Veteran free software firebrand Richard Stallman has upset the apple cart by speaking out against the international canonisation of Steve Jobs Citing 1980s Chicago Mayor Harold Washington talking about a one-time rival, GPL licence author Richard Stallman reckons while he's not glad Jobs is dead, he is glad Jobs is gone. …
So far off from the truth it isn't even wrong.
"There is a reason why the documentation for commercial open source software (which does not have a "sugar daddy" sponsor at least) is often utter shite, it's so that they can legally (by the GPL) sting you for support costs as it's the only way of getting money back. See the ridiculous state of affairs where some companies are obfuscating their updates as others try to supply support in their place. Completely unsustainable.
A horribly misleading licence with disasterous consequences for the quality of software using it."
Tell that to Red Hat. IBM. Amazon. Wall Street. Google. The U.S. DoD. The people running more than 91% of the world's top 500 supercomputers. Weta Digital. The London Stock Exchange.
Taken a look around your house lately for any new electronic gadgets? Bought a WiFi router? New TV? A car? Odds approach unity that you've got software licensed under the GPL in your house right now and just don't know it.
(Facepalm due to the cluelessness of the preceding poster.)
The irony is...
that GPL and OpenSource are a different walled garden.
Instead of being delimited by cash, they're limited by programming skill. The effect is the same - ordinary users are forced to operate software in the way that certain programmers think they should.
Saying "But you can program the system to...' is useless given that - well - oddly enough, most people aren't programmers, and don't want to (or can't) learn about languages, repositories and dependencies just so they can add some original features to their (say...) media player.
And then there are the licensing and distribution issues associated with GPL.
So the control freakery seems roughly equally distributed.
Jobs scored points over Stallman by creating technology ordinary people want to use. Stallman and Open Source have never understood why this is important. Geek cred is *not* user appeal.
OS has scored is in projects with obvious user benefits - like Wordpress and Joomla (etc) which have become de facto standards for many web projects.
But OS on the desktop has been a history of fail, precisely because OS projects become all about bull geeks noodling around coding useless features because they want something to do, with little thought for the needs of non-geek users.
Thanks to people like that, oss exists.
Forger/Ignore who rms is and look to his CV with the perfect universities, excellent recommendations, published work used by other legendary developers (includlng the ms/apple elite) and highly prestigious labs.
Also try to imagine what kind of connections with such credentials would have. His linkedin page would be fun.
A person like that, instead of swimming in money, having multimillion dollar home, a car fleet and lost track of share options still wonders around and try to stop the ignorant being abused.
I have never shared his views and IMHO they are way beyond today's half human/half animalistic scheme of things but I just can't accept bunch of lifeless people who achieved nothing in life or would do very evil things for money act like he is some sort of freak.
They want a tool that gets the job done, with the least fuss possible.
like for example Mussolini making the trains run on time.....
(try to engage brain prior to putting mouth in gear)
"I was starting to wonder if I was the only one to notice this. "
No, and you're not the only one dumb enough to think it matters either. The world is awash with people using software they haven't paid for, and it ain't all GPL.
People actually mainly pay for software for two reasons (other than fear of legal action): they want support and they want to get new versions when they come out.
The GPL makes no difference to these two key items: pay for GPL software and you will normally expect support and that the money will help create new versions and improvements. No different from any other software.
"There is a reason why the documentation for commercial open source software (which does not have a "sugar daddy" sponsor at least) is often utter shite" Because software documentation is almost always utter shite. Have you read the manual that comes with MS Office? Why waste paper and ink on it, let alone money? Every serious user gets a third-party manual, and the vast majority of mature GPL projects are likewise supported, indeed are generally better supported because the writers of the manuals have full access to not only the code but often to the programmers without any difficulty involving "commercial confidentiality".
By and large, Free Software has had a bigger and more significant effect on the world of computing than anything Jobs did, with Microsoft a close second due, ironically, to Gate's total opposition to the potential of software being utilized by poor people. Those two poles form the axis around which the world of computing hardware and software revolves; Jobs sat in the middle and lifted/stole ideas which he then polished and branded and booby-trapped with lock-ins for the easily bought, but he never brought anything actually new to the table.
"A horribly misleading licence with disasterous consequences for the quality of software using it."
You are a fool and deserve all you get.
Perhaps you should check your facts.
Mussolini did NOT "make the trains run on time". Far from it.
