Sure, some of the statements in the rider might seem odd, demanding or even irrelevant, but it's all there black and white. It would save a ton of time coordinating with speakers beforehand making sure everything is in accordance with their (and our) expectations, and also save time in putting out fires during/after events when we find out that things are not set in accordance with their expectations.
I've never seen RMS speak at an event (although I've been to events where he has attended), but from reading this I now know what to expect if I ever wanted to him to speak at an event. I would request that other notable speakers develop a similar rider, especially if you've had unpleasant surprises at past events. Let everyone know what they're getting into when they invite you.
edit: I accidentally a couple of words
Saving time is a probably one of the main motivations for this document. From the rider:
"I have no vacations. (Don't feel sorry for me; idleness is not something I wish for.) I have to spend 6 to 8 hours every day doing my usual work, which is responding to email about the GNU Project and the Free Software Movement. Work comes in every day for me, and if I skip it one day, I have to catch up another day"
Put it another way - if I had invited RMS and he sent that rider, I'd probably say "no thanks, we'll find someone else" but at least it would be at an early enough point that there would be time to find someone else.
Some of these things might seem strange to people who are younger than 50 years old, and aren't flown around the world to give hundreds of talks.
I think that this demonstrates the value of a clear and verbose contract.
About the only thing that I laughed at (in joy) was the thing about parrots...
A supply of tea with milk and sugar would be nice. If it is tea I really like, I like it without milk and sugar. With milk and sugar, any kind of tea is fine. I always bring tea bags with me, so if we use my tea bags, I will certainly like that tea without milk or sugar.
Really, I think he's just screwing with us. Douglas Adams would be proud.
You don't even need to buy him tea; he explicitly says he always brings his own with him.
This is fine, as long as I know precisely what kind of tea he likes. But that's not specified, so I just gotta guess what he might like. And then buy some milk and sugar, just in case he likes my fancy tea just enough to drink it, but not enough to skip the milk and sugar.
Really I think he's just writing his opinions on tea off the top of his head.
Worst case scenario is that he doesn't use them, in which case you're out what, two dollars? That is peanuts compared to what some riders cost you by specifying elaborate A/V and lighting setups, specific vendors and contractors (i.e. friends of the speaker) you have to deal with, luxury transportation and lodging, et al.
As to the "what kind of tea" issue, he helpfully solves the problem for you -- he'll bring his own, which he is guaranteed to like. So there's no scenario where your failure to choose the right tea will result in him being tealess. Strictly speaking the only thing you're on the hook to provide is hot water, which is free and easy to scrounge up at short notice.
It's really a remarkably stress-free document, as riders go.
Now we're left to guess, which means we will stock several kinds of tea, in the hopes of one being to his liking.
He's basically saying, "if you provide tea provide a full tea service or I likely won't like it." If you don't want to provide that, don't.
If that's too complicated he repeatedly says "email me and ask". "Hey RMS, what tea would you like us to buy" would do it. As would giving him $0.75 for the tea bags he brought, if you feel the need.
It's so low maintenance.
I love to imagine that this actually happened.
He's fine with coach class, and will sleep on a couch. Better to have more info than too little.
Did you read the same list I did? He requests to stay in somebody's home but specifies a list of foods he doesn't like and demands he be consulted on any meals he's served. Some of his demands relate to his cause, and a few to his health, but overall I'd say he comes across as overly particular and demanding. I guess if he's heavily in demand he can get away with it as there will always be someone willing to accommodate him, but that someone won't be me.
I would imagine it's an evolution of compiling best-case scenarios and trying to limit the worst.
You have to take into account that Dr. Stallman travels a lot and has to be a guest considerably more than most other people. Usually the people reading this rider want to make him feel at home and cater to his whims.
I would like to say that I'm surprised but honestly I'm not. Sure RMS has some odd behaviors but pretty much everyone who has dedicated a tremendous amount of energy to a cause as he has come with a cavalcade of interesting behaviors. Everything I've read about RMS as a person has revealed that he is generally a well thought out and decent person.. with some polarizing fundamental beliefs.
If a guest in your house is uncomfortable/unable to eat what you're having, and has given no prior notice, then it can be quite a problem to find out right when mealtime is approaching.
This is a sensible way of avoiding unnecessary conflict.
I think I'm generally a good host, because I read people well. But armed with a document like this, even someone who reads people terribly could be a good host to rms with minimal effort. It doesn't look very hard once you know what he's hoping for; some of his points (like saying he sometimes makes suggestions that may cause inconvenience, and please let him know... like his request that hosts not offer to help him with everything) are basically "I know how to be a good guest if you let me."
I've been in those situations (carefully avoiding praising things for fear that your hosts will find some way of giving them to you...), and it's really quite frustrating.
If I was a constant guest (and constantly faced with the same frustrations), I'd start compiling a document like this. Over time -- and I'm pretty sure this has been underway for a long time (notice the reference to changing the tape when recording him?) -- I suspect it would grow as this one has.
Most of it tells me "this is what I need to stay sane and productive", and although very detailed and somewhat peculiar, none of his demands are particularly hard to meet.
Likewise, verbosity is not an indicator of a good contract. To the contrary.
It's not supposed to be a watertight contract between two parties with opposing agendas who are trying to outmaneuver each other at a soulless semantics game. Instead, the rider is supposed to enable people who already have friendly intentions to understand (and interpolate!) what is important to their guest.
