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First FOSS OS?

First FOSS OS?

Posted Mar 21, 2007 0:38 UTC (Wed) by bronson (subscriber, #4806)
In reply to: First FOSS OS? by anonymous1
Parent article: The road to freedom in the embedded world

> I never got to use them so I cant give them any credit

Well, that's awfully strange. You're hell-bent on trying to win credit for the FSF and yet you are totally unwilling to credit the FOSS OSes that came before it? Care to explain yourself?

If you're not careful, the general public will come to know the FSF as "those weirdos who are still carrying on about calling it GNU@Linux." There comes a point when loud advocacy starts doing more harm than good. Just an observation.


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First FOSS OS?

Posted Mar 21, 2007 5:13 UTC (Wed) by anonymous1 (guest, #41963) [Link]

I use GNU+Linux, there I gave GNU credit. I did not use other FOSS OSes and cant give them credit. I cant say "I use XYZ FOSS OS" because I dont use XYZ FOSS OS which might have come first.

When my friends ask me what OS are you using. I dont tell them the whole list of FOSS OSes from start to finish. I tell them its "GNU+Linux" because I want to give credit to Linux kernel hackers and GNU.

Interesting that you concentrate on the minor point of giving credit to GNU. I thought I made myself very clear. I am giving credit to Free Software philosophy and my goal is to end the slavery of copyright. I dont care that much about giving GNU or FSF credit. Giving credit is merely a means to an end of freedom.

I notice that the nobody else strives to explain the importance of freedom with respect to knowledge, FSF does that hence I point to people to them.

First FOSS OS?

Posted Mar 21, 2007 8:31 UTC (Wed) by bronson (subscriber, #4806) [Link]

"GNU+Linux" gives credit to two concepts: GNU and Linux. That's it. If you intend to give credit to the Free Software philosophy or end the "slavery of copyright", a trite 9-character slogan won't help you at all.

I worry that by dwelling on petty issues like this, the FSF is actually marginalizing themselves rather than promoting themselves. I know that I'm personally less of a fan now than I was back in 2000 (I contributed code but not in this decade). The GPLv3 is overreaching IMO, and the FSF is spending valuable time on petty issues like "GNU:Linux" and badvista.org rather than, say, releasing Emacs. The FSF used to lead by example, now they're mostly shouting instructions from the rear. It's depressing to watch.

Nobody else strives to explain freedom with respect to knowledge? (notwithstanding the GPLv3 process I suppose...) How about the EFF? Or OpenBSD? Or Red Hat, Ubuntu, Debian, or any other distro? The Apache Project? The Eclipse Foundation? I could go on...

Anyhow, it's apparent that neither of us are achieving any traction here and I feel I've said my peace. Thank you for the discussion, whoever you are.

First FOSS OS?

Posted Mar 21, 2007 11:42 UTC (Wed) by NigelK (guest, #42083) [Link]

The GPLv3 is overreaching IMO, and the FSF is spending valuable time on petty issues like "GNU:Linux" and badvista.org rather than, say, releasing Emacs. The FSF used to lead by example, now they're mostly shouting instructions from the rear.

Good observation. Most of the people doing the actual work, including those people who truly deserve the credit for Linux's success, just do not have any dealings with the FSF beyond using the GPL2 and maybe tracking what's happening regarding GPL3.

The only reason why the FSF has any importance today is because they're now trying to reshape everything using the GPL3. Without that sideshow, they'd be yesterday's hero.

First FOSS OS?

Posted Mar 22, 2007 2:01 UTC (Thu) by JoeBuck (guest, #2330) [Link]

Good luck doing development without RMS's compiler.

First FOSS OS?

Posted Mar 22, 2007 10:43 UTC (Thu) by NigelK (guest, #42083) [Link]

I was using free C compilers before I'd ever *heard* of GCC and the FSF.

First FOSS OS?

Posted Mar 22, 2007 18:26 UTC (Thu) by JoeBuck (guest, #2330) [Link]

There was no free C compiler before GCC. What compiler were you using?

