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Bruce Perens Resigns From OSI 226

Bruce Perens has announced his resignation from OSI. This was submitted several times by several people. I've attached below the submission from ESR (representing OSI) and the announcement from Bruce himself. Click below to read what they each have to say. This is gonna get hairy.
This is from an email Bruce sent to a lot of people

It's Time to Talk about Free Software Again

I'm Bruce Perens. You may know me as the primary author of the Debian Free Software Guidelines and the Open Source Definition. I wrote the Electric Fence malloc() debugger, and some pieces of Debian. And you may remember me for having brought the TIGER map database to free software. If you want copies of that, you can get them through Dale Scheetz .

About a year ago, I sent out a message announcing "Open Source". Eric Raymond and I founded the Open Source Initiative as a way of introducing the non-hacker world to Free Software. Well, thanks to Eric, the world noticed. And now it's time for the second stage: Now that the world is watching, it's time for us to start teaching them about Free Software. Notice, I said Free Software, _not_ Open Source.

Most hackers know that Free Software and Open Source are just two words for the same thing. Unfortunately, though, Open Source has de-emphasized the importance of the freedoms involved in Free Software. It's time for us to fix that. We must make it clear to the world that those freedoms are still important, and that software such as Linux would not be around without them.

One of the unfortunate things about Open Source is that it overshadowed the Free Software Foundation's efforts. This was never fair - although some disapprove of Richard Stallman's rhetoric and disagree with his belief that _all_ software should be free, the Open Source Definition is entirely compatible with the Free Software Foundation's goals, and a schism between the two groups should never have been allowed to develop. I objected to that schism, but was not able to get the two parties together. Another unfortunate fact is the certification mark dispute which has gone on between Software in the Public Interest and the Open Source Initiative for a whole year. That was entirely my fault.

Sadly, as I've tended toward promotion of Free Software rather than Open Source, Eric Raymond seems to be losing his free software focus. The Open Source certification mark has already been abused in ways I find unconscionable and that I will not abide. I fear that the Open Source Initiative is drifting away from the Free Sofware values with which we originally created it. It's ironic, but I've found myself again siding with Software in the Public Interest and the Free Software Foundation, much as I did in 1995. I feel that the Open Source Definition, which was copied from the Debian Free Software Guidelines, should still be our touchstone, and I'll be working to promote software that fits that definition, but independently from the Open Source Initiative.


Bruce Perens

This is the story submission from ESR

ESR writes "Today, following a recent dustup on the discussion list for the upcoming Open Source Summit in which he described Tim O'Reilly as ``one of the leading parisites (sic) of the free software community'', Bruce Perens resigned from the board of the Open Source Initiative.

Though no formal motion has yet been passed, it seems likely that OSI will shortly replace Bruce and add two more directors in an effort to broaden its base of representation in the open-source community. A shortlist of nominees had already been assembled for the two additional seats.


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Bruce Perens Resigns From OSI

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Wasn't Richard Stallmans objection against "Open Source" all along that it de-emphasized the importace of freedom. I'm not sure, but I think I read something like that when the term first appeared last spring.

    Unfortunately, this hardly spells the end of the "schism" Bruce writes about.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Everything would be better off if people quieted down and wrote code. We wouldn't have nearly the penis-waving that we have today, both in terms of the politics between open source and free software as well as the growing community of Linux users who are becoming blatantly anti-"anything that isn't Linux", which certainly doesn't help the rest of us.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I guess my question is exactly how is Bruce fighting to keep the code free? That's not clear to me. I see where he's done alot of code (good). And I like the concept behind OSI (to help Linux become acceptable in a "suit" environment).

    But overall, my impression is that he's a spoiled prima donna --not that there's anything wrong with that-- but it can cast the Linux Community(tm) in a bad light when one of their top dawgs is constantly leaving in a huff.

    I'm not saying anyone 5ukZ or r00Lz -- I just wond er why we can't agree to disagree about the hot topics. If we're all so smart and geek-telligent, why can't we discuss issues like adults?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    What important freedoms do you think the GPL is taking away from you? As far as I can see, the only thing you can't do with GPLed software is use it to create proprietary software (either directly or indirectly), and that's very deliberate.

    Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean that the GPL is going to be compatible with other free licenses, but that has more to do with the limitations of the law and legal documents like licenses, rather than intent. The solution to this is to make a serious effort to limit the number of free licenses. Ideally, they should be at least as free as the GPL, and compatible with it, if they are to be of any use.

    BSD-style license supporters often complain that their code gets absorbed into GPL-licensed code which they can't then use (while not being bothered that it gets used in proprietary code -- hmmm, curious...) This leads to people disparaging the GPL as a "viral" license. Really though, there's no easy way around this problem. If code containing BSD stuff gets GPLed, it's because a GPL hacker built something out of it that they didn't want to become proprietary. If the GPL allowed BSD coders to somehow use the GPLed extension under *their* licence, then so could proprietary developers, which would defeat the whole purpose of licensing under the GPL.

    I think this "viral" stuff is crap. If things end up under the GPL rather than freer licenses, it's because some of the developers who created it refuse to allow their work to be used in proprietary products -- seems fair enough to me!

    Norman Petry
    npetry at sk sympatico ca
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Your idea is nice in theory, but I don't share your opinion that it would work. The problem is that licenses are legal documents with very specific meanings. Creating a GPL-like license that allows linking to anything that's under a DFSG/OSD approved license or similar brings those definitions into the license and would allow for all sorts of unintended uses.

    As guidelines the DFSG are fine -- as a legal definition, they're unacceptably vague. Already it's easy to see that Bruce Perens and ESR have very different ideas about what they allow -- hence the recent schism. Tightening them up to disallow the recent spate of proprietary (but Open Source(tm)) licences would only result in yet another license, probably very similar to the GPL.

    Consider this example: BSD-style licensing is *very* free, and satisfies the DFSG. If I created code under the SGPL, a BSD-coder could then modify it and license the result under the BSDish license. Since this license allows use in even proprietary, closed source development, all the SGPL restrictions I placed on *my* code (to prevent it from becoming proprietary) have been rendered worthless by the relicensing made possible by the SGPL itself. If instead you meant that each piece of the combined work retains the restrictions contained in its original license, then this is no different from what we have now, where BSDish code in a GPL licensed derivative is still usable under the terms of it's original license.

    It's unfortunate that license incompatiblity is one of the inherent limitations in using legal documents to embody a set of ideals called free software. The only REAL solution is to limit the number of licenses, by encouraging people to use the ones we already have (L/GPL, BSDish, Artistic).

    The GPL allows you to link it to anything licensed on terms that are as free or freer, but prevents it from being used in software where any of the freedoms it guarantees have been removed. From what I've seen of the corporate Open Source (tm) licenses, their incompatibility with the GPL is *not* accidental -- in most cases, the company is trying to retain some proprietary advantage over other software developers, which the GPL disallows.

    I think that the restrictions in the GPL exist for very good reasons, and that using it is the best way we have for ensuring that software and its users retain their freedom. Tamper with it at your peril!

    Norman Petry (not a lawyer)
    npetry at sk sympatico ca
  • by Crow- ( 35 )
    So you say gnome is just about code and not idealogy? I think not. One of Miguel's main objectives in gnome is to "infect as much software as possible with the GPL". When I heard that, my respect for him trippled, both as a coder and as an idealogist.

  • Attitudes like this will lead to the downfall of Linux. I for one will never use a binary driver for anything, to hell with this "be thankful" bullshit. If we openly accept binary-only drivers then this will encourage other companies to do the same.

    Why should we be thankful for leftover scraps then we can have the 14oz. steak?

    The only thing that is a tragedy is that people like you are trying to subvert the whole movement.
  • Releasing binary drivers != Supporting linux community.