Most of the rider is crystal clear. It just gets hard to follow in areas such as the following:
If I am quite sleepy, I would like two cans or small bottles of non-diet Pepsi. (I dislike the taste of coke, and of all diet soda; also, there is an international boycott of the Coca Cola company for killing union organizers in Colombia and Guatemala; see killercoke.org.) However, if I am not very sleepy, I won't want Pepsi, because it is better if I don't drink so much sugar.
In more concise (and readable) form: (1) milk and sugar is required, although he may not use it, and (2) Pepsi, not Coke.
Myself, I have a hard time being fiercely moralistic about anything, because Moralizers often do more harm than good. Necessarily, they purport to know the truth better than others – a conceit that I can't get behind.
Besides, I like the idea of buying/not buying a company's products based on whether you support them or not.
I think the video is still up on the university's website somewhere. If you're interested in it, I could try to find it and post it.
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbsifBoI_0E
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APb1tNxvGMY
Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukQURxJ2QYc
If you're looking for a quick laugh, listen to part 2 where he starts off going on a rant about how the university is using Windows Media Player to stream the convocation and forces users to use Windows. He tells the audience to "throw Windows out of the computer, or the computer out the Window." He did get a lot of cheers for that remark though.
In other words. Who ever arranged this graduation obviously did a horrible job, and is the person you should blame.
If your university hired someone who only spoke Mongolian, would you be upset at the speaker, or the idiot who hired him?
RMS lacks basic social graces. He preaches to the choir but somehow still manages to piss them off with pedantic shit like GNU/Linux. Why doesn't he just copyright it so he can plaster the GNU logo all over everything and be done with it.
If their spitting was common knowledge, as RMS's eccentricities are, then yes. Of course I would be upset primary with whoever booked them...
Maybe, just maybe, you aren't in the choir. I'm only saying this because you dismiss things many people find important.
I have a suspicion that whoever booked him simply didn't read it, or didn't understand it.
I mean, come on now -- other people make lots of noise about his eccentricities, and he himself basically wears a signboard explaining them, and then people are still surprised?
I wouldn't say rms "isn't a nice person" in this context -- he's just very focused on his cause, and he doesn't take detours or "tone it down" for the sake of avoiding temporary inconvenience to others. It's rare for people to stick to their own principles so studiously (unfortunately, perhaps?), so he even goes out of his way to warn them.
It's not exactly stepping on puppies.
If you book a speaker without researching them, you have only yourself to blame when things go wrong.
Yeah. It seems like ordering squid at a restaurant: if you order squid or someone orders it for you, you shouldn't complain that you don't like seafood. And you can't really blame the squid.
That's like expecting Sylvester Stallone to do higher mathematics or Mother Theresa to do an arms deal for you.
Some people are what they are and their environment/audience will have to accept them as they are.
The problem lies squarely with the person that hired him, the abstract of the speeches listed should have adequately explained what they were going to get. That's exactly what that rider exists for in the first place, to avoid misunderstandings like that.
I highly doubt if RMS could even tailor his speech to the occasion, he must know it by heart by now except for the Q&A part.
What I found interesting on reading the 'rider' is that he still refers to the GNU operating system as though it is in daily use. I've yet to see a HURD based system do anything useful in production but half the world wide web seems to run on Linux these days. Of course linux is 'merely a kernel'.
But if you write free software the you also give away the right to name that software, after all, a fork is under no obligation to be named after the parent. So RMS holding on to insisting to call Linux GNU/Linux looks to be against the self-imposed freedoms.
Considering that glib, libc, gcc, emacs, the vast majority of the Unix utilities, bash, grub, autoconf, make, readline, gzip, tar, screen, wget, and Gnome are all GNU projects, I would say that GNU is most definitely in daily use. The Linux kernel isn't much use without the software on top of it, and it's nothing at all without the compiler that turns it into machine code.
 See https://www.gnu.org/software/software.html#allgnupkgs for the full list.
Linux is still useful without KDE, but the functionality provided by GNU is critical and would require a large effort to replace.
This isn't really true. You could just grab your userspace from a BSD, or Plan9Port. Clang and LLVM do well enough to replace GCC on most important architectures.
25 years later. Very few works are relevant for that long.
You could also form stacks, like KDE/GNU/Linux, or go all the way and just draw a directed graph of the major software dependencies. This isn't a serious proposal, but I would be kind of pleased if someone actually did this.
However since GNU software is the foundation on which most of the system is built you can argue that it has a much greater importance.
"Measuring software productivity by lines of code is like measuring progress on an airplane by how much it weighs"
Now compare that to how many people have none of the GNU software on their systems.
It's really difficult to determine the relative importance of one software project at this level over another they reliant on each other. The Linux kernel needs GNU as much as GNU needs the kernel (at the moment anyway). You can run the OS without KDE (hence not calling it KDE/Linux).
I can see Stallman's point as he set out to create an operating system called GNU, created almost all of the parts required which were then used by someone else to create a Kernel which was then packaged up with a different name.
Personally I think you can call GNU/Linux whatever you want as the licence its released under has nothing in there saying you need to give mention to GNU in the name. If you package it up you can call it Fred for all I care and I will refer to it as Fred.
Or without the its own license, the GNU GPL.
You didn't know the real Mother Theresa, did you.
That, and he does tend to be brusk.
The Univ, specifically whoever booked Stallman (in obvious ignorance), is who ruined their moment. Don't invite a Lion Tamer to fix your sink.
