back to article Windows and OS X are malware, claims Richard Stallman

Linux GNU firebrand Richard Stallman says Windows and Apple's OS X are malware, Amazon is Orwellian, and anyone who trusts the internet-of-things is an ass. In a column for The Grauniad Stallman preaches to the non-technical masses about the evils of proprietary software and vendor lock-in, and how closed-door coding …

Anonymous Coward

Singing. (Greek) Orthodox iconography. Big shirts.

I thought Demis Roussos was dead

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Stallman isn't my cup of tea

but he deserves a bit more respect than this

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Pint

"...Operating systems, first of all," Stallman said.

That's a hopelessly stale concept. FAIL.

Any (for example) Smartphone contains probably several subsystems that contain their own programmable devices. Baseband chipsets, USB controllers which may be ARM processors, etc., etc. , etc.

Believing that the OS is the one-and-only foundation upon which security can be placed is very naïve.

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Re: Stallman isn't my cup of tea

but he deserves a bit more respect than this

He deserves everybody ignoring him and maybe getting bumped off by the CIA, but unfortunately I doubt either of those things are going to happen.

(Those of us who are informed can still poke fun and laugh at his ridiculousness.)

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Re: Stallman isn't my cup of tea

Anyone looking like that loses all credibility!

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Re: Stallman isn't my cup of tea

He lost any respect he use to have. The toilet paper that you flush down the loon deserves more respect.

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Re: Stallman isn't my cup of tea

Stallman is a great man. He was instrumental in the success of Libre software. Without him, there might well not have popular GNU/Linux distros for example and the entire Open Source movement would be a decade behind where it is today at the very least, or more likely unrecognizable as what we have today.

And he ALWAYS backs up what he says. If MS give the NSA advance notice of vulnerabilities that is a bad thing and worthy of criticism. I don't care if he looks like Jesus. Hell, I don't care if he thinks he is Jesus! What I respect is someone who is intellectually honest, self-consistent and supports their beliefs with facts.

A lot here could learn from that.

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Re: Stallman isn't my cup of tea

Have to agree here, without him things WOULD be very different. MS would be squeezing our private parts even harder than they are doing.

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Re: Stallman isn't my cup of tea

without him things WOULD be very different. MS would be squeezing our private parts even harder than they are doing

On day one I'd agree with this, many years later both he and the FSF are (and I admit this is counter-intuitive) active barriers to adoption. He scares companies away from Open Source - and the problem with that is most funding for OSS comes from, remind me where again..

Not for nothing but most of Root Mean Square's fanbase is in people who don't write OSS code, those of us who have and do, generally, tend to hate him; often with a passion.

He rubs me up the wrong way because he believes that as a software developer I shouldn't be allowed to own any intellectual property around any true invention. That friends, is completely batshit. Most of the stuff we take for-granted only exists because of the intellectual property rights of people who invent things. He might be a reaction to the US' broken patent system, but that doesn't excuse it. You fix the patent system allowing trivial "invention", not aim for the stone age.

If programmers deserve to be rewarded for creating innovative programs, by the same token they deserve to be punished if they restrict the use of these programs

-- Guess who. Remember this guy lives in a world where people need to acquire housing, clothing and food.

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Re: "...Operating systems, first of all," Stallman said.

He said OSes first. Not only.

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Re: Stallman isn't my cup of tea

Ok.. Why should the CIA bump him off? Just curious what kind of thinking is behind your comment.

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Past Glories, Revisited

Hmmm? Yes, well, thanks for that, Richard. Have you anything new to share with us?

Of course, the inverse of Stallman's warnings is that the likes of Apple and Windows OS use allows one access into their systems ... to do what one wants. If things don't work as they should and as one would reasonably expect, is the system discovered to be vulnerable to further exploitation of that particular protocol/peculiar event proposal.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Past Glories, Revisited

he likes of Apple and Windows OS use allows one access into their systems ... to do what one wants

And in return, we should give up our privacy?

That's the point he's been trying to make for a few decades now.

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Re: Past Glories, Revisited

Although his presentation leaves something to be desired, he was basically proven right with the Snowdon leaks. What did you expect him to do, say "my work here is done" and retire?

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Re: Past Glories, Revisited

"And in return, we should give up our privacy?"

What privacy?

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Re: Past Glories, Revisited

Is it just me or is the amfM chat bot becoming more coherent?

