Neowin Exclusive: Stallman on the current state of GNU/Linux

Richard M. Stallman is defined by Wikipedia as being an "American software freedom activist, hacker and software developer." He is perhaps most notably known for his work on the Free Software movement. Stallman is also the father of the GNU operating system, that which is commonly referred to as Linux but more accurately defined as GNU/Linux.


Richard M. Stallman, father of Free Software

Given the current state of technology, with both Windows 7 and Snow Leopard scheduled for release, we at Neowin figured it would be a good time to sit down with the "opposition" and hear a defense of Free Software:

Neowin: What would you say are the main achievements of Free Software, and furthermore, GNU/Linux, in the past 12 months?

Stallman: There are now netbooks (from Lemote) that are shipped with a GNU/Linux system that is 100% free software, and a free BIOS-equivalent too.

There is now a video hosting site (dailymotion) which distributes video in Ogg Theora format, rather than Flash containing patented MPEG4 formats.

There is now a web advertising service (AdBard) which won't give your site ads for proprietary software.

The President of Brazil told me that Brazil's public schools will move to free software. (All schools should teach only free software, because they need to teach the spirit of cooperation and sharing knowledge.)


Neowin: How do you think the free alternatives to commercial software (think GIMP for Photoshop) compare in terms of functionality, ease of use and productivity?

Stallman: This varies from program to program. I have never used Photoshop, and just touched the GIMP once, so I can't compare them from personal experience. I have heard people say the GIMP is better, but the lack of a restricted color-matching feature hampered certain uses.

I have used OpenOffice Writer occasionally, but I can't compare it myself with Microsoft Word. Large organizations have moved to it; whatever its imperfections may be, it is clearly adequate.

Any conclusion about comparing free and proprietary programs depends on the values we judge them by. If we judge solely in terms of practical convenience, either one might be better, depending on specifics. But if we value freedom highly, the program that respects our freedom is always better than the one which takes it away.

That's the reason I launched the development of the GNU operating system: to make it possible to use a computer and have freedom. I hoped to make technical improvements over Unix also, but that was a side issue. If Unix had been ethically acceptable, I could have made those technical improvements in Unix, and saved myself a lot of trouble. What made it necessary to completely replace Unix -- which is why the replacement is called GNU's Not Unix -- was that Unix's proprietary software license did not respect the essential freedoms.


Neowin: Who do you see as a bigger "competitor" to Free Software: Microsoft or Apple?

Stallman: "Competition" is not a strong enough term to describe the conflict between living with freedom or without. Free software respects the user's freedom; proprietary software takes it away.

There are four crucial freedoms that define free software:

    Freedom 0, the freedom to run the program as you wish.

    Freedom 1, the freedom to study the source code of the program, and then change it to make the program do what you wish.

    Freedom 2, the freedom to redistribute exact copies.

    Freedom 3, the freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions, supposing you have made modified versions.

These four freedoms are crucial because they allow users to cooperate and let them control what the program does. Using free software, the users control their computing, both individually and collectively. Any group can make their version do whatever it is they want. Any individual or company who doesn't like that collective decision can change it for himself or itself. Those who don't know how to program can also take advantage of these freedoms, by paying a programmer to make the changes they want.

Proprietary software keeps the users divided and helpless; it gives the developer unjust power over whoever uses it. This practice is wrong, and the aim the Free Software Movement is to put an end to it. The question is not "Who will succeed in getting more customers?" but "Can we win freedom?"

In a question business competition, we say, "Let the best product win," implicitly presuming all the products equally ethical, and differ only in affordances and price. (Of course, that's not necessarily true; one may be made by union workers and the other in a sweatshop.) But in the contest between freedom and dependence, we should say, "Let freedom win."


Neowin: What role do you see for non-free/proprietary software in the future?

Stallman: Our goal is to give computer users the control of their computing, which they can't have if they use proprietary software. So we aim for a world in which proprietary software has no role.

How close we come depends on you, the readers of this article. If you decide to demand freedom, it is not hard nowadays to escape from proprietary software. If you give freedom low priority, then proprietary software may continue playing a role in your life.

Neowin: What do you think the much anticipated launch of Windows 7 and Snow Leopard will do for Free Software? Will it affect it positively, negatively or not at all?

Stallman: The term "much anticipated" seems inappropriate since it usually is not applied to something whose purpose is nasty.

Windows 7 has malicious features just like Windows Vista. These include features to restrict users (Digital Restrictions Management), a back door for imposing software changes, and perhaps also the spyware features discovered in previous versions. If you don't want to be abused, defenestrate your computer.

Windows Vista had major unintended flaws, as well as those intentional flaws; together they provoked a strong reaction, which we did our best to stimulate through the site BadVista.org. The proprietary licensing of Windows contributed to both kinds of flaws. Free software is not immune to unintended flaws, but it gives people the freedom to fix them. But the crucial point is that proprietary licensing makes malicious features a business model. Only a proprietary software developer has the power to impose malicious features and make them stick; with free software, someone else would exercise freedoms 1 and 3 to publish an non-malicious improved version.

Microsoft's designers are not stupid, and we cannot count on them to make mistakes next time. We don't know whether Windows 7 will have major unintended flaws. What we know is that the malice remains as nasty as before. The Free Software Foundation will continue to educate the public to recognize and reject these malicious features.

MacOS is malicious too: it has Digital Restrictions Management. The details are different, but the overall situation is the same. You can't get freedom with MacOS.


Neowin: What would you say to all the people who are planning on purchasing Windows 7 or Snow Leopard?

Stallman: Those words imply a feeling of awe towards the magnitude of the number of people in question.

I don't know how many people have a specific intention to use future versions of Windows or MacOS. I also don't know many people intend to buy a computer, and will find that it comes with Windows 7 whether they wanted that or not. But if the numbers are large, my feeling towards them will not be one of awe, because I don't wish for the kind of success that consists of gaining power over lots of people. For the GNU system, the question is rather how many people we can liberate.

My message for anyone that uses Windows or MacOS is to notice that using them means that Microsoft or Apple controls your computing. They decide what you can do, and what you can't do. So escape! Join us in the Free World! We have worked 25 years to build it, for freedom's sake. Now all you have to do is choose freedom.

See gnu.org and fsf.org for more information.

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The other problem I have with Richard is the disconnect with his search for software freedom and GPL. The requirement to release my modifications if I ship the software in a device, smacks in the face of the freedoms he purports to embrace. In fact, Freedom 3 is actually Restriction 0.

You can expect GPL 4 to require cloud companies to release code if they allow others to access modified OS software.

The BSD license model is the really free license. Take this code, use it how you like and tell folks where you got it.

\\uSlackr

Proprietary software keeps the users divided and helpless; it gives the developer unjust power over whoever uses it. This practice is wrong, and the aim the Free Software Movement is to put an end to it.

Sorry, Richard, but I do not feel divided or helpless when I use proprietary software. In fact, to most normal software users who wouldn't know what to do with a pointer or an array, only Freedom 2 matters because it means they might have to do something illegal in order to share their software with others. Of course, many ignore that illegality, so the freedom to redistribute is already present in most s/w packages.

I like OS software and participate in several projects, but I do so because the s/w is interesting to me. Just like Active Directory and Powershell are interesting to me. Not because of some freedom that's inherent in the license.

\\uSlackr

I will be honest, I will use nothing but GNU / Linux and related OS's, but I was also a Windows admin and taught A+ and Networking for a number of years. But I want to relate some Windows related incidents to illustrate a point here, which is this. It is one thing to make money and nowhere is the Open Source, FSF, Linux or any other related communnity saying that people cannot make money. Red Hat, Novell, Canonical all make money, but they still provide open code.

The major problem for many with companies like Microsoft (I have little experience with Mac so I cannot fairly speak about them) is that again and again they have been called out for operating in bad faith. They have seen court rooms in North American and Europe for unfair business practices which all other companies are expected to govern themselves by.

A Windows user cannot "turn off" the snippets of code which report back to Microsoft and therefore have no privacy, even though Microsoft pretends to create privacy related software and relate how "private" their software is to the customer and brag about all of the measures they take to ensure this when the realtiy is that by its very definition, DRM software not only limits a users freedom, it must and does communicate with sources outside of the computer.

And before I relate my experiences with Microsoft, I would like to say that because a product is purchased does not automatically ensure greater quality. My wife's Windows is continually hanging, freezing and crashing.... my Mandriva Linux has been on for 7 days without rest and has not hung, crashed or mucked up once... in that time, her computer has been shut off every night and has crashed at leat once per session. When people see my Mandriva GUI they are all blown away by how clean, beautiful and cool the desktop is with the compiz effects and they want to know how to make their Windows look as good.... and they can't. Finally, Ubuntu, a free Linux distribution has again and again been shown to be easier to install, more secure, more stable and far more customizable.

Anyway

- There has been a lot of talk about houses and cars, but heres the reality. Once you open the software box you have excepted Microsofts TOS even though the actual documents are on the inside of said box.

- My mom, a 70 yr old woman on a fixed income, had the misfortune of trying to keep an older XP system running as long as she could and changed certain peices of hardware to many times, so Microsoft would not let her reactivate Windows without purchasing a new licence.

- My wife had to purchase a new computer just before Vista was released. We bought an XP sytem that had a Vista ready sticker on it and when VIsta came out, we spent the ridiculous price to purchase a copy of Vista (against my better judgement) which did not run on the computer certified by Microsoft to be Vista compatible... it had no where near the system requirements required by Vista, which were not posted anywhere on the outside of the box.

- We tried to return said copy, but couldn't because we had opened the box to install the software (remember the TOS thing).

- When trying to resell the copy, we were warned by Microsoft representatives that we were breaking the law because though we bought it, we did not own the right to do anything with it. We did not have the right to sell the licence and so it sat on a shelf collecting dust.

- My wife bought a new computer eventually with supposedly ample resources and now deals with constant lags, hangs, freezes and crashes. She cannot run much of the software purchased for XP even though it is supposed to be backward compatible.

- After getting sick of the freezing and hanging we installed new hardware, and after the first time we were told that we would have to purchase a new licence because the system changed to much. Microsft support told her that she was using a pirated copy and called her a thief and threatened legal action, even though her copy was legally purchased in a large retail establishment and after providing proof of this and never receiving so much as an apology, they reactivated the system a month later.

- At this time, my wife transfered her large, legally purchased movie and music collection to the computer and after making a bunch of CD's for personal use, she was disallowed from copying certain songs anymore. She was also unable to get much of that music to play even though it was ripped from legally purchased CDs... reason is apparently that she does not have the proper licence to use it?!?!

Well that was an interesting opinion.

Microsoft/Apple/other closed-source software doesn't really "control" computing as much as it does enable it. Consider it this way: A vast majority of people could never get a computer up and running on their own if they had to use an operating system like Linux. Microsoft and Apple work to provide a product that anyone can install (or comes pre-installed) and anyone can learn to use quickly. It enables many people to take advantage of all that their computer has to offer. Having DRM or other minor "restrictions" is a small price to pay... a price many don't even see... in order to have all the functuinality of the OS.

Now, if you are paranoid about freedom and think that Microsoft or Apple are pure evil then sure, go right ahead and choose a community-developed solution. But that's just not practical for most people.

And finally, it is important to avoid paranoia. Just because you don't like closed-source software doesn't mean Apple or Microsoft are evil. They make money by selling a product people really like. If people didn't like it they wouldn't buy it and the big "nasty" corporations would die off.

I noticed that amoung the freedoms Stallman envisions, the freedom to make a fair return in reward for your efforts are not included.

I also notice that the freedom to create collaborative works with people with different views is also absent. The freedom to create something without someone impinging on your artistic views are also absent.

I have to think that someone who claims to be about freedoms, it seems the you can only be so free.

Funny how the GPL limits your freedoms about how you can create software, but commercial licenses by certain other OS vendors do not.

Stallman's vision of software development sounds significantly less than free to me.

Xepol said,
I noticed that amoung the freedoms Stallman envisions, the freedom to make a fair return in reward for your efforts are not included.

Does it say anything about "distribute for free"? Or "modify for free"?.
No, I didn't thought it did ;)

Xepol said,
I also notice that the freedom to create collaborative works with people with different views is also absent.

LGPL rings any bell?

Xepol said,
Funny how the GPL limits your freedoms about how you can create software, but commercial licenses by certain other OS vendors do not.

Because it's not about letting you do as you please, but free software remaining free.

ichi said,
Does it say anything about "distribute for free"? Or "modify for free"?.
No, I didn't thought it did ;)


Yes, actually it does. Maybe you need to read the GPL more extensively, or follow the legal actions against those companies who do not do exactly this.

You are *required* to distribute source for GPL applications . Even if you do not distribute your GPL application for free, anyone else can redistribute it for free. Kinda drives the price right down to zero, now doesn't it?

ichi said,
LGPL rings any bell?

Actually, yes. I think you will find that LGPL covers a very small subset of GPL related distros.

If you have any questions on how much the LGPL protection covers, just look at what happens when someone wants to include patented technology in a linux related product. I'll bet a certain GPS device manufacture wishes they could just license certain patented technologies and simplify their legal issues and development headaches. The LGPL didn't help them any, and the GPL handcuffed them.

ichi said,
Because it's not about letting you do as you please, but free software remaining free.


You are dead wrong. The GPL is about trying to force ALL software to be free. It's a virus that infects any project it touches - a taint that can't be washed clean. It dramatically limits the options for any software developer that chooses it.

This is fine for people working out their garage in their spare time, but I'm betting you would not want air control systems written that way. I'm betting you want to be dead certain those authors could afford the very very best people available. Same for the firmware on medical machines.

It is nice to pretend that Linux is the best example of how GPL works great, but let's be honest - without commercial OSes pushing the market forward (because they make money by being better than what came before), Linux's primary UI would still be text based.

Xepol said,
Yes, actually it does. Maybe you need to read the GPL more extensively, or follow the legal actions against those companies who do not do exactly this.

You are *required* to distribute source for GPL applications . Even if you do not distribute your GPL application for free, anyone else can redistribute it for free. Kinda drives the price right down to zero, now doesn't it?
...

No. Red Hat is a good example. The cost is not zero. There are others doing what you said. White Box and CentOS both use the legal copy of Red Hat code and freely distribute Red Hat Enterprise Linux. It has not hurt Red Hat, who continues to expand their profits - even during this rough time in the economy.

Now that I think about it, individuals can use these legal free clones to practice their RHEL sysadmin skills. Much the way that warezmonkeys can pirate copies of Windows Server to practice their sysadmin skills. Funny, the presence of free copies of each of those products are not "killing" the parent company.

Xepol said,
...
You are dead wrong. The GPL is about trying to force ALL software to be free. It's a virus that infects any project it touches - a taint that can't be washed clean. It dramatically limits the options for any software developer that chooses it.

This is fine for people working out their garage in their spare time, but I'm betting you would not want air control systems written that way. I'm betting you want to be dead certain those authors could afford the very very best people available. Same for the firmware on medical machines.

It is nice to pretend that Linux is the best example of how GPL works great, but let's be honest - without commercial OSes pushing the market forward (because they make money by being better than what came before), Linux's primary UI would still be text based.


Free as in "libre", yes. Not free as in "gratis". And calling the GPL a "virus"? Even Microsoft has stopped such ridiculous claims. Time to wake up and leave the 1990's, bud.

^^ woo how enlightening..

on topic: he is dead right about DRM on Windows and Mac OS. Users dont have choice NOT to install it

Ever wonder why no commercial software like iPlayer is available on Linux? Their attitude to proprietary technology is the answer to that. Funny really because with all their inane ranting about proprietary technology limiting user experiences, they are actually the ones limiting people's experiences by trying to rid the world of proprietary technology instead of trying to embrace it and work with it to ensure a smooth and seemless end user experience. Choice is the key word, and some users CHOOSE to use proprietary software. Whilst I don't like the use of DRM, all that Microsoft and Apple are doing in providing support for DRM is to allow people with DRM protected content to actually use it, they don't include it to limit the end user's experience but to enhance it. Try playing a DRM protected file on Linux, and then see how 'free' your experience really it. Pretty much the typical information that a lot of FOSS fanatics like to spout full of misinformation about Windows.

Pretty much another interview from another FOSS Bolshevik that flatters to deceive.