First FOSS OS?

Posted Mar 22, 2007 18:44 UTC (Thu) by NigelK (guest, #42083) [Link]

There was no free C compiler before GCC. What compiler were you using?

I didn't say it was before GCC, I said before I'd ever heard of GCC.

I don't remember the name - it was something I bought from a PD (Public Domain) library on floppy 15 to 20 years ago. It was a DOS program, supported the full C spec at the time (or as much of it as I used, apart from fork() obviously), and allowed me to write graphical programs for MSDOS5.

It was at least free as in beer, although I don't remember if the source was included or not. I stopped using it in 1992 when I started programming HPUX workstations.

The point is that if that FSF hadn't existed, if RMS didn't write GCC, someone else's C compiler would have taken its place as the compiler of choice simply because other people were writing those sorts of thing at the time anyway. The Public Domain scene was *massive* for a time during the 80's and early 90's before Internet access became more widespread.

First FOSS OS?

Posted Mar 22, 2007 21:23 UTC (Thu) by landley (subscriber, #6789) [Link]

> The point is that if that FSF hadn't existed, if RMS didn't write GCC,
> someone else's C compiler would have taken its place as the compiler of
> choice simply because other people were writing those sorts of thing at
> the time anyway. The Public Domain scene was *massive* for a time
> during the 80's and early 90's before Internet access became more
> widespread.

Seconded.

Anybody remember Jim Butterfield? My commodore 64 came bundled with a
bonus disk of software, about half of which was public domain stuff he'd
written. Here's an interview with him that predates the founding of the
FSF by a year, where he talks about writing public domain software and
author's rights to do what they like with their programs:

http://www.commodore.ca/history/people/jim_butterfield_co...

Rob

First FOSS OS?

Posted Mar 23, 2007 13:01 UTC (Fri) by filker0 (guest, #31278) [Link]

There was no free C compiler before GCC. What compiler were you using?

This quote makes my point. There were free C compilers before GCC. I even mentioned one of them in my comment. In my senior year in college, I got a 9-track tape from the Decus library that contained 2 free C compilers, 7 or 8 Pascal compilers, 3 Lisp interpreters, a BCPL compiler, a BCP compiler, a number of Basic interpreters, and lots of other "Public Domain" compilers.

This was in 1980. Several years before GNU, the GNU Manifesto, or GCC.

It was because of what RMS saw as a betrayal of the trust that the PD software developers put in the community when releasing their code that he came up with the GNU Manifesto in the first place. RMS decided that the rules governing the Public Domain were too loose, allowing proprietary changes to once PD projects to be all proprietary, allowing credit to be stripped from a product and a company to claim complete ownership of the source even if all they did was add a command here or just their logo to the runtime start-up banner. The GPL was created to replace the Public Domain with a license that did not give up control of the code but expressed a perpetual free-use in the spirit of the software sharing community that RMS "grew up" in.

You can thank Unipress for this, I think. If I recall correctly, they're the ones that pushed RMS over that cliff.

First FOSS OS?

Posted Mar 23, 2007 14:18 UTC (Fri) by NigelK (guest, #42083) [Link]

Agreed. However:

You can thank Unipress for this, I think. If I recall correctly, they're the ones that pushed RMS over that cliff.

Whilst it was RMS who came up with the GPL itself, it's another case of there would have been someone else to step into the breach had he not done so. There were lots of rumblings during the late-80's (GPL1 was written in 1989) over these same issues, especially credit-stripping. Some people by that time were already putting their own usage and distribution restrictions in their README and/or documentation files. RMS was probably the first one to came up with a popular set of restrictions, but my licence history isn't so good here.

But if RMS had decided to go into gardening instead, we'd still be pretty much where we are today, just with different players but similar licences and projects.

