Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 09-17-2019, 12:49 PM
Telemark's Avatar
Telemark is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Just outside of Titletown
Posts: 22,997

Richard Stallman resigns from MIT/FSF after comments on Epstein


https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/...marks-on-rape/
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/9...tirely-willing

Quote:
Early in the thread, Stallman insists that the “most plausible scenario” is that Epstein’s underage victims were “entirely willing” while being trafficked. Stallman goes on to argue about the definition of “sexual assault,” “rape,” and whether they apply to Minsky and Giuffre’s deposition statement that she was forced to have sex with him.
Frankly, he's always been an ass, but here he sounds like a Neanderthal. He's done some great work, but I'm happy to see him go.
  #2  
Old 09-17-2019, 02:09 PM
manson1972's Avatar
manson1972 is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 12,077
Is it really that hard to think and say "I believe that everyone should follow the age of consent laws"?
  #3  
Old 09-17-2019, 02:24 PM
echoreply's Avatar
echoreply is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 901
My reading of it is that RMS is not defending Epstein, but defending Minsky. RMS' supposition is not that the victims were willing, but that they presented (aka faked) being willing to Minsky, following the coercive orders of Epstein. Perhaps I'm giving RMS too much benefit of the doubt, but my paraphrasing of what he says is, "I can't imagine Minsky doing something so horrible, he must have thought the victim was willing." In that sense, some of the articles are misscharacterizing what RMS said.

Of course, RMS then goes on to say that statutory rape at age 17 in the Virgin Islands is arbitrary, so he doesn't accept that as a good definition of rape. He's right in that in different jurisdictions the age of consent can be 16, 17, 18, or whatever. But he's wrong in that at that place and at that time they had decided it was 18, so having sex with a 17 year old was rape. For somebody who thought so much about the technical aspects of software licensing, I'm amazed he has so much trouble with something like this. I mean, "you must provide the source code when distributing the software" versus "you can provide a link to the source code when distributing the software" are important distinctions to RMS.

Yeah, he's always been an ass, which is probably a big part of why we have free software.

Having said all that, I'm not trying to defend RMS here. Just saying be angry at him for the bad things he actually said, not the other bad things he's being reported to have said.
  #4  
Old 09-17-2019, 02:24 PM
Acsenray is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 36,245
Jumping Jehosaphat, that Ars Technica article has some doozies. Stallman seems like someone I would not want to have to deal with. It's a travesty anyone has had to put up with his nonsense, even outside his evolving commentary on age of consent.

And then there's this comment.

Quote:
He has a phobia of plants so women at MIT have been using _plants_ defensively: decorating their offices with lots of foliage, wearing plants etc, to avoid getting propositioned or groped by him. Seriously, defensive plants, it's that ridiculous.

After people told him that flat-out propositioning every women within earshot is not acceptable, he started handing out "pleasure cards" (https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EEWlJXRWsAA ... name=small). Ewww.
I clicked on the "pleasure card" link. It's a business card with his name and contact information under the heading "sharing good books, good food and exotic music and dance tender embraces [emphasis in original] unusual sense of humor."
  #5  
Old 09-17-2019, 03:01 PM
dropzone's Avatar
dropzone is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Cloud Cuckoo Land
Posts: 30,013
I suppose he doesn't need the jobs, what with his fat software royalties.
  #6  
Old 09-17-2019, 03:17 PM
PastTense is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 7,750
Richard is 66, so he can get Social Security and pensions.
  #7  
Old 09-17-2019, 03:54 PM
ftg's Avatar
ftg is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Not the PNW :-(
Posts: 20,342
I've been following the tales about the whole mess at MIT. When I saw the first thing by RMS it was . He then "clarified" by basically repeating it.

He's always been an insufferable jerk. Completely uncaring about others viewpoints. I'm surprised he lasted this long.
  #8  
Old 09-17-2019, 05:02 PM
friedo's Avatar
friedo is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 24,433
RMS has been a fucking creep for decades. It's unfortunate that it took this long for something to happen. MIT and the FSF happily shrugged their collective shoulders for years as Stallman went on bizarre rants defending necrophilia, child pornography and sex with minors.

That's just the beginning, of course. You want to be really creeped out, see if you can dig up his old conference riders wherein he lists his requirements for accommodations. (No, he doesn't want you to pay for a hotel. He wants to stay in your house. Then it gets worse.)

