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GNU is Not Unix Privacy Ubuntu Linux

Ubuntu Community Manager: RMS's Post Seems a Bit Childish To Me 529

spacenet writes "As a response to RMS speaking out against Ubuntu about its privacy-violating integrated Amazon search results, which he considers to be spyware, Ubuntu Community Manager Jono Bacon has addressed RMS's statements. In his reply, Jono claims that Stallman's views on privacy do not align with Canonical's, that some of his statements are worded in order to 'generate fear, uncertainty, and doubt about Ubuntu' and that 'it just seems a bit childish to me.' The comments on the post itself are well worth a read."
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Ubuntu Community Manager: RMS's Post Seems a Bit Childish To Me

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  • Yeah.. and? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @05:58PM (#42236689) Homepage Journal

    I think we can agree that RMS can be childish. I was in the room when he broke into the room yelling at OSCON's Openoffice announcement. That's the way he is.

    Even though I don't and never will agree with him 100% (that's worship) I am happy he's there, especially when there are thousands of people on the other side in IT yelling through coporate bullhorns constantly. His big mouth is a counterweight. If the braindead microsoft zombies that control IT in corporate america have heard of anyone's views it is probably his. I am not sure if Ubuntu is trying to become yet another Open Source company that is canibalized and eaten from inside by today's vile corporate belief system, but at least RMS let us know it COULD happen...

  • Re:Yeah.. and? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @05:59PM (#42236705) Homepage Journal

    we saw it once. You can stop posting it.

  • by thetoadwarrior ( 1268702 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:04PM (#42236737) Homepage
    Richard is an academic. He doesn't live in the real world and it doesn't help that he is probably a little looney. That said, he can be right on a lot of points and even if he's wrong if he opens up a discussion then you can still say he's done his bit.
  • Busted (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tough Love ( 215404 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:07PM (#42236757)

    Busted by RMS for adding spyware to Linux, which is not in doubt. Cue the defiant spin. Bad strategy. Ubuntu guys should talk less about their Apple envy and more about doing the right thing.

  • by trollboy ( 46578 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:08PM (#42236763) Homepage

    When you say "just look at facebook" for a comparison of your privacy policies... you kinda prove RMS's point.

  • by egr ( 932620 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:08PM (#42236771) Journal
    Getting kinda old though
  • by Tough Love ( 215404 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:09PM (#42236781)

    A post such as above reinfrorces every opinion I hold of Microsoft, its tactics, and its camp followers.

  • Good grief... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:14PM (#42236815)

    Now I'm being managed.... What another good linux distro? Anyone?

    It is so trivial to disable (and remove) this "feature" that bitching about it is almost meaningless and indeed borderlines on childishness.

    In reality, it is not much different that an ad-supported application (such as Opera had at one time), except with those, you didn't have the freedom to permanently remove the ad without paying up - which is not the case here.

    And of course, no one is forcing anyone to download and install Ubuntu, unless of course you are interested in a fairly easy to install distro that works out of the box with most modern equipment - which is a great thing for the less technically savvy.

    In short, this is a non-issue and RMS is (as expected) over-reacting to something that doesn't fit into his perfect Socialist software society.

    RMS is a great man, but like many great men, sometimes he's a raving lunatic.

  • by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:16PM (#42236835)

    Ad-hominem. Your entire post is invalid.

  • Goodbye, Ubuntu. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:18PM (#42236855)

    "If you can't get the message get the man" - Mel Gibson from an interview

    I like how, in the previous RMS post to Slashdot, people were attacking him, even pointing out some disgusting behavior in the first few posts. It makes me wonder how many shill accounts exist just for this purpose, for Linux and FOSS articles a lot of the time sock puppets are the first to post and are usually OT and/or trolls.

    The message is what matters, and in this matter I support what RMS has said.

    Most people of high intelligence are also a bit eccentric somewhere in their lives. It's when they're very smart but poor we call them crazy.

    âoeThe worst thing you can call someone is crazy, itâ(TM)s dismissive.â
    - Dave Chappelle from inside the actors studio

    Calling RMS crazy is a little bit like calling Hawking disgusting because he isn't sexually attractive to most and lacks something because of the way he delivers his speeches.