Free software, FOSS, RMS, and too much discursion

Posted Mar 23, 2007 15:38 UTC (Fri) by filker0 (guest, #31278) [Link]

I never meant to imply that RMS was unique in that regard. There were a number of us in the
free software community at the time who were just as upset about trends as he was. Our
motivations overlapped, but were not always the same. My mention of Unipress is because of
the Emacs debicle; that was Stallman's motive for becoming the advocate that he became. There
were people who worked at DEC who were at least RMS's equal when it came to software
freedom, but they had other motives as well (such as insuring the ability to run something they
liked on hardware that the authors didn't support, or no longer supported.)

About that same time, AT&T decided to try to make a commercial go at Unix, and the licensing
became much more restrictive (and expensive) than it had been. This made it more difficult for
software tinkerers to try out new OS ideas within an existing OS. (No other "full featured" OS was
available on so many different hardware architectures at the time.) This is where the "Pubix"
project came from, and a motivation for GNU (the original goal) as well. Keep in mind, this was
in the early to mid 1980s. The PC was not the target of most of these earlier projects; PDP-11s,
VAXen, other mini-computers, plus DEC-10/20s, and most likely Burroughs, Univac, IBM, CDC
and Honeywell mainframes, were the target systems. It wasn't until the 386 that GNU software
really had much penetration into the Intel based personal computer segment.

My motivation for getting into the free software community was a mix of expansion of
knowledge, sharing of ideas, support for odd environments and architectures, and to improve
the quality of software. I've never had the anti-commercial software / anti-copyright agenda,
though I am firmly and vocally anti software patents. I agree with Linus about GPLv2, and think
that GPLv3 is more a political statement than it needs to be. I think that the anti-* stuff that has
been added to the draft should be in "optional" parts that can be included or excluded as the
author of the original work chooses. My original view of free software was that if you incorporate
a free software component into your proprietary work, anyone should have the right to the
source for that component in its original form and, in most cases, your modification of it, but did
not extend to the entire composite that included that component. I saw some of the early GPL
stuff and thought it was over-reaching, and continued to release code into the public domain
well into the 90s before I ever released anything under the GPL. The library license made me
more comfortable.

I knew RMS at the time all this was happening, as he and I shared some friends. I doubt that he
ever took notice of me; I did help Martin Minow maintain Dave Conroy's DECUS C collection (I did
the POS version of libc, and contributed in one or two other minor places), and he invited me to
parties that Stallman also attended. I was not overly impressed with RMS, but then again, I never
worked with him nor dealt with him on any technical issues, just met him at parties in the Boston
area, and he tended to be a bit arrogant, and I was somewhat arrogant myself in my own quiet
way and found him a bit abrasive. It was a long time ago.

My heros in the Free Software arena include the afore mentioned David Conroy (now at
Microsoft), Martin Minow (greatly missed), Andrew S. Tannenbaum (or however he spells it), Larry
Wall (even though I've never liked Perl much), along with a few others who nobody reading this
are likely to have heard about and that I've lost track of.

RMS may still be involved in the development of software, but he has made himself into a full-
time fundimentalist Free Software evangelist. His stated positions are too absolute for my tastes,
but I believe that if he were to bend towards any middle ground, his position as avatar of the
Free Software movement will be forever compromised. You might want to view RMS as the Pope,
with ESR as Martin Luther. Me? I'm Jewish, so I have my own beliefs. At least neither Richard nor
Eric has ever tried to imprison me as a non-believer, though I think that Eric may have once
joked about doing me harm (at a filksing; I don't remember for sure) for a bad pun or some such.

I am not anti-RMS, but I'm not pro, either. I do believe that the GNU project has done a lot of
good. I have personally benefited from it. I believe that GNU and FSF have a place in today's
market of ideas. I do not believe that they should be able to retroactively add new restrictions to
existing GPL licensed software that they don't own; what they do with the stuff they do own is
their business. I am anti-DRM, anti-software patent, and anti-copyright abuse.