Edit: maybe he'll have more time now to work on HURD. lolz

Last edited by friedo; 09-17-2019 at 05:04 PM.
  #9  
Old 09-17-2019, 05:30 PM
Acsenray is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 36,245
Quote:
Originally Posted by friedo View Post
You want to be really creeped out, see if you can dig up his old conference riders wherein he lists his requirements for accommodations. (No, he doesn't want you to pay for a hotel. He wants to stay in your house. Then it gets worse.)
The first article linked by the OP has a link to one of those e-mail messages: https://github.com/ddol/rre-rms/blob/master/rider.txt

The article itself notes:

Quote:
"If you can find a host for me that has a friendly parrot, I will be very very glad," Stallman wrote in a 2012 edition of the email. However, he asked hosts not to purchase a parrot for his benefit.
Some things I noticed (it's really long):

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stallman's requirements
Breaks:

I absolutely refuse to have a break in the middle of my speech.
Once I start, I will go straight through.

...

A supply of tea with milk and sugar would be nice. If it is tea I
really like, I like it without milk and sugar. With milk and sugar,
any kind of tea is fine. I always bring tea bags with me, so if we
use my tea bags, I will certainly like that tea without milk or sugar.

If I am quite sleepy, I would like two cans or small bottles of
non-diet Pepsi. (I dislike the taste of coke, and of all diet soda;
also, there is an international boycott of the Coca Cola company for
killing union organizers in Colombia and Guatemala; see
killercoke.org.) However, if I am not very sleepy, I won't want
Pepsi, because it is better if I don't drink so much sugar.

...

Bus and train tickets:

If you buy bus or train tickets for me, do not give my name! Big
Brother has no right to know where I travel, or where you travel, or
where anyone travels. If they arbitrarily demand a name, give a name
that does not belong to any person you know of. If they will check my
ID before I board the bus or train, then let's look for another way
for me to travel. (In the US I never use long-distance trains because
of their ID policy.)

Don't give them your name either: please pay for the ticket in cash.

...

Accommodations:

I am willing to stay in a hotel if there is no other way.
Please book the hotel for me and arrange to pay the hotel directly.

But please DON'T make a hotel reservation until we have fully explored
other options. If there is anyone who wants to offer a spare couch, I
would much rather stay there than in a hotel (provided I have a door I
can close, in order to have some privacy). Staying with someone is
more fun for me than a hotel, and it would also save you money.

My distaste for a hotel is less if it does not know my name, but
staying in a house with people is normally more enjoyable than staying
alone.

...

Temperature:

Above 72 fahrenheit (22 centigrade) I find sleeping quite difficult.
(If the air is dry, I can stand 23 degrees.) A little above that
temperature, a strong electric fan blowing on me enables me to sleep.
More than 3 degrees above that temperature, I need air conditioning to
sleep.

If there is a substantial chance of indoor temperatures too hot for
me, please arrange _in advance_ for me to have what I need.

If you are planning for me to stay in a hotel, DO NOT take for granted
that the hotel has air conditioning--or that it will be working when I
arrive. Some hotels shut off their air conditioning systems for part
of the year. They often think it is unnecessary in seasons when the
temperature is usually in the mid 20s--and they follow their schedule
like stupid robots even if there is a heat wave.

So you must explicitly ask them: "Do you have air conditioning? Will
it be functioning for the dates XXX-YYY?"

In some hotels with central air conditioning, it simply does not work
very well: it can make a room less hot, but can't make it cool.
Before using a hotel that has central air conditioning, find out what
temperature it can actually lower a room to, during the relevant
dates.

Or look for a hotel that has a real cooling unit in the room, not a
central system. Those tend to work well enough, if they are not
broken.

...


Hospitality:

Please pass this section to everyone who will be helping me directly
in any fashion during the visit.

It is nice of you to want to be kind to me, but please don't offer
help all the time. In general I am used to managing life on my own;
when I need help, I am not shy about asking. So there is no need to
offer to help me. Moreover, being constantly offered help is actually
quite distracting and tiresome.

So please, unless I am in grave immediate danger, please don't offer
help. The nicest thing you can do is help when I ask, and otherwise
not worry about how I am doing. Meanwhile, you can also ask me for
help when you need it.

One situation where I do not need help, let alone supervision, is in
crossing streets. I grew up in the middle of the world's biggest
city, full of cars, and I have crossed streets without assistance even
in the chaotic traffic of Bangalore and Delhi. Please just leave me
alone when I cross streets.

...

When you need to tell me about a problem in a plan, please do not
start with a long apology. That is unbearably boring, and unnecessary
-- conveying useful information is helpful and good, and why apologize
for that? So please be practical and go straight to the point.

...