    Hell, all they have to do is "cp chipspecifications.pdf /home/ftp/pub" and the we will write our own damn drivers, that is a much better solution than using some buggy binary only piece of crap.
  • Here's the link to Perens' comments about O'Reilly:

    http://www.dejanews.c om/=gh/[ST_rn=qs]/getdoc.xp?AN=444382781 [].

    He is right to criticize O'Reilly for this bogus "collaborative software" award.

  • Actually, as a certification mark, "Open Source" cannot be applied to your software without your consent. If you claim your program is "free software" and reject "open source" labeling, there is nothing OSI/ESR can do about it, even if you meet their criteria.
  • RMS has specifically stated that he does not get paid for his work at the FSF in order to eliminate a conflict of interest. He is a volunteer. If you think he might be lying (which I don't), you can probably look for verification in FSF filings with the IRS and State of Massachusetts.

  • no less and certainly not more!
  • Posted by rayola:

    I don't think this is a good thing. I don't like the way slashdotters compare one person to another. I just think it's a shame that Perens feels this way, and I can understand. I don't think people should put their ideology aside and it does not matter one damn bit if "Gates Wins" or whateverthehell. Come on, people, the GNU / Linux community has some really cool things about it, and those cool things are ALL because of stubborn peoples' ideologies. None of the gang are saints, we know that, but taken as a group they're some of the best people in the realm of computers, and we're lucky, and we should respect their feelings and decisions, not name-call.
  • Posted by patg:

    So much bickering over symantics... The key here is that Linux and similar software not be religated to obscurity. Companies don't care about symantics, they care about the bottom line (such is life) and I and others who work in this industry want to use Linux and open source code and not be forced to use something like NT to make a living. Whatever works to let companies see the value of using Linux, that's what is the best. I don't care about symantics. I just want to use Linux.

    Leave the egos behind.
  • Posted by twi:

    > If they can't release enough information about
    > the hardware for us to be able to write drives,
    > it means that there's too much logic in the
    > drivers, i.e. you're buying a winmodem.

    Or perhaps the board is full of super-secret
    magic tricks, which they do not want to give
    away to the competition. And perhaps these tricks
    would become obvious if you saw how they are
    utilised in the driver. So they might write all
    drivers themselves, but of course only those which
    will sell them enough cards to pay for the additional
    work. This would sound 100% reasonable to me,
    although it's of course not in general publics
    best interest. But then again, most corporations
    main motivation is making money and lots of it.

    You should never assume that you know FOR SURE
    why other people do the things they do.
  • Posted by twi:

    > Yes, spokespersons should be appointed, by the people for whom they speak.

    It might also work the other way. Like, if RMS would say "I say XY, and therefore am the spokesperson for all the people who think XY too.". And if you don't think XY then he simply does not speak for you. You could then stand up and speak for yourself, or find another, more fitting, spokesperson. The problems start when someone claims to speak for people who do NOT think he does. Wether the FSF-folks do that I cannot say.
  • Posted by patg:

    How does that translate to me going to work and being able to work with Linux,Perl and what not, as opposed to being told that I have to work with NT? Ideals don't always translate to harsh reality.

    Someone has to pay the bills.
  • Posted by patg:

    Huh? Say what? Dogging on Tim O'Reilly is pathetic. So, what are you? Huh? What have you done to spread the use of, or the familiarity of, or knowledge of open source software - Linux - perl - gnu? Tim O'Reilly has done a whole lot of good for open source/gnu tools and OSs than it would take you a hundred lifetimes to acheive. Alot more than a revolting grey-shirted social ineptoid in a dark room posting under anonymous coward moniker knocking down the efforts of Tim Oreilly.

    Alot of people wouldn't have learned what they do if it weren't for O'reilly's books.

    Anonymous coward - that's exactly the case. Do you even know O'reilly?

    He produces - books - CDs - etc... What have you produced? Parasites, from what I last remember, don't produce.

    I hate to think that serious people would read this site and see some little chump rantings calling O'reilly a parasite.
  • Posted by twi:

    > O'Reilly makes money off of others writing free software. Seems to fulfill the definition of parasite to me.

    And so does everybody who, say, buys
    solaris to work in his commercial company but
    prefers and uses gcc with it. Everybody who uses
    freeBSD on the servers that make up his ISP.
    Everybody who writes commercial books about
    commercial stuff using latex. Everybody who uses
    linux to teach himself unix for his real-world job.
    If you call that parasitic, you're saying
    "free software is free for people to share and
    use, BUT only to produce more free software, and
    never to get their real PROBLEMS SOLVED.

    It would be fun to collect and share free software,
    as much as it's fun (at least for some ppl) to collect
    and share stamps. But it would be ultimately useless,
    pointless, worthless.
    How can you tell people they may not make money off
    of free software and on the other hand demand* that
    such free software be the only software that gets
    written at all ?
    "There shall be no software but ours, and that you
    may not use for your work" ??? I'm extremely curious
    to learn how THAT is going to help anyone.

    * yeah, you didn't say that here, but since the FSF considers
    proprietary software evil, and you seem to represent
    their views in this argument...
  • RMS is well respected amongst most real developers? That's not what I hear - apart from the groupies they all think he's a nut and keep well away from him.

    Then you hear way differently fromme. Most of the programmers that have been around the block a few times that *I've* run into acknowledge RMS' programming skills. Why don't you look at his code and decide for yourself?

    I know I couldn't enjoy my work without some of the code he's written, and the design he's done.

  • >Right now, he's working to make Emacs into a full-fledged user-friendly word processor.

    I doubt that.

    Please don't. It seems to be the direction that 20.x is headed in. At least according to its documentation.

    RMS has been more than a little bit vocal about not caring a whit about whether free software is user-friendly. It is, in fact, one of my biggest aggravations with him. In fact, I believe that the split between Emacs and XEmacs was partially over that very thing. The XEmacs team seemed to move a lot more towards making it a really usable, user-friendly, GUI-oriented program. This stuck in RMS's craw, and thus the code forked. If the details are different, I'd love it if someone would enlighten me. That seems to have been the way of it, though...

    I think you're partially right. My understanding from reading and trying to understand this stuff is that the Xemacs (or lucid emacs then) project started because emacs couldn't do colors, fonts, or whatever and as you say RMS didn't want to spend time implementing this. I think they (the lucid emacs folks) made a point to RMS that he had to think of emacs' UI, because of how many people used xemacs. So he has. At this point RMS has design problems with incorperating Xemacs' display code into gnu emacs because there are no code attributions, so he can't ask anyone to assign their copyrights to the FSF. So it has to be re-written for emacs, and re-designed for emacs. I believe that having multiple fonts and multiple sizes displayed is in the works.

    He's a brilliant programmer, no argument, but he hasn't worked alone on any of that. In fact I've never used a single piece of software that RMS solely wrote, or even wrote the majority of alone. Bet you haven't either. (The same, of course, can be said of Bill Gates...)

    It seems to me that your observation validates RMS' philosophy. His code is out there. Others have contributed both because they are employed by the FSF and because they want to for their own reasons. RMS can design and code some of the system, and others can complete it in less time then he could have himself.

    OTOH bill gates doesn't code anymore and according to some stories he never could program well, and he isn't letting anyone fix the mistakes.

    I agree that Linus has been a good manager for Linux, and that he seems to get along with others much more then RMS does. I'm happy that both of them ar around.

  • I've said my fair share here, but it is something that should be realized. In the words of my favorite professor this semester (Yes, he is a cs prof.), "This isn't about software. We're in the entertainment business, y'all. It is all about the marketing." Get back to reality and maarket the hell out of this thing.

    Fair enough, but I'd prefer that there be an OSS "marketing arm" that was closer to RMS's and Bruce's ideals than to ESR's (not that I don't appreciate the efforts of all three). "Sell" the fsck out of Free Software, but don't end up with the thing becoming unrecognizable amidst the alphabet soup of newer and newer ESR-compliant TLAs.

