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RMS Weighs in on BitKeeper Debacle 1137

Posted by timothy
from the quite-a-backhand dept.
mshiltonj writes "You know its what we've all been waiting for: RMS weighs in on the BitKeeper debacle. An excerpt: "I want to thank Larry McVoy. He recently eliminated a major weakness of the free software community, by announcing the end of his campaign to entice free software projects to use and promote his non-free software. Soon, Linux development will no longer use this program, and no longer spread the message that non-free software is a good thing if it's convenient."
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RMS Weighs in on BitKeeper Debacle

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 25, 2005 @04:26PM (#12340232)
    Do you prefer vi or Emacs?
  • by advocate_one (662832) on Monday April 25, 2005 @04:26PM (#12340245)
    very little of the old "I told you so"... very mature and honest.

    Now let's get back to actually working on this replacement...

  • Yeah (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jbb999 (758019) on Monday April 25, 2005 @04:27PM (#12340247)
    Yeah imagine paying for something that's convenient and useful. How evil can you get :)
    • Re:Yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday April 25, 2005 @04:58PM (#12340652) Homepage Journal
      Actually I have no problem with Free Software as in beer or speech. I also have no problem with paying for software if the price is worth the value I get from the software. Bitkeeper did not IMHO have any free version ever. To use the "no cost in money" version you had to sign away your right to work on anything might compete with it! For me that price was always too high. I consider that to be the least free license of all. Imagine a programming tool that limits what type programs you may work on! I more often than not find RMS and his fanclub to be too extreme but frankly I find the Bitkeeper license to extreme in the other direction.
  • by garcia (6573) * on Monday April 25, 2005 @04:28PM (#12340258) Homepage
    McVoy's great triumph was the adoption of this program for Linux development. No free software project is more visible than Linux. It is the kernel of the GNU/Linux operating system, an essential component, and users often mistake it for the entire system. As McVoy surely planned, the use of his program in Linux development was powerful publicity for it.

    Yeah, RMS is all about Free/Free but I see it as an important step for all software. Free stuff that isn't "totally free" is *not* wrong.

    I would like to make my personal feelings known that non-totally free stuff that is later taken away because someone didn't learn "no give backs" is lame.

    Yeah, RMS is right about a lot of stuff and really does have vision but I just have to disagree w/him here. Not everything has to be free.
    • by robertjw (728654) on Monday April 25, 2005 @04:33PM (#12340334) Homepage
      Yeah, RMS is right about a lot of stuff and really does have vision but I just have to disagree w/him here. Not everything has to be free.

      Me too, and that's OK. I have tremendous respect for RMS, he's contributed more to the computing community as a whole than anyone else on the planet. Sure, he's a zealot, but at least he's consistent. You never get a mixed message out of RMS.
    • Is this a troll, or should I care what your opinion is? Every time there is an RMS article there is a stream of +5 Insightful posts basically saying "I am in the Open Source crowd, not the Free Software crowd."

      WE GET IT. There are two sides, it's NOT insightful.
    • by ak_hepcat (468765) <leif@NospAM.denali.net> on Monday April 25, 2005 @04:39PM (#12340422) Homepage Journal
      Alrighty then. Consider this...

      You no longer have the rights to use the software in your posession at this moment in the manner to which you wish to use it. You can only use the software in the manner to which the developers intended, and to which the licenses allow you. Oh, and the marketing folks have reserved the right to change your license at any time, which means that your right to use the software __in your posession__ can be revoked at any time. Without even notifying you.

      ___THIS___ is what RMS is fighting against.

      Does it really take so much brain power to discern this? Do you really think that non-libre software has __your__ interests in mind when they force an 'upgrade' ?? Say, how about a new Nikon camera? Oh, wait, you can't use the white balance information unless you purchase more software from Nikon, and only from Nikon. You can't use your shiny new Photoshop application. This is not freedom. This is restriction.

      RMS fights against restrictions.
      He does not fight against the dollar.
      • by dark_requiem (806308) on Monday April 25, 2005 @05:02PM (#12340701)
        This is not freedom. This is restriction.

        How wrong you are. You are free to choose whether or not to use a product based on all factors, such as the license, format restrictions, etc. You are always free to not buy it, and either do without, or purchase a competing product that satisfies your requirements.

        Likewise, companies are free to make business and marketing decisions that may harm their businesses.

