserve to die and he's not glad that Jobs died.

The OP could have just said that Stallman is not the right person to be the leader FSF because he's often politically incorrect. That's debatable, but understandable.


I should not say this as it brings nothing to the conversation, but thank you.

This hypocrite Job Mania is making me sick and your opinions expresses pretty well parts of my resentment..


Can you point out the way Jobs try to called troll the non iDevice products?


Go ahead... fork it. Then what happens?

Will you travel the world tirelessly promoting free software, speaking at universities and other events for very little money?

Will you maintain a job board, mailing list, hardware database, software directory, year after year?

Will you find lawyers to donate hundreds of hours to write and revise licenses?

Will you hire lobbyists to fight software patents?

Will you tirelessly fight the RIAA, day after day?

When you've done all these things, sign me up.


And never mind code. This basher is a complete nobody who seems to profit from open source more than contribute. It's not like the heads of several major FSF projects are banding a revolt.

The sinister anti-Stallman/GNU sentiment on HN is reaching incredibly high levels. Luckily it's mostly nobodies like this big mouth bozo.


While you do have a point, I disagree strongly with the way you've expressed it. There is no need for name-calling and personal attacks on this board.

Calling someone a "nobody" and a "big mouth bozo" is uncalled for.


He is extremely agressive and out of place, calling for a split on a major organization he didn't help in any meaningful way and feeding the hate [sentiments of a particular faction of users] against it. Also,

  > I’m really tired of having to make excuses for Stallman
  > when he goes off half-cocked like this, which is why I’m
  > no longer a FSF member.


> He is extremely agressive and out of place, calling for a split on a major organization he didn't help in any meaningful way

He was a member, and while his member number (5030) isn't low enough to argue that he helped found the movement, he did explain that he has advocated on behalf of the FSF for quite some time. I too think his post was a step too far in the wrong direction, but saying that regular supporters of the FSF, long time contributors and everyday members don't "help in any meaningful way" to the FSF is a tad bit disingenuous.


I think Stallman has earned some negative sentiment with that statement. As he is so closely identified with the FSF, regardless of intent, it's inevitable that there would be spillover.

It's not the mission, it's the man we have a problem with. Yes, he's done a lot for Free Software and software in general, most of it good. He has taught us a lot and probably learned a few things.

The next thing he needs to learn is when to keep some of his thoughts to himself. His statement, in no way, advances the cause of Free Software.


Will you grow a beard that big?


There are other people who already do the same, he's not doing all the work by himself. He doesn't want to become the leader either, unless I missed something - he just sees a growing issue and organisation which he cannot identify with anymore. What's wrong with saying that he'd like to see a forked organisation with a leader that does not offend people very often and doesn't use someone's death to push his own ideas?


RMS has the FSF and Defective By Design sites as soapboxes if he wished to gain more attention from Jobs's death. This was a post on his political notes page. He did nothing to publicize it.

He didn't post to aggregators or tweet to ask for upvotes (technically it was posted on his Identi.ca account which is linked to his political notes feed, but it got no special treatment).

If some major sites hadn't picked up on it and provided the publicity, most readers would never know. So RMS wrote a politically incorrect opinion on his personal page. Can we move on now?


When you're a public figure, you have no personal pages. If it's public, it's part of your image.


But there's still a distinction between RMS and the FSF.


And please don't think of forking the FSF because RMS made fun of Steve Jobs if that is what people think he did.


While he might not have asked for the publicity, it would be very easy for Stallman to issue a public apology.


I can't believe there are people who think it was ok for Stallman to call Jobs evil. It was a tasteless attack without merit even in better times.


Hey, you seem to be as clueless about communication as he is.


What an excellent way to make your point: with an ad hominem attack!


I think I’m justified in saying that someone is clueless about communication if that person honestly believes that a statement by a very public spokesperson in any public place – no matter how obscure – will or should remain obscure.

That’s not how communication works. Sorry.

I thought that was sort of implied by my comment, no need to explicitly say it, because it’s so damn obvious. But I’m sorry if you though that my comment was nothing but an attack.


I understood what you meant, I just found it ironic in the extreme that you chose to complain about poor communication by genuinely using poor communication, especially given the context of the thread.

You've been commenting that Stallman should have deported himself better, and yet you break out with a comment like that yourself.


My argument doesn’t require me to lead by example. I’m some random commenter.