    More and more people are driven today to admire the rich, pretty looking, but stupid vs. the eccentric ones with the wisdom and intelligence. It's like high school all over again.

    IMO, Ubuntu is headed in the wrong direction. While they had or have money from Shuttleworth and/or others, they should buy up some companies selling proprietary software and liberate it by making it FOSS, in areas where Linux is weak, one example of something lacking is a good video editor, and I've tried them all, they all feel like shit and some crash often. There are many other proprietary programs of different function(s) which they could benefit from by buying and liberating. But instead they've gone the way of Unity and now this so-called spyware issue.

    Thankfully Distrowatch points us to many other choices, Mint being one of them, for those of us who have had enough of these changes in Ubuntu while feeling the developers, or those who micro manage them are out of touch.

    So goodbye, Ubuntu. I'll miss you. Maybe we'll see another rich individual put their money behind a distro and launch some real advertising in the media to awaken the sleeping Windows users.


    U.N. report reveals secret law enforcement techniques

            "Point 201: Mentions a new covert communications technique using software defined high frequency radio receivers routed through the computer creating no logs, using no central server and extremely difficult for law enforcement to intercept." [] []

  • Exactly. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rob Simpson ( 533360 ) * on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:20PM (#42236879)
    Is RMS wrong? It doesn't sound like it. I don't care if he's childish.
  • Re:Interesting.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fredprado ( 2569351 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:24PM (#42236917)
    Try Mint. You will never go back to Ubuntu.
  • by c0l0 ( 826165 ) * on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:26PM (#42236939) Homepage

    It's not that I would expect anything else from someone who is a "community manager" (FOSS' modern-day equivalent to the appendix, in my opinion), but this "personal blog entry" is, of course, a steaming turd. I don't see RMS spreading FUD about Ubuntu, not at all. In fact, he makes it quite clear what they get, in his opinion at least, wrong, and why he sees it that way - and he leaves nothing about that "in doubt" or, in one way or anther, vague. Discrediting this kind of honest and up-front criticism as FUD, whilst he himself is weasling around the true motives (turn desktop users into dollar bills for Canonical's pockets) for the Amazon integration with all that hey-everybody-let's-disregard-that-and-feel-good sidetracking that's going on in that posting really makes me nauseous. "Better user experience", "creating desirable products", yaddah yaddah - yeah, fine and dandy, but trying to sell us this (in my opionion pretty crazy) add-on, that submits all the text I enter - be it to start a new program or open a document I stored - to a web service the users absolutely don't control, as an improvement for the good of the general public is not only ridiculous, but also demeaning to the intelligence of everyone who they expect to fall for the kind of "argument" Jono Bacon is trying to make on his blog. It's the FOSS-equivalent to the toolbar, or Bonzy Buddy "form filling" browser-add on from days of yore, that Windows users get shoved down their collective throats if they miss unchecking a box in popular "freeware" installation wizards these days, and everyone with half a brain can see right through that.

  • Re:Good grief... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rob the Bold ( 788862 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:28PM (#42236963)

    It is so trivial to disable (and remove) this "feature" that bitching about it is almost meaningless and indeed borderlines on childishness.

    Yes, for those of us aware of the issue and are a little more technically savvy . . . but . . .

    [Ubuntu is] a fairly easy to install distro that works out of the box with most modern equipment - which is a great thing for the less technically savvy.

    (Last emphasis in quote is mine.) A less technically savvy person could google "remove amazon search dash" and probably figure out how to disable it, but he'd first need to know about it.

  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:30PM (#42236979)

    He doesn't live in the real world and it doesn't help that he is probably a little looney.

    That's a bigger problem than most people want to admit. Very often, an open source project doesn't fail because it's technically inferior to other products, but because of ideological differences between developers. Take the *BSD community: It's dying right now because it split off into four major variants due to political in-fighting. The reason why Linux and Apache have succeeded isn't just technical superiority, but because those groups kept political infighting to a managable level. That's the biggest problem in the open source community right now -- it's leadership ability. Frankly, there isn't a whole lot of that with engineers. Engineers want to build things, not manage it, and their respect of others within a project is based solely on technical ability. So the only projects that really succeed are when by happy coincidence the lead developer also possesses leadership ability. And this is a rare combination! Not just in open source, but everywhere. The better you are at technical skills (as a rule) the worse you are with people skills.

