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 …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Singing. (Greek) Orthodox iconography. Big shirts.

    I thought Demis Roussos was dead

    1. gerryg

      Stallman isn't my cup of tea

      but he deserves a bit more respect than this

      1. streaky Silver badge

        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.)

        1. Mark Exclamation

          Re: Stallman isn't my cup of tea

          Anyone looking like that loses all credibility!

          1. h4rm0ny

            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.

        2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          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.

      2. James Katt

        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.

      3. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

        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.

        1. streaky Silver badge

          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.

    2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      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.

      1. Col_Panek

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

        He said OSes first. Not only.

  2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

        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?)

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      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?

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Past Glories, Revisited

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

        What privacy?

    3. Fibbles

      Re: Past Glories, Revisited

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

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Past Glories, Revisited

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

  3. Gordon 10 Silver badge
    FAIL

    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.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      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.

    2. LDS Silver badge
      Joke

      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...

      1. gerryg

        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

    3. nematoad Silver badge
      Happy

      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.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge
        Facepalm

        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.

        1. Steve Knox

          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.

        2. Phil Lord

          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.

          1. gnasher729 Silver badge

            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.

        3. Jamie Jones Silver badge
          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.

      2. Charlie Clark Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        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.

        1. PghMike

          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* :-)

          1. thames

            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."

            1. Lars Silver badge
              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.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              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.

              1. h4rm0ny

                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

          2. Anonymous Coward
            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.

        2. ST Silver badge

          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.

          1. M Gale

            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.

            1. ST Silver badge
              FAIL

              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.

              1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
                Thumb Down

                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.

                1. werdsmith Silver badge

                  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.

                2. ST Silver badge

                  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.

                  1. Vic

                    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.

                  2. Charlie Clark Silver badge
                    FAIL

                    Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

                    Because the GPL says it must be.

                    Fortunately, the law is not whatever the FSF says it is…

                    Encumbrance is a legal term, look it up. The provisos of the GPL count as encumbrance. Companies avoid it because they don't want to have to pay lawyers to check anything. Cases against TIVO et al indicate that this is the right approach: no GPL code in a product, no expensive court case.

                    The automatic assignment of copyright in the GPL is another bit of stupidity for fanbois. Why on earth would you want to assign your copyright to a litigious group like the FSF is beyond me. In most countries copyright is automatic and strongly protected.

                    1. Vic

                      Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

                      The automatic assignment of copyright in the GPL is another bit of stupidity for fanbois.

                      Whew! It's lucky that no such automatic assignment exists, then, isn't it?

                      We dodged a bullet there...

                      Vic.

                    2. ST Silver badge

                      Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

                      > Fortunately, the law is not whatever the FSF says it is…

                      Oh, Yes, it is. The GPL, just like any other software license, is a Contract. It's governed by Contract Law. Look it up.

                      > Companies avoid it because they don't want to have to pay lawyers to check anything.

                      Wrong again. There are plenty of for-profit software companies providing binaries for FOSS licensed under GPL. Again, go look it up. These companies have lawyers on their staff, and these lawyers do exactly what you claim they don't: they check and enforce their employers' compliance with any license that may be applicable, FOSS or non-FOSS.

                      The real reason some companies spread FUD about the GPL is because of their inherent sleazebagginess: they take the code written by others for free, they modify it to suit their profit needs, but they don't want to comply with the GPL provisions. See TiVO and D-Link, as the two most recent examples. Both of them got sued by the FSF, and the FSF won in both cases.

                      > The automatic assignment of copyright in the GPL is another bit of stupidity for fanbois. Why on earth would you want to assign your copyright to a litigious group like the FSF is beyond me.

                      Fortunately, you don't write any software of any kind, so you don't have to worry about your non-existent copyrights to your non-existent software.

                      1. Vic

                        Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

                        The GPL, just like any other software license, is a Contract. It's governed by Contract Law.

                        At the risk of pedantry, it actually isn't...

                        Contract Law varies somewhat between jurisdictions, but typically requires both a Contract (sometimes verbal will do) and a Consideration. This is why you see huge companies sold for £1 - it makes the Contract Law bit a lot simpler.

                        GPL code doesn't have a signed contract, and some might argue that, since the code has no monetary cost, there is also no Consideration; this would lead to all sorts of nasty legal battles if it were merely a contract. It is often said that a good lawyer will win for you in court, but a great lawyer keeps you out of court in the first place...

                        And so to the meat of my point: the GPL v2 Section 5 has this to say:

                        You are not required to accept this License, since you have not signed it. However, nothing else grants you permission to modify or distribute the Program or its derivative works.

                        IOW, if you distribute the code, it is entirely up to you whether or not you are bound by its terms - but if you choose not to be so bound, then you are guilty of an offence under whichever copyright law applies in your jurisdiction, and there is no way around it. To date, most infringers have chosen to be bound by the GPL, and the ones that haven't - e.g. Best Buy - have lost quite magnificently.

                        I don't want to detract from the rest of your post, but I think that bit is quite important...

                        Vic.

                        1. ST Silver badge

                          Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

                          > At the risk of pedantry, it actually isn't... [ a contract ]

                          > GPL code doesn't have a signed contract, and some might argue that, since the code has no monetary cost, there is also no Consideration [ ... ]

                          You're technically right on both points. I found this:

                          http://www.law.washington.edu/lta/swp/law/contractvlicense.html

                          which explains the differences quite well, and it uses the GPL as an example.

                          From the URL above:

                          <QUOTE>

                          Distinguishing between a license and a contract in the open source software context may or may not be significant. The Mozilla Public License is clearly designed to be a robust contract. The authors of the General Public License, however, maintain that the GPL is nothing more than a bare copyright license. Yet the GPL contains a definition of "derivative work" that may be inconsistent with copyright law. In addition, the GPL contains conditions on use of open source subject to the license that are arguably distinct and separate from the copyright license grants. Is the GPL then enforceable as nothing more than a bare license under copyright law? No U.S. court has yet considered these questions.

                          If some of the contents of the GPL take it beyond the scope of copyright law, then a court would likely evaluate the GPL in light of contract law. But if the GPL is tucked away in one of the software's files that the user or developer does not readily see before use, then requisite assent or acceptance by the licensee is not present, and the GPL may not be not enforceable under contract law. Under this circumstance, it is possible that a court could employ the doctrine of "implied license" to allow the user to use the software without the restrictions and conditions contained in the copyright license, since the licensor made the software available without making the license restrictions obvious. Likewise, a court might determine that the licensee had “impliedly” consented to the formation of a contract even if there was not express consent. It remains to be seen whether a court would declare the license as a whole unenforceable under contract law, but uphold the purely copyright law-based licenses and provisions.

                          </QUOTE>

                          1. Vic

                            Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

                            I found this:

                            http://www.law.washington.edu/lta/swp/law/contractvlicense.html

                            Hmmm. I don't know who wrote that - it appears unattributed - but it is, at the very least, outdated, if not just wrong. Note that the most recent citation on it is from 2005.

                            Is the GPL then enforceable as nothing more than a bare license under copyright law? No U.S. court has yet considered these questions.

                            That's a rather tenuous statement; for example, can the default judgement against Westinghouse[1] be thought of as consideration? You'd have to ask someone who knows more than I. Note, however, that German courts have most assuredly tried this[2], and the GPL has come out on top every time.

                            Under this circumstance, it is possible that a court could employ the doctrine of "implied license" to allow the user to use the software without the restrictions and conditions contained in the copyright license, since the licensor made the software available without making the license restrictions obvious

                            Given that such software invaliably comes with files like "COPYING", "LICENCE", and "README", at least one of which will state the terms of the GPL, and given also that we all know software is copyrighted by default, so some sort of licence will be necessary, I think this statement is total bollocks. It's like claiming that because a DVD only had copyright notices on it, not an explicit instruction not to copy it, except in those unskippable bits once you'd started playing it, that an "implies licence" was in effect. No it wasn't.

                            Vic.

                            [1] It was Westinghouse that didn't fold, not Best Buy as I mistakenly said earlier. But both companies still lost in a big way.

                            [2] See, for example, the FortiNet and D-Link cases.

                            1. ST Silver badge

                              Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

                              Something more recent here:

                              https://atrilife.wordpress.com/2011/09/07/license-or-contract-the-form-of-the-open-source-license/

                              <QUOTE>

                              Some believe that the GPL is a type of contract known as a browsewrap agreement. At lease one court has taken this view, noting that some terms may be viewed as covenants under a contract, not license conditions, for example by number of users. See Netbula LLC v. Storage Technology Corp., 2008 WL 228036 (N.D. Cal., 2008). Otherwise, it could also be a unilateral contract without express acceptance, until the GPL code is modified or distributed, where the agreement then becomes a bilateral contract.

                              </QUOTE>

                              As of 2011, Massachussetts treats software licenses as contracts under the UCC:

                              <QUOTE>

                              Until specific legislation has passed, Massachusetts courts will treat software licenses as contracts subject to the UCC. See I. Lan Systems v. Netscout Service Level Corp 183 F. Supp. 2d 328, 331 (D. Mass., 2002).

                              </QUOTE>

                              interestingly enough, Massachussetts is the US State where the Free Software Foundation is headquartered.

                              It's a tricky issue - at least in the US, because in the US it is possible to construct a de facto Contract without explicitly stating that it is, in fact, a Contract. Also, it is not true that a breach of contract - if the GPL is indeed a contract - would not create a damage claim from the licensor's - the FSF - point of view, as that article states. Many jurisdictions in the US - for example NY - expressly allow for punitive damages claims in case of breach of contract. The fact that the GPL does not explicitly state what happens in case of breach would not moot a punitive damages claim in case of breach, at least not in NY, and probably many other US jurisdictions.

              2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

                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

                1. ST Silver badge

                  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.

                  1. gnasher729 Silver badge

                    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?

                    1. ST Silver badge

                      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.

                      1. Vic

                        Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

                        > You can't patent code.

                        Yes, you can.

                        It's very probable[1] that you can't patent software. But that's not stopping the USPTO from issuing pure-software patents, nor the US courts from upholding them :-(

                        Vic.

                        [1] There was some discussion on Groklaw a few years back showing the relevant bits of US legislation. But I can't be bothered to go look for it now.

                        1. ST Silver badge

                          Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

                          > It's very probable[1] that you can't patent software.

                          In a rational world, you would be correct. :-) But, as you say, the USPTO will issue a patent to any patent application containing a complicated and pretty drawing.