So getting back to the original point -- RMS was pushed over the edge to become the advocate
he became because of what happened with one of his creations, emacs. Had it not been him, it
would have been someone else. It took many years between the announcement of the GNU
project and the rise of FSF in the free software movement. GCC became what it is now because
hardware vendors saw it as a way to get a compiler for their new processor on the cheap, so they
helped with its development, either funding others to do it or doing the work themselves and
releasing that back "upstream" (as they were required to do).

I will not belittle what RMS has done, but I don't believe that he's the pioneer that some paint him
as (I'm not sure that he paints himself that way, I've not spoken to him personally since 1985).
He is a figure that looms large, and has a personality to go with it. He is no closer to the truth
than many others, but he's louder than most. He stands on the shoulders of giants, true, but
he's not alone, and others stand on his shoulders. Don't discount him; He has a lot of influence.
Don't take him too seriously; that leads to a narrowing of your own horizons. Think for yourself
and don't be afraid to agree with him on some things and disagree on others.

Free software, FOSS, RMS, and too much discursion

Posted Feb 9, 2011 7:42 UTC (Wed) by rs79 (guest, #72801) [Link]

Agreed Dave Conroy is the real hero here. In 1975 I worked for Teklogix in Canada where Dave had worked and was still doing some consulting. He'd just finished University of Waterloo and wrote a C compiler for RSX11M.

Vik Sondi and I were the first two people I know of to use it, presumably others at Waterlook did, although I went there the next year and met most of the Unix poeple and never saw Dave's compiler used there - we didn't need to we had real Bell Labs Unix on a PDP 11/45 and it *had* a C compiler already - they had no need of RSX there. And we sure coldn't use Unix for real work. And RT-11 Sucked. Badly.

Dave gave the compiler to DECUS, the DEC users group. It popped up on my radar in Los Angeles in 1984 when we used it to generate Z8000 code. I noticed Dave's name was still in it. By 1992 or so I'd noticed the free C compiler I got from John "hoptoad" Gilmore's site said it was a port of the DECUS C compiler - and was now called "gcc".

I dunno what RMS wrote, but from what I've seen Dave Conroy wrote what is now called gcc.

As an aside, I met Charles Forsyth briefly at Waterloo. He looked a bit like a grown up Harry Potter and always wore a blue blazer. Dave looked like a deadhead, they were quite the pair.

There's a picture of me and Dave at the 1975 Teklogix company picnic in Terra Cotta, Ontario here: http://rs79.vrx.net/works/photoblog/2011/Feb/9/.rjsdgcs.j... I'm in the bicycle getup, I'd ridden 50 miles to get there, Dave is in the blue shirt and long hair.

First FOSS OS?

Posted Mar 22, 2007 17:30 UTC (Thu) by landley (subscriber, #6789) [Link]

> Good luck doing development without RMS's compiler.

Fabrice Bellard's Tiny C Compiler (http://tinyc.org) is somewhat stalled
since all his time's going into qemu these days, but last I checked the
wikipedia entry for it (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiny_C_Compiler)
still linked to the mercurial repository of my personal fork of the
project (http://landley.net/hg/tinycc) as a way to stay up to date. I
should probably also update
http://fabrice.bellard.free.fr/tcc/tccboot.html when I get the time...

So yeah, I've got that covered. It's still just on my todo list because
I can still get GCC under GPLv2, but when that goes GPLv3 only I've got a
replacement waiting.

I've used Turbo/Borland C, I've used Watcom's x86->PPC cross compiler,
I've used IBM's VisualAge, I've used Sun's C compiler on Solaris, and
probably a few others I'm not remembering at the moment. Nobody ever
called OS/2 Watcom-OS/2, or called WWIV Turbo/WWIV. Using that as
justification for the GNU/Linux/Dammit crusade is deeply silly. Even
Microsoft doesn't claim to own programs built with Visual C or Quick C
(most of the time).

Rob

First FOSS OS?

Posted Mar 22, 2007 18:04 UTC (Thu) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

GNU doesn't claim ownership of programs built with GCC, either.

