disagreeing with Richard Stallman

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disagreeing with Richard Stallman

Postby clem on Wed Jan 10, 2007 10:56 am

With all due respect to RMS, I want to quote the following:

It is getting the whole question wrong. When people say: "could we make more proprietary software or could we make more Free Software", they're getting the whole question wrong. The best thing is if you can make some Free Software, the next best thing is if you don't make any software, and the worst thing is if you make some proprietary software.


When I see "Free Software", I see two great concepts "Free" and "Software". I love freedom. I love software. I also love chocolate, and when I go and buy a box of chocolate in my local supermarket I'm not denying my taste for it due to the fact that the box doesn't contain any recipe.. hence denying me the freedom to make these chocolates myself !!

Of course, if there was such thing as chocolate boxes WITH recipe, then it'd be great. But it wouldn't mean that all of sudden I wouldn't like eating "closed-source" chocolates, right? Because in the end of the day.. as much as I like having the freedom of making the chocolates myself, WHAT IS IMPORTANT IS THAT I LOVE CHOCOLATE.

Richard Stallman is overlooking a very important thing: People love Software. Yes, they love Freedom as well.. but as much as he wants to make us believe that we have to choose between one and the other, I'm sorry to say: NO. You can love your Freedom, you can love your Software.. that doesn't mean you should HATE proprietary Software, it means you should simply PREFER open-source equivalents.

In the end of the day, what you love is Software and Freedom. Proprietary software gives you Software. Open Source Software gives you Software AND Freedom.

In that regard they're both great and they both give you something. If you like Software you should like both. And if you like freedom you should like open source software a bit more than you already like proprietary software.

We're not in a war against proprietary software, we're in a World where new software means new solutions. If these solutions are open-source, then even better. What we are focusing on here in Linux Mint is Software. We're not saying vote Democrats, we're not saying don't sleep with your girlfriend before you get married, and we're not going to contribute to some anti-proprietary software campaign. This is politics, not technology. When making an operating system, I believe it is important than technology itself become the central part.

Just so that this is clear.

In regards to Linux Mint, you'll appreciate the following facts:
- all the software written by us is open-source (mintDesktop, mintDisk..etc)
- when we include something in Linux Mint our first concern is whether it's the best option for the user.

So yes, let's make more open-source software, but also keep in mind that more proprietary software ALSO is a good thing for IT in general.

Clem
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Postby AlsaPhil on Wed Jan 10, 2007 6:51 pm

A healthy balance is always the result of an intelligent proportioning :)
... the one-way thought is dangerously killing the healthy balance of our dreams and wishes... and that is exactly our freedom :idea:
Therefore I personally think that you are right :) and surely I am not alone here :)
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Postby Alephcat on Thu Jan 11, 2007 9:52 am

I forget who said it, but "Everything in moderation, including moderation."
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Postby manishk on Thu Jan 18, 2007 4:36 pm

The best of both worlds!!
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Postby mstlyevil on Mon Jan 29, 2007 4:00 am

If Richard Stallman had his way there would be no freedom. Developers should have the freedom to do with their work as they please. How one chooses to license their work is their freedom of choice. I also have the freedom to decide if I want to use that persons work or not.

Freedom should be about the right to choose on both ends. Stallman wants to stifle the freedom of both developers and users by dictating that only so called free software be the only choice. His vision of free software is not freedom at all because it would deny users and developers their freedom of choice.
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Postby Fragadelic on Mon Jan 29, 2007 3:10 pm

Well said Clem.

I believe most of us here that are using Mint would agree with you or we wouldn't be using Mint - lol.

I just acquired an xbox in trade for a PC I built. It came with a bunch of games and was chipped and had Evox installed. The included Xbox Media Player was crap so I installed Xbox Media Center and turned this simple gaming box into something very similar to the Xbox 360's Media Center app.

We now enjoy our videos, music and pictures in the living room.

I would never have purchased and Xbox but in trade it seemed like a fair deal to me.