                          When someone like Apple or Microsoft threatens a patent lawsuit to a FOSS project, the project is faced with two choices: fold and close shop, because they will not be able to afford the lawyers that Apple or Microsoft can afford, or assign the copyright to a bigger organization such as the FSF, which has more resources to provide a legal defense to the project.

                      2. Charles 9 Silver badge

                        Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

                        "That Apple or Microsoft patent may still be in effect today, I don't know, I haven't checked."

                        Probably has to do with subpixel anti-aliasing which came into vogue with LCD displays, first in laptops then more generally. Microsoft has about 10 patents related to these because it innovated the technique with ClearType(TM) for Windows XP and beyond.

              3. Tom 38 Silver badge

                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.

          2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            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.

      3. Indolent Wretch

        Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

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

    4. Anonymous Coward
      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.

  4. Shannon Jacobs
    Holmes

    A fool without money will soon be ignored

    Actually, rms has mostly gotten ignored for many years. Simple to explain. Bad software with a good economic model works. Stallman has NO viable economic model and no interest in better economic models.

    My summary is that Microsoft has gawdawful software but two clever innovations in their economic model. (1) No liability, no matter what their software does to you, and (2) Sell upstream to the manufacturers, and just force the users to take, again, no matter how bad the software is.

    In contrast, Apple has devised a clever anti-freedom model of black-box fashions. You do have to give them some credit for better software than Microsoft, but the profit comes from making their technologies into fashion statements.

    Linux OUGHT to be competitive, but the financial models all reek like the big dog's m0e. How about #MDFC models to fund better software with charity shares?

    (Actually an email exchange with rms helped lead to the key idea of a charity share brokerage, but he wasn't interested, even though he asks exceedingly good questions. The problem in the years since then is that I'm a lousy salesman and worse evangelist. I don't really care about money, either.)

    P.S. Appears to be a new feature to make the new post editable in place? Or an old feature and I have a new status? Whatever it is, I like the convenience.

    1. SuccessCase

      Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

      "Apple has devised a clever anti-freedom model of black box fashions."

      And this is the key point Stallman seemingly fails to appreciate. The way Apple is anti-freedom is the same way the modern motor car is "anti-freedom." The freedom inhibited isn't what the the user cares for; the freedom to pull the engine to pieces and service it on your kitchen table. 99% of users are only interested in whether their car will take them where they need to go, preferably without ever having to personally service the engine. And that of course isn't inhibited at all. Indeed, as comared with Linux, as much as it has improved over the years, lay users find they are positively empowered as they find laptop, phone, tablet and now watch all work seamlessly together. Plus as Benedictine Evans has noted, it's now desktop web browsing that provides the cut down experience of the web (the http services "web" not html web) as compared with mobile.

      Mobile first

      So the chance of convincing the lay user to abandon the richer user environment in preference for a desktop os they don't feel they need, don't want to have to service and that doesn't integrate as well with their phone... Well we are seeing the result.

      1. Mage Silver badge
        FAIL

        desktop web browsing that provides the cut down experience of the web

        The rest of post is valid, but if you are not "on the go"

        "desktop web browsing that provides the cut down experience of the web"

        Is nonsense.

        1. SuccessCase

          Re: desktop web browsing that provides the cut down experience of the web

          @Mage

          Did you read the Benedict Evans piece? It's very well put. He takes a different angle on things. What he is is not saying is that the mobile web browser is better than the desktop web browser and would concede if you take that as the narrow definition of the web then the point does not hold. The point he is making is more profound than that. He does not see much value in any longer taking a constrained view of what constitutes the web because that no longer reflects particularly well how we are spending our Internet connected time. If we define the web, as powered by http and JSON type services (e.g. not just the HTML web), in conjunction with Apps, it turns out mobile is offering a much richer experience because the mobile device embodies and provides continual access to a large range of sensors either not available or less conveniently accessed/used in the context of desktop or laptop. So now we have apps like What's-App, Foresquare, Facebook, Instagram, Periscope, Twitter, Siri/Google Now, Maps with Directions, Passpack for Scanning Loyalty cards, Strava for cycling and running - all these things are less constrained and better served and provide for richer use cases in the context of mobile (and often, in key regards, are better performing due to native app code) than their desktop web browser bound counterparts. My point above is that this is another way in which Stallman is failing to see how users are really using computing these days. He appears to be stuck in the browser centric world of 2006.

          Also don't forget Facebook is working on an instant articles feature because users are becoming so attuned to app level performance, even the time it takes to load a page over http is now seen as a problem to be overcome. The user testing results for Facebook's instant articles are apparently outstanding (e.g. people really, really like them). So now newspapers are in a panic fearing, using the web and HTML alone, they will not be able to match the instant appeal of news articles delivered via Facebook.

          This actually is an area where I do start to agree with Stallman - only I think there needs to be other strategies than an OSS OS. It won't be good if the majority of text articles we read are being delivered by a proprietary social network.

    2. Alan Bourke

      Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

      Except Apple and Windows operating systems aren't bad software. So it's a win/win for them.

      1. Shannon Jacobs
        Holmes

        Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

        Must be a Windows Vista user.

        The kernel of Apple's OS was BSD... Not sure how far beyond that they've gone, so maybe they deserve more credit.

        (On "major" OSes I'm running Yosemite and Windows 7, myself. I'm still using some Ubuntu, but it has mostly been sliding the wrong way for my applications...)

        I should clarify as regards Apple that it is the PRINCIPLE of closing the box that I regard as anti-freedom. Microsoft has adopted the same principle, but it wasn't their idea. (Perhaps I should have included that as a count against Microsoft, but never inventing a wheel is not actually a crime, just as reinventing a wheel is also okay.)

        1. nematoad Silver badge

          Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

          "The kernel of Apple's OS was BSD"

          Strictly speaking the kernel of mac os is Mach. What you should have said is that the basis is BSD.

          1. PghMike

            Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

            Mach was basically BSD + a new VM system and some message passing primitives.

      2. AlbertH
        Linux

        Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

        Except Apple and Windows operating systems aren't bad software. So it's a win/win for them.

        They are both abysmally bad. The fruity fools have gone the same way as M$ in their search for "ease of use", and have sacrificed any last vestige of security. M$ still use a broken I/P stack "borrowed" from BSD nearly 30 years ago - it's slow, error-prone and unreliable (and the reason for the complexity of Windoze networking Drivers). Both OSs are hopeless.

        1. Stork Bronze badge

          Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

          But here's this thing: I am running a business, and computers are something that are just supposed to work. Preferably in the form of a laptop with good battery life.

          Most stuff is either PDF or various web-based services these days (booking management, Invoicing, banks, website) and I guess I could do that on most OSes. But I soon need to upgrade (5yo Macbook Pro), and I could 1) buy a newer model, knowing I will be up and running in an hour or so, or 2) identify the right model, select the Linux distro, figure what to replace various bits of SW with, check if printers want to print, ...

          Last I checked, the BIG problem was I want my 20-odd thousand photos neatly accessible (LightRoom) and _colour managed_. It looked like Linux was roughly where Windows was last millennium and I dropped the idea.

          Even more for phones: I need an phone with email access. What is there apart from Android and iOS these days?

          The car analogy is perfect. The time I spend getting an OS to work for me is not available for what brings in the bacon (or for explaining this on El Reg)

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

            "identify the right model, select the Linux distro, figure what to replace various bits of SW with, check if printers want to print, ..."

            To be fair, in a business situation the choice of Linux is quite limited if you want/need support and your other "problems" are the same if you are switching from one type of OS to another, eg Windows to Mac or vice versa. Although in your case, colour management is certainly a deal breaker in Linux land.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

          M$ still use a broken I/P stack "borrowed" from BSD nearly 30 years ago - it's slow, error-prone and unreliable (and the reason for the complexity of Windoze networking Drivers). Both OSs are hopeless.

          You may want to update yourself, this is no longer the 90s. Microsoft has ditched that stack quite a while back (and you're talking to someone who started off with Wollongong IP stacks on MSDOS so I can claim some expertise), and OSX as well as iOS are actually rather solid not only in stability but also security. They suffer at worst the same exposure as any other Unix derivative (Heartbleed and OpenSSL being good examples), but I can give someone a Mac and they'll be productive in a day, or less if they don't have to unlearn Microsoft habits first, even if they have to install extra software and secure storage. iOS' secure storage is done right with a device locked key - you delete the associated app and the storage pool key gets deleted, so your data is gone.

          If I want security and I want a commercial grade desktop I'll choose a Mac any time. It works, you don't have to mess around with it and it just does the job. What's more, I can buy commercial software for it. Every time I come near Visio on Windows it shocks me just how badly they messed up that originally rather elegant program - it's a complete horror. Instead, I start up OmniGraffle on the Mac or the iPad, draw what I need to and done, and it looks better too. If I want a Linux tool I run macports which pulls in the source and compiles it on my machine. Need a remote xterm from a Linux box? I can set up an X11 supporting ssh pipe and presto, it's there.

          I run Linux on servers, but I haven't had the need for a Linux desktop in years, despite always having a VM with Linux Mint around.

          You really need to use other platforms for a while before you comment on them.

          1. kryptylomese

            Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

            You know that you can customise Gnome/Unity/KDE etc (the Linux GUI) to work the same way as a MAC, including the docker bar? MACs are nothing special and MAC OSX is not as scalable or performant as Linux. Super computers do not run on MAC OSX.... Commercial software is coming to Linux too e.g. VIsual Studio by Microsoft but in a lot of instances there is a Linux equivalent e.g. Microsoft office is not as good or stable as LibreOffice and it is so much simpler to install it from a repository.

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

              It's like those door-steppers.

              Political vote canvassers who know your door.

              Double glazing / home improvement sales people who knock your door.

              Religeous folk who knock your door to try and pass their message.

              Linux zealots.

              Just leave me alone, I am an OS agnostic. It's not important and I don't care.

              1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

                Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

                > Just leave me alone, I am an OS agnostic. It's not important and I don't care

                On one point you are correct - you are free not to care (you should, but that's your choice). But on the other you are wrong - it does matter.

                I've met RMS, and yes, he's as "difficult" to talk to as his reputation. I agree that his "no compromise" approach doesn't endear him to many.

                But, and this has been mentioned several times already - even if you never ever use any bit of FOSS software, you still benefit from it being there.