And since you understood me perfectly well there doesn’t seem to be a problem in this specific case.


Understanding you perfectly well isn't the issue at point, it's the manner of how you present yourself - witness all the crap in this thread about RMS from those people who now accept that he didn't wish Jobs dead, but still say he should have been more polite about it. You don't have much of a credible leg to stand on if you don't engage in that which you request of others.

Edit: changed 'moral' to 'credible' to avoid semantic bickering about the loaded word.


Morals? I think I have been talking squarely about effective communication, not morals.


What I find more interesting: are you as good at hacking as rms? Or is being better at communication the only thing you can take pride in? I suspect that might be behind all the ranting.


I have nothing whatsoever on rms’ hacking.


Anyway, I regret getting involved in this thread. Sorry for my comment.


Crass and insensitive but in line with everything I've ever heard him profess to believe. He's never strayed from his goal in making great software available to millions of people around the world, and he's never given a shit why it shouldn't or couldn't be done his way...damn, that sounds familiar.


I don't think Jobs would say anything bad about Stallman if Stallman died first. Because unlike Steve, in Steve's words (vis a vis Bill Gates) Stallman has no taste.


Actually, Stallman DOES have taste. He lacks a design aesthetic, but that is not synonymous with taste. Taste is about having an internally consistent means of making choices.

The reason people say Microsoft had no taste is that they never said no, they bolted any old thing onto the side of Windows, there never really has been a sense that Windows is this and this but not that.

Stallman has an extremel sharp sense of what free software is and isn't, I'd call that taste with a capital T. Now, if someone were to say it isn't GOOD taste, well, that's a worthwhile conversation to entertain.

Windows, on the other hand... No idea how it is today, but up to XT it absolutely lacked any sense of taste, it wasn't even bad taste, it simply was stuff higgledy piggledy, some things for experts who use the command line, some chrome for newbies, all next together, but never as powerful and flexible as Unix nor as easy as Macintosh, but not even designed for the middle of the road user.

In other words, no taste.


I wasn't even talking about aesthetics. I was talking about the sort of taste it takes to say "no" to expressing your opinion in an entirely frank manner at certain times.


Ah! I get that. +1! In my circle, that use of the word “taste” is almost always a negative, as in “Reg made a tasteless joke” but certainly it can be used positively, as in, “Reg’s commentary on admiring Steve but not deifying him was in good taste even if I don’t agree with it.”

I was mixed up by the comparison to Bill Gates, who I don’t see as being tasteless in speech but whose company I used to view as being tasteless in design.

But you are absolutely using the word appropriately, whether I agree or disagree with the proposition that Mr. Stallman’s commentary on Steve Jobs was tasteless.


Yeah by invoking Microsoft I was expanding "taste" to a much more general meaning there, sorry for the confusion.


Jobs knew public opinion, and how to sway it. Stallman is a zealot.


It's my understanding that Jobs would turn on a dime and adopt your way of doing something in place of his, IF you could make a compelling enough case for it.


Yes, but RMS is simply wrong, here. Jobs has put great software into more hands than RMS ever did. Jobs might well have (indirectly) had an even more positive influence on FOSS by spreading BSD.

(I'm not saying that there isn't a ton of FOSS out there in lots of hands -- but RMS isn't responsible for its being there in the same way Jobs is responsible. Jobs is responsible for the iPhone. RMS isn't responsible for Android.)


Jobs has put great software into more hands than RMS ever did.

You do realize that Apple has been dependent on GCC to build its products for most of Jobs' second tenure, don't you? Some of that is code that RMS personally wrote.

The GPL license that, again, RMS personally wrote covers the kernel of the Android system. "Great software" that's in "more hands" than Jobs' devices.

Jobs was a slick businessman like Gates. RMS wrote fucking GCC.

Guess who's contribution I value more.


That RMS wrote the GPL, or extended LLNL's Pastel compiler into GCC, does not endow him with responsibility for the success of all free software. Do you really think, given the influence of academia, that there would be no FOSS-equivalent compiler available but for RMS's efforts?

Jobs is responsible for Apple's success. For repeatedly creating devices that have disrupted industries. RMS deserves credit for his contributions, but it is not all-thanks-to-him that we have FOSS.

Yes Apple's software has been closed. But has this been at the expense of FOSS, as RMS claims?