        The important thing to remember here is that freedom ends where government intervention begins. So long as the market is regulated by consumer decisions and PRIVATE efforts at change, freedom reigns and the sovereign consumer will get what they demand. If consumers are truly bothered by the restrictions of (to use your example) the Nikon white balance encryption, they won't buy Nikon, and Nikon's business will suffer. If not, Nikon may continue this practice. I do support the removal of this pointless encryption, but I show that support by buying other brands.
        • by Tony (765) on Monday April 25, 2005 @05:14PM (#12340846) Journal
          So long as the market is regulated by consumer decisions and PRIVATE efforts at change, freedom reigns and the sovereign consumer will get what they demand.

          This ideology breaks down in today's corporate condition. As we saw back in the 90's, Microsoft was in a position to regulate the market itself. Its regulation was much more targeted and efficient than the government could have *ever* been.

          Plus, I'm not a consumer. I am a citizen, and I'm damned tired of being thought of as a consumer.
        • by Paradox (13555) on Monday April 25, 2005 @05:50PM (#12341315) Homepage Journal
          How wrong you are. You are free to choose whether or not to use a product based on all factors, such as the license, format restrictions, etc. You are always free to not buy it, and either do without, or purchase a competing product that satisfies your requirements.


          Strictly speaking, that is correct. However, there is a twofold problem with this approach:

          Firstly, many consumers simply aren't educated in the issues we're talking about. They do not know, they do not care to know. They'd probably be irritated if you told them. The only time they're going to care about it is when it butts right up against what they want to do.

          Which leads me to problem number two. The difficulty of solving the issue is directly proportional to the amount of software out there that's legally encumbered. If we didn't make any free software, and everything was proprietary, then we'd set so many bad precedents and make so much bad and legally encumbered software that we'd be chained to the practice.

          It's a simple mental excercise to see how this can come about. Please give it a shot.

          Let me give you an example, from real life. If you're a US Citizen, the following story is an example of how closed software is going to cost you money by way of tax dollars.

          I work for Lockheed, and thus I am a contrator for the Air Force. I work the RSA project, who's goal is to standardize software and hardware between all the different air force bases that launch things into space.

          Several years ago, the decision was made to base a significant portion of the software on Windows 2000. This decision seemed fine at the time, and so the Process that the Air Force requires began to move. Specs were written, schedules drafted, software created, schedules slipped.

          Now, years later, we learn that Win2k is being discontinued. This is very bad. Millions and millions of dollars have been spent developing systems around Win2k, and all that work is going to be invalidated because we can no longer get up-to-date security for our operating systems (satellite launch facilities have strict IT security policies, for obvious reasons).

          If LMCO and the Air Force had chosen to use Linux as a platform, this problem couldn't occur. At any point in time, we can freeze linux, archive the source, and maintain it until the Earth's orbit around the Sun decays. Moreover, it is certain that at least a few other companies and individuals will have a similar interest in freezing at that version, so they can share efforts (or at least hire someone who can do the maint).

          We have no such exit strategy for Win2k, and quite frankly the Air Force has no idea what to do. It's either going to force MS to keep supporting them (probably with huge heaping gobs of tax money) or force MS to turn over the code so that the Air Force can do it itself.

          There you go. A real life example of what the FSF is trying to prevent.
    • I think the important lesson to take away from this is that in Open Source the tools you use to maintain your project should (as a general rule of thumb) be as free or freer than your project.

      It was pretty clear early on, as the rules for use were constantly being redefined, that there was going to be some form of conflict down the road. It's fortunate that the positive aspects of BitKeeper have outweighed the negative of having now to seek a replacement, but I sure wouldn't have bet it would turn out th

  • Do it again, do it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Renegade Lisp (315687) * on Monday April 25, 2005 @04:28PM (#12340260)
    Yes, he is saying the same things as always. The same things he's been saying twenty years ago. And still, the rest of the world keeps behaving in exactly such ways that his words apply perfectly, again and again. Makes you wonder who's being more stubborn, exactly.
    • Insanity (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Shimmer (3036)
      Einstein said [quotationspage.com]: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
    • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Monday April 25, 2005 @05:12PM (#12340819) Homepage Journal
      Boy, if that isn't the truth. Considering how many people are quick to paint RMS as an extremist, I think it's ironic that he's far more pragmatic than 99.99% of them. Willingly locking yourself into someone else's game when there are other alternatives around (even if somewhat less technically featureful) is not a reasonable or even practical thing to do, but the Open Source advocates seem willing to experience the lesson time and again without actually learning the principle.