My point is that I did with it what I needed to make it do what I wanted it to just like I do with all my PC's.

To put it in your "chocolate" terms, I added my own peanut butter to make it more appealing to me!
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Postby Rafe on Tue Jan 30, 2007 8:05 pm

While I do not agree with everything that RMS says, I hold him in high regard. He is an idealist and because of his ideals, we have the Free Software Foundation, the GNU Project, the GPL and much more. And while there may have been a Linux without RMS, it would be significantly different, perhaps even proprietary. IMHO, we live in a world that he created and he is entitled to our respect, even if we don't always agree with him.
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Postby clem on Wed Jan 31, 2007 5:40 am

Rafe: Right, I agree 100% with that, and he's a man I have an enormous amount of respect/admiration for. Now that doesn't mean I agree with everything he says and particularly with the way he wants to boycott completely Proprietary technologies.

There's an interview in the Linux Action Show of the Ubuntu Community Manager. He was talking about open-source and how some people were sending him emails complaining about proprietary software. He mentioned an interesting example of a guy who could not understand why launchpad was not open-source, and that guy's email was sent from a gmail account...

Everything around us is closed source, nothing comes with its recipe and we don't question that. When we buy that box of chocolates we're happy enough and we don't torture our minds with the fact that we don't get the freedom to get their recipe.. we don't "really" know what's in the chocolate, we don't really know how to make copies of them or change their flavor to our personal taste... but still we're happy with it.

In Software, we're even happier because not only do we get stuff for free, but we're involved in the making of it. Of course there's still some closed source software out there, and they're not as fun because we can't do as much stuff with them. That doesn't mean they're bad though or we should boycott them.

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Postby Fragadelic on Wed Jan 31, 2007 10:02 am

Agreement and Respect are 2 entirely different things.

We all have respect for all the devs and people behind GNU and Linux but we may not always agree with them. I believe most of us have a certain amount of respect for Bill Gates and Microsoft as well but we don't agree with them at all and thats why we use Linux.
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Postby Rafe on Wed Jan 31, 2007 7:36 pm

clem,

An eloquent reply. Perhaps the best expression of my sentiment is that I like and use Mint and look forward to your next release.

rafe


sentiment-- a complex combination of feelings and opinions as a basis for action or judgment.
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Postby Helmut on Sat Feb 03, 2007 6:31 am

I also have highest respect for Richard Stallman, without him we may not have open source software today. Without him, probably some businessman may have patented or otherwise legally taken over our work, be calling it his, and be selling it back to us, ripping us off, and all with perfectly legal backing.
There is so much opensource technology included in proprietary $ offerings, just think of TP/IP... Yet they sell stuff including the opensource parts to millions, and expect the entire world to automatically agree to cut-throat license-conditions. In countries where children are starving to death and can not afford books, schools are actually having to pay for inferior software, and for the necessary applications too! As if there were no Edubuntu, or SkoleLinux, Adios, etc. Btw, reading license conditions is a very revealing experience about business practices! You have to read it to believe it!

On the other hand, "buying" a programm for running on a certain OS is certainly not comparable to buying a box of chocolates! No chocolate maker specifyies what make of tables and chairs we must sit at while consuming his product. If I pay for a programm that runs on XYZ-OS, I also need to buy XYZ too and have to agree to big Bull's license conditions, regardless what I personally think of them.

Further more, I personally do not want my children to have to pay license-fees in school for using the alphabet! But if there were more than one alphabet, would you still want to pay license fees, and if it were for the inferior product? Hell no! For the same reasons, why should we pay for basic software, or for an operating system?
Since the school my kids visit doesnt have much money either, they certainly can use their meager funds for something of more substance. Likewise, I dont want my children to be taught on computers using inferior and expensive $$-software running on $$-operating systems.
I have often shown kids and teachers alike there is something else out there which usually is better than whatever anachronistic stuff they are used to.

If we can combine opensource software with proprietary stuff that has no open source equivalent yet - fantastic! Thats one reason for liking Mint.

regards,
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Postby JohnH on Thu Feb 15, 2007 6:26 am

I find it hard to respect Bil Gates.