For example, under "Hospitality":
"In some places, my hosts act as if my every wish were their command. By catering to my every whim, in effect they make me a tyrant over them, which is not a role I like. I start to worry that I might subject them to great burdens without even realizing. I start being afraid to express my appreciation of anything, because they would get it and give it to me at any cost. If it is night, and the stars are
beautiful, I hesitate to say so, lest my hosts feel obligated to try to get one for me."
Whatever an American might think, this is THE major problem - not terrorism - but being 'hospitalitied' to death!
... and their electrical gear (amps and so on), and possibly the sheer weight of everything they'd be bringing on to the stage, and the simple fact that, at the time that rider was drawn up, Van Halen was playing venues that had never had a serious rock band of their kind before and were likely to be unprepared to the point of putting the fans at risk of being killed, which has happened a few times (that Whitesnake concert is the most recent, I believe).
I'd wager somebody once gave him a parrot for breakfast.
"Good morning, sir. Your host ordered you a breakfast of eggs over easy and a parrot we've named Lenny, The Open Source Linux Parrot sponsored by Coke®."
But he has a short graf on why you shouldn't give him Coke. I had no idea about the "Killer Coke" story. Clearly, he reads up on this stuff; he just wants to share how inhumane the parrot pet trade is, I'd guess.
But still! It's charming in this context.
I start being afraid to express my appreciation of anything, because they would get it and give it to me at any cost. If it is night, and the stars are beautiful, I hesitate to say so, lest my hosts feel obligated to try to get one for me.
Not exactly. He came in and started acting like he really didn't wanted to be there and didn't care at all about us, the place and the organizers. I'm usually not the kind to judge someone else dressing but Stallman' look was terrible. Not terrible like in "old geek" or whatever; terrible like I had pity of him. Seems like he didn't washed for days.. anyhow, let's continue for the talk.
Before even starting, he started yelling "OPEN THE LIGHT", " I SAID OPEN THE GODAMN LIGHT". That was crazy as hell. Basically, what he wanted to say is "Please, open the light because I don't want my audience to fall asleep". But jesus, there's a way to say things and a way to say things.
And, as much as I wanted to like him and the talk, it was extremely boring and even false at some points.
And, with all that, it just makes me really sad. It makes me sad because this is such a genius and a legendary hacker but it seems that he stopped trying.
It's like if you see someone trying to open a door by pulling really hard when it's clearly written push. And, you see that person getting frustrated and over frustrated about the fact that the door doesn't open.
For me, Richard seems like that. There are ways to make things change. But you have to adapt. As someone already said "It's easy to go outside and whine, but true revolutioners dress up and change things from inside the system." (or something like that).
Stallman could give so much if he wanted just a little bit, but he decided to keep pulling that door.
Look, we get it, it's supposed to be called GNU os and not Linux. But there's a way to explain that to total newbies that don't know the history of unixes. It's not by being frustrated in front of an audience that people will understand and change their minds.
Or when he talks about freedom, it seems so theoretical. Yeah right, Ubisoft should publish their code open sources and preserve the right on their assets. But comon, there are lots of money and families involved. Even thought it would be nice to have everything open source, in practice, you have to make trad-of. And, in my opinion, it's better to be practical and try to make the world a little better, rather than being an extremist and changing nothing.
There's a reason why it's called Linux and not GNU; and yelling after everyone won't change that.
he has to control how everyone else uses it
If by usage you mean the copy-left behavior of GPL, I think it's only fair for a software author to demand whatever the fuck he wants from the software he wrote. And it's also in everybody's right to have his own opinion on how things should be done.
Linux people don't even get the freedom to name
their own operating system.
You really should look for the definition of "freedom" in a dictionary ;) Here, I'll do that for you ...
the state of being free or at liberty rather than
in confinement or under physical restraint
Like, a fee of $50, for example? I would say that your position is diammetrically opposed to Stallman's stated goal. But it's not your fault, the GPL is also in opposition to Stallman's stated goals. He went from having the high ideal that software should always be open, to trying to force other people to think the same thing, thereby actually limiting how people use software.
We will forever wonder now whether we could have had all of the benefits of OSS without copyleft. But I for one would have much more respect for Stallman if he had instead supported BSD-style open licenses, and tried to convince others that open source was the way to go, rather than trying to control people's behaviour through the threat of legal actions.
Like, a fee of $50, for example?
Having the opinion that all software should be free, that doesn't mean I want to force people into doing it, as that is indeed in opposition with the idea of freedom.
through the threat of legal actions
That's nice, but seeing as you seem to be defending the GPL, how I'm I supposed to collect my $50, if the next dev down the road packages up my code as an application, and makes it available free, with source code and what not. In the real world, I can no longer get paid for my software in such a circumstance. Or how about you produce a module, I see the module, recognise that I could make it substantially better, but with a non-legligeable investment of time. I would like to be compensated for making the software better, or I'm simply not going to bother. I, as a developer, do not have the right to develop a module of software that uses a GPLed module of software, and then sell it as closed source (to stop someone else from packaging up my work and distributing it for free).
The GPL is rather good at giving freedom to end users, provided that the end-user is a competent programmer. The GPL is lousy at giving freedom to programmers that want to add value to GPLed software, which in the long term ends up costing non-technical end-users access to better software.
What do you think the GPL is? It's a threat to use legal remedies if you don't play by the rules of the GPL. Without that implicit threat, we could just ignore the GPL as a rather boring piece of irrelevant text.
seeing as you seem to be defending the GPL,
how I'm I supposed to collect my $50
This opinion is not however opposed to my other opinion, that all software should be free. Because all software should be free by choice, not by law.