Has Apple actively tried to subvert the GPL by lobbying governments to avoid FOSS? Has Jobs publicly whined about the GPL? Has he engaged in OOXML-esque bad-faith efforts to keep data formats proprietary?


Keep moving the point of the conversation to fit your anti-Stallman flaming.


The point was that RMS is wrong when he asserts[1] that Apple and Jobs have hurt the development of free software.

[1] RMS: "we all deserve the end of Jobs' malign influence on people's computing"


My understanding is that Apple restricts the applications that it "allows" to run on users' iOS devices to the point that programming language interpreters were effectively banned until about a year ago, now they're merely severely restricted. Users of iOS devices are effectively prevented from running GPL apps because of the restrictions Apple is putting on other peoples' code on users' devices.

It's not just against the development of Stallman's brand of Free Software.

It's an attack on all software developers.


  > It's an attack on all software developers.
I am a software developer and I don't think I am under any attack. Heck they gave me one more platform to develop for. And there is lots of open source code written for it already.


Just curious: Have you actually developed an app for that platform?

Did you submit it to the review process?

Was it approved or rejected?


Stockholm syndrome.


Jobs popularized the walled garden.


Jobs also brought DRM-free internet music stores to the masses.


Please dude. iTunes was very late to the game. eMusic? Most early music stores had no DRM.

Jobs leveraged the popularity of the iPod with iTunes (which, by the way, is not allowed to talk to any other program under normal circumstances) to make Apple a ton of money. As was the case with iPhone, Apple was big enough to force the hand of the industry-controlling posse into accepting things on its own terms. While they eventually rolled out DRM free, this should be a basic expectation and does not qualify Apple for bonus points. For years they sold exclusively DRM'd content while there were others attempting to make it on DRM-free platforms.

And by the way, afaik (not an iTunes user), television and movie content is still provided exclusively in DRM'd formats.


> Most early music stores had no DRM.

Yeah, but they also had no music. Apple used their near monopoly of online music to force the majors into selling DRM free music online. That deserves praise.


Amazon MP3 beat them to that.

"Launched in public beta on September 25, 2007,[1] in January 2008 it became the first music store to sell music without digital rights management (DRM) from the four major music labels (EMI, Universal, Warner Music, and Sony BMG), as well as many independents.[1][2][3][4]"

"On January 6, 2009, Apple announced that DRM had been removed from 80% of the entire music catalog in the U.S."


The labels gave DRM-free music to Amazon first in an attempt to lessen iTunes dominance. Apple was publicly rabble-rousing for DRM-free music before that.


I don't know if I really agree that a large company using its influence to strong-arm "partners" into accepting terms favorable to itself is really that praiseworthy. We are fortunate that in this case Apple's incentives aligned with those of its users -- DRM is a huge PITA for the company that runs the DRM infrastructure as well as a problem for the company's users.


After Amazon.


That's very US-centric of you.


US-centric? They're both US companies.


The iTunes Store is available in many countries around the world. The Amazon Music store isn't.


I am aware.


Gues who contributes a lot to LLVM and Clang.


RMS makes no comment about "great software" in the post. He says that Jobs "made computers as a jail 'cool'" (paraphrase), and I think to a great extent that's true -- Apple has always been the most aggressively locked-down computer maker. Although OS X uses several open-source internals and although Apple even maintains some of these (including very important ones, like CUPS and X), they are still in some ways the most "locked down" computer (and consumer electronic) maker out there.


> le has always been the most aggressively locked-down computer maker.

Actually this isn't the case. Back in Apple II times, they provided the most hacker-friendly, fully documented hardware and software, together with the built-in rom assembly listing. But this was Woz' creation (über-hacker par excellence), not Jobs'.


Indeed. My reading is primarily that Jobs and Woz had an internal battle over the hackability of the Apple II and that Woz won out (as far as I'm aware, for unspecified reasons). Subsequent projects (Mac) have not followed the same pattern.

RMS's gripe with Jobs seems to be that he played a very active role in transforming computing from an open, academic activity based on information sharing to a completely proprietary profit center.

In the early 80s, some openness was expected. Releasing a computer without expansion slots then is like releasing a phone where you can't even replace your own battery now.


RMS is wrong insofar as he believes that FOSS exclusively will result in more people having better software than if there is FOSS + ~FOSS.