    Richard could be one of those much-needed bridge people who can lead and also garner respect for his technical skills, but he's too damn stubborn and headstrong. His only real use in the community anymore is as a lighthouse -- a warning to others not to become too political, lest you become marginalized and gimp. If he'd just let up a little bit and recognize that getting 90% of what you want is still a win, maybe he could be useful. Right now though, the "All or nothing" approach isn't doing him any favors, just like almost everyone else -- whether it's business, politics, or hobby, very few people succeed with that attitude.

  • by alucardX ( 734977 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:31PM (#42236985)
    Bad hygiene is one thing, opinions and ideas are another. I think that everyone should leave this video out of discussions about real issues. All it does is detract from the topic under discussion. If you want to fixate on that video start a blog and talk about it all that you want.
  • by SplashMyBandit ( 1543257 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:33PM (#42237017)

    First they totally ignore user wishes by foisting Unity on previously happy Ubuntu users, with a "for your own good" attitude. Thank goodness there is Linux Mint is all I can say about the desktop nonsense.

    Now Ubuntu are integrating privacy-destroying searches. Then they have the temerity to criticize the guy who inspired the ecosystem they depend on (and profit from), when he points out that what is good for Canonical is not good for the privacy of their users.

    What a tragedy. Ubuntu's focus on ease of use was such a great leap forward for Linux usability. Now they've lost the plot and forgot about their constituency, instead trying to drive more and more revenue with things the user's don't actually want.

    It used to be, "In order for Microsoft to 'win', the customer must lose". You could extend that to "In order for Canonical to win, the customer must lose". You could then generalize that (as RMS does) to "In order for $COMPANY to win, the customer must lose". There are still some companies around that actually care about their employees and users (not just paying lip service to it), but that number is clearly decreasing. RMS is right to call them out for ignoring user desire for privacy (privacy should be the default, with effort to opt-in).

    Jono has what seems a reasonable post. He never addresses RMS' assertion not that searches go to Amazon, but that your files and folders that are also searched also have metadata submitted to Canonical (and then presumably, portions go to Amazon). Jono never dismisses this citing stuff about "personal preference" instead. It would be nice if Canonical came out with a statement saying that they don't transfer information from your searched files and folders to Amazon, because they haven't yet (at least not in my reading of Jono's post). Until Canonical prove otherwise it appear that RMS is completely right in this issue.

  • Re:Good grief... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:34PM (#42237025)

    In reality, it is not much different that an ad-supported application (such as Opera had at one time), except with those, you didn't have the freedom to permanently remove the ad without paying up - which is not the case here.

    No, this is spyware, because it is sending information about user activity to the net in settings where users might not expect it. The closest you get in Opera and the likes is search suggestions, which can send your half-typed URLs to Google, but at least then you pretty much expect the data to end up on the net.

    no one is forcing anyone to download and install Ubuntu

    Exactly. We are free to tell them to go fuck themselves, and we should. It's not like their users are getting anything in return for this. It's pretty clear that Ubuntu is just going to keep adding abuse upon their users whether it be for monetization or politics. I'd certainly never direct the "less technically savvy" to a distro that keeps fucking up the sound and the user interface.

    Switch to a distro that respects you.

  • Re:Good grief... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hazah ( 807503 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:37PM (#42237051)
    You should not have to disable anything. On the contrary, this "feature" should be deliberatly enabled by the user. No one is arguing over the triviality of how to disable it. You said it yourself, this is a distribution that works out of the box. It stands to reason that the majority of its users do not understand the issue nor its implications. Therefore it's plausible that they will not be able to recognize the real need to disable this "feature". This put's Ubuntu against the spirit of the entire community within which they've setup shop. No one here is really arguing that Ubuntu should not be free to operate as they see fit to make a profit, however, they are now stepping on the toes of the giants on which they are shouldered. A completely dickhead attitude that isn't going to lend them any credit for the spirit of freedom.
  • Re:Yeah.. and? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AlphaWolf_HK ( 692722 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:38PM (#42237057)

    Without corporate involvement, Linux wouldn't be anywhere near what it is today.