                I had written out an analogy, but I'll just leave it at :

                FOSS provides a cheap, FREE, competitor to closed and non-free environments. Because there is competition, vendors of closed software are forced to up their game - heck, even Internet Exploder now supports standards !

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

              You know that you can customise Gnome/Unity/KDE etc (the Linux GUI) to work the same way as a MAC, including the docker bar? MACs are nothing special and MAC OSX is not as scalable or performant as Linux.

              OSX doesn't try to sell itself as something it isn't. For me it's quite simply giving me the benefit of a proper ergonomic and efficient desktop on which I can run paid for applications that don't have their peer in Windows in terms of usability and finish, yet at the same time I can pop up a terminal and do some decent Unix work.

              I would not put this on a server - that's where I prefer Linux. But as a desktop, it's the best I've used in years (I'm a late convict :) ).

              1. kryptylomese

                Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

                Hmmm, I tell you that you can easily make Linux work the same way (aesthetically and ergonomically) and you tell me how you are a late convert. I did not mention Windows but I did mention Microsoft products (which I am guessing that you do run on your MAC?). You should convert back to Linux because its capabilities go way beyond that of Windows or MAC, and yes, you can run Photoshop on Linux.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

                  ' ... you can easily make Linux work the same way'

                  And that is the point: one can MAKE it work the same way, with effort, knowledge, experience, time and yet more downloads.

                  But users just want to use the machine. It is just a tool, like a hammer, a pen, a pad of paper, a car to go to the shops, a bus ticket or an Oyster Card. Their time is needed for earning their living or following their favourite cricket team or playing with their children or writing a letter or using a search engiine to get data for their homework .....

                  You perhaps know nothing about architecture or how to write a sellable magazine article or design a birthday card for your niece. But for most users, that is the sort of thing they want to spend their time and ability doing, not patching and mending the tool just so they can, at last, get their photos from the camera, fix the red-eye, add a humorous caption and send them to their mother.

                  It does seem that computer nerds are even less capable of understanding most of humanity than other kinds of nerd and less pleasant. (some call me a computer nerd, oh dear).

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

                    And that is the point: one can MAKE it work the same way, with effort, knowledge, experience, time and yet more downloads.

                    Actually, no, let me spike that myth right now.

                    You can make it LOOK that way, you can't make it WORK that way. If those who design Linux desktops should take one thing away from OSX it's how applications actually work and interact with users. That usability sits very low on the list of priorities of Linux UI designers was demonstrated by changes such as from GNOME 2 to 3, ditto for the KDE 3..4 change, and don't even get me started on Ubuntu One.

                    You don't dream up something and talk to users later, you talk to users FIRST and then start looking at what they need and how the changes you make will impact usability.

                    That's what makes OSX and iOS and all the Apple gadgetry so successful, design and paying attention to the user instead of labelling them 'lusers', 'wetware', 'the problem between keyboard and chair' (etc. - it's a depressingly long list). Linux is still subject to that attitude that considers users accidental nuisances, instead of the prime reason IT even exists. If Linux UI designers were to start taking a leaf out of Apple's book when it comes to design and human interaction, yes, then you could eventually indeed arrive at the year of the Linux desktop. Until then, Linux will live on servers where it does very well indeed.

                    Just stop with that myth that making a desktop look like another OS makes it replicate that functionality, because it doesn't. Not by a long shot.

                2. nematoad Silver badge
                  Headmaster

                  Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

                  " and you tell me how you are a late convert."

                  No he didn't. He said he was a "late convict."

                3. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

                  Hmmm, I tell you that you can easily make Linux work the same way (aesthetically and ergonomically) and you tell me how you are a late convert. I did not mention Windows but I did mention Microsoft products (which I am guessing that you do run on your MAC?). You should convert back to Linux because its capabilities go way beyond that of Windows or MAC, and yes, you can run Photoshop on Linux.

                  I have a strong preference for running apps native, and although you can make a Linux desktop look like OSX, that doesn't automatically replicate the functionality and usability that is the main reason to use OSX, nor the ability to run rather good software such as Pixelmator, Artboard and Ulysses. It is maybe relevant to mention that I am conversant with quite a few versions of Unix, have been using Linux for years (starting with a pack of floppies containing Slackware), and still do - I just don't have the time to fiddle around, I need to get things done.

                  OSX on a Mac is like Linux on a server: fit and forget. It just works, and it doesn't need much attention to stay that way, which is what I need. For me it's the most perfect companion to a Linux based server infrastructure because it actually speaks and respects open standards, and its TCO is lower than the equivalent Microsoft setup, yet more efficient and less exposed to risk. The only reason we still have a Windows machine around is user experience testing.

      3. Thorne Kontos 1

        Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

        ROTFLMAO... when did you first start using a computer with a Windows operating system?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

      In contrast, Apple has devised a clever anti-freedom model of black-box fashions. You do have to give them some credit for better software than Microsoft, but the profit comes from making their technologies into fashion statements.

      No, their software is more usable than Microsoft, probably because their revenue does not depend on cramming the code with new useless features so that they can sell some more, they mainly sell hardware. And it's not that closed either, I use things like nmap and wireshark directly compiled on OSX via macports. The only thing they really screwed up on is their implementation of webdav, I have no idea what they did but their implementation sucks. It's almost Windows compatible, it's that slow.

      Linux OUGHT to be competitive, but the financial models all reek like the big dog's m0e. How about #MDFC models to fund better software with charity shares?

      Linux would do a gazillion times better if it had some figureheads that were actually compatible with the real world. Even if you have managed to bring Linux into your enterprise, you can only pray that your management never runs into Stallman and (heaven forbid) even tries to talk to him because I can guarantee you they would rip every box out of the company on their return, assuming they wouldn't have called ahead from the conference straight after that meeting. Linus fares in this context slightly better, but it's exactly that foaming-at-the-mouth zealotism and fanatism instead of a willingness to calmly engage in a debate that screws over Linux and indeed the whole Free software moment every time.

      I have two friends who are deep into free software, and I had to train them (think deeply bruised shins) to stay out of preachy mode when meeting high end executives. Even after running at enterprise levels for years, their zealot switch still occasionally trips and they start spouting all the wonderful benefits of FOSS even if that is TMI or just not appropriate at the time. It's better to keep that your secret internal cost saving and stability feature than trying to convince people every time you open your mouth just how wonderful FOSS is - the discussion is just not always germane but they just can't help themselves.

      Initially they were thus limping a *lot*, but they have now learned that there is sometimes no need to even mention FOSS - just calmly deliver. When you send a packet from A to B, you're not going to insist on it being carried in a VW or on a bike either - all you care about is getting from A to B with an appropriate amount of assurance and risk. When someone asks how you managed that, *that's* the time to talk about the benefits of your methods - you have proven it already, so your audience will be far more receptive. At least, that's my opinion.

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

        > foaming-at-the-mouth zealotism and fanatism

        Chair throwing, monkey dancing, "Developer, developers, developers, ..."

      2. Mark 85 Silver badge

        @AC Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

        Very well-thought out and said, AC. Fanaticism and zealotry to point of a religious revelation will kill any product. The only one who has pulled this off was Jobs and I'm really not sure how he managed it. I imagine that if we locked RMS and LT in a room, there might be some serious blood-letting or a mutual pack for letting the blood out of others. Not sure on how that would play out.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

      "Microsoft has gawdawful software but two clever innovations in their economic model. (1) No liability, no matter what their software does to you, and (2) Sell upstream to the manufacturers, and just force the users to take, again, no matter how bad the software is."

      How well is that working for MS in the phone market?

      The same 'economic model' seems to work pretty much the same way in the phone market, just that the name in the frame is Android not Windows, for various reasons: the manufacturers have no ties to Windows, the customers have no ties to Windows...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

        "How well is that working for MS in the phone market?"

        Thing is, in order for something like this to work, there's one other catch: you also have to be first. There's simply not enough room for more than one, and whoever's first gets the incumbency advantage that lets them beat down any Johnny-come-lately. Microsoft was first in the PC OS market but not in mobiles. Google beat Microsoft to the punch with Android.

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

          > Microsoft was first in the PC OS market

          Nonsense. CP/M was first, by several years, in the personal computer and small business market. MS-DOS 1 was a poor clone of CP/M* (but for 8086). CP/M-86 even beat MS-DOS (though not on IBM PC). MS/PC-DOS succeeded because it was cheaper and IBM had funded the conversion of several applications: dBaseII, BASIC, Visicalc, Peach, etc.

          > but not in mobiles.

          Microsoft had mobiles: Pocket PC (2000) and tablets (1990s) and phones (2001).

          Attempting to rewrite history merely shows your ignorance.

          * MS/PC-DOS 1 only supported the CP/M API with a few minor changes and could only run .COM programs that had a 8085 memory model or a similar model with separate data and code segments (relocatable .EXE were in MS/DOS 2). Even the PSP was a clone of CP/M's 'page 0' and supported CP/M's BDOS calling methods.

  5. dan1980

    To the author: can I request that we, in Australia at least, refer to the paper by its actual name: "The Guardian"?

    Or not. Whatever, I suppose.

    To the article, his best point is about the TPP/TTIP treaties, which are exactly as he says: provisions to allow (foreign) corporations to ignore/repeal the laws enacted by a (nominally) democratic country. The idea that any government could ever agree to such conditions shows just how far we have strayed from the ideal of the politicians representing the people.

    1. Chris Miller

      It's a purely British joke, taken from the satirical magazine Private Eye and celebrating the number of misprints for which the Grauniad was noted.

      1. dan1980
        Happy

        @Chris

        I am aware of the joke and aware that it is 'purely British', hence my suggestion that the Register's Australian bureau leave it for the Brits.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "the number of misprints for which the Grauniad was noted."

        "was"? Although to be fair, since the advent of computer based spell checking and the sacking of meat-bag proof readers, most of the media seems to be particularly error prone these days, including our beloved El Reg. The very act of placing a "Corrections" hyper-link on the bottom of every story tells us that they are happy for errors to to be "crowd-fixed" rather than use proper quality control.

        1. Sarah Balfour
          Facepalm

          Online Indy's catching it up…

          …not that I read it that much, but there was an article the other day where the authoring hack believed Reagan to have been president in 1961. In her defence, she DID look all of about 20, but there's not really any excuse for that kind of appallingly obvious error these days, is there (and, yes, she really DID mean 1961…).