Of course GCC will never go GPLv3 only: that would have catastrophic consequences, as no non-GPLv3ed software would be buildable with such a GCC (which is obviously deleterious). The runtime libraries will remain under various flavours of GPL+exception (the precise nature of the exception varying depending on the nature of the language so as to ensure that programs compiled with GCC are not encumbered: the GNAT runtime, with its cross-unit inlining, needs different exceptions from libstdc++ needs, which needs different exceptions to libgcc or libjava...)

The *compiler* will probably go GPLv3 (except for the docs *sigh*), but GCC is more than just a compiler.

First FOSS OS?

Posted Mar 22, 2007 18:28 UTC (Thu) by JoeBuck (guest, #2330) [Link]

GCC will go GPLv3 only, but all the support libraries GCC relies on have a "special exception" clause that essentially lets you build proprietary code with gcc.

First FOSS OS?

Posted Mar 22, 2007 21:09 UTC (Thu) by landley (subscriber, #6789) [Link]

If gcc actually requires this exception than any gplv3 word processor
will require a similar exception to avoid the word processing documents
you save out from being considered derived works of the word processor,
and that's deeply silly.

They came up with lgpl for glibc because significant chunks of the
library wind up copied verbatim into the resulting program (especially
when statically linked), so you can make a strong case that it IS a
derived work. But translation software shouldn't slap an extra layer of
copyright on someone's document when it turns french into spanish.
There's no additional creative element embodied in the resulting work.

Having the exception to make you feel better is one thing, but compiling
a program with Microsoft's proprietary compilerm, or Sun's Java compiler,
doesn't make the result owned by Microsoft either. (The runtime
libraries are another matter.)

Rob

First FOSS OS?

Posted Mar 23, 2007 14:19 UTC (Fri) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

Word processors don't textually copy parts of the word processor into
documents you save with it.

GCC *does* textually copy parts of itself (libgcc, libstdc++ headers,
<stddef.h>...) into programs built with it (some of these technically get
copied by the linker, but it's GCC that induces the linker into doing that
copying).

Microsoft *do* claim rights over programs you build with their C compiler,
again because of the language runtime (mostly? they may have other
patent-related reasoning which I'm not really interested in since it
doesn't apply to anything remotely free).

First FOSS OS?

Posted Mar 23, 2007 14:16 UTC (Fri) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

I was trying to emphasise that the *exceptions* would remain, and
GPL+exception != GPL.

First FOSS OS?

Posted Mar 21, 2007 21:40 UTC (Wed) by anonymous1 (guest, #41963) [Link]

> a trite 9-character slogan won't help you at all

I hope it does. " This didn't mean they would all agree with us, but at least they would pay attention to the arguments. They would give it serious consideration." http://fsfeurope.org/documents/rms-fs-2006-03-09.en.html#...

>Nobody else strives to explain freedom with respect to knowledge?

Yes. Nobody. e.g. Linus says "Me, I just don't care about proprietary software. It's not "evil" or "immoral," it just doesn't matter."
http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?ar...

What in effect he is saying is that copyright is not a problem. For me it is a serious problem and somebody needs to talk about it. Have you read Misintrepreting Copyright?

> FSF used to lead by example, now they're mostly shouting
> instructions from the rear. It's depressing to watch.

Well they make 3/4 millon dollars a year. They can take leadership in developing sw. Even assuming the best leadership their contributions will be a drop in the FOSS ocean. (they have high priority projects http://www.fsf.org/campaigns/priority.html but that is still a drop)

Why was FSF important in 1980s? Becuase the community was relatively very small any technical contributions that they gave were significant. Being in a central place (the MIT) they could act as a clearing house, absorb and send out techinal impovements etc. With the advent of net anybody can do that, and there is no reason why the FOSS community needs them to act in that role.