      Controller for an MRI scanner? Proprietary is OK. Microcode for an anti-lock braking system? Proprietary is OK. Your company's business logic, web services, email, word processing, version control? Free alternatives exist - proprietary is not OK. That's the pragmatic answer, which just happens to correspond with the ideological one.

      If you don't mind living at the whims of a third party who rarely has your best interests in mind, then maybe gratis isn't such an irrational choice. If you want to own your own data, though, then libre trumps gratis in every single case I've ever come across.

  • Why (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Turn-X Alphonse (789240) on Monday April 25, 2005 @04:30PM (#12340293) Journal
    Why do all people in software seem to fall into one of two sides?

    "Open source is best, paying for software is dumb and evil!"

    "Open source is for idiots, you'll live with your mothers till they die then you're on the street. Make money or get out"

    Whatever happened to "every hole has a peice to fit it, some peices require different tasks to get them. Some require money, others require some code". It's no wonder MS is calling people communists, it's exactly the same pathetic ideals which no one wishs to adapt to the world.
    • Re:Why (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mooingyak (720677) on Monday April 25, 2005 @04:39PM (#12340415)
      Whatever happened to "every hole has a peice to fit it, some peices require different tasks to get them. Some require money, others require some code"

      There's tons of people with that attitude, it's just that they're the ones who don't feel a need to scream about it.
    • Re:Why (Score:3, Insightful)

      by daeley (126313)
      It's not really "all people in software" -- it's only the loudest voices you hear.

      The rest are too busy doing actual work to give a crap about stupid "my hammer is bigger than your swiss army knife" games.
  • Quote (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 25, 2005 @04:32PM (#12340324)
    Quote that describes RMS best:

    "RMS is a madman, but fortunatly he's our madman".
  • by barfy (256323) on Monday April 25, 2005 @04:33PM (#12340327)
    RMS is a lot funnier if you put "Bitch!" at the end of his quote...
  • by d_jedi (773213) on Monday April 25, 2005 @04:35PM (#12340361)
    Richard Stallman is a nut who would kill the entire software industry if he had his way.

    If all software was "free" according to Stallman's definition, there would be no incentive for students to enter into the software industry (we're already seeing this in the US). That will lead to a lack of skilled programmers, and eventual stagnation and death of the entire software industry (including "free" software).
    • by Anita Coney (648748) on Monday April 25, 2005 @04:48PM (#12340530) Homepage
      Where have you been?! The lack of incentive for US students to enter the software industry is due entirely to the lack of jobs available once they graduate. Those jobs have NOT been replaced by the use of open source software. They have been replaced when software development is outsourced to India, or elsewhere.

      And secondly, why would the software industry suddenly die with open source? We would still need software. Thus software would still need to be written. IBM and HP pay people to write open source software. Now I'm not saying that all software SHOULD be open sourced, I agree that's ludicrous. I'm only saying that it could not kill the software industry.
      • I'm saying that if all software was "free" by Stallman's definition, there would be no incentive for companies like IBM to develop.

        The bottom line is that IBM and HP are businesses, and if there is not a business case for developing open source software, they will not do so.

        The question becomes:
        "Why would IBM develop free software?"

        They can't really sell it - all someone would have to do is purchase a copy (if IBM doesn't give it away for free, as in beer), rebrand it (removing all IBM trademarks, copyri
  • by starseeker (141897) on Monday April 25, 2005 @04:41PM (#12340450) Homepage
    My guess would be their message will be exactly the same (or Linus's will be, given he controls the project). Bitkeeper nonwithstanding, their argument will still be use the best tool for the job. They might be more inclined to think about the potential costs of non-Free software, but their overall philosophy is unlikely to make a significant change.

    It's sad, but most people nowadays (including me, for that matter) will take the practical way over the idealistic way. RMS gets pissed (if I read this right) because people by and large steadfastly refuse to be idealists. I would be curious to ask him what his take would be on someone who thinks it is idealistic to promote capitalism and the economy (and hence a better standard of living, at least in their minds) by refusing to give anything away free. My guess is he would say they are dead wrong, tragically wrong, or even criminally wrong, but I'll bet he would find that person less exasperating on some level because they were acting on principle rather than expedience.

    I don't say I agree with RMS - in fact in general I tend to be rather pragmatic about this sort of thing. But my pragmatic thinking basically boil down to:

    1) We live in a highly litigious society
    2) I have a finite amount of money
    3) Commercial software is expensive for my income
    4) Most of my software use is not the kind of use where the software Must Work. A few bugs or missing features aren't the end of the world.
    5) Should I happen to create something with software I want to sell commercially (let's say a book) I don't want to have to worry about Microsoft coming after me for improper licensing and demanding a chunk of royalties or something equally fun.
    6) Any kind of legal action, even that with little to no merit, is enough to cause major headaches.
    7) Hence, in balance, there is no reason for me to either pay $$$ for commercial software or pirate it when there are workable, free alternatives.

