No announcement yet.

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

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #16
    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, 11:55 AM.


    • #17
      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 )


      • #18
        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.


        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?


        • #19
          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, 04:34 PM.


          • #20
            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.

   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.

            Last edited by rbmorse; 12-11-2007, 04:58 PM.


            • #21
              In my last post I withdrew any direct association with medical technology and generalized the hypothetical to any CRITICAL SYSTEM. This includes everything from software used in nuclear power plants and weapon systems to flight controlling software to car anti-lock brake and other similar software. Water heater software. Garbage disposal software. CRT software.

              Any software anywhere in the world that controls devices capable of Grievous Bodily Harm and/or destruction of private property.

              For God's sake, the only time I mention medical technology in that last post is to specifically point out that I originally used that example to show there are situations where lives are in the hands of software. That is, I tried to make it clear that any association with the medical field was purely coincidental.

              It's great you still focus on the original example which I took pains to move away from. But I did move away from that specific in order to get to the meat of the hypothetical: Tivoization can be a detriment and that it is unacceptable for any system in which lives and property are at stake.

              Whatever you were replying to doesn't wash with the reality of my previous post. For all your bold talk of 'the real world' you should try explicating now and then the actual words on the actual screen.

              I still challenge you to actually critique the argument itself. I don't expect you to, as you haven't made any attempt to yet. You prefer to focus on a non-issue and leave the real claims unanswered. It's a common tactic which I believe is known as a Communist Clupeus harengus.

              You're welcome.


              • #22
                Ok. you win. Your little strawman stands up to dead fish. It is, in fact, perfectly unassailable. If you ever visit planet Earth let me know. I'll buy you a beer.
                Last edited by rbmorse; 12-13-2007, 07:17 PM.


                • #23
                  I guess I should feel like an ass now. Unfortunately my sarcasm detector is tivoized and has a flaw that is causing a false negative. So I feel complimented instead.


                  On a lighter note, I was pretty tickled at your view that we must accept the world at face value. It flies in the face of one of the few bits of wisdom I've picked up over the years, "everything is negotiable." I reject your reality and, indeed, substitute my own.

                  Also, better get in those "planet Earth" references whilst you still can. I hear in a few years it'll get reclassified as a planetoid.
                  Last edited by hobophobe; 12-14-2007, 03:26 AM. Reason: (My spell checker is tivoized too)


                  • #24
                    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, and it really is a case of dire consequence (in the legal sense), you hope your hospital has someone on the legal staff that attended at least the first semester of law school and then you fix the software even if it means cracking some DRM schemea.
                    Hopefully your staff lawyer also attends the 2nd semester of law school where they discussed LIABILITY. The medical instrument analogy is nonsense. What if you crack the DRM but failed to realize that the model xyz4006.7731 scanner manipulated an inverted image internally, so you remove the patient's good left temporal lobe instead of the damaged right one ? Exactly such an error occurred due to an image reconstruction software error several decades ago. No one rational would use such a software method for a life critical system; even in an emergency.

                    Stallman is certainly a zealot and he makes himself seem petty with his insistentce on the "GNU/Linux" title for the OS. Yes the FSF has contributed greatly with GCC, and all the many posix-ish utilities, BUT he failed to grasp the "open" bazaar software development model. I recall patiently hearing year after year in the late 1980 and early 1990s about the FSF kernel and how if we just waited another year or two it would be ready. It was a closed-off "we do software in Boston" attitude that killed the FSF kernel.

                    Linus started with something much simpler and less complete and produced Linux as "process" rather than a finished work of art. That fact is that Linus is completely within his rights to remain at GPLv2 and Stallman is WAY out of bounds complaining. It's simply not Stallman's code and Linus can do as he pleases.

                    If Stallman want's to gen' up the old FSF kernel work as a replacement to Linux, and license it as he pleases - well then go ahead. I'd welcome the competition to this too narrow market. Linus only has copyright on about 540 kernel source files out of a total of almost 24000 - it's not a superhuman task to re-write & replace the Linus portion with a GPL3 varient.

                    GPL3 rev is in part an attempt to prevent DRM. It seems laudable at first glance, but where does this effort end ? Must every cell phone or home NAS that runs GPLv3 code also require a programmable flash and an i2c port to reprogram it ? This would make GPLv3 code unacceptable for many commercial purposes. Making the source available w/ the binary - fine. Something like a TIVO or a WRT54 or a setup-box was built to accept software updates from the network interface so documenting an update procedure - OK. Forcing the system design to readily accept updates - no! The marketplace can handle that issue.