That is good argument and witty as hell. but fact is what if "choose" not to play DRMed music and movies. music is mostly off DRM now. movies will have to follow.

Well if you choose not to play DRMed music, then Linux is fine for you, but some services still don't supply DRM free music, not to mention none of the major commercial music distribution clients actually work on Linux, so if you want to legally buy music you're screwed unless you want to use a far inferior service

Frank Fontaine said,
Well if you choose not to play DRMed music, then Linux is fine for you, but some services still don't supply DRM free music, not to mention none of the major commercial music distribution clients actually work on Linux, so if you want to legally buy music you're screwed unless you want to use a far inferior service

Amazon has a native Linux client for purchasing music from them. They are up there in the "major commercial", I would think.

I don't care what he's done. If he wants all software to be open source and equates the ideas of being compensated for developing software and protecting intellectual property with immorality, then he's an idiot.

(All schools should teach only free software, because they need to teach the spirit of cooperation and sharing knowledge.)

So when you go to get a job and they ask you if you are proficient with MS Office you can say no, but I know some sweet free software. No thanks.

Antaris said,
I think one thing a lot of people are missing is this.

Why should software be free?


You are confusing yourself. Software can be open source and still be sold. Look at Red Hat, SuSE etc. Proprietary software on the other hand does not allow viewing, modifying, or redistribution of the code, Itaque it is restricted. This is not freedom.

Software should be free as in freedom, not necessaryly free as in beer. I run a business and although I don't pay for software per se, I do have a support contract, and this is how most companies and individuals get paid in open source.

Antaris said,
I think one thing a lot of people are missing is this.

Why should software be free?


Why shouldn't it? Is it somehow wrong or unethical, in your opinion?

markjensen said,
Why shouldn't it? Is it somehow wrong or unethical, in your opinion?


Why should it? Is it somehow wrong or unethical to charge for software, in your opinion?

JonathanMarston said,
Why should it? Is it somehow wrong or unethical to charge for software, in your opinion?

IMHO yes. The GNU licenses don't prohibit it though.

JonathanMarston said,
Why should it? Is it somehow wrong or unethical to charge for software, in your opinion?

Can you not read my other posts right here in this article? It is certainly OK with me to people to charge for software.

My reply was to why should it be OK for software to be free, so I said "why not?". I assume you are either an adult, or maybe in high school, and understand a bit about reasoning. I am perplexed as why you see may argument for the existence of free software as somehow being an illogically-deduced argument against allowing people to charge for software.

Antaris said,
Why should software be free?

Software should be free because it can be. Hardware can't be free because copies require work. Hardware manufacture also requires significant investment in other hardware to produce your hardware. Software on the other hand can be developed in spare time and copied nearly without cost. Every licensing limitation, activation scheme, or DRM regime only serves to retard progress.

weex said,
Software should be free because it can be. Hardware can't be free because copies require work. Hardware manufacture also requires significant investment in other hardware to produce your hardware. Software on the other hand can be developed in spare time and copied nearly without cost. Every licensing limitation, activation scheme, or DRM regime only serves to retard progress.


As a software developer by trade I find opinions like yours insulting. You are basically saying that all the developers in the world do not have real jobs. Developing software is a skill, just like any other, and those that have it have every right to be compensated for their work just like any other.

If all software was developed in "spare time" then technology would be at least a decade behind where it is today.

I suppose you think music should be free "because it can be" as well?

markjensen said,
My reply was to why should it be OK for software to be free, so I said "why not?". I assume you are either an adult, or maybe in high school, and understand a bit about reasoning. I am perplexed as why you see may argument for the existence of free software as somehow being an illogically-deduced argument against allowing people to charge for software.


I repeated the original question because you apparently have an opinion on it, but side-stepped the question instead of actually giving reasons why software should be free. I didn't take your argument as being for or against free software because you didn't make an argument. You asked a question.

My stance on the matter is that the person, or persons, that created the software should be "free" to limit or allow distribution as he, she, or they please. Neither making it free nor charging for it are more or less right or wrong, ethical or non-ethical. It is simply the developers' decision. Similarly, the use of DRM isn't right or wrong (though it is annoying); it is the choice of the content's creator. If you don't like DRM, don't spend your money on DRM protected content.

JonathanMarston said,
Developing software is a skill, just like any other, and those that have it have every right to be compensated for their work just like any other.

I should clarify because it's confusing terminology. When I write the word free, I do not mean in terms of cost or payment. I mean in terms of freedom...the four freedoms outlined above. All software should be free as in freedom because it can.

I am also a software developer and I charge for the software I create. I believe that the source code should be available for the programs I write as well. Everybody's got to eat and the position of the FSF allows for that. It's even encouraged because charging for distribution and support can allow for marketing of free software.

As for music, I want to pay for the music I like but I see no problem sharing it with a friend or relative. This kind of sharing is something many record companies are working hard to stop.

weex said,
I should clarify because it's confusing terminology. When I write the word free, I do not mean in terms of cost or payment. I mean in terms of freedom...the four freedoms outlined above. All software should be free as in freedom because it can.

I am also a software developer and I charge for the software I create. I believe that the source code should be available for the programs I write as well. Everybody's got to eat and the position of the FSF allows for that. It's even encouraged because charging for distribution and support can allow for marketing of free software.

As for music, I want to pay for the music I like but I see no problem sharing it with a friend or relative. This kind of sharing is something many record companies are working hard to stop.


Let's be real here. When you say free, you do mean free as in no charge. When the "4 freedoms" include freely copy and distribute source code and binaries, then it's free software.

What you suggest is charging for support. That may work for large software projects like an OS because they can charge large corporations exhorbitant amounts for support (my company uses some open-source software, so I know how much the support costs can be - they are typically much higher for the open-source alternatives than the up-front costs of a comparable non-free software. Not to mention the higher costs of support from on-site systems admins and developers. I see the hidden costs of supposedly "free" software as far more unethical than charged software, but that's another story), however, if I were to write a typical desktop application that were "free," the likelihood of getting any compensation for it would be slim to none.

What about games? Are they included in your software "freedom" philosophy?

As for your point about sharing music with friends. You may think it's okay, but what about the person that wrote the song, the people that sang/played it, and the guy that produced it? Do they think it's okay? Like you said, everyone has to eat, but following your philosophy it's quite likely that an artist could be struggling to pay his bills while he hears his song played by 10s of 1000s that just "shared it with their friends."

If that's your idea of freedom, count me out.

Another communist.If he was the owner of MS i bet these 4 "crucial" (oh pls) freedoms wouldnt exist not even on his mind.

Thank Gates for Windows.

0nyX said,
Another communist.If he was the owner of MS i bet these 4 "crucial" (oh pls) freedoms wouldnt exist not even on his mind.

Thank Gates for Windows.


Since when was liberty communism?

liberatus_sum said,

Since when was liberty communism?

For left wing, freedom is the way to do or to obtain some service and product, for example free health and education system for everyone.

For right wing, Freedom is to remove limiting and impositions, for example the Adam Smith's invisible hand.

Both are right and wrong at the same time.

The comparison with communism is indeed and a good thing, if you buy a computer without OS, then you don't need (you are not forced) to pay tributes to Microsoft, Apple or IBM to use it.

And BTW :communism (also fascism) is not synonym of a dictatorial system.

Dude, chill. Honestly. No one's going to take away freedom. The big bad wolf doesn't care if the piggies decide to share their cookie recipe. We get it, everyone should share everything and stop being so realistic.

This guy is one of the few people that harm Linux - just let it go man. It's already working. I use Linux daily and I honestly don't care if anyone closes their application up. If it sucks, I won't use it and that's it. I'm not going to rewrite a bad app. No one cares. I'll just find something better and call it a day - that only goes for high-level user apps like office suites or Twitter clients. Keep the lower-level and CLI stuff open.

man that guy is of his rocker. So damn defensive every questions answer was rephrased to be an attack on software he doesnt support.

Almost makes me want to stop running linux. Also on another note, i have so many damn non free crap installed on my ubuntu... it really couldnt function without it.

I encourage you to test this claim of not being able to function. Try gNewSense and if you do want free software to progress, report any bugs you find. It's 100% free with even non-free blobs removed from the Linux kernel. You'll have a hard time finding help installing anything non-free but at least you'll know when you depend on non-free stuff and when you don't.

*raises hand*

How come people who think free software is ethically superior to commercial software don't gripe about giving their money to the corporations that produce/assemble/distribute the hardware platforms? Is it okay for hardware to cost money, be patented, and have its R&D funded by retail profits, but not so with software?

It was something I never fully understood. Even AMD (a past 'underdog') was cheered by people who felt Intel was some sort of monstrosity, in spite of AMD's very commercial and profit-geared business model. I can't help but feel that people don't actually like free software because of some fluffy unicorn fantasy of cooperation and unity, but instead because it's simply the underdog. As long as something with a smaller market share is at war with the industry standard, it will have people who cheer it on first and come up with justifications later.

Software is fundamentally different than hardware. Since software can be copied for near-zero cost, a culture of complete sharing without scarcity is possible and we should strive for that.

In some cases, hardware works against this goal by requiring non-free drivers or not coming with sufficient documentation to build free ones. So we as users have the power to choose not to buy such hardware. Some companies(Via for example) are showing willingness to work with the free software community and when every sale is important that differentiation can accelerate progress.

Joshie said,
How come people who think free software is ethically superior to commercial software don't gripe about giving their money to the corporations that produce/assemble/distribute the hardware platforms? Is it okay for hardware to cost money, be patented, and have its R&D funded by retail profits, but not so with software?

Nor do they gripe about corporations that produce software. It's about the license, not the price.

Regarding patents, applying them to software is about as stupid as applying them to mathematics.
How fun would it be not being able to use integrals just because they are patent rigged?

weex said,
Software is fundamentally different than hardware. Since software can be copied for near-zero cost, a culture of complete sharing without scarcity is possible and we should strive for that.

In some cases, hardware works against this goal by requiring non-free drivers or not coming with sufficient documentation to build free ones. So we as users have the power to choose not to buy such hardware. Some companies(Via for example) are showing willingness to work with the free software community and when every sale is important that differentiation can accelerate progress.



So because the cost of duplication is low, the cost of production should be ignored? Someone or some group of persons still had to put in the time and effort to create the software so many take for granted just because it is ubiquitous.

My message for anyone that uses Windows or MacOS is to notice that using them means that Microsoft or Apple controls your computing. They decide what you can do, and what you can't do. So escape! Join us in the Free World! We have worked 25 years to build it, for freedom's sake. Now all you have to do is choose freedom.

I choose Windows (currently, Windows 7), thank you very much. It gets the job done for me and requires little effort on my part, unlike something like Ubuntu which requires more effort than it's worth.

+1 My exact thoughts! Windows does what I need it to do easily and quickly. If i was able to do the same on Ubuntu etc without having to mess around with the terminal or faff about with WINE id easily switch but until then, not happening

I spent countless hours in thinking about RMS on and off, for many years, and I spend countless hours in reading and thinking about freedom to, and after all that I came to a conclusion (I believe it is quite correct):

RMS definition of freedom is imperfect it is actually not complete. Why? Because talking about freedom without a clear domain of power (property) is a nonsense. Freedom is about choice, but this is also not complete it is about choice while respecting the domain of power. RMS will tell you that you have no freedom with Windows, I think this isn't true (it is true if we take his definition of freedom). We have a freedom to choose to buy/use or not to buy/use a license of Windows. If we choose not to buy (like he did, our freedom is unconditionally respected), but if we choose to buy a license of Windows, we choose to do it freely under the restrictions of the property domain of Microsoft. If we don't like those restrictions, we are free to reject them and to not buy the license. It is like when we rent a house, we are free to rent it or not, but if we do, we must respect the property domain of the owner. We can't modify the house as we wish, we can't rent it further, etc. We have a contract, we do not own the house. We have an agreement with Microsoft too, an agreement for licensing Windows with previously known restrictions.

So RMS is wrong, we have freedom with both product, the only thing different is that with GNU and other free software the author of the software choose to impose one set of restriction (using also his domain of property = copyright), he impose on you the terms of GPL. Microsoft does the same thing, just the terms in the agreement are different

Anyway if we accept that Stallman's definition of freedom, then proprietary software is not free, but... I don't think an incomplete definition of freedom is appropriate at all. Freedom without respecting property rights is not freedom. The second crucial thing for freedom is freedom of choice, and in the case of proprietary software, we are free to choose or to not choose to buy a license.

Additionally if we think about "free as in beer", free software are possible only in a world dominated by proprietary/commercial software. Why? Simply because, it isn't possible to secure capital for development if there is no capital involved (nobody works for free at least not too much), and capital is impossible to rise if there is no profit. Without to know what is profitable and what isn't (what is needed by the market and what isn't) it is not possible to target development (and capital) to the development of needed products. That is why we have countless number of editors and other software and a lack of some other software (which is needed, but nobody will ever put capital to develop it because there is no profit if we give the product away "free as in beer").

So get real, free software (as in beer) is possible only in a world where both free (as in beer) and commercial software exist, and free software (as in freedom by Stallman's definition) is possible only in a world where both free (as in freedom by Stallman's definition) and proprietary software exist. Get used to live side by side, hostility is useless, cooperation between the two different world is and will be the most efficient way to get better and better. I believe Microsoft already figured this out... they figured out that open source (Stallman doesn't like that description) is something they need, because many of that open source software are working on Windows and can and will work together with Microsoft software (like PHP in Windows Azure, IronPython, IronRuby, etc.)

I agree with nearly everything but at the end of the day propitiatory or not linux/GNU/FOSS doesn't have the entertainment sectors/market supports really (commercial games, movies, music etc) so it really just holds out those after that without a choice but to go with windows or macos. It's a bigger market then linux actually has users really and until it can tap into that it won't really move from the mud stuck position they are in. It's almost like a mutual disagreement to not work so I don't really see anything happening now or in future really. It's ashame as i do enjoy linux and using it specially with virtualization on the rise and on servers and whatnot but the desktop market is just like soviet government vs america government in terms of ethics, ideals and materialization and subsequent quality and results.

He just seems so out of touch.

The GIMP and OpenOffice are flag-carriers for your philosophy. It just makes you sound curmudgeonly to say you haven't used them.

Are you kidding? Everyone knows Stallman uses Emacs for everything. Why would he use those programs? I'm sure if he wants to write a document, he does it directly in LaTeX, and he's too busy coding or giving talks to draw pictures. Have you seen the GNU logo? Or gnu.org?

I stopped reading at "Freedom 0". Such an extremist he is unable to respect context appropriate language.

I did see this however: "The term "much anticipated" seems inappropriate since it usually is not applied to something whose purpose is nasty." Anticipate pain? This guy is so free he is not constrained by the restrictive notion of meaning! Just make your own up as it suits, why not?

No wonder Linux has so many problems.

kerneltie said,
I stopped reading at "Freedom 0".

kerneltie said,
I did see this however: "The term "much anticipated"...

I thought you stopped reading at "Freedom 0"

omnicoder said,
This guy... um... really annoys me. In my opinion, Linux is 'nasty' but I don't go around shouting about it.

How does he annoy you precisely? Because he doesn't work for MS perhaps?

Ye you better watch out for that linux, it's so nasty it will eat you while you sleep... lol

liberatus_sum said,
How does he annoy you precisely? Because he doesn't work for MS perhaps?

Ye you better watch out for that linux, it's so nasty it will eat you while you sleep... lol


He annoys me because he wrote the GPL which prohibits people who produce derivative works the freedom of selling their software.

bailoutbenny said,
He annoys me because he wrote the GPL which prohibits people who produce derivative works the freedom of selling their software.


So you prefer a license that prohibits derivative works completely?

bailoutbenny said,
He annoys me because he wrote the GPL which prohibits people who produce derivative works the freedom of selling their software.

How many times do I have to say this?

Let me try it in big bold letters.

The GPL does NOT prohibit anyone from selling their software!

Perhaps if you read and understood it, it might help?

http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html

markjensen said,
How many times do I have to say this?

Let me try it in big bold letters.


The GPL does NOT prohibit anyone from selling their software!


Perhaps if you read and understood it, it might help?

http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html


The license doesn't explicitly prevent someone from selling their software. However the price of the software would have to be zero or near-zero to be competitive. I think the BSD license is a better license for those that wish to sell software.

markjensen said,
Is that backtracking I hear?

