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GNOME Developer Suggests Split From GNU Project 587

blozza2070 writes "In a recent posting from Philip Van Hoof, he suggests that GNOME split off from the GNU Project and has proposed a vote. He was informed he will need 10% of members to agree for a vote to be put forth. At the same time, David Schlesinger (on the GNOME Advisory Board) has agreed on a vote. Stormy Peters said she doesn't agree with this, but then gave everyone instructions on how to proceed with a vote. She mentioned that roughly 20 members are needed to agree." The mailing list server is timing out as of this writing, but iTWire has the Cliff's notes.
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GNOME Developer Suggests Split From GNU Project

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  • Miguel de Icaza (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    What else do you expect from him?
  • by buchner.johannes ( 1139593 ) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @10:26AM (#30413720) Homepage Journal

    Philip Van Hoof
    Fri, 11 Dec 2009 08:21:53 -0800

    On Fri, 2009-12-11 at 10:12 -0500, Richard Stallman wrote:

    > But GNOME is part of the GNU Project, and it ought to support the free
    > software movement. The most minimal support for the free software movement
    > is to refrain from going directly against it; that is, to avoid presenting
    > proprietary software as legitimate.

    I understand your position. I think you might not understand the
    position of a lot of GNOME foundation members and contributors.

    Their position isn't necessarily compatible with your position that
    GNOME should "avoid presenting proprietary software as legitimate".

    The way I see it is that most members want GNOME to stay out of that
    philosophic discussion. Although GNOME usually advises to "work
    upstream" and to "do things opensource when possible, as much as
    possible". This is just a personal point of view, of course.

    You, as one of the key FSF people, appear to be keen[1] on enforcing a
    strict policy on how GNU's member-projects should behave. So ...

    I propose to have a vote on GNOME's membership to the GNU project.

    > I think Planet GNOME should have a rule to this effect.

    I think it's clear that I disagree. Philosophically.

    > There are many ways to implement such a rule, of which "block the
    > whole blog" is about the toughest one we might consider. I'd suggest
    > rather to try a mild approach; I'm sure that can do the job.

    Let's first get a consensus from our members on GNOME's status as being
    or not being a well-behaving GNU project, or having its own identity.

    Original thread, alternative link: http://www.mail-archive.com/foundation-list@gnome.org/msg04068.html [mail-archive.com]

    • by Stumbles ( 602007 ) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @10:51AM (#30413922)
      So in other words: the Gnome folks (those who love Microsoft technologies) is telling the FSF folks to get bent. I image Microsoft is very pleased with this new direction with Gnome. I predict in 5 years, perhaps less Microsoft will have maneuvered these short sighted individuals to accepting Microsoft to buy Gnome. By that time it will have forked and these "forward" thinking Gnome folks will have changee the license making it possible. It is unfortunate some of the Gnome folks are so blinded to not realize just the kind of manipulation they have been exposed to; it is the proverbial frog+cold water+a fire.
      • by buchner.johannes ( 1139593 ) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @11:07AM (#30414014) Homepage Journal

        No, the GNOME folks want to decide where they want to go. Puristic or non-puristic.

        • You're not going to be able to call it GNOME, will you?

        • by Ilgaz ( 86384 ) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @10:01PM (#30418988) Homepage

          Gnome was created by GNU guys, the vision and the name belongs to them.

          I suggest DOTNETDesktop or Icaza can come up with a stylish name like Mono/Stereo/Dolby Digital whatever.

          What they want is to ship a freaking Mono desktop and they can't dare to tell it to public yet. As releasing a .NET Clone with GNU license would be really pathetic/impossible, they want to get rid of license.

          IMHO, GNU should get rid of them very quick and support KDE and OpenStep. Yes, the OpenStep which people ignore.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by LizardKing ( 5245 )

            Gnome was created by GNU guys

            No, it wasn't created by "GNU guys", it was created by a handful of programmers from various backgrounds. The reason it was adopted as a GNU project was down to KDE using Qt which at the time was under a license that wasn't considered Open Source or Free Software. There seems to be a certain amount of revisionism in the official GNOME history, as reflected in the Wikipedia entry for it - for starters, it was more people involved from the start than were Miguel de Icaza and Fed

      • Gnome# (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Requiem18th ( 742389 )

        Pretty much so, there is a major push to switch Gnome to C# as it core development language and now that the whole of Gnome is spliting you can bet that .NET will become the core dependency. Remember, MS can void its "promises" over .NET at any moment, the EEE is is progressing well.

