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GNU is Not Unix Privacy Ubuntu Linux

RMS Speaks Out Against Ubuntu 597

Posted by Soulskill
from the matters-of-trust dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In a post at the Free Software Foundation website, Richard Stallman has spoken out against Ubuntu because of Canonical's decision to integrate Amazon search results in the distribution's Dash search. He says, 'Ubuntu, a widely used and influential GNU/Linux distribution, has installed surveillance code. When the user searches her own local files for a string using the Ubuntu desktop, Ubuntu sends that string to one of Canonical's servers. (Canonical is the company that develops Ubuntu.) This is just like the first surveillance practice I learned about in Windows. ... What's at stake is whether our community can effectively use the argument based on proprietary spyware. If we can only say, "free software won't spy on you, unless it's Ubuntu," that's much less powerful than saying, "free software won't spy on you." It behooves us to give Canonical whatever rebuff is needed to make it stop this. ... If you ever recommend or redistribute GNU/Linux, please remove Ubuntu from the distros you recommend or redistribute.'"
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RMS Speaks Out Against Ubuntu

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  • Ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anrego (830717) * on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:41PM (#42216377)

    I’m not a fan of ubuntu nor RMS, and I definitely don’t like the sounds of this feature, but since when was "free software" equated with "respects your privacy".

    Culturally most of it does, and by consequence of having access to the code any privacy concerns can easily be detected / removed by end users if desired, but I still don't see the connection between free software and assumed privacy. If anything this seems like a dangerous assumption.

    Also the usual stuff here applies about pragmatism and user choice. RMS states that this feature is "malicious" as a matter of fact, and throws around spooky words like "surveillance" and "spyware" like he's doing a Fox news special report. I'm all for having opinions, but the way RMS spouts them as absolute irrefutable fact has always annoyed me (even when I agree with them). Obviously most users probably don't share this view. It's probably a useful feature to most, it can easily be disabled by the sounds of it, will bring in some money, and I suspect most users don't give a shit about being "spied on" in this manner. Remember this is the facebook/twitter/whatever else generation. A lot of people _like_ sharing all the minutia of their day with the entire world. I don't get it, but it's their choice.

  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:41PM (#42216391)

    The eternal causenik who still doesn't understand that the price of admission for using FOSS shouldn't be having to buy into his pet social movement.

    You can't call it "freedom" if you only expect everyone else to just use it to agree with you and do what you want them to do.

  • by Arab (466938) on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:48PM (#42216471) Journal

    I think you miss the point, it's not that it's social, its that it's sending information that isn't social to a third party.

  • Re:Ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:49PM (#42216485)

    but since when was "free software" equated with "respects your privacy".

    Always. I completely fail to understand how you could possibly not know this. Free software groups are normally at the forefront of privacy efforts in the digital age.

  • by aaaaaaargh! (1150173) on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:50PM (#42216509)

    It seems obvious that you don't listen to him, so what's the problem from your perspective? Somebody disagreeing with you?

    That being said, instead of answering your question, let me rather tell you why so many people hate Stallman and rant against him. The reason is simply that he's right about most of the things he says, but people do not always like hearing the truth if it is inconvenient. With that respect he has a lot in common with Socrates...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:51PM (#42216519)

    "social" != social, and neither should imply giving up privacy.

    You're creating a false dichotomy between being social and having privacy. That dichotomy does not exist. Everyone should be entitled to a public and a private life, and they should be the arbiters of crossovers between the two. I'm sorry you don't care anymore, but many people do care.

  • Re:Ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by YodasEvilTwin (2014446) on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:52PM (#42216549) Homepage
    A tendency for free software groups to support privacy protection efforts does not mean "free software" = "software that respects your privacy". There is an immense craptonne of free software that uses your data in ways similar to this.
  • Re:Ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Baloroth (2370816) on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:53PM (#42216567)

    I’m not a fan of ubuntu nor RMS, and I definitely don’t like the sounds of this feature, but since when was "free software" equated with "respects your privacy".

