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Thread: Stallman: If you want freedom don't follow Linus Torvalds

  1. #11
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    we need both stallman and torvalds like people.

    stallman is very radical. he goes to the far right, so that we can sit in somewhere in the middle, so to speak.

    stallman lives by free software ideals. he is one of the most radical free software 'evangelists'. without stallman we would look like radicals.

    when people like him are around we are merely people fit somewhere in the middle with sane beliefs ;-)

    aww, hard to explain.

    without stallman we wouldn't have gnu toolchain. without torvalds, we would still wait for hernel (hurd). without stallman's gnu project linus wouldn't have a working os environment, and vice-versa.

    these two people represent two aspects of opensource/free software that complement each other. stallman's ideals and torvalds' practical approach are what got gnu/linux where it stands now.

    stallman might seem crazy; but thanks to him we look normal and sane ;-)

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by yoshi314 View Post
    we need both stallman and torvalds like people.
    stallman is very radical. he goes to the far right, so that we can sit in somewhere in the middle, so to speak.
    Hmm, that's quite true from an utilitarian point of view... sure he makes life easier for the rest of us, because he does all the heavy-lifting. If we had more "radicals" like him there wouldn't even be a need for a "free software movement", it would simply be the natural state of things.

    However, there's a big problem with the "freedom to keep it to yourself" argument -- it is like saying the laws against theft infringe upon people's right to take whatever they want from wherever they want and keep it to themselves... Of course, in an ideal society we wouldn't need such laws, and everyone would be happily sharing out of their own good will. But as we know this is not what happens in real life -- the GPL does exactly that, it keeps potentially greedy entities(people/companies) honest. It arose as a necessary evil and is quite smart in the way it turns the horrible copyright and patent laws on their heads.

    Frankly, I believe the BSD point of view is the more utopian/unrealistic one -- it assumes that people are honest and the "market" will somehow work out and companies will not abuse the software developed that way. In contrast, the GPL is quite realistic -- it assumes people will try to abuse it one way or the other and it provides measures (draconic to some) against that.

    In the end, I'll just say that people who deride Stallman because of his strong views are missing the big picture -- we *are* in the middle of a fight for our own freedom, and each one of us is in some way resposible for what happens. Sticking heads in the sand and ignoring it as something that'll pass or is of no immediate concern will not help...

  3. #13
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    If we had more "radicals" like him there wouldn't even be a need for a "free software movement", it would simply be the natural state of things.
    i'm not that sure. they're purists, which believe proprietary stuff should die. this is unrealistic right now.

    plus, that doesn't help gnu/linux adoption.

    imho there shouldn't be too many of these people (but there definitely should be *some*).

    if linux were following stallman's principles to the letter we couldn't be able to use proprietary drivers (which are sometimes a necessary evil) or use devices that use additional firmware blobs (some modems and maybe some other stuff i don't know about, etc).

    Frankly, I believe the BSD point of view is the more utopian/unrealistic one -- it assumes that people are honest and the "market" will somehow work out and companies will not abuse the software developed that way. In contrast, the GPL is quite realistic -- it assumes people will try to abuse it one way or the other and it provides measures (draconic to some) against that.
    imho some bsd people are almost like RMS in their views (esp. theo de raadt ;-) ) and they make more problems than solutions.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbmorse View Post
    Your strawman doesn't stand up. In real life, in the unlikely event that such a scenario would even develop in the first instance
    (Wikipedia)
    Therac-25 was a radiation therapy machine ... It was involved with at least six known accidents between 1985 and 1987, in which patients were given massive overdoses of radiation ... At least five patients died of the overdoses.
    Is my scenario unlikely? Yes. Do things like this happen? Yes.

    I'll admit that a product being open source but locked down is better than it not being open source. That alone is a major boon, an extra safeguard against accidents.

    The question is whether that's enough. Once you know a piece of equipment is faulty you want to resolve that gap in ability ASAP. The quickest way is to patch it then and there. Impediments to that patch are going to be hard to justify when peoples' health is on the line.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by yoshi314 View Post
    i'm not that sure. they're purists, which believe proprietary stuff should die. this is unrealistic right now.
    Well, proprietery software is not going to disappear, just as free software is not going to. Not even if they are outlwaed. There will always be a place for proprietary software even in a mostly-free world, just as now there is place for free software in a mostly-proprietary world.

    The problem is that the more people are "purists" regarding a certain social issue, the more they create a pole that "normal" people are attracted to, enabling a favourable atmosphere overall. If there are only few (or just one, I don't know many public figures that align with Stallman's views) then they are easily cast as "extremists/weirdos" and ignored. The point is, if more people start publicly supporting a stance like this, the population will start believing it.

    It's just the way humans work You can see this happening in both "good" causes like environmentalism (with the likes of greenpeace being quite extreme in their views) and "bad" (here the extreme right and religion come to mind).