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Online Indy's catching it up…

            Maybe back in '61 he played a president in some film?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          and even worse

          The professional "journalists" are so illiterate in their own language they can not even recognise and avoid USA spellings, semantics and references when writing for a European/British/Australasian audience. But if writing for a USA audience, translation seems to be obligatory (perhaps a reflection on their estimation of USA comprehension and adaptability).

    2. Chicken Marengo

      @Dan1980

      Bang on the mark about TPP/TTIP - this is the real area of concern raised by Stallman. Unfortunately by bringing it up with all his usual pointless whining, Stallman ensures it will be ignored.

    3. Martin Summers Silver badge

      Dan, I suppose they could knock up some Javascript and replace words you Australians prefer to use in their articles. But where would it stop? Englishman/Brit = Pommy Bastard, Woman/She = Sheila? Then again the Reg Aussie tentacle are presumably only sitting there sinking tinnies and have plenty of time. [Only playfully rattling your cage Dan in the absence of a mobile joke icon]

      1. dan1980

        @Martin

        I loves me a good rattling . . .

        It's utterly unimportant and I really don't care that much but I find it odd that, with the Australian arm going from the proverbial strength to strength (the addition of Darren is most welcome) I now see very Australian-focussed set of articles - courtesy of geolocation - but yet still have these Australian-focussed articles peppered with the same British-centric terms and in-jokes like "Grauniad" or, as Simon wrote the other day, "luvvies".

        Thankfully, Richard uses "Guardian".

        Like I said - utterly unimportant, but that's just the place I'm coming from: we get a a set of "Top Stories" and "Spotlights" that are 100% Australian but presented in British vernacular. Worse, the spell-checker uses US spelling.

        So, I get routed to an Australian-specific set of stories which are written with British terms and when I comment I get corrected with American spelling : )

        Still, give me Darren, Richard and Simon any day.

    4. A. H. O. Thabeth

      Dan is the man!

      Dan1980 said "To the article, his best point is about the TPP/TTIP treaties, which are exactly as he says..."

      This is the really important story here. The TPP/TTIP treaties are looking to place corporations over and above democratically elected governments.

      In the U.K. there will be a referendum on the E.U., but the people will be lead sleep walking in to the TPP/TTIP treaties; and the general media coverage of the TPP/TTIP treaties will act as a natural soporific!

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: Dan is the man!

        "In the U.K. there will be a referendum on the E.U., but the people will be lead sleep walking in to the TPP/TTIP treaties"

        Despite this treaty coming through the EU, we actually have a better chance of avoiding it by staying in where opposition to TTIP is growing daily, rather than leaving as all of our main parties and UKIP are actually in favour of signing it. (caveat, not sure where SNP stand) and would do so independently immediately on withdrawing from the EU.

    5. tom dial Silver badge

      I can speak with reasonable knowledge only about US government and politics, but the mechanism here, and I strongly suspect nearly everywhere else, is something like this: Those with much to gain or lose over an issue make it a point to convey their perspective and wishes to those who manage the legal environment; those who are indifferent to the outcome, or stand to gain or lose little, do not. The legislators are beset by large numbers of such supplicants and have schedules chock full of meetings and other more or less obligatory activities. They do not normally have the time for more than superficial thought about the consequences, and their information about issues is biased strongly in favor of the views put forward by those with a big stake, and know implicitly that their vote will not greatly affect their reelection prospects.

      The horrid copyright regime we have, that appears to be built into and extended by the TPP, TTIP, and similar agreements, is one example of a great many. It differs from the basic model only in that the proposed laws are being made by the executive branch in the form of treaties. The President's insistence on a straight up or down vote is simply an attempt to make sure the thing doesn't fall apart during the necessary legislative approval process.

      Another example is the management of national security law and practice, where until recently the information givers have been aided by the substantially justifiable requirement for secrecy. This unfortunately also enabled companies with a substantial potential stake to finesse the issue and not push objections they might have had. Now that it is more in the open, they are beginning to behave normally and present their commercially motivated views publicly, and through lobbyists to senators and representatives.

      An up and coming example is the concern for "infrastructure", presently focused on the railroads after the recent serious accident in New Jersey.

      It is not obvious how to correct this fundamental problem, which probably is about equally prevalent everywhere and under all types of regime, although the details will differ.

  6. Mage Silver badge
    Big Brother

    anyone who trusts the internet-of-things is an ass

    Statement of the obvious.

    Amazon: Not as bad as Google.

    Desktop Windows & MacOS?: Not as big an issue as Android, iOS and Windows Cloud/Phone/Win10 /Win Surface.

  7. Martin Summers Silver badge

    Explains a lot

    So that's why Avast threw a wobbler and nuked Windows system files the other week, plus the others before it. They've been trying to tell us for years! It's so clear now.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course..

    .. telling everyone that your way is The Right Way is not denying people a choice either...

    I call (partial) bullshit, and not just because I want the downvotes.

    I'm no fan of proprietary, but in certain circumstances I can see people not choosing the open route, and I think they are entitled to make that choice themselves. I also take issue with his praying on people's security fears to make statements that have no real factual basis, like the myth that Open Source makes it more likely (weak word) that flaws are found and fixed - we have seen clearly that that is open to debate. It's easier to get an independent 3rd party involved to check, but that does by no means guarantee that it actually happens. Proof in point are the recent bash and OpenSSL vulnerabilities which, despite being rather critical code, remained undiscovered for a very long time.

    This is not to say that proprietary does any better, but the statement that companies prefer a shorter time to market over decent code eval is not one I see valid for all providers, and some of the more recent Open Source code I've looked at was a mess too.

    Stallman seems to suggest that everything offered under the FOSS banner is ready for production and secure, just by the sheer fact that it is FOSS. Really? Even Eric Raymond has admitted that his famous "many eyeballs make bugs shallow" was more marketing than reality. That security myth is extremely dangerous because it creates a false sense of security that makes people careless.

    So, to bring the statements in bold into the real world:

    - Individually, by rejecting proprietary software and web services that snoop or track. As Google is built on Linux, is that then OK? The issue is actually spectacularly bad legislation and enforcement, not technology.

    - Collectively, by organising to develop free/libre replacement systems and web services that don’t track who uses them (if a proprietary service can prove to me they do it right I don't have a problem using that, provided I can pull my data at any time - I'll get back to that in a minute*)

    - Democratically, by legislation to criminalise various sorts of malware practices. (already exists, not a new idea) This presupposes democracy (no, it doesn't, even a less-than-democratic place like China has laws in place for that), and democracy requires defeating treaties such as the TPP and TTIP that give companies the power to suppress democracy. That's again rhetoric twisting to impose an own agenda. The correct expression would be "democracy requires open discussions and voting on the benefits, risks and content of treaties such as TPP and TTIP" which would be both factually correct and free of an agenda to push one point of view.

    * Interesting, not a word about the one thing that really avoids lock in: Open Standards, maybe because Stallman wasn't really involved in developing those (please correct me if I have this wrong, if Stallman has submitted RFCs I'd be happy to be corrected). Open Standards allow anyone true freedom of choice by enabling interoperability between such choices, and makes it possible to revisit that choice later by migrating their data without problems. It also leaves people the freedom of choosing fits their specific needs instead of what fits Stallman's agenda.

    True freedom is allowing people to make their own choices after presenting all the available facts fairly, honestly and without spinning it towards your own agenda. I have no problem with someone offering their opinion and debating it fairly because THAT is democracy. Anything else is pretend.

  9. keithpeter
    Windows

    ingenuity

    http://kernelmag.dailydot.com/issue-sections/headline-story/13117/tech-cuba-reforms/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jugaad

    Just thinking random thoughts and standing rms on his head a little: those places where technology isn't seamlessly packaged, closed or easy to use may have an advantage in that (some) people are used to hacking things (using 'hacking' in its sense of 'adapting stuff to meet needs'). Is this not the logic of the Raspberry Pi?

    A point to watch: will the Cuban government allow free software in? Because once it is in, people will be able to get round what controls remain...

    PS: A weekly drop of 1Tb on a hard drive currently beats my adsl connection's bandwidth by a factor of around 5.

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: ingenuity

      "will the Cuban government allow free software in?".

      I wonder where you got that from?. As far as I remember Cuban hospitals started to use Linux about 15 years ago. I am more concerned about Cuba when they let Microsoft in.

      http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2409808/microsoft-bullied-mps-over-government-switch-to-open-source-standards

      Will the USA transform (again) Cuba into a brothel run by gangsters. Look out Cubans.

      As for Stallman I have a slight feeling that Darren Pauli is not a great admirer of him as I think it would be hard to find anything more appalling a pic or video to represent him.

      He deserves credit for things he did and has worked for, GPL, GNU and things like that, no reason to downplay his part.

      It's an other thing that he's probably a bit bitter and perhaps the "looks" are not quite whatever.

      But he is often right all the same.

      The TTIP is worse than people understand. Companies have always been able to take governments to court but now the Americans want the court to be private, (run by very expensive lawyers) and in the USA.

      A government that accepts TTIP hands it's laws and rights to a private court to do what ever money decides.

      "They" will also tell you TTIP is old and normal in every trade agreement. But the background is old trade agreements made with "rough" third world countries where companies felt the legal system was non existing.

      Now when this is demanded between the EU and the USA one has to assume the EU is considered a rough country (the way Sarah Palin considers Africa a country) or the USA considers itself a rough country, then again there are all those lawyers and perhaps some good businessmen who want to kill all stupid regulations in the EU or/and get some extra money for the effort. Oh, did I forget the money lobby.

      1. keithpeter
        Windows

        Re: ingenuity

        "I wonder where you got that from?. As far as I remember Cuban hospitals started to use Linux about 15 years ago. I am more concerned about Cuba when they let Microsoft in."

        Have a look at the Nova 4 user manual, especially the section on network installation.

        Fully agree with your observations on TTIP however

      2. LDS Silver badge

        Re: ingenuity

        Cuba has been and still is a brothel - what changes is just who runs it and its "customers", once Americans, now Europeans...

  10. jason 7

    So the long and the short of it is...

    The world has moved on but this guy still thinks it's 1995?

    Plus if you want to be taken slightly seriously then that look isn't helping him.

    Mental illness is a terrible thing.

    1. Zack Mollusc

      Re: So the long and the short of it is...

      ...so your response to someone who claims that people should not be so stupid as to be seduced by the shiny into accepting evil is 'if you want to be taken slightly seriously then that look isn't helping him' ?

      Damage Control Team to the Irony Room, Stat!