                    Funny - I just looked at the GNU/Hurd source repo and Hurd source is covered by a mish-mash of GPL(v1), GPL2, "GPL2 or later at user's disgression" and LGPL. Stallman should get his own house in order before throwing stones.
                    Last edited by stevea; 12-28-2007, 10:59 AM.


                    • #25
                      Definition of Freedom

                      RMS and Linus seem to have different definitions of "Freedom".

                      Maybe this is a good analogy: Should people in a democratic society be allowed to vote for a new law which would remove their right to vote?

                      RMSs answer would be "No". He would restrict freedom in order to preserve freedom.
                      Followers of the BSD license paradigm would probably reply with "Yes" to this question. If the society is free they should have the right to abolish their own rights if they choose so.
                      I suppose Linus is in the middle somewhere being the pragmatist that he is.

                      I happen to agree with RMS here.


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by linuxhansl View Post
                        RMS and Linus seem to have different definitions of "Freedom".

                        Maybe this is a good analogy: Should people in a democratic society be allowed to vote for a new law which would remove their right to vote?

                        RMSs answer would be "No". He would restrict freedom in order to preserve freedom.
                        Followers of the BSD license paradigm would probably reply with "Yes" to this question. If the society is free they should have the right to abolish their own rights if they choose so.
                        I suppose Linus is in the middle somewhere being the pragmatist that he is.

                        I happen to agree with RMS here.
                        I don't believe your analysis is accurate. RMS and Linus both agreed on GPL and GPLv2; so there is very substantial agreement on what "freedom" means.

                        The places where they disagree sufficiently to follow divergent paths are clearly the differences between GPLv2 and GPLv3. These are the anti-DRM and anti-MS/Novellization issues primarily I believe. I am personally not opposed to GPLv3, but I see it as step toward the "license as pointed weapon" which I do not like, and because of the extensive changes it may not hold up in court (GPLv2 is only barely tested in US courts). Unless there is a clearcut issue I think it's reasonable to take a "wait and see" approach to GPLv3.

                        Your comments about BSD and democracy are completely off base and off topic. No one is talking about BSD style license. Also if you do not understand why a pure democracy is vile and evil thing you should read some history, or the US federalist papers of ~235 years ago..
                        I just re-read Linus comments on the LKML and his primary objection seemed to be (some time ago) that the GPLv3 *seems* incompatible w the GPLv2. If he GPLv3'ed the 540 or so kernel files the Linus owns then there may be a huge task involved in getting the other 22000 kernel files v3-ized before they can be combined into a composite work. Moger says it's compatible but I think a court should determine that first. There is a very solid argument that the peole who wrote, say the scsi driver and licened it's use under GPLv2 may NOT be on-board with the more restrictive v3 terms. When GPLv3 and GPLv2 sources are combined in one binary - then which terms apply ? *IF* you claim the answer is the GPLv3 terms then I think the authors of the GPLv2 components would have a perfect right to say that you cannot apply these additional anti-DRM restrictions according to GPLv2 terms and that the GPLv3 people are illegally restricting use of this derivative work.
                        Last edited by stevea; 12-30-2007, 05:11 PM.


                        • #27
                          you got it wrong.

                          the GPLv3 has _ZERO_ anti-drm clauses or restrictions, and the people who say that simply does not know what they are talking about.

                          I suggest you actually read the good document, before you talk about it.

                          GPLv3'ed software can have as much nasty and evil drm it wants to.


                          • #28
                            I think the point is that "Tivo-isation" (preventing a replacement binary built by the owner from operating in the same way as the original vendor-supplied did) is often used to protect DRM implementations. GPLv3 is pretty clear about not restricting the owner's ability to replace binaries. I don't think that's a huge problem for DRM implementations but it is a concern for any environment where "trusted code" is part of the solution.
                            Last edited by bridgman; 12-31-2007, 10:14 AM.


                            • #29
                              There seems to be two major differences between GPLv2 and GPLv3... Unfortunately the vast majority of the document has been rephrased to accommodate these two changes...

                              1: Prevention of "tivoization" This is the case where a company (Tivo) creates a commercial product based on GPLd code, but dont allow you to use your modifications of the code on the said product. You can only use their version of the code and that is it. While it technically abides the license by distributing the code, they dont allow you to use any of the modifications that you might have made on the product they are selling. GPLv3 specifically addresses this, even though this is explicitly implied in the GPLv2 it is not directly stated, where-as it is directly stated in GPLv3

                              The question is does this break compatibility with GPLv2? My opinion is no it does not. Heres why; GPLv3 still abides the same basic rules except that it addresses a circumstance that older versions do not.Otherwise exactly the same rules apply. The same restrictions and the same rights. I believe that the "Tivoization" clause is compatible and will hold up in court easily.

