GFDL does not...
Posted Mar 4, 2005 5:34 UTC (Fri) by komarek
In reply to: GFDL does not...
Parent article: A day in the life of emacs
That Richard wants to maintain control over work for which he has the copyright, is not akin to being a dictator in general. The FSF policy is GFDL, and that is what covers the GNU Emacs manual.
That the fellow from XEmacs asked RMS to "reconsider" his enforcement or selection of this license is interesting, and gutsy. But the tone of that fellow's post was "maybe you can compromise, and hence mend some fences". This seems a bit unlikely:
1) RMS doesn't compromise on his projects. He decides. He seems to care little or nothing for convenience, and principal is everything.
2) Attempts to mend fences in the past have never made any headway. Unless the XEmacs team has something to offer (perhaps soliciting the approval of some XEmacs copyright holders, in order to adjust the licensing), then XEmacs has nothing.
3) And let's not forget: GNU Emacs was the first Emacs. Derivitive works of Emacs that hid their modifications are *the motivation* for the creation of the GPL. RMS discovered that not everyone believed in the golden rule, and some who did would still sign NDA's that prevented them from following it. After being taken advantage of, RMS found a way to defend himself and his work: copyleft. XEmacs is one of these derivatives, one with a long history.
As I understand it, licensing issues prevent XEmacs from contributing improvements back to Emacs. That XEmacs is open at all is nice, but that doesn't help the mother of XEmacs (which is Emacs, before GNU Emacs, iirc). RMS is upset that anyone would ever violate the golden rule, and treat their neighbors poorly. Maybe that's life, but that doesn't mean RMS has to accept the status quo.
I really don't understand the dictator argument. It seems similar to those arguments that compare Red Hat to Microsoft. RMS is not trying to take over the world. He isn't trying to take over anything. He is trying to defend his work, and the work entrusted to the FSF. He also tries to help those who share his priorities and morals (through FSF legal support, for example).
The GNU/Linux debacle is unfortunate. I wish RMS would have said "I will call it GNU/Linux, because it appears to me as the GNU system plus Linus Torvald's excellent kernel." But he didn't. And doesn't. In trying to make his point about the GNU project remaining relevant, and in trying to keep the name of GNU alive where GNU software is used, he has said some strange things. But his actions have *never* been dictatorial, as far as I recall. And his actions are worth far more than his words.
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