        • Re:Gnome# (Score:5, Interesting)

          by ciroknight ( 601098 ) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @12:55PM (#30414952)

          Pretty much so, there is a major push to switch Gnome to C#

          [citation needed]. There's exactly a single GNOME desktop dependency using C#, Tomboy, and even that's been cloned in C++ (GNote [wikipedia.org]). and is gaining adoption instead of the Mono-based variant by many major distros including Fedora. I really wouldn't be surprised to see it proposed to replace Tomboy in the upcoming months.

          Furthermore, if GNOME's heading in any direction on the desktop, it's towards enabling 3D, networking, web and presence technologies through the stack. There has been a heavy push to add networking to the lower libraries so that libraries above can take advantage without reinventing the wheel. A D-Bus layer is merging into GLib next. GNOME Shell is written mostly in Javascript with Clutter being used as a 3D toolkit, after Gtk+ itself was extensively modified for better offscreen rendering support. Webkit replaced Mozilla's Gecko, and is being used by more up-and-coming GNOME projects. Telepathy and Empathy were adopted into GNOME and gives us an instant messaging client. There are half a dozen new projects around the rather small-but-growing geography and cartography communities. GNOME technologies are also heading towards the more-deeply embedded direction, with Clutter-GTK+ pushing Moblin to new heights and products like the Litl webbook (which is also very heavily Javascript-based).

          There have been no new .NET components accepted or even proposed to be included in GNOME in years. The Mono fear is a sound one, but it's not one you realistically have to worry about today as a GNOME user. With the recent improvements in GThumb and newer photo cataloging apps like Shotwell, not even F-Spot can be considered a 'killer app' for Mono anymore. That community has long since left GNOME along with Miguel.

          • If people see that Icaza clown as a representative of Gnome and see those lame "lets trojan the debian" tactics coming from the Gnome camp, they can predict everything regarding to .NET with Gnome.

            First, Gnome must distance themselves from that MS reject, second they should come clean about Tomboy, for what EXACT REASON it was written in .NET and why Gnome team pushed it.

            Even Windows camp and OS X camp started to see Gnome as some kind of a joke especially after this Mono (Made in Mexico) soap opera. Everyo

        • Re:Gnome# (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @12:59PM (#30414972) Journal

          Thank god for KDE, XFCE, etc. Anyone who thinks multiple desktop environments are a waste of effort, this is exactly why we need them.

        • Re:Gnome# (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Dr.Dubious DDQ ( 11968 ) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @01:12PM (#30415058) Homepage
          The whole situation amuses me given that the only reason Gnome exists is because back during KDE 1.x days it was "OMG QT is too proprietary!"
    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      I never knew that gnome was part of gnu - finally the complete lack of "man" pages is explained!
      Oh wait, no "info" pages either :(
    • ISOified! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      > Their position isn't necessarily compatible with your position that
      GNOME should "avoid presenting proprietary software as legitimate".

      Do they know what Gnome stands for? What GNU is?

      To me, there's a slow process of takeover by M$ ideals -- the same thing which was done to ISO, but on a much more planned way. ISO needed to be taken asap, or ODF would kill Office. Since OOXML was "approved", ODF was sorta defused (OOXML does not need to be good or even work; in fact, if it appears to work but doesn't, so

  • From reading the article, I'm getting the gist that part of the problem was that some folks on Planet GNOME, de Icaza included, made a lot of mention of proprietary software and relatively little mention of its open-sourced cousins. I got this impression from several points in the article, such as this one:

    And in response to Van Hoof's comments about VMware, Stallman said people should not write about their work on Planet GNOME "unless VmWare (sic) becomes free software. GNOME should not provide proprietary software developers with a platform to present non-free software as a good or legitimate thing."

    I think that's a preposterous rule! You mean to tell me that folks who work on open source software, but happen to also work on non-OSS for their employers (Microsoft, VMware, etc) aren't allowed to talk about the work that actually helps them put food on the table and may even HELP make open-source software better?

    I don't know a terrible lot about the open source movement, but from what I've read here and elsewhere, Stallman's an extremist, and that's NOT a good role model to follow.