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Re: Past Glories, Revisited

Nobody is "required" to give up their privacy. If you don't accept the software's terms and conditions of use, you have the *choice* not to use it. I don't know which part of this Stallman doesn't understand, but it's not neuroscience.

That's why I prefer to use OS X or Windows over anything that comes tied to the GPL. At least with Apple I know they're making the vast bulk of their money from selling actual products, rather than nickel-and-diming me while selling on my personal data.

Despite all Stallman's rhetoric about Free Software being "free, as in speech", it's patently obvious to anyone who isn't a Demis Roussos lookalike that the vast majority of GNU/Linux's success can be attributed primarily to the "free, as in beer" aspect, and not a lot else. Even the companies making those cheap and nasty routers are using it because it saves them having to actually pay for a team of competent programmers. And this is why Heartbleed happened.

Apple owners tend not to be penny-pinching misers and are therefore quite happy to pay for stuff they want. (If anything iOS App Store prices have risen a bit of late.) In fact, Apple are a very conventional company: they make their money selling physical products; the software they make is just one of the many components used to make said products, and is often also used as a kind of loss-leader.

Similarly, Microsoft would have to be utterly batshit insane to mine data from their customers given that most of said customers are businesses—many of them major multinationals who give Microsoft a Very Hard Stare if they caught MS doing something that stupid.

I'll leave the situation with Android as an exercise for the reader. Suffice to say that there's a reason why the "Freemium" model has proved so successful on that platform. (Hint: it has the potential to provide much more granular information about the user. I wonder who'd be interested in that?)

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Re: Past Glories, Revisited

I didn't even realise the post I was replying to was from amfm. What is the world coming to?

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Shut it you tedious old windbag

Its been shown time and time again that the unwashed masses are quite happy with the status quo warts and all. Otherwise how do you explain the total failure of linux on the desktop.

Most amusingly I expect all the Grauniad readers who bother to read his screeching will suck their teeth, tut and go back to Angry Birds or Garageband on their fruity device of choice.

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Much to my shame, I went to PC world

(There were only two distributors for the first Chromebooks and I wanted a cheap Debian laptop). You should have seen the salesman's face when he found he could not sell me anti-virus, Office and whatever high-commission bloat they cram down the throats of the ignorant. There are other reasons, but that alone accounts for many non-sales of desktop Linux.

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

Time to market is not important for Stallman, thereby the time for Linux on the desktop has yet to come... but don't worry, it will come when it will be totally bug free...

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

Slag off RMS all you want but what you cannot do is deny his achievements.

If it wasn't for Stallman the IT world would be a much poorer, more restrictive place than it is. Imagine what the internet would be like if it hadn't been for GNU and the GPL. Maybe the bastard son of Compuserve and AOL?

Yes, RMS is strident and rubs some people up the wrong way, but we need someone with the courage to say unfashionable things about the way IT is heading. Look at his stand against DRM, even Apple has seen the truth in what he had to say and dumped it.

The unwashed masses as you so charmingly describe them are, in most cases, blissfully unaware of the ways that technology is destroying their right to a private life. That's not acceptance, that's ignorance. An old but shining example

Oh, and all the Guardian readers I know are a bit more savvy than you think and run Linux. It's the luvvies using iThings.

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

Remind me of your contribution to all of this?

Whether or not you use (GNU)Linux, you have benefited from FSF holding critical account.

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

Imagine what the internet would be like if it hadn't been for GNU and the GPL.

Trouble is that he just couldn't help adding bells 'n whistles whenever anyone did something legitimately with GPL software that got his knickers in a knot, so the GPL these days looks as restrictive as yer average commercial EULA....

It'd be ironic if it wasn't so bloody sad.

Moral: Never let idealists do the day-to-day stuff.

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

If it wasn't for Stallman the IT world would be a much poorer, more restrictive place than it is. Imagine what the internet would be like if it hadn't been for GNU and the GPL. Maybe the bastard son of Compuserve and AOL?

I doubt that very much. Legally, AT&T versus the University of California was far more important in establishing a legal basis for distributing open source software than any case based around the GPL. The GPL is mainly politics. Pushing for strict liability for software might have been an interesting tack, but, of course, the GPL makes a big show of abrogating responsibility.

Also, Stallman would do his cause a lot better if he was able to listen to alternative opinions.

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

Trouble is that he [Stallman] just couldn't help adding bells 'n whistles whenever anyone did something legitimately with GPL software that got his knickers in a knot,...