Also notice how I explicitly mark these as being opinions, that's because I leave room for considering errors in my judgment.
I am also not holly - I work on proprietary software all day long right now. I also think products in general ARE OK for now to be proprietary, but the platforms themselves ARE natural monopolies, going against what capitalism is about and are the scourge of this industry.
Of course this is not the opinion of Stallman which thinks absolutely all software should be free right now -- I can't blame the man since he's been warning us about all the dangers of closed software since the 70'ties and he must feel tired repeating the same thing over and over again, while being right and ridiculed at the same time.
Yes, if you've released your software under the GPL, collecting money by granting access to it in exchange for money is not a feasible business model. There are other ways, though. Think along the lines of providing support. You could also sign a contract in advance, exchanging a GPL application for a mountain of cold hard cash.
What threats? What do you think the GPL is? It's a threat to use legal remedies if you don't play by the rules of the GPL. Without that implicit threat, we could just ignore the GPL as a rather boring piece of irrelevant text.
This is true of any contract or license. I've not heard the FSF or Stallman argue for the abolishment of contract law.
That's great, now all you need to do is find programmers willing to accept n dollars instead of n×100 dollars.
In other words: correlation, causation, no.
This is incorrect. I quote:
"Free software" is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of "free" as in "free speech," not as in "free beer."
With regards to "charging money for GPLed software", I agree with you completely: if you write GPL software, it is almost impossible to make money by selling that software on the open market. The first customer you ensnare is given access to the source code, as well as the right to redistribute your work under the same conditions that you do, blowing up your entire business model.
I hope I'm not being too pedantic, but let me quote your original post and explain why I don't feel the above detracts from my point:
I would say that your position is diammetrically opposed to Stallman's stated goal.
The goals of the FSF (and thus Stallman, if only by his function as president) have nothing to do with money. The fact that there are ways of making money in the sofware world that are compatible with the GPL license is evidence of this. I mentioned some in my other post. This may not be as profitable as straight up selling (or renting out) the right to use your software, but that is merely a side-effect, not the ultimate goal.
I suppose you say so because it doesn't give the user total freedom over his copy of the software? It's not that simple: if the user had total freedom, he would also have the freedom to actively restrict the freedom of users who get the software from him.
One's freedom is supposed to stop at other's, so this is not right. Therefore, you need to take away the freedom to restrict other's freedom. The GPL does just that, and no more.
I have seen projects canned because we needed to use GPLed software to do an implementation in a reasonable timeframe, and management didn't want to give a leg up to our competitors by publishing the code. If the code in question had have been under a BSD license, the project would have gone ahead.
That is entirely the point. One of the stated aims of the GPL is to ensure that everyone is capable of producing software. The GPL attempts to ensure that your software won't ever be redistributed in a form that takes away the user's capability to build on your code.
Why? If you said that, for 99% of the population of this planet, literacy is forever out of reach, you'd be rightly laughed out of the room. The increasing importance and preeminence of software in every system we interact with means that programming is a new form of literacy and numeracy.
Not only can the 99% code, but, increasingly, they must. They must, in order to assert control over the software that increasingly controls them.
There are two obvious ways to solve the problem: find a way to make developers make more software that is useful to end-users (basically the Apple route).
Or, find a solution so that end users themselves can modify their systems. That second route is currently close because of the ridiculous size of current systems. (The volume of a typical GNU/Linux distro is the size of a whole library, and Windows and MacOS are fare marginally better.) The obvious solution there is to reduce the size of our software. http://vpri.org/ is currently attempting to do an OS in 20,000 lines of code (a middle-sized book), and they are doing quite well.
Note that doing the "Let's Remove the Fat" route, if successful, will massively reduce the amount of necessary programming work. Plus, more of that work will be done by the end users themselves. That could have dire consequences if we don't prepare for it. (A similar example would be automatic Google cars driving truckers out of business –no pun intended.)
You clearly don't understand what the GPL means. Nothing in the GPL lets you demand whatever the fuck you want. It is the complete opposite. The GPL only requires me to redistribute source code for any changes I make to your software.
Anyone who truly believes in the freedom of software would not try to bully the name of another project.
I don't know if you know much about VB, but doing that would almost literally be a case of creating an app with a rich text control in the middle. It would be like changing a few keywords and calling Python your own language.
a case of creating an app with a rich text
control in the middle
To have a Word-like processor in the middle of your window, you have to have Office installed ... I don't think anyone can reasonably argue that you can create a competitor that way, where a "competitor" would be a piece of software that actually replaces Office, not just augments it.
As you can see, it's very easy to ignore his requests. That doesn't mean he should stop making them.
Also, he did change the system from the inside. This is why people deal with his quirks.
Sure he can get away with it, but that doesn't mean that he's not being a dick at times.
In terms of whose way is working: Stallman has created something that works for him but I wouldn't swap my life for his in a million years (and I'm sure he reciprocates that).
But I don't think he's such a success that his life can be held up as some unimprovable template.
Yeah, no, not really. Linus did, by precisely following that advice : compromise and be practical. Yes, he couldn't have done it without rms's previous work, but without Linux, Free Software would have been all but forgotten by now.
I'd also argue that one of the reasons why Linux is still at around 1% of the desktop market is similar : blindly following principles at the expense of convenience and practicality.
Both RMS and Linus changed the world; I'd argue they've both changed it considerably for the better.
Why does it have to be just one or the other?