FSFs importance was never merely technical, it has always been about the spread of the idea of freedom. They had an effect on the licensing terms of BSD, and other important projects. (everybody knows gplv2 is cool).

http://www.oreilly.com/openbook/freedom/ch09.html
"Hired in 1986, Bostic had taken on the personal project of porting BSD over to the Digital Equipment Corporation's PDP-11 computer. It was during this period, Bostic says, that he came into close interaction with Stallman during Stallman's occasional forays out to the west coast. "I remember vividly arguing copyright with Stallman while he sat at borrowed workstations at CSRG," says Bostic. "We'd go to dinner afterward and continue arguing about copyright over dinner."

The arguments eventually took hold, although not in the way Stallman would have liked. In June, 1989, Berkeley separated its networking code from the rest of the AT&T-owned operating system and distributed it under a University of California license."

The modified BSD license as we know today is also in part due to RMS.

"The University of California's "obnoxious advertising clause" would later prove to be a problem. Looking for a less restrictive alternative to the GPL, some hackers used the University of California, replacing "University of California" with the name of their own instution. The result: free software programs that borrowed from dozens of other programs would have to cite dozens of institutions in advertisements. In 1999, after a decade of lobbying on Stallman's part, the University of California agreed to drop this clause."
"The BSD License Problem" at http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/bsd.html.

RMS wrote a beautiful essay on Free Encylopedia in late 2000 if not earlier. You can see that he might as well have been talking about wikipedia (except that the essay preceded wikipedia).
http://www.gnu.org/encyclopedia/free-encyclopedia.html

To sum up. When it was important to develop code, fsf did that. Now it is more important to talk about freedom and they are doing that.

RMS has been clear about this. To paraphrase him "people are spreading gnu+linux but not talking about freedoms. if we dont tell them why gnu+linux is important, if we dont talk about freedoms they will lose the freedoms. i am going to spread the word becuase there are a lot of people spreading the SW"

First FOSS OS?

Posted Mar 21, 2007 22:17 UTC (Wed) by landley (subscriber, #6789) [Link]

> >Nobody else strives to explain freedom with respect to knowledge?
>
> Yes. Nobody. e.g. Linus says "Me, I just don't care about proprietary
> software. It's not "evil" or "immoral," it just doesn't matter."

Linus doesn't, therefore nobody does, because nobody except Linus
matters? The various organizations like EFF that the earlier poster
mentioned don't even deserve a direct rebuttal? Before the FSF there was
no such thing as freedom, organizations like the ACLU are more recent
developments?

Note the question marks.

Now claiming that the FSF was vital to helping Steve Jackson fight to get
his computers back after they were federally siezed without a warrant,
and proving that the first amendment applies online, that would be
sarcasm. It was the Austin chapter of the Electronic Frontier
Foundation.

> The modified BSD license as we know today is also in part due to RMS.

Yeah, Stallman took credit for BSD when I drove up to Boston to interview
him in 2000. (I also remember he left my car door unlocked.)

For a perspective on why open source is good that has nothing whatsoever
to do with stallman's philosophy in any way, shape, or form, try:

http://landley.net/writing/stuff/commodity.html

I'm sure he'll find a way to take credit for Adam Smith's invisible hand
given enough time, though...

First FOSS OS?

Posted Mar 22, 2007 2:26 UTC (Thu) by drag (subscriber, #31333) [Link]

That's why I like capitalism. (True capitalism. Not 'haha I am a big capitolist and I make lots of people lots of money; now pass laws to protect my market') It's goes very well with Freedom.

It's the economics that goes with the politics.

First FOSS OS?

Posted Mar 23, 2007 0:42 UTC (Fri) by anonymous1 (guest, #41963) [Link]

> Linus doesn't, therefore nobody does,

"Linux community has done (and yes, I'll take at least some of the credit for that personally) has been to try to view it as just a license, i.e. strip the politics away from it." -Linus

It is not that nobody else does it. But just that I find that he is a good summary/reflection of OSS opinion.
OSS are a good example of spreading freedom via code, but they dont talk about the immorality of copyright. It is fine with Linus and a lot of other people if under current laws 99% of the worlds non-western people are criminals under copyright law. I dont think learning or using forms of knowledge should be criminalized.