    OpenOffice and its derivatives (basically the de-facto office suites of linux) itself was born out of corporate interests.

    The GPL had the effect (unintended? I don't know as the philosophy of many developers involved in GPL projects seems to vary) of being that the software provides a service, and we don't (necessarily) profit from distributing the software itself, but rather profit from selling the services that it provides, or profit from selling services that provide for its users. Redistributing changes for others to use therefore does not harm your bottom line.

    Linux itself was written by Linus Torvalds, not RMS. And as far as I'm aware, other than GCC the majority of corporate distribution of linux to end users doesn't use GNUtils very much (e.g. android, tivo, soho routers, and many others.) Even if they did, they could always just take the BSD implementations which in nearly all cases are every bit as good.

    If RMS takes issue with that, he can go promote Hurd (aka Turd) to the world, which has little if any corporate involvement, and likewise is back in the stone age by comparison.

  • by blind biker ( 1066130 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:42PM (#42237081) Journal

    All the search results open an Amazon webpage with Canonical's Amazon Affiliate Code [], which adds a tracking cookie to your session and makes Canonical get back an undisclosed percentage of all your Amazon purchases, as long as that cookie stays there.

    In the Windows world, we call that "malware".

  • Wasn't it a child (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:44PM (#42237085)

    That pointed out that the emperor had no clothes?

  • by orasio ( 188021 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:45PM (#42237091) Homepage

    Well, that's your point of view.
    What I see is that the GPL is one of the most used software licenses in the world, and it represents exacly his idea.
    RMS has had great, awesome partial successes. His philosophy is shared by a lot of people, in practice, and his work has been key to us having real, viable, modern, free software platforms today. Without his work particularly and him been so "political", I don't think we could have gone this far.

  • Re:Yeah.. and? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:45PM (#42237095)

    but at least RMS let us know it COULD happen...

    He could have a little class though doing it. Like bursting in and yelling "TROLL! In the dungeon! ... Thought you'd want to know," and then collapsing on the floor. Busting in on someone else's announcement and unleashing a string of profanities and ranting isn't classy -- it's how drunk people act. Is that really who we want as the poster child for the open source movement? A guy who looks like he hasn't shaved or showered in ages and acts piss drunk in public?

  • by PhrostyMcByte ( 589271 ) <> on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:46PM (#42237105) Homepage

    Richard is an academic.

    RMS is a religion.

    Defines ethics for people to follow? Check.

    Loves to shove his views down other people's throats? Check.

    Ostracizes anyone who don't follow his strict views? Check.

    Has a confusing mix of greater-good that helps people tolerate his batshit-crazy? Check.

    Has an old tome with several revisions and unfortunate interpretations, which many people praise without actually understanding it? Check.

  • Childish? (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:47PM (#42237107)

    The man is a fundamental loon. No different than a religious zealot. He's a wart on the ass of computing and he's giving the field a bad name.

  • Re:Good grief... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blind biker ( 1066130 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @07:00PM (#42237171) Journal

    In short, this is a non-issue and RMS is (as expected) over-reacting to something that doesn't fit into his perfect Socialist software society.

    You know, RMS has been vindicated so many times, I am frankly surprised there still are people trying to put him down, especially with the kind of labeling ("perfect Socialist software society") that makes you look like a douche.

  • by reallocate ( 142797 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @07:01PM (#42237183)

    Stallman is very much more concerned with how his software is made than what it can do. That's an attitude that's the mirror image of pretty much the rest of the human race. He has constructed an elitist pedestal of pseudo-morailty around software development and placed himself on top of it. Free software has obvious advantages in terms of spreading technique, etc., but Stallman's trashings of anyone who does not adhere to his gospel is demagoguery at its finest.

    I'm much more offended by the clutter and annoyance of Ubuntu's lens feature than I am by the supposed offense of the product's becoming one of millions of Amazon Associates. Ubuntu is trying to make a bit of cash, and that seems to offend a lot of people much more than any perceived violation of the Stallman Code.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 09, 2012 @07:14PM (#42237273)

    Exactly, how is this in any way more a "feature" then the windows malware seach bars that install along side other programs and hijacked browser searches without asking? Or affiliate popup websites so popular years ago?