Food:

I do not eat breakfast. Please do not ask me any questions about
what I will do breakfast. Please just do not bring it up.

...


Last edited by Acsenray; 09-17-2019 at 05:31 PM.
  #10  
Old 09-17-2019, 07:06 PM
Northern Piper is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: The snow is back, dammit!
Posts: 29,759
Pardon me ifI need help following this thread, but who is Richard Stallman and why should I care about him? Seems like everyone else knows so don't give the backstory?

__________________
"I don't like to make plans for the day. If I do, that's when words like 'premeditated' start getting thrown around in the courtroom."
  #11  
Old 09-17-2019, 07:46 PM
Miller's Avatar
Miller is online now
Sith Mod
Moderator
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Bear Flag Republic
Posts: 44,401
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
Pardon me ifI need help following this thread, but who is Richard Stallman and why should I care about him? Seems like everyone else knows so don't give the backstory?

From the first link:

Quote:
Stallman has long been famous for his extreme devotion to the cause of free software. He spearheaded the GNU project to produce a Unix-like operating system that would be free for anyone to use and modify. GNU software became a key part of the operating system most people today call Linux—to the immense irritation of Stallman, who believes the GNU components are significant enough that the package should be called GNU/Linux.
  #12  
Old 09-17-2019, 08:01 PM
Rysto is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 7,188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
Pardon me ifI need help following this thread, but who is Richard Stallman and why should I care about him? Seems like everyone else knows so don't give the backstory?

An extremely influential programmer who started the Free Software movement, which advocates for software code to be freely available to users and for users to have the right to redistribute software, potentially with their own modifications/improvements. His GNU Compiler Collection in particular was an absolutely critical piece of software in that allowed the development of an untold number of free and open-source software projects.

Unfortunately, as we've seen in this thread, he's also a raging asshole.
  #13  
Old 09-17-2019, 08:46 PM
Acsenray is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 36,245
He is also an extremist who refuses to use any kind of proprietary software.
__________________
*I'm experimenting with E, em, and es and emself as pronouns that do not indicate any specific gender nor exclude any specific gender.
  #14  
Old 09-17-2019, 10:42 PM
Robot Arm is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Medford, MA
Posts: 23,557
Quote:
Stallman has long been famous for his extreme devotion to the cause of free software. He spearheaded the GNU project to produce a Unix-like operating system that would be free for anyone to use and modify. GNU software became a key part of the operating system most people today call Linux—to the immense irritation of Stallman, who believes the GNU components are significant enough that the package should be called GNU/Linux.
It occurred to me a while ago that this rather undercuts Stallman's evangelism for "free" software. He does want something in return for his software, but it's not money, it's recognition.
  #15  
Old 09-18-2019, 12:00 AM
CairoCarol is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Hawaii
Posts: 5,011
I am part of a listserv that Richard participates in. He's quite regularly an ass there, so this is not at all surprising.
__________________
If I waited for memory to serve, I'd starve.
  #16  
Old 09-18-2019, 05:10 AM
MrDibble's Avatar
MrDibble is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Cape Town, South Africa &
Posts: 26,303
Quote:
Originally Posted by friedo View Post
RMS has been a fucking creep for decades. It's unfortunate that it took this long for something to happen. MIT and the FSF happily shrugged their collective shoulders for years as Stallman went on bizarre rants defending necrophilia, child pornography and sex with minors.
Yep. See his posts (my emphases, archived by himself!) here on 28 June 2003:
The nominee is quoted as saying that if the choice of a sexual partner were protected by the Constitution, "prostitution, adultery, necrophilia, bestiality, possession of child pornography, and even incest and pedophilia" also would be. He is probably mistaken, legally--but that is unfortunate. All of these acts should be legal as long as no one is coerced. They are illegal only because of prejudice and narrowmindedness.
and here in 2006 :
I am skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children. The arguments that it causes harm seem to be based on cases which aren't voluntary, which are then stretched by parents who are horrified by the idea that their little baby is maturing.
"voluntary pedophilia"

He has since walked that stance back. I am "skeptical of his claim" to newfound empathy for abused kids, given the timing.

Last edited by MrDibble; 09-18-2019 at 05:14 AM.
  #17  
Old 09-18-2019, 07:14 AM
ftg's Avatar
ftg is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Not the PNW :-(
Posts: 20,342
Note that a lot of GNU software has been developed in spite of RMS rather than due to his help.

Take the GNU OS microkernel, his pet project. Work started on it in 1990. In 2016 it reached version 0.9 (so not a full version). No major updates since. There's a GNU-Hurd-Debian thing now but it's one of those "Why bother?" things.