Not that famous, and if his goal is advocacy, he's doing a pretty miserable job. We get it, he's bitter because Linus is something of a computer programmer rock star and he isn't. I sympathise with much of his argument, but the way he argues contradicts his message.
Actually, it is also hard to change the system from within. We humans run on corrupted hardware, and being in the system in the first place often change us in ways we don't initially approve of.
Now I think we do need people to change the system from within. But I also think we need other people who stay outside, if only to remind us of the ultimate goal.
This rider while not being supremely high maintenance is riddled with superfluous explanations and liberally sprinkled with his own politics. Just write a damn list and get it over with. Save your speeches for the events, not the rider.
People who have FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGED THE WORLD are in a position to critique the ways that the world works. A few decades ago, everyone agreed that "Open Source" (giving away code) just wasn't how the world worked. And RMS changed that. (Not alone, but he was a vital seed for that change.) So he's got every right to speak up on the subject.
Trusted computing? It is here, it is popular and because of Apple it is also considered cool. It doesn't matter that the device you paid for is not your property anymore, people love shiny. Also, trusted computing got rejected by the market when Microsoft tried it, but now Microsoft is back on the horse and this time they'll succeed, because hey, we'll do anything for the sake of our grandmas, including giving up liberties for our future children.
Building proprietary lock-in on top of open-source? Yep. Before 2001 when OS X got released, Linux was the future of computing in our eyes. Fast forward 11 years later, go to any software-related conference and you'll see 85% of all software developers with a MacBook in their lap. Basically OS X destroyed Linux's chances on dominating the future desktop.
Uncompetitive advantages by any means necessary, including patents (which is something new)? Yep ... Java may be GPL.v2, but Oracle can kick the living crap out of you by using their patents and trademarks on it. On the whole, Sun releasing OpenJDK was nothing more than a publicity stunt of a dying company, just like the JCP was, to give the illusion of an open standard.
The world doesn't work like that and his
fundamentalist attitude doesn't take people's
need to eat lunch into account.
Because in fact the world does work like that. People have always helped each other in return for favors or for the greater good. The emphasis on individuals and individual gains is rather new and our economy is the one that resists, but considering the depression we are in, our economic systems don't really do a good job apparently ;-)
You may not feel it now, even though it's 2011, but our lives and the lives of our children will depend greatly on software functioning for us. When certain software will stop functioning for individuals, make no mistake about it, that will be life-threating.
Also, software companies can yield great control over our lives and can do great damage already. Remember when Google was the underdog just 11 years ago? Look at them now ... with a push of a button they can delete you from the Internet.
Proprietary software pays the bills, but that doesn't mean it isn't a really big socio-political problem that needs to be fixed, sooner rather than later.
So yeah, keep buying iPhones, but when the shit hits the fan Stallman will be there to teach you again why it was a bad idea; or he'll be dead with nobody to take his place.
Yeah, because the constant feuds within the Linux community, the failure to settle on a common desktop platform, the crowd of "I-want-to-write-yet-another-irc-client" devs, and the utter lack of appreciation for end-user needs all have nothing to do with it.
What Stallman in particular and the Linux community in general fails to understand is that a broken or badly designed software for which you have the source is more of a prison to the user than a well-made, closed source one.
Before you flame me, I've been part of the Linux community from 1995 to 2008, and I dare say I was more than an annecdotic contributor. I still support the idea of free software, but community development simply doesn't scale.
Software needs resources to get created and lots of it. As a company or as an individual, you can't sink time and resources into software that isn't at least popular. You can try to invest in something, but sooner or later resources dry out, priorities change, etc, etc...
Desktop Linux seems to me that it was created by stitching obsolete software and quick hacks together with glue and spit. Even broken as it is, I still marvel at how functional it is for me. And even unpopular as it is, there are some normal people using it, which goes to show that it isn't totally broken or insane.
broken or badly designed software for which
you have the source is more of a prison to the user
than a well-made, closed source one.
community development simply doesn't scale
You can also point out to some desktop software that is free software, that is sponsored and yet community driven and that is usable. That's Firefox and it's the reason why we came out eventually from the dark-ages of IExplorer's domination.
Progress in software development is not linear. You quickly get the basics done, and then the devil in the details. Also, the Gnome vs. KDE feud didn't help one bit.
That said, OS X being exactly what Linux dreams to be (Unix with a beautiful and useable UI, scriptable apps, reusable components, and a modern development platform), I know I'm not the only one to whom it provided a haven after years of Linux-induced frustration.
> Desktop Linux seems to me that it was created by stitching obsolete software and quick hacks together with glue and spit. Even broken as it is, I still marvel at how functional it is for me. And even unpopular as it is, there are some normal people using it, which goes to show that it isn't totally broken or insane.
No disagreement here.
> I don't agree there - having the source is a huge advantage, even if you aren't capable of modifying it. Just as with cars, you don't necessarily have to go to the parent company and you don't have to fix it yourself. You can always choose a local shop for repairing and tunning.
In theory it's true, in practice it rarely is, since taking over a code base of any significant size is a very hard challenge. I've yet to encounter a situation like you describe, or even hear about one. When the software doesn't work, you replace it, source available or not.
> I wonder why are you saying that, when server-side Linux and related software is such a huge hit.
Because the audience being other tech geeks, it's a much simpler endeavor.
> You can also point out to some desktop software that is free software, that is sponsored and yet community driven and that is usable.
Sponsored free software is usually mostly developed by the company sponsoring it, the community comes a distant second. This is a scheme which works, though, as the company has the final say. I hope it will keep on growing.