    It's not in my view and the fact that software engineers can now convince themselves that it's ethically okay as long as there's an opt-out hidden somewhere and that they aren't violating user privacy but providing them a "feature" that pays the developer by sneakily sharing user data with a huge for-profit company is either a pretty ridiculous display of self-delusion or a deliberately unethical decision made for the extra cash.

    Canonical are basically arguing the former while everyone outside can see it was obviously the latter.

  • Re:Ooh boy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 09, 2012 @07:18PM (#42237293)

    Well i would far rather have the RMS version .. The Ubuntu people need to quit with the Apple /MS tactics

  • Re:Yeah.. and? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @07:19PM (#42237299) Homepage

    Standard PR flak technique #137: When confronted by undeniable evidence of wrongdoing, attack the person or organization providing the evidence with accusations that can't be disproven. Words commonly used for this are "extremist", "conspiracy theorist", "silly", or "misguided".

  • In other words (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Murdoch5 ( 1563847 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @07:38PM (#42237415)
    The manager doesn't have a good reply or defense so lets just call RMS names.
  • Re:Yeah.. and? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by icebraining ( 1313345 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @08:04PM (#42237589) Homepage

    No, his big mouth is a liability for the open-source community.

    He's not part of the open-source community. In fact, "open source" was created specifically for their members to distance themselves from GNU/FSF and rms.

  • Re:Yeah.. and? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @08:05PM (#42237597)

    The problem isn't corporate involvement. The problem is when corporate involvement leads down the path we're seeing Canonical take with Ubuntu, where they start shoving ads in your face.

    It fundamentally disrespects the user as it becomes apparent that you've given up on making them the customer and decided to sell them like livestock. It's why Facebook is so reviled on Slashdot, and why I can't stand most handset manufacturers (they build for the carriers and not the people who actually use the devices.)

  • Re:Ooh boy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pav ( 4298 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @08:09PM (#42237633)
    ...or closed source LAN drivers and non-free qt? Oh, that's right... those aren't problems anymore. Contemplate the short term inconvenience and long term gains required to bring about that state of affairs. If you accept "kinda good enough today" that's all you'll ever have.
  • Re:Yeah.. and? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by davydagger ( 2566757 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @08:11PM (#42237645)
    the GPL is what made GNU/Linux a community, instead of a forgotten footnote.

    the GPL and GPL like licenses are what make the Open Source business model viable, as any potential competition has to share their improvements on your code with you. If it where BSD, you'd have something like OS X, where one company would make a locked down version, and no one else would be able to make their own version, and contributing your code in a community would not be viable, because you'd only help your competition, who'd be under no obligation to help you back.

    The GPL actually protects profits of companies.

    As for GNU. Its everywhere. Despite being ignored by most consumer goods, its present everywhere on the business side.

    RHEL and SLES running GNU, as does zLinux, and the other high end commericial distros.

    IBM uses GNU with its AIX workstations

    HP ports GNU to HP/UX

    Apple OS X runs BASH as its default shell, as its available for a number of platforms.
  • Too right.,. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bdwoolman ( 561635 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @08:16PM (#42237683) Homepage

    Ubuntu is a bastard child. It should be lost on no one that the money Mr Shuttleworth has put into it is an investment, not a donation. Yet libre software licensing is not structured primarily to make money, it is structured to promote knowledge, and science. Attempting to monetize Debian (excuse me 'Ubuntu') is like trying to milk a Gorilla. Possible, but not pretty. Or easy. And nearly impossible to do and keep your hands clean.

    'Lighten up', you say. But that is the whole point. Most of us do have compromising minds. Yes, I confess, I loaded the Nvidia binary blob. It is easy and natural for me to lighten up. Believe me I can live with myself.