    Disclaimer: posted via the non-Free Communicator 4.5-x86-Linux.

    pingouin as Insomnia Boy, two sets nightly...


  • Bruce Perens has done a lot of good work and made a lot of things happen, but while some people need to take a deep breath and count to ten, it seems that higher numbers would suit Bruce's purposes better.

    I hope that everyone involved can sort out their differences and get back to the useful work they all do.
  • Yes. He won an enormous award a few years ago and has lived off it ever since.

    I'm not as sure about this part, but I think MIT also throw some money his way, not for specific work, but on the grounds that he's a Good Thing.
  • yeah, oracle runs great on BSD...

    and of course there are so many, many more BSD developers than, say, Linux developers.

    No contest for Apache, but really, give it a rest. And of course KDE sucks eggs -- nice libraries, wish I had a 2nd hard drive to fit them on. ;-P

  • It's very interesting to me how people use the term "self-appointed" to disparage those who volunteer. Is volunteerism really such a bad thing? If so, how do you think spokespersons should be appointed?
  • That's a fair opinion. I don't yet agree, but would be willing to see a concrete proposal for an appointment process. Do you feel strongly enough about this to make it happen, or are the volunteers more motivated about this than you?
  • That is, in fact, the logical trap that I was trying to set. You did not fall for it, but now you must admit that it's a matter of your passivity versus their volunteer efforts. I hereby claim that "self-appointed" is not a term of disparagement, but an accolade.
  • I agree that Bruce has damaged is credibility with some, but he's strengthened it with others, like a few gnu freedom-purists who appreciate this gesture. Whether or not his own credibility flux extends to the credibility of the community is an open question.

    We're never going to present a unified front, and I don't think that we should because doing so would necessarily entail promoting homogeneity at the expense of diversity. That would deal a more painful blow to the movement than the rant & resignation of any individual.

  • That was a beautiful, well-reasoned post. Were I a moderator, I'd bump-up your score. I say this even though I don't share your views entirely.

    The religious battles that we see are an integral part of the movement. If they were to disappear, it would be a symptom of collective disease: loss of passion, apathy, failure in the peer-review process (which, by the way, doesn't just apply to code but to the guiding memes as well). These battles happen in any human endeavor. The only difference is that they usually happen behind closed doors, buffered by a well-funded PR/Margeting machine.

    Our battles happen in the open, but that's where they should happen. We don't need to kill the battles between ideologies. All we need to do is make sure that we're civil when we have them. That's a tall order; we just have to learn to value civility & work to achieve it.

  • I've seen a few people say 'screw ideologies, let's get market share.' Well, screw that. I've seen a few people say, 'screw ideologies, show me the code.' Well, that's what I'm trying to push :)

    My perspective is that Linux is all about ideology, and a very pragmatic, immediate ideology. The same ideology that a lot of free software authors have, although not the same one that RMS seems to support. This ideology is more about getting things done -- and getting them done well -- than anything else. Unfortunately, in a proprietary environment, you generally can't. So proprietary software has a place -- of getting things done well -- but not a place that is completely trusted.

    Then there's ESR, who I have some issues with. He seems to have picked a tertiary 'measure of success' and turned it into a goal, a goal that supercedes accomplishing what it's supposed to measure (obviously, commercial support of open source). IMO, this is like re-writing a test so you know the answers; if free software works, then it will work whether we have people trying to make it work, or just people doing it.

    Then there's RMS, who seems to have another plan -- the freedom of all software. While this is nice, I think it is again only part of the general Linux community -- free software is a byproduct of hacking, and necessary for hacking, but not hacking itself.

    I think that these are both necessary focuses, but people will naturally fall into one camp or another (polarization happens), when really, we need to keep the reason for wanting free software -- hacking other people's code -- as well as the community from which we want free software -- fellow hackers.

    I consider Linus' bent on making Linux an easily usable desktop OS as a great 'proof of concept' approach, but let's not turn proving the viability of free software into proving the lameability of free software.
  • RMS/ESR/INSERT-THREE-INITIALS-HERE clones ready to spout scripture and summon righteous fire to scourge the earth of the unbelievers who don't actually give a shit for the politics.

    Ah, so ESR and RMS agree about where free software (wait, no, open source software, wait...) should go?

    I don't think so -- there's a schism, and I don't know that RMS or ESR actually represent 'old-school' hackers.
  • Was my post selected at random for your trolling, or did you carefully read each and every one to decide what was worthy of your spite?
  • Never mind that Linus himself was the first to whine -- one of the reasons Linus wrote Linux (if you believe the USENET logs) is that he had issues with the Minix license.
  • So the 'followers' of ESR and RMS agree wrt what? Pragmatism? Or Idealism? Or are you trying to say that ESR's followers are on the same side as ESR, and RMS's on RMS's?

    I don't quite follow you any more.
  • Yes, that was the thread in which he also bitches about Minix' license. He didn't say 'It's not GNU,' and neither did Perens. He said 'it sucks ass, I can't deal with this patch file crap [among other things, it *has* been a while]' and wrote his own system. Perens essentially pointed out that it's not very free, and is at least supporting an alternative.

    I think my biggest problem with the QPL (and several other licenses) that doesn't get enough air time is the whole patch file business. It completely destroys the potential for code reuse (as does incompatible licenses, of course).

    Which is why, more than a plethora of OK 'open source licenses,' we need to one or two GOOD 'free licenses' that allow as much code reuse and distribution as possible. I think that the X and GNU licenses fit here quite nicely.
  • So far as I see it, yes the community is about
    freedom. Freedom to choose, and to make decisions
    about what is best for a particular situation, rather than what we are allowed do do by the license.

    Part of the problem stems from the GPL being TOO
    strong -- rather than having the 'You can't...'
    problems of proprietary software, you've got to
    the other extreme -- 'You can't...' all over again.

    (M$ software typically says that you can't run
    in on a non-M$ platform -- and GNU does little
    different -- you can't link to a non-GNU library
    unless GNU takes precidence in all licencing issues.)

    While GPL is one of the thing that is designed
    to ensure Freedom, it is also one of the greatest
    threats to it -- you can have Freedom, so long
    as its 'this type' of freedom.

    (Consider the parallel with -- 'you can run any
    legally purchased program, provided your OS is
    windows' -- the attitude that M$ wants to promote
    with windows (One this, one that, one the other))

    Think about it, think some more, and when
    you're done stop and think. None of the freedom
    comes from blindly following ANY single book of
    rules -- you HAVE to think about what you're doing, what it represents, and what are the
    consequences. You HAVE to listen to others (yes,
    even RMS,ESR etc.) and consider other opinions.
    If you don't, then the only thing that you can
    really be sure of is that you are inevitably
    going to end up being wrong.
  • Why can't we have some sexy blonde leading us blazingly through fads and fashion statments rather than Bruce?
    ^~~^~^^~~^~^~^~^^~^^~^~^~~^^^~^^~~^~~~^~~^ ~
    ABORTED effort:
    Close all that you have.
  • I agree. ESR looks very immature. That comment really changed my opinion on him.
  • Bruce Perens just put into words (as he so often does) things that I have been thinking for a long time. Right at the start of this "Open Source" disaster, rms stressed that he thought we should be talking MORE about freedom and not less - I'm glad someone else with some public visibility has stepped forward and said the same thing.

    esr started this whole mess when *he* decided that he was going to rename our entire community. And his contribution to our community at this point? Well, he wrote part of fetchmail... (plus the New Hacker's Dictionary - if you count that). Almost everything he's said and done since that point has been to draw attention to himself and to inflate his ego further.

    Sure, rms is someone with extreme views that can be hard for many people to accept. But in terms of his contribution to our community he's done a helluva lot more than esr. (started the GNU project, wrote most of gcc,gdb etc., devised the GPL, formed the FSF and on and on). I'm glad someone like Bruce Perens has now stepped forward to help move our focus back to where it should be - on freedom and not on pandering to the whims of companies and businesses.