The post in question makes no mention of FOSS exclusively resulting in better software than FOSS + non-FOSS. Are you just debating Stallman's generic platform here? Seems a bit off-topic to me...


RMS is glad Jobs is gone. This means he thinks Jobs' non-FOSS is a net negative for the world.

[edit of first sentence for clarity]


Which is perfectly in line with pretty much all of his life and advocacy: for RMS, user potential freedom (to much around with the internals of his device, software and hardware) trumps everything.

Therefore, as somebody making locked-down everything and locked-down everything cool Jobs was a nemesis figure. It makes perfect sense for Stallman to be glad he retired from current affairs, that Jobs had to retire due to death does not really enter in his thinking because as far as he's concerned it's a completely separate issue.

Those demonizing him for his comments are just idiots.


(BSD != "Free" => Mac OS X != "Open". Jobs "spreading BSD" is therefore irrelevant, and probably explains the downvotes you are receiving, if you or anyone else are at all curious.)


so... it's perfectly ok to publish tons of linkbaits about 'how steve jobs changed my life' even if they are vague and repetitive boring opinions, but nobody can state his negative views on this occasion. gimme a break. death is sad, but it's good that there are people who had decided to stay out of this bubble.


Here, I'll let someone with much more eloquence than me explain to you why Stallman's diatribe is poorly wrought.

If Stallman had to make a statement emphasizing his dislike of Jobs' influence, he could still have done so respectfully. Consider this; "I didn't share Steve Jobs' vision of computing, and I wish he'd chosen to embrace free software. I'm very sorry that he's gone and we've lost the opportunity to have that conversation. My sympathies are with his family at this time." There's no need to pretend that Stallman liked Jobs, but his post is contemptible.

http://www.readwriteweb.com/enterprise/2011/10/why-fsf-found...


It was posted on his personal "politics" mini-blog, which consists of basically nothing but 2-3-line annoyed and not very nuanced statements on various topics. People who read it expect what they get there, and most people don't read it. Here's an example the quality of political cartoons you can also expect...: http://stallman.org/images/cartoon-6.jpg

As can be seen from the Update to that linked article, I think a big part of the problem is that these Web 2.0 "journalists" don't read, so in a game of telephone it's been turned into "FSF head Richard Stallman issues press release saying Jobs sux". If we're going to do that, you could manufacture about 300 scandals from his blog; "FSF head Richard Stallman equates U.S. President to Saddam Hussein!", etc.

Maybe it's still contemptible as it stands, but I think people are either missing or deliberately ignoring the context when evaluating it. I take his "politics" ticker as closer to an IRC chat than a place for carefully thought out statements (that's what his Essays are for). I like that in geek culture we don't have this weird demand for people to be 24/7 ensconced in a professional PR-oriented persona, like a CEO or politician, but allow people like RMS, ESR, and Theo de Raadt to have crazy personal opinions. (Heck, Jobs had some pretty offensive and harmful opinions about science and alternative medicine, and we allowed that.)

Honestly I'm more offended by this level of shameless profiteering with Steve-Jobs-death linkbait. Huffington Post, for example, shat out 188 separate Steve-Jobs-death posts within 24 hours: http://exploreto.tumblr.com/post/11114571981/huffingtonpost-...


Stallman has made himself a public figure, and is a spokesman. Even on a "personal" blog, he has a responsibility to be tactful and not to make angry, hurtful, and unnecessary comments.


I guess that's an idea I fundamentally disagree with, and even find a bit offensive. As I said above:

I like that in geek culture we don't have this weird demand for people to be 24/7 ensconced in a professional PR-oriented persona, like a CEO or politician...

If people are pulling things out of a personal blog and broadcasting it across the web in sensational terms, I blame the yellow journalists more than him. I might still disagree with him, but I don't blame him out of context of his blog, as some kind of always-on spokesperson.

Plus, it's not like he hasn't telegraphed, for almost 30 years, that he doesn't plan to be that kind of PR-oriented spokesperson, so one can hardly be shocked about it in 2011.


I don't think he has any responsibility to be tactful at all. The question is this: by whose standards should someone's words be judged as "angry, hurtful, and unnecessary"? Yours? His? Mine? Many years ago, it was very clear whose standards were relevant -- those who held political power. In societies that are blessed with freedom of speech, this is no longer the case. The responsibility is entirely with the reader to be mature enough to hear a dissenting opinion.


