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

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

    Stallman: The fact that Torvalds says "open source" instead of "free software" shows where he is coming from. I wrote the GNU GPL to defend freedom for all users of all versions of a program. I developed version 3 to do that job better and protect against new threats.

    Torvalds says he rejects this goal; that's probably why he doesn't appreciate GPL version 3. I respect his right to express his views, even though I think they are foolish. However, if you don't want to lose your freedom, you had better not follow him.

    Richard Stallman is nuts IMO. But he's right about this. That Torvalds says 'OSS' and not 'FS' does show where he's coming from.

    Torvalds has long shown that he's a pragmatic type of guy, his main goal is good software that works. His use of the term 'OSS' proves it.

    Stallman just wants software to be free for some religious edict of his; free for "freedom's" sake. If the software is actually good/functional appears to be a secondary consideration.

    Torvalds continues to prove that he doesn't look through the religious looking glass. He's looking through the superior product looking glass.

  • #2
    The older I get the more I understand where Stallman is coming from. That being said, I understand why Torvalds says 'open source' instead of 'free software'. Both have valid reasons, and the last decade shows that both stances can exist and work towards their common goals together... whether or not they always want to do so.


    • #3
      I tend to agree with the general stance about RMS. I don't agree much with him, nor do I see things as "fanatically" as he seems. If I may do an analogy, RMS is "radical" of Free Software... Somewhere in his discourse I get lost, he talks about some (four) basic freedoms and stuff, but I believe that the BSD license expresses one freedom that Stallman has never considered: The freedom of keeping it to yourself.

      I know why Linus has stuck with v2 of the GPL and why opted out a BSD-style of license for Linux (he has chosen to remain in control of Linux, and the GPL allows him that, ironically). I think that Linus is not only being pragmatic, but tackles the "freedom" issue differently, respecting even others freedom to protect themselves (the whole issue about DRM in the kernel for certain applications [such as voting booths and the like], even though he is also against DRM for media, for instance.)


      • #4
        As Francis Pacibia said, "free spirit takes liberties even with freedom". I guess Linus, while sometimes hard-boiled, sticks to this one.


        • #5
          Well there is a very thin line between open source and free softwares. But still they can be used synonymously in my opinion.


          • #6
            those who compare RMS and free as in freedom to religion really doesent know anything about what they are blabbing on about.

            my advise: investigate what religion REALLY is all about before you speak out like that.


            • #7
              Imagine a scenario where a piece of medical equipment runs on open source software, but it's GPLv2 and the hardware is Tivoized. Imagine that improved algorithms are discovered or new functionality, or in the worst case (gulp) a bug.

              What is the hospital to do? They don't have the drm keys for updating the machine, and the company that made it is (choose one, they're the same really):
              1. Out of business
              2. Practicing anti-feature of "you gotta buy a new machine/pay us a lot of money to update your old one"
              3. Will update for free, but it will take 6 months for them to do it

              And now imagine that you, someone you love, whoever, is in the hospital and needs that machine to work for their life to be saved. DRM is encumbering the proper use of technology and can in fact kill.

              So no, I don't think it's insane to support freedom. Freedom lets the hospital administrators decide to change that software. Freedom allows patients to have informed consent to use a particular version of the software at their choosing.

              In the hospital, in the voting booth, in any critical area where the software can make a big difference I want the ability to audit that software and I want the controller of the machine to be able to change it. I want the version of software to be easily identified by the voter and the patient so that there is transparency in these processes, because it protects freedom and protects life.

              As I understand Linus' position, he believes in the market forces to compel companies to not lock down machines and kill people. Stallman's position is that the risk they won't is too great, that they should be compelled by the license to do so.

              I believe for Linus' scenario to work people must be informed of the situation. One would hope the controversy and arguments between Linus' camp and Stallman's camp would tend to make people see the issue and therefore choose to pressure for no DRM.

              Whether it will remains to be seen.


              • #8
                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.

                Don't distribute the patch without permission, though <g>.

                I'm with you on the voting thing, though, but I don't think that quite fits the definition of dire consequence.
                Last edited by rbmorse; 09 December 2007, 03:26 PM.


                • #9
                  you do realize that cracking some DRM can be a seriously hard job? especially if its not purely software based.

                  and you dont think voting has dire consequences?

                  The person elected for president in USA could nuke some country, so you dont think a software malfunction or planting of malcious software is a dire thing?


                  • #10
                    Only if I don't like the result.
                    Last edited by rbmorse; 10 December 2007, 01:45 AM.