(And, yes, before you open your ignorant gob once again: I _am_ Italian.)
sgtrock: Well done for *completely* missing my point.
"Taken a look around your house lately for any new electronic gadgets"
They made their money selling me the DEVICE not the software. Therefore software licencing is irrelevant.
"Tell that to Red Hat. IBM. Amazon. Wall Street. Google..."
Did you miss my point about sugar daddy sponsors? It was even in the bit you quoted. Also well done for mentioning Rat Hat who are a prime example of a company which has had to start obfuscating their updates to prevent third parties taking their support revenue, a direct result of using the GPL.
As an aside, why does an OS need a support contract anyway? Neither myself nor the company I work for has ever needed to contact MS for support with Windows, why should someone pay for support from Red Hat? The very fact people are paying third parties indicates that it is *nothing* to do with supporting the cost of maintaining the OS and presumably to do with (possibly unnecessary?) complexity of the product.
Thanks for the personal insults. Grow up.
Let me try and explain this.
Writing software is expensive, computer programmers are highly skilled and command relatively high pay. Any software being written outside of their own time needs to be paid for in some way.
If the software isn't of use to a massive company like google, IBM etc then you're very unlikely to get anyone to sponsor it, smaller companies, and particulaly public sector organisations simply do not have that sort of money, therefore you'll need to get a smaller amount of money from a much larger number of people/organisations.
You can do this in two ways, sell it, or charge for support (or a combination). The former is pretty much ruled out by the way the GPL works (even if they deny it), therefore your only way to get money is to charge for support (the number of people who will simply donate is negligable). This has several implications:
a) Your end users must see your product as actually requiring support, and be happy with this. If people do not need support generally they will not pay for it (it's hard enough getting some people to pay for a commercial product as it is!).
b) This support revenue will need to cover the initial development cost and the ongoing development costs. This generally means that someone else will be able to provide support (especially since the source code is available) at a fraction of the price. Most of your customers aren't likely to think long term enough as to what the consequences are of you going out of business.
The general result is that you have to design your product to *require* support, even if it shouldn't really, and still anyone can set up a company and screw you over by providing your support cheaper. If you disagree then I suspect you have a much higher opinion of people's decency than I do (of course, according to the GPL they aren't even doing anything wrong!).
Consider the example of an AAA computer game with a multi-million pound budget. If that has to be released under the GPL (assuming games consoles supported it) how many people do you think would pay the company for support? They would download it and play it for free perfectly legally. The company would go bust and no one would ever write a high budget game again.
The point is that the GPL is *not* suitable for most commercial software but it tries to make out it is, and cretins like Stallman and the FSF are trying to force it on everyone by claiming anyone not using it is evil.
As a side note: I've no problem with source code being 'open' to people that have actually paid for the product for them to read, update, fork or whatever they want to, so long as anyone that uses that code (or things derived from it) has purchased a legitmate copy of the original from the company that *spent the money developing it*.
The fact is, if you were right you would find that most commercial software (talking business software, consumer software such as game etc) is under the GPL. It isn't.
FOSS in the US DoD
What software is free that the US Department of Defense uses? Im not trolling, Im asking an honest question here.
Please enlighten me, Im very interested in this and Im not an idiot nor am I ignorant, I just wasn't in the Signal Corps who manages all of our IT infrastructure. I spent most of my late teens and twenties in the Regular Army in the Intelligence and Security Command and I think I can count the instances of FOSS use on one hand, they were almost all classified, and I dont really consider classified software "free" since it cant be legally distributed. I mean legally under the GPL it *could*, but you'd be going to United States Disciplinary Barracks Leavenworth with the quickness.
They use IIS for Web, they use exchange for their email servers outside of AKO/DKO which is Java, they use Windows for most non-JWICS/NSANET Desktops and for the vast majority of their servers (again, non-JWICS/NSANET because they require a "Trusted Environment". Windows isnt considered trusted because Suite A Crypto doesn't play nice with it).
The only real heavy FOSS use that I know about is what we call Flask and the wider world refers to as SELinux on a very small number of file servers, as well as the computers that are set up for the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System and the National Security Agency Network. DISA uses Cisco Routers, and the SATCOM systems that all branches use are proprietary OS based, which may be Linux but Im not really sure, Harris and Motorola make them. I worked on the Intelligence side but I did have to know how to fix alot of this stuff when it broke because almost noone enlists as a Communications Security Repairer anymore.