I go back to the days of CPM-80 (pre DOS). He had the best spread sheet of the day true, but nothing else, other than marketing skills (mostly plain outright "front"). He bundled his inferior OS with inferior software (MS Word was not a patch on Word Perfect 4.2), but all of a sudden everyone was saying Word 3 was the thing to get....hence a monopoly. Then they were saying his Winzip was the ants pants (he buys up smaller companies - like the makers of PK Zip), badges it as his own; and every kisses his ....

Talk to Apple developers and hear what they think of his Windows 3 (or more appropriately, how he got it)

His marketing strategy does not gain my respect...I'm sorry. It a con job.

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Re: disagreeing with Richard Stallman

Postby bigbearomaha on Sat Feb 17, 2007 12:08 pm

clem wrote:With all due respect to RMS, I want to quote the following:

It is getting the whole question wrong. When people say: "could we make more proprietary software or could we make more Free Software", they're getting the whole question wrong. The best thing is if you can make some Free Software, the next best thing is if you don't make any software, and the worst thing is if you make some proprietary software.


When I see "Free Software", I see two great concepts "Free" and "Software". I love freedom. I love software. I also love chocolate, and when I go and buy a box of chocolate in my local supermarket I'm not denying my taste for it due to the fact that the box doesn't contain any recipe.. hence denying me the freedom to make these chocolates myself !!

Of course, if there was such thing as chocolate boxes WITH recipe, then it'd be great. But it wouldn't mean that all of sudden I wouldn't like eating "closed-source" chocolates, right? Because in the end of the day.. as much as I like having the freedom of making the chocolates myself, WHAT IS IMPORTANT IS THAT I LOVE CHOCOLATE.

Richard Stallman is overlooking a very important thing: People love Software. Yes, they love Freedom as well.. but as much as he wants to make us believe that we have to choose between one and the other, I'm sorry to say: NO. You can love your Freedom, you can love your Software.. that doesn't mean you should HATE proprietary Software, it means you should simply PREFER open-source equivalents.

In the end of the day, what you love is Software and Freedom. Proprietary software gives you Software. Open Source Software gives you Software AND Freedom.

In that regard they're both great and they both give you something. If you like Software you should like both. And if you like freedom you should like open source software a bit more than you already like proprietary software.

We're not in a war against proprietary software, we're in a World where new software means new solutions. If these solutions are open-source, then even better. What we are focusing on here in Linux Mint is Software. We're not saying vote Democrats, we're not saying don't sleep with your girlfriend before you get married, and we're not going to contribute to some anti-proprietary software campaign. This is politics, not technology. When making an operating system, I believe it is important than technology itself become the central part.

Just so that this is clear.

In regards to Linux Mint, you'll appreciate the following facts:
- all the software written by us is open-source (mintDesktop, mintDisk..etc)
- when we include something in Linux Mint our first concern is whether it's the best option for the user.

So yes, let's make more open-source software, but also keep in mind that more proprietary software ALSO is a good thing for IT in general.

Clem




This type of thinking is EXACTLY what I like about the group here. Where most people seem to be worried about free ( beer) but here it's freedom in distribution, implementation and environment are the priority. ( the free as in beer part, is a nice side effect though).

At it's base point, paying money for software is nothing more than free trade at work, you gave that and I give this. In which there is nothing wrong.

It is when people start placing sneaky and demanding "extras" into the arrangement that we begin to leave the honest principles of free trade behind. such as

"you give me money and I'll give this app, BUT, you can only use this app exactly the way I tell you to, or I'll take it back AND I'll keep your money anyway."


THAT kind of trade nobody needs and it most certainly is no longer free.

Stallman and company are to be applauded for their strength and courage to stand up for their beliefs and not let money or politics sway them. We need people like them. However, AS has been mentioned already, sometimes the hard line is not always the most realistic line. Ultimately, it's all good, As long as there is no way that they can FORCE everyone else to use thngs the way they see it, there will be freedom in usage and implementation, and that is what is most important.