    But... If RMS had a compromising mind there would not be a vibrant open source universe, or at least not the one we have. (Although there would no doubt still be some sort of fuzzy academic open computing something.) The day he could not get those specs to write his modified printer driver is the day he saw -- in a flash -- the science of computing being swallowed by business. And boy was he right. He could have cashed in like so many others. Or shrugged it off like I would. But he put his obsessive uncompromising Asbergerish hairy soiled foot down and fought to create an intellectual space for computing that was free from the kind of proprietary sandboxing that hobbles progress in every field (But which makes sh*tloads of money -- Not a bad thing either). Very few people would fight as hard as RMS has to NOT make money. Amazingly many others saw the utility and necessity of what he was doing and joined him. So now, when a lab needs a specialized computing application they don't have to buy it. (They can of course.) They can build it.

    RMS is not being childish in regard to Ubuntu's recent play. He is just being RMS. Monetizing open source software by crippling it is like charging for slide rides on a public playground. It's wrong. (Even if you fix and wax the slide.) Buy an empty lot. Build your own slide. Sell all the rides you want.

  • by icebraining ( 1313345 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @08:19PM (#42237697) Homepage

    Ubuntu is the derivative. The original work - without which Ubuntu wouldn't exist - is still here after 20 years and has never used such underhanded tactics on its users, and it actually has and follow a Social Contract that ensures it.

  • Re:Exactly. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rgmoore ( 133276 ) <> on Sunday December 09, 2012 @08:55PM (#42237899) Homepage

    but his desire to prioritize the "freedom" of systems over those systems actually doing anything useful is totally unreasonable.

    That's a great theory, but it doesn't agree with actual practice. In practice, freedom is a very important part of doing things that are useful. With proprietary software, you are limited to what the authors' decide to give you. Proprietary software authors routinely leave out important features or include anti-features like spyware because they make more money that way. With free software, the main limit is on what the authors can produce, not on what is in their best interest to provide you.

    Software freedom is so much less important than other forms of freedom (freedom from slavery, freedom of speech, freedom of association, etc) in the real world that I can't take his writing seriously.

    Where does he suggest that free software is more important than those freedoms? I haven't seen it in any of his writings. And if you're just saying that he should concentrate on other kinds of freedom because software freedom is too low on the scale to be worth the effort, that's a bad argument. Things that are worth having are worth having even if there are other things that are more important. The amount of effort RMS has put into free software would be a drop in the bucket compared to all the effort that's gone into the kinds of basic human rights you mention, but he has produced real and important results for that relatively modest effort. He has almost certainly done more real good by creating a new concept of freedom than he would have by joining an existing cause.

  • Re:Exactly. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eric_herm ( 1231134 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @09:01PM (#42237951)

    Let's see, did Amazon used the proprietary nature of a DRM system to remove a book ? yes, they did; Do various government wanted to censor information ? Yes they, ( either China, on a lot of point, iran, etc, or USA, for Wikileaks, even if I must add that both cases are complex, and the USAs government has a much better track than China and Iran by several order of magnitude )
    Did people used copyright to prevent anything ? Yes, they do, see the book of Lessig, explaining how people cannot do their work on the period after the war and the racism because various movies are not in the public domain.

    So there is a will to prevent free flow of information ( from mundane topic like song to more serious issues like corruption in China ), coming from various places, that could be enforced and that is enforced by proprietary nature of software,

    And sure, with all of that, there is no issue of freedom of speech, who will not be linked to freedom of software. Freedom to innovate, of course, would have been unharmed if Google or Facebook would have been forced to pay license to a competitor for each server they have, and would have been unable to enhance the software. Sure, there is problem of slavery, child labor, woman rights in lots of country. That doesn't mean nothing should be done anywhere until this is solved.

  • Re:Exactly. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ultrasawblade ( 2105922 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @09:20PM (#42238079)

    I think RMS had a lot of foresight.

    Software freedom is important, and more so than ever, when corporations increasingly sell you computing devices that ostensibly you own, but are not free to do anything you like (within the law, of course), with regard to the software running on them. It's more important than ever in a world where hardware is a commodity and what (and I'm trying to say 'range of possible actions' rather than 'range of scale') a given blob of silicon can do is not dictated so much by hardware limitations but rather the particular instructions that happen to live on the non-volatile memory of the device at a given moment. It's important when it is commonplace that we surrounded by devices with CPUs and memory, but no way to verify the device is programmed to do what we want to do and no more, no less. So I'd say the right to exert control over devices you own via installing whatever software you want, whenever you want, is pretty fundamental.