    It was equated when RMS said it was equated. RMS is a fanatic, plain and simple. He may be a fanatic for a good cause overall, but he is still a fanatic. That means he sees the world in a pretty simple way. Either you agree with him and follow his set rules, in which cases he recommends and endorses you, or you disagree with his position (in any way no matter how slight), in which case he rejects you completely. There is really no intermediate ground for a person like him.

    It's not a criticism, exactly, he has done some good things, you just have to keep it in mind whenever he says anything about anything: he is speaking as a fanatic. There is no room for deviation from his rules.

  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:54PM (#42216595)

    how nice of you to decide for all of us:

    "Socializing means giving your privacy up for the experiement"

    how very nice. you jump to this, you're happy about it and you've given up the old ideas of privacy.

    fine for you.

    but not so fine for the rest of us who have not decided to 'just give up' and take the shiney.

    (I really hope that there are more like me that will not take the shiney when it comes with such strings attached.)

  • by Nadaka (224565) on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:56PM (#42216613)

    Searching for local files is not one of the tidbits that needs to be sent out for it to work.

  • by bonch (38532) * on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:56PM (#42216619)

    It's one thing to have some Larry Wall style eccentricities, but Stallman hurts any movement he attaches his name to because of his extremist views. He believes, for example, that programmers should not expect to be paid for their work and that it's more important that non-free software disappear [lunduke.com] than it is for someone's children to be fed (he also believes nobody should have children). He's also made vile statements about what he calls "voluntary pedophilia" [stallman.org], claiming that it should be legalized [stallman.org].

    The annoying part is that in nearly every Stallman discussion, people will say things like, "You may not agree with everything he says, but we sure need someone like him who always sticks to their guns!" No, we don't. He's hurting the movement.

    GNU was an interesting philosophy when it was started, but it's not as if it was the only open source ideology or that other open source movements wouldn't have taken hold. This isn't to diminish GNU so much as it is to diminish Stallman's glorified role in history among computer geeks and lessen the movement's reliance on a crazy person.

  • by MrLizard (95131) on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:57PM (#42216647)

    The definition of "free and open source software" doesn't/shouldn't include any limits on what that software DOES. Wouldn't saying, "You can use this code, but not if you write programs that do something I don't like with it!" violate the fundamental principles of open software? How about, "Here's my code for a really great FTP implementation, but you can't use it, or any program including it, to download copyrighted movies." Wouldn't fly, would it?

    I understand that the open source coding community also includes a lot of shared cultural values, but the more it becomes just another means of distributing code, the less those shared cultural values are, erm, shared. RMS certainly has the right to speak out against things he find abhorrent, and to encourage people to not support them, as everyone does. As is so often the case, "The right to do something" is not the same as "The right thing to do." I think by trying to link his personal views on what's good, right, proper, etc, to the concept of open source itself, which is utterly apolitical, damages open source and would make people worry that, by using it, they are implicitly accepting or supporting ethical/political ideas they disagree with. (I have seen tons of open source code, esp. Apache, used by people and companies whose goals and values are at extreme odds with the generic "open source" culture.)

  • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:58PM (#42216659) Journal

    New user ID and fawning over corporations.

    You sound like a paid shill.

    if there's something you don't want anyone to know, don't do it in the first place.

    Please post your bank and account password.

    Please post a list of all your satisfied sexual preferences and all unsatisfied ones along with the photograph name and address and phone number of your current partner(s).

    Oh and please also post:
    a) Your real name
    b) The porn films you most enjor beating off to (no lieing)
    c) Your boss's email address
    d) Your mom's email address
    e) Your granny's email adddress

    Really? you won't tell us?

    Perhaps you should just sit in a box and do nothing ever again then.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:59PM (#42216665)

    Obvious astroturf. 7 digit UID and only comments are the ones on this story.

    Or, you know, a new user. Those still exist, right?

  • by Kardos (1348077) on Friday December 07, 2012 @01:00PM (#42216677)

    You're missing the point. When you search for a LOCAL FILE, that search term gets transmitted. Probably harmless if it's simply "cat picture" but maybe problematic if it's "divorce filing". The software shouldn't be leaking your LOCAL search terms to the interbutts.