You're not going to convince people to use "Free" OS software if after almost 20 years you haven't produced version 1.0.
  #18  
Old 09-18-2019, 10:59 AM
echoreply's Avatar
echoreply is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 901
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robot Arm View Post
It occurred to me a while ago that this rather undercuts Stallman's evangelism for "free" software. He does want something in return for his software, but it's not money, it's recognition.
Free as in freedom, not free as in no-cost. You can charge for free software, but you can't limit what the purchasers do with the software once they have it. They can turn around and give it away.

The two big contributions by RMS are the idea of Free Software in the firstplace, and the Gnu Public License. All software started as Free. People wrote it and passed it around. Not trying to paint them as evil, but then companies got into it and started the idea of software licenses, limits on what you can do with the software you have, and not releasing the source code for the software. RMS came along and said, "hey, things were much better when everything was free, we should do that again."

To insure that software stayed Free, RMS (along with others) came up with the GPL, which subverted copyright to make sure that software released under the GPL stayed Free---copyleft. The GPL basically says, you can do whatever you want with this software, but if you distribute it then you must provide your source code, and allow other people to also do whatever they want with the software, and attach this license.

The GNU project that RMS started provided the tools and ground work for the Free and Open Source software explosion that started in the 80s, and has been growing ever since. The GPL provided the license necessary to make sure the movement stayed Free and Open.

In my opinion RMS is definitely on the short list of people who have made major contributions to the technical look of the world today. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs certainly had better publicists, but I don't think that makes RMS any less important. Like other founding fathers, RMS can make incredibly important contributions to society, and still be a deeply flawed individual.
  #19  
Old 09-18-2019, 11:21 AM
Dewey Finn is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 28,983
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
The first article linked by the OP has a link to one of those e-mail messages: https://github.com/ddol/rre-rms/blob/master/rider.txt
I read through that rider. It's really long and detailed and honestly he comes off as someone who is full of himself.
  #20  
Old 09-18-2019, 11:29 AM
Telemark's Avatar
Telemark is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Just outside of Titletown
Posts: 22,997
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
It's really long and detailed and honestly he comes off as someone who is full of himself.
I'm sure RMS would agree.
  #21  
Old 09-18-2019, 11:35 AM
Inner Stickler's Avatar
Inner Stickler is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 15,158
I kinda suspect the rider functions at least partly as an acid test so that he only gets invited to give talks for groups that really really wanna hear RMS speak.
  #22  
Old 09-18-2019, 11:48 AM
RaftPeople is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: 7-Eleven
Posts: 6,734
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
I read through that rider. It's really long and detailed and honestly he comes off as someone who is full of himself.
It probably requires that trait to rise above the noise and have your ideas heard. Same with Gates and Jobs and Ellison etc.

I think Wozniak and Allen would have just been part of the unknown crowd of smart guys doing some good stuff in computers if they hadn't partnered with a person with the other personality type.
  #23  
Old 09-18-2019, 12:12 PM
echoreply's Avatar
echoreply is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 901
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inner Stickler View Post
I kinda suspect the rider functions at least partly as an acid test so that he only gets invited to give talks for groups that really really wanna hear RMS speak.
His comment on the rider has been that he gets more speaking requests than he can fulfill, so he is able to be picky about it. Writing it up and posting it saves the trouble of having to send it out new each time to every LUG and UUG that thinks it would be fun to have him out for a talk.

I'm sure other people who frequently are invited (and paid) for speaking engagements have similar riders. Well, maybe not similar but equivalent, in that they specify first or business class, and a certain quality of hotel room, and no green M&Ms, or whatever. I think complaining about the existence of a travel rider is short sighted, but making fun of the quirks and details of the rider is fair game.