    • From reading the iTWire wire article, I thought the logical solution would be to spin-off the Planet GNOME site to a third party where the ideologies of the FSF don't reach.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      I dare say it would make sense to give FOSS priority on a discussion board about a piece of FOS software. But really, GNOME is a desktop environment. Wouldn't it sorta limit the user's freedom to not be able to run proprietary products on his/her main OS? If we follow Stallman's advice, then entire projects (Wine for example) should get abandoned.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Have you ever read any of Stallman's rants? Stallman is about the freedom of the /software/, not the end user. He wants all software to be free no matter what the end cost for the user actually is. Why do you think he has a problem with licenses like BSD (which is less restrictive than the GPL)? They give more power the user than the software itself to determine how it can be used. If you take the time to actually read the GPL and some of Stallman's writings, you begin to see that he is a religious zealot
    • by Antique Geekmeister ( 740220 ) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @10:50AM (#30413916)

      Stallman is consistent about his beliefs. Don't read 3rd hand re-interpretations: proceed directly to the GPL, and to Stallman's presentations, to understand what he said and what he believes.

      Stallman is a visionary, not an "extremenist". Sometimes that means the rest of us need to pay the rent and don't follow his grand visions, but he's consistent and historically very perceptive of the risks of the slippery slopes often presented by people, and their corporations, who don't share that vision. In this case, Silverlight does in fact present some nasty risks to Gnome and free software development. We've seen Microsoft's "embrace and extend" behavior too often to trust them in this case.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by aardvarkjoe ( 156801 )

        Stallman is consistent about his beliefs. Don't read 3rd hand re-interpretations: proceed directly to the GPL, and to Stallman's presentations, to understand what he said and what he believes.

        You can read the thread in question to decide whether the characterization above is accurate; it's his posts that seem to have triggered this argument. It looks pretty accurate to me.

        On the other hand, it doesn't look to me like anyone actually took Stallman's recommendation seriously (in terms of actually making any

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )
        My vision is a little bit different to his. Unlike RMS I like the idea of having authentication for some systems instead of letting everyone on the net get in and read my email. There's also the thing about whether it is acceptable to pretend to have some sort of association with linux to advertise GNU - he's always been up front that was why he tried the silly renaming but I still think it is extremely bad manners.
    • by Device666 ( 901563 ) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @11:00AM (#30413984)
      Richard Stallman is important for the free software movement. However it seems he is losing momentum in inspiring people who are on free software projects. This is a pity. I can partially understand his extremism, because freedom is easily lost. However if freedom has to be defended by dictatorship, there is no freedom either.
      • by gzipped_tar ( 1151931 ) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @12:00PM (#30414460) Journal

        Have you ever met RMS face to face and listened to him explaining himself?

        I have, and from my personal experience, he was nothing like an extremist. He has a rigid and well defined set of core principles WRT software (summarized in the "four freedoms") and he holds fast to them. But on other topics, he is very tolerant and shows great respect to others' views.

        And he's very sensitive to the Dark Side, to what could possibly go wrong. This is the same sensitivity a careful programming expert possesses. A good programmer can sense the smell of bugs, terrible design, or poor implementation a mile away from the pile of computer code, and RMS can sense what could possibly breach his principles. A good programmer does not gain the ability of "smelling the bugs" by being an oversensitive, and neither did RMS. He is just careful -- He *thinks* carefully and so he anticipates the possible disaster.

        I'm not trying to paint him as a flawless character, and if I sound like I was doing that, I apologize. I was simply telling my fellow /.ers my *personal* *impression* of him.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by syousef ( 465911 )

          Have you ever met RMS face to face and listened to him explaining himself?

          I have and after he was done with his ridiculous straight delivery of the whole St. IGNUtius spiel, I asked a simple question. "How do you counter when people suggest that OSS is harder to use". His reply was dismissive. "It is? I haven't heard that". Why? Possibly because I was the only person in the room dressed in a suit. I'd just come from work. My conclusion is that the man has no social skills and brings all the ridicule and mis

    • by oldhack ( 1037484 ) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @11:08AM (#30414032)

      Dear noob, Stallman is an extremist in the same sense Ghandi is an extremist. Different ideals, though. I mean, the guy started GNU/FSF and spends decades with it, instead of going into the industry and raking it in.