I do know that the Air Force uses Java for almost everything, and the Navy's damned close in that regard, but the Department itsself including NSA/CSS and DISA as well as the Army is a very proprietary environment.
if you bought it you own it
if you pay for a piece of software, you have the right to view and modify the source code.
but why are people willing to pay for software and yet give up this right!!!
Because you only buy a license to use it. If you read the ELUA thats all you got. oh and if by the way it fails to work or junks all your data that's just too bad.
@openminded - Read the license
You've not 'bought' commercial software. Not ever unless it is an IP purchase.
What you've purchased is a license to use a copy of the software, and your custodianship of your copy is only allowed if you stay inside the terms and conditions of the license.
You agreed to this when you opened or installed the software. You gave the right away yourself, as long as it does not conflict with the law where you live.
And why should paying for the use of software entitle you to see the source code? Does buying a toaster entitle you to the complete spec's and blueprints for said device, or purchasing a CD entitle you to the sheet music for the songs?
Because end user do not own the software, they lease it from the manufacturer.
"Neither myself nor the company I work for has ever needed to contact MS for support with Windows"
I have and it really really sucks!
No. You can pay for services, or not
And the reason the documentation is poor is that you didn't write it.
Almost entirely neither did I, but I'm not complaining.
Almost everything is wrong, including
that that doesn't demonstrate irony.
My incompetence at programming does not constitute your control.
And there is no wall around the garden of FLOSS.
I thought Italians were cultured and polite.
I'll take perl documentation over power-shell's any day. MySQL's over Sybase's or Oracle's flagship db too. Do a "man ps" in Linux and comare it to "help tasklist" in the MS command shell. (Don't even get me started on the futility of clicking "Help .... (anything other than About)" in nearly all Windows products; I couldn't figure out how to get much helpful Help the few times I've used Apple products either; their approach seems to be like the pricing of their products at the Apple store: if you have to ask, you shouldn't be there.
It is really discouraging though how quickly these flame wars degenerate into ad hominem hissy fits. Jobs was an innovator, I don't see that as a debatable issue, frankly. Also a capitalist. His company has been anti-competitive at times and (as you can conclude from the above), I'm not fond of their products, personally, but that would not cause me to "speak ill of the dead" as so many seem to feel compelled to do. Stallman, OTOH, is very much alive. He's obsessive, and narrow-minded, and doesn't seem like the kind of guy you'd want to go have a pint with. Still, his contribution to Open Source Software cannot be denied.
"Can't we all just get along?"
in most cases you don't have this right, so you can't give it up.
Wanting something you don't have is not the same as giving up something you do have.
'if you pay for a piece of software, you have the right to view and modify the source code.'
Feel free to hack away at the binary to your hearts content, but why do you feel are entitled to the source code any more than you are entitled to the engineering schematics or CAD files that were used to build the computer your software runs on?
You are of course free design your own computer from scratch, just as you are free to write your own software.
Because that's not in the terms of the copyright.
You pay for a piece of the software. That let you use the piece of software. But you don't know how it's built just as you don't get the blueprints for the motorcar you drive.
Nick Thompson wrote:
"Thanks for the personal insults. Grow up."
and then followed it up with:
"and cretins like Stallman and the FSF are trying to force it on everyone"
Pot, have a seat over here next to kettle :-).
Re: Thanks to people like that, oss exists.
The problem is, thanks to people like RMS, many OSS projects have occasionally come close to dying, too. Case in point: GPLv3. All I can say is thank goodness Linus Trovalds put his foot down on that one; I personally know at least one company that absolutely would have migrated from linux to another platform. Put bluntly, RMS spends far more time hurting his case than helping it.
Thanks for the links. I really appreciate it Sir/Ma'am. I like to know what we're up to because AKO/DKO, Army Knowledge Online/Defense Knowledge Online (our web portal) really sucks at informing anyone of anything.
Also, just so you know NSA/CSS calls SELinux "Flask" or "Fluke" depending on environment. I'm former MI, and I used to work for a brigade that pretty much IS the CSS part (Along with the Naval Security Group and a very small part of the Air Force ISR Agency) of the NSA/CSS.
my ignorant gob is well aware of the facts and said greasy wop did in fact male 1 train run on time - and the rest is history
The Air Force's computer security honestly scares the fuck out of me. I spent a couple of weeks doing penetration testing at a research lab after the AF got its ass kicked at the war games competition while ago, and it was deplorable. Plus they use Java, which I greatly dislike.