      1. Turtle

        @ Zack Mollusc

        "so your response to someone who claims that people should not be so stupid as to be seduced by the shiny into accepting evil is 'if you want to be taken slightly seriously then that look isn't helping him' ?"

        You need to get out in the real world; maybe you'll find out what "evil" really means. Hint: it's got nothing to do with proprietary software.

        1. jason 7

          Re: @ Zack Mollusc

          Indeed, some folks have obviously led very sheltered lives with some of the stuff they get over emotional about.

          Leads to a lack of perspective.

    2. Naughtyhorse

      Re: So the long and the short of it is...

      ..And i wish you a speedy recovery jason, and hope you return to make further great contributions to future of software.

  11. thomas k.

    I want that hat!

    Where can I order one?

    1. Six_Degrees

      Re: I want that hat!

      It doesn't come across well in the picture above, but other shots make it clear that Stallman is trying hard to make it represent a nimbus, or halo, and is presenting himself as some sort of angel.

      I believe it's made out of tinfoil.

      1. nematoad Silver badge

        Re: I want that hat!

        It's his "Saint IGNUcius" outfit

    2. Francis Vaughan

      Re: I want that hat!

      For those that are too young, it is a disk platter. Probably out of an RM02 or similar. It is too big to have come out of an old 12 inch stack. Given RMS has been doing this gig for decades it is probably looking a bit battered by now.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I want that RM02

        "it is a disk platter. Probably out of an RM02 or similar"

        Seems plausible. For younger readers, some aspects of this kind of device:

        . Size of a washing machine (roughly)

        . Power consumption of a washing machine on max (3kW?)

        . Noisier than a washing machine

        . Capacity: Nominally 80MB or so

        ... Big enough to store a complete secure multi-user OS and lots of user data

        . A "disk pack" would be removable and have multiple platters for data

        . Often needed frequent routine visits from service engineers to "align the heads"

        . Occasionally needed service engineer visits for routine wear and tear of mechanical parts

        . Superceded for removable storage by things like the RA60 (~200MB, early 1980s)

        Much more interesting reading about these things than reading unnecessarily personal attacks on RMS.

  12. excollier

    Can't fault the man for speaking the truth, trouble is not many want to listen - too bad.

  13. Adrian 4 Silver badge

    So what did YOU do then ?

    Getting a bit bored of the current fad to make whiny comments about Stallman's one track mind. When the commentards here get themselves a reputation for something other than whining, I'll be glad to hear their opinions. Until then, consider what the landscape would look like with no FOSS.

    1. Six_Degrees

      Re: So what did YOU do then ?

      Consider what the landscape would look like without GPL3. People might actually be using FOSS, instead of keeping themselves as far away from a crippling licensing agreement as possible. Most commerical software houses I'm familiar with now completely forbid the use of anything bearing this license, thanks to Stallman's penchant for lawsuits and his many attempts to seize ownership of software that so much as shares the same room with a GPL3 license.

      Stallman has single-handledly stifled the spread of FOSS through the spread of his tumorous bilge.

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: So what did YOU do then ?

        "Most commerical software houses I'm familiar with now completely forbid the use of anything bearing this license"

        And quite right too. It's not intended to allow commercial software houses to make a quick buck from the community's efforts while giving nothing back. If they want to retain complete control of their product, let them put the work in. The world doesn't owe them a living.

        I'll keep using software that's made to be built onwards for my benefit, not funnel my needs into building their business. And you're welcome to pay them to reinvent the wheel.

        1. Six_Degrees

          Re: So what did YOU do then ?

          Not so much. Those same companies are happy to make use of other open source licenses - MIT, the LGPL, and so on - because unlike GPL3, those licenses allow them to keep their own proprietary code proprietary. GPL3, on the other hand, demands that anything it touches be released to the public domain. It is poisonous in the extreme, and it's outrageously expansive demands have smothered the open source movement. GPL3 is specifically designed to metastisize and malignantly infect everything it touches. It has nothing whatsoever to do with "your benefit"; it benefits one thing and one thing only, and that thing is Dick Stallman's enormously overinflated ego.

          1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

            Re: So what did YOU do then ?

            I have no argument with that. It is indeed intended to spread the license into related code.

            But this 'keep their own proprietary code proprietary'. You say that like it's a good thing. You're doing it wrong.

            Look at the patent system, even though it's now widely abused. It was intended to allow creators to earn back the cost of developing their inventions, then pass the ideas on to the rest of the community in order that later developments could benefit from them. It's a trade. It has benefits both ways. Developing software and then burying it in the dead end of company secrets is just wasteful, and something we don't tolerate in other areas, beyond the trivia of cookie recipes.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: So what did YOU do then ?

              "Developing software and then burying it in the dead end of company secrets is just wasteful, and something we don't tolerate in other areas, beyond the trivia of cookie recipes."

              Than what do you call Trade Secrets? This kind of stuff is just ripe for exploitation by The Competition, who can then undercut you because they didn't spend the R&D you did. If I am hell-bent on keeping my Trade Secrets secret, then I'm going to keep them secret in spite of God, Man, or the Government. If you try to play cricket with me, I've got a bat with your name on it and a plane ticket to a more-cooperative country as a last resort.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: So what did YOU do then ?

            > because unlike GPL3, those licenses allow them to keep their own proprietary code proprietary.

            Erm, did you miss the bit about RMS hating proprietary code?

            The whole point about GPL2 & 3 is to eradicate proprietary software. His aims are no secret.

            1. Six_Degrees

              Re: So what did YOU do then ?

              Yes, I'm well aware of Stallman's hatred of private ownership of pretty much anything at all.

              The point is, earlier versions of the GPL and many other open source licenses allow developers to protect their own code, and don't demand that it be released into the public domain as GPL3 does.. It's an impediment to the entire open source movement when its largest proponent goes off the deep end as Stallman has, and winds up driving people away instead.

              1. Mike VandeVelde
                FAIL

                @ Six_Degrees

                What exactly is your problem? You don't want to share your code? You think sharing code is an evil communist plot? That's perfectly fine (and retarded), you have a right to your opinion.

                Sharing your code is an awful burden nobody should force on you, OK. But you feel you have some kind of right to use code that other people have shared in any way you see fit? GPL places some restrictions on you, and you can't stand it? You place much more severe restrictions on people who use your code, and that's fine, but if someone puts any restrictions on you using their code then that's some kind of harsh human rights abuse? I really can't see your point through the forest of hypocrisy.

                You don't like sharing code, fine go crawl back under your rock and reinvent wheels all day. What do you think gives you the right to demand anything from people who do like sharing code? GPL code isn't going anywhere, all the code that is GPL now will always be GPL, and there is more and more of it every day, leaving people free to solve new problems instead of wasting time working around moldy old proprietary software patents and restrictive copyright, making life better for everyone. There are lots of people who get paid to write, modify, maintain, and support it. More of them very day. I'm thankful for all of them, and even more thankful for the even greater number of people who freely volunteer the fruits of their labour for the greater good. You should show a bit of class instead of trying to twist their altruism into some kind of blasphemy.

                Ranting and raving against the way some people choose to share their code with you would be much more valid if you weren't so vehemently against sharing any of your code at all in the first place.

                1. heyrick Silver badge
                  FAIL

                  Re: @ Six_Degrees

                  @ Mike VandeVelde:

                  "That's perfectly fine (and retarded), you have a right to your opinion."

                  What makes this unintentionally funny is that your head appears to be so far up where the sun cannot shine that you actually seem to equate "sharing code" with "GPL", as if no other option exists.

                  Dude, you've been brainwashed.

                  When I release my code, it is EUPL. You might want to look it up, to experience something that is "like the GPL, only without the politically bogus restrictions". Oh, and, my god, via the interoperability clause, EUPL code is even compatible with GPLv2. It's a shame we can't say the same in reverse; but then isn't the basic premise of every great religion to promise the earth while curtailing freedom?

                  1. Mike VandeVelde
                    Facepalm

                    Re: @ heyrick

                    The sun is shining on my head just fine, and my brain is comfortably soiled :)

                    You can share code however you like. But the converse of that is that you can take code that has been shared however the person sharing it likes. If you don't like the way that someone shares their code, then you are right back where you started without that code, no harm no foul. If you then use your second chance to instead of just reinventing the wheel like you ought to, instead you decide to attack that person who is sharing their code, then you sir can go fuck yourself with the rustiest tool you can get your hands on. The person sharing their code did not do anything to harm you, they only offered to help you. If you don't want to accept the offer then go get on yer bike. Why on earth would you put up up a giant blinking neon "-> raging asshole right here ->" sign to the left of you and lash out against that person?

                    If money could just fall into my pocket without that "you need to work for it" restriction I would sure love that too, but that doesn't mean I go around town raving at employers about if they do hourly wage or salary or commision. Give your head a shake.

          3. Phil Lord

            Re: So what did YOU do then ?

            GPL3 requires nothing to be released to the public domain at all. Quite the opposite. Release in this way would be violation. It does have requires about release under GPL3.

            Nor is "anything it touches" correct. You can use GPL3 (or 2 or 1) to create, manipulate other code. You can use it to perform any kind of analysis you want. You can launch GPL3 code, or use GPL3 code to launch other code. None of this requires any release under GPL3.

            You can even modify GPL3 code, and do almost anything you want with that code. The only thing that you cannot do is distribute the modification without also releasing it under GPL3.

            Of course, this is a limitation and will prevent people from using the software under some circumstances. It is designed to do this. It's useful and reasonable, depending on your motivations for writing free software. In some cases, there have even been strong commercial motivations for using GPL3.

            It's quite a long way away from "metastasis and infect" (two different things by the way). It may be a stronger quid pro quo than you want under all circumstances, but it is right for many.

            1. Lars Silver badge
              Linux

              Re: So what did YOU do then ?

              @Phil Lord

              Yes, thanks for mentioning the "anything it touches", it's one of the more "successful" FUDs from Microsoft's "Get the Facts" era. And of course we have a communist comment by now. A word that seems to work so well in the USA for reasons I don't get. Not any un-american comments yet.

              Funny stuff really, should we not call Apple things like that as they produce most of their ithings in communist countries in a very un-american way.

              To be more serious lots of companies who use a Linux kernel do their "secret" stuff in "user space". If you modifie the "kernel space" then stick to the rules regarding the kernel.

      2. Lars Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: So what did YOU do then ?

        It's up to you if you use GPL2 or GPL3 or whatever license. Linux is GPL2.