    Congratulations again Bruce!
  • We have our rms and our esr - we need to know Bruce Peren's middle name now so we can have our bXp...
  • While RMS, ESR, and Bruce are sitting around bickering about the definitions of terms, and whether or not all software should be free (Has anyone actually read the GNU Manifesto? There are really two options, either RMS is right and there's nothing we can do about it, eventually copyrights will go away; or RMS is wrong and there's nothing we can do about it, copyrights are here to stay), Linus, Alan Cox, and countless other developers are doing productive work to give us better software. Who's making the bigger contribution to Open Source/Free Software?

  • by Fubar ( 1615 )
    I'm somewhat amazed that more of these soap operas don't happen.

    With different personalities working within a hierarchy you'd think loud disagreements would happen more often.
  • Much as RMS would like you believe otherwise, we've had free software a lot longer than we've had any "Foundation" for it. It would exist anyway, and would be just as strong, if not stronger, without the FSF and all the "everything must be GPL" crap.
  • Hippie? So you mean if one has principals and ideals as guidelines one is a hippie?!

    I am a consumer too. I won't buy software that isn't Free though.

  • You need to understand the difference between Free and gratis.

  • by jd ( 1658 )
    Both Bruce Perens and RMS have been of enormous help to the Free Film Project, and I'd like to thank them both for that, and for any future help they give. It is extremely gratefully received.

    In addition to being of enormous help to other people's projects, both of these people could write lists of their own achievements a mile long.

    Whilst I don't approve of political in-fighting, I -do- think that Bruce Perens and RMS have the right idea about freedom. It's that kind of freedom that produced much of the GNU software, and it's when such freedom gets neglected that projects lag or fade away.

    So what if you think that the FSF's beliefs are "extreme", "utopian" or list plain "nuts"? If you aim for the moon and miss, you'll still end up amongst the stars. If you aim for the ground, you won't miss.

    Do you know what the most ironic thing of all is? That the critics of "Free Software" are so determined to slam it, yet don't allow a single word to be spoken that's contrary to their own beliefs. "Open Source" ISN'T contrary to "Free Software". It's the PEOPLE who are, which is sad because that defeats everything those same people are trying to achieve.

    Why not leave the religious fanatisism to the likes of the people on the MSNBC tech board, where even the merest mention of "Open Source" or "Free Software" brings down hate, venom, McCarthy-style "Commie Witch-hunting" and various other sundry forms of verbal abuse? It IS allowed for people to behave better than a pack of rabid dogs. You don't need any special permission. Really, you don't.

  • Actually, GNU is used by NASA, the European Space Agency, CERN and nuclear research labs around the world. These don't sound that small to me.
  • Hmmmm. Let's see... You mean not a lot of new GNU software -other- than the Beowulf patches, various Linux ethernet drivers, etc, and the fairly intensive stress-testing of newer GNU software, which leads to lots of bug-reports for unusual conditions and situations.

    Did you know that it's a b* nightmare to write Fortran to C++ wrappers (or vice versa), using G77 and G++, because of symbol table problems? No? Well, now you do. That's the sort of problem that NASA, ESA, CERN, etc, can track and identify, because they need and use that kind of obscure functionality. But that's just the point. They DO use obscure functionality, and so find the obscure bugs that other people are unlikely to have tested for. IMHO, that is invaluable work.

  • A lot of comments here seem to suggest that we should simply ignore any political or ideological beliefs we hold..just "shut up and code". There are so many things wrong with this viewpoint that I don't know where to begin..but my point here is this: show me an apolitical action. Go ahead, pull an apolitical action out of a hat and dangle it in the air. You can't. A deliberatly apolitical action is simply a statement of another political position. So quit pretending that you're high-and-mighty and above the squabbling--the real reason most people here are complaining about the so-called 'fanatics' is because not because those 'fanatics' mix politics and code but because the complainers do not agree with those politics. Trying to shut up the opposing side is simply facist and, ironically, against the ideals that the Libertarians (who seem to be the largest proponents of 'shut up and code') claim to support.
    Not everyone will agree with your particular position. Get over it. Don't act like they're a 'looney tune' or 'stupid' or 'egotistical' (and those are some of the milder epithets I've heard applied here). Deal with the ideas--random flammage might give you a sense of accomplishment but it really does make it look like you've run out of clues and are just flailing.
    So: Keep talking--and code.

  • I do admit they (BP, ESR, RMS, et al) have done some great things for the software community. I wouldn't go as far as some of you saying they have done more harm than good though. I think each one has probably done more good than harm.

    But, personally, I believe in KISS more than I believe in OSR, OSS, OSI, ABC, XYZ, PDQ, on and on, and on... I quote and Patrick Volkerding here with "KISS Principle, that is Keep It Simple, Stupid!"

    IMHO, all these "orginizations" to try to promote one licence over another, and one principle over another are just BS. There are plenty of options out there, GNU/GPL and BSD should be the primary two considered by anyone IMHO. Either pick one of those to, and make it simple for people to know you are following a "well know licence" or write your own (ala Netscape, Java, etc.) and be know as a "more restrictive licence."

    Making it more complicated than it needs to be is wasting the time of valuable minds like BP, ESR, RMS, etc... and the community might be better served by less promotion and more coding. Let the products speak for themselfs.

    Trying to tweak all the "open-ness" of Licences is just going to dillute the whole issue, and people are getting sick of it. The end result is people will just care even less, and not even read the licences themselfs anymore. So, KISS and make up, all of you!

  • There are really two options, either RMS is right and there's nothing we can do about it, eventually copyrights will go away; or RMS is wrong and there's nothing we can do about it, copyrights are here to stay)

    I can certainly agree with the observation that RMS is either right or wrong, but what makes you think that there is nothing we can do about it?

    Linus, Alan Cox, and countless other developers are doing productive work to give us better software. Who's making the bigger contribution to Open Source/Free Software?

    I hope you're not claiming that RMS hasn't produced useful software! I've found GNU tools (and especially Emacs) to be far more generally useful to me than Linux the kernel.

  • Right on the money!

    Let's see...RMS writes huge chunks of Emacs, gcc, etc. ESR sells a book on Emacs. Hmmm. Who's doing the hard work and who's grabbing for credit here?

    RMS may have some strongly held opinions, but his heart's in the right place and his "radical ideas" are the bulwarks of democracy and modern science.

    ESR, on the other hand, proudly proclaims that he is a Libertarian.

    Libertarians are right-wing fanatics because they advocate repeating the failed, brutal experiment called laissez-faire capitalism.

    Slavery, child prostitution and psychotics with unlimited firepower, anybody? They're all on the Libertarian platform.
  • > Linux is playing with the big boys now
    thats the problem really. if we play with the big boys by the big boys rules, we'll lose. linux, GNU and everything else has gotten as far as it has by not following the rules.
    esr seems to have lost sight of this, as have many other people lately, and sold out to the idea that market share and market domination are what's important, while people who actually care about free software really could care less.

  • I proposed that we appoint three new members to the board. Bruce quit while that motion was on the table. So now one of the new members replaces Bruce, and the board gets bigger by two.
  • I'm Bruce Perens. You may know me as the primary author of the Debian Free Software Guidelines and the Open Source Definition. I wrote the Electric Fence malloc() debugger, and some pieces of Debian. And you may remember me for having brought the TIGER map database to free software.

    I'm Troy McClure. You may remember me from films such as:
    "Driving Mr. T",
    "Android Beach Party",
    "The President's Neck is Missing!",
    "Dial M for Murderousness", and
    "A Fish Taco Called Juanita" (with Cheech Marin!)

    For the Simpsons deprived, Troy McClure was a recurring character played by Phil Hartman on the Simpsons.