    This has some exceptions - I use Acrobat Reader for example, which is only free as in beer but allows me to fill out tax forms. But in general I prefer tools with licenses that cost no money, demand no information, don't expire, and at least in theory allow me and/or anyone to fix them when they break. That's what meets my needs.

    Maybe, in some sense, it could be argued that ideals ARE practical, because the long term consequences of going without them don't tend to be good.
  • GPL, no surprises... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by buhatkj (712163) on Monday April 25, 2005 @04:43PM (#12340468) Homepage
    frankly little in his response should be any surprise to anyone who has any idea who he is. this is what he's about, DUH. Given the way that the GPL was constructed, to pretty specifically ensure the purity and freedom of anything using it he has made his views abundantly clear.
    I think he makes a good point, ultimately, ANY price will exclude SOMEBODY....no matter how cheap. For GNU/Linux, that just can't work. If it's in the Kernel or the basic GNU tools, its GOT to be FREE, OPEN, and unencumbered by patents or IP. The same goes for anything you need to get AT the source, like BK. Besides, what's wrong with using something like CVS or subversion anyway??
  • by Ars-Fartsica (166957) on Monday April 25, 2005 @04:43PM (#12340474)
    If we are going to develop free software and continue to be dedicated to its freeness as part of its advantage, we are (or should be) obligated to keep the toolchain for constructing this software free as well.

    git will get better and one day it will be competitive with the best-of-breed software, and the benefits of this will flow to everyone - from rabif free software gurus to people who just can't afford commercialware.

  • by kcbrown (7426) <slashdot@sysexperts.com> on Monday April 25, 2005 @04:44PM (#12340486)
    ... on the purpose and role of the software in question, IMO.

    If Bitkeeper had been a game, very few here would have complained about the fact that it's not truly free, and one wouldn't expect Linus to be terribly annoyed in the face of Tridge's actions.

    But Bitkeeper was used in the role of a mission-critical piece of software. This is not really any different in importance than the kernel you run, or the database engine that stores your critical information, or the office suite you use, or perhaps even the web browser you use.

    What makes those pieces of software so important are the consequences to you if they should fail to function properly, or if their use should suddenly be taken from you. They're mission-critical, or (perhaps) infrastructural in nature -- their importance is much higher to their users than that of much of the software that's out there.

    And so, the importance of them being truly free is also much higher.

    I sometimes wonder what the consequences to the Linux kernel today would be if Linus had taken a few weeks off to write the revision control system he wants and needs, rather than to deploy Bitkeeper. He'd have to stop accepting patches to the Linux kernel for that period of time, of course, but the submitters of the patches in question could certainly sit on them until he was ready, no?

    In any case, I agree with RMS that there's a lesson here: if you use proprietary software for mission-critical work, you're essentially giving control over that mission to someone else. Think about that carefully before you choose.

  • by Mysticalfruit (533341) on Monday April 25, 2005 @04:45PM (#12340497) Journal
    He doesn't mince his words and he clearly gets his point across.

    Personally, I agree with him. It makes NO sense to lock open source software up into propietary closed source control systems.
  • by l2718 (514756) on Monday April 25, 2005 @04:48PM (#12340534)
    Quoth RMS:
    Fortunately, not everyone in Linux development considered a non-free program acceptable, and there was continuing pressure for a free alternative. Finally Andrew Tridgell developed an interoperating free program, so Linux developers would no longer need to use a non-free program.

    In other words, BitMover Inc. spent money and did research to determine what features were needed. Now Andrew Tridgell will simply implement thoses features.

    Now, equivalent free software is better than non-free software (you get the source code, and many more rights), but we have to accept that kind of incident reduces the motivation of software firms to write software in the GNU niche of the market (unless they can figure a way to make money which does not involve selling the software see SuSE or Red Hat). If I discovered that people running GNU/Linux needed some kind of software, and tried to write it and make money by selling the software itself, RMS (or someone else) would instantly sponsor a "free software alternative". Thus I'd have two options: make the software free from the start (donating the programming effort with no gain) or not write it at all.

    In the GNU world, both alternatives are good. The ecology of this market drifts towards all-free software, the holy grail of the FSF. For myself, since this kind of ecology does not always guarantee the software I want being available, I'd love to buy proprietary software when the alternative is no software at all.