        Years ago Linus wrote something like this - it's amazing how many words are needed just to express such a simple thing as - "use this code but if you distribute it tell the version number and if you change the code then show the changes (and let us see if we could use them).

        Still more surprising is how much intentional shit and FUD there is regarding the GPL.

        Perhaps even more surprising is the amount of companies and people involved in FOSS.

        As for Linux on the desktop. Jobs knew very well that he had to build his own shops to compete with Windows. Computer shops gain nothing from selling Linux desktops. It's much easier with Windows, people expect problems (acts of God), reboot, format the damned thing, by a new sound card, anything goes.

        If you want Linux on the desktop just install it, it's very easy to day, it was more "fun" years ago.

        1. Six_Degrees

          Re: So what did YOU do then ?

          Well, no. It's not up to you. Many packages are only available under a single license; those available under multiple licensing agreements are rare indeed. And, if you make the mistake of brushing up against GPL3 without realizing it, you have just kissed your code goodbye, even in cases of tangential contact.

          As a result, a huge number of developers simply refuse to go anywhere near code that may be tainted with the GPL3 blight. It has done more to stifle the FOSS movement than any other single cause.

          1. Phil Lord

            Re: So what did YOU do then ?

            "And, if you make the mistake of brushing up against GPL3 without realizing it, you have just kissed your code goodbye, even in cases of tangential contact."

            Let's be honest, if you use other people's code, without reading their software licence, then you are a pretty poor developer or working for a pretty poor software house. If you do this with GPL software, yes, you are correct, it would result in a licence violation which means that you'd have to take it out again.

            If you do this with commercial software, you will be in a far worse situation.

            Tangiental Contact? What does that mean? There are many ways to combine GPL code and others. Code written in R (GPL) does not need to be GPL.

            1. Richard 12 Silver badge

              Re: So what did YOU do then ?

              You can't use a GPL3 library, because if you do, it makes your entire project GPL3.

              Even in a free project, you often can't do that because it breaks the license for other parts of the project.

              In a commercial project, you can't consider that. Releasing the code is a commercial decision that the developer cannot make.

              Thus, you cannot use any GPL3 code for any commercial project, or for any non-GPL3 FOSS project, or for any project which uses any parts that are not GPL3.

              Thus you cannot improve said code.

              Thus said code will die.

              This comes from Stallman's insistence that no software developer should be paid for developing software, which is a position that I am fundamentally opposed to as I want to have somewhere to live and to be able to eat and give things to my friends and family.

              1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

                Re: So what did YOU do then ?

                > You can't use a GPL3 library, because if you do, it makes your entire project GPL3.

                Your first statement is wrong, just simply wrong. The rest of your errors fail from that point on.

                Go and actually read the documentation available and find out what the real situation is.

                If you *incorporate* GPL code into your "blob" then yes, you have to release the source for your "blob" under GPL. That is also true if you statically link the library into your blob.

                But if you simply *use* a library, and don't statically link it in then you do not have to release your own code under GPL. That much is made very clear (somewhere, can't tell you exactly as it's a while since I last had to look it up).

                I would suggest that anyone who is competent enough to be let loose writing code should be capable of understand that dynamically linking in a library doesn't make that library *part of your code*.

                1. Richard 12 Silver badge

                  Re: So what did YOU do then ?

                  Headers? I have to include the headers.

                  Windows and Mac Installers? I have to include the actual library binaries, or the customer cannot use the product.

                  Embedded systems? I have to statically link as there is no filesystem.

                  All of these things mean that I cannot use GPL3 code, because it opens us up to potential legal action.

                  Even if we 'win' said action, it costs us a lot and wastes time that could have been used to make products - this has already happened to us with invalid patents.

                  And if we lose, we are forced to give away our product, perhaps breaching other licences.

                  It's not worth the risk - get it wrong and you lose the farm.

                  BSD, Apache, LGPL, MIT and GPL2 are ok. GPL3 is not.

                  1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                    Re: So what did YOU do then ?

                    > All of these things mean that I cannot use GPL3 code, because it opens us up to potential legal action.

                    Just because some code is available with a GPL3 licence does not mean that it cannot be obtained with a different licence. Much GPLx code is available with a commercial licence. You may have to pay for it, but that may be exactly what is required.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: So what did YOU do then ?

                      "Just because some code is available with a GPL3 licence does not mean that it cannot be obtained with a different licence. Much GPLx code is available with a commercial licence. You may have to pay for it, but that may be exactly what is required."

                      And much GPL3 code is ONLY available GPL3, so it's untouchable for anything of a commercial nature since using it, even as a separate library, which as noted is not an option many times, REQUIRES adding the header code which, by its mere existence in the project, contaminates the whole thing. At least LGPL and the like recognize this and allow you to keep the free code at arm's length, but GPL3 was specifically construed to break commercial control. Remember that part of the motivation was TiVo's inclusion of GPL code. They published code that was nonetheless useless because Tivo would only accept SIGNED code (and only Tivo had the signing key). In trying to prevent a relapse, they basically balkanized the software industry into "all-free" and "none-free" attitudes because GPL is the license that gets all the attention.

            2. heyrick Silver badge

              Re: So what did YOU do then ?

              " There are many ways to combine GPL code and others. Code written in R (GPL) does not need to be GPL."

              Are you intentionally missing the point? Documents written in word do not automatically belong to Microsoft. Documents written in LibreOffice are not GPL. So, of course a program written in R would not be expected to be GPL just because the language implementation is.

              But this was not what was being discussed. How about we try talking about using code with GPL code and not getting in a mess. For instance - explain the linking thing (with references), because the wording of the GPL is unclear, the GPL FAQ says that it is something the courts will decide (wrong wrong wrong, this should be clearly stated up front), and Linus himself would appear to consider a kernel module a "derivative work" purely by the use of the API and kernel level knowledge instead of, you know, the code itself "being derived from" which is the usual interpretation of "derivative".

              Another example is the GPL text states "However, it does not include the work's System Libraries, or general-purpose tools or generally available free programs which are used unmodified in performing those activities but which are not part of the work.", while the FAQ says "You may not distribute these libraries in compiled DLL form with the program. To prevent unscrupulous distributors from trying to use the System Library exception as a loophole, the GPL says that libraries can only qualify as System Libraries as long as they're not distributed with the program itself.". So the essential libraries which form, for example, the VisualBasic runtime (and are installed as proper system libraries if they aren't already present) apparently cannot be included within the same "installer" as a GPL program as this mere proximity would imply the necessity of them being GPL even though I can't find anything in the licence text that would seem to support this. Still, the next paragraph in the GPL FAQ makes this clear - "It is possible to write free programs that only run on Windows, but it is not a good idea. These programs would be “trapped” by Windows, and therefore contribute zero to the Free World." - in other words, here's some bull they made up because Windows is evil and idealism wins over accuracy and logic.

              With all of this in mind, it is no surprise that people and companies are going to be increasingly steering clear of the GPL.

        2. LDS Silver badge

          Re: So what did YOU do then ?

          It looks many Linux user used Windows last time in 1996... and still believe nothing has changed since Windows 95 - and still going on with the usual FUD about Windows.

          Keep your head under the sand, but you look more like a ostrich than a penguin...

      3. PghMike

        Re: So what did YOU do then ?

        I agree that the GPL is a much less useful license than the Sun / FreeBSD style licenses, when simply looking for code to incorporate into your own projects.

        But for tools like g++, gdb, &c, GPL is fine, and the GPL license for tools like these really don't hurt things.

        1. Six_Degrees

          Re: So what did YOU do then ?

          I disagree. The decision to use a given bit of code based on licensing isn't often made by the legal department; it's made by developers, or by management, who will often extend the nuances of GPL3 malignancy to a simple, "Don't use anything GPL'd." GPL3's harm extends beyond its immediate threats as a result.

        2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: So what did YOU do then ?

          But for tools like g++, gdb, &c, GPL is fine, and the GPL license for tools like these really don't hurt things.

          I beg to differ: the change in some of the GNU tools to GPL3 is what has driven a lot of developers away from them. Most notably FreeBSD which has gone about removing them from the tool chain but look also at the CLANG and LLVM licences. Quite weird if you think open source is about encouraging code reuse and peer review.

    2. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: So what did YOU do then ?

      Lol at downvoters.

      So come on then, prove your point. What are you useful for ?

      1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Re: So what did YOU do then ?

        Whoever spam reported this comment (I won't name and shame you, for now), don't do it again. The "report comment" function will not be misused because you're too lazy to form a coherent argument against a comment you dislike. Persistent abuse will land you on the pre-moderation naughty step.

        Here endeth the lesson.

      2. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: So what did YOU do then ?

        "What are you useful for ?"

        There are more programmers and systems than you can imagine, from tiny embedded devices right up to industrial systems. The difference is people involved with those don't evangelise with emotional cue words. Certainly, the software produced may not be as open as you might like[1], but one has to ask where the true benefit lies - the availability of code that you can hack at if you feel so inclined (and 99%+ of the population are unlikely to be that interested), or the software that makes your car more efficient and cheaper to run, the software inside an AED that might just save your life, the software that means you can travel on public transport just by waving a card and not fiddling around for money (or worse, find "exact change").

        1 - For what it is worth, I consider GPL to be "source available" but I certainly do not consider it truly open in the sense of what we generally mean here. Yes, the bsd licences do not require modified source to be public which is bad from a purists point of view, but on the other hand the GPL mandates that all code is supposed to become GPL which makes it practically impossible for a company to build a "value added" product on top of a GPL base. The company will have difficulty with the proprietary parts, and no they shouldn't necessarily have to share these if the development is their source of income. Some companies will abuse this, yes. But then some companies abuse tax laws, human rights, etc. It happens. It is bad but it happens. Just be careful that GPLv4 doesn't make the cure worse than the disease, because the changes in GPLv3 would imply that it is heading in that direction.

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: So what did YOU do then ?

      I write and use open source software. FOSS gives me hives.

    4. Turtle

      @Adrian 4

      "Getting a bit bored of the current fad to make whiny comments about Stallman's one track mind. When the commentards here get themselves a reputation for something other than whining, I'll be glad to hear their opinions."

      Yes, because how could a commentard possibly make a valid comment?

      And yes, again, because there's no fallacy as fallacious as an on-going appeal to authority.

      1. strum Silver badge

        Re: @Adrian 4

        >there's no fallacy as fallacious as an on-going appeal to authority.