True

... so the GPL these days looks as restrictive as yer average commercial EULA....

Also true but incomplete. Although the degree of restriction is similar, the nature of the restriction is not.

Commercial EULAs almost exclusively restrict end users, whereas the GPL primarily restricts developers. That's a very important difference.

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

No, you're underestimating Stallman's contributions here. Independent of the legal stuff, Stallman basically rebuilt an immense amount of infrastructure, without which Linux would have just been a toy. Gcc, gdb, more Unix utilities than you can shake a stick at, and Emacs are just the tip of the iceberg. And leading by example, he motivated lots of others to contribute their work as either GPL or really free (Sun-style) licensed tech, such as Samba, Apache, and lots more.

And the stuff is very good quality. I don't remember the last gcc bug I encountered, nor the last Emacs bug.

He basically started off in the late 70s or early 80s saying that he was going to rewrite everything AT&T did, just to show them. At the time, it seemed stone cold bonkers, but amazingly, he succeeded, well beyond any sane expectations. All the legal rulings in the world would have meant nothing if there was no actual useful free software. And we owe RMS a big debt of gratitude for providing that big initial burst.

And it might be nice if he listened more graciously to other opinions (and I know, I had argued with him lots years ago), at this point, I think it is fair to say that Stallman is Stallman. He's not going to start listening to others *now* :-)

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

> I doubt that very much. Legally, AT&T versus the University of California was far more important in establishing a legal basis for distributing open source software than any case based around the GPL.

And you would be very wrong. USL vs. BSDi had nothing to do with GPL or FOSS. Source code released under the BSD licenses is not FOSS, unlike GPL.

It was an Intellectual Property and licensing violation lawsuit about USL/AT&T's licensing terms to the University of California for UNIX System V. It had nothing to do with GPL.

> Pushing for strict liability for software might have been an interesting tack, but, of course, the GPL makes a big show of abrogating responsibility.

Oh, really. And licenses other than GPL assume full responsibility? Have you ever read an Open Source license? I bet you haven't. Why don't you read the 3-clause BSD, which is the oldest one.

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

@PghMike - Back the early days of this project Stallman was interviewed in my university newspaper. I can distinctly remember two things from that. The first was that going by the photograph in the article I thought he really needed a haircut (and my hair wasn't all that short either back then either).

The other was that I thought he was completely mad in thinking he could re-create a unix operating system. That required shed loads of compilers, debuggers, editors, utilities, libraries, etc. I couldn't imagine how that could be done without the backing of a large company.

Roll forward some years, and the FSF had nearly everything except an OS kernel. They were working on developing a micro-kernel called "Hurd" because at the time everyone "knew" that micro-kernels were the future and monolithic kernels were "obsolete". Progress on that was slow however, because micro-kernels turned out to be very difficult to develop (if you want decent quality and performance that is).

However, some student at a Finish university made a now famous post to a mailing list that he had this kernel he had been working on. He said it wasn't a big professional project like GNU, but it seemed to work. And the rest as they say, is history.

Here's a little known fact by the way. The original Linux kernel was released under a non-commercial license. Torvalds later changed that to GPL because he wanted to allow it to be used commercially. He later said "making Linux GPL'd was definitely the best thing I ever did."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

@ Gordon 10

Given Edward Snowden's leaks about the NSA and GCHQ, however mad Stallman might look he has some very good points.

PS oh dear the tedious old desktop argument, get used to it that the world runs on Linux. The packet you so happily send to your mate's DT has passed through many a Linux system before it gets to them.

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

The GPL looks as restrictive as a EULA these days? It doesn't appear to have changed that much to me in the last 30 years. And the restrictions are things like - if you modify this and give it to someone else, they get it under the GPL also. The only big restrictions added to it are "don't use it to put hardware locks" and "don't give patent licenses to some people but not others" if this restricts the use of the software.

Or did you mean, it's a bit long? That's probably a fairer comment.

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

>Source code released under the BSD licenses is not FOSS, unlike GPL.

At this stage I wish I could embed the lolwut pear into this post as an img tag.

It's free. It's open source. It's free and open source.

All copyleft is FOSS, but not all FOSS is copyleft.

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

> It's free. It's open source. It's free and open source.

Embed whatever you wish into whatever strikes your fancy, but your statement above is simply not true.

BSD-type licenses do *not* require the publication of source code when distributing binaries. Also, BSD-type license do *not* restrict the license type to Free Only - meaning publication of source code when distributing binaries - when creating a "derived work".