I thought so.

Red Hat is doing quite well selling Linux.


No I am not backtracking. The GPL doesn't explicitly prohibit selling software, but last I checked Red Hat made their money selling support subscriptions, software tools and hardware, not Linux since you can download Fedora for free. Again, selling software itself really doesn't work under the GPL because it would have to be priced at the price of distribution and no higher. This often means zero or near zero and it is directly attributable to the GPL.

Thanks for the interview! It was a good read this Saturday morning, and I would like to see more of this type of content on Neowin. Good work!

As for this guy...well, I see his points and you have to admire his dedication to his own causes. But when I'm in some piece of free software that doesn't do what I need I feel like I am limited. When I'm in some proprietary software that does exactly what I need I do not feel limited. I guess my own shortcomings as a software writer prohibit me from taking full advantage of the freedoms given through open source GNU software. And I think this rings true for most people.

I don't know about any of you but I didn't take the time to read the millions of lines of code one by one in any of the libraries used by one of my Ubuntu servers, or its kernel. Sure, I "could" but even as a software developer, this would be useless unless I spend months on it. I doubt that more than a fraction of a minority of Linux users are able to "change the program to suit their needs". Once people like this guy will have realized that, he may change his definition of what "freedom" is.

Patchou said,
I don't know about any of you but I didn't take the time to read the millions of lines of code one by one in any of the libraries used by one of my Ubuntu servers, or its kernel. Sure, I "could" but even as a software developer, this would be useless unless I spend months on it. I doubt that more than a fraction of a minority of Linux users are able to "change the program to suit their needs". Once people like this guy will have realized that, he may change his definition of what "freedom" is.

As software developers we don't work on millions of lines of code. Software is modularised to make modifications and maintenance easier. I often work on just a few files (.c) or a single function at a time. It's evident you know nothing of programming.

liberatus_sum said,
As software developers we don't work on millions of lines of code. Software is modularised to make modifications and maintenance easier. I often work on just a few files (.c) or a single function at a time. It's evident you know nothing of programming.


Software isn't necessarily modularised. Language paradigm, architectural design and programmer competence determine these things. Working on just a few files can sometimes entail thousands to tens of thousands of lines of code and some single C functions by themselves can get into the thousands of lines of code, especially when you have branched behavior dependent on different inputs like hardware, platform, etc. Jumping into code someone else wrote, especially if it is poorly annotated, can be a headache for any programmer, I know since I have years of legacy code maintenance. I find the OP's comment to far more valid than your reply and I think you need to re-evaluate your obviously academic view of software development.

liberatus_sum said,
It's evident you know nothing of programming.

That quote makes it evident that you know nothing of Messenger Plus! Live which Patchou has developed. It is a fantastic program and that program makes it obvious how good Patchou's skills are.

Patchou said,
I don't know about any of you but I didn't take the time to read the millions of lines of code one by one in any of the libraries used by one of my Ubuntu servers, or its kernel. Sure, I "could" but even as a software developer, this would be useless unless I spend months on it. I doubt that more than a fraction of a minority of Linux users are able to "change the program to suit their needs". Once people like this guy will have realized that, he may change his definition of what "freedom" is.

So in this case you are a user, not a programmer nor a re-distributor.
As such you are just free to use FOSS software as you please. None of the rest of the license concerns you, and neither does the availability of the source code.

On the other hand, there are loads of companies and individual who make software, distribute it or both. That's the kind of people interested in "being able to change the program to suit their needs".

Why would you care about that? Because the very reason why you get to use that software and keep receiving updates is because of those companies and individuals.

The whole argument of free vs. paid and open vs. closed relies wholly on the notion that people generally pay for software. (ProTip: they don't)

This could be another reason why many projects do go open source or are released closed source for free with commercial backing. They realize that at least on the Windows platform (and to a lesser extent the two main others) that people simply will not pay for software, but instead will "borrow" or pirate it.

Game developers have been hit hard by piracy. I think they have responded mostly by draconian DRM and install polices and by moving development mostly to consoles.

Aahz said,
The whole argument of free vs. paid and open vs. closed relies wholly on the notion that people generally pay for software. (ProTip: they don't)

Business do pay. But that's slowly changing. Governments around the world are leading the way with FOSS deployments. It's a slow process but eventually the desktop OS monopoly will be broken.

I lost respect for Stallman's opinions after this quote -

Stallman
My message for anyone that uses Windows or MacOS is to notice that using them means that Microsoft or Apple controls your computing. They decide what you can do, and what you can't do.


Seriously? He is taking all of this way too far!

I've been using Windows for years and I've never noticed any control or restriction by Microsoft. I am free to install whatever software I wish, free to store whichever files I wish, free to listen to whichever music I wish to listen to, free to browse any website I wish to visit, free to upgrade to any operating system which works with my hardware (minus OS X) etc.

In which way are Microsoft restricting me or controlling me? By placing DRM tecnologies in the operating system? Is that all? One little thing like that means that this operating system is "evil" and should never be touched? It seems that is what Stallman is saying. How does this DRM issue even affect most of us?

I value experience and Windows 7 gives me a much more enjoyable experience than I get from using any Linux distro I have tried. I love the way it functions, including the new taskbar, and I love a lot of the software which is designed to work on Windows (e.g. Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Messenger, the Zune Software, Visual Studio... and more). I find a lot of the software out there, which is only compatible with Windows, to be more functional and better looking (Windows Live Messenger is a brilliant example of a better looking application, although it lacks a few important features which makes Digsby better overall).

Why have more freedoms which we don't need, when we have enough freedoms using Windows, and the better software, already? As I have said, I've been using Windows for years and I have never been restricted or controlled by Microsoft.

I'm disapointed to hear that Stallman was one of those behind the BadVista.org website...


Also, I've nearly finished studying software development and I'd like to know this - How does Stallman expect software developers to earn a living if they shouldn't sell their software? Software development is very complex and challenging and we should be rewarded for our hard work. Some food is a necessity, yet none of that is free. Software is not even technically a necessity, but Stallman thinks it should be free? :S

I think you might want to chalk this up to personal preference. What some find as draconian, you might find as blissful. I do agree that RMS goes too far. I would also state that Microsoft has a number of flaws. Their EULA is an issue. So is the requirement in most cases to purchase a computer that has a Windows license. Their maximizing of profit has led to the development of a tier Windows platform that led to a crippled experienced on the home platforms. Not all of us had the money for Ultimate (or even professional) but do have experience writing software. No access to policies made some software difficult to install and limited functionality like a missing SUA subsystem made development difficult.

They of course have painted themselves into a corner. This would be the main reason for the Windows 7 release. It is mainly to restore brand loyalty after a less successful Vista campaign. The same can be said of Office 2010. Office 2k7 was somewhat successful, but not to the level of Office 97 or 2003. I think both releases will go a long way on restoring credibility of their brand name (whether it was unjustly taking away is a matter of debate).

Finally, most software developers don't actually work on their own. They work for a corporation. Many open source projects are either corporate funded by the likes of IBM, Sun or HP (or the lesser projects rely on donations and a developers free time). It should be noted that you don't have to be in compliance with the GPL to actually develop applications. You could pick another license or go proprietary. An example of this would be Nero burner for Linux.

That being said, I would develop my applications to the platform with the most following unless you want to target a niche market (for fandom), which can work but has many difficulties. Often Windows developers release their product and are kind of left because of the countless applications that already meet their specifications. With a novel idea, however, I would still release first on the Windows platform to maximize profit. This would be followed by Mac OS X, because Mac users are most likely to pay for your software. Unlike Windows, where much of the software is pirated and GNU/Linux, where there is an assumption of free software, the Mac more of a small developers paradise (that might be a bit too Utopian). I don't even particularly like Apple.

I've been using Windows for years and I've never noticed any control or restriction by Microsoft.
So you never wished for an option that wasn't there, or wanted to change something that you couldn't? That's good, you're happy with the perspective that MS has on software. Not everyone is, and don't you wish for them to have the freedom to do what they want? It's like the old saying "I may not like what you have to say, but I'll fight for your right to say it"

Even if you like the way your computer runs now, if you're running proprietary software, there is no guarantee that tomorrow you will be able to do the same thing unless you cut yourself off from updates, etc, and 'freeze' the state of software on your PC, but then it's an all-or-nothing scenario and you can't pick and choose to have it your way (even then, today you can't get along running Windows 95, and a lot of people are having trouble even though they are very determined to stick with XP, for example). If you care about the way your PC runs now, or if you want different options, you should care about software freedom.

MitchLeBlanc said,
I think Stallman advocates that programmers are paid on a case by case basis of modification or support.

That's okay, but I still don't see how that would necessarily pay the bills? It all depends on the type of software, but with some software, support is not needed much and updates aren't always required. Bear in mind I am talking about some software, not all.

I currently work for a company who produces software which manages CCTV cameras. The software is sold to clients who own / operate the CCTV cameras. Should this software be free and open source as well? If so, how would the company I work for make enough money to survive as a business? How would it make enough money to pay me? Those are the sort of issues I am thinking about.




bluarash said,
I think you might want to chalk this up to personal preference.

Oh, yes, it is definately personal preference, just like Stallman's opinions are just his preferences.

I agree with most of the rest of your comment and Windows is far from flawless. I just think Windows is the better choice, by far, and the .NET development technologies are fantastic - those are reasons why I don't have a problem with paying to use certain software (Windows and Visual Studio come to mind).




HalcyonX12 said,
So you never wished for an option that wasn't there, or wanted to change something that you couldn't? [...] Not everyone is, and don't you wish for them to have the freedom to do what they want? It's like the old saying "I may not like what you have to say, but I'll fight for your right to say it"

Even if you like the way your computer runs now, if you're running proprietary software, there is no guarantee that tomorrow you will be able to do the same thing unless you cut yourself off from updates, etc, and 'freeze' the state of software on your PC, but then it's an all-or-nothing scenario and you can't pick and choose to have it your way (even then, today you can't get along running Windows 95, and a lot of people are having trouble even though they are very determined to stick with XP, for example). If you care about the way your PC runs now, or if you want different options, you should care about software freedom.

I never said I don't think people should have these freedoms, at all and I really do support the open source movement as much as I support using propriety software (I use both).

What I have a problem with is the way Stallman conveyed himself in the part of the interview I quoted. It is the sort of marketing I do not like. Even Apple don't tell users that everytime they use the Windows operating system, Microsoft are controlling their computing, as much as I also dislike Apple's marketing strategy for OS X.

I agree with what you have said about open source software. You actually promote your cause much better than Stallman has in this interview. I, personally, look at user experience, functionality and design when it comes to software and web services and if it means I have to pay a reasonable amount for the best, then I will. As I look at software in this way, I rarely come across things that I wish I could change, although I do sometimes. When I do, it is very annoying, yes, but what I and other people have to accept is that not all software can be perfect, so we have to look at the benefits. I adore the Zune Software, but there are one or two features I really miss since using iTunes. Now, even though I want to change these two little things, I cannot get a program exactly like the Zune Software with those two things added, on Linux. I can gurantee, 100%, that I can't. I'm not saying it can't be done (although I would like to see a Linux developer try to make the design ad experience as good, right down to the visualisation at the bottom), what I'm saying is that it is very likely that no one out there has done this and I certainly do not have the time to do it myself. The same is the case for most software out there, so most of us have to look at the benefits of the software we use, accepting it is rare to find software perfect for all of our wants (or have the time and resources to make it perfect for all of our wants).

As for you asking me about Windows? I'm struggling to think of anything I'd like to change in Windows 7, although there were a few things in Vista (like the cluttered taskbar), but those have been sorted in Windows 7

I have a small point: If you could modify the Zune software, then it could be done a lot more easily. If software freedoms were in place with that software, it would be trivial compared to when it is not in place such as now.

As long as you fall in the target demographic, you are fine, but if you are not and you want more options, you don't really have that choice, if you use MS's software. He's saying it's more important to insist on freedoms than have functional software, it's a way of "voting with your wallet" even if you can download software such as the Zune software for free.

I think he is advocating intolerance for software that does not provide the freedoms. I understand that, to get work done now, some people have no choice, and it is not viable in all areas. But software freedom is a philosophy that can be practiced where possible in order to expand it so that eventually it may cover all the software we care about.

I totally agree that Stallman can be abrasive and seem indignant, but when you boil it all down, it makes sense to desire software freedom, and a truth is a truth no matter where it comes from.

Calum said,
I lost respect for Stallman's opinions

Then you mustn't have had much respect if your opinions change so capriciously.

Calum said,
I've been using Windows for years and I've never noticed any control or restriction by Microsoft

They aren't going to advertise 'digital restrictions management', for that would only incite rebellion. I think Stallman was describing the insidious nature of proprietary software, and that it often harms you without even knowing it. An analogy would be: If you had never tasted chocolate, then you wouldn't miss it would you? The same applies to liberties. If the only existence you know is a regime of oppression, you wouldn't crave liberty would you? The same can be said of proprietary software.

Calum said,
In which way are Microsoft restricting me or controlling me?

A good example would be windows 7. You probably downloaded it and installed it did you not? Then MS decide you can't use that version and force you to either upgrade or remove it from your system. Is this not dictatorial control exemplified?

Calum said,
I value experience and Windows 7 gives me a much more enjoyable experience than I get from using any Linux distro I have tried.

If you prefer a more aesthetically pleasing interface, you could certainly try Kubuntu 9.04; It's rather good and holds up well against most other OS's.

Calum said,
Why have more freedoms which we don't need, when we have enough freedoms using Windows

The point is that MS is free to take any of your freedoms away at will if they so desire. That is dictatorial control, not freedom.

Calum said,
I'm disapointed to hear that Stallman was one of those behind the BadVista.org website...

What is wrong with highlighting the failings of competitors? MS does it frequently with GNU/Linux by threatening patent lawsuits against companies who employ the technology.


Calum said,
Also, I've nearly finished studying software development and I'd like to know this - How does Stallman expect software developers to earn a living if they shouldn't sell their software

A myth propagated by bill gates himself. In the FOSS world software support is where businesses make money, and thus how programmers get paid.

"Payment" is also relative. You can start a project for your company and pay your employees to write open source software. Since it is a niche solution for your company and is not immediately marketable, you decide to release it under the GPL. Others can take the code and modify it for their needs if it provides a good base, and provide enhancements and additional options that suit their own needs. You also get bug fixes and extra features in return, and that is a method of payment. The others who use it also get "paid" in that the base software was already written, and they just had to add a few things. Since the code is in use in a wider variety of situations, more bugs are found, which is beneficial to both parties.

Another example is you have a huge project like a game. You release the engine under the GPL, but decide to reserve your rights on game assets such as level maps, textures, character models, music, etc. The engine can be messed around with by your fan base, providing mods, additional enhancements, and ports to other platforms, so you get free advertisement and they get the ability to have some more fun than intended with the original game. You may even hire a few of the most prominent contributors to the project and acquire excellent employees for your next project. They are already familiar with your code base and are able to work with your software and fix parts that you missed, so their experience and new perspective will benefit you.

HalcyonX12 said,
I have a small point: If you could modify the Zune software, then it could be done a lot more easily. If software freedoms were in place with that software, it would be trivial compared to when it is not in place such as now.

It isn't as easy as you make it out to be.

Take Amarok for instance.Look at their forums, with users flooding in and asking for features and changes.You would think Amarok is a properitery software just like Zune.

My point being, not everybody got the knowledge, the time and the patience to dive into the source code and make changes as per his desire.You know, not everybody is a (good) programmer...

Agreed. This has always been where my confusion with views like Stallman's. Where do developers earn a living? And why is it so wrong to want to earn a living for your work?

As you said, food isn't free so why should working on software be so?

And as you and many others have said, know one cares about reading the source code. I'm sure even on the majority of Open Source software a small minority have even glanced at the code. Let alone read it...

Aquarian said,
My point being, not everybody got the knowledge, the time and the patience to dive into the source code and make changes as per his desire.You know, not everybody is a (good) programmer...

Sure, that's fine, but my point was that it'd be a lot easier to modify Zune's software to include a couple of features you wanted, rather than to take a different program and try and make it like the Zune software AND add in your features.

Stallman seems to have nothing against making money for creating OSS, he even earns money himself!