And his certainly is quirky. How hard is it to just say: Do not make breakfast plans for me, but I do like a cup of tea in the morning, often with milk and sugar. I would also like Pepsi to be available. That comes off not sounding like a weirdo, just somebody who is making his desires known.
  #24  
Old 09-18-2019, 12:19 PM
Dewey Finn is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 28,983
Instead, his statement about Pepsi is much longer and frankly sounds a bit ridiculous. "If I am quite sleepy, I would like two cans or small bottles of non-diet Pepsi. (I dislike the taste of coke, and of all diet soda; also, there is an international boycott of the Coca Cola company for killing union organizers in Colombia and Guatemala; see killercoke.org.) However, if I am not very sleepy, I won't want Pepsi, because it is better if I don't drink so much sugar." How is anyone else going to know if he's sleepy? As you said, just specify that some cans of regular Pepsi be provided.
  #25  
Old 09-18-2019, 12:27 PM
Acsenray is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 36,245
Quote:
Originally Posted by echoreply View Post
To insure that software stayed Free, RMS (along with others) came up with the GPL, which subverted copyright to make sure that software released under the GPL stayed Free---copyleft.
To nitpick a bit, I would dispute that issuing software with a license is "subversion" of copyright. It's an option that copyright law offers to creators. It's using copyright, not subverting it.
  #26  
Old 09-18-2019, 12:50 PM
echoreply's Avatar
echoreply is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 901
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
To nitpick a bit, I would dispute that issuing software with a license is "subversion" of copyright. It's an option that copyright law offers to creators. It's using copyright, not subverting it.
Usually copyright is used to prevent the copying of a work. In this case copyright is being used to make sure that copying of a work is always allowed. That is the subversion, and it does rely on copyright to enforce those requirements. The option copyright law allows is to create a contract, or license, under which permissions are granted. In this case the license granted is the opposite of what is typical.

It also may be important to note that the goal of RMS is to eliminate all copyright, so that you can do anything you want with any work you have. The GPL is merely the viral agent to prevent Free works from being made non-Free in a system where copyright does exist. So making copyright stronger also strengthens the GPL, and weakening or eliminating copyrights nullifies the GPL, but achieves RMS' larger goal.
  #27  
Old 09-18-2019, 01:08 PM
Inner Stickler's Avatar
Inner Stickler is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 15,158
Quote:
Originally Posted by echoreply View Post
Usually copyright is used to prevent the copying of a work.
Sure, but copyright is a statement on who has the 'right' to make a 'copy'. Just because most people set the slider to 'me alone' or 'me + people who pay me money' doesn't mean that choosing the 'everyone and their kid brother' option is subverting anymore than you're subverting your stereo when you set the volume to 0.
  #28  
Old 09-18-2019, 01:16 PM
Acsenray is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 36,245
Quote:
Originally Posted by echoreply View Post
Usually copyright is used to prevent the copying of a work. In this case copyright is being used to make sure that copying of a work is always allowed.
It's a license that grants a licensee the right to make copies, subject to conditions. That is exactly what a copyright license does. It's not subversive in the least.

Quote:
That is the subversion, and it does rely on copyright to enforce those requirements.
That sentence is self-contradictory.

Quote:
The option copyright law allows is to create a contract, or license, under which permissions are granted. In this case the license granted is the opposite of what is typical.
No, it's not the "opposite" of what's typical. It has some unusual terms, but none of them subvert copyright. They use copyright.

Now, theoretically, if every creator in the world were to decide they could dispense with copyright protections, that might lead to the repealing of copyright protections generally, but the existence of the GPL is neither necessary nor sufficient to bring about that result.

Copyright law and the GPL coexist quite comfortably. The GPL reinforces rather than subverts the mechanisms of copyright law, and neither does it conflict with the intent and goals of copyright law, which is to allow a creator to have certain exclusive rights over a work, and the freedom to choose how or how not to exercise those rights.

Last edited by Acsenray; 09-18-2019 at 01:19 PM.
  #29  
Old 09-19-2019, 01:59 AM
Sage Rat's Avatar
Sage Rat is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Howdy
Posts: 21,904
Quote:
Originally Posted by echoreply View Post
In my opinion RMS is definitely on the short list of people who have made major contributions to the technical look of the world today. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs certainly had better publicists, but I don't think that makes RMS any less important. Like other founding fathers, RMS can make incredibly important contributions to society, and still be a deeply flawed individual.
I would agree.

But, I would also note that you would only need to change a few words to rewrite this paragraph to be about Karl Marx.

Surprisingly, people whose great idea in life is to give everything away for free, are not all there and may have other and worse thoughts - like murder of everyone who disobeys and free child porn.

Last edited by Sage Rat; 09-19-2019 at 02:02 AM.
  #30  
Old 09-19-2019, 03:43 AM
BigT's Avatar
BigT is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: "Hicksville", Ark.
Posts: 36,601
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sage Rat View Post
I would agree.

But, I would also note that you would only need to change a few words to rewrite this paragraph to be about Karl Marx.

Surprisingly, people whose great idea in life is to give everything away for free, are not all there and may have other and worse thoughts - like murder of everyone who disobeys and free child porn.
Except neither of them ever argued that everything should be given away for free. Oh, and neither advocated for free child porn or punishing anyone who disobeys. RMS argued that child porn should be legal, but never did he say it should be free. And you are conflating Marxism with Communism.