> Before the FSF there was no such thing as freedom,

You are exaggerating here. I said that they talk about freedom of knowledge. Which is one aspect of the various freedoms of being a human.

> organizations like the ACLU are more recent developments?

I did not find that freedom of knowledge to be the defining role of ACLU, sure they have done good work with civil rights. But with freedom of knowledge?

Debian, EFF are much more recent organisations and dont do as much advocacy as FSF does.

>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.

>I'm sure he'll find a way to take credit for Adam Smith
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.

> For a perspective on why open source is good
>http://landley.net/writing/stuff/commodity.html

I have given enough thought to know that "open source" is good, your arguments are not new to me.
But Freedom of knowledge and Public Domain are even better than the "open source" that is where RMS philosophy comes in.
For a lot of people the slavery of copyright is OK. But for me it is not. d I wish not to be a slave to the "Intellectual Property" of anybody in the world.

Knowledge is not property. Deal with it.

First FOSS OS?

Posted Mar 23, 2007 17:03 UTC (Fri) by landley (subscriber, #6789) [Link]

> But with freedom of knowledge?

http://lwn.net/Articles/177602/

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
the shirt.)

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:
http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/opensources/book/kirkmck.html )

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
Adam Smith.

> 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:

http://www.fool.com/portfolios/rulemaker/2000/rulemaker00...
http://www.fool.com/portfolios/rulemaker/2000/rulemaker00...
http://www.fool.com/portfolios/rulemaker/2000/rulemaker00...
http://www.fool.com/portfolios/rulemaker/2000/rulemaker00...
http://www.fool.com/portfolios/rulemaker/2000/rulemaker00...

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.

Rob

First FOSS OS?

Posted Mar 28, 2007 4:05 UTC (Wed) by anonymous1 (guest, #41963) [Link]

>how about Benjamin Franklin founding the first public library in the country?

Your references are interesting. ACLU, EFF, Ben Franklin. "the country" by which i presume you mean USA.

I guess only 5% of the worlds population matters. The rest? ohh they can be slaves to copyright. Right? I have to reject that NorthAmerican centrisim.

Of all the orgs that you mentioned I have great respect for Micheal Hart of Project Gutenberg. He is an advocate of the Public Domain. and i dont think he likes more than 14 (maybe 28) year copyrights.

> 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).

and allow other people to make put code back under the slavery of copyright. Nope. GPL defends Freedom, and I am not going to use anything inferior. Of course you understand this well

"[GPL] preamble explaining how it uses copyright law against itself, to effectively keep software in the public domain, and prevent it from being taken OUT of the public domain" -Rob Landley

> Of course the more _obvious_ way you're in conflict with reality
> is that the current legal system very extensively contradicts you

yeah... europe dominated the world for a 500 hundred years and copyright is ubiquitous since the colonial powers signed berne(?) in late 1800s. i see no reason to assume that law defines morality.

> only let you pay me for me to do it for you while you remain
> in ignorance of my secret, forever?

Good strawman. Read "Against Intellectual Monopoly"
http://www.dklevine.com/general/intellectual/against.htm

most of what we produce is for local consumption, in our local societies. if you reveal a secret in your local community, they why should people who are shores away pay you a royalty. because you are royalty and can impose your will on them? you mean colonial subjects. Now i get it.

I notice that you did not bother to reply to my assertion the OSS people dont care "if under current laws 99% of the worlds non-western people are criminals under copyright law." I presume you read "Misinterpreting Copyright"
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/misinterpreting-copyright.html

non-western goverments (in the 60's and 70's)tried and failed to get better copyright treaties

C.F. Johnson,'The Origins of the Stockholm Protocol',
Bulletin of the Copyright Society of the USA, XVIII (1970)
vol 18, pp91, 142-143, 180.

Access to Knowledge is another recent effort to deal with the salvery of copyright and other forms of "IP" .
http://www.cptech.org/a2k/

First FOSS OS?