Making money with free software is encouraged. I make money by installing Firefox, OpenOffice, the GIMP and others when people need those features. I do not charge more or less for my time depending on what I install but the money saved by the customer on software turns into more money available for other important IT projects.

Freedom(not just savings) is something that people like as well. As I show up, I'm noticing more people spontaneously having installed Firefox or OpenOffice. It is working for them.

Frazell Thomas said,
Agreed. This has always been where my confusion with views like Stallman's. Where do developers earn a living? And why is it so wrong to want to earn a living for your work?

As you said, food isn't free so why should working on software be so?
Food is perfectly free.

Go to the jungles of Africa. Hunt and kill an animal. Make a fire and cook it and eat it.

Food is free.

Are you paying for the food? or for the service of the people that prepare it and put it in the grocery store for you?

Stallman wants programmers to get paid for programming, not for selling copies of their programs.

As some others have said, his heart is in the right place and the message that he has to say is important, but I don't imagine it connecting well with "the masses." For example, claiming that Microsoft or Apple controls your computing is more likely to cause a person to scoff and claim that they're still doing what ever they want with their computer, when what he's saying is a bit more profound.

To me it doesn't help that he doesn't make any concessions to Microsoft or Apple. Those two entities are corporate competitors, so I don't expect them to praise each other. Yet for the movement of the "free and open" it'd be nice to hear innovations or things done well in the industry recognized as such. I understand that the Linux OS is technically competing for market share, but since there's no one corporation behind it (and many of the free software activists are not basing their living off of free software, it seems) and it seems like a large selling point for the OS is the "for the users, by the users" community mentality, would it really hurt to make mention of when someone else is doing something well and where software on the Linux side could use some improvement?

As for me, I've tried Linux over the years. There have been great strides in improvement, but it still isn't quite there. In my most recent attempt I set up a dual boot partition, with the idea being that I'd immerse myself in Linux (I chose OpenSUSE) to learn it, and gradually find myself booting into Windows XP less. It never happened; instead, I had to reinstall Linux at least once after badly screwing up X (the GUI) while trying to get my dual monitors to work. I eventually got those working, but installing any non-free software felt like such a chore. And while Beryl helped, the user experience wasn't very pleasant. After two to three weeks of really trying, I gave up and tried Fedora. Not finding it much better, I gave up and decided I'd try again in a few years.

While I'd be willing to venture that most of my rough transition to Linux was due to being accustomed to Windows (of which I was a long-time user), I transitioned to Macs painlessly by comparison. My father had received a Macbook Pro through his work and passed it along to me. I'd figured I'd install Windows to it and wipe OS X, but dabbled in OS X for a bit to see how it was. I could virtualize Windows, and for the first few days practically everything that I did was in that virtual Windows XP. But already by the next week, I was only virtualizing for programs that I hadn't found replacements for. It was a very smooth transition.

What was so different about moving to Mac OS X from Windows? Why was moving to Linux so much harder? I haven't fully fleshed out the reasons and differences. In my mind, Linux lacks the level of polish that OS X and Windows have. It's making rapid advances in that area, though, and I hope that some time in the near future it will no longer be an issue for me.

(The above is not an attack on Linux or Stallman; just my perspective.)

I would have liked to hear him mention some software that he does use and could compare to commercial products rather than just saying "ooh well I touched it once, or I use it occasionally". Most of what he said (to me) came off as purely ideological, especially the part where he wants to liberate the rest of us from commercial products when he doesn't acknowledge that people will pay money for better software. Free or paid, I think that most people would go with the superior choice, personally I use both to fit my needs.

I for one have a weird kind of affection for RMS, and I wouldn't want him to change. The FOSS movement needs people like Linus who are more pragmatic, sure, but it equally needs at least one "mad prophet" figure to give it steel. Someone who won't ever compromise his views on the freedoms that I (if few others) agree are valuable to all. Linus et al. are ready to compromise when necessary to advance the cause in practical terms, and this has been very beneficial to FOSS goals in many cases, but compromise is seductive. Once you've caved in a little, it becomes that little bit easier to do it again, over something more significant, and this can lead to all your once-held goals being eroded.

If we say that FOSS players have Steve Ballmer (or whoever) sitting on one shoulder whispering: "C'mon, just relax that license a little, it'll be good for both of us!" it's good to know that Stallman is perched on the other shoulder screaming "NOOOOOOO!"

Stallman might be taken a bit more seriously but for the fact that, so far, most of us haven't experienced first-hand just how bad things can get. Some people have: MSN Music subscribers (both of them) who found their downloaded tracks didn't work any more when it folded to be replaced by Zune Store. Early-adopters of Vista who got hit by one of the many issues and had to either wait patiently for a fix from MS or their proprietary app vendor, or pay for a downgrade. Anyone who's been stung by forced upgrade syndrome in its many variants (New machine = new Windows, new Windows = new MSOffice and so forth). I could go on...

Proprietary software can and does hurt people in noticeable, real-world ways. It's still quite possible that MS or another big player will screw up badly enough that *all* their users feel the burn, and if that happens -- however quickly they do their damage-control -- people won't forget it, and a lot of them will beat a path to Stallman's door.

Stallman would do much better if he dropped the whole "I'm the Che Guevera of the software World, liberation you from tyranny" bit, and started talking like the grown man he is


His heart is in the right place, and much respect should be given to him, but he's a HORRIBLE figurehead for the "movement" and actually hampens in a way what he's trying to do

... and his scruffy appearance doesn't help his case much.
Looks stoned and disaffected.

Sorry, an activist for software freedom really doesn't engender a lot of sympathy (or empathy) from me.

And somehow ... this whole "freedom" doctrine doesn't seem to allow me the freedom to like what the hell I like, which is an OS and software that works reliably without me having to edit/compile it and so forth. Windows and commercial software gives me that ... today.

nunjabusiness said,
... and his scruffy appearance doesn't help his case much.
Looks stoned and disaffected.


Unfortunately, Neowin chose to use a very old picture of him. Of course, you didn't bother to actually look at the wikipedia page that is linked in the article, or you'd know that.

Just to add my 2 cents. I'm a supporter of linux/open source software (and yes I know linux is just the kernel, the people who get their tails up about this need to realise most people ARE aware of GNU but it's just easier to shorten to linux).

Anyway, the reason why I use linux as my main OS, and generally try to use OSS is because of CHOICE and not really FREEDOM from "evil corporations", although there's links between the two. I don't see Windows as some sort of evil system trying to control my life, in fact Apple's software/hardware are more controlling yet I still have an iPhone - but it's jailbroken. Why? Because all I want it the ability to have a CHOICE of what software I put onto my systems. Unfortunately a lot of the cool OSS doesn't work on Windows, although Windows 7 is a really good OS and MS seem to be finally getting their house in order.

DomZ said,
Anyway, the reason why I use linux as my main OS, and generally try to use OSS is because of CHOICE and not really FREEDOM

Freedom is the utopia of choice.

Since when Linux with 1% or 2% market share is a big success in OS world? And is around more that a decade. Seriously... this posts are full of sh*t, Linux will be good when will show something for real, until then, there will be a few zealots who will say is better because various obscure reasons.

Firstly, linux market share figures are hard to estimate due to the wide variety of different distros, let alone other reasons. Secondly, don't come here flying the anti-linux flag when by the sounds of it you've never even tried linux, let alone bothered googling for some info.

http://blog.linuxtoday.com/blog/2009/05/1-linux-market.html

Also, linux/unix is much more prominent in the server market, so to say "linux will be good when will show something for real" is a silly statement - pretty much every organisation will have a linux server of some sort, at least every one I've worked in has.

http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/tech-news/?p=287

DomZ said,
Firstly, linux market share figures are hard to estimate due to the wide variety of different distros, let alone other reasons. Secondly, don't come here flying the anti-linux flag when by the sounds of it you've never even tried linux, let alone bothered googling for some info.

http://blog.linuxtoday.com/blog/2009/05/1-linux-market.html

Also, linux/unix is much more prominent in the server market, so to say "linux will be good when will show something for real" is a silly statement - pretty much every organisation will have a linux server of some sort, at least every one I've worked in has.

http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/tech-news/?p=287

"Anti Linux Flag"??? Frankly, i dont even care about linux right now, because dont fit my needs at all. Why should i hate it?

Again, you have no idea about real world, end user dont keep a server in house.

And to answer for your level of understanding "does it run Crysis"?

toki said,
Again, you have no idea about real world, end user dont keep a server in house.


The fact that Microsoft markets Windows Home Server refutes your statement. Besides that, it seems that YOU are the one who doesn't understand the real world, since "end users" are only a small fraction of the overall market. Businesses make up a much larger segment of the market.

toki said,
Since when Linux with 1% or 2% market share is a big success in OS world? And is around more that a decade. Seriously... this posts are full of sh*t, Linux will be good when will show something for real, until then, there will be a few zealots who will say is better because various obscure reasons.

Your ignorance is astonishing. The internet wouldn't exist without GNU/Linux. Perhaps it's 1-2% on the desktop, but not on netbooks/smartbooks (10%+), and certainly not on servers where it dominates.

I did have higher hopes for this article. Next time can you interview someone that answers the questions rather than just preaching freedom.

I use linux on my desktop, although I run Windows on my laptop. I have to do this due to the poor performance of games on linux. I somewhat agree with smithy_dll above, I try to use 'freedom' software where I can, but when it is too much hastle or not as productive, then I will use proprietary.

If gaming companies would make a Linux version of the games that I play, I wouldn't hesitate and change to Linux in a heart beat.

Knad said,
I use linux on my desktop

We have heard that before...

Knad said,
I have to do this due to the poor performance of games on linux

Many games run equally as good or better on GNU/Linux. Troll much?

Amodin said,
If gaming companies would make a Linux version of the games that I play, I wouldn't hesitate and change to Linux in a heart beat.


Depending on what games you are talking about, Wine runs a lot of windows games just fine.

A lot of id, Epic and possibly other games have native GNU/Linux installers anyway.

Guess you already know about the GIMP and Quanta+. Invest some time learning emacs or vim(even on cygwin) and you'll probably get faster at editing sites.

I have tried both GIMP and Quanta+, and although they are very good programs they do not compare to the ease of use of the Adobe products.

Never been a fan of emacx/vim, I just use gedit or notepad++ now.

I'm a linux user, and I absolutely hate GIMP. It feels like you have about 10 windows open before you've even opened an image - I can't see photoshop being dethrowned as the king of graphics for a very long time

lflashl said,
thats some interesting reading, i would moved to linux, but i need photoshop and dreamweaver! cheers neowin....

Photoshop runs in wine. And there are many alternatives for web development. That's a poor excuse dude, and one I hear often from people who would never even give GNU/Linux a chance anyway.

liberatus_sum said,
Photoshop runs in wine. And there are many alternatives for web development. That's a poor excuse dude, and one I hear often from people who would never even give GNU/Linux a chance anyway.

hahaha you dont think i have not looked into using WINE! spent weekends trying to work it out! CS4 has a little to no chance of working in wine! You seem to know what your tlking about so please show us all a working copy of CS4 under wine, with a working DOC on how to get it working, with no problems! and ill use linux more!

lflashl said,
hahaha you dont think i have not looked into using WINE! spent weekends trying to work it out! CS4 has a little to no chance of working in wine! You seem to know what your tlking about so please show us all a working copy of CS4 under wine, with a working DOC on how to get it working, with no problems! and ill use linux more!

It's true that wine isn't perfect. But remember it's more useful as a transitional tool to allow you to get familiar with GNU/Linux while finding an equivalent program that does the job. Using a native program should always be prefered. I personally find the Gimp rather good.

But if you are adamant about using Photoshop in Linux, then this might help:
http://appdb.winehq.org/objectManager.php?...rsion&iId=14318

Good luck buddy

Adequate by whose standards? Given that word and OoO Write are not a 1:1 match, adequate just does not cut it. Either it solves the problem most efficiently or it doesn't. And that's the concept of the free market, the individual can choose what is most adequate for them.

Case in point, the GUI for gnu/octave is far from adequate. Freedom doesn't always solve problems, and if it doesn't solve the problem it can be hardly called adequate. Just try telling a professional printer that sRGB is adequate.

I use the software which solves my problem, it is not always free software, nor is it always proprietary software. Like many people I don't have time to solve all the problems with free software, so instead I may pay for proprietary software where my problem has already been solved.

smithy_dll said,
Adequate by whose standards? Given that word and OoO Write are not a 1:1 match, adequate just does not cut it.

No one uses the old proprietary document formats any more. We all use OpenDocuments. And since when do the two programs need to be 1:1 to adequately meet the needs of the user?

liberatus_sum said,
No one uses the old proprietary document formats any more. We all use OpenDocuments. And since when do the two programs need to be 1:1 to adequately meet the needs of the user?


We all use OpenDocuments, do we?

Since when has everyone been using OpenDocuments, or more correctly, the OpenDocument format?

All the businesses and individuals I know use Word and the proprietary formats that go with it. Although, it is good to see MS finally adding support for the ODF.

Most businesses and individuals are still using MS Office 2003, which can't read any ODF documents. The fact is that compatibility rules over everything.

Before I am branded as a Windows fanboy I also use a GNU/Linux distro, dual booted with windows and have the same distro on my netbook.

Microsoft's implementation of ODF manages to be technically correct but practically useless. The nice thing about free software is that a standard can be implemented in code and that code can be copied, improved, and shared between all the applications that need to access that file format. If Microsoft GPLd Office2007, they could have seamless interoperability with OpenOffice. (I know I'm dreaming)

File formats are the key choke-point. By sending someone a .doc file you are extending and deepening the lock-in. Send a few odt or ods files and mention that they can be opened with a free download from OpenOffice and you're making a change for the better.

weex said,
File formats are the key choke-point. By sending someone a .doc file you are extending and deepening the lock-in. Send a few odt or ods files and mention that they can be opened with a free download from OpenOffice and you're making a change for the better.

No no no no no. This does not work in the real world at all. If I send an important document to a client in Banana format, and tell them they have to download BananaReader to read it, that won't go down well.

My dad works with a company running a pre-2007 version of Office, and he has recently bought a Mac with Office 2008. Somehow the setting for default save format that I changed to .doc reverted back to .docx, and a document he sent was unreadable. Due to administration etc, this meant he had to wait an extra week to get paid, which was a very costly mistake. He now doesn't use his Mac for work-related tasks out of the fear that a similar compatibility issue may crop up again. He couldn't have turned around to them and said "LOL JUST INSTALL THE 07 COMPATIBILITY PACK" just to promote some bull**** freedom standards, it's completely idiotic.

PureLegend said,
No no no no no. This does not work in the real world at all. If I send an important document to a client in Banana format, and tell them they have to download BananaReader to read it, that won't go down well.

How did it go down when you sent your first Zip file? or your first PDF file? Change is the only constant. In time your recipient will thank you for it.

My dad works with a company running a pre-2007 version of Office, and he has recently bought a Mac with Office 2008. Somehow the setting for default save format that I changed to .doc reverted back to .docx, and a document he sent was unreadable. Due to administration etc, this meant he had to wait an extra week to get paid, which was a very costly mistake. He now doesn't use his Mac for work-related tasks out of the fear that a similar compatibility issue may crop up aogain. He couldn't have turned around to them and said "LOL JUST INSTALL THE 07 COMPATIBILITY PACK" just to promote some bull**** freedom standards, it's completely idiotic.

I wouldn't say LOL in a corporate setting but I understand your point. When you send a file format that the recipient isn't used to, they cannot read it. In these wondrous days of teh Internets could you not include a link to the free download that is OpenOffice? Lemme see... http://download.openoffice.org/index.html

There. I did it. Consider doing that next time as it's for a good cause. Yours.

Oh Linux/OSS/GNU/whatever evangelists and their new (software) world order... Windows started out closed source, today it is closed source, and it will remain closed source. It's funny how there are people who seem to think that closed source is bad or nasty by definition just because it's different than in their little world.
I have nothing against OSS, but it's stupid to expect all developers to open up their software. There are advantages and disadvantages in closed AND in open source. I know open source does not oppose to commercial software but the simple fact is that open source will never ever get to the same level commercially as closed source.
People are complaining for example Adobe doesn't make a nix version of Photoshop, but when Adobe would make one, they would be demanding it to be open source because otherwise it would contradict with their personal idealistic views and therefore it wouldn't be placed in the standard repositories. The same goes for games, flash, and so on. It's this narrow minded mindset that will prevent it from ever gaining any significant share in the desktop market.