    • >Now Andrew Tridgell will simply implement thoses features.

      Wrong, wrong, and more wrong. You don't understand what you quoted. Tridge didn't write a replacement for BitKeeper. He wrote a tool that allows you interoperate with BitKeeper - to get the source code out of BK without using BK.

  • by brett_sinclair (673309) on Monday April 25, 2005 @04:51PM (#12340570)
    Ok, RMS (*ahum*) consistency is impressing. But he's not quite on the money here.

    I'm pretty sure that the BitKeeper adventure has been, overall, good for kernel development. Linus and a lot of the others liked it, and felt productive using it.

    More importantly, the switch to something else seems to go quite swiftly. git and cogito [kernel.org] are already good enough to manage the kernel (if a little rough around the edges yet).

    In other words, the price for dumping BitKeeper was pretty low. And so was the risk taken by using it.

    And that's exactly the point of free software: nobody can take it away from you. That keeps the risk in using it low.

    The risk and cost of using non-free software might be ok if you can live without it. But use free software for important stuff.

  • by suitepotato (863945) on Monday April 25, 2005 @05:02PM (#12340700)
    So let me get this straight. If I work hard, charge for the fruits of my labors, I'm the bad guy. Well that just puts every FOSS fan right in the same camp as my less savory former employers. "Why should I pay for what you're doing?"

    "Why should I do it?"

    "Because I pay you to."

    "So your question was again?"

    Except in the case of FOSS, the reason I should do it is because the users simply insist I should. WTF have they done for me lately? Stroked my ego? Read the docs I custom tailored to their intelligence level? Nope. "Code should be free!"

    Fine, you invent it then. I won't write anything. I'll simply schlep others' code around, fixing your machines instead of improving on them.

    No? Well then, pay me what I'm worth.

    What I want to know is where did we suddenly decide that shareware should go the way of the dodo, and we instead of being upstanding and honorable decided to go with stingy grubbing, however open and honest the gimme gimme mentality is?

    If you like to put out work for free, give it some protection, but otherwise let anyone use it for nothing, that's your right. I would do it myself in some situations. But Free != Good. Sometimes Free == Tyranny of the Mob.
  • by redelm (54142) on Monday April 25, 2005 @05:09PM (#12340782) Homepage
    That's basically what RMS said, and it's true. He can afford to be a bit magnanamous. But the point remains. If you're dependant on a non-free tool, your future is in jeopardy. More generally, do not trust data to proprietary systems (formats) that you will need later.

  • by dillon_rinker (17944) on Monday April 25, 2005 @05:10PM (#12340788) Homepage
    ...he withdrew permission for gratis use by free software projects

    I don't recall reading this before, but let's assume that McVoy DID deny access to his software to people to whom he had once granted access.

    THIS is the reason why non-free software, in its current form, is a scary thing. Most licenses can be modified at any time, without notice, by the licensor. Bill Gates could, in theory, tell the whole world tomorrow "You can no longer use Windows."

    Stallman promotes four freedoms; of those, the freedom to run programs as you wish for any purpose is what most consumers are interested in. Consumers could EASILY be persuaded to pursue this freedom through the political process, since this is the one that, if abused, would affect them the most. We have here a classic case of abuse of this freedom: McVoy takes away access to his software that he had once granted.

    I would have preferred to see RMS saying "See? SEE? THIS is why I emphasize freedom!I Instead of emphasizing this evidence, he berates those too foolish to believe his dogma. I place myself firmly in the camp of those who believe his dogma, but only because I have seen and believe the evidence that his dogma is correct. Burying that evidence, as he has done, does no one any good.
  • by panurge (573432) on Monday April 25, 2005 @05:11PM (#12340802)
    Is its pricing model. I just checked again on the site, and they still do not tell you upfront what it will cost.

    This for me is an important point. I may be an eccentric, I am certainly a slightly lapsed Quaker, but for me one of the most important things in an ethical business is price transparency.
    Before any libertarian gets started, this is not an anti-business attitude. The object of stock markets, for instance, is to provide price transparency as well as liquidity. This is one of the things that makes markets trustworthy: things take place in the light of day, not by private agreement.

    I do not have a problem with charging for software and support: I do believe that it should be standard business practice for software companies to have a clean and transparent pricing model so that it is possible both to compare products by TCO, and to know that by using XYZ software you are not paying through the nose while XYZ is doing a cheap deal with your competitor.