  • Re:RMS is right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Molt ( 116343 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @09:41PM (#42238213)

    Windows is ultimately there for Microsoft's profit, and yet there are a lot of people who put time and effort into building communities for both developers and users on Windows without being employed by Microsoft. These people would, quite rightly, be offended if you said they were just doing it to improve Microsoft's profits- they're there to help others, share their knowledge, talk with others who have similar interests, and other similar personal goals.

    It's still true though that Windows is ultimately there for Microsoft's profit.

    The non-profits they invest are those which directly benefit themselves. These are the people who're writing the code which Canonical are going to be marketing, is it too surprising that they're throwing them some money? It's practical in that they can't afford for Linux to fall behind Windows or OS X, and they also want to keep community feeling onside as they don't want to lose support from those who recommend their distro.

    I'm not saying I dislike Canonical, I am saying they are a business. Without that they probably wouldn't have achieved what they have, a few people with great intentions can't achieve as much as a few people with great intentions and the money and organisation to back them up with. That money has to come from somewhere too, it doesn't just magically appear, but deals like this- especially when give spin this poor- are likely to cost too much goodwill from their audience to make them worthwhile.

  • by Shads ( 4567 ) <> on Sunday December 09, 2012 @09:53PM (#42238303) Homepage Journal

    ... or you could just use debian you know, the distribution ubuntu is based off of.

  • by Doctor_Jest ( 688315 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @10:10PM (#42238427)

    Or just use Debian... which Ubuntu is a parasite of. :)

  • Re:Exactly. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doctor_Jest ( 688315 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @10:21PM (#42238495)

    They said the same thing about every other leader of a movement (take your pick)... If you have issues with his delivery (he's pedantic at times, and his insistence on making sure he is heard on subjects ancillary to FSF are rather annoying), that's fine. But his message makes sense.

    Copyright has been perverted to a perpetual "ATM machine" for the copyright cartels, and it is used as a weapon to strike innovation and new ideas down before they can blossom. What the GPL does is use that perversion of copyright against itself so that no matter what happens to the copyright law in the future (and believe me it's getting worse), we will have a way to keep innovation free from hoarding elements of the multinational corporations. It isn't the only license in the world, but by gum it's a pretty good alternative to the closed-source nonsense that passes for "commercial" software. DRM, proprietary formats, invasive and restrictive usage requirements (trying to completely kill Fair Use), and otherwise litigious bastards in the copyright retention business (they aren't the creators) can go eat a bag of dicks. The GPL has prevented them from strangling innovation and the sharing of ideas. Thanks to RMS, who I don't always agree with, for pioneering that.

    For me, his positives outweigh his toe-cheese eating negatives. As a person, I'd probably hose him down from 40 feet... but as an idea... RMS has got the chops to put the establishment on notice.

  • Re:Exactly. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @10:46PM (#42238657)

    Software freedom is so much less important than other forms of freedom (freedom from slavery, freedom of speech, freedom of association, etc) in the real world that I can't take his writing seriously.

    For our children, Software freedom will be the means to all of those other freedoms. This is not some scifi fantasy anymore. Computers will rule your life in the near future. They practically do now. To have software tools locked in corporate and government chains, will be the same as chaining you.

  • Re:Ooh boy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BeanThere ( 28381 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @02:19AM (#42239685)

    I glossed through Jono's response and it looks like a bunch of standard manipulative corporate PR-speak, he waffles a lot of marketing-speak like "the goal of the dash in Ubuntu has always been to provide a central place in which you can search and find things that are interesting and relavent to you; it is designed to be at the center of your computing experience blah blah blah" and makes vague insinuations about the 'accuracy' of RMS's statements, calling it FUD and using ad hominem attacks like "childish" --- but nowhere does he actually bother to deny the core claim - that personal local searches are sent to the servers online. In fact, he appears to be defending the idea of doing so, claiming that not liking this is merely a subjectively "different" "privacy" preference of individuals.