    I think I'd have an easier time liking this guy if he didn't constantly sumarize his achievements for us, and tell us how great he is. As it is, who really cares what Bruce is quitting this week?
  • Visible advocates like him are in fact what made the FSF/OSS movements so strong (it AINT just Linux folks).. however, with the increasing media focus, and big-business involvement, we will all find, with much dismay, that the culture clash between the geeks and the suits, between prosumers and consumers, will starting hurting.

    We have already seen it this week with the Windows Refund Day rallys... I dont think anyone could dispute the cause, but JESUS, we really all did fall right into their trap, though you can hardly help it going up against the richest company on the planet with ruthless edge.

    The fact is, Linux is percieved as the newcomer, and while geeks may hold on forever no matter what its ultimate success, there is an important window of opportunity here during which anything canhappen.

    I deeply admire Bruce Perens for all that he has given, and wish him well, and I hope this doesnt turn into a backstab fest... et tu, slash dot, et tu?

    We all need to band together, maybe kick this industry in the ass a few good ones... its amazing how quickly even the computer biz can stagnate. We need to send the message to the top that elitism is over, that this really is a grassroots movement, and that, above all, this world we maintain allows for free discourse and sharing of knowledge/data.. the old ways dont apply anymore

    Sad day for me :) Plus Im hallucinating from sleep-dep

    If you ask me, we need one central authority to help protect us... its not Linus' job, but it should be someones. If indeed we continue to pursue the purest ideals of FSF/OSS, and open standards ingeneral, then we also must know how to protect those constructs... as we have seen with so many software patents, theres NOT a whole lot that prevents anyone from broadly claiming patent over specific features of Linux. And which one of us has the money to take Microsoft (or their ilk) to court?
  • by Tet ( 2721 )
    Not all parasites are detrimental to their hosts...

  • Why bash Digital Creations? They've modified their license [], changing the attribution from a requirement to a request that can be ignored if you like. DC staff, most notably Jim Fulton, have contributed various things to the Python distribution, which is free software. While the whole attribution thing was ill-advised, and I still think it shouldn't be in the license (why not just leave it in a README?), claims that they're "starting to twist free software" are utterly bogus.

  • O'Reilly also pays Larry Wall, and now Brian Behlendorf. They've flown people like Guido van Rossum to their summits, and they're encouraging people to write more books (and providing the requisite editorial assistance, which is no trivial thing). O'Reilly also mostly documents free software, which encourages more people to use it. What's to complain about?

    (Yes, I agree with RMS that free manuals would be better, but not many people work on writing them.)

  • Time heals all^H^H^H some wounds.

  • (shrug) I couldn't care less. The important thing is that people continue to produce OSS and free software and Linux continues to improve. These organizations seem to be about 95% talk, 4% wearing cool penguin shirts, and 1% action. It's the programmers and product producers in the trenches that are doing the real work of OSS. Realeasing press releases and throwing public tantrams (and calling a book publisher a parasite) doesn't do anyone much good.

    (who is planning on writing a GPL game for Linux)
  • The summary says: Bruce Perens has announced his resignation from SPI.

    SPI == Software in the Public Interest [];
    OSI == Open Source Initiative.

    The title has it correct: it's his resignation from OSI.

  • As I see it, FSF is an organization devoted to the GNU project (HURD + GNU utilities), whereas SPI and OSI are both broader based, devoted more to free software in general (some more than others).

    I'm not clear on the splitup which formed OSI (although note that the web page [I thought that was OSI's?] is listed as a part of SPI on SPI's homepage), but I wonder if the initial objections against SPI have been more or less resolved. It seems to me that OSI could in fact resolve its conflict with SPI by becoming part of SPI. OSI can focus on the "open source" definition and trademark, which may move into some gray areas of free software (for instance the different "open source" licenses which may or may not be considered "free software" licenses).

    Rather than provide a rubber stamp for "open source", OSI should provide a resource for users to learn about the many different licenses, and their relative freedoms. Rather than have a single "open source" mark, there should be different levels of evaluation. For instance, proprietary "open source" (such as the MPL or upcoming QPL) versus non-proprietary "open source" (such as the Artistic, BSD or GPL licenses). OSI should review new licenses which wish to be considered "open source" and place them in such a category based on the terms of the license.

    ESR talked about the egos of the programmers being the driving force behind the free software movement. Apparently, this is not just technical ego but political ego as well. For all the curses heaped upon Richard Stallman, he has stayed away from these battles of the bulge, content, it seems, to play the role of free software advocate (whether you agree with him or not). Bruce Perens and Eric Raymond at times seem to want to be the king of the hill, seeking glory as being the driving force behind the open source and free software movements rather than simply being a part of the movements. That's not to say they are bad people, both have done alot for the movement and both have good insight and have alot to add yet. But unfortunately, their egos seem to get in the way too often and cause these types of conflicts.

    I'm curious as to Richard Stallman's take on the SPI vs. OSI conflict. I don't always agree with his opinions, but he does represent a third party, with much respect in the open source community, and is seemingly uninvolved in this battle. Has he made any past comments on SPI and/or OSI?
    Aaron Gaudio
    "The fool finds ignorance all around him.
  • ESR is scheduled to appear on the Peter Weissbach [] show this afternoon, sometime between 3pm and 6pm Pacific time (sorry, I haven't heard a more exact time).

    Weissbach is carried on KVI 570AM in Seattle, which is also available over the net at [] (but you have to be using Microsloth Media Player to hear it).

  • I don't mind people who volunteer. Kudos to Linus and to RMS as well (regardless of whether I disagree with RMS's extremist views on "free" software).

    But what irritates me is the demonizing of those who have tried to bring free-market capitalism to the Open Source industry, including Tim O'Reilly whom Perens labels a "parasite". "Proprietary" manuals or not, I and many others have found O'Reilly's publications helpful and feel that he has made as decent a contribution to bringing awareness to Open Source software as much as anyone else. And if he has made a profit off of doing that, then I say, so much the better!

    I think the Open Source industry (including free and non-free software) best serves the industry as a piece of the puzzle, not as an end in itself. Both proprietary and Open Source software should be able to co-exist together to bring more freedom of choice and standards to customers while at the same time making the industry as a whole financially viable and profitable.

    Certainly let us honor those who have volunteered in this movement and encourage more to volunteer as well. But let us also honor those who have been able to gain more awareness for Open Source software (again, free and non-free) by turning it into a profitable industry.

  • I don't care about "free software" as much as I do about a free market software industry that is highly profitable and at the same provides as much freedom of choice and open standards to customers as possible. Free software, as well as other forms of Open Source software is certainly an excellent means of making this kind of free market possible, but I certainly don't care about it as a means in itself.

    And as for "World Domination", GEEZ, people! Don't you know that Linus was only joking when he wrote that? :-) I'd rather work towards more freedom of choice, then "World Domination". I sure Linus agrees.

  • Actually, I find nothing wrong with the current Digital Creations license. They took out the advertising button requirement, now it's only a request, not a requirement. They were very nice about it - their VC spent a long time on the phone with me discussing it.

    Also, Troll has fixed their QPL 0.92 license so that I have no complaint with it.

    However, I believe that you are complaining that these licenses are not the GPL. I think it's best for me to encourage people to use GPL/LGPL in a positive way, rather than deprecate licenses that are free software: they meet every reqirement of the DFSG/OSD even though they are not the GPL.

    I've not figured out yet how to discuss the OS trademark abuse without sounding "catty". I know from previous experience on slashdot that people hate me when I sound catty. Maybe it's best if I let OSI take care of their own public image from now on, without either adding to it or subtracting from it.



  • Of the $35-$45 you pay, the store keeps some, Merisel (or whoever the distributor is) keeps some, and Red Hat gets a little, certainly less than half. They use part of that to pay for people working on GNOME, and they do write other GPL work as well. They also send free copies of Red Hat to people who have written packages in their distribution. I get one every time they make a release.