      What are you, born 20 minutes ago?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by dbIII ( 701233 )
      People have mistaken the agenda of RMS for their own, but he has a political agenda and not a practical one. If he was really interested in gnome he would contribute to it, but instead he has his own projects. I said the same thing about linux some time ago when the silly LiGnuX renaming suggestion came up which later got some traction with newbies under the name gnu/linux.
      • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @01:31PM (#30415232)

        People have mistaken the agenda of RMS for their own, but he has a political agenda and not a practical one.

        RMS's agenda is eminently practical. It's just a long-term practicality over immediate gratification.
        The Free software ecosystem is now well past the point where sacrificing the functionality of free software is a requirement for the general community. There are certainly niches where that is still true, but something like GNOME is not a niche.

    • by Bogtha ( 906264 )

      And in response to Van Hoof's comments about VMware, Stallman said people should not write about their work on Planet GNOME "unless VmWare (sic) becomes free software. GNOME should not provide proprietary software developers with a platform to present non-free software as a good or legitimate thing."

      Emphasis mine. Of course they are allowed to talk about it. But they shouldn't expect Planet GNOME to publish it.

      I don't know a terrible lot about the open source movement, but from what I've read here and

    • The question is: Will Mono further the cause of FOSS or not?
      If you are a developer doing cross-platform development under GNU/Linux, there are always two possible outcomes:

      1. users will stay with the proprietary operating systems (Windows,MacOS) because your software runs very well on that platform anyway
      2. users will switch to free software because your software makes them realise that there is a whole world of free software out there

      Especially in the first case it is important to get the licensing right. KDE4 f

    • >I think that's a preposterous rule! You mean to tell me that folks who work on open source software, but happen to also work on non-OSS for their employers (Microsoft, VMware, etc) aren't allowed to talk about the work that actually helps them put food on the table and may even HELP make open-source software better?

      Maybe a different perspective would help illuminate the issue:

      • Do you believe that it would be unfair of Microsoft to have a rule discouraging any Microsoft employee to actively promote
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Requiem18th ( 742389 )

      You wouldn't expect MS to promote Gnome even if one MS employee also contributed to Gnome. If you understand that MS can't present Gnome as a superior solution because of marketing you would understand why RMS doesn't want to promote proprietary software. Think about it this way, the existence of VMware and its promotion either hurt free sofware alternative to it or, inhibit the development of one.

      If you want Gnome to promote VMware but don't expect MS to promote Gnome then that just shows your bias.

  • So this is just one more step for Gnome to become fully encased with Microsoft technologies. Have at boys.
  • seems right to me (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pydev ( 1683904 )

    I don't know whether Stallman's latest diatribe is about VMware, Mono, or whatever other thing he happens to be ill informed about these days, but it may be time for Gnome to sever ties with him and GNU. He has contributed a lot, but it looks to me like he's losing touch both with the economics and the technology of free software.

    Stallman should perhaps rather worry about the future of GNU itself; I haven't seen much innovation coming out of the GNU project itself recently, and GNU is getting rather long i

  • But GNU/Gnome/Linux now?

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      The first silly attempt, about two minutes after RMS stopped pretending that he'd never heard of linux, was LiGnuX - presumably rhyming with "lick nuts".
  • by udippel ( 562132 ) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @10:52AM (#30413926)

    I know RMS is unpopular in /.
    I know Miguel de Icaza is more popular.

    But I also know that I am a fan of Free Software. I'd be too happy Gnome could shed non-free software (like Tomboy notes - based on Mono) instead of priding themselves for functionality. KDE is not much of an alternative, they are hopeless. German engineering, for the sake of engineering, great ideas, but agnostic to the concept of 'user requirements'.
    I might have to go back to xfce?

    • by dschl ( 57168 ) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @11:11AM (#30414052) Homepage

      I don't think that Miguel is all that popular. The last time I saw a long thread with him here, he suffered pretty badly. Making mono a dependency in Gnome exposes the project to unnecessary risk.

      I respect Stallman far more than de Icaza, both for his thoughts and his actions over the years. Stallman is often taken out of context, but he is very consistent, and his statements almost always make sense years later - sometimes prophetically so.

      There are a group of people (mostly affiliated with corporations) who have a hate-on for Stallman, because he values his principles more than he does development speed, ease of use, profits, or being able to use the latest shiny thing from MS.

