First FOSS OS?
Posted Mar 23, 2007 17:03 UTC (Fri) by landley
In reply to: First FOSS OS?
Parent article: The road to freedom in the embedded world
> But with freedom of knowledge?
And a couple hundred years earlier, how about Benjamin Franklin founding
the first public library in the country? (Do you honestly think this is
a recent development unique to one individual? Hello? Did you miss the
whole printing press thing?)
> > Yeah, Stallman took credit for BSD when I drove up to Boston to
> > interview
> Can you provide a link to his saying that? I know he claims to have
> influenced the BSD *License*, but I have not seen him take credit for
> the projects code. Link please.
Ok, you see above where I said "I drove up to Boston to interview him in
2000"? Spoke face to face? (He borrowed my car and left it unlocked on
the streets of Boston, and gave me a shirt someone had just given to him,
because he refuses to wear anything that has writing on it and it
says "snow" with a picture of a snowflake over the pocket. I still have
He didn't claim credit for the code, he said that he spoke to someone (on
the phone, I think, might have been Keith Bostic?) when AT&T first
challenged them on copyright grounds and convinced them to fight back and
release a cleaned-out version. (It seems unlikely that they wouldn't
have without him, but it was a digression I didn't follow up on. I note
that McKusick's write-up of this history didn't mention a need for
outside prompting to do any of this:
I've been doing my computer history research for a longish time. :)
During this interview I specificaly asked him what the FSF was doing
about deCSS and software patents. He wasn't intersted, said it wasn't
their fight, and that he had his hands full with what he was already
doing. (Which as far as I could tell, in 2000 consisted entirely of the
Gnu/Linux/Dammit campaign and traveling to brazil and czechoslovakia
giving speeches which Maddog was doing just as much of from a different
angle. I TRIED to convince him deCSS was important, to his face, in
2000, and he just wouldn't bite.)
> Please stop this. RMS is controversial enough without you making things
> up and smearing him. I am not objecting to you questiong GNUs
> contribution in todays FOSS world. But this is over the top.
I may be just a touch biased after my friends Kandy Danner and Stu Green
hosted a barbecue for him in Austin a few years back where he managed to
insult the hostess, hit on a 14 year old girl named Amber, and basically
Not Get Invited Back in a big way. (And no, I didn't make that up.)
However, my point was that Stallman taking credit for Minix-inspired
Linux makes exactly as much sense to me as Stallman taking credit for
> But Freedom of knowledge and Public Domain are even better than
> the "open source" that is where RMS philosophy comes in.
Back in the last 90's my roommate was a graduate student getting a
Master's of Library Science, and six months ago I had three different
coworkers doing clearances for Project Gutenberg. Also, Intellectual
Property Law has been a hobby of mine since sometime before I wrote this:
And I've been following the Electronic Frontier Foundation since the
Steve Jackson raid, as did everyone in the BBS world. I'd never heard of
the FSF back then, and they certainly didn't step up to defend him.
None of that has anything to do with the FSF.
> For a lot of people the slavery of copyright is OK.
Just a little over the top, don't you think?
> But for me it is not. d I wish not to be a slave to the "Intellectual
> Property" of anybody in the world.
There are five major kinds of IP law: copyrights, patents, trademarks,
contracts, and trade secrets. Very few people rail against trademarks or
contracts, and the point of both copyright and patent is to suck users
_away_ from trade secrets, which were dominant through the middle ages
and a _huge_ drag on historical progress (the whole "alchemy"
vs "chemistry" thing).
> Knowledge is not property. Deal with it.
If I have it and you don't and I'm never going to tell you what it is,
only let you pay me for me to do it for you while you remain in ignorance
of my secret, forever?
Patents are designed to expire, and they make you document the thing.
They've gotten screwed up recently but the original purpose made a whole
lot of sense. And if you don't believe in copyrights, you should never
release any code under the GPL but place it in the public domain instead
(or at least an MIT/BSD license).
Of course the more _obvious_ way you're in conflict with reality is that
the current legal system very extensively contradicts you. Fundamentally
land itself doesn't actually belong to anyone, it was here a million
years before we were and is likely to remain long after. But I still
have the legal right to shoot you for trespassing.
Which of us has problem dealing with reality? Saying "it shouldn't be
this way" is not the same as saying "it currently isn't this way". You
have to recognize current reality before you can change it.
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