                              2: Prevention of "MS/Novell" type deals. (a.k.a "cheesy type foods" hehe ) I dont know much about the deal. t is more complex then my brain is capable of understanding, but what I understand (And if I'm wrong, please correct me) MS is saying that "Linux" and a number of the userspace tools that it relies on breaks some of their software patents. Even though to this day they have never clarified which patents are being infringed, or even what software is infringing them. Using this patent infringement threat they created what they called a "covenant" with Novell that essentially protects them from MS infringement threats. However in exchange for this protection Novell has to share their code with MS. What code is being shared is not entirely clear. Some folks have speculated that Novel is giving MS access to OSS code. This would in fact be a GPL violation... Who knows at this point. We know that MS is allowing Novell to use its code that supposedly infringes on it's patents and that Novel has given MS code in exchange for protection.

                              Now what the GPLv3 does is it tries to extend that protection from any group or person to the whole community. If MS is in fact using GPLd code sooner or later that code should be upgraded to GPLv3, and when that happens and MS starts using it........ I think you guys can catch the drift from here on out. I think it is pretty damn clear that MS is in fact using GPLv2 code from Novell and other sources that they have in fact violated the GPLv2 license by not abiding the copyleft clause.... And there is not a damn thing that the FSF can do about it. The GPLv2 does not accommodate that kind of a situation. The GPv3 does. Ms has what they have and there is nothing that anybody can do about it. However due to the pace of OSS development and the GPLv3 explicitly forbidding that kind of behavior the OSS community will be able to outpace MS in the next decade or so. But only the GPLv3 protects us from MS's copyleft violations. So the GPLv3 must be adopted.

                              The question is..... Does this issue break compatibility with the GPLv2? It just might. I think that at this point it really --needs-- to be tryed in court. Actually the truth is I would totally --LOVE-- to see this issue go to court. I wanna see exactly what patents MS claims have been infringed. I wanna see exactly what GPLd code they are violating. I wanna see whether or not a judge will determine compatibility between the GPLv2 and the GPLv3. I honesty would absolutely love to see this issue go to court.


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Redeeman View Post
                                you got it wrong.

                                the GPLv3 has _ZERO_ anti-drm clauses or restrictions, and the people who say that simply does not know what they are talking about.

                                I suggest you actually read the good document, before you talk about it.

                                GPLv3'ed software can have as much nasty and evil drm it wants to.

                                GPLv3 section 3 basically says that if you crack a GPLv3'ed DRM scheme that you are absolutely free to use the "crack". This is a direct response to some US DRM legislation which makes it illegal to device a DRM cracker, and different than in GPLv2. This term goes hand-in-hald with the anti-patent terms. No - GPLv3 does not prohibit DRM, but no one said that. GPL (even GPLv2) is anti-DRM in the sense that if you own a GPLv2 binary then you can legally get the source and can then readily devise a method to subvert the any GPLv2 DRM protection. GPLv3 goes farther and says that you explicitly have the right to use and spread the method of subversion, and if it's patented - tough-luck for the patent+copyright owner, *if* the DRM is derived from GPLv3 licensed work.

                                In the last para of my previous post I was thinking anti-TIVO, but wrote anti-DRM. The point is that any term that restricts the rights of the copyright owner moreso in GPLv3 than GPLv2 would seem to make them incompatible ... but IANAL. What if someone licensed his copyright code under GPLv2 based on the idea that his code COULD be locked into hardware where it is not accessible to user-update ? Let's say that a home product vendor uses GPLv2 code for the purpose of (among other things) tracking how many hours your HDTV has run for the purpose of warrantee validation. Getting the source code is fine so long as the company does NOT have to disclose an installation method. Clearly (to me) this GPLv2 code is incompatible with the GPLv3 anti-TIVO stuff based on the intent of the copyright holder being incompatible w/ GPLv3.

                                Linus is right - that it would take a lot of cajoling and arm-twisting to make the ~hundred Kernel copyright holders agree that GPLv3 is compatible with their intentions and GPLv2 license. ... then the thousands of application copyright holders.
                                Last edited by stevea; 01-01-2008, 11:56 PM.