        Actually, there are quite a few fallacies, much worse than 'appeal to authority' (which isn't a fallacy, unless misused).

        One of the worse fallacies is that which pretends that 'my ignorant opinion is worth the same as any expert's'.

  14. Six_Degrees

    Never has the name "Dick" been so befittingly bestowed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Never has the name "Dick" been so befittingly bestowed.

      No, that is an ad hominem, ditto for his dress (ab)sense. I couldn't care less how he dresses, but I take issue with his whole line of reasoning which seeks to bend logic and inappropriate emotive language into a "my way or the highway" style lecture (no, it's never a discussion). The man is a flat out menace to those who are striving to improve the acceptance of Open Source at business level (and there are many more of us than you think).

      Just when you have the board past the years of Microsoft anti-Linux marketing (via SCO) and they are looking at the cold benefits of Open Source, someone lets Stallman escape from his ivory tower and (worse) allows him to speak to journalists and presto, you logical arguments no longer matter as he's branded anything even remotely associated with Free Software such as Open Source a risk again. Sigh..

    2. The Wild Tomcat

      Umm, Dick Cheney?

    3. Sarah Balfour

      Oi!

      My grandad was a Dick!

  15. Pax681

    pah.. stallman

    fuck that toe cheese eating twat

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: pah.. stallman

      Ah- the intellectuals are here!

  16. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Jam Today, Cake Tomorrow?

    Talking of spam as we appear to have morphed into, is the following a desperate phish in order to phorm an effective opposition and/or novel and noble competition to irregular and unconventional forces capable of dismantling and destroying corrupt austere and perverse inequitable status quo systems with conspiring organs ........ http://tardis.ed.ac.uk/~wwaites/2015/05/Invite_to_workshop_v2.pdf

    It is a quite nice and not at all ungenerous offer.

    Such a shame though that it appears to have been pulled, if this information in an email be true ........ http://cryptome.org/2015/05/what-should-gchq-do.htm ....... but it be not a surprise to those who may have been overqualified and attended to share that which is a bugger of an impossibility to defend against with the thought of defeat being the attack vector.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Jam Today, Cake Tomorrow?

      The irony is that all of them make things FAR too complicated, either because they don't have the mental ability to take a step back or have a vested interest in not doing that because complicated equals expensive, aka "large wads of profit" - it is thus not unsurprising to see that that event was scheduled in the building of a company that butchered many a government project like the ID card disaster..

  17. W Donelson

    Still a dork after 40 years

    Richard, get a life. After 40 years it's about time. You were a dork at MIT then, and you haven't changed.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    with...

    a presentable, well dressed, clean and tidy character like Stallman at the helm, 2016 will almost certainly be the year of Linux on the desktop!!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: with...

      That's a new way of saying it will never happen..

    2. jason 7
      Coat

      Re: with...

      Yes it's like the Allies best weapon against the Nazis was Hitler himself.

      Oh dear...I mentioned Hitler!

  19. Ian 62

    Generally speaking, people want stuff that works. They want to walk into a shop, choose something, walk out with it. If it breaks take it back or ask someone for help.

    Apple, since they opened their own stores you can now do this. Popularity in Apple stuff took off at the same rate as the retail store expansion.

    Windows, was successfully at work so people are familiar with it so they buy one for home, and they can ask the helpful IT geek at work to fix their home PC for them.

    Linux has neither of these. Which distribution do you choose? Where do I get a computer that comes with it? Someone with the money needs to step up and force a distribution into shape and sell computers in a shop with the support network to go with it. Until then the masses wont be interested.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Trouble is that Linux runs into a chicken/egg problem regarding the consumer sphere. Put it this way, before the turn of the millennium Walmart (THE biggest retailer in the world, last I read) tried to sell Linux computers. There was just one somewhat glaring snag with the whole idea: people were used to Windows software and the like and got irked when stuff like TurboTax wouldn't work on it. Due to the dearth of highly-polished consumer-level software that people can just go out and get, there's no way to make it "just work" in that sphere. Linux needs penetration to get serious consumer software support for it, but they won't put their money down without existing penetration.

  20. Nigel Whitfield.

    Hmmm...

    "inherent transparency means flaws are more likely to be found and fixed"

    Well, I guess that kind of worked out with OpenSSL, didn't it?

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: Hmmm...

      Uh .. yes ?

      How else would you know about it's faults ?

      1. Nigel Whitfield.

        Re: Hmmm...

        Sure, we found out about the faults in SSL (and Bash) eventually. In the case of Bash, some reckon Shellshock had been there for years.

        So, as Six_Degrees says, the idea that simply because something is open source, it will necessarily be scrutinised, and have flaws spotted, is itself flawed.

        It would be interesting to know why this happens. Is that "many eyes" argument always false, or have things changed - for example, if the technology was largely still in the hands of CS grads and engineers, would more of them cast an eye over every bit of code they installed?

        Is it the increasing democratisation of technology - in part, of course, driven by free software - that means there are people who simply take the packages and install them, because they take it on trust that it will work, and don't have the skills themselves to do a technical review?

        Or is it the case that, even if we were all programmers, many of us would still happily install all that stuff, because we have deadlines to meet, we have only so many hours in the day, and all those other pressures that mean yes, we could perhaps look through the source code and build everything from scratch but, surely, someone else has already done it?

        The idea of scrutiny is a good one, on the face of it. But I'm tending to think that while noble, it's something that might work in the academic world of the 90s, where people have the skills and the time to do it. The pressures of commerce and the 21st century make that much much harder.

        Commercial software has vulnerabilities disclosed too, so I'm not convinced that inherent transparency is really the issue.

        Bugs are found when people look for them.

    2. Six_Degrees

      Re: Hmmm...

      I agree that this is a persistent myth of open source development. That "million sets of eyes" that are supposed to be overlooking your code simply don't exist. In very nearly every case, the only eyes looking at your code are yours. It's actually very rare for anyone to bother looking at open source code except those who are already actively developing it.

      We released a Fourier-domain image processing library into the open source world several years ago, with the hope that it would be improved and added to by the "community." It sat like a lump, unchanged, for years. Despite being actively downloaded and used, no one took the time to contribute any code changes beyond our own development team.

      And I'm not aware of any studies showing significant differences between open and closed source development in this regard. Which isn't really surprising, since there is no effective metric available for measuring such a thing in the first place.

      1. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Hmmm...

        That "million sets of eyes" that are supposed to be overlooking your code simply don't exist

        Quite. Otherwise, how did Heartbleed slip through?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Heartbleed

          "Otherwise, how did Heartbleed slip through?"

          Don't know.

          Perhaps the same way that this month's (and last month's, and basically every month's) Windows bugs dating back to maybe Windows 2000 (JPEG rendering buffer overflows ? font handling vulnerabilities in kernel mode? and a stream of similar fundamentally broken stuff) managed to slip through Microsoft's alleged "from the ground up" security review(s), e.g. the one allegedly done for Vista?

          Is

          1. Six_Degrees

            Re: Heartbleed

            Uh - I receive a constant stream of security patches for my Linux systems - just as I do for my Windows systems.

            The only problem I see with Linux is its supporters irrational insistence that it is some magically invincible. They don't even bother looking for problems - and as recent events indicate, there are plenty of problems out there. They just aren't being noticed, out of a profound, willful ignorance.

            1. Six_Degrees

              Re: Heartbleed

              And, by the way - Heartbleed was introduced in 2011, and went undetected for three full years. Shellshock was introduced into bash in 1989(!) and was only discovered this year.

              The open source mantra that a million sets of eyes make software safer is utter rubbish - because in real life, no one is actually looking.

              1. jason 7

                Re: Heartbleed

                People are inherently lazy.

                I'm amazed if someone says they 'tested' something nowadays. Most likely a liar.

                The shit I see out there from supposed 'professionals'.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: AC, Perhaps the same way that this month's ... Windows bugs

            So open source has exactly the same vulnerabilities as closed? Way to shoot yourself in the foot AC buffoon.

            Posting stupid? Post anonymous!

        2. jumpyjoe

          Re: Hmmm...

          "That "million sets of eyes" that are supposed to be overlooking your code simply don't exist

          Quite. Otherwise, how did Heartbleed slip through?"

          Because SSL crypto is very hard! Few of us here, even experienced coders, could understand it let alone debug it.

          1. gnasher729 Silver badge

            Re: Hmmm...

            Heartbleed had nothing to do with the difficulty of cryptography. It was a simple bug where a client (attacker) told the server "Here I send you these ten bytes of data, and to make sure you received them correctly, please send the same 65,000 bytes of data back to me", and the server would carefully copy the ten bytes of data from the message, and then return the 65,000 bytes as requested.

            The reason why this wasn't found was that the million eyes taking a look at the OpenSSL source code were so appaled with what they say that couldn't actually look at it again.

  21. DerekCurrie Bronze badge
    WTF?

    OS X & iOS Really?

    I like Richard Stallman's insight and contribution to the conversation. But I'd like some documentation to accompany his charges that "MacOS snoops and shackles; iOS snoops, shackles, censors apps and has a backdoor."

    Seeing as the majority of OS X is open source and capable of running a great many open source programs, he's speaking at cross purposes. I certainly agree that there's contention about Apple's vetting and filtering of many applications and the capabilities of those applications. I personally avoid downloading a Mac App Store version of an application if I can get it directly from the developer.

    As for iOS and Mac snooping, huh? Not if you turn off feedback to Apple. An iOS backdoor? Not in recent versions.

    As for calling iOS and Mac 'malware', what specific maladies do they induce into a computer? Considering the overall problem of bad memory management across the entire computer software spectrum, how about we give up on all of it and start again with a new programming language that never allows buffer overruns, ad nauseam? Call it anti-malware.

    As for 'The Internet of Things', it has indeed turned out to be The Internet of Malware, one big botnet in the making. World PWNage. It you can't make your 'things' secure, then keep them OFF the net please.

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: OS X & iOS Really?

      Yeah, as someone who isn't particularly ideological my conclusion is this: on a Mac I can run OS X, X11 and Windows programs together on the same desktop. So I can use basically everything.

      It'd therefore be interesting to know how specifically he's had to define 'shackled' to reach his conclusion.

      I am aware of many negative effects of buying Apple; I don't think this is one of them.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So my choice is...