It is trying to appease this exact demand that has saddled the modern world with spineless, do-nothing politicians, who have a teflon public face which doesn't reflect how they actually govern.


most of "I also must deliver you the news that Steve is dead, because you obviously didn't hear it in ALL THE NEWS OF THE WORLD" posts are also poorly wrought or could be tldr'd to 'I like my ipod', and those which aren't (mainstream blogs) look like a template written a long time ago. most of them are just linkbaits and karmawhoring.

> he could still have done so respectfully

and the rest of bloggers respectfully chace self-promotion and ad revenue by reposting stuff that has already been said. well, RMS gave them the occasion to continue this nonsense, but at least his view is original.


Given the hordes of people who seem keen to use Stallman's words against him I think he should perhaps have put a bit more thought into them, but I'm extremely glad he didn't make the kind of bland, wishy washy PR statement you suggest.


I hate to say it but that post is impossible. RMS couldnt say it. Most kids on slashdot couldn't either. For better or worse computing atracts the worst asocial and negative people around. This is why every company goes apeshit when hiring new IT. Its difficult to tell in an interview if you're dealing with some kind of aspie misanthrope. I've worked with guys like this, and they are like RMS. Dogmatic zealots with zero people or persuasion skill. If Linus went with BSD instead of the GPL, RMS would have been long forgotten by now. His entire career was impressing a Finnish teenager to use his license.


And, ofcourse, this is exactly what stops most people from reaching the truth on any matter. What you just described is being a politician, it's putting form over substance. The truth has little room for niceties for it often stings. This is why most people cannot be programmers or scientists or engineers - they are too focused on the social dances and miss out on all of the glory of the rest of the universe.


If it wasn't obvious from the past few days, HN is that bubble. If you don't like the circle jerking about Steve Jobs, come back in a week or two.


the first day I saw this http://i.imgur.com/xlNGD.png, today I took the risk to click HN and was very surprised the frontpage doesn't look like that. when you've heard the news, it's not news anymore.


Mike Daisey in the NY Times was far, far more eloquent and actually in some ways, even more bitingly critical of Jobs than Stallman:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/06/opinion/jobs-looked-to-the...

But he was also basically respectful.


EDIT: Already it's own post now: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3084961

Wow! Easily the best Steve Jobs article I've read this week!

For me, this paragraph captures it all:

I spoke with a man whose right hand was permanently curled into a claw from being smashed in a metal press at Foxconn, where he worked assembling Apple laptops and iPads. I showed him my iPad, and he gasped because he’d never seen one turned on. He stroked the screen and marveled at the icons sliding back and forth, the Apple attention to detail in every pixel. He told my translator, “It’s a kind of magic.”


Stallman is not some random blogger.


This is a common pattern: (i) someone famous dies, (ii) someone else says something bad about that celebrity, (iii) everyone else is scandalized. Thou shalt not bash the dead.

Now, I don't think Stallman's lines were gratuitously offensive. He was merely clear and concise. He spent no word on niceness, but he spent no word on rudeness either. And by the way, he is factually correct: Jobs was "the pioneer of the computer as a jail made cool, designed [among other things] to sever fools from their freedom" (or, if not the pioneer, at least the most effective apologist).

Now should he have just shut up? Probably not. Every one now is praising Jobs, and that may trigger even more sales for the iPhone and the iPad. Praise Jobs, and soon you will praise Apple's most locked down products. At least a word of caution is needed.

Now I do understand that Stallman knows next to nothing about how not to trigger bad feelings. I do understand that he should work on that. But please, don't be offended by something that most probably wasn't intended to be offensive.


Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.

They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo.

You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them.

About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward.

And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world - are the ones who do!


Note that this does not begin, "Here's the the assholes, the heartless, the tactless, the people who think they are above the rest of humankind, who always know better than everyone else, who must teach us how to think."

RMS has done some admirable things, but he's in dire need of some mental help. Seriously.


What Stallman said is just, analytically speaking:

1) I don't like when people die.

2) But this happened to Steve Jobs, unfortunately.

3) However from my point of view he was doing so much damage to the world of software that this is a good thing. Not the fact he died but the fact that we no longer have his influence.

Note: I don't agree. But I don't think it should be a problem to say the above.

It is like if you are the leader of a movement against the practice of killing whales, and there is one guy that kills 100,000 whales every year. If he dies you can legitimately say: "I'm sorry he died, but this is a good thing for whales".

