LinuxCon: The tragedy of the commons gatekeepers
Posted Sep 28, 2012 16:33 UTC (Fri) by JoeBuck
In reply to: LinuxCon: The tragedy of the commons gatekeepers
Parent article: LinuxCon: The tragedy of the commons gatekeepers
I think RMS made a big mistake here, but the reasons go back to the time that "open source" was taking off (late 1990s). ESR and his gang were going around telling CEOs that yes, there was this cranky leftist from the People's Republic of Cambridge, but his good work was in the past and his ravings could be ignored, and open source was just a better way for them to make more money without paying for as many programmers. He wasn't invited to speak at conferences that promoted the "open source" idea, and was reduced to heckling from the audience. RMS could be accused of being paranoid, but people really were out to get him, so he invented invariant sections because he thought of it as a way of preventing people from censoring him.
The original GNU manuals only permitted verbatim copying, so compared to that, the GFDL is more free. Still, I think that the idea of invariant sections, if it was ever useful, does more harm than good and should be dropped; there are plenty of other ways to communicate effectively, and distributions would have no motivation to censor the GNU manuals by taking out the free software advocacy if the sections were not invariant.
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