    ...to be represented by corrupt, grasping, stupid politicians and shafted by uncaring corporations run by dead-eyed psychopaths who want access to every byte I've generated, or to be harangued at by a bearded crap-spouting passive aggressive ex-hippie who demeans people every time he opens his mouth, and wants every piece of technology to follow his hair-shirt credo that hasn't changed since 1972.

    What great options.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: So my choice is...

      Well, you can still buy ink, fountain pens and paper :)

      No, your option is a simpler one. Inform yourself of all the factors that matter to you and then make a choice that fits YOU. This is why interoperability is so great: for everything you do, you choose the gear that fits your needs, budget and risk profile.

      This means you build a backbone focused on interoperability and then plug in whatever you need. I personally also prefer to use IMPA/SMTP/CalDAV and CardDAV rather than Exchange but for some that is a bridge too far. Your accountants like Excel on Windows? Fine, but make sure they save in .xls (not .xlsx - avoid the "x" formats as the bubonic plague they are).

      Your designers are far more efficient on Macs? Fine - that is quite happy talking all manner of RFCs including SMB, and off you go. A bit of platform diversity also protects you from a complete cascade meltdown when another ILoveYou virus lands, or when someone codes an effective drive-by virus for a Mac or Linux box (that it hasn't been done yet is no guarantee of the future).

      Want to go Open Source all the way (even if not entirely Free)? No problem - your backbone will support it.

      Even before Sir Berners-Lee defined the URL idea we were already working on interoperability (which was easy then as most of it was Unix based). It's one of the most valuable features of the Net - make sure you keep that feature alive.

    2. Turtle

      Re: So my choice is...

      "So my choice is to be represented by corrupt, grasping, stupid politicians and shafted by uncaring corporations run by dead-eyed psychopaths who want access to every byte I've generated, or to be harangued at by a bearded crap-spouting passive aggressive ex-hippie who demeans people every time he opens his mouth, and wants every piece of technology to follow his hair-shirt credo that hasn't changed since 1972. What great options."

      There *is* such a thing as BSD, you know...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I consider gcc having had the greatest impact of Stallman's legacies. The availability of free compiler meant a lot in the day. Even now, chip vendors -- especially for embedded systems -- port gcc to their chips first.

  24. Six_Degrees

    Confronted by Dick, I just can't keep the image of Daffy Duck from "Duck Amuck" out of my head:

    http://byebyepie.typepad.com/.a/6a00e54f9367fb8834017d4178c5da970c-pi

  25. Gis Bun

    And exactly who is this id10t again? Looks like he belongs in the 60s.

    And very unbiased...... Not.

  26. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Oh Stallman...

    "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."

    No they aren't quite happy with the status quo. I hear people complain, again and again, "Don't you hate it when computers do a, b, and c?" (Insert several complaints here... like installing updates at inconvenient times, or wanting to reboot at inconvenient times, or getting viruses and spyware, or blue screens, or "having" to defrag too often, or activation problems, or being "forced" to buy a Windows 8 system becacuse Windows 7 is no longer available, or upgrading Windows and finding it doesn't support their old peripherals, or installs that just get slower and slower over time, or whatever.) And I'll point out "That's not computers, that's Windows, I don't run Windows so my computer NEVER does that." (Except the person complaining about having to defragment their hard disk like weekly, I pointed out to them they really didn't need to defrag that often.) These people really aren't "quite happy" with the status quo, they think it's normal for computers to be a pain in their ass and don't realize it's just Windows. (I do realize if you handle Windows *just so*, you can evade these problems... but, if you *don't* run Windows, you don't HAVE to take special steps to avoid them!)

    And there is no total failure of linux on the desktop.

    As for Stallman.. I appreciate his contributions but.... man. I've never found Stallman to be particularly well spoken. I don't think he realizes, although the actual information conveyed may be the same, saying "Windows and MacOS do x, y, and z, did you know this actually makes it meet the definition of malware?" may inform people, while saying "Windows and MacOS are malware!" Sounds like hyperbole and people may not listen if he keeps on talking to explain why.

  27. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    suck it up

    " It is poisonous in the extreme, and it's outrageously expansive demands have smothered the open source movement. GPL3 is specifically designed to metastisize and malignantly infect everything it touches. It has nothing whatsoever to do with "your benefit"; it benefits one thing and one thing only, and that thing is Dick Stallman's enormously overinflated ego."

    I don't know how much Microsoft koolaid (or whatever) you drank to make GPL3 sound like some kind of tumor with no benefit. But, yes, it's designed so if you wish to benefit from people's GPL3 code, you are expected to release your own code under an open source license. This is not to inflate Stallman's ego, it's so people who wish to see the source code for their software, be able to modify the software and build their own versions of the software if they wish, have the source code to do this. That's the point of it, the concern was some people would do all the hard work on tricky utility libraries and so on and release them under a BSD license (for instance), and commercial vendors would then say "thanks a lot for that!" and lock it all back up into closed source products. LGPL permits building code as a library and using that without affecting your code.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm no license zealot, and if you want to write closed source software, be my guest. I just object to characterizing GPL-licensed code as some kind of infection just because you can't use it in your software. Suck it up and write it yourself, or find code with a more permissive license.

    1. Six_Degrees

      Re: suck it up

      And that has severely undermined the FOSS movement, because no software business in their right mind is willing to drink Stallman's Koolaid and give up their proprietary rights to their code.

      1. sed gawk

        Re: suck it up

        It has made no difference to the FOSS movement.

        Use of FOSS is driven by quality needs, the best compilers with support for C++14 available to me currently are LLVM/Clang and G++5.1

        The license doesn't come into it really.

        If we need to contribute patches back to the main line, we do, and it's easy enough to keep walls between

        "secret sauce" and the utilility stuff that all companies shared the development cost for.

        There is this thing called IPC, and it basically makes the licence thing go away, the cannonical example being.

        ./open-source-code | ./proprietry-code

        There are a number of widely used open source projects with some small bug fixed by myself.

        These patches were developed while working for "$big_corp" and they had zero problem as they understand they are competing on the "value add" rather than the underlying stack.

        So I think that what has happened is FOSS is now about companies sharing development costs for things which the end user doesn't see, e.g. using boost, rather than rolling your own replacement like these people https://github.com/bloomberg/bde

        This seems to be common across both very large orgs and academia, i.e. FOSS is developed by professionals for pay and released for free by companies.

  28. HarryBl

    I thought he had a halo but it must be his tinfoil hat.

  29. mIRCat

    Kick starter needed.

    Bless his little heart.

    Anyone of the mind to start an Indiegogo to get the poor bloke a haircut? Any left over dosh goes to the FSF of course.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is room at the Venezuelan embassy

    in London. He can go there, look at pictures of Che and think that he and the blond wonder are starting a revolution to bring in the Anarchist utopia.

  31. wolfetone Silver badge

    Regardless of how he goes about it, he's right in what he says, and should be shown more respect than this.

  32. Nanners

    He's right

    ptoblem is gnu is a pain in the are to use and if it ever got popular it would go the same route in a heartbeat.

    1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: He's right

      Do you mean GNU, as in the set of tools that are ubiquitous across a great many systems (for Core Utils to start with) - not just Linux ?

      They are already popular. As I said, not just Linux systems (or to be more correct about it, GNU/linux systems - but OS X, I suspect some commercial Unixes, and ...

      But I suppose if you are the sort of person that is used to just pointing and clicking (or tapping) then they would be a pain to use (directly, as in type a command to do something) - but they do underpin a heck of a lot of systems. That could be backend utils that keep a website running, or backend utils that keep a mail server running, or any number of things like that - you never "see" them, but you get the benefit of them being there.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Used to like him, but like so many people who are blinded by their own press, he's becoming very irrelevant these days.

    He may think that open sauce and the whole GPL is what has made the world better, but actually he's wrong.

    Its the BSD and Apache licence that has actually made the world work a little better. The networking stack got everyone on line, and the shiny people are running their OS X on an old copy of BSD - and its the Apache licence as in Android etc.

    Stallman is pushing an agenda that has moved on since the conversation started. There is a huge gap of difference between being anonymous, and having your privacy online. Where we all wanted to be Ninja like in the 90s, we know its no longer possible.

    These days, what people care about - these are the real people, not the nutters, is to make sure our relatives or our bosses don't see our drunken antics, as shared with our mates. As long as the law keeps us safe from that - we don't care that the NSA can hack into people's accounts - because we know it always could. The law is only for the little people, it always has been, and we are all little people - including Dick!

  34. Defiant

    Expected

    A typical BINUX person, they slate anything which does better than what they have to offer for free and still fail

  35. wayward4now

    An f'ing embarrassment.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Look in the mirror first

    Stallman has done a lot for computing.

    Before moaning and complaining about his looks, or philosophy, or integrity (as opposed to the seeming desirability of having none), you should ask yourself what have you done for the advancement of computing that would have a lasting legacy?

    Most comments here are just as shallow as the commentators themselves.

    Knit-picking about the cons of some GPL is crazy if you are old enough to remember a world before ANY source code was publicly available to build anything from.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Look in the mirror first

      "if you are old enough to remember a world before ANY source code was publicly available to build anything from."

      Your post might have been better without that sentence.

      How long have you been in the business? And your colleagues?

      I'm just wondering if you're aware that computers existed before Wintel infected the world, that some computer companies in those days used to have user groups, and that the user groups often used to distribute software (often for cost of media only - this was before the Internet, imagine that). Software was often distributed in source form for the user to compile. Even if the software was free to acquire, it was not always free to modify and restribute.

      One example of this which might have some visibility amongst those who are aware of the pre-Wintel era might be Tanenbaum's Amsterdam Pascal, from back in the 1980s. Its successor is still around, as a retargetable compiler capable of running on multiple hosts and multiple host OSes. Sound familiar? Well this one's now called The Amsterdam Compiler Kit.

      The user group which I was most familiar with back in the 1970s and 1980s was DEC's user group, DECUS (RIP). Some of what they distributed is now online at www.decuslib.com Other vendors may well have had their own user groups.

      TL;DR: With all due respect to RMS, widely distributed freely available source code you can compile yourself was NOT a Stallman invention.

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: Look in the mirror first

        Obviously, if you were in a select group in the know you could get hold of stuff. Some of it would later be disputed wether or not it was "free". I have been around computers since before DOS, or this new fangled thing called a "PC", existed.

        He didn't invent free software, but he put a lot of it out there to be used. Only ignorant people moan about his views and his contribution to computing.

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