Posted Mar 21, 2007 23:07 UTC (Wed) by bronson (subscriber, #4806) [Link]

You'll notice that I never claimed that Linus strives to explain freedom. That's clearly untrue. Good strawman argument though!

RMS predicted Wikipedia the same way he predicted a free Unix? So why doesn't he ask Wikimedia to call it "GNU+Wikipedia"? This would get a LOT more people to pay serious attention to the arguments than "GNU+Linux", wouldn't it? Probably a few orders of magnitude more.

First FOSS OS?

Posted Mar 22, 2007 19:46 UTC (Thu) by NigelK (guest, #42083) [Link]

RMS predicted Wikipedia the same way he predicted a free Unix?

In 2000? He was hardly the first man to come up with the concept of an electronic online encyclopedia written by a vast array of far-flung writers updated (semi | in | )frequently. Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide, anyone? That was 1978.

Sorry, that's the GNU/Hitchhiker's Guide. RMS had the same idea, therefore the idea is his.

First FOSS OS?

Posted Mar 23, 2007 1:30 UTC (Fri) by anonymous1 (guest, #41963) [Link]

>You'll notice that I never claimed that Linus strives

You claimed that RedHat is a counterexample, but are they. They have no problem with copyright. In fact claming that they have "intellectual property". Really? Since when are government granted monopolies property?
http://www.redhat.com/legal/legal_statement.html

Property Rights and Intellectual Monopoly by Michele Boldrin and David K.Levine
http://www.dklevine.com/general/intellectual/coffee.htm

"All of this brings us to what intellectual property law is really about - a reality that is simply obscured by analogies to other types of property. Intellectual property law is not about your right to control your copy of your idea - this is a right that we have just pointed out, does not need a great deal of protection. What intellectual property law is really about is about your right to control my copy of your idea."

"The closest case is that of slavery. That is, the courts will not enforce a contract in which you sell yourself into slavery. In the case of slavery, as in the case of intellectual "property" we believe that the economic and moral arguments point in the same direction for the same reason. Your labor is irrevocably bound to your person. To enforce a contract in which you sell yourself to someone else requires them to enforce the contract by intrusive, expensive, and morally offensive measures. Hence we allow you to rent your labor, but not sell yourself."

> RMS predicted Wikipedia the same way he predicted a free Unix?

It is not merely about prediction. It is about setting out to work and trying to do it. "A similar non-wiki project, the GNUpedia project, co-existed with Nupedia early in its history; however, it has been retired and its creator, free-software figure Richard Stallman, has lent his support to Wikipedia."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia#Related_projects

Not just that, trying to come up with the principles of how it should be licensed etc... is important. I gave a link to the essay because he explains the principles clearly and I found them useful.
e.g "Permit mirror sites." Seems trivial right? Not fully. I tried to get images in wikipedia and you cant download them. Because some of them are there under fair use, wikipedia is trying to weed out "fair use" images as much as possible even if it costs them a bit in quality. Why? Because then anybody can build mirror sites with images at that point. I want to donate such a mirror site to a school without internet access. (want kids to view images also, text is so boring)

"The last and most important rule for pages in the encyclopedia is the exclusionary rule:

If a page on the web covers subject matter that ought to be in the encyclopedia or the course library, but its license is too restricted to qualify, we must not make links to it from encyclopedia articles or from courses. "
Wikipedia follows a similar rule.

This is not about praising RMS. It is just that he is thoughtful and what he says has a lot of utility. We must consider his arguments both on rational and moral grounds. Whether we agree or not is a different matter.

First FOSS OS?

Posted Mar 23, 2007 10:30 UTC (Fri) by NigelK (guest, #42083) [Link]

Wikipedia wasn't the first.

http://www.galactic-guide.com/faq/faq.shtml#what-is-pgg

The Galactic Guide started in 1991.

Can I mirror Galactic Guide?

Posted Mar 28, 2007 3:23 UTC (Wed) by anonymous1 (guest, #41963) [Link]

Do I the freedoms of free culture w.r.t. Galactic Guide?


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