Ada is the language ideally used by the alphabet soup, but I've never been required to design anything in it, and I honestly wouldn't be involved as much if I had to learn yet another language just to make them happy. NSA works with Linux a fair amount, although it has in-house distros that are specialised behind all hope in hell of ever seeing light of day in the public.
...In an article about Stallman you refer to "Linux desktops".
Or was it deliberate?
I don't really have an opinion about Stallman's views on OSS vs Proprietary but my opinion on his statement is this : you don't win friends by criticising someone a day or two after they've died from cancer. That's just... uncouth. There's an discussion to be had about the software models we use, but to phrase it as personal criticism for someone who hadn't even been buried at that point... that's not great. Not great at all. It makes him look like a fanatic, which is exactly what the OSS community has been trying to get away from for years.
Far from getting OSS out into the mainstream and bringing the necessary knowledge to the fore, all he's done is reinforce the general population's opinion that people who care about this stuff are maladjusted neckbeards with the social skills of a camel.
Whether you think Jobs was the second coming or a modern day robber baron, you don't help your cause by this kind of thing. Stallman may not care (apparently, he cares about very little other than advancing his own agenda and ego) but he's just made the lives of a lot of people who look up to him that little bit harder and more unpleasant.
it's almost as if the crass insensitivity is deliberate - being contentious is a good way to attract publicity and "any publicity is good publicity". It /is/ counter productive though, as you point out. I also have a sneaking suspicion that being a contrarian is habit forming; as is neck-beardism too, probably.
What are you on?
> it's almost as if the crass insensitivity is deliberate
Like the front-page newspaper stories of indulgent glorification are not just as offensive?
Maladjusted neckbeards with the social skills of a camel
I just spat my curry over my keyboard and monitor as I read that line, thanks for that. I'll be putting that line aside for later use in conversation, if you don't mind!
I didn't realise until relatively recently, that one of Apple's gifts to the Linux community, is CUPS (Common UNIX Printing System). Yes, the same suite which powers Mac OS X's printing subsystem, has also become the current de facto standard printing-handling software on many, if not most, Linux distros.
Any thoughts on this?
Yeah, my thought is that CUPS predates OSX, nor is Apple the original developer of it.
In fact it was only made OSX's printing system in OSX 10.2. Apple bought the CUPS source code in 2007, hence why it's now referred to as the owner of CUPS.
Apple didn't write it - they bought it in.
CUPS was in Linux loooong before Apple nicked the BSD kernel to build Mac OS X. Apple simply bought the code and now touts itself as the 'developer' because they employed the real developer of the software.
CUPS isn't an Apple gift. It was developed and open sourced some time before Apple chose to use it in OSX. Since then, Apple purchased the project from the original developers. Whether the project has remained open source for purely altrustic reasons, or because of license obligations isn't entirely clear to me ;-)
You'd be better off looking at the work Apple have contributed to LLVM and Clang. Its a little more esoteric and non-consumer oriented than CUPS, but it is pretty interesting and useful nonetheless. Seems like they've also done a better job here working with open source devs than they did with Webkit/KHTML.
CUPS was in Linux before it was Mac OS X. Apple bought the company producing CUPS after CUPS became the standard Linux printing software.
But Apple hired Matthew Sweet and bought the code.
I think you have proven your ignorance quite effectively.
my thought is that you have been brainwashed by the "Apple Truth", which is a common condition, where Apple still tell their users a version of the truth and they believe it without question.
I think the last occurrence of the "Apple Truth" was only yesterday where Apple released some horseshit PR about selling 1m iPhone4s in the first 24hours of sale, clearly they know there is no way of verifying this, so they can claim whatever they want, and if it spurs other people on sheep-like "well it must be great, Apple said so, where do I get mine", nobody will even question those numbers down the road.....
Wasn't CUPS developed by AT&T when they owned the IP to Unix back in the 80's?
Because I know the Timekeeping program that AT&T uses, ELVIS, is Unix based and had to have better printing capability to keep the Payroll and HR people at the Death Star happy. I mean it wouldnt surprise me if AT&T had an outside developer make it but its use in Unix predates even Linux AFAIK.
An objective observer might say...
... it's good that where Apple have benefitted from open source software, they've ultimately given back to the community.
A cynic might add that while it is objectively a good thing to have happened, it's likely Apple acted through legal obligation.
Only a partisan would go so far as to claim misdoing. And, in one case above, to just start making things up about the FreeBSD kernel.