    I think they've really found the right balance.


  • I don't think anybody's questioning the value of free software of FSF. I'm certain nobody would question the value of GNU software. But that's not really the issue here. The issue is ideology. I think it's perfectly reasonable to complain about the fanatacism of folks like Stallman and Perens. They have both made tremendous software contributions to Linux, and to the computer industry in general. For this I respect them. However, their intolerance of anything but Free Software(tm) does the industry nothing but harm. Look, for example, at the reaction on /. when nVidia pulled their Riva driver from Xfree and gave them one with obfuscated code. Sure, that kinda sucks, but look at the big picture here. Everyone screamed and cursed nVidia and threatened never to buy one of their products. WTF?!?!? We should be thanking nVidia for giving us drivers at all. All-in-all they've been very responsive to the Linux community. Thanks to the rhetoric of those like Stallman and Perens, our response was largely negative. I'll probably get flamed just for saying this, but nVidia had a perfectly valid justification for sticking with the Windows market. We have no divine right to have them write drivers for us. We have no divine right to their intelectual property. Out of the kindness of their hearts (and maybe some belief that it would improve business a bit) they did provide drivers, and they're still working on a way to access the 3d features of their chipsets. And yet, when they try to slow things down just a little, the Stallmanites scream and curse them like some sort of religious fanatic calling down the Wrath of God. Folks, I think somewhere all the noble ideals got lost and we were just left with the anger and self-righteousness. That is a tragedy.
  • Disclaimer: The mention of nVidia in my previous post was mostly by way of example, not so much to pick on a specific issue. Since the response was directly pertaining to the nVidia issue, this reply also will be.

    I have no problem with people expressing their thoughts on slashdot. What do you think I'm doing now. That's what makes /. so great. And you certainly have every right to flame nVidia for their caution. You also have every right to be an asshole if you want to. Where you're wrong is in your statement that this is beneficial to the linux community. You point out that lots of companies have released specs. There're also lots of companies who completely ignore the linux scene. nVidia made a move toward support for the linux community, and people flamed them for it. Sorry, but if you expect every company to jump in feet first, then you're out of your mind. If you bitch and whine at nVidia after they make a move toward linux support, that sends entirely the wrong message. The management at nVidia says, "Look...we tried to support the linux community, and they cursed us and said they'd never buy our products again." Now, you're telling me this is helpful???? I think I definately missed something.

    As for your bit about writing drivers being their job...bullshit. Sure, it is their job to write some drivers. But, then, they do. They have drivers for Windows 9x and for Windows NT. These are their target market. They have NO obligation to support any other OS. Sure, we think it might be in their best interests to support linux and BeOS and any other OS that comes along, but they make the economic decisions. They are free to make them as they choose. I have 2 Riva TNT based video cards. I'd like drivers for every possible OS (and I use Win98, WinNT, Linux, and BeOS). I'd say that nVidia has made remarkable progress toward support for alternate OS's. And they're doing more. It looks like they will be among the first vendors of integrated (2D/3D) video cards to provide a method for alternate OS's to accelerate 3D.

  • I agree with you that it is admirable to stand up for what you believe. There is, however, a limit. Lets take, for example, something completely unrelated to computers:

    The IRA fights for Irish freedom. They stand up for what they believe. In my oppinion their cause is noble. BUT, I am absolutely opposed to the IRA. Using their methods they will never achieve independence for Northern Ireland. They actually drive people away from their cause because most people with a decent set of morals find their methods to be absolutely wrong.

    Now, I'm not saying that RMS or any of the free software fanatics are as bad as the IRA. The point is that they actually drive people away from their movement and others affiliated with it by being too fanatical. I support free software. I think it's a great development model. But I don't think it's the only model. I think there are other perfectly valid models. My objection is to fanatacism so great that it actually drives people away from your cause.

  • Don't blame Red Hat for human laziness/stupidity.
    I agree, and I'd take that one step further: we should be glad that there are people willing to pay $50 for something they can download for free or buy elsewhere for $2, because that's what keeps Red Hat in business.

    I'm actually one of the lazy idiots that pays $50 for each new release of Red Hat. In fact, I pay $100 since I buy both Intel and Alpha versions. But my real motivation isn't that I'm lazy; I often download the release when it first becomes available for FTP, and then buy the official box later. Why? Because I want to support Red Hat; I think that they are doing great stuff, and that they deserve the money. The fact that they give away their code and documentation under the GPL makes me more inclined to buy their product, not less.

    I may be an idiot, but the people getting the Red Hat distribution for $2 or for free should thank me.

  • After seeing "pootpoot", I checked to see if it would pootify *any* page of slashdot. Apparently, it will. Go to the pootpoot page & you can find this article (look for ESR or OSI -- they seem to survive pootification).


    poot Poot I SAY!!!!
    by Pootpoot Poot on Pootpoot Pootpoot 18, @09:37AM
    Poot Poot is poot, RMS is poot, ESR is the poot poot of all, but poot poot poot!!!!!

    poot poot out the poot!!!!!!!!

    Really, it's much better. :)
  • Can I get a witness from the congregation?

    Thank God that some one besides the Free Software Foundation [] is picking up the torch to explain the (IMHO) major differences between OSI and Free Software.

    I, too, thought that the OSI was a "good thing". That is until folks like Digital Creations [] are starting to twist free software in to purely a profit making endeavor. They happen to be the first blatant example, but not the last, I am afraid. (See my letter to the editor for Feb 11, 1999 issue of Linux Weekly News [] for further explaination.

    I share in Bruce Parens belief that

    The Open Source certification mark has already been abused in ways I find unconscionable and that I will not abide.
  • The opensource initive looked at the beginning to
    be a great way to introduce the concepts that had made Linux into what it is to the world. But in the end it just ended up giving companies which made their own bogus "open-source" licenses an excuse. I respect Bruce for not beeing willing to endorce all these fake licenses, like the so called open source licenses of Jini or Qt.
    Mr. Raymond on the other hand seems to be happy as long as he gets to read his name in the paper every day.
  • What makes RMS, Bruce, and ER seem so whiny? Is it just me or does this kind of crap come up with them every 2 months or so?
  • ...a little like ESR was grumbling "fuck you, bruce" while writing it? Paticuarly that part where they're shortly going to replace him with two people.
  • I remember what happened the last time this issue came up. O'Reilly released a press release pointing out that the license on any book is the license that the author wants. O'Reilly has before produced a book on Linux with a GPLed license. It didn't work too well from a business standpoint, but they did it anyways.

    Personally I suspect that the ghostscript license would make a lot of sense for a book. Make it proprietary for a fixed period of time, and then open source it.

    But that is not Tim's call, it is up to the authors to ask for that license.

  • Why did you even bother to mention certification abuse if you were not willing to back up your statements? Such vague statements may well be FUD for all we know. Besides, weren't you on the board which decided who would be awarded Open Source certification and who not?


  • This sounds more to me like a pissing contest over who gets to be famous for "founding the term". RMS had the idea first - but nobody likes him because he's a moral extremist. ESR is an affiable person, but he's seeming less and less about "hacking" and more and more about "corporitizing" hacking.

    Fine. Let them have the media spotlight. Just gimme my gcc and the linux kernel, and I'll be happified.

  • I'm very saddened to read this latest message from Bruce. He's done a lot to help the free/open software movement. But recently, he's done a lot to hurt it as well. At some point the community has to stop debating fine matters of principle and present a united front.

    Linux is playing with the big boys now - the announcements of SGI and IBM this week are just the latest in the Linux snowball. In order not to get crushed, we need community leadership that is effective, consistent, and professional.

    Sadly, I think Bruce's continued outbursts have really damaged his credibility, and by extension the credibility of the entire free/open software movement. If there are still serious disagreements of principle, then fine, state them and go your separate ways if necessary. But please spare us yet another political drama - it only damages us all.