Be Well,

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disagreeing with Richard Stallman

Postby richard on Sun Feb 25, 2007 11:53 am

It is when people start placing sneaky and demanding "extras" into the arrangement that we begin to leave the honest principles of free trade behind. such as

"you give me money and I'll give this app, BUT, you can only use this app exactly the way I tell you to, or I'll take it back AND I'll keep your money anyway."

This is the big bone I have to pick with Proprietary software.It's the control they exert over the end user to comply with their demands all depends if you agree with their philosophy . If I paid for it I want to use it as I please . . . no restrictions. I'm not interested in stealing their code or rewriting their software, but I may want to use it on more than one computer. I also on the other hand expect the software to work. This notion that I should pay Bill Gates or anyone else for bug ridden software and wait out fixes over the next 4 years in the hopes it will perform as it should have when I paid for it is ridiculous. My contention with any proprietary software is it's not worth the money. Once they lock you into it you'll be paying for the next million version upgrades and dealing with all of the bugs that never seem to end or disappear. And of course the 'new and improved' concept' enters the picture. It's gonna cost you. . . is money down the toilet. . . I'd rather
wait for 'open source' software to fix it's problems. At least I know what I'm getting and am not loosing my income or sleep over it. No restrictions and free. I totally agree with these concepts.

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Making vs. Using proprietary software.

Postby fede on Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:38 am

With all due respect, Clem, I think that your example misrepresents what Stallman is saying in the quote: he talks about making, not using proprietary software.

The chocolate example is clearly a case of using something, not making it.

The moral argument against developing proprietary software is much stronger than against merely using it (here we're all using Mint and loving it -seemingly without stain in our consciences- aren't we?). Choosing amongst the best alternative (or the lesser evil) when it comes to using free or proprietary software is a totally different thing from the consequences which stem from the choice of developing proprietary software (which is a long subject better addressed by other people - maybe RMS, for one?)

I don't know what Stallman might have said elsewhere, but here he doesn't seem to have said anything against using proprietary software. (Mint users rest at ease :wink: )
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Postby clem on Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:08 am

Yes, he's talking about "making" software.. and OK my example isn't perfect. But what I strongly disagree on is the fact that he's basically saying "no software" is better than "commercial software", I mean he's definitely calling for a "boycott on proprietary software", whether "free" alternatives exist or not.

As an IT enthusiast I do feel like I owe RMS a lot for what he's done, but I also feel like I owe a lot to the IT industry for what they've done as well, and that includes proprietary software.

Let's look at Windows Vista for instance. It's probably going to be horrible to use (I haven't tested it yet), restrictive, non-free in all and every aspect of it.. and yet... when we look at it here at Linux Mint, it gives us ideas, we can learn from it and so the consequence it has on us is a positive one. It contributes to making software better in general.

For that reason, and provided the fact that you do have a choice not to use it, I say "software" is better than "no software" regardless of the license it comes with. And in that regard that's where I entirely disagree with RMS.

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Postby Helmut on Tue Feb 27, 2007 12:11 pm

Of course having software is better than having no software, no doubt at all. But if there is an open-source solution, we should certainly prefer it.

Making proprietary software creates closed-source solutions, inheritly far inferior on the long run. Why inferior on the long run? Because the community is excluded from making developments, adaptations, improvments, bug-fixes, and so forth. But isn't that community generally much more competant and more interested than any manufacturer? One reason why I prefer open-source to proprietary fixes.
Besides that, why waste money on patchworked left-overs if you can get something better for free? Isn't it better having software that lets you participate in development?