That all being said, Stallman is making a value judgment about the overall balance of Apple's business position in recent years. So CUPS, WebKit, Mach, LLVM/Clang, OpenCL, etc are already factored into his conclusion. Apple's contributions to those projects don't 'disprove' him per se.
My take is that I don't agree with him because I think his world view is too simplistic. For example, if you look at what Apple's stance on Flash has done to the market overall, it's probably been positive. I don't suggest Apple had altruism in mind, simply that their acts have been to the community's benefit, possibly even despite their intentions. But Stallman doesn't seem able to distinguish between intent and effect. I also agree with the poster above that speaking out now, in these terms, is likely to be more of a hindrance than a benefit to his cause.
...that'll teach me to do a bit more homework - honest mistake. Sorry, all.
That's a bit uncalled for...
With all due respect, Barry: it was an honest mistake on my part. I saw the Apple trademark/copyright note on the CUPS admin pages, and (naively?) took it at its word. I haven't had time to delve into the details of CUPS' history, but now I've received a good solid downvoting on here, I think I ought to...
And by the way: I am not the kind of "Apple Kool-Aid drinker" you imply. Yes, I own one Mac, but I have never bought anything via iTunes (and hope I never will), and have avoided buying any iProducts precisely because of the "walled garden"/iTunes dependency issue.
I'll hold my hands up and admit where I've FAILed on the research front (as here), but I don't think I deserved being painted as some zombified Apple fanboi for it...
I think Tim, that Barry has just admirably highlighted one of the reasons why people haven't taken to F/OSS in a big way - it's the obnoxiously childlike, rabid bastardism of the few that discourage people asking the reasonable questions, getting the sensible answers, and more importantly getting to know this new 'Linux' thing better.
Be reasonable people. The man made a simple mistake. Yes, correct him by all means, but don't get all smug and superior about it.
@Ben: I'm not even sure it was the mistake people are making out
CUPS was first released in 1999. It was incorporated into OS X in 2002, at which point Apple's contributions started. In 2007 Apple hired the main developer and purchased the code, yet the contributions continue.
So Apple have been contributing for 75% of its public life. They've owned it for 33% but have continued to publish.
The GPL, and all other licences, affect what you can do with code you acquire under that licence. As a general rule, they don't bind the original author. Since Apple bought the code, they've acquired it other than under GPL and aren't required to continue to keep it open source. It's almost certain they don't own the whole thing (as it's very likely that at least one third party contributed something under the GPL and didn't subsequently sell that to Apple), but they've continued to release what they own which is most probably a very significant portion.
So the conclusion that Apple sponsor CUPS, and own a portion of it that they release even though they don't have to is correct and is in their favour. Any assertion that because Apple bought it or because it already existed they haven't contributed anything is just plain false on the facts.
Of course, it's still a question of an overall assessment. If I found out that Stalin was always very good at gardening I wouldn't therefore conclude that he was a really nice guy.
What Jobs did is give people what they like to see.
Clear options and ease of use. That's because they understand, test, and research user interactions. And some people are daft enough to pay ludicrously over the odds for the feeling of having their needs respected.
What 99.99999% of open source projects give us is what the author wants to see, and screw you if you don't like it; write your own and give that away for free you ungrateful loser. They will _never_ get the point of a user interface; they will _never_ 'get' the idea that other people view things differently to them; and they will _never_ value a UI specialist on the team.
While Linux commands are still based on nerdy Unix in-jokes and Open Office menus put common features in the most obscure and contradictory branches of the convoluted menu system then there will always be a Microsoft and there will always be an Apple.
"convoluted menu system"
Because MS Office always has the most frequently used options in a logical place?
> What 99.99999% of open source projects give us is what the author wants to see, and screw you if you don't like it; write your own and give that away for free you ungrateful loser. They will _never_ get the point of a user interface; they will _never_ 'get' the idea that other people view things differently to them; and they will _never_ value a UI specialist on the team.
What an incredibly offensive thing to say. It may be true that some open source is not user-friendly. I've seen more commercial software like this than I could possibly remember.
Your comparison is like saying "poor have no morals", "rich never steal", etc. The nature of the work (open source or commercial) is not correlated to the "user-friendliness".
You're saying that the only good programmer is the one that requires money to code. You are saying that a passionate programmer wanting to give something to the world out of love couldn't possibly have an appreciation of the beneficiaries of his work.
You should be slapped and slapped and slapped again. And then forbidden from technology.
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