  • Here's a new OSS mantra : "Shut up and code!".

    Now, anytime some stupid-ass license/ideolgy/whogivesafuck flamewar comes up, you should be able to end it with a hearty "Shut the f$%^ up and get back to work!".

    Seriously, though. Since when does developing software need to involve politics? Do you think normal people really give a rats ass? I'd wager no.

    I'm done ranting....

  • >I'm not really up to speed about what why everyone here is so against RMS, ESR, and all the Free Software guys... I
    >mean I thought as a group many of us are all for their ideals!
    >This isnt meant to start a flame, I'd just like the current reason for all the hostility. I think im out of the loop.

    I'm probably out of the loop on this also, but if I understand the issues, the disagreement comes down to how should software with GPL (or similarly worded) liscencing work. Some writers here see this as an issue with incorporating GPL'd software into proprietary software -- e.g., if Sun or Microsoft were to port Emacs to their own OS's, & only distributed the binary. Some -- such as RMS -- hold that all software on a GPL'd OS (such as Linux or BSD Unix) should not be proprietary, but follow the GPL also; in other words, if Oracle ports their database to Linux, they must include the source code with every copy of their product.

    ESR -- if I understand correctly -- is a little more pragmatic on this issue, & allows for proprietary software to be ported to GPL'd OS's. Even if this is not ESR's opinion, this view makes sense to me as a short-term strategy: we need to introduce the idea of open source, free software -- whatever the fsck you want to call the concept -- to the suits so that they begin to understand that including the source to software is not the end of the world -- or their bottom lines.

    This is a risk to both the hackers on one side, & the suits on the other. But I think we have a lot more to lose if the risk isn't taken.

  • RMS called John Ousterhout, the creator of TCL, a parasite, not Tim O'Reilly.

    I think this relates to the closed source/non-free tools that his new company has developed to cash in/build upon (your choice) the open source TCL base language.

    I see lots of proprietary extensions to free software, and I don't think that's bad. In a way, any application which runs on Linux is an proprietary addition to a Free base system. If RMS wants the TCL debugger to be free, let him write one, or any of the FSF believers. No one is stopping them.

    I think corporations generating a mix of Free and proprietary software is the way of the future. I just think certain projects are going to continue to be more feasible and achievable in a proprietary manner, at least within this capitalist society. Call me a pragmatist.
  • Bruce, if you're out there ( and I know you are ), could you please elaborate for the community what you meant in the following line:

    "The Open Source certification mark has already been abused in ways I find unconscionable".

    If the group is abusing the mark to such a degree that it became your impetus for leaving, I think there are quite a few people out there who would like to know some specifics.

    BTW, hats off to you and RMS for having a ideological intrest in Free Software. We are a community that is on an exodus from propreitary software to freedom. Without sentinels such as RMS, the Debian group, and people like yourself keeping the night watch, the wolves in sheep's clothing would have devoured that freedom long ago. ( I won't name any names, but we know who they are)
  • Damn straight.

    If you carefully look at ORA's take on Free Software, you'll see that it is more out of self-preservation than anything else. All their promotions for free software can be viewed as being redirected through a UNIX pipe-right to their wallets ( after a few filters, of course ). There's nothing wrong with that, except for that one of the filters has a conspicuous regex:


    Is there an easy solution to ORA? They distribute proprietary books on free software. So what we need is free books for free software. Programmers put in a large amount of time into writing software, but hate documentation work. I'm much more literary in nature than a coder, and there are others akin to me out there. What I wish is that there was a publisher that would accept books from the community and publish those works. The books would be under a 'free content' agreement where the source of the books is freely available to all. Practices that have yielded such success in the free software community should prove to have analogues to this 'free content', such as peer review.

    I think the LDP is in the best position to make this sort of agreement with a publisher.

  • The only reason you love ORA books is because they are all you are used to. We ( I am not innocent of using their documentation either) duped by the fact that we accept proprietary documentation.

    I know that there was a time when I accepted proprietary software. And thought it was good. But then I used free software and experienced the relinquishing of power once held far from me.

    What we need is to shift our minds from the delusion that there can't be anything better than proprietary documentation.

    > If all software was free, there wouldn't be
    > much software.

    Do you understand what Free Software is all about? If you do, and can make a statement like that, then you are the one disconnected, my friend.
  • Well, RMS gave us Emacs and GCC. I think that's a pretty big contribution to be going on with. :>
  • Oh, slashdotters are experts on hating everybody, don't let that stop you from giving us some details of how OSI trademarks are being abused...

    Of course, if all the information is out in the open, and we just haven't put the clues together in the way you have, that would also be valuable information as well.

    I'd hate to be in support of the OSI just because I don't know any better.
  • I lost a huge amount of respect for ESR when he showed up dressed as Obi-Wan Kenobi for Windows refund day.

    This "tattletale" attitude about Bruce only reinforces the prevailing view of Eric Raymond as childish.

    And what's with all the politics lately? I fell in love with Linux because it did it's job and stayed out of my way. When it didn't, I could fix it. I guess it's like anything else, success and publicity bring power, and there are those who lust after power as much as others lust after money.

    The problem here is that all the sane, decent people (like Linus and Alan Cox) don't care about the power, leaving a void to be filled by folks like ESR.
  • The whole Idea of Open Source versus freedom is very important, and I think perens makes a very good point. Open source means you get to look at the source. WHOOP DE DOO! I can take my VCR apart also, but that doesnt mean Panasonic is Open Sourceing it. The great thing that GNU-ish open source allows us to do is not only look at the code, but make modifications and distribute it freely. That is one of the greatest boons of the FSF/GNU/OSS movement. Just selling the source does not count. Freedom of distribution has to go along with it.

    People say that because now Linux is playing with the 'big boys', the whole game is different. I say it's not. It's still the same, and it's even more imperative that the Linux community stick to the roots that initially nourished it. I first started using Linux when I was 13, and I started using it because it was Free (as in $$$). It was a choice between a pirated version of Dos6.0/Win3.1 and Linux.

    The 'big boys' are not someone you want to compromise you purient goals to. The only 3 things that companies care about is $, money, and greenbacks. Why does linux need to play with the big boys to succeed? has it needed to ever play with the 'big boys'? Was Linux created because Linus identified and acted on a need for the geek community to be linked to the yuppie (business) community? NO! The Free Software movement has not grown one inch because of so called business interests. It has grown because of the socialist-like culture of the geek community - contributing to the whole without expecting a selfish reward - a concept that his completely alien to the current System in the world. Look at it, you've got the american government handing out patents for everything under the sun. If you fart in a unique position, you can fucking go and patent it.

    To conclude, Free Software means freedom in all respects, $$$ and source and distribution. Secondly, big business will eventually corrupt linux, and the whole OSS/Free software concept in general - and I believe that if this happens, linux to will become a shallow product not really worth anything, focusing more on bells and whisles to keep the sheep of the world at attention, than on good code.


    Like a bird on the wire
    Like a drunk in a midnight choir
    - L. Cohen
  • This might explain why ESR is so slow in getting a logo selected for OSI after canceling the logo contest some months ago.

    My impression is priorities need to be re-examined. I think FSF and SPI seem the most consistent and speak for the most people.

    "Man könnte froh sein, wenn die Luft so rein wäre wie das Bier"
    "We could be happy if the air was as pure as the beer"
  • , freedom is what linux is about, it's what led to its technical superiority and wide recognition it's getting now. You people are losing sight of how it all started

    Well, actually, it (Linux) started as a hobby. One day Linus popped into comp.os.minux and said "Hey, I've this OS I've been tinkering with and ... ". And as they say, the rest is history.