Even if you're replacing the software, having the source allows you to ensure that your replacement is fully backwards compatible with the original, and, if it is not, enables you to implement a compatibility shim that fixes those issues.
You can't just blame the Linux community, though. I agree that the community could do a lot of things better (especially with regards to UI development). However, one big obstacle the Linux community has to work against is hardware support. Windows is the dominant OS - manufacturers essentially subsidize Microsoft by providing Windows drivers for their product. Apple, by choice, writes OSX to only work on a very limited subset of devices that have been approved by Apple. Linux has neither of those advantages.
In theory, the fact that Linux is open should make it easier for programmers to make their own drivers and release those drivers to the community at large. In practice, because of many of the concerns that you've cited, proprietary drivers still outclass Linux drivers for a number of components, including WiFi, ACPI power management, and graphics.
Same answer : True in theory, very rarely practical in reality. The only thing that really matters is the spec of the data format used by the program.
You can't just blame the Linux community, though.
I agree, it's not just that, but it's the main reason. 15 years since the start of KDE and there's still no sign of a unified, viable platform. If there was one, hardware support would follow.
I completely disagree with your assertion, but let's say for the moment that you're right -- Apple has thrown down a legal, legitimate gauntlet. So what the heck are you going to do about it? Complain? Say "that's not fair"?
Everyone seems to like bitching about these sorts of things in the open source commmunity, yet no one seems to like doing anything about it.
Maybe it doesn't need too. See http://vpri.org/ Their attempt at making a 20Kloc OS is quite good.
I think that depends on what you apply it to. Community development seems to work well enough for individual projects, but not in-between projects (see amount of duplication caused by LibreOffice/OpenOffice.org).
that's pretty close to saying that community development doesn't scale, isn't it ? :-)
When I say the world doesn't work like that I don't know how I could clarify. The previous sentences explain it I think. The world works like this: people pay money for goods and services. Some nice people help others and give things away free but we all need money to survive. If OS X or MS Office were GPL someone would derive a work, give it away free and we wouldn't have those companies to make nice things like our iPhones and whatnot. The free software movement has given us a ton of great things and have done their share of innovation but it's the big guys who are making money that are improving on those ideas and creating products that everyone can enjoy, not just us power users, hackers, and other technophiles.
In the end, the general tech using public just wants to surf the web, do some work, make a phone call and generally just have a product work. The restrictions put on proprietary tech (like the apple walled garden and the upcoming Windows 8 secure boot) are a small price to pay in their eyes to just be able to turn on their devices and get something done.
Let's be honest here and admit that the FSF and all it's made, while truly awesome, just isn't ready for the average user. We need the evil software companies not only to make products that are useful for everyone but to actually continue copyrighting and patenting their works because really these restrictions are what fuel innovation. I don't like the premise of the FSF. I'm on board with open source, though. I value both and in the end, while its kind of dumb when you step back and look at the big picture, both sides need each other.
How do you know they are superfluous? How do you know they weren't added over the years as they became needed after people did stuff?
If youre an RMS fan, that's cool but how can you honestly defend that thing. Make a list. Not everything on it needs an explanation. I wish I could put it another way but my whole argument boils down to this: "C'mon. Really? Just c'mon"
I wondered if this applied to all net usage or just email, turns out he never uses a web browser, ever. If he needs the contents of a web page, he emails a daemon which wgets the page and emails it back to him: http://lwn.net/Articles/262570/
Now it seems incredibly geeky but back then it wasn't anything remarkable at all.
Thankfully that only lasted a year before I got proper access.
And yes, I remember FTPmail, as well as similar gateways for Gopher, Veronica, Archie, WAIS... I feel old now.
He was polite enough to reply to me and say that it was ok.
Unfortunately I don't have any email from that time so I can't check or find exactly what he said
Richard is also right not to own a parrot himself because he has to travel a lot. When I have to occasionally travel, a lady who my parrot likes a lot takes care of him (expensive!) but he still gets some separation anxiety being away from me and my wife.
I can't imagine not owning a parrot, but I advise other people to not get them unless they have a lot of time for a pet. I literally spend over an hour a day playing with him, in addition to his hanging out on my shoulder while I work and write (My wife and I both work at home). It is great when he flies about 20 miles per hour to me, flairs up and thump!, lands on my shoulder. One issue, at least for my parrot, is that he always needs to be in the same room as either my wife or I if we are home. He seems really happy as long as he is with us.
If you can find a host for me that has a friendly parrot, I will be
very very glad. If you can find someone who has a friendly parrot I
can visit with, that will be nice too.
And I was thinking the same thing as you, until I got down to the second half of the rider.
Spoiler: it involves cats, parrots, hygiene, social awkwardness, and just about every other minute little detail. The sheer length of the piece might also be considered a turnoff.
Tip: never use the word breakfast near him.
I mean, that wasn't specifically mentioned as a no-no.
I've done it twice, and both parties ended up literally burning the sheets, and wouldn't discuss further what had happened.
I respect RMS for his work, but I wouldn't want to let him in my house.
"I do not eat breakfast. Please do not ask me any questions about what I will do breakfast. Please just do not bring it up."
In general, I would imagine he doesn't want to repeat the kind of incident that happened at linuxworld 99, where the he was given the torvalds award.
I never knew he pronounced the slash in GNU/Linux. Not very brandable IMO.