    Quote Originally Posted by yoshi314 View Post
    plus, that doesn't help gnu/linux adoption.
    This depends... I'd say regular people like the connotations of "free software" (with both meanings of "free") while "open-source" doesn't say much to them. At the same time, corporations work in reverse, so if "enterprise" adoption is desired then "open source" definitely is the way to go. I think in this case the existence of the somewhat separate FS/OS movements is beneficial, in that it can indeed promote adoption. We should only be careful not to forget about the freedom part and mix everything up.

    Quote Originally Posted by yoshi314 View Post
    if linux were following stallman's principles to the letter we couldn't be able to use proprietary drivers (which are sometimes a necessary evil) or use devices that use additional firmware blobs (some modems and maybe some other stuff i don't know about, etc).
    Indeed, that would definitely be a short-term problem. But in the long term? I'd say having too many proprietery drivers is a bad precedent, and we should do everything to discourage them -- something I am glad to see the kernel developers actually doing. I really hope AMD delivers on their promise and the other companies realize the stupidty of proprietary drivers (I mean, really, would anyone buy a car if it came with a little chinese guy doing all the driving for you? and one that didn't speak your language either)

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by hobophobe View Post
    Is my scenario unlikely? Yes. Do things like this happen? Yes.
    Sigh. Wrong example for your argument. The Therac 25 case is well known. None of the issues involved would have been resolved by independent programmers in the field. The issue was bad engineering design and inadequate code review.

    So, I don't know what this has to do with your failed strawman.
    Last edited by rbmorse; 12-11-2007 at 12:55 PM.

  7. #17
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    Well, proprietery software is not going to disappear, just as free software is not going to. Not even if they are outlwaed. There will always be a place for proprietary software even in a mostly-free world, just as now there is place for free software in a mostly-proprietary world.
    of course . that's why i think stallman is wrong. he believes proprietary stuff should disappear.

    I'd say having too many proprietery drivers is a bad precedent, and we should do everything to discourage them -- something I am glad to see the kernel developers actually doing.
    that's right.

    linux community is doing a great job keeping in touch with reality. they say that blobs are not the way to go, but on the other hand they don't prohibit them and they are actively trying to phase them out as much as possible (pick any reverse engineered driver that matured enough and got into the kernel as an example. i'd risk saying that in the early days of linux 90% of stuff was reverse engineered).

    i think that linus' is doing a better job, simply because his beliefs do not hinder linux adoption in the short time, and he is realistic about it.

    kernel is being developed in the similar way - if there's a need to do something it simply gets done, with no real long-term goals. (there's no real roadmap, only plans for two next releases maximum; etc. maybe except for "keep it stable, don't bloat it, keep the code clean" sort of thing )

  8. #18
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    Allow me to clarify.

    The definition of Tivoization is hardware that has only allows some set of signed/trusted software to run with/be installed on it.

    A critical system can exist.

    That critical system can be open source.

    That critical system can be Tivoized.

    The software that is trusted to run on that critical system has faults.

    There are systems that currently exist that fit those features as far as I know.

    Your position seems to be that these do not exist at all, or do not exist concurrently:

    The faults in the trusted software running on that critical system are dangerous to people and/or property.

    AND

    The manufacturer of that critical system will not (as a matter of fact, devoid of intentions, motivations, ability, etc.) fix the faults.

    My use of the Therac example was to make it clear there have been critical systems that do have faults that are dangerous to people and/or property. And there will be in the future.

    Companies drop support from products that are still in use all the time. Companies make mistakes. They delete their signing keys. They forget to do offsite backups for months and then have a fire. They compute the cost of lawsuit settlements versus cost of recalls.

    Where are you claiming this hypothetical fails?

  9. #19
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    Liability law canon as applies to medical devices, mostly. It makes the use of hypotheticals a really bad idea, as you have illustrated. The legal ramifications of fscking with code on medical machines are a reality that simply can't be ignored.

    Find a better example (not involving medical technology) to support your basic philosophical argument, then go back and read what Yoshi said. I'm done.
    Last edited by rbmorse; 12-11-2007 at 05:34 PM.

  10. #20
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    I'm being harsh.

    Your little hypothetical is fine, as far as it goes. But it's totally irrelevant because it ignores the reality (there's that word, again) that in many, many cases external considerations that have nothing to do with programming, the specific device in question, or even computers in general, determine the terms under which software is/should be licensed. And that's why your use of a medical device as an example in this argument is such a bad one.

    Now...you don't have to like that reality. But it exists. And it's something that Linus recognizes (nee, to which he is highly sensitive) and RMS does not. Actually, RMS does recognize it but he dismisses it as wrong. Which is fine for him, but those of us who live in the real world have to deal with the real world. Like Howard the Duck we are trapped in a world we never made. But we're still trapped. And the kids still get hungry.

    Peace.
    Last edited by rbmorse; 12-11-2007 at 05:58 PM.

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