Your assumption that the goal is to have a significant share of a particular market is incorrect. It's not a popularity contest. It's about providing a way to operate a computer in freedom. Since we really live our lives through computers, this translates into being able to live more of life in freedom. It's a choice though, not everyone wants to make the trade-offs and you are free to choose your level of participation.

weex said,
Your assumption that the goal is to have a significant share of a particular market is incorrect.

That's fine, but then people shouldn't be complaining that the big developers like Adobe and game developers aren't doing enough for Linux. It's simply not important to them because of the limited market share. And people _do_ complain about it.

No, no and no. Your statement is just plain wrong. You can release commercial software for GNU/Linux. You don't have to release the source. Most distros don't even require you to release your software under a GPL license, Mozilla projects are not (the direct ports). Flash is available for Linux, in both 32 bit and 64 bit.

There is nothing stopping Autodesk or Adobe from releasing a completely properitary version of either AutoCAD or Photoshop (as a binary). I can get one for SPSS as we speak (and its not cheap). At the moment, it is probably an issue of market share. I don't even see AutoCAD available for Mac (yet).

The same can be said for games. It is still mostly market share. It doesn't make sense (as of yet) to release Crysis for GNU/Linux when it has 1% market share. This is something even (us) Windows users are finding out with most games now being developed for the three main consoles over the Windows platform.

bluarash said,
No, no and no. Your statement is just plain wrong. You can release commercial software for GNU/Linux. You don't have to release the source. Most distros don't even require you to release your software under a GPL license, Mozilla projects are not (the direct ports). Flash is available for Linux, in both 32 bit and 64 bit.

So I guess what this Stallman guy is getting at, falls flat, and by extension, the whole FOSS ideology;Because GPL license determines that any software released without its source shall not be free software, such software is not in line with Stallmanist ideals.And this is a principal point which Linus and Stallmanist followers have come to argue about.Pro Linus front is a bit more leaned towards letting in closed source software and as such they are acting realistically on the situation compared to the communist-esque Stallmanist party.

And FOSS advocates argue that free software isn't about price, freedom is all that matters.They assert that one can sell his/her own software and make money off it, as long as he/she does send out the source code as well.

I've been wondering though how would one count on that kind of software production as a source of income? Assume I'm a developer right? And I-or 'we' as a group- write a program and plan to cash in on its production , okay? But hey, it's gonna be released under the GPL license ,so I'll have to make sure that everyone can download the source right off the website.hmmm...so why would anyone willing to use the software then want to pay me the price of the software which also includes the cost of my-or our- time and efforts put in programming it...anybody can download the source code and feed it into a compiler and there you go, the binary code is born.

I admit I have not that big of a business brain, so kudos to anybody who clears this up for me.Thanks

Aquarian said,
I've been wondering though how would one count on that kind of software production as a source of income?

First, most of the money that is paid for software production is not for shrink-wrapped software. The majority is paid to custom programmers to create custom code. So if you're one of those, free software and your knowledge of it all you to do more and if you're smart, you'll charge more.

Secondly, there are opportunities in packaging the source code, compiling optimizations, as well as support tie-ins that can differentiate your fee-based distribution of free software.

A great place to start, if you are a developer, is in servicing these new business models that will evolve around free software.

bluarash said,
No, no and no. Your statement is just plain wrong. You can release commercial software for GNU/Linux. You don't have to release the source. Most distros don't even require you to release your software under a GPL license, Mozilla projects are not (the direct ports). Flash is available for Linux, in both 32 bit and 64 bit.

There is nothing stopping Autodesk or Adobe from releasing a completely properitary version of either AutoCAD or Photoshop (as a binary). I can get one for SPSS as we speak (and its not cheap). At the moment, it is probably an issue of market share. I don't even see AutoCAD available for Mac (yet).

The same can be said for games. It is still mostly market share. It doesn't make sense (as of yet) to release Crysis for GNU/Linux when it has 1% market share. This is something even (us) Windows users are finding out with most games now being developed for the three main consoles over the Windows platform.

I didn't say you cannot release commercial software for GNU/Linux. I was talking about closed source software, either commercial or non-commercial.

Mozilla products are not released under a GPL License, but they are released open source and under a GPL compatible License, same goes for other licenses like Apache.
It definitely is considered a problem when a product is not open source.
I still have to fiddle around to play mp3 files and the same goes for my "restricted, freedom opposing" nVidia drivers.

liberatus_sum said,
And it will die closed source...

That's deep.

Have been hearing statements like these for the last 10 years though.
If it will though, it will certainly not be by the hand of Linux.

weex said,
First, most of the money that is paid for software production is not for shrink-wrapped software. The majority is paid to custom programmers to create custom code. So if you're one of those, free software and your knowledge of it all you to do more and if you're smart, you'll charge more.

Secondly, there are opportunities in packaging the source code, compiling optimizations, as well as support tie-ins that can differentiate your fee-based distribution of free software.

A great place to start, if you are a developer, is in servicing these new business models that will evolve around free software.

So tell me, why Photoshop isn't being released with its source code? It isn't shrink-wrapped software, is it?

Also what if I don't want to be hired?I take it thats what you mean with custom programmers? I sign a contract that requires me to create custom code for the client who is obliged to pay me out $ in return, right?
But I would want to start a a project of my own with a group of fellow programmers, I want to invent something all new, unprecedented.Bill Gates comes to mind, when he bought DOS license back then and improved on it and then released it under MS-DOS.You think he could get to his current level of success and wealth, if his way of thinking was along the line with Stallman? Or think about Peter Norton, the Norton Security software's mastermind...I don't think so.

Particularly,optimising codes or support tie-ins, these can't be a fat cash cow to rely on.That's ridiculous! The source code is at hands for anybody to read and modify, why would anyone want to pay a fee for support, when they will figure out the problem in the source and sort it out if they know a thing or two about programming and if the problem is minor, or they will most likely find a friend/someone who will help them out gratis or charges less.

And if that's not the way things work in FOSS world, and support is an essential service that can be looked at as a good source of cashflow from a developer perspective, and a reliable pillar to lean on from a user standpoint, then what's the point in having the source code open anyway? It would be exactly like contacting a MS professional for help with a software of theirs.

I'm saying that support service can't be a steady source of income with free software.Sure, the big organizations might find it valuable given their investment, but that's about it.
In general Free Software < proprietary Software, at least money making wise.

I hope you understand what I'm tring to get at.With my native language not being English, it's difficult for me to get my my point across.

Pardon me if I'm giving you a headache with my poor understanding of free software ecosystem.

Aquarian said,
So tell me, why Photoshop isn't being released with its source code? It isn't shrink-wrapped software, is it?

It is.

Also what if I don't want to be hired?

Then you are following your dreams. More power to you.

Particularly,optimising codes or support tie-ins, these can't be a fat cash cow to rely on.That's ridiculous! The source code is at hands for anybody to read and modify, why would anyone want to pay a fee for support, when they will figure out the problem in the source and sort it out if they know a thing or two about programming and if the problem is minor, or they will most likely find a friend/someone who will help them out gratis or charges less.

Good. Each user of the software will find the support that works best for them. It's more efficient.

It would be exactly like contacting a MS professional for help with a software of theirs.

Not true. When the source code is available each support organization is forced to compete with all the others. Currently MS has a monopoly on knowledge of their source code as it applies to those outside the Shared Source Iniitiative.

[qupte]I'm saying that support service can't be a steady source of income with free software.Sure, the big organizations might find it valuable given their investment, but that's about it.
In general Free Software < proprietary Software, at least money making wise.[/quote/
If your goal is to make money by subjugating your fellow man, there is no use in arguing. Free software is about cooperative advancement and respect of other users.

Pardon me if I'm giving you a headache with my poor understanding of free software ecosystem.

We frown on the term ecosystem as it applies the idea that there are no ethics involved as in biological ecosystems. There organisms evolve with only survival of the fittest as determining criteria. As humans we have the capacity to make ethical choices, ones that don't harm other people.

I hope you'll consider running gNewSense or the newly released Kongoni to see how you can get along with 100% free software. There are many opportunities for supporting yourself by supporting these.

Aquarian said,
But hey, it's gonna be released under the GPL license ,so I'll have to make sure that everyone can download the source right off the website.

No, you don't.

Those buying the software must also be able to obtain the source. No one else.

Aquarian said,
so why would anyone willing to use the software then want to pay me the price of the software which also includes the cost of my-or our- time and efforts put in programming it

Your view of the software industry is similar to the way the music industry works nowadays: bands record some songs and expect to profit forever out of that.

FOSS on the other hand would lead to making money out of services, not just support but also ad hoc development (the way most software for banks is being developed right now).
Would be akin to bands making money from live shows.

Argh, although i recognize what he has achieved and what hes trying to do, he sounds a bit fanatic in his urge to liberate the clueless masses. Maybe some people want to be slaves to "big scary software companies"? Hows that for democracy? With amounts of information about free software and whatnot avaible today people can choose for themselves.
I in no way condone free software/gnu/linux, but by the way he speaks it sounds like its not far away we'll have suicide bombers in name of linux...

Free software is a difficult concept for some to understand and for others to cope with. It challenges established power. Without someone like Richard Stallman educating people with a clear set of principles, free software would have a tougher road ahead.

It's actually not a given that free software or that the level of freedom you enjoy will survive. If your government outlaws the sale of any computer hardware that doesn't include a Trusted(treacherous) Computing Chip, and only signed code is allowed to run, you may find yourself slipping into digital oppression.

See we're on the cusp of some major concentration of power when it comes to the internet and technology. If we don't exert our desire for freedom we may find within a decade that we need a fingerprint or retinal scan before we can login to "our computers". Freedom is a fragile thing and if it requires a "fanatic" so be it.

Exactly my thoughts. It's like forcing people to "choose", to be "free" - which in its own nature isn't really a "choice" or "freedom" to do as you please either.

Stallman is also the father of the GNU operating system, that which is commonly referred to as Linux but more accurately defined as GNU/Linux.

This isn't correct.

PCBEEF said,
care to tell us what's correct then?

It's quite obvious. GNU is not the Linux kernel ; nor the Linux kernel is part of GNU. Linux is the current (third-party) kernel used in the distribution of the GNU Project, but GNU can is used in other kernels, like OpenSolaris, GNU Hurd and some BSD variants. And Linux itself can exist without GNU.

That being, I have no problem in saying that my system is GNU/Linux, because it uses the GNU Project and the Linux kernel.

tiagosilva29 said,
It's quite obvious. GNU is not the Linux kernel ; nor the Linux kernel is part of GNU. Linux is the current (third-party) kernel used in the distribution of the GNU Project, but GNU can is used in other kernels, like OpenSolaris, GNU Hurd and some BSD variants. And Linux itself can exist without GNU.

That being, I have no problem in saying that my system is GNU/Linux, because it uses the GNU Project and the Linux kernel.

It's called the GNU operating system because it's composed mostly of GNU programs, for example, the incredibly important build tool chain GCC, and the GNOME desktop itself. Take a look here for a comprehensive list: http://directory.fsf.org/GNU/

I have never seen Linux without the accompanying GNU tools. Perhaps it can exist without them, but I have yet to discover an instance. And because this is the case, we call it the GNU operating system. In addition, there is also a debian distribution of GNU HURD and the GNU program set, and I hear it's coming along quite nicely.

liberatus_sum said,
I have never seen Linux without the accompanying GNU tools. Perhaps it can exist without them, but I have yet to discover an instance.

I've seen it in one of my teacher's machices, it was a very old kernel. Bricks were shat.

tiagosilva29 said,
I've seen it in one of my teacher's machices, it was a very old kernel. Bricks were shat.

The majority of us interact with the OS through GNU programs, so I still stick with my original statement. The Linux kernel can be replaced by another quite easily. The GNU tools make up the bulk of most systems. Perhaps there are some obscure embedded systems out there that use Linux without GNU, but they are the exception, not the rule.

Funny thing. I'm free to do whatever the hell I want with my Windows XP/Vista/7 boxes. I'm not free to do what he wants me to want with them.

Somehow I feel terrible about that.

randomevent said,
Funny thing. I'm free to do whatever the hell I want with my Windows XP/Vista/7 boxes. I'm not free to do what he wants me to want with them.

Somehow I feel terrible about that.


You just think you are free to do as you please.

You are not free to post copies of it online and give it away. You are not free to modify your kernel. You are not free to run the program as you wish, if that includes any of the items Microsoft forbids in their EULA, or by their coding to disable certain abilities.

You are free to buy Microsoft Office and open .docx files. You got me on that one. :P

markjensen said,

You just think you are free to do as you please.

You are not free to post copies of it online and give it away. You are not free to modify your kernel. You are not free to run the program as you wish, if that includes any of the items Microsoft forbids in their EULA, or by their coding to disable certain abilities.

You are free to buy Microsoft Office and open .docx files. You got me on that one. :P


I dont want to do any of that stuff, I am fine with windows the way it is.

freeza said,
None of that matters.

To you.

However, the freedom to install on multiple home PCs is fantastic for my household. We have two Windows machines, one Apple, and all the rest run Linux. The kids hop between the Linux and Windows machines without problems or complaint. The wife has the Apple, and the kids don't get on that one too often. No one sees Windows as a necessity, just a tool to to a job (and these are jobs such as homework that can be done on any of the platforms). What was the need for Windows here again? What is important is ability, reliability, and costs. And that is what makes Linux a preferred platform in this house.

Doli said,
I dont want to do any of that stuff, I am fine with windows the way it is.

To be fair you don't know "the way Windows is" as you can't see the source code. If it came out tomorrow that there was a secret backdoor in Vista that let Microsoft read all your documents, would you be fine with it? You'd have no way of knowing about it.

Or how about this: you buy a new graphics card but thanks to shoddy drivers it keeps causing a BSOD. Unfortunately you'll have to wait for the company itself to fix it because the drivers are closed source.

It's not like the advantages of open source are fairy-tale situations for massive geeks, but are immediately evident, most specifically to Firefox users. What if I want a Cocoa-based Firefox? There's a build. What about a 64-bit Firefox? There's a build.

markjensen said,

You just think you are free to do as you please.

You are not free to post copies of it online and give it away. You are not free to modify your kernel. You are not free to run the program as you wish, if that includes any of the items Microsoft forbids in their EULA, or by their coding to disable certain abilities.

You are free to buy Microsoft Office and open .docx files. You got me on that one. :P


I'm free to do what I want to with it. I want to use the software to get a result. 99% of software solutions enable you to do that without having to recompile a modified source.

The average user (which, lets be frank, counts for the largest percentage of users worldwide) doesn't want/need to know how it works internally, as long as it gets the job done.

The problem with the FSF is that its message is never gonna hold ground, because its fundamentals do not apply to the majority of users. Really there is only a specialist selection of users that really want 100% control.

Antaris said,


I'm free to do what I want to with it. I want to use the software to get a result. 99% of software solutions enable you to do that without having to recompile a modified source.

The average user (which, lets be frank, counts for the largest percentage of users worldwide) doesn't want/need to know how it works internally, as long as it gets the job done.

The problem with the FSF is that its message is never gonna hold ground, because its fundamentals do not apply to the majority of users. Really there is only a specialist selection of users that really want 100% control.



I agree with you, since people like to compare software to cars and so on. The same applies to cars, the vast majority don't know or care how the car works, they don't check or mess with the iner-workings of the engine. All they care about is that it takes them from point A to point B, and how much Gas it needs to get there.

freeza said,
None of that matters.

This depends on the user and his/her expectations of a computer.

There are many benefits with e.g. Linux stemming from this, but indeed, it's not necessary for everyone. If you're happy with playing your games, browsing the web, and editing the docs, with software you don't want control over, and don't need finer granularity of control over your operating system, then that's good enough for you.

GP007 said,
I agree with you, since people like to compare software to cars and so on. The same applies to cars, the vast majority don't know or care how the car works, they don't check or mess with the iner-workings of the engine. All they care about is that it takes them from point A to point B, and how much Gas it needs to get there.

Yet if you tried to sell someone a car with the engine wielded shut, he would obviously suspect there's something fishy.

Doli said,
I dont want to do any of that stuff, I am fine with windows the way it is.

"I don't want to leave my cage. I'm fine with it. It's comfy here."