So everything you've said is at least a slight perversion of what actually happened--all to promote the idea that anyone who has issues with capitalism is likely mentally deranged.
  #31  
Old 09-19-2019, 07:04 AM
Robot Arm is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Medford, MA
Posts: 23,557
Quote:
Originally Posted by echoreply View Post
Free as in freedom, not free as in no-cost. You can charge for free software, but you can't limit what the purchasers do with the software once they have it. They can turn around and give it away.

The two big contributions by RMS are the idea of Free Software in the firstplace, and the Gnu Public License. All software started as Free. People wrote it and passed it around. Not trying to paint them as evil, but then companies got into it and started the idea of software licenses, limits on what you can do with the software you have, and not releasing the source code for the software. RMS came along and said, "hey, things were much better when everything was free, we should do that again."
It's not really "free" in that sense, either. There are specific things that I'm prohibited from doing with the software (and its accompanying information) after I receive it. If I pass it along to anyone I have to include the source code, and I can't change the license.
  #32  
Old 09-19-2019, 07:43 AM
Acsenray is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 36,245
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robot Arm View Post
It's not really "free" in that sense, either. There are specific things that I'm prohibited from doing with the software (and its accompanying information) after I receive it. If I pass it along to anyone I have to include the source code, and I can't change the license.
Exactly, it’s a copyright license.
__________________
*I'm experimenting with E, em, and es and emself as pronouns that do not indicate any specific gender nor exclude any specific gender.
  #33  
Old 09-19-2019, 08:20 AM
Robot Arm is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Medford, MA
Posts: 23,557
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
Exactly, it’s a copyright license.
If I think I can improve the code, I can make changes to it and pass it along to other people. If they like the changes, they'll pass them on (maybe adding changes of their own). In this way, the code spreads, evolves, and improves.

Why can't the license evolve in the same way? Software code and a copyright license are just different types of instructions; text which attempts to codify and direct real-world actions. If I think I can improve the license, I should be able to change it and pass it along, and it will evolve just as the code does. Why does the movement for "free" software stop at just the software?
  #34  
Old 09-19-2019, 08:27 AM
Acsenray is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 36,245
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robot Arm View Post
If I think I can improve the code, I can make changes to it and pass it along to other people. If they like the changes, they'll pass them on (maybe adding changes of their own). In this way, the code spreads, evolves, and improves.

Why can't the license evolve in the same way? Software code and a copyright license are just different types of instructions; text which attempts to codify and direct real-world actions. If I think I can improve the license, I should be able to change it and pass it along, and it will evolve just as the code does. Why does the movement for "free" software stop at just the software?
Why can't you? Because the owner of the copyright says you can't. Ask the owner for a license that is along the lines of what you want to do, and maybe you'll get it. Or start distributing works under your evolving license yourself.
  #35  
Old 09-19-2019, 08:43 AM
markn+ is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: unknown; Speed: exactly 0
Posts: 2,679
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robot Arm View Post
Why can't the license evolve in the same way? Software code and a copyright license are just different types of instructions; text which attempts to codify and direct real-world actions. If I think I can improve the license, I should be able to change it and pass it along, and it will evolve just as the code does. Why does the movement for "free" software stop at just the software?
Because Stallman doesn't want you to be able to do whatever you want with the software, he wants you to be able to do whatever he wants. The GPL v2 is quite restrictive in many ways and v3 even more so.

I once was publishing a piece of open source software under the BSD license. I got a few messages from FSF people suggesting that I change to GPL. I naively did so, then got a bunch of complaints from users who now couldn't use my software as they had previously, due to the terms of the "GNU Public Virus" as one complaintant referred to it, since including GPL software in your software "infects" it and changes what you can do with the rest of the software. I think that if it weren't for Stallman's intransigence, a more reasonable license could have been crafted which didn't restrict the use of free software as much as GPL does.
  #36  
Old 09-19-2019, 08:55 AM
Acsenray is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 36,245
Quote:
Originally Posted by markn+ View Post
Because Stallman doesn't want you to be able to do whatever you want with the software, he wants you to be able to do whatever he wants.
Yep, that's perfectly consistent with copyright law. He's not undermining copyright at all.
  #37  
Old 09-19-2019, 10:28 AM
echoreply's Avatar
echoreply is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 901
Yes, the GPL restricts what can be done with software. What I see here is the very typical complaint against the GPL of, "this prevents me from taking Free software and making it not-Free." Yes, it absolutely does that. That is the idea. Arguing that is something wrong with the GPL is missing the whole point of the GPL. Either that, or it's semantic debate over what "free" means.