    Of course, even in the early days of Linux(around version .08 or so), Linux was an elitist-snobbish group, so that hasn't really changed in the past 7 or 8 years. But this Linux is freedom bs that people have been spouting was never the intent. A sad after thought perhaps, to take a cool piece of software and turn it into a political adjenda.

    Such a waste of time and energy.

  • Some of you, rightfully so, have recognized that there are certain spokespeople for the movement. But there is no galvanizing figure. Sure, Linus is the head of state for Linux, and Stallman runs his group, while ESR provides rhetoric for his followers. But there is no galvanizing figure. bill is the galvanizing figure for m$, we all know that, we call him by name. steve is the galvanizing figure for mac, another first name. larry, the other steve, are two other names we all know, because they take it upon themselves to be known.

    Who galvanizes this group? Linus doesn't want the job, and instead we have petty bickering between stalwart proponents of more or less the same ideal. Linus doesn't want the job because he has successfully figured out how to live a fulfilling life. It is important to remember that it is this community that has become over-zealous (not particularly all of us zealots) in sealing m$' doom. Face it, we're not going to nail the coffin shut. Microsoft couldn't do it to IBM, we're not going to do it to m$. But we can revolutionize the expectations of computers.

    ITs expect their systems to run, and they choose the systems that will ensure that. The focus should be on the consumer, because that's what we all would like to see, right? "Linux on every desktop," sounds like the old campaign promise, "A chicken in every pot." The motivation is right, change the expectations of all users.

    The fact of the matter is that I didn't choose to go to Linux because of Linus, Eric, Richard, or Bruce. These names were insignificant until only a few months ago. I chose it because I had higher expectations. The beliefs of any of those last three in the list are more on the side of the developer's own work, and not in galvanizing the ideal for using "free" software. It is always important to remember the reason why you're here, that way you don't get lost.

    Why are we here? Because some Finn took an operating systems class and wanted to improve the functionality of Minix. The Andrews would not let him change it (because they had a reason for the way it was), so instead he worked on a new system based on it. The reason why we're here is because we are the people who hate to see bad code, so we give advice on how to fix it. Follow the advice of Linus and use it because you need a *nix to run on your pc, and forget the rhetoric of fighting the war. I've always found that if I concentrate on what I should be focused on, the war wins itself. Win the battle first.

    Finally, I need to explain why I have used "galvanizing" so much in this reply. The process of galvanization makes your metal much stronger, it makes your sword less likely to break during the battle. With one figurehead, there is but one true ideal. Everyone is entitled to their own innovative translation of that ideal, but in the end, only the figurehead provides the true embodiment. Whether the ideal is right is best left undetermined. You can't win an argument with a zealot of either side. Stop fighting those battles, and get back to reality.

    I've said my fair share here, but it is something that should be realized. In the words of my favorite professor this semester (Yes, he is a cs prof.), "This isn't about software. We're in the entertainment business, y'all. It is all about the marketing." Get back to reality and maarket the hell out of this thing.
  • People who want to by software can buy GPLed software as well as proprietary programs. There are more Linux users who have never read the kernel source than ones who have, I am convinced. And the kernel is the first place for curious hacker-wannabes to go.

    Free software has users, as well as hackers.

    Here's a poll idea for Rob.

    The first Unix-ish source code I read was:

    - an example PPP script
    - my window manager config
    - the Linux kernel
    - BSD / AT&T code
    - Huh?
    - I haven't, what's it like?
  • Say what??

    Are you aware that a lot of people are initially quite intimidated by exactly the kinds of topics that are documented in O'Reilly books? Do you know anybody who learned Unix without buying or reading any O'Reilly books?

    You may not have noticed that if the open source world is missing something, what it's missing is good documentation. Good documentation doesn't only help you, the experienced Unix user, it also lowers the barrier that your friends face in becoming Unix users. An argument against good documentation is an argument in favor of an exclusive elitist Unix priesthood, and I don't think you really meant that you want that.

    Are you saying he's a parasite because he engages in profitable commerce? That's a pretty childish position. Some people are best motivated by profit. One can argue whether this is a character flaw, but at least it motivates them to do something. Some are close enough to retirement age that they can't afford to pour all their time into non-paying pursuits, even if they want to.

    Tim O'Reilly has also been a prominent advocate of open source software. He has a much higher profile than you or I. He gets noticed, we don't. When looking at the effects of public opinion (and yes, we really do want public opinion to favor open source), his actions make a lot bigger dent than your and my cranial churnings.

  • I'm not really up to speed about what why everyone here is so against RMS, ESR, and all the Free Software guys... I mean I thought as a group many of us are all for their ideals!

    This isnt meant to start a flame, I'd just like the current reason for all the hostility. I think im out of the loop.
  • Ok, I listen to people like you and RMS, and yeah, you sound like extremist ideologues. But every once and a while y'all say something and I sit up and take notice - without extremists, we'll all be subliminated by the grey men. ESR in my view is slacking on the ideology. His public "let a hundred flowers bloom"/"think of it as evolution in action" sangfroid appeals to my fad-jaded perspective on computing, but I see no originality - he's observing, not creating.

    I will always appreciate people who are willing to step up with a well-reasoned and critical dissent, no matter how it rocks the boat. After all, this universe is consensual, not physical, reality - we can be fooled or fool ourselves and not notice we've compromised our ethos. So, if you feel you have to distance yourself, fine. But don't be afraid to criticise.

  • I agree.

    Unfortunately, the INCREDIBLE popularity of Linux and the licensing that went along with it (that being GPL) has made it possible for people to try to carve out more than their 15 minutes of fame. I feel that Bruce Perens falls into that category, along with innumerable others.

    This is *NOT* about freedom. This is NOT about the GPL vs. the QPL vs. the NPL, etc. This is about face value. Bruce Perens wants it, everyone *BUT* Linus seems to want it.

    Linus kicks back with his wife and kids and seems to realize that there's more to life.

    What's better, Bruce Perens *AND* ESR haven't done anything near what Linus has done to promote FREE Software. In essence the EXISTENCE of Linux has made huge numbers of developers realize that Free Software exists and is viable and valuable.

    I won't say that of RMS, he's The Man. I wouldn't invite him to speak at anything CLOSE to a commercial event, but he has my respect. (I still wince whenever I read his diatribes, though, and I REFUSE to wrap my lips around that abomination 'GNU/Linux'.)

    Bruce Perens reminds me of what I used to call a 'short-timer'. The programmer who wants to be a programmer for a few years, and then get into management because that's where the real power is. See how he pushes what he's 'done' in the past, to try and ingratiate himself with developers? This is a trick every new manager I've ever had has tried, 'Hey, I wrote 3D software for a while...' It's bullshit. What are you doing NOW? Playing politics is his answer...

    In any case, the thing that bothers me is that he's gone to *ANOTHER* organization. I don't give a damn that he's quitting, but I DON'T WANT HIM TO PRETEND TO REPRESENT THE DEVELOPERS ON OPEN SOURCE.

    I don't want ANYONE short of RMS to do that, and I don't REALLY want RMS doing it either, because he'll just turn people off. (AND he's against making the computer easy to use for non-programmers, because all he cares is about the techno-elite (which we here probably mostly belong to, but it's still stinks)). I'd say Linus, but he's too smart to want to do that. (Reminds me of election politics. You don't want anyone dumb enough to want the job doing it.)

    Let's all say it together: WE DON'T NEED BRUCE PERENS OR THE OSI OR THE SPI FOR OPEN SOURCE *OR* FREE SOFTWARE TO SUCCEED! These groups should just close their doors, apologize to the people who they messed with, and get on with their own lives. Or better still, start CONTRIBUTING again. The single best argument for free software is its existence. Every minute you spend arguing for it is another minute you could have been PROVING rather than debating or puffing up your chest.

    Parasites, all of them. Bloody parasites on the side of the ACTUAL programmers who are working every day to provide good software. DAMN that makes me MAD.

If you fail to plan, plan to fail.