You can combine source code licensed under Apache 2.0 with source code licensed under 2-clause or 3-clause BSD with source code licensed under MIT, and create a derived work. When doing so, you would not be violating the terms of either license.

You cannot do that with GPL-licensed code, and the GPL - either version 2 or 3 - is very clear and explicit about it.

Some software licensed under GPL - for example the GNU C++ Standard Library - provides explicit exemptions to the GPL derived aggregation work rule. Meaning the Library explicitly allows its consumers to create a derived, aggregate work, and distribute binaries for it, but waives the source code publication requirement. That is because the C++ Standard Library contains tens of thousands of lines of code which are compiled directly into the derived work - namely template instantiations. This is not the same with runtime dynamic linking, which would benefit from the library exemption rule under the GPL.

This is why software such as Subversion - which is written in C++ - can be licensed under Apache 2.0 without violating GPLv3.

"Free" in FOSS does not mean "zero money cost". It means "free of encumberances". Meaning, you *must* publish the source code when distributing binaries.

Perhaps you should read the text of these licenses, and try understaing what they mean, before making statements about their contents and intent. I pity those who rely on your licensing advice.

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Linux

Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

@thames

Here is that origial Linux birth sertificate, long format (Finnish standard).

"1991-08-25

Hello everybody out there using minix -

I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and

professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones. This has been brewing

since april, and is starting to get ready. I'd like any feedback on

things people like/dislike in minix, as my OS resembles it somewhat

(same physical layout of the file-system (due to practical reasons)

among other things).

I've currently ported bash(1.08) and gcc(1.40), and things seem to work.

This implies that I'll get something practical within a few months, and

I'd like to know what features most people would want. Any suggestions

are welcome, but I won't promise I'll implement them :-)

Linus (torv...@kruuna.helsinki.fi)

PS. Yes - it's free of any minix code, and it has a multi-threaded fs.

It is NOT protable (uses 386 task switching etc), and it probably never

will support anything other than AT-harddisks, as that's all I have :-(. "

And there is more here:

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/comp.os.minix/4995SivOl9o/GwqLJlPSlCEJ

As for micro-kernels, start your engines, boys and girls, some day you might have a super computer running a micro-kernel.

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

And you would be very wrong. USL vs. BSDi had nothing to do with GPL or FOSS. Source code released under the BSD licenses is not FOSS, unlike GPL.

I never said it did have anything to do with the GPL but giving the distribution of open source software a legal footing.

Pushing for strict liability for software might have been an interesting tack, but, of course, the GPL makes a big show of abrogating responsibility.

Oh, really. And licenses other than GPL assume full responsibility? Have you ever read an Open Source license? I bet you haven't. Why don't you read the 3-clause BSD, which is the oldest one.

Again you miss the point: the FSF could have done a lot for consumers by pushing for strict liability in software. Instead it focussed on political side-shows.

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

"Free" in FOSS does not mean "zero money cost". It means "free of encumberances". Meaning, you *must* publish the source code when distributing binaries.

I fail to see how you can draw the conclusion that published source is unencumbered.

In any case, in legal terms, GPL software is considered as encumbered (there may be a claim on it) which is why many companies have strict policies about when and where it can be used.

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

Its been shown time and time again that the unwashed masses are quite happy with the status quo warts and all

Some Francis Rossi and Nick Parfett fans do actually take showers.

Not many though.

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

"BSD-type licenses do *not* require the publication of source code when distributing binaries. Also, BSD-type license do *not* restrict the license type to Free Only - meaning publication of source code when distributing binaries - when creating a "derived work"."

I hope you are pedantically arguing over the definition assigned to 'FOSS' and not trying to imply that a more restrictive license is more free.

If someone is not restricted in making a binary closed source, the license is more free (as you say, as in freedom, not cost)

Freedom is defined as what control the receiver of a product has. I've often seen GNU fans perversely try to argue that more control the *provider* of a product has makes more free, when it is exactly the opposite.

Cue the required car analogy:

I produce a car that I call more free (as in freedom) because one rule to ownership is that you must pick up any hitchhikers you see, thus promoting a free and fair ability to travel the land.

It's obvious to the buyer that this is a restriction, making their car less free (to them) than any normal one

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Devil

Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

Say what you like about Stallman, but with GNU he's probably to be credited with the most successful acceptance of communism by the American public.