Of course the GPL isn't appropriate for all software. The authors have to decide what they want, do they want BSD, MIT, GPL, Affero GPL, public domain, something they roll on their own? All of those have different affects on how their software will be used and distributed. I've only ever released software under a modified BSD, because that's what best fit my intentions with the software.

Really, the GPL's only restriction is that it doesn't let you lock up your changes and still distribute the software. If you don't like it, write your own software, don't complain that the software being given to you for free can't be used against the way the authors wish.
  #38  
Old 09-19-2019, 10:32 AM
Acsenray is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 36,245
Quote:
Originally Posted by echoreply View Post
don't complain that the software being given to you for free can't be used against the way the authors wish.
... the author's wish being the central concern of what? Copyright. Copyleft is copyright.
  #39  
Old 09-19-2019, 11:55 AM
Rysto is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 7,188
This argument is a pointless exercise in semantics. Can you guys just drop it?
  #40  
Old 09-19-2019, 12:04 PM
Miller's Avatar
Miller is online now
Sith Mod
Moderator
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Bear Flag Republic
Posts: 44,401
Quote:
Originally Posted by echoreply View Post
Yes, the GPL restricts what can be done with software. What I see here is the very typical complaint against the GPL of, "this prevents me from taking Free software and making it not-Free." Yes, it absolutely does that. That is the idea. Arguing that is something wrong with the GPL is missing the whole point of the GPL. Either that, or it's semantic debate over what "free" means.
Does it? If I write a bit of code called (for tradition's sake) "foo," and put it into the public domain, then Microsoft comes along, takes "foo," adds "bar" to it, and sells it for millions of dollars - well, my "foo" code is still free to whoever wants it. Microsoft hasn't taken something free and made it not-free, they took something free, and used it to make something else that is not free.

Quote:
Really, the GPL's only restriction is that it doesn't let you lock up your changes and still distribute the software. If you don't like it, write your own software, don't complain that the software being given to you for free can't be used against the way the authors wish.
Is anyone complaining about that? They're just pointing that Stallman's idea isn't really that different from traditional copyright, it's just that he's attaching different strings than "pay me" to the copyright.
  #41  
Old 09-19-2019, 12:31 PM
Sage Rat's Avatar
Sage Rat is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Howdy
Posts: 21,904
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigT View Post
And you are conflating Marxism with Communism.
I said that Marx supported murder and free shit. I didn't say anything one way or the other about Communism.

"there is only one way in which the murderous death agonies of the old society and the bloody birth throes of the new society can be shortened, simplified and concentrated, and that way is revolutionary terror."
  #42  
Old 09-19-2019, 02:33 PM
DPRK is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 3,879
Quote:
Originally Posted by markn+ View Post
Because Stallman doesn't want you to be able to do whatever you want with the software, he wants you to be able to do whatever he wants. The GPL v2 is quite restrictive in many ways and v3 even more so.

I once was publishing a piece of open source software under the BSD license. I got a few messages from FSF people suggesting that I change to GPL. I naively did so, then got a bunch of complaints from users who now couldn't use my software as they had previously, due to the terms of the "GNU Public Virus" as one complaintant referred to it, since including GPL software in your software "infects" it and changes what you can do with the rest of the software. I think that if it weren't for Stallman's intransigence, a more reasonable license could have been crafted which didn't restrict the use of free software as much as GPL does.
Stallman originally crafted the GPL after he was pissed off by an incident where he gave away, for free to some people who asked for it, some modified printer driver of his devising or Emacs macros or something of that nature. They were happy enough to grab it, but when he heard that they in turn added on some useful changes and asked for a copy, they gave him the cold shoulder. There was nothing he could do, so he came up with a "copyleft" license to specifically disallow that behaviour.