  • by Nadaka (224565) on Friday December 07, 2012 @01:00PM (#42216683)

    It should not be installed/active by default without prior alert to the user.

    At worst, it should be a choice made during setup, one that is well described and obvious even if the checkbox defaults to being checked.

  • by bobstreo (1320787) on Friday December 07, 2012 @01:01PM (#42216693)

    For a rant about Unity....

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Friday December 07, 2012 @01:02PM (#42216703) Homepage

    I'm sick of the people who defend him on the basis of his contributions by way of GNU as though that somehow mitigates the harm he does from his soap box. Instead of doing something like taking the bull by the horns and making a slick Android distro that embodies his values AND is friendly to non-geeks, he froths at the mouth at any company or group that makes moves which earn them some money and make things easier for non-technical users.

    Contribute to Haiku, fork Android, become benevolent dictator of OpenWebOS. Actually do something that matters today.

  • Re:Ugh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by serviscope_minor (664417) on Friday December 07, 2012 @01:15PM (#42216881) Journal

    Oh come on.

    No, you come on. You ignored what I said and you've not read much of RMSs writings. Basically everything he complains about is something which will restrict your freedom and therefore cause you problems in the future.

    Future problems is not the pragmatic choice. See that? It's about the future. Idealists are pragmatists who care about the future. That is all.

    Also the thing about pure evil is a complete lie. He freely admits that it wouldn't have even been impossible to develop GNU initially without using proprietary software.

    So, pure evil, my ass. You're just making shit up.

    The fact that you strongly believe in a view point doesn't make it correct.

    So? You claimed that people didn't give a shit so it wasn't important. I pointed out the absurdity of it. Are you now trying to make a different point?

    This is probably a good thing, but extreme privacy nuts are foaming at the mouth. Arguments like "well, they are too stupid to understand the privacy issue" just show how much they don't get it.

    You truly strike fear into fiberous heart of every straw man to venture into your path.

  • by uradu (10768) on Friday December 07, 2012 @01:17PM (#42216901)

    Holy crap, here's the actual extract from http://www.stallman.org/archives/2006-may-aug.html#05 [stallman.org], specifically the entry at 05 June 2006:

    "I am skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children. The arguments that it causes harm seem to be based on cases which aren't voluntary, which are then stretched by parents who are horrified by the idea that their little baby is maturing."

    So unless his domain was hacked and these aren't his actual views, let me just sat WOW!

    Incidentally, the parent poster presents some pretty widely held and well founded views, and even backs them up with references to the actual words of the person he attacks, and he still gets modded down? Welcome to /. indeed...

  • by stenvar (2789879) on Friday December 07, 2012 @01:27PM (#42217053)

    RMS has stated on many occasions, including in his writing, that he believes proprietary software is immoral. ... So yes, RMS wants everyone to buy into his philosophy, to the point of labelling everyone who doesn't as a bad person doing bad things.

    Oh, does it bruise your sensitive little ego when other people tell you that what you're doing is wrong? Well, you'll just have to live with it. RMS is certainly not the only person doing this. Hard as that may be to grasp for you, talking about the morality of acts is a valid and important part of political and social discourse.

  • Re:Ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by plover (150551) on Friday December 07, 2012 @01:30PM (#42217087) Homepage Journal

    The difference is that you made all those sharing decisions for yourself. Canonical should not make that choice for you by default. They can certainly make it an easy-to-drool-on option, but it should not be the system default.

  • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Friday December 07, 2012 @01:34PM (#42217157)

    The whole point of the GPL is to force anyone who uses GPLed code to GPL their associated code as well. Stallman has written many times what a great thing this is, and the absence of that requirement is why he thinks things like the BSD license are immoral. If Stallman could think of a legally binding way to make everyone GPL their code he's certainly given the clear impression that he'd do it. In fact, if I remember correctly, he says in at least one of his essays that he believes non-open sourced code should be illegal.