Beaux said,
"I don't want to leave my cage. I'm fine with it. It's comfy here."

That is a valid opinion for someone to have. Let me just state that as a FOSS advocate and Linux user.

But they ought to be aware of the decision they made, because most didn't make a decision at all. They just use the OS Microsoft has pre-installed.

My wife uses OSX, which (in my opinion) even more restrictive (and more pretty, it seems) than Windows.

I don't hate Windows or OSX. They are just not for me. And, unlike some posters here on Neowin, I don't feel the need to bad-mouth the other choices.

markjensen said,
To you.

However, the freedom to install on multiple home PCs is fantastic for my household. We have two Windows machines, one Apple, and all the rest run Linux. The kids hop between the Linux and Windows machines without problems or complaint. The wife has the Apple, and the kids don't get on that one too often. No one sees Windows as a necessity, just a tool to to a job (and these are jobs such as homework that can be done on any of the platforms). What was the need for Windows here again? What is important is ability, reliability, and costs. And that is what makes Linux a preferred platform in this house.



However, your sort of user is not typical.

You may THINK it is typical; however, there are noticeable differences.

You stated that the kids only use the Windows machines when necessary. That is pretty much the reason FOR Windows as an operating system and an operating environment. It 's to be used when/where necessary. (The same is true of the one Apple computer, and all the Linux computers, realistically.) Linux was designed as a UNIX (not Windows) alternative (per Linus Torvalds); meanwhile, Windows has actually invaded the UNIX/Linux *turf* (not just servers, but workstation-class computing as well, which is why Linux/UNIX/Windows are at loggerheads today). Linux (and UNIX as originally structured) have a *sucking chest wound* that have kept them from widespread adoption - neither is a *general-purpose* operating system in the sense that Windows was designed to be. If you don't need a general-purpose operating system, Linux may indeed be suitable for your intended use.

Now, the Linux/UNIX battle - UNIX has started to adopt the GNU model for the reason of survival. Linux has proven to be the biggest threat to UNIX for one rather obvious reason (ironically, nobody in the UNIX world recognized that other than SCO) - it was DESIGNED that way. Linux was designed as an alternative to System V for the college-student population. The only reason Linux ran into Windows was due to Windows (specifically, Windows NT) invading UNIX (workstation) turf. Windows NT 4.0 was a problem for UNIX in that it was the first real workstation-class version of Windows. Even more of a problem (for UNIX) was that it could actually run most of those pesky general-prpose Windows applications from Windows 95). Windows 2000, therefore, was, quite literally, the worst of nightmares for UNIX (and to an extent, GNU/Linux, UNIX' main competition), as the first real general-purpose NT operating system. However, for the same reasons, Windows 2000 was a problem for OEMs, as you had to have better drivers for Windows 2000 than you needed for 9x.

Segue to today. Windows XP, despite the constant entreaties, is going away, once and for all, after eight-plus years. The problem is that nobody wants to get rid of all that hardware that runs XP well, but Vista not so well. Linux can be respun to slide into that niche to an extent; the question will simply be how well the respins fit.

PGHammer said,
...
You stated that the kids only use the Windows machines when necessary.
...

No.

I did not.

They use them interchangeably. There is no MS Office in this house. OO.o works fine for all of our needs (even on my wife's Apple).

I did not ever state that anyone needed Windows for any purpose.

I need Windows. I need to be sure if I buy some randomass piece of hardware, it'll be supported. I need to know that whatever I want to do, I can do without worrying about whether someone can hack the drivers or what emulation works or whether or not I can use an alternate file system. I don't care about any of that stuff. I just want things to install and run without configuring this that the other thing and whatnot. Even with the troubles people had with Vista, it was still way easier to use than Linux and FAR more reliable than XP.

Yes, I am a gamer, which shifts the equation considerably, and I respect Linux for everything it's done...especially driving Microsoft to do much, much better. But I just don't see the 'value' that you guys do, and I probably never will. Microsoft may make some stupid decisions here and there but I doubt they'll ever do anything dumb enough to make me leave.

PureLegend said,
Or how about this: you buy a new graphics card but thanks to shoddy drivers it keeps causing a BSOD. Unfortunately you'll have to wait for the company itself to fix it because the drivers are closed source.
I don't know how to fix a video driver. I'd much rather have Nvidia or ATI working on improving my video drivers than some loose group of volunteers, thank you.

Even when that loose group of volunteers includes people who work for Nvidia and ATI? That's where we're headed. Mass cooperation will help us all.

PureLegend said,
Or how about this: you buy a new graphics card but thanks to shoddy drivers it keeps causing a BSOD. Unfortunately you'll have to wait for the company itself to fix it because the drivers are closed source.

And with Vista and 7, those drivers would just restart instead of BSODing.

I've only seen a few instances where anything would actually bring down the OS.

(Little late on that reply I admit, but anyway.)

weex said,
Even when that loose group of volunteers includes people who work for Nvidia and ATI? That's where we're headed. Mass cooperation will help us all.

Perhaps it will. Perhaps someday it'll be to a point where Linux drivers are better. They're admittedly pretty decent now, but the open vs closed source debate tends to ignore that the amount of resources spent on something doesn't necessarily acknowledge the amount of expertise of those resources.

I don't think the driver argument holds much water overall as both sides are pretty decent...except for wireless networking, where even with the latest Ubuntu I had way too much trouble with that stuff.

He may be referring to Windows Update but you also have to recognize that since you(unless authorized by Microsoft) may not view the source code to determine exactly what Windows Vista does and does not do.

Part of freedom is choosing to update or not to update. It's very annoying that to get some features a previously activated copy of Windows must be further activated in a process known as Windows Genuine Advantage.

Yet WGA doesn't apply for security or critical patches/updates. WGA only runs a check for optional downloads of free software, like say if you wanted to get IE8 and replace IE7.

MS fully lets you d/l any security patches even on pirated copies that have been marked as illegal by WGA.

GP007 said,
Yet WGA doesn't apply for security or critical patches/updates. WGA only runs a check for optional downloads of free software, like say if you wanted to get IE8 and replace IE7.

MS fully lets you d/l any security patches even on pirated copies that have been marked as illegal by WGA.


Right now they do. In the past they didn't, and it is fully within their rights to change their policy again at their whim.

roadwarrior said,


Right now they do. In the past they didn't, and it is fully within their rights to change their policy again at their whim.



In the past they didn't have WGA either. So it's all the same, nothing stopped me from using WU on my pirated Win98 systems back in the day.

But like you said "fully within their rights" which I agree with, if you make something and decide to change your policy when the new version comes out, why shouldn't you be able to do so? Isn't that also freedom?

The Patri0t said,
"a back door for imposing software changes" - what exactly is that in Windows Vista?

Don't forget, this BadVista was this guys idea.

Just because he says something about Windows, doesn't make it true, or accurate.

GP007 said,
But like you said "fully within their rights" which I agree with, if you make something and decide to change your policy when the new version comes out, why shouldn't you be able to do so?


They have also abused this in the past to force WGA or EULA changes on people in order to obtain patches for critical flaws in the system. That clearly (to me at least) is unethical.


Isn't that also freedom?


No, it's a form of tyranny.

weex said,
He may be referring to Windows Update but you also have to recognize that since you(unless authorized by Microsoft) may not view the source code to determine exactly what Windows Vista does and does not do.

FOSS advocates always bring about the argument that without seeing the source code, you cannot be sure the code is doing what it says it should be doing.

I really hate that argument. Just because software is open source, it does not mean that someone can't ship a backdoor with it. Honestly, who actually reads the source code for every (open source) application that they use? Who has the time, patience, and understanding of the code to do that? Not that many people.

Someone can easily slip a piece of malicious code into a multi-million line open source application, and it could remain in there for years before someone actually discovers it. Relying on the philosophy that closed source applications can't be trusted is, IMO, very paranoid. Relying on the philosophy that you can trust an application when the source code is available provides a false sense of security.

Stallman: This varies from program to program. I have never used Photoshop, and just touched the GIMP once, so I can't compare them from personal experience. I have heard people say the GIMP is better, but the lack of a restricted color-matching feature hampered certain uses.

ROFLMAO!! I take it these people aren't professional graphic designers.

Mikee99 said,
I take it these people aren't professional graphic designers.

Quite probably not, but those that are not professional graphic designers largely outnumber those that are.

It's not as easy as you think to slip in a backdoor to an established program. Thanks to revision control and a program called diff it's easy to see each and every little change made to source code. Md5 hashes allow people to verify that a particular distributed binary version of a program corresponds to a set of source code.

Trust is a tricky thing but I find it easier to trust a community of people with different goals, aspirations, and problems than a company with a unified goal of making a profit. The community has a lot harder time and less incentive to keep a secret that harms users.

He's the father of GNU. Linus would still be the father of the Linux kernel. It's important to note that the GNU system includes most of the programs you would recognize as "Linux" and it would be much harder to replace the Linux kernel than it would be to replace the GNU system. Just ask the folks over at Sun who swapped out Linux for the OpenSolaris kernel and what do you know? They still use GNU and it's a very familiar feeling system.

Article reads "father of GNU," which then goes on to say that people commonly mislabel that as just "Linux" as these days GNU uses Linux as the kernel, hence the label "GNU/Linux."

(this I gathered from a quick look at gnu.org)

mocax said,
wait... if he's the father of linux.... what's that make Linus Torvalds?

Father of Free Software and GNU.

GNU is the Operating System.

Linux is a kernel that does the hardware interface that GNU sits on top of.

markjensen said,
Father of Free Software and GNU.

GNU is the Operating System.

Linux is a kernel that does the hardware interface that GNU sits on top of.


That's exactly why the quote in the article gets on my nerves. GNU is not Linux, and shouldn't be referred to as such. Stallman doesn't even like Linux (the kernel) very much, from what I've read. The quote in this article simply perpetuates the long standing misconception that Linux is the total operating system.

roadwarrior said,
That's exactly why the quote in the article gets on my nerves. GNU is not Linux, and shouldn't be referred to as such. Stallman doesn't even like Linux (the kernel) very much, from what I've read. The quote in this article simply perpetuates the long standing misconception that Linux is the total operating system.

Stallman likes his own Hurd. That project has gone nowhere - kind of a shame. It would be nice to have various competing kernels to select to run your GNU OS and Gnome or what-not on top of that. But I guess that people have found the Linux kernel to have plenty of hardware support, and is customizable enough for them to be happy using it over spending development time on Hurd.

As far as people calling the whole "distro" as "Linux", I don't let that get to me at all. There are cases, however, when clarifying that Linux is just the kernel does help in a conversation when people are making strange claims about Linux that just don't apply to the kernel. But often people just lump the whole UI as "Linux", which is technically not accurate in the least bit.

markjensen said,
As far as people calling the whole "distro" as "Linux", I don't let that get to me at all. There are cases, however, when clarifying that Linux is just the kernel does help in a conversation when people are making strange claims about Linux that just don't apply to the kernel. But often people just lump the whole UI as "Linux", which is technically not accurate in the least bit.

It's a continuum. There are many cases in technology where your message has to be tailored to your audience. If someone already uses Firefox and OpenOffice then it's time to let them know about the GNU/Linux problem. It just helps to understand that there is more to the system than just the kernel. That way if the kernel should fall into disrepair our work can go on.

The problem with "GNU/Linux" is that, while it comes handy to tell when you are talking about the kernel and when your are talking about the whole OS, if you are nitpicky enough to jump on anyone calling it "Linux" you are still disregarding a whole lot of other pieces of software distributed under other different licenses that have come to be part of almost every Linux distribution.

The Patri0t said,
Looks like he also wants a free haircut which no one's willing to offer him.

Much how you are willing to offer nothing more than attacking a guy, and at the same time providing absolutely nothing productive to the conversation.

Actually there are some very interesting things happening with 100% free GNU/Linux distributions. These include gNewSense and an up-and-comer called Kongoni. Both distributions remove non-free software like Adobe's Flash as well as many binary blobs from the kernel so you can be sure you have freedom in the computers you use.

billyea said,
The current state of GNU/Linux:
not that much further than it usually is (desktop wise)

While it is still miniscule on the desktop, it has doubled in the past two years.*
In the server market (which is still important to adoption and acceptance of the OS), Linux is very significant, with $1.4bln in sales, compared to Microsoft's $3.7bln.** Not bad for a libre OS that can be had gratis.
Linux is strong in embedded, and in supercomputing.

So, you have just one market to cherry-pick to paint your "gloom and doom" picture.


* Source: Hitslink, July 2007 to April 2009
** Source: IDC, May 2009

weex said,
Actually there are some very interesting things happening with 100% free GNU/Linux distributions. These include gNewSense and an up-and-comer called Kongoni. Both distributions remove non-free software like Adobe's Flash as well as many binary blobs from the kernel so you can be sure you have freedom in the computers you use.


So then what happens if/when you need something like flash? Does the freedom somehow leave you when you then freely decide to install something like flash?

You are choosing then to allow Flash to contact in a non-obvious way possibly the content provider, the provider of the applet, Adobe, and whoever else the chain of provision allows to get their "phone home" in. Gnash, the free software implementation of Flash, allows you to see and to limit who will be contacted when you access said content. With Adobe's Flash implementation there is not only the fact that you can't be sure what it does, but that it communicates with many entities and may compromise your privacy.

He sounds so offensive while trying to persuade people that theyre some kind of slave to "some" system and dont have a clue on what theyre doing.

His attitude reminds me of huge wars declared to "bring peace and democracy to the unfortunate masses that have not seen them yet" (!) .

Borderline to straight out lying, i sincerely don't like the way he thinks.

My first post here, hello Neowin /wave

Azyr said,
Borderline to straight out lying, i sincerely don't like the way he thinks.

If corporations could decide laws, that's one freedom you wouldn't have ;-)

Azyr said,
He sounds so offensive while trying to persuade people that theyre some kind of slave to "some" system and dont have a clue on what theyre doing.

His attitude reminds me of huge wars declared to "bring peace and democracy to the unfortunate masses that have not seen them yet" (!) .

Borderline to straight out lying, i sincerely don't like the way he thinks.

My first post here, hello Neowin /wave

While I definitely see an attitude from this man, he's not far off from the truth. We are absolutely "slaves to some system". Microsoft and Apple have created a very controlled world of computing where the average Joe has no clue. If the same practices were to be introduced into other things, most of those people wouldn't stand for it. But because they don't understand that they are being led and controlled, they can't possibly defend themselves from it.

Here a few examples of what I mean....

Imagine going to buy a car. The sales man shows you all of these great features and you're really interested. Mostly because you believe this car is what every car should be like. Once you buy the car you drive off. When you have a second, you open up the manual to find a 235 page license agreement that explains the car is not actually yours, in fact the manufacturer of the car owns the vehicle and can at any time change the vehicle and or remove your pseudo-ownership of said vehicle. By the way, you agreed to this license the second you drove off the lot. Add to that, the manufacturer has activated restrictions such as the car cannot go over the speed limit, the engine shuts off randomly and your wipers will not turn on unless you pay an extra $250 to the manufacturer.

Now, imagine you're about to buy a house. You purchase this house and you need to make some renovations. So you update the kitchen (motherboard), you add a bathroom (more RAM) and finally you add a deck outside (new video card). You go out for a little while and come home to find your key doesn't work. Why? Because all of these changes you've made have transformed the house into apparently, a different house. Now you'll need to repurchase the house.

Of course these may seem far-fetched, but they definitely paint a different picture. Those things are not acceptable to even the average Joe. Why exactly is this acceptable behavior for a software developer/manufacturer?

nekkidtruth said,
I know they exist. Way to miss the point ;)


I don't think he missed the point, only that you're analogy doesn't work since, yes, cars also have their own "restrictions" and "terms".

If you open it up and change things tot he engine, unsupported upgrades and so on, you void your service agreement for one. Hacking the onboard OS that controls and limits the engines output is also voiding it and not suppose to be legally done by anyone outside of registered techs or people from the car maker itself.

A Car isn't an OS, it's not as complicated or doesn't have as many parts to it, yet it does have it's own sets of restrictions in place. You can't also swipe out and use any part you want as well.

Oh and that house, sure you can renovate it within the limits of your permit and such, but if you go outside of that and make it bigger or add in, say, a 2nd kitchen when you don't have the license to, you get fined and have to pay up the wazoo.