      • by msclrhd ( 1211086 ) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @11:34AM (#30414248)

        I just wish that the GNOME folks can look at what happened with (ex)FAT, both with TomTom and now with the licensing costs/requirements from Microsoft for what is likely going to happen with the .NET platform and Mono in the future.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Idiomatick ( 976696 )
        I respect Stallman and his ideas in the exact same way I respect Ron Paul. He has clearly given it a lot of thought and he has balls enough to say exactly what that is, but mannnn in reality things don't always work that way.
      • by macraig ( 621737 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [giarc.a.kram]> on Saturday December 12, 2009 @01:17PM (#30415090)

        ... he values his principles more than he does development speed, ease of use, profits, or being able to use the latest shiny thing from MS.

        You hit the nail squarely with that comment: Stallman values ethics more than he does profit, even his own, and the "entrepreneurs" of the world who have a reverse value system utterly despise him for it. Can we agree that Stallman is a talented man who, in some parallel dimension, could have made quite a lot of money for himself? He hasn't though, precisely because he doesn't value that extreme wealth.

        In effect, by consistently adhering to and promoting this ethic for decades, Stallman has been placing the Greater Good well ahead of his own good. He's a helluva lot more like Jesus in that regard than most people I know or have heard about. Stallman is not unique for having this value system; Craig Newmark demonstrably holds the same values. However Stallman is, as you pointed out, rather uniquely consistent in his application of those values. That at least is a trait worth admiring, even if one disagrees with him. Those who do disagree with him, though, need to spend some time in reflection upon their own selfishness. Stallman demonstrates a selflessness that makes Mother Teresa (and her lifelong duplicity) look like a huckster.

        The only thing wrong with Stallman's approach is that, in his zeal to realize this ethical Utopia before he dies, he is resorting to increasingly authoritarian methods when mere education fails to sway people. That appears to be what caused this little rebellion within the GNOME community: it wasn't his free-software ethic that got them riled, it was his willingness to resort to authoritarian measures to realize or preserve it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rycross ( 836649 )
        That's begging the question. Those with a "hate-on" for Stallman likely see no moral or ethical dilemma with proprietary software. You're assuming that its imminently clear and universally agreed upon that proprietary software is unethical and immoral, when this is actually not the case.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Stallman has talked about the ethical dilemma for years and as far as I can tell, it exists with all propriety software:

          -I write propriety software.
          -I decide I don't want to support it any more.
          -You "really need" or want to use my software. You paid for it, so you should be able to use it, right?
          -You find a bug that is a "show stopper" for you in some way.
          -You ask me to fix it.
          -I politely tell you to "stuff it".

          Is it ethical to break a license to fix software that you didn't create? Even if I don't care if

    • by KiloByte ( 825081 ) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @11:20AM (#30414120)

      And pushing Tomboy means it's nothing but a ploy to get Mono distributed. Choosing a minor app that takes 189 freaking MB of memory for nothing but displaying sticky notes on the screen is preposterous when you have similar programs which do the same in a few MBs. It's waste for your high-end desktop/laptop with 2-4GB RAM, it's a deal breaker for slimmer configurations.

      Mono was a trap from the very beginning. Let's not let it drag us down.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 12, 2009 @10:53AM (#30413934)

    This is just GNOME sliding further and further into irrelevancy. It's basically a dead project at this point. There is little innovation happening, and most discussion these days is bickering over philosophical issues like in this case.

    Even if it wasn't great when initially released, at least the KDE project was able to get their KDE 4.x releases out and stabilized relatively quickly. They've built a good foundation for future development. GNOME, on the other hand, hasn't seen a major release since GNOME 2.0 in 2002! GNOME 3.0 is basically a bunch of mocks at this point, and even then, the proposed changes are quite minor.

    A lot of people will say, "But GNOME is the main desktop of Ubuntu and Fedora!" Yes, that is true, but it is really only an artifact of history, dating back to when the Qt licensing wasn't as open as it is today (and thus making KDE a less-appealing option). These days, both Ubuntu and Fedora could switch from GNOME to KDE within one release cycle. I predict this will happen soon enough, probably with Ubuntu switching first.

    At some point, the Ubuntu community is going to realize that GNOME has stagnated, and all of the real innovation is happening with the KDE project. It'll take time, but people are already moving over to KDE, especially as the more recent KDE 4.3 and the upcoming KDE Software Compilation 4.4 releases have shown to be of a very high quality.