  • by Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) on Friday December 07, 2012 @01:36PM (#42217185)
    is how does Canonical present this choice. If its hard coded and not documented, that's one extreme. If it is an option you openly select with a checkbox every time that's probably the other extreme. RMS IMHO is getting all hot and bothered about the wrong things. If we CAN'T have options to interact with external services then we have NO choice, that's not freedom. He's got a fixed view of things like that, and it is just not appropriate. Its also cultural. While we can say people should be entitled to a private and a public life you're not going to find very much agreement across cultures of what that means.
  • by Johann Lau (1040920) on Friday December 07, 2012 @01:44PM (#42217275) Homepage Journal

    I don't see a reference to RMS saying nobody should have kids - do you?

    I also don't see how his views on pedophilia, are relevant to his views on software? Sure, people like to dig up unrelated dirt on people they do hits on; so?

    If that is really ALL he said on the subject, well... to me it comes across as a random comment to a news story. And the skilled reader might notice it includes the words "skeptical" and "seems", which indicates he didn't even have a firm opinion either way. You may say that's insensitive or not very thoughtful, and I'd agree, but to turn it into "RMS advocates pedophilia" and whatnot is just sick. If anything, YOU guys are diluting pedophilia by mixing up such statements with it, and all that mosly because someone is hurting the feelings of a bank account here or there.

    So unless there's followups from him detailing his position, I gotta say, what the fuck is wrong with you, and who do you think you are... ?

  • Re:Ugh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pregister (443318) on Friday December 07, 2012 @01:48PM (#42217347)

    Right. The freedom to modify. The freedom to have the code so you can change the software to do things you want and to stop doing the things you don't want. As long as THAT freedom is there, this is a side issue.

    Do I want my local searches going to the net? Nope. Still isn't a free software issue. RMS is arguing from an ideological point of view...but its not the FSF's main ideological point of view.

  • by lgw (121541) on Friday December 07, 2012 @01:55PM (#42217437) Journal

    What are you going on about? Why would you possibly need to send search terms to the world in order to search your local files. It should never happen. Period.

    Much as it pains me to agree with RMS, you're trying to argue that 2+2=3 here.

  • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Friday December 07, 2012 @02:05PM (#42217587)

    I read a lot of negative comments about RMS and it makes me sick. He is fanatical, sure, but he has a track record of *always* being right before anyone notices.

    People should be reminded that the "free" in "free software" applies to freedom and not a monetary consideration. Privacy is an important part of freedom.
    Cardinal Richelieu:
    "If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him."

    The idea is the privacy and private information must remain private because no matter how innocuous, it can be used to restrict your freedom.

    RMS is right and we should support him in our own self interest.

  • by Microlith (54737) on Friday December 07, 2012 @02:06PM (#42217603)

    The whole point of the GPL is to force anyone who uses GPLed code to GPL their associated code as well.

    It's a requirement that you should make yourself aware of once you decide to make changes and redistribute them. You don't have to agree to anything just to use or even modify the software.

    If Stallman could think of a legally binding way to make everyone GPL their code he's certainly given the clear impression that he'd do it.

    And if the RIAA and MPAA could charge me every time I make a copy of my music and videos from one device of mine to another, they've given the clear impression they'd do it. Neither has happened, your point is irrelevant.

    In fact, if I remember correctly, he says in at least one of his essays that he believes non-open sourced code should be illegal.

    And the major media corporations would like Copyright to last forever. Well, at least one group has gotten their way, I suppose that's a good thing?

    In terms of following extremists, at least RMS has good intentions and your freedom in mind. Instead the world follows extremists who seek only to exploit you. And you attack one who would defend you.

  • by Microlith (54737) on Friday December 07, 2012 @02:14PM (#42217677)

    as though that somehow mitigates the harm he does from his soap box.

    Harm? Or simply ire from the people who disagree with him and react viscerally and violently instead of rationally?