He used the wrong words, the wrong time, and so forth, but the concept is nothing of extraordinary from his point of view. It is important to have the freedom of saying what we want.


Nobody wants to take this freedom away, but it hurts the cause he is supposed to advance, and that's what the posting is saying.

I can't see how mentioning human life and software licensing in the same sentence is ever a good idea if there is a chance that interested non-nerds are reading up on your ideals.


Wait, isn't there a whole stack of organisations that support FLOSS or the same sort of values as openness that the FSF support other than the FSF already?

Off the top of my head: Apache Software Foundation, OSI, GNOME Foundation, Linux Foundation, Mozilla Foundation, Python Software Foundation, Open Knowledge Foundation, Software Freedom Law Center, Software in the Public Interest, Wikimedia Foundation.

If you feel like you want to throw money, power or sexual favours to the open source community, there are plenty of ways to do it that don't involve RMS or the FSF. Or you could just find some free/open source script or app or library you use and like and chuck the creator $20 and a nice email saying "I really like your code, go buy yourself a pizza and a beer on me".


I fully understand this Larry, and think FSF would have been doing much better if there was someone else at its cockpit.

RMS is a fanatic about free software, like ultra religious people are to their religion.

For instance, for me, being free, means, at first and above all, being free to choose. Being able to install proprietary nVidia driver which does not crash my linux box every half a day, and have this driver built and available for me in my linux distro repository.

Years ago, RMS was a guest of honor in IBM Tel Aviv. These were the days, Linux was something left-field, obscure, that no one wanted to know or hear about it. There were hundreds of developers in the hall who came to hear about the "Gnu/Linux thing" from the Freedom Guru.

All of a sudden, in the middle of his lecture, out of any imaginable context, RMS took of his left shoe, and then the sack, and start rubbing his toes with his fingers while preaching about free software.

Yes, imagine that, a man is playing with his barefoot on a stage, would you remember anything he said? Would you listen to anything he has to say? Or would your brain being busy understanding and categorizing the extraordinary show you are in?

(Those were not the days of youtube and smartphone, I bet if that would have been happening these days, this was the most viewed video on youtube amongst hackers.)

It is sad, but successful open source project does not seemed to get along with RMS at all, see Ubuntu/Canonical as a good example.


I agree with this comment by "tom robinson" in the blog post:

To those saying you agree with what RMS wrote: that’s fine, but irrelevant. As a spokesman for FSF he shouldn’t be pandering to his already devout followers, he should be trying to convince others that the ideals of the FSF are worth pursuing, and he’s been doing an absolutely TERRIBLE job of that lately.

Silly campaigns of immature puns, lashing out at people who don’t say “GNU/Linux”, insulting a recently deceased man who much of the world admires, and making otherwise inappropriate remarks on a regular basis is an excellent way to alienate the people you’re trying to win over.

How have these tactics been working out for FSF? I don’t have stats, but anecdotally most new open source projects I come across have rejected the GPL licenses for BSD, MIT, Apache, etc.

Now imagine what FSF could accomplish if they had a spokesman with the skills of Steve Jobs


I'm sorry, but - what a nutcase. Silently accepts Stallman's years of nasty comments, cynical attitudes, world-wide conspiracy theories and downright condescension all through. Then Stallman says something unfriendly about god^H^H^H Jobs, and he resigns. Oh, come on.


I think RMS's statement is completely misinterpreted. Don't forget the first part of the sentence: "I'm not glad he's dead", which literally means RMS is not glad that Jobs died!

"I'm glad he's gone" is only a complaint towards Jobs' influence on personal computing. You may disagree with RMS (I certainly do), and it is certainly an inappropriate comment to make at this time, but this is nothing to make a drama of RMS' comment... Geez people!


All you really need to do is consider what Steve Jobs would have said about RMS if he were still here when RMS is no longer. At worst, he'd say nothing, at best, he'd say something that would have touched you and made you think deeply about what the two men had in common despite their deep differences.


I upvoted this, but meant to downvote it.


I upvoted you to encourage you to tell us why you downvoted it.


I downvoted it because it's incredibly presumptive. OP posits that "at worst, [Jobs] would have said nothing..." apparently on nothing but his assumption that Steve Jobs would never do a controversial thing, or a thing that the OP thought was tasteless.