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

"Free" in FOSS does not mean "zero money cost". It means "free of encumberances". Meaning, you *must* publish the source code when distributing binaries.

Free of encumbrances, apart from the one you mention in the next sentence?

BSD is FOSS, and doesn't have that encumbrance, and is used for the greatest and most widely shared software developments of the past 40 years. The internet wouldn't exist without BSD.

The main thing I dislike about Stallman and his devotees is that they think that only GPL is FOSS, and that any other license is a mistake. Being more free and reusable is a bad thing in their eyes.

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

> I fail to see how you can draw the conclusion that published source is unencumbered.

Because the GPL says it must be.

Under GPL - either version - source code for distributed binaries must be made avaialble to anyone, and anyone is free to modify the source code used to create binaries, and create a "derived work". Or, they can re-create the original work verbatim. GPLv3 is even more restrictive in this respect, asserting that it does not allow patented code to be published under GPLv3. GPLv2 is not that clear about patents.

> In any case, in legal terms, GPL software is considered as encumbered (there may be a claim on it) [ ... ]

"there may be a claim on it" is undefined. It means exactly nothing. Either there is a clearly identified and articulated claim, or there isn't. "there may be a claim on it" is 100% FUD.

GPL source code is always copyrighted, and the copyright is usually assigned either to the Free Software Foundation, or the author(s) of the code, or both. That does not make the source code encumbered. The right to modify the published GPL source code and create a derived work is retained. Copyright assignment != encumbered.

The reason corporations - and some of their overly zealous spokespeople apparently - spread this FUD about GPL code being encumbered is because they don't want to comply with the source code publication for distributed binaries requirement. See TiVO and their epic fail with GPL non-compliance.

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

> I hope you are pedantically arguing over the definition assigned to 'FOSS' and not trying to imply that a more restrictive license is more free.

No, I am arguing exactly what I have stated.

BSD licenses are *not* free. Under either 2-clause or 3-clause BSD-type licenses, patented source code is allowed. Patented code is, by definition, not free. The patent owner can assert a patent on the published source code, and that fact alone will prohibit you from creating a derived work, or from reproducing the original work verbatim.

GPL does not allow patented code. GPLv2 is unclear - implicit - about it, GPLv3 is explicit about it.

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

I hope you aren't suggesting that Guardian readers and Luvvies are mutually exclusive?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

Emacs as a recommendation? Technically, of course, Stallman is good. The pressure he exerts can be helpful, though like most such, it can be counter-productive as some of the comments here show.

But Emacs? It's clever, it can be all embracing. It^s an awful interface that tries to do too much and has never broken through to the mass market for editors, even though it is not confined to UNIX and Linux (I first used it on Primos in the 1980s). It is just too complex and, for small systems, heavy. It can even be used as a complete shell environment with the appropriate back-end tailoring. But in the end, vi(1) continues to be used. Emacs(1) is one of those things worshipped by its adherents and avoided by the vast majority.

GCC is good, usually very good. But the number of flags is a nightmare, compared with the simple, UNIX style of having simple, reliable tools that work together to do well-defined jobs, e.g. lint(1) to take the fluff out of code. Even ls(1) became so complicated with options that work on specifc hardware (differently coloured text in a file listing,for Heaven's sake). Some of this bloat and running away from consistent simplicity, building in incompatibility with real UNIX systems, just drives those of us who work on more than just home Linux systems or heavily sanitised versions set up by IT departments and supported by Redhat, absolutely bonkers. I'm one of those sad souls who spent some time running a medium business's IT on Slackware, from bare metal to end user release.

As for his strictures against OSX, is the man completely blind? The basic system is Darwin, a BSD derivative, complete with available source and just as modifiable/breakable as any Linux. It even uses a lot of GNU software, e.g.gcc, emacs, vim, bash, gawk and heaps more. It comes with full LAMP stack if you want it and full X11 is freely available and works. You can install or delete what you like, load it with the full set from Slackware, GNU, Uncle Tom Cobley and all. What he probably dislikes is that the basic, non-technical user who just wants a pretty, easy to use interface gets that too, which, sadly, not one Linux distribution has yet managed, consistently and completely, "out of the box".

Right now, his boasted systems are almost up with the better commercial UNIX releases of the mid 1990s, just not so consistent or easy to manage and doing rather a lot of things that would be better left undone and lighter weight.