I am not familiar with the intricate details of his message but on the surface it seems to me to be at odds, at some level, with the idea of it being ok to have a parrot as a pet. Software needs to be free or humans have a right to have free access to software but it's okay to keep a bird in a captive environment. Birds are meant to fly. Even if parrots aren't kept in a cage they're still kept within some confines. For those of you who have ever seen first hand a bird who surfs on wind drafts, remaining stationary in the air in the process, either on the edge of a canyon or just in a field somewhere; or a bird swooping through the Grand Canyon gets a sense of the freedom I'm inferring these birds are being deprived of.
I'm perfectly willing to admit that I'm missing some piece of the puzzle but it seems hard to me to be able to reconcile these two ideas. Do you think he's ever thought about this?
Parrots should never be physically confined, either by cages or (god forbid!) chains. If they like you, they will hang around you on their own accord. After a while they seem to regard some humans as family. Mine would follow my mom around like a dog.
As far as I know, they do not surf wind drafts, but they do require exercise. Therefore, you should have an open space. Either that, or take it outdoors at a safe location (no roads!) for it to fly. But most importantly, let it climb some tress, they love it - even more if it has fruits or seeds. It was difficult convincing mine to get out of trees - we usually had to resort to bribing.
They can eat human food to some extent, mainly fruits and grain. I had trouble with parrot rations, because it was very picky and only ate what it wanted to (mostly the peanuts) and left the rest.
If you do get a parrot, get a couple. It makes them happier and safer (a cat might attack and seriously hurt one - but it is unlikely to kill). A cat attacking two parrots would die before doing much.
I don't really think that a pet parrot would be unhappy per se, provided the above holds. I can agree with RMS when he says that wild parrots would become unhappy.
Unfortunately, mine was a wild one. What's more, judging by the behavior, he seemed to be the leader of his group - the others seemed to follow and imitate him. However, it was also the most docile and appeared to be the happiest one. The others didn't seem to be so well. But we did treat him as well as we could.
The vet could not determine the cause of its death. I get the impression that, since it is an uncommon pet even here, he didn't have any previous experience. I think whatever it was, an experienced vet could have saved him. And I found years later that sunflower seeds have to be eaten in moderation, as they are very fatty.
I am having a hard time using the pronoun "it". His death haunts me to this day and it's been almost two decades now.
I never got any other pets.
I will point out that, though letting your parrot out of the cage for indoor exercise is important -- and they do indeed love to climb around, so get a big ol' play gym with branches and little chains and stuff -- nobody in the (North American) pet-parrot literature recommends letting them outside. Indeed, letting a hand-raised parrot escape to the outdoors is a classic way to get them killed. They have no idea what to do out there, they often get lost or confused or stressed and fail to come home, even from the top of a tree right next door. And, obviously, there are a lot of dangers to a naive bird in a tree: Hawks, cats, other mammals, perhaps even snakes...
Now, obviously there are lots of places where wild parrots live outside by the thousand. And in the right climate even former pet birds can successfully transition back to the wild. (Even in North America: See The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, a great movie.) And if you had an originally-wild bird it's even less surprising that it managed to negotiate trips to the trees and back. But it's kind of fortunate that yours kept coming back.
(I'd elaborate but it's more fun just to refer you to RMS, who is completely correct on this subject. I didn't read the rest of his note, though, so he may be less correct on other subjects. ;)
Having said that: Just as birds are "meant" to fly around all the time, so are humans "meant" to spend most of their lives without sitting, run long distances across equatorial plains in bare feet, live in bands of perhaps a dozen or two individuals, teach their children how to find, identify, and possibly eat hundreds of varieties of wild plant, periodically endure starvation, cope with a wide variety of exciting parasites inside and out, and occasionally get attacked by wild creatures. And though at one time or another various people have become fanatical about recreating one (presumed) aspect of our early environment or another -- ranging from barefoot running to the "paleo" diet -- humans do in fact live full and happy lives in modern cities, or in the Arctic Circle. We're quite adaptive.
Parrots are also quite adaptive. Like dogs, their main concern is that they live just as the flock does. In a home the flock, of course, is you and any other creatures that happen to be around. Parrots are pretty happy so long as they're around people and doing what the people are doing. My parrot can fly, but does not do so often; when he is out of his cage, he generally flies only to get closer to me, and then only when I refuse to heed his calls to come closer to him.
But I agree that all parrots would be even happier living in flocks in outdoor flight cages, of a size ranging from eight feet wide to, well, infinity. So I don't encourage anyone else to acquire a pet bird, although I obviously endorse taking good care of the pet birds that already exist, like mine.
The more common "policy" is for speakers to not list all these things in advance, but then threaten to pull out at the last minute when they find out they were paired with another keynote speaker they don't like, causing mad panics to smooth things over or find replacements.
If you look at the smoking gun's archive, you'll see the more seasoned touring bands have the same level of specificity.
When you are respected, in demand, etc you know how people will screw you and prevent it in writing.
If it were written by a spoiled, tantrum-prone twelve-year old. The whole thing reads as a set of instructions to the babysitter. My senses tell me that rms has an additional rider for his hosts as it applies to bath time as well.
c) creating value around information and how you disseminate it (RMS' case)
Riders are there to ensure every edge case is accounted for, especially with people who do things like this often. The apt comparison is how you keep your desk at work. What if you arrived tomorrow and someone had moved your keyboard around, changed your mouse and messed up the calibration of your monitor?
I do not eat breakfast. Please do not ask me any questions about
what I will do breakfast. Please just do not bring it up.
Love it. Anyone know why?