If you really want a jaw-dropping, truly revelating experience - read the licence conditions of proprietary software! Vista for instance!
Another reason for preferring open-source software. We have the choice, thats why we use Mint.

regards,
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A perspective

Postby Hiko96786 on Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:05 pm

Aloha,
I am not a programmer. I am not an IT professional. I use computers to get work done. In not so eloquent terms,
1) I prefer to own what I purchase. You can't own a proprietary product. You are renting it. So to accomplish my job I have to rent the tools from the software manufacturer and then any product I create has to fall under the rule of that software manufacturer. I have no freedom.
2) With open source, I own it. I can modify it if needs be. I can use it anywhere I want. So, I own the tools that help me complete the job I need to do. The product that is created is mine and not restricted by the software manufacturer.
Perhaps this perspective is not so eloquent but it is as honest as I can be. As to using proprietary software in an OS, no worries, as long as I won the OS. This is the critical difference for me. Being new to Linux I am still gaining an understanding of the issues of freedom.
Mahalo,
Edward
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Postby Helmut on Fri Mar 02, 2007 12:38 pm

Looking at Clems original post and Edwards one further up, it seems we all agree.
So where's the disagreement, or was it a misunderstanding?
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Postby WinXpNewb on Wed Oct 03, 2007 10:06 am

As a non-techie and non-developer, I just have to ask:

Why is it often MS vs. Open Source/Windows vs. Linux that is often used as an example by people pro-Open Source?

From a person who has no idea of developing like me, it just comes off as using a straw man: Knowledgeable users comparing the worst or near worst proprietary attitude vs. the best/most idealistic qualities of Open Source.

I think clem makes a great point both from developing and utilizing software perspective. Why must it be about proprietary vs. open source?

Does Open Source always make people feel they have a choice? I'd disagree because I've read about some people who couldn't utilize open source, couldn't read the source yet blindly follow it.

In those situations, isn't this tantamount to telling Christianity believing people that they have a choice to become an atheist as long as they accept they are going to hell?

The worst case I've seen of this and this could be a troll job but at the time I read it, it felt sincere, was of a person once posting in the Opera forums asking for help on whether they should switch to Opera because Opera was closed source and they were trying to live
purely on OSS.

Does this really sound like an environment that's completely composed of choice? Even if the philosophy is there, if the people take away the choice. Elitist who look down on non-techies. Developers creating policies preventing anyone outside the circle to help or ignoring their suggestions/contributions. People below expertise choosing to become blind to their choices...at what point does this start to become a cult?

Yes, it's only a minority but it's a vocal one that appears to be ignored by the majority of pro-FOSS people which in turn gives way to the loss of choice for some of the people part of the FOSS community and why is that?

Isn't this because the majority of the FOSS community are too blinded by classification over quality? Maybe it's presumptious of me to ask such a question yet the vocal ones appear to uphold this even when they are knowledgeable people such as developers.

It just seems that people ignore such glaring things like FF and OO, 2 of the most well known popular OSS were once closed source that later turned open source and are now supported by many users over programs that start as Open Source and get no supporters. How then is demonizing/favoring open source over proprietary/closed source thinking of the long term? Wouldn't true choice be thinking of the software instead? Wouldn't looking at a program and using/supporting it because it's the best you know of rather than the 2nd best OSS alternative be what truly choice is about? Wouldn't a FOSS developer looking at a program he wants to improve and be welcomed by the program developer because the latter cares about quality be truly what FOSS should represent? Wouldn't then FOSS truly feel ours/yours because both you and the environment embrace quality including your quality suggestions/cry for help if you don't know how to actually develop the program rather than embrace the label and tell you to go fix it yourself? and when people seek to improve quality because they've felt a sense of belonging in that community make Open Source vs. Proprietary irrelevant to the discussion?

To sum up: Shouldn't FOSS (not just the people who uphold it but the masses who follow it) really be about pushing for the quality of software rather than favoring a program labelled with the term "Open Source" just because a select few developers know how to make it their own? and when pro-Open Source people do that through listening and educating (not just giving advise but going further and encouraging and spreading guides) Isn't that when FOSS become FOSS? or metaphorically speaking, isn't that when the majority of the people truly get a choice because for the first time, isn't that when people will finally know the difference between Gobuntu and Ubuntu?
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