    KDE is just technically better these days. It is implemented in a better programming language (even C++ is better than the C-and-GObject hellhole), built upon a better GUI toolkit (Qt kicks the fuck out of GTK+), and offers much better desktop applications and a more integrated desktop experience. Unless there are some huge changes within the GNOME community, they will not be able to match KDE's current environment, let alone exceed it.

  • I seem to be missing something. "avoid presenting proprietary software as legitimate."?!!! I really don't understand why "proprietary" can't be "legitimate". What ever it is, can someone post the reason why RMS made such a remark?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What ever it is, can someone post the reason why RMS made such a remark?

      It's on the mailing list. Somebody was talking about VMware and Stallman made the remark that it's not appropriate to even mention proprietary software on the mailing list (or something to that effect).

      He is an extremist with all that implies.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by KiloByte ( 825081 )

        What's the point to even consider VMware if you have a range of alternatives which do the same? For those who want everything to be nice and user-friendly, there's VirtualBox. For those who want emulating other architectures, qemu. For when you don't need to pretend that it's a stand-alone system, there's Xen and vserver.

        Using proprietary software may be a reasonable choice if there are no alternatives with feature parity. For VMware, this is not the case.

    • Basically, it is because RMS is a complete Open Source zealot and doesn't consider proprietary software to have any legitimacy (certainly not when it comes to mention of it in the Plant GNOME aggregated feed).

      I agree to a tiny degree in that Planet GNOME should be about GNOME stuff, and that I'd rather have OSS than proprietary most of the time, but I still know when to compromise.

    • by vadim_t ( 324782 )

      What's surprising about it?

      Picture somebody in your favourite enviromental organization speaking of acquiring material from an organization that keeps dumping poison into the river. At most, the leadership would probably be unhappy with such things.

      GNU is dedicated to Free Software, and as such proprietary software isn't something they're interested in supporting, less inside their own organization. Proprietary software may be legitimate in the world at large, but it's not legitimate in a GNU project.

    • by bcmm ( 768152 )
      Proprietary software is not legitimate as a component of Gnome (this is, after all, why Gnome exists in the first place).
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Hatta ( 162192 )

      Stallman believes that access to source code that the user can modifiy to meet his needs is a right. Denying that right is therefore illegitimate in the way denying any right is.

  • The proper form of address for Stallman is "The Hippie Dictator". It's his vision and idealism that created the entire FOSS community and he is its one true patriot and defender and needs to be referred to as such. In this case, he does have a legitimate complaint because some Gnome folks have been discussing their employers closed source products without any comparison/contrast or even reference to any open source alternatives, making it seem as though their employers have the only solution to certain prob

  • The Short Story (Score:5, Informative)

    by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @11:52AM (#30414396)

    There is a blog aggregator called Planet GNOME which pulls together blog posts from various Gnome developers. One of these developers is Miguel de Icaza, a fairly senior GNOME developer (I believe he started both the GNOME and Mono projects, though I don't know his current position in them). Miguel is known, and somewhat infamous, for supporting MS Standards like C# (hence Mono, an opensource implementation of it), and OOXML.

    In this instance Miguel wrote a blog post about Silverlight that reads like a press release [tirania.org]. Silverlight is a proprietary and patent-encumbered replacement for Flash written by Microsoft.

    Thus a promo for Silverlight was showing up on Planet GNOME.

    This was not the only time something like this had happened, these are blogs afterall, people write about all sorts of stuff. Thus people started discussing a code of conduct about appropriate topics for blogs on Planet GNOME.

    Stallman stopped by to offer his opinion (just couple very short posts in a long discussion) saying that people shouldn't use Planet GNOME to talk about proprietary projects like promos for Silverlight or even talk about using vmware since Gnome is a GNU project and opposed to proprietary software.

    Philip Van Hoof responded saying he disagreed and started talking about a split, a few other people started talking about the rules surrounding the vote and the rest kept talking about the idea of a code of conduct.

    I don't really know who anyone is other than Miguel and Stallman, but my gut says that no vote is going to occur.

    • Re:The Short Story (Score:4, Interesting)

      by KwKSilver ( 857599 ) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @02:23PM (#30415766)
      Good summary. I for one ain't that crazy about seeing my FSF dues going to host a MS/Silverlight ad. What's next, a rave review of Office 2010? Windows 8? Is MS so impoverished they can't afford to buy ads anymore? Wouldn't this [microsoft.com] be a better place for a Sliverblight endorsement? With all the money those parasites have, you'd think they'd be too ashamed to leech off of GNU!