Unless OP is a close friend of Steve Jobs and knew him well on a personal level, this is completely baseless speculation based on OP's general good feelings for Apple and the assumption that because Apple products make him feel good, Steve Jobs would never say something rude after a colleague died.

None of these people know Jobs and yet they assume he's some super great dude. Making such assumptions about the CEO's personal character based on your affinity for the products of that CEO's company is very juvenile, yet it's irritatingly common.


Its not hard to imagine that Jobs would react much the way most of his own rivals have reacted, the way normal decent human beings do, with class and respect. My post was less about guessing something about Steve Jobs's character and more about letting readers reflect upon just how abnormal and deranged RMS's comments are compared to any others.


As I said already, today's hacker culture is crippled. So called "hackers" here have lost their principles, forgotten the value of freedom, worship the wrong idols. How come an entrepreneur be a hero much more important than any of the researchers who pioneered the modern computer technology? How can the man who worked against the values and principles of the hacker ethic be an idol for so many hackers? There is no real hacker community here on HN, only a flock of spineless ship.


The title "Hacker News" is a lure designed to draw more people in. It would be best if this place went back to it's old and far more honest name "Startup News".


I see HN as a more mature version of http://www.reddit.com/r/technology, but with a heavy slant towards discussions about startups. In fact I frequently see the same articles referenced in both places.


After reading this, all I can say is that some people are too sensitive.


Or are opportunistic assholes who capitalize on any occasion.


I'm aware of Stallman's advocacy on free software issues, but (completely honest question), what else does the Free Software Foundation do ?

Software is at a point where its basically impossible to make anything useful without opensource software. Proprietary code is a minority in my stack both as a developer and as a user. Proprietary software is often good before opensource software is good, but consistently opensource implementations eventually outpace their proprietary counterparts. We saw this trend first with UNIX -> Linux. Today, just reading this webpage I'm using Chrome (Chromium + WebKit) which communicates via POSIX to the BSD network stack in my kernel (Darwin). The browser has been compiled with either GCC or LLVM. Hackernews is probably hosted on nginx / apache behind varnish or something, running on linux.

In short, I feel like the opensource movement has already won. Aside from RMS's crusade against software patents, how is the FSF still relevant?


> I feel like the opensource movement has already won.

We have a really long way to go, still.

The most popular computer platforms in the world are iOS and Android, and their users don't have the practical ability or, in some countries, the legal right to modify the software on them.

Many people communicate with their friends and colleagues through Facebook and Gmail — proprietary software applications that send copies of their most private data to advertising-funded companies in foreign countries. (Unless they live in the US.) Their right to continue communicating with their friends through these media is subject to arbitrary revocation at any moment.

Every day, I run into web sites that don't work unless I install Flash.

And my friend David tells me his startup has just received a patent lawsuit from Lodsys.

I understand that you're happy with this situation (except the patent part), but I'm not.

I want to live in a world where people's communication with their friends, family, and colleagues, and the public, is subject to approval from nobody except the communicating parties.

I want to live in a world where Apple can't surreptitiously log everywhere I go on my own phone, and where I'm not committing a crime if I reprogram the phone to stop anyone who is.

I want to live in a world where I can buy any random piece of hardware at the computer store and plug it in with happy anticipation that it will work with Linux, not dread that I'll have to search all over the web for half-assed reverse-engineered drivers.

I want to never read another fucking EULA, and to never again have to click through without reading it and wonder what rights I've just signed away.

We've come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.


They've won that battle, but not the war. Servers, databases, frameworks, languages, etc are often open source, but the majority of applications are not.


That's the problem, you're the problem if you refuse to accept that the best solution is going to be the freedom for people to sell commercial closed software as well as use open software. The idea that this is a war is exactly why RMS is wrong. The idea that we must win it and we must make everyone use the new hot open license is wrong.

The idea should be to encourage people to use open licenses, and to promote the good of open licenses, not declare war on everything and become some bitter asshole neckbeard when you see guys like Jobs doing well with a slightly different approach.

The FSF doesn't do much. They're little more than negative campaigners "Windows 7 Sins" etc. I'm not sure what its purpose or real world effect is other than to scare middle management from FOSS as much as possible. Stick vs Carrot. FSF is all stick and people have noticed.


> the best solution is going to be the freedom for people to sell commercial closed software as well as use open software.