    Instead of doing something like taking the bull by the horns and making a slick Android distro that embodies his values AND is friendly to non-geeks

    Even RMS would tell you that's not possible so long as Android can be closed.

    he froths at the mouth at any company or group that makes moves which earn them some money and make things easier for non-technical users.

    Bullshit. The easiest way to get him riled up is to do something that exploits the end user, or in some way limits them for the sole purpose of expanding the bottom line. And frankly, as much as I like Canonical that's exactly what the lenses do.

  • I think EVERYBODY is missing the point, which is RMS refuses to accept the fact that the GPL simply doesn't work in all situations and Canonical is going broke.

    Does anybody think that Canonical WANTED to do this? They did it because they simply can't get the economies of scale required to make enough money with a Linux desktop product to keep the lights on, simple as that. Whether anybody likes it or not it has been proven time and again there is ONLY 3 ways to make money using the GPL model, 1.- Support contracts, worthless for desktops because too few buy 'em, 2.- Selling hardware, worthless for desktops because thanks to the trialware Windows Home isn't costing them anything so they can't get squat from the OEMs and canonical isn't gonna get the economies of scale to compete in the razor thin cutthroat hardware market, and 3.- the tin cup model which Canonical has been doing for several months on their download page and found too few give enough to keep the place going.

    But why anybody listens to RMS anymore is beyond me when its so obvious he hates anybody making a cent on FOSS. Even the head of Red Hat said of RMS "He treats his friends as his enemies" and he'll even backtrack on his own words if you find a way to make money, for example when asked how software developers were supposed to survive giving away their software several years ago RMS said "They should charge for documentation", yet when software developers stopped including their docs under the GPL, the ONLY way to actually sell documentation when the GPL has a redistribution clause, then RMS came out against the devs and said "Documentation should be free!".

    The guy is a failed developer whose only two projects, eMacs and GCC, were both forked AWAY from him, he is a self proclaimed "squatter at MIT" who has admitted that he doesn't even surf the net and has demonstrated ever increasingly bizarre behavior, such as just walking out of interviews where a reporter dares not to use "his language" in the matter he proscribes and of course the infamous "pulling off his socks and eating toe funk in the middle of the stage during a lecture" so WHY pray tell does anybody still listen to him?

    Just because the man did something good 30+ years ago doesn't make his words today insightful, especially not in light of the fact he seems to have an open hatred of anybody that dares make their living off of FOSS, probably because he so utterly failed to do so himself. Seriously folks stop giving the loonie press, he really isn't a good spokesman for FOSS. Speak to Torvalds, Raymond, Perens, any of the above would be much more insightful and enlightening than speaking to the crazy squatter.

  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Friday December 07, 2012 @02:42PM (#42218093)

    RMS is a fanatic, plain and simple. He may be a fanatic for a good cause overall, but he is still a fanatic.

    I'm something of a student of human nature and I'm really good at observing people and understanding their motivations and often making accurate predictions on what I see. I believe that about 10% or so of human beings are just like RMS. I don't like to use the term "fanatic" because while technically correct, I think it's too limiting. You see, people like RMS don't just see software in those terms or one thing in life in a fanatical way, they see everything in life in narrow terms. I call them "people who see everything in black and white". These people do not agonize over any day to day decisions like which model of car should I buy. Everything to them is crystal clear - good - bad, right - wrong, great - terrible, etc. Everything to them is quite clear and there's no areas of gray or ambiguity.

    One of the things about these people is that they tend to be very religious. Now that does not mean that all religious people are like that, despite what many Slashdotters would love to believe, but it does mean that these people do tend to gravitate towards religion. For example, I believe that most of Al Queda's membership is made up of these people. This is why they are willing to commit suicide - the evil in non-believers is so apparent that it's repulsive to them. People who see the world in black and white will sometimes change their minds on something and they will go from opposing it to promoting it or from loving it to hating it. But they don't go back and forth. If they change their minds, that change is probably permanent. And they tend to be completely obsessed with following the "rules", which at times may be religious teachings, and punishing those who do not obey those same rules. They're the kind of people who want severe punishments for minor infractions, like wanting to put someone in jail for a year for running a stop sign. I served on a jury 7 years ago with a guy like this and it was not pleasant as it took some incredible work by our foreman to get him to agree to a guilty verdict on 2 of 3 counts we had to decide on when 11 of us felt strongly that he was innocent on one count and this one guy threatened to hang the jury unless we voted guilty on all 3 counts.