In that sense, the GPL restricts "what you can do" with a piece of software. (The BSD licence has its own mandates.) If you don't care, or need something different, there is nothing forcing you to license your software under those terms; I don't see how that's on the FSF. Nor should it retroactively affect (or infect) your customers who already have BSD-licensed software. Also, the FSF openly and explicitly states that the 3-clause BSD license is GPL compatible.
  #43  
Old 09-19-2019, 02:46 PM
Telemark's Avatar
Telemark is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Just outside of Titletown
Posts: 22,997
I realize this is in MPSIMS and threads can wander, but the GPL/copyleft discussion has nothing to do with the fact that RMS appears to be a loathsome individual in his personal life and it's been ignored/handwaved by the computing world for decades.
  #44  
Old 09-19-2019, 03:05 PM
Acsenray is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 36,245
Quote:
Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
RMS appears to be a loathsome individual in his personal life and it's been ignored/handwaved by the computing world for decades.
Well, I suppose one could say that to some extent the information technology world has a reputation consistent with that kind of thing?
  #45  
Old 09-19-2019, 03:27 PM
DPRK is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 3,879
Quote:
Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
I realize this is in MPSIMS and threads can wander, but the GPL/copyleft discussion has nothing to do with the fact that RMS appears to be a loathsome individual in his personal life and it's been ignored/handwaved by the computing world for decades.
Has he embraced any sort of explicitly anarchist stance where murder, rape, child abuse, etc., are bad not because the state says so, but because it's morally wrong? I can see how he might start arguing (in bad taste) about statutory rape if he thought the idea of statutes, in general, was wrong. He's always had his personal home page with all kinds of political stuff on there.
  #46  
Old 09-19-2019, 04:34 PM
74westy's Avatar
74westy is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Regina, SK, Canada
Posts: 2,000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
I realize this is in MPSIMS and threads can wander, but the GPL/copyleft discussion has nothing to do with the fact that RMS appears to be a loathsome individual in his personal life and it's been ignored/handwaved by the computing world for decades.
This is interesting. As a member of the computing world, am I responsible for Stallman's behaviour? Should I reject ideas he's had because of it? What else do I have to give up lest I be guilty of ignoring/handwaving his personal life?
  #47  
Old 09-19-2019, 04:36 PM
Telemark's Avatar
Telemark is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Just outside of Titletown
Posts: 22,997
I'm a member of the computing world too, and I have friends high up in the FSF and at MIT. I always knew he was an ass, but I guess I never knew the extent. And yes, to a degree, I think we're all responsible for the culture we helped create.
  #48  
Old 09-19-2019, 05:05 PM
markn+ is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: unknown; Speed: exactly 0
Posts: 2,679
Quote:
Originally Posted by DPRK View Post
In that sense, the GPL restricts "what you can do" with a piece of software. (The BSD licence has its own mandates.) If you don't care, or need something different, there is nothing forcing you to license your software under those terms; I don't see how that's on the FSF.
I mostly agree, although as the largest and most visible repository of free software, I think it behooves them to use a license that encourages use of the software, based on the best understanding of the real world software environment, not based on an annoyance that one guy once experienced several decades ago. The current software definitely discourages use of free software in many environments. Maybe those are mostly the environments that Stallman wants to keep free software out of, but I don't think GNU has benefited from this stance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DPRK View Post
Nor should it retroactively affect (or infect) your customers who already have BSD-licensed software.
No, but it affects them when and if they wish to upgrade to the latest version of my software. In the end I released my software with two licenses, GPL and BSD-like, and the user can choose which one he wants to use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DPRK View Post
Also, the FSF openly and explicitly states that the 3-clause BSD license is GPL compatible.
That must be new. Or new-ish. Or at least, it wasn't that way 25 years or so ago when I last looked at it. Ah, I see, the 3-clause license didn't even exist at that time.
  #49  
Old 09-19-2019, 07:08 PM
The Lurker Above is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Calgary, AB Canada
Posts: 781
Quote:
Originally Posted by echoreply View Post
I'm sure other people who frequently are invited (and paid) for speaking engagements have similar riders. Well, maybe not similar but equivalent, in that they specify first or business class, and a certain quality of hotel room, and no green M&Ms, or whatever. I think complaining about the existence of a travel rider is short sighted, but making fun of the quirks and details of the rider is fair game.
I've worked a hotel that occasionally had events with paid speakers. The organizers for those events would usually pass along (part) of the speaker's rider. In my experience the only really odd thing about the accommodations section of his rider is preferring non-hotel rooms and writing it in the first person.

Most riders I saw specified things like temperature, brand preferences, room types/amenities, and instructions for staff on how to communicate with the speaker (usually something along the lines of "run all issues/problems through their assistant, here's the speaker's preferred title, and no phone calls to the room").
  #50  
Old 09-19-2019, 07:38 PM
Miller's Avatar
Miller is online now
Sith Mod
Moderator
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Bear Flag Republic
Posts: 44,401
Quote:
Originally Posted by 74westy View Post
This is interesting. As a member of the computing world, am I responsible for Stallman's behaviour? Should I reject ideas he's had because of it? What else do I have to give up lest I be guilty of ignoring/handwaving his personal life?
Did you mean to quote a different post? Maybe one in a different thread?
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:25 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2019 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017