So again, Cars have their own restrictions, and so do Houses. You need building permits and you can't just totally change it into whatever you want.

I had an uncle who changed a two story house into basically two apartments (added a 2nd kitchen on the 2nd floor) but obviously didn't have a permit for making such a "drastic change" thus making it "a different house" so guess what, they slapped him with so many violations and fines I think he's still in court.

nekkidtruth said,
Of course these may seem far-fetched, but they definitely paint a different picture. Those things are not acceptable to even the average Joe. Why exactly is this acceptable behavior for a software developer/manufacturer?

Luckily for us, your house analogy is theoretical at best. While theoretically that happens in the software world, in reality, you just call up the company and they fix it for free.

The car analogy is also flawed, in that the ToS isn't snuck on you like that. Rather, to be more accurate, the ToS would be attached to the door handle, and you'd need to break a piece of tape securing the driver side door, indicating that you agree, before you can get into the car.

GP007 said,
*snipped for space*

The analogy works perfectly fine. I took the restrictions of software and placed them directly on top of things we do in everyday life. Sure there are restrictions to cars and houses, but if the restrictions were the same as the restrictions to software, there would be a problem. Which was the point.

Changing your hardware and or overclocking your computer is not illegal. So my analogies still stands.

waruikoohii said,
Luckily for us, your house analogy is theoretical at best. While theoretically that happens in the software world, in reality, you just call up the company and they fix it for free.

It's not theoretical. It's exactly what happens with software. Regardless if you call the company and they fix it for free, the point is they don't HAVE to. In fact, they're not even obligated to. At any time they can say "Sorry, buy a new license.".

waruikoohii said,
The car analogy is also flawed, in that the ToS isn't snuck on you like that. Rather, to be more accurate, the ToS would be attached to the door handle, and you'd need to break a piece of tape securing the driver side door, indicating that you agree, before you can get into the car.

The only flaw in the analogy is that I should have added that the sales man said "Here's the license agreement" and handed you the manual, which you promptly placed into your glove compartment for later viewing. Adding that little tidbit makes the analogy very realistic. Regardless of where the license is, it's still a ridiculous license. And once again my point still stands.

GP007 said,
A Car isn't an OS, it's not as complicated or doesn't have as many parts to it, yet it does have it's own sets of restrictions in place. You can't also swipe out and use any part you want as well.


You can't? I think the people in the custom car scene would disagree with you there.

Oh and that house, sure you can renovate it within the limits of your permit and such, but if you go outside of that and make it bigger or add in, say, a 2nd kitchen when you don't have the license to, you get fined and have to pay up the wazoo.


Not sure what kind of place YOU live in, but when I buy a house, I am perfectly free to make any changes that I see fit to my house.

So again, Cars have their own restrictions, and so do Houses. You need building permits and you can't just totally change it into whatever you want.

I had an uncle who changed a two story house into basically two apartments (added a 2nd kitchen on the 2nd floor) but obviously didn't have a permit for making such a "drastic change" thus making it "a different house" so guess what, they slapped him with so many violations and fines I think he's still in court.


So, in other words, you and your uncle live in the housing equivalent of Windows. I'm glad that I don't live in such a place. You may not be aware of this, but there are also places that are more like the equivalent of Linux.

nekkidtruth said,


While I definitely see an attitude from this man, he's not far off from the truth. We are absolutely "slaves to some system". Microsoft and Apple have created a very controlled world of computing where the average Joe has no clue.


The difference is in "choice of master" when it gets down to brass tacks.

It's like the choice between the feuding clerics in Iran, only less violent and bloody. Each wants to rule; the difference is in *how* each wants to rule. Like in any choice, there are tradeoffs; there are certain things you don't (and may never) have when running GNU/Linux (which even Richard Stallman will admit when pressed about it). The disadvantage that GNU/Linux (and any other GNU operating system, such as OpenSolaris) faces is, except for certain niche users and niche uses, the vast majority does NOT think those tradeoffs are worth it. Not in the short, medium, OR long run.

Your *house analogy* falls down for one simple reason - the manufacturer of the key (Microsoft or Apple) tells you up-front that if you change so many details of the house, you'll need to have different keys made. (Fortunately, the procedure to do that is *easier* with Microsoft than with Apple.) Again, it's a trade-off. If such isn't acceptable, go to a different builder (or build the house yourself). That is something Microsoft permits; Apple does not.

PGHammer said,

The difference is in "choice of master" when it gets down to brass tacks.

It's like the choice between the feuding clerics in Iran, only less violent and bloody. Each wants to rule; the difference is in *how* each wants to rule. Like in any choice, there are tradeoffs; there are certain things you don't (and may never) have when running GNU/Linux (which even Richard Stallman will admit when pressed about it). The disadvantage that GNU/Linux (and any other GNU operating system, such as OpenSolaris) faces is, except for certain niche users and niche uses, the vast majority does NOT think those tradeoffs are worth it. Not in the short, medium, OR long run.

Your *house analogy* falls down for one simple reason - the manufacturer of the key (Microsoft or Apple) tells you up-front that if you change so many details of the house, you'll need to have different keys made. (Fortunately, the procedure to do that is *easier* with Microsoft than with Apple.) Again, it's a trade-off. If such isn't acceptable, go to a different builder (or build the house yourself). That is something Microsoft permits; Apple does not.

We can sit here and argue semantics all day, but ultimately the fact remains, there shouldn't even BE a license such as that given to you by Microsoft. I don't care what anyone says, my house is my house. My computer is my computer. There is no excuse for pushing such ridiculous licenses. If I want to change the hardware of my computer, I should be able to do so without having to deal with some stupid software license which inevitably has nothing to do with the hardware.

Slice it however way you want, it doesn't change what I'm saying. Once again, my point is still valid as are my analogies. These restrictions placed on software would never fly in the real world when placed on real world things like houses or cars. So it shouldn't fly with software either. Unfortunately, most people are too stubborn (read: stupid) to realize they're being led around on a leash.

But ur house analogie isnt really valid. I mean sure if you change ur hardware too much, windows will say ur key is invalid, but is it really that hard to call up a free number, and get them to re-activate it. To the average user they may do this once, maybe twice. And for enthusiasts, its just another step in buildin the comp really, iv done it 3 times on my oem vista copy, and tbh a 3min phone call is not really an issue. Its just there to help prevent it from being pirated

GP007 said,
Oh and that house, sure you can renovate it within the limits of your permit and such, but if you go outside of that and make it bigger or add in, say, a 2nd kitchen when you don't have the license to, you get fined and have to pay up the wazoo.

So again, Cars have their own restrictions, and so do Houses. You need building permits and you can't just totally change it into whatever you want.

I had an uncle who changed a two story house into basically two apartments (added a 2nd kitchen on the 2nd floor) but obviously didn't have a permit for making such a "drastic change" thus making it "a different house" so guess what, they slapped him with so many violations and fines I think he's still in court.

I don't know where you live but here you can do as much as you want inside your house. Don't need any permit to add a window or make 1 room out of 2. As long as you don't work at 3 AM ;)

Yes there's some restrictions but those restrictions are voted by elected men and not arbitrary created by some ramdon companies.

Of course if you want to add a complete floor to your house then you'll need to ask a permit to the city and the city will probably say no with good reason.

nhozemphtekh said,
freedom is overrated

Freedom is not overrated. People like stallman simply like to redefine freedom to mean something similar to social welfare.

Freedom as defined by American Freedom means free to do what you want... not freedom to expect people to give you their source code.

mikefarinha said,
Freedom as defined by American Freedom means free to do what you want... not freedom to expect people to give you their source code.

Defacto American freedom means the ability of those who have the power and wealth to be free to remain free at the expense of others (libertarianism).

Stallman isn't a libertarian, he's a radical with a utopian vision. He's a certain kind of genius and really the world isn't yet ready for him. In a hundred years, people will be rediscovering his writings and wondering why they were ignored.

mikefarinha said,
Freedom is not overrated. People like stallman simply like to redefine freedom to mean something similar to social welfare.

Freedom as defined by American Freedom means free to do what you want... not freedom to expect people to give you their source code.

Of course not.

But i would like to have the freedom to install MY software i bought with MY money on as many computer i have in my house.

While I do appreciate what he has done for the Linux world(as I am a linux user myself). His message and pledge for freedom and free software sounds like something out of a bad 80's movie.

The term "much anticipated" seems inappropriate since it usually is not applied to something whose purpose is nasty.

lol what a douche bag! Just because you have to pay for Windows 7 doesn't mean its purpose is nasty!

*Edit* Woot first comment!

ceminess said,
lol what a douche bag! Just because you have to pay for Windows 7 doesn't mean its purpose is nasty!

You obviously didn't understand what he was saying. Remember that there's a difference between free as in beer and free as in libre.

He's referring to the DRM and other restrictions in Windows 7 - not the fact that it's commercial.

Let's make one thing clear: FSF does not oppose the fact that your software costs money. That's right. If Windows cost as much as it does now (or perhaps even more) but allowed everyone to look at the source code (and modify it) and didn't include DRM, Stallman would be a very quiet man.

PureLegend said,
You obviously didn't understand what he was saying. Remember that there's a difference between free as in beer and free as in libre.

I guess not...libre? huh?

daPhoenix said,
He's referring to the DRM and other restrictions in Windows 7 - not the fact that it's commercial.

Let's make one thing clear: FSF does not oppose the fact that your software costs money. That's right. If Windows cost as much as it does now (or perhaps even more) but allowed everyone to look at the source code (and modify it) and didn't include DRM, Stallman would be a very quiet man.


Well I can understand that, and while I don't care about looking at the source code, I do not like DRM, but I don't understand how that effects my day to day usage of an OS.

Mind you, I use Ubuntu as my main OS.

ceminess said,
I guess not...libre? huh?

Think about it like this:
Free as in beer - The pub gives you free beer
Free as in libre - The pub lets you look at the recipe for the beer

So as you can see, just because the pub's letting you see the recipe doesn't mean they're gonna give you free beer. It's a very rough example and will probably get picked apart, but you get the idea.

ceminess said,
I guess not...libre? huh?

Free as in speech, not as in beer. The ability to do something without someone stopping/restricting you from doing it. That's what free software/libre is about...

ceminess said,
While I do appreciate what he has done for the Linux world(as I am a linux user myself). His message and pledge for freedom and free software sounds like something out of a bad 80's movie.

lol what a douche bag! Just because you have to pay for Windows 7 doesn't mean its purpose is nasty!

*Edit* Woot first comment!


+1

PureLegend said,
Think about it like this:
Free as in beer - The pub gives you free beer
Free as in libre - The pub lets you look at the recipe for the beer

So as you can see, just because the pub's letting you see the recipe doesn't mean they're gonna give you free beer. It's a very rough example and will probably get picked apart, but you get the idea.


LOL

Analogies... Well, analogies are like cars. :shifty:

I often use cookie recipes as my example. The recipes for various cookies are out there. You can make your own. You can even get free cookies. Or you can use the recipe and make your own. Even free to change the recipe and give away your cookies. Or sell them.

Sure, the analogy is somewhat flawed because you are dealing with physical cookies that contain material, and cannot just be "copied" the way software can. But these recipe analogies are pretty good, I think.

ceminess said,
While I do appreciate what he has done for the Linux world(as I am a linux user myself).

I'd just like to interject for a moment. What you're referring to as Linux, is in fact, GNU/Linux, or as I've recently taken to calling it, GNU plus Linux. Linux is not an operating system unto itself, but rather another free component of a fully functioning GNU system made useful by the GNU corelibs, shell utilities and vital system components comprising a full OS as defined by POSIX.

Many computer users run a modified version of the GNU system every day, without realizing it. Through a peculiar turn of events, the version of GNU which is widely used today is often called "Linux", and many of its users are not aware that it is basically the GNU system, developed by the GNU Project.

There really is a Linux, and these people are using it, but it is just a part of the system they use. Linux is the kernel: the program in the system that allocates the machine's resources to the other programs that you run. The kernel is an essential part of an operating system, but useless by itself; it can only function in the context of a complete operating system. Linux is normally used in combination with the GNU operating system: the whole system is basically GNU with Linux added, or GNU/Linux. All the so-called "Linux" distributions are really distributions of GNU/Linux.

I personally think the DRM bit in Windows is blown out of proportion. In the need to support copyrighted playback one has to support the DRM bits the media (DVD and now bluray) works with, or you can't get licensed to playback said media on your system.

Going the unofficial route and doing something like what Slysoft does with it's AnyDVD and AnyDVD HD software is also possible on Windows even with MS's support of DRM, that hasn't stopped anyone from doing whatever they want "freely".

So you can't see the code, ok, yet that aside I don't see anything else restricting you from doing whatever you want. Yes DRM is here, media companies want it that way, but you can bypass it just the same.

This is particularly disturbing. The phrase "media companies want it that way" implies that what they want is right and that they should get what they want. Are they(and Microsoft) not here to serve the customer? The task here is to educate so consumers will start asking for what's in their best interest. DRM is going away as consumers get more savvy and non-free software will hopefully go the same way.

weex said,
This is particularly disturbing. The phrase "media companies want it that way" implies that what they want is right and that they should get what they want. Are they(and Microsoft) not here to serve the customer? The task here is to educate so consumers will start asking for what's in their best interest. DRM is going away as consumers get more savvy and non-free software will hopefully go the same way.



Disturbing it may be, yet media companies and or content providers own said content and are free to do and or restrict it as they see fit. Are you saying otherwise? MS is serving the customer, the windows user wants to be able to play back DVDs and BluRay movies. In order to do so, you have to legally follow the said DVD and BluRay spec, which in tern calls for said DRM's to be in place at this point in time.

non-free software won't go away, people don't work for free, and big innovations cost loads of money in R&D. If everything was free how would you make up for it? You do know that FF got to where it is today from the shear fact it's made deals with companies like Google and so on to get some form of money so it can do what it does?

If you think companies such as NOvell and Red Hat are working for nothing and just handing out "free" GNU/Linux then I dunno what to say.

brentaal said,
I'd just like to interject for a moment. What you're referring to as Linux, is in fact, GNU/Linux, or as I've recently taken to calling it, GNU plus Linux. Linux is not an operating system unto itself, but rather another free component of a fully functioning GNU system made useful by the GNU corelibs, shell utilities and vital system components comprising a full OS as defined by POSIX.

Many computer users run a modified version of the GNU system every day, without realizing it. Through a peculiar turn of events, the version of GNU which is widely used today is often called "Linux", and many of its users are not aware that it is basically the GNU system, developed by the GNU Project.

There really is a Linux, and these people are using it, but it is just a part of the system they use. Linux is the kernel: the program in the system that allocates the machine's resources to the other programs that you run. The kernel is an essential part of an operating system, but useless by itself; it can only function in the context of a complete operating system. Linux is normally used in combination with the GNU operating system: the whole system is basically GNU with Linux added, or GNU/Linux. All the so-called "Linux" distributions are really distributions of GNU/Linux.



WOW - I bet Linus Torvalds would have a quite a bit to say about your "definition" of Linux...and he apparently has said quite abit about RMS and his streak of self-importance.

F/OSS never ceases to give me hours of laughter...at it's own expense.

ScottKin said,
WOW - I bet Linus Torvalds would have a quite a bit to say about your "definition" of Linux...


That is actually a quote from Stallman, not the poster's definition. However, it is correct. Linux is the kernel, period. The rest of the OS is primarily made up of components from the GNU project and other open source projects. Perhaps you should learn a little about it before you ridicule others on the subject.

weex said,
This is particularly disturbing. The phrase "media companies want it that way" implies that what they want is right and that they should get what they want. Are they(and Microsoft) not here to serve the customer? The task here is to educate so consumers will start asking for what's in their best interest. DRM is going away as consumers get more savvy and non-free software will hopefully go the same way.

No, they are not. They are in business for two things:

1. To make money.
2. To protect what they deem as 'theirs' whatever that may be.

Serving the customer is only a facade. You are not being helped, but being 'directed' in the way the business wants you as the customer to proceed.

PureLegend said,
You obviously didn't understand what he was saying. Remember that there's a difference between free as in beer and free as in libre.