    The most frustrating thing about people like this is that they do not get at all that they are the weird ones. They mistakenly believe that everybody sees the world in the same clear cut way that they do. So this is why you are almost always wasting your time in trying to reason with them and get them to see another point of view. To them any other point of view is irrational and they believe that anyone who holds another point of view is insane because they think that no rational person could ever believe something different from them. So this is why when people rail against RMS and point out inconsistencies or fallacies with his arguments that he digs in. He's truly incapable of seeing any other point of view because he views such as irrational and illogical. At least, that's my guess.

  • Re:Ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2012 @02:53PM (#42218245)

    A lot of people _like_ sharing all the minutia of their day with the entire world.

    No, what they like doing is sharing it with their social circle. The fact that is is shared with the world is generally inconsequential, but sometimes comes back to bite people.

    I've been studying this phenomena for a while and neither one of you is entirely right. In my observations, some people are inherently "private" - they do not want to be known or tracked, they want their actions and statements to be judged without reference to their identity. Other people are inherently "public" - they want you to know who they are, and if that means they are tracked and marketed they simply don't care, as long as the tracking and marketing doesn't harm them. In the eyes of the "private" person the tracking is in and of itself harmful, because it skeeves them and makes them uncomfortable. They feel the same way about corporations databasing them as others might feel about peeping toms - it's nasty, unsavory behavior that good people simply wouldn't ever do, so it's perfectly fair to assume the people doing it are evil. In the eyes of a "public" person, though, naturally everyone wants to know about the identity and particulars of everyone else - their reputation is important, and their standing is influenced by what people know about them, and obviously it's flattering to gain reputation in others' eyes; there's nothing skeevy about supermarkets tracking purchases, it's just good customer service.

    Whichever type you are, it seems to be a fixed attitude once a person reaches an age where their personality is stable - certainly by the time they pass puberty.

    And there's nothing you can do to persuade a person who is "private" that tracking them is OK - you will have better luck convincing them that chocolate tastes bad, or that their favorite color is puce. It's a non-negotiable character trait, like favoring certain colors or flavors is.

    There's also rarely anything you can do to persuade a person who is "public" that many other people simply want privacy and anonymity for its own sake. That's so completely foreign to them that they will think you are lying, or that the private person has some dark secret, or that they are crazy. A lot of "public" type people are so intellectually crippled by their own attitude that they are fundamentally incapable of understanding the pure physical revulsion some "private" people experience when they find out they are being tracked. I imagine a lot of exhibitionists are incapable of understanding the physical response other people have to peeping toms, too.

    Wisdom seems to lie in accepting that the extremes of both types always will exist, and accommodating them as legitimate expressions of character. Most people are somewhere closer to the middle - they might want to have a good reputation in town, but not want their comings and goings tracked by their neighbors. If you can accommodate both extremes, you'll be able to deal with the more commonplace middle grounds. But unfortunately that means both sides have to give up trying to force the other side to be "wrong", and people aren't good at that.

    Software devs should keep all the above in mind, but they usually are extremists of one type or the other.

  • by Microlith (54737) on Friday December 07, 2012 @02:59PM (#42218321)

    But why anybody listens to RMS anymore is beyond me when its so obvious he hates anybody making a cent on FOSS.

    Which is plainly not true. The classic model of selling software licenses simply doesn't work with FOSS. There are more than a few who do make money, but like any business you have to work hard to do so.