    My beef with MS, for instance, is that I cannot buy Windows alone for the same price as buying it bundled with a PC, plus the belief that the price of the various Microsoft offerings is related to negotiating ability. It is not a level playing field, and this is probably worse than being a monopoly. A monopoly that screws everybody equally at least encourages everybody to look for a way round it, rather than seeking to produce power alignments that keep it in place.
    By following this "the price is what you negotiate" approach. Bitkeeper cannot avoid the suspicion that people who advocate its use might be in a visible industry position and be getting a special deal.
    To anyone who says that this is excessive idealism, I would suggest that I do not have a problem with price variation or special offers provided they are freely and openly advertised. I am not in favor of limiting the ability of companies to respond to market conditions. I am opposed to secret deals.

    Anybody who questions this might compare the laser printer and copier markets. Historically printers have been engineer-driven and tend to sell to a price. Copiers have been salesman-driven and the vendors have tried to hide the real costs in complex leasing and contract details. It isn't surprising that, as buyers become more aware, power starts to shift to the printer manufacturers. Nobody likes copier vendors.
    Scott Adams (who is an economist as well as the creator of Dilbert) has summed it up well by using the term "confusopolies" to describe the vendors of mobile phone contracts etc. who seek to conceal the true costs.

    So, in summary: Bitkeeper's business practices as regards the cost of their products causes me not to want to buy them.

  • how about a poll (Score:3, Interesting)

    by oyenstikker (536040) <(slashdot) (at) (sbyrne.org)> on Monday April 25, 2005 @05:12PM (#12340806) Homepage Journal
    I create free software to:
    ( ) Stick it to the man.
    ( ) Promote my ideologies.
    ( ) Solve a problem.
    ( ) Enjoy myself.
    ( ) Enjoy CowboyNeal.

    I suspect 3 and 4 are the top choices. RMS seems to think 2.
  • Since people keep saying the same things, I'll keep responding with the same too:

    It's a bit silly to say 'I told you so" - especially since I didn't actually say it. I thought the arguments made by Linus had some logic behind it too (the technical-merit-before-anything-else approach). Often I thought both sides (Stallman and Linus) had some valuable viewpoint on it, and it was difficult to say who actually was right on the matter.

    It seems now, after all, it was R.Stallman all along. Yes, Linus has a good point in chosing for technical superior alternatives...BUT, in the end, as is clearly shown now, you can't just devide the political/ideological/proprietary issue from the mere technical one. When push comes to shove, an alternative that isn't really free, isn't really an alternative. You are always dependend on the goodwill of whomever owns the product- even when buying it, I may add.

    So, it would seem the viewpoint of Linus, in this instance, is the weaker one, because now he doesn't have a 'tecnological superior' product anymore, and what is he going to do? Go for another proprietary product, because it's technologically better? And have the same thing happen to him again? I don't think so. I think he learned his lesson, and he will go for the really free alternatives that R.Stallman suggested, which, albeit not as good, at least allow you to continue with it as you see fit.

    Stallman can be a nag sometimes because of his gnu/linux diatribe, but in this instance, he was right.

  • RMS (Score:5, Funny)

    by rice_burners_suck (243660) on Monday April 25, 2005 @05:54PM (#12341361)
    Our RMS which art in free software, hallowed be thy name. Thy free software come. Thy will be done in free software as it is in free software. Give us this day our daily free software. And forgive us our use of non-free software, as we forgive them that create non-free software against us. And lead us not into temptation to use non-free software. But deliver us from non-free software. Amen.
  • by lskutt (848531) on Monday April 25, 2005 @06:05PM (#12341481)
    I like extremists. Not in the direct sense, but in a lot of other ways.

    Firstly, they force me evaluate my own beliefs and principles. Why is democracy good? Why is Free Software worth bothering with? What could possibly be wrong with drinking alcohol?

    Secondly, most movements in history was seen as radical or just plain whacky. Don't think you are allowed to sit at the front of the bus, woman. Oh no, the sun is clearly rotating around the earth, Mr. Astronomer. Without them, we would still be living in caves and killing our food with spears. No, not even spears, because that guy or gal probably got ridiculed a lot at first. We would be throwing rocks.

    Third, the limits of our society are shaped by the extremes on each side of it -- the nuttier the sidelines, the more stable it is in the middle.

    Also, some of these dudes are really entertaining, and it is always completely unintentionally...

The meta-Turing test counts a thing as intelligent if it seeks to devise and apply Turing tests to objects of its own creation. -- Lew Mammel, Jr.

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