I do not detract at all from his technical ability and energy. But most of his work has been using other software as prototypes and extending the interfaces to be almost byzantine in their choice and complexity. The basic idea is good and has been invaluable. It certainly is responsible for the useability of Linux by technical users.

But the real spur was the decision by ATT to give their UNIX software to anyone who would pay for the tape, complete with excellent documentation and to let universities all over the world improve and develop it further. Stallman and Torvalds would do well to remember that and express some appreciation occasionally; I suppose that is why both of them do not get my child-like admiration or hero worship.

It may seem odd to anyone under forty or so: but time was when just about all the main, commerical suppliers (probably excepting IBM and Microsoft) supplied the source code and compilers as a matter of course. I suspect it was the rise of these "idealists" on the back of this that, along with the usual USA litigation culture, led to the end of those happy times.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

'He later said "making Linux GPL'd was definitely the best thing I ever did."^

Along with being bright enough to see Minix and copy the idea.

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Vic
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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

GPLv2 is not that clear about patents.

I disagree. I think it's very clear.

Section 7 quite clearly says :-

For example, if a patent license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then the only way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to refrain entirely from distribution of the Program.

Now although that doesn't actually prevent a malicious author publishing GPL code entirely of his own writing that also includes code under his own patents - a submarine patent attack - it wouldn't take much of a legal eagle to show that the author has unclean hands, and a case would assuredly fail.

The reason corporations - and some of their overly zealous spokespeople apparently - spread this FUD about GPL code being encumbered is because they don't want to comply with the source code publication for distributed binaries requirement.

Whilst I'm sure there are some organisations like that, the vast majority of the ones I've come across are simply parrotting memes they've read on the Internet; they're simply wrong, and they won't be told that they're wrong, for that would mean losing face...

Vic.

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

As an example where GPL is intentionally restricting and has been losing because of it is in the compiler area, with gcc losing out to Clang.

With gcc, things like compiling OpenGL and OpenCL at runtime inside commercial software would be impossible. Or Apple's implementation of JavaScript, going through one interpreter and three compilers at run time, with the full optimising Clang compiler at the last step.

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

"Patented code is, by definition, not free" - You can't patent code. You can patent a machine that contains code as one component, but the code isn't patented. Microsoft won a billion dollar court case because code cannot be patented.

The patent owner cannot assert any patent on published source code. That's why for example an open source implementation of mp3 encoder and decoder is available. Install it on a computer, and the computer may now be covered by a patent (which an ordinary user doesn't need to care about, because the patent license is quite generous), but the software is free.

And what I find offensive is the perverted use of "free". Not being able to use GPL software to implement a patent is obviously the opposite of "free". Apparently Stallman is worried about the freedom of software - but he means that literally. For me, freedom of people comes first. Freedom of companies comes a distant second (and I know some people see that the other way around, which I find strange). But software? Why should software have freedom?

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

> You can't patent code.

Yes, you can. You can release the source code implementation of a patent under an open source - but not Free - license, such as 2-clause or 3-clause BSD, MIT, and many others.

> The patent owner cannot assert any patent on published source code.

Yes, they can. Patents are not secret. You may be confusing patents with trade secrets. Patents and trade secrets are two very different things.

> That's why for example an open source implementation of mp3 encoder and decoder is available.

No, that is not at all why open source implementations of mp3 players/encoders/decoders exist. The open source implementations of these mp3 players/encoders/decoders have been available for a long time, and were written and made available as source code while the mp3 patents were still in full force and effect. While these mp3 patents were still in effect, many commercial Linux distributions were afraid of providing binaries for these mp3 players/encoders/decoders with their distributions, specifically because of fear of mp3 patent litigation.

The only reason why the litigation threat for these mp3 players/encoders/decoders is no longer of any practical concern today is because all the mp3 patents have expired. Go visit the MPEG-LA web site and see for yourself.

The same is valid for FreeType's implementation of their font antialiasing renderer engine, for example, which is patented - I can't remember if it's a Microsoft or an Apple patent right now. The compilation of this patented antialising renderer in FreeType is conditional, and is not enabled by default, specifically because of fear of patent litigation. That Apple or Microsoft patent may still be in effect today, I don't know, I haven't checked.

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Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

>>"Along with being bright enough to see Minix and copy the idea"

Hmmm. Windows seems to have been pretty successful. I'll copy their idea and then I'll be rich too.

Step 1. Look at what they've done.

Step 3. Sell my own version.

I seem to be missing a step. Never mind, I'm sure it's trivial - riches here I come! :D

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