The "freedom" you're describing involves government-granted monopolies enforced by pervasive surveillance, unannounced office raids to audit licenses, serial numbers to ensure trackability of all CD-R media, and prosecution of people for disabling malicious software running on their own computers. Certainly it's a kind of freedom; but can't we do better?

Stallman had a slightly different viewpoint about that "freedom":

The "freedom to choose a license" which denies others essential freedoms is not really a freedom. It is a form of power, of domination over others. Your description makes it sound like a matter of individual freedom by obscuring the presence of the others in the situation.

The GPL is designed to protect the essential freedoms for everyone, by denying anyone the power to take them away.

(He wrote that in 1999, but I imagine he still feels the same way.)


>That's the problem, you're the problem if you refuse to accept that the best solution is going to be the freedom for people to sell commercial closed software as well as use open software.

That's a debatable point since a sizable portion of the world's population does not think that capitalism is a good system. It's mind boggling that the task of convincing people to work together and share even exists, considering how social humans are.

>They're little more than negative campaigners "Windows 7 Sins" etc.

Here you have groups of people working towards the primary goal of taking money from you and the secondary goal of locking you into their brand so that you must continue to pay them and yet you vehemently defend them. These people are not your friends in a very active and direct way! Would we have solved other social issues such as equal rights without a stick or did they improve precisely because the powers that be begun to feel threatened? Are you aware of the fact that your local government is an organization which has a monopoly on sticks (which it is very ready to use against you)? Why do you not speak out about that if you are principally against sticks? Surely (I can't stop calling you that) those sticks hit a little closer to home? Incidentally, the very companies you are defending use their sticks the most.

Besides, since when did it become so politically incorrect to point out unethical behavior?


Win 2K8, Oracle, MS-SQL, DB2, .NET, WebLogic, WebSphere, C#, etc would all slightly disagree with you.


Be careful about conflating the Free Software Foundation with the Open Source Initiative. Free software is about distributing source code for moral reasons, while open source is about distributing source code for utilitarian reasons.

I think you're right; if open source hasn't won, it's doing pretty well. But as far as the FSF is concerned that's doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. The FSF isn't going to declare victory until they bring everybody around to their moral point of view.


  > In short, I feel like the opensource movement has already
  > won. Aside from RMS's crusade against software patents,
  > how is the FSF still relevant?
It's not. Many won't agree, but time will show (or have it already?). Stallman's ideas were born at the time when absolute majority of computer users were also IT guys — and in that context they do make sense. However nowadays computers are just mere tools/entertainment machines for the most of the users. The only concern they have is "does it work", not "can I modify the program". For some reason there are people who cannot accept this shift and get more and more out of touch with reality each day.


I think you're under-estimating RMS's extremism about 'freeness'.

RMS would say that you booted your machine with an evil closed EFI / BIOS; that there's a bunch of evil non-free drivers; that there's a bunch of evil non-free gui stuff, etc etc.

Chrome was not, to RMS, a valid solution. Note his approach to "browsing the www" - (http://lwn.net/Articles/262570/)

>To look at page I send mail to a demon which runs wget and mails the page back to me.

RMS would say that there is still plenty of work to do to work toward 'free' software. (Mobile phones is something he's keen to open up.)


rtm would never run HN on Linux :-)

If they haven't upgraded, FreeBSD 7.1 (not sure on the particulars of RELEASE version).

news.arc does not need Apache or NGiNX, but I'm not sure whether HN uses varnish cache.


> Aside from RMS's crusade against software patents, how is the FSF still relevant?

"Well, we just beat the tuberculosis into remission, so now all we have to deal with is this metastasising cancer."

Frankly, software patents have the potential to be a lot scarier than copyright ever could be. Anyone working to end them is doing good work.


Although Stallman didn't use a great deal of tact in his statement I agree with his concern overall. Software should serve the user in accordance with the ideal of individual empowerment with technology and not become a sort of jail controlled by a central authority that you have to struggle to break out of. The problem of impersonal computing is by no means isolated to Apple though.


Although Stallman didn't use a great deal of tact in his statement I agree with his concern overall.

That seems oddly similar to my tl;dr from the article: "Although I agree with his concern overall, Stallman didn't use a great deal of tact in his statement".



This is the first I've heard of this incident, and I find the comments on that post shocking. That so many people can take RMS's side on that issue is appalling.


Registration is open for Startup School 2019. Classes start July 22nd.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: