[TriLUG] Gnome foundation results
Thu, 29 Nov 2001 11:40:26 -0500 (EST)
On 29 Nov 2001, Andrew C. Oliver wrote:
> To be clear gcc is the work of many. I don't like emacs (vi user
> here). My point is that RMS is a terrible project leader. Case in
> point the object of the gnu utilities including gcc was to support the
> Hurd. RMS gets sidetracked too easily. With all of the developers, why
> is the principal project of the FSF still pre-alpha for all intents and
> purposes after like ten years? RMS may be a good technologist, might be
> brilliant, but he's doesn't really help reach any particular goal. The
> best way he produces something, is by aiming for something completely
> different. Granted some of the most brilliant stuff (antibiotics from
> moldy cheese sandwiches, etc), the idea is that if he signs on to lead a
> project like gnome, we might end up with a great something it just wont
> be a desktop system ;-p
All the software of the gnu project is the work of many. That's the point-
I give rms credit for gcc as he was the original author- same as with
emacs. I'm not trying to make rms responsible for all free software
development- just creditting him with important technical innovation.
> Next his agenda didn't have much to do with "produce desktop system".
> It was:
> "I will use the
> position to improve coordination between GNOME and the rest of GNU--in
> regard to technical decisions, public relations, and long-term goals."
> which translates to him correcting every email on the listing to
> Gnu/Linux and other pedantic whining. To be clear, while I don't really
> care for RMS, I do respect his accomplishments, I just wouldn't like to
> see him become a leader in the Gnome project or any project where his
> objectives didn't involve tapping out code.
I don't really see how your "reading" can be inferred from his statement.
He's saying that there's more to creating a free system than just
technical contributions. There's a social dimension to it, especially a
project like gnome with so many developers and so much visibility.
It's obvious you feel that rms has little or no useful social/management
contribution to make to a free software project. I don't think that
history bares you out, but as I said I agree with you that rms is not
neccesarily the person to fill that role for gnome.
> I believe software infrastructure can be free. There will always be a
> grey area between infrastructure and business software. Business
> software can never be free.
This makes no sense. The majority of software written is developed
for a single company, often by outsiders. Giving the customer GPL rights
can be a very valuable thing. They know they have complete control over
what they do with the software (unlimited copying, access to the source,
ability to hire someone else to work on it, etc). They don't write
software for sale themselves, so the GPL's conditions on distribution
don't matter to them. The consultant engineer can use the software he
developed in future projects. Obviously not all companies will go for
this (and perhaps not many), but I don't think it's right to say that
"business software can never be free".
> To be fair he's done a lot but he built on a tradition that was already
> in place. He just organized it into a movement.
True enough. rms didn't invent free software- it was the only real option
until Microsoft and other PC companies started selling shrink wrapped
binaries. On the other hand, the tradition was pretty anemic whem the FSF
was founded. Their work re-invigorated it as well as organized it.
> I disagree that he was the catalyst of this. Right place at the right
> time with the right goal. In truth it was more of a cultural economic
> change that caused this, he was part of it, but not the catalyst I would
Catalyst is exactly that- not the source (the reagents), but the catalyst-
an added factor that speeds the reaction. Having linux to play with is
certainly in large part the FSF's work. Without their 10 years of work
previous to the linux kernel, there would have been no user-space. No
libc. No compiler/toolchain. No unix toolbox. Sure it could all have been
written in time, but it would have been very slow going. We certainly
wouldn't be where we are now, in regards to the advanced state of linux.
> I can see you care about the thing a whole lot more than I do.
> I care about the future of Linux and/or Hurd (who cares that much about
> the kernel if it works...Hurd would be a great advance if it ever got
> near finished). I'm not RMS's community. I'm no man's man.
I certainly hesitate to argue against Randite objectivisim, if that's
what you're espousing but suffice it to say that we belong to many
communities no matter what. You depend on the collection of hackers who
make open source and they depend on you. trilug is a community, and you're
an active participant. There's a social dimension to all human activites
and Linux is a particular expression of that fact.
> > Looks like the gnome people didn't feel like getting corrected over
> > pedantic semantics and other FSF political baggage. Looks like the "
> > project won't come to a screaming halt after all. Too bad, so sad.
> > Break out the beer.
> Point to me the part you disagree with? As for "too bad, so sad, break
> out the beer" attribute that to "personal flare for the news". ;-p
To me your message read like an expression of joy at another's misfortune.
It seemed like you were being dismissive of rms as a trivial factor in
this community, as if the question of whether rms should have influence is
a priori obvious. If I misinterpreted your words, I'm sorry.
Global Village Idiot