Well, I for one, understand what he was saying and still came to the conclusion that yes, he is a douche bag. Mr. Freedom is one of those people who easily accepts mediocrity, this is shown often, but none more accurately in the GIMP vs Photoshop question. He is so focused on whether or not the software is free he doesn't actually care if it's good. Good being defined by if it easily lets the user do whatever it is he or she wants to do. GIMP isn't a crap product, but it in no way competes with Photoshop – a program that has been worked on by teams of people, full time, for two decades. It is almost an insult to them to be honest.

There are plenty of things free software is very good at, however it rarely cares about the user, it cares about the task it is made to accomplish. This is fine for very technical people, people that live on computers, and are passionate about them. As a developer myself, I have found that with today's tools, computing power, and modern languages – building the underpinnings of an application is NOT the hard part anymore – at the end of the day it's a logical system. Making a user experience engaging, simple, that lets the tasks just "happen" is now the challenge. People like Mr. Freedom don't care about this, and are usually surrounded by uber geeks that don't as well. Ignoring the vast UI deficit in something like OpenOffice compared to Office 2007 is either done in ignorance or on purpose. Not everything needs as simple of a UI as a web browser, some have more than a few buttons and menus.

I also find it a bit hypocritical that these people think this program or that company is evil, really the lowest level of hell, yet are completely happy to take money from them to make their own products, I guess when it's their livelihood that's at stake, it's ok. Think of the companies that back some of the biggest open source projects, evil by Mr. Freedom definition.

The reality is that "Free" can be an antidote for progress. So many things we have today, including why technology is such a major part of our lives, to the point we take it for granted is due to our capitalist nature as a country. Sure, it can be evil, but it doesn't mean on a whole it's bad. Would the computing world have moved so fast into our lives if one OS hadn't rising to a defacto standard? Of course not. So, you take the good with the bad. The reality is OSS spends a lot of its time copying commercial products, and to copy something is easy, to have the original idea, to realize the need and build something causes people to act and use it – that is hard. For almost every major technology that is prevalent today, some company spent a good deal of money marketing it. Also, don't confuse standards with products. HTML, IP, et al are all wonderful things but useless without an idea to put them to work.

We are going through an interesting change where people are now expecting everything for free. This is increasingly true of "Content" (music, movies, etc) and in general things that are not tangible. For some reason, we still expect to pay for physical things, but not for ones we can't hold in our little hands. We will pay the $200 for the iPod, but hate spending $1 on the song. Everyone is so happy to stick it to music companies and film studios, but the end result is – if people stop making money, we will stop getting the content. Please don't think that I think the RIAA, and the like, are good, I don't, but I do not think they are 100% completely in the wrong either.

Lastly, I can prove that OSS can be just as evil, at least when they want to profit from their ventures. While technically sound products, they usually lack polish, are not click and install, and take much hand configuration. The evil comes in because what they sell is support. Let's keep the UI, management systems, and ease of use at a minimum, so only those top geeks can manage it. If you want help, call us. Who is controlling who now?

See, Richard is THE problem I have with GNU and Linux (or GNU/Linux for you purists).

weex said,
The phrase "media companies want it that way" implies that what they want is right and that they should get what they want.

Now, that bugs me, the various definitions of freedom. Isn't Richard also telling me what to do? He DEMANDS that I publish anything I produce (software, media content, information, etc) for free for anyone to copy and use. Isn't it freedom that I can choose whether to charge for product I've made or simply give it away for free? And isn't it freedom that people can choose to pay for it if they want or simply ignore it if they don't?

It is not because Microsoft adds DRM capabilities to Windows that developers (or content owners) NEED TO use it. DRM is there to support those that chose to charge for they products, and it is not there (as in "in the way") of those willing to give them for free.

Ryanlm said,
Mr. Freedom is one of those people who easily accepts mediocrity, this is shown often, but none more accurately in the GIMP vs Photoshop question.

Really well presented argument. I loved reading it and found your logic quite refreshingly flawless.

Ryanlm said,
He is so focused on whether or not the software is free he doesn't actually care if it's good.

Of course he's focused on that. He's pushing and idea, not a specific piece of software.
If anything he's involved in GNU, which is a quite decent set of tools that often surpass the UNIX counterparts.

Ryanlm said,
GIMP isn't a crap product, but it in no way competes with Photoshop – a program that has been worked on by teams of people, full time, for two decades. It is almost an insult to them to be honest.

For home users? Sure it does compete. Not everyone is a professional graphic designer.

Ryanlm said,
Ignoring the vast UI deficit in something like OpenOffice compared to Office 2007 is either done in ignorance or on purpose.

Compared to office2007? Because Office2003 is not that different from OpenOffice, UI wise.

Ryanlm said,
Think of the companies that back some of the biggest open source projects, evil by Mr. Freedom definition.

Getting companies to use and develop FOSS software is precisely the point. It's not a FOSS vs The Man crusade.

Ryanlm said,
Would the computing world have moved so fast into our lives if one OS hadn't rising to a defacto standard? Of course not.

"We will never know" is far more accurate.

Ryanlm said,
For almost every major technology that is prevalent today, some company spent a good deal of money marketing it.

And then again you have stuff like php, mysql, apache and linux powering a huge part of today's www.

Ryanlm said,
We are going through an interesting change where people are now expecting everything for free. This is increasingly true of "Content" (music, movies, etc) and in general things that are not tangible. For some reason, we still expect to pay for physical things, but not for ones we can't hold in our little hands. We will pay the $200 for the iPod, but hate spending $1 on the song. Everyone is so happy to stick it to music companies and film studios, but the end result is – if people stop making money, we will stop getting the content. Please don't think that I think the RIAA, and the like, are good, I don't, but I do not think they are 100% completely in the wrong either.

None of which has anything to do with FOSS.

Ryanlm said,
Lastly, I can prove that OSS can be just as evil, at least when they want to profit from their ventures. While technically sound products, they usually lack polish, are not click and install, and take much hand configuration. The evil comes in because what they sell is support. Let's keep the UI, management systems, and ease of use at a minimum, so only those top geeks can manage it. If you want help, call us. Who is controlling who now?

I guess you haven't dealt with HP's very proprietary software (the "openview" suite et al).
Lack of polish and awkward install methods are all over the place in professional software, FOSS or not.

ichi said,
Of course he's focused on that. He's pushing and idea, not a specific piece of software.
If anything he's involved in GNU, which is a quite decent set of tools that often surpass the UNIX counterparts.


If he is, I cannot see that from this interview or from various other writings I have seen from him over the years. But, even giving you the benefit of the doubt, that he does care, you at least have to admit that 1) it is not his primary care and 2) he will certainly accept much less for his idea of "freedom".

ichi said,
Compared to office2007? Because Office2003 is not that different from OpenOffice, UI wise.


It isn't? OpenOffice looks one heck of a lot like XP's default theme. That came out in 2001. Here are some examples:

OO : http://why.openoffice.org/images/writer-big.png
XP : http://www.h-online.com/security/services/...ns/ie6_iopt.gif
Office 2000 : http://www.bcgsoft.com/featuretour/screens.../office2000.jpg
Office 2003 : http://www.wellesley.edu/Computing/Office0...Images/word.gif
Office 2007 : http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presski...mage027_low.jpg

There are a whole lot of things besides early 2000 styling such as the poor text rendering quality. So, at the very least, its about 10 years behind the competition if we are debating UI. You can even argue that a 1.0 product from Apple is lightyears ahead : http://www.apple.com/iwork/pages/

The thing to remember is that most developers really can't tell if what they make is really ugly or difficult to use, thats why major software vendors do plenty of usability testings and hire swaths of graphic designers to get things right. But, again, that costs money, and "Freedom" is at stake.

ichi said,
Getting companies to use and develop FOSS software is precisely the point. It's not a FOSS vs The Man crusade.


But that isn't what I was commenting about, the point I was making is he is a complete hypocrite if he takes their money to do "Freedom" software. It is apparently wrong for us to give them money for their "nasty" products, but that same money somehow gets cleaned in the wash if its handed over to him. Let's say you were with PETA, and some leather coat company wanted to give you some money to support your cause. If you are at all ethical you would deny it.

ichi said,
"We will never know" is far more accurate.


No, it isnt You can even see a current example with the iPhone. There are how many mobile OS platforms out there, and have been for ages, many of which had developer platforms. One above all others is now in vogue and it has over 50,000 apps written for it already in about a year since dev could write apps. Is it really that much better of a platform? Easier to write too? Or, is it just marketing and its digital sex appeal? Much like Windows 95 enjoyed over a decade ago?

Now this is going to be fun, Window's mobile has been around for ages, how many apps exist for it? Hell, keep in mind the number of windows developers there are, and that there is a fully mobile version of .NET on it and it has a complete emulator in what is widely held to be one hell of a good IDE, Visual Studio. For extra thought, how well is the regular mac software world doing? (Hint, not nearlly as good as the iPhones, like as far as you can get.) Ubiquity matters in the software world. Developers do not want to write software multiple times, and when they go down that path, usually things get lowest common denominatored.


ichi said,
And then again you have stuff like php, mysql, apache and linux powering a huge part of today's www.


All things that "Users" rarely use. By "User", I mean walk into a generic office park, randomly pick a door, and find the first secretary you see - welcome to the majority of people in the "Users" category. I never said OSS doesn't make anything good, in fact I said "There are plenty of things free software is very good at, however it rarely cares about the user, it cares about the task it is made to accomplish. This is fine for very technical people, people that live on computers, and are passionate about them."

FWIW, The above things you mentioned are very good products for tasks they are made to do.

ichi said,
None of which has anything to do with FOSS.


No, but it does have to do with the world Mr. Freedom would have us live in.

ichi said,
I guess you haven't dealt with HP's very proprietary software (the "openview" suite et al).
Lack of polish and awkward install methods are all over the place in professional software, FOSS or not.


Well its written in Java isn't it? I kid! Actually, I do run OpenView, my company has several cabinets of HP c-Class blade systems, and HP SANS.

Ryanlm said,
If he is, I cannot see that from this interview or from various other writings I have seen from him over the years. But, even giving you the benefit of the doubt, that he does care, you at least have to admit that 1) it is not his primary care and 2) he will certainly accept much less for his idea of "freedom".

I meant that he is focused on whether software is free or not. He's pushing a development model and a kind of license.


Ryanlm said,
It isn't? OpenOffice looks one heck of a lot like XP's default theme. That came out in 2001.

Different icons and different arrangement of toolbars. Other than that OOo and 2003 look pretty similar here:

OOo 3.1: http://img221.imageshack.us/img221/9849/76000143.png
2003: http://img194.imageshack.us/img194/4245/2003.png

Ryanlm said,
But that isn't what I was commenting about, the point I was making is he is a complete hypocrite if he takes their money to do "Freedom" software. It is apparently wrong for us to give them money for their "nasty" products, but that same money somehow gets cleaned in the wash if its handed over to him. Let's say you were with PETA, and some leather coat company wanted to give you some money to support your cause. If you are at all ethical you would deny it.

What money is he taking?
Companies are getting involved in FOSS development, not making donations.

Ryanlm said,
No, it isnt You can even see a current example with the iPhone. There are how many mobile OS platforms out there, and have been for ages, many of which had developer platforms. One above all others is now in vogue and it has over 50,000 apps written for it already in about a year since dev could write apps. Is it really that much better of a platform? Easier to write too? Or, is it just marketing and its digital sex appeal? Much like Windows 95 enjoyed over a decade ago?

The web has never run on one single platform nor supported just one single language for development (other than plain html back in the day), yet that hasn't been an obstacle for hundreds of web sites spawning on a daily basis.

Ryanlm said,
All things that "Users" rarely use. By "User", I mean walk into a generic office park, randomly pick a door, and find the first secretary you see - welcome to the majority of people in the "Users" category. I never said OSS doesn't make anything good, in fact I said "There are plenty of things free software is very good at, however it rarely cares about the user, it cares about the task it is made to accomplish. This is fine for very technical people, people that live on computers, and are passionate about them."

Users rarely use the web?

Ryanlm said,
No, but it does have to do with the world Mr. Freedom would have us live in.

Only if you confuse freedom with "for free".

Ryanlm said,
Well its written in Java isn't it? I kid!

Different languages all "mixed" together, with config settings spread all over the place (more so if you are running the windows version), legacy stuff everywhere... gotta love it.

ScottKin said,
WOW - I bet Linus Torvalds would have a quite a bit to say about your "definition" of Linux...and he apparently has said quite abit about RMS and his streak of self-importance.

F/OSS never ceases to give me hours of laughter...at it's own expense.

Then you have a strange sense of humour and perhaps should do some more research before you laugh. While brentaal is being somewhat pedantic, I doubt Torvalds would have anything to say on the subject as brentaal is technically correct. Torvalds supplied the Linux kernel to the GNU project, whose own kernel - the Hurd project - was developmentally lagging. AFAIK, the only distribution which actually acknowledges the fact that "Linux" refers to the kernel and not the entire distribution is Debian, which always in my experience describes itself as "GNU/Linux".

ichi said,
I meant that he is focused on whether software is free or not. He's pushing a development model and a kind of license.


Ahh, well, I still think you can argue that laser focusing on free can lead to a lesser product.


ichi said,
Different icons and different arrangement of toolbars. Other than that OOo and 2003 look pretty similar here:

OOo 3.1: http://img221.imageshack.us/img221/9849/76000143.png
2003: http://img194.imageshack.us/img194/4245/2003.png


Whats odd is my install doesn't look anything like that, in either case, it is still heavily dated.

ichi said,
What money is he taking?
Companies are getting involved in FOSS development, not making donations.


Companies do fund projects, IBM has, Google has, and so on. Both are evil by Mr. Freedom's definition, lots of closed software secrets they keep to themselves.


ichi said,
The web has never run on one single platform nor supported just one single language for development (other than plain html back in the day), yet that hasn't been an obstacle for hundreds of web sites spawning on a daily basis.


The web is where it is today because Netscape was the game changing program, it became the defacto standard. HTML was hardly the only game in town when it took off. Even IE6 later in its ubiquity stabilized it even more. Again, you can argue that good or bad, because people only targeted IE6 for so long, it caused other problems. Remember how doggy standards where when both browsers were at 2 and 3.0s. It was more of a mess than it is now, eventually one train of thought one, and realistically the standards were largely based off of what most users systems had installed.

ichi said,
Users rarely use the web?


See the previous point, and you really cant say a user is using Linux, PHP, or whatever when they hit a website. They are not issuing command line statements in a shell. They are "using" a pretty face, a nice piece of marketing to hide all of that complexity from them. They are technically using a web browser which is displaying a document.

ichi said,
Only if you confuse freedom with "for free".


Now that is a better topic to discuss. Can you still have all the code freely available and make a business selling your product. And I mean selling the product, not some side item like support.

ichi said,
Different languages all "mixed" together, with config settings spread all over the place (more so if you are running the windows version), legacy stuff everywhere... gotta love it.


You know what's interesting, because we purchased so much, they reseller did all of the initial setup.

Ryanlm said,
Companies do fund projects, IBM has, Google has, and so on. Both are evil by Mr. Freedom's definition, lots of closed software secrets they keep to themselves.

As I said this is not a crusade against corporations. Getting them into the FOSS ecosystem and letting them realize that they can collaborate with each other and the community and still make profit out of it is a good thing.

Ryanlm said,
Now that is a better topic to discuss. Can you still have all the code freely available and make a business selling your product. And I mean selling the product, not some side item like support.

Depends on what you are selling. It could be hard to develop a product like photoshop and expect to profit from sales for years to come.
Instead you would have something similar as what happened with cinepaint: someone (in this case Hollywood studios) needs a product with certain functionalities, so they take existing code as a base and hire programmers to get it to do exactly what they need.

Anyway when talking about FOSS we are talking about software. Code. Not any other asset.
Case in point: quake3. The code is GPL, yet you can't get the game for free.

Ryanlm said,
You know what's interesting, because we purchased so much, they reseller did all of the initial setup.

I've done a fair share of "initial setups" myself for some clients, although none of them was "for free" :P

Going with the "making money from FOSS" issue, were we talking about nagios there would be money to be made there not only from support contracts but also to extend it's functionality to adapt it to the environment. With openview you are bound to whatever HP decides to add in the next version (and knowing HP they'll probably end ditching their current product line as soon as they acquire another company with a similar product. Or even worse: mix everything, split it in more modules and sell more product licenses to achieve the same thing).