    The guy is a failed developer whose only two projects, eMacs and GCC, were both forked AWAY from him

    No, this is your hatred speaking, not reality. He is involved in emacs and gcc development even today.

    he is a self proclaimed "squatter at MIT" who has admitted that he doesn't even surf the net and has demonstrated ever increasingly bizarre behavior, such as just walking out of interviews where a reporter dares not to use "his language" in the matter he proscribes and of course the infamous "pulling off his socks and eating toe funk in the middle of the stage during a lecture" so WHY pray tell does anybody still listen to him?

    Ad-hominem, all of it. Stick to the discussion at hand, and stop letting your rage and hatred get in the way.

    But I guess we can't. There are too many loud, irrational, hate-filled people to address his points. They'd prefer to attack the man than his argument.

  • I think you're underrating him. RMS created the whole GNU philosophy, which has inspired thousands of developers---that is his main contribution. Go and read some interviews where Torvalds himself sings the praises of the GPL v2 and its role in the success of Linux.

    I myself and many of you use emacs and gcc every day---I do think there's a special credit to be given to the creator of such projects that underlie the whole Linux ecosystem, even if the projects were forked away from him.

    Despite being an disheveled person with questionable personal philosophies, RMS deserves credit for having created the notion of software that has a life of its own and cannot be squashed or secreted away by financially driven interests. He is like the NRA---just as the NRA resists any attempt at squashing personal gun ownership (if they came up with handheld thermonuclear weapons, I believe the NRA would staunchly oppose any attempt at regulating them), in the same way, RMS takes an extreme position, because he knows that everyone else will adjust for that and the net result will be something more geared towards the GNU philosophy than if he didn't.

    Your ad-hominem attacks disparaging RMS's lowly status and John-the-baptist-like lifestyle are telling---perhaps you yourself failed at making money of GPL software that was meant to benefit everyone? I agree that it is difficult or impossible to make money of this type of software; only a select few can do it. But that doesn't mean it shouldn't exist, because it has the potential to empower the billions of financially oppressed poor in this world.

  • Re:Ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Friday December 07, 2012 @03:57PM (#42219061) Journal
    I would bet you money that only a fraction of the people who use Linux have the ability to modify the code. So no it isn't a side issue. Just because something can be done doesn't mean everyone has the ability. This is one of the worst aspects of the Linux community, a minority of power users and programmers who like making tools saying completely unreasonable things concerning the majority of users who just want to use the tool. No, it is not easy to remove spyware from Linux even if the code is there in front of you. It is only easy if you know how. And it is only useful if it doesn't take so much time away from what you are doing that it kills any productivity you might require because you are spending all your time rebuilding your tools instead of using them. Many power users are content for Linux to continue to be a hobby system to fiddle with or relegated to power users only, while others just want to use the system.
  • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Friday December 07, 2012 @04:26PM (#42219421)

    RMS doesn't live in this world.

    RMS Lives in this world and has an almost perfect record of seeing the problems before everybody else.

    He resembles only the anti-social geeks.

    Seriously, do you work for a company getting crushed by Linux? Insulting a man, not on his character but by your subjective view of his appearence is almost a text book example of insecurity and ignorance.

    Not the kind of guy we want to show the world and hope we make good impressions! Seriously!

    To the intellects that will listen, he is quite impressive. You, well, lets leave it at that.

  • Re:Ugh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Friday December 07, 2012 @07:22PM (#42221055) Journal

    Just because something can be done doesn't mean everyone has the ability.

    But everybody benefits from the few who are able.

  • OMFG did you just compare the MIT squatter to John The baptist? You did! I'm sorry folks but if this doesn't show what kind of batshit mentality this guy inspires i don't know what does.

    If ANYBODY other than RMS said or pulled the shit he did, calling things he doesn't like "sins" and acting like he is the fucking pope while eating his toe gunk they would be labeled what their behavior obviously suggests they are...an Internet Troll. That is what he is, he starts flamewars wherever he goes for refusing to use anything but his cultish language and making it all into a battle between God (him) and Satan (all those that don't believe the same as him) and does NOTHING but divide and turn rational meaningful debate into an impossibility.

    But when you compare that fricking hippie douchebag to John the baptist? Either you don't know your history very well or you need to get some fucking help.

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