  • Uncool, unpro (Score:3, Insightful)

    by yusing ( 216625 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @04:04AM (#42240055) Journal

    Ad hominem attacks are the first refuge of a playground bully (e.g. it's the primary MO of the US Tea Party). That an Ubuntu Manager makes such an attack in a remark on a community-oriented pioneer like Stallman immediately marks the attacker, not the attacked.

    Canonical made a big mistake (doing this without a thorough, public discussion), they doubled down on their mistake, and now they're taking cheap potshots at a major community figure. They're hurting themselves and FOS. Unprofessional, uncool, and unhelpful. Bad week.

  • Re:Exactly. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Monday December 10, 2012 @04:25AM (#42240107) Journal

    I'll get hate for saying this but fuck it this is how I feel, this is EXACTLY why I can't fucking stand RMS, because in just about every way he IS the classic Internet Troll. There can be NO discussion of an issue, NO moderation, NO exchange of ideas or attempts to meet each other in the middle, he is like the absolute worst of partisan politics concentrated into a giant flaming troll.

    In every single rant and every single conversation as far as as RMS is concerned there is only TWO answers, either you agree with every fucking thing he does and says and are therefor "good" or you don't and you are a "sinner" and bad and destroying kittens and kicking puppies. Even the head of Red Hat says "RMS treats his friends like his enemies" because one can NEVER disagree with him, not ever, or you are just a worthless piece of shit destroying the planet.

    So just to put my own spin on his totally tasteless rant when Steve Jobs died "I won't be glad when he's dead but I'll be glad when he's gone" because just like dealing with a ranting political hack or Internet troll its ALL "good VS evil" with of course everything good defined by what St iGNUcious believes and everything evil is those that dont kiss the ring and fall in line. So I'd say he is far worse than childish, most people can see childish behavior and dismiss the person for acting like they are four, nope this is MUCH worse, its the classic Faux News HuffPo "You are with me or against me!" divisive bullshit that frankly makes having a civilized conversation all but impossible.

  • Re:RMS is right (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Monday December 10, 2012 @04:48AM (#42240207) Journal

    Do you get paid Mr Perens? if so I'd say you're being a bit of a hypocrite, as the company that pays you isn't just handing you money because you smell nice ya know, its because they intend to profit from your labor. Without looking up what you've been up to lately I'll take a wild guess and say you or your employer is following one of the 3 "pre-approved" methods listed below, yes? which if correct proves what I've been saying for years, that Linux has no place on a desktop since desktops don't fit into one of the 3 "blessed" business models.

    Mark Shuttleworth invested millions into canonical and like anybody else who invests a large sum he would at least like to break even, and considering the fact that Linux was virtually unknown outside the server room before Canonical came along and started polishing it up and trying to fix the "Its too complicated" image problem i'd say at the very least he deserves to make a few bucks.

    But all of this ranting and hatred directed at Canonical has proven ONE thing, it has proven that what the corps said were correct and GPL should be avoided like an STD unless you are a non profit or intending to survive with one of the "pre-approved" FOSS methods of which there are only 3, software contracts, selling hardware, and tin cup begging. After all Jobs used BSD and built an empire, Shuttleworth used Linux and is getting spat upon for trying to keep the lights on. if I were a new business starting out i know what lesson I'd take away from that, that I wouldn't allow a single line of code written for me or used by me be GPL, period.

  • Re:Exactly. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @04:59AM (#42240247) Journal

    As a person, I'd probably hose him down from 40 feet... but as an idea... RMS has got the chops to put the establishment on notice.

    This is what a lot of people on slashdot don't seem to realise. You hear comments about how they like what RMS/Assange/De-Raadt are doing but can't stand that they're huge dicks (not: I do not agree that they are). The thing is that you are never going to find people willing to devote their life to a any cause who are just nice, easy going people. Nice, easy going people are by definition easy going. A cause requires amazing amounts of stubborn determinantion and that makes people seem not very nice because they are intransigent and unwilling to compromise.

    But you can't have one without the other.

    I would rather have a world with these kind of awkward, singular people and the things they are driven to do than one without.

    Though I will also add that in the very brief exchanges I've had with both RMS and De-Raadt, they both seemes like reasonable, thoughtful people, to me.

    he's pedantic at times... "ATM machine"

    he's not the only one :)

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.