      As long as I'm ranting, Dear GNOME, if you find that the 4 freedoms make you philosophically uneasy, feel free to leave GNU. While you are at it why not re-write GNOME in .NET to work on the the NT kernel?! Won't be any skin off my butt, XFCE, KDE, and Fluxbox, are all better alternatives. /end rant.

      About your bruised feelings: Tough shit. Now, feel free to use your sock-puppets to mod me down: "-1 unympathetic."
  • If the GNU project wants to restrict the speech of it's members on GNU discussion boards regarding the merits of proprietary software, it's not worth it. Restricting the voicing of opinions is absolutely the antithesis of what we should expect from open-source communities. If someone thinks Mono or VMware is worth using, fine. Stallman seemed to be suggesting that removing a blog could be considered as punishment for voicing such an opinion; that's hardly an open and frank discussion conducted in a open com

  • Short memory (Score:5, Insightful)

    by peppepz ( 1311345 ) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @12:11PM (#30414542)
    I think the newest generations of free software developers take free software for granted.

    They do not know how things went before GNU and Linux were there, when to have an usable development environment you had to pay for an operating system (more expensive if it was a developer-oriented version), a windowing system, a file manager, an office application, a web browser, an email client, a compiler, a debugger, a zip program, a picture viewer, access to the official developer's documentation, and a full set of "Undocumented %s" books. Not to mention any library you might want to use.

    Now they are growing tired of the "free software fundamentalists" because they do not see that what they've accomplished is inseparable from the ideology in which they believed. They just think that for some reason, charitable organizations such as Microsoft, Oracle, Sony and all the hardware manufacturers have an interest in providing them with software free of charge, and with unlimited freedom to use it in whatever way they see fit - and that they will keep doing so forever, even when that harms the sales of their commercial products.

    GNOME will turn away from the FSF, this is obvious, and has been obvious since the first day the Mono affaire began. What will happen after Microsoft will be in control of key components of GNOME, is obvious too.
    An then, hopefully before long, some new RMSes will appear, inspiring a free software movement again.

  • by SirGarlon ( 845873 ) on Saturday December 12, 2009 @12:24PM (#30414652)
    I am glad this controversy came up because I was not following GNOME development and had no idea how hard they were working to integrate with proprietary "cross-platform technologies" like Silverlight. To me the appeal of Linux is that it *doesn't* rely on the MS model of giving Web applications full access to the OS. The real "benefit" to end users from ActiveX, Silverlight, .NET, etc is they expose the users to all kinds of Trojan horses and malware. If GNOME has drunk the Microsoft kool-aid of doing away with any kind of application sandboxing, then to hell with it.
  • Once upon a time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 12, 2009 @01:10PM (#30415048)

    There was a project named GNU. Then came GNUstep. Then came GNUstep + WindowMaker. GNU looked upon this and called it good, and declared it the official desktop of the GNU project. But GNUstep was not finished, not even close.

    Then kame KDE. It was based upon the not-so-free Qt. Everyone at GNU cried "oh shit." Fire and brimstone began to fall.

    Then came Miguel, a shit-disturber from the NetBSD holy wars. GNOME was cooked up with an official "fuck you" to the KDE team on their mailing lists. The 0.33 release was based on a bunch of free tools hastily thrown together and re-branded with the never-proven CORBA thrown into the mix.

    Then came RedHat, wading into the morass and inspiring GNOME to jump from version 0.33 to version 1.0 overnight, resulting in much crash-age and tooth-gnashage. But the gospel had been preached and accepted in the West, and even Slashdot jumped on Miguel's bandwagon. Yea, even the Rasterman was drawn into the mighty whirlpool for a time and Enlightenment was lost to history. So the holy wars were joined.

    Over time, KDE became more free. The dreaded, reviled Qt became GPL, then LGPL. On the flipside, GNOME began adopting questionable technologies like MONO. The grinning spectre of Dread Lord Gates lurked in the shadows. The wheel had turned.

    And yet back in the dustbin of history, GNUstep waited. And all along this would have been the best choice of all, had Stallman & co not thrown their weight knee-jerk behind "anyone but KDE". Given the return of NextStep under the name "Mac OS X," just imagine the interoperability and cross-compatibility we could have today?

Information is the inverse of entropy.