"Oh, are you sure? It's no trouble? It's good for you! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Why not just eat breakfast with us?" etc. etc.
But I'd better word my request as "please don't question my choices" instead of going into that much detail about them, which is precisely what I'd like to avoid in the first place.
However "I can speak in English, French, and Spanish." surprised me, and I see him in a different light, strangely.
The rider has changed significantly since I received it in late 2006 - http://diffchecker.com/851d9eU
Can anyone point me toward more unique copies of this rider? I would like to be able to keep track of the changes over time.
Perhaps Stallman's rider would be better received if he had provided it as a coloring book...
I also think he's a bit crazy, but then so am I! I feel he could make a bigger impact for his cause if he was more moderated and accessible in his views, but I respect his views none the less.
I think a detailed rider like this is generally a good thing, as it allows people to prepare more effectively. And from talking to the people who organised the event I attended, I think he's actually much more chilled out and reasonable than some of the things in the rider make him seem.
Bus and train tickets:
If you buy bus or train tickets for me, do not give my name! Big Brother has no right to know where I travel, or where you travel, or where anyone travels. If they arbitrarily demand a name, give a name that does not belong to any person you know of. If they will check my ID before I board the bus or train, then let's look for another way for me to travel. (In the US I never use long-distance trains because of their ID policy.)
Don't give them your name either: please pay for the ticket in cash.
It's fascinating to see how far into the experience he lays out his expectations and concerns. The "no Coke" mentioned elsewhere here is also an interesting requirement.
eggplant, usually (there are occasional exceptions)
liver (even in trace quantities)
stomach and intestine; other organ meats
egg yolk, if the taste is noticeable, except when boiled completely hard
many strong cheeses, especially those with green fungus
desserts that contain fruit or liqueur flavors
sour fruits, such as grapefruit and many oranges
coffee (though weak coffee flavor can be good in desserts)
the taste of alcohol (so I don't drink anything stronger than wine)
Is this a dialect or a typo. I would have thought he'd have said "... about what I will do FOR breakfast"
Also, he kind of comes across as a one-trick pony. He literally can only think about one single issue. I believe when he thinks about the entire universe, he just looks at free and proprietary software and he's done. There is nothing else. Yes, maybe that's what it takes. Maybe visionaries can't be nice. Maybe successful people have to be assholes. Then again, I hope not.
Ah, this never gets old.
Also, using Pepsi to keep awake.
Are all riders this god damn picky? It wouldn't surprise me. I imagine there is a great amount of antagonism between performers/speakers/etc and the venues.
The good ones are. When you travel and speak that much, you have figured out what you need in order to perform at your best. The more specific you can be to an event organizer (and the more you can get it out in advance, so they don't have to ask about it), the better shape you'll be in to perform. Some people are super easy-going and enjoy the adventure of travel, and can do with a one-page rider that just talks about sound - but they're few and far between. When you travel three weeks per month, that romance is gone. Your event is just one more engagement in one more city for the presenter, and consistency/familiarity is the highest virtue you can provide..
For all the weird stuff on there (like buying a parrot, or checking to make sure you can dial out from a hotel), it's probably listed because someone's done it before, and he didn't want it to happen again. If you're interested in more examples like this, check out the Smoking Gun's collection of celebrity riders - http://www.thesmokinggun.com/backstage.
Methinks in large part such "pickiness" is reasonable. These are people, not minor deities. They are being thrust into wildly different situations with complete strangers on a daily basis. They know what keeps them functioning, optimal, and sane - and nobody else is going to know, guess, or care unless it's spelled out in black-and-white. Their stress and schedules are maxed out enough as it is without having to deal with annoying mundane inanities (or worse) for a significant part of every day. Odds are their income/costs are high enough that just the time spent saying "I can't stand diet sodas, please get me the real thing" cost more than having a 2-liter of what he said he wanted on ice right there when he wanted it. And yes, there are odd little things that make all that stress tolerable, and the absence of which can drive one batty (every morning make sure there's 2 tbsp unflavored non-French-roast coffee beans, a small hand grinder, an Aeropress coffee maker, and 200F water or I'm not going to start the day well; a hard-won point of daily satisfaction for me, bewilderingly specific to others).
For certain performers, it's pretty much necessary. Someone else has mentioned Van Halen's "No brown M&M's" clause here, which they used as a quick way to see if every line in the rider has been followed. That's especially important when pyrotechnics or special stage instructions are in the rider, because if the venue is following small details like "no brown M&M's", they're much more likely to follow large safety requirements.
Question: Isn't writing the kernel most of the work in an operating system?
Answer: No, many components take a lot of work.
If I recall correctly, work on the GNU kernel began in the mid-80's (HURD in 1990?). I'll leave the correlation to the reader.
Sure, if enough folks wanted to, they good finish Hurd. But what's the point? They should go work on Linux.
And a lot of talks maybe in 'emerging nations' who assume that since he is American he is rich and FSF is something like IBM - so he can afford to fly half way round the world without being paid.
This is from a few years ago (ie recording on tape) so GNU/FSF/Linux may not have been as mainstream and organisers might have only advertised this as a computer department seminar rather than a large event. I once organised a university SciFi society talk for a UK "childrens" author - just as they became a global hit. A talk that might bring 20 people suddenly filled the largest auditorium.
The rest of the stuff is just an engineers approach to solving problems. Rather than tell a dozen people at 100 talks a year how I like my coffee - I write it down once and end of problem
You sir, are really subtle with your humor.