Home > FSF, GNU/Linux, linux, Linux, Richard Stallman > Upon further review . . .

Upon further review . . .

Well, that was interesting. Little did I know that a simple, albeit furious and impassioned, voicing of an opinion would spark such a huge debate and brand me, to combine various comments on the blog, as an idiot drama queen with a telephone pole stuck up my hind quarters keeping the door from hitting me on the way out.

You guys . . . .

But seriously, this is “Exhibit A” for the case that cooler heads should always prevail. With the benefit of the more thought-provoking of opinions in the comments, and after discussing the issue privately with several people whose opinions I respect (even when I disagree with them), allow me to clarify, add, emblish and otherwise append some of the things I wrote in the previous item, like:

A glaring omission: While re-reading my blog post, it mistakenly reads like it’s just Richard Stallman’s statement on Steve Jobs that is the sole reason for my leaving the FSF. It’s not. The statement about Jobs is just a tipping point in a list of several incidents where I, and others, have run into resistance, censorship and pariah-hood by merely questioning the FSF gospel over the years that I have been a FSF member. As an aside, an e-mail exchange with FSF executive director John Sullivan — some long and detailed, some not — allowed me to air my grievances, and I am grateful to him for lending a proverbial ear to hear these concerns. Sullivan’s e-mail exchanges, as well as discussions with others, show there is room for change in the organization.

A change at the top of the FSF leadership is neccessary and vital. A fork of FSF . . . not so much. In fact, I will admit that in the heat of anger and raising the idea of a fork earlier — “better than raising a knife,” someone said in an e-mail — further discussion (mostly by e-mail, some by phone) point to a slight change of heart on my part; simply put, all options should be explored. Forking should only be a final option. From discussions I’ve had with current and former FSFers, there is already a fork — FSFE — but more importantly, I understand from others who share my frustration that there is a growing amount of room within the organization for the reforms that, in my opinion, would make for better leadership in, and progress on behalf of, the FSF.

Interestingly, the most compelling reason and argument not to fork is that it would essentially be reinventing the wheel. Changing it, as one would change a flat tire (as one person put it in a conversation), might be more appropriate. So I may be premature in floating the idea for a fork, and such as it is with the free/open source software world, that option is always there.

How to praise someone’s accomplishments when you disagree with them: Marcel Gagne probably wrote the best look at the passing of Steve Jobs from a FOSS perspective in a recent blog item. That beats quoting a Chicago mayor by several light years, and I wish I had written that item. Thanks, Marcel.

One thing is clear: From the comments, there is a clear line — albeit a wide gulf — separating those who want to have a rational discussion or debate about this issue from those who are merely Kool-Aid drinking dogmatards who are no different, from a behavior standpoint, than the Apple cultists they despise. Thanks to each and every one of you for commenting and/or contacting me personally: To those who wanted a meaningful discussion, I appreciate the candor; to the others, thanks for the entertainment.

As an aside, I just found out that WordPress may have been routing some responses to the spam folder, where they’re deleted. I noticed this when I pulled a response out this morning. So if you haven’t seen your comment, that’s probably what happened. If you want to try again, I’ll keep an eye out for it. If not, that’s fine too.

As Forrest Gump, would say, “That’s all I have to say about that.”

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software in his new home office. Watch this space.)

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  1. October 9, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Nice.

  2. Colonel Panik
    October 9, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Enough already.

    Until HURD is at 2.0 Colonel Panik is a Linux guy.
    Linux is Free and Open, that is good enough for me.

  3. Nigel
    October 10, 2011 at 5:57 am

    I am more and more of the opinion that Creative Commons is the right place to be vs the FSF/OSI.

    I’ve drawn a bit of criticism in the past for suggesting the CC path for software* but giving creators the full range of freedom from permissive (BY) to copyleft (BY-SA) to copyleft and non-commercial (BY-SA-NC) to “source available” but locked down (BY-NC-ND) without all the negativity and dogmatism strikes me as the way to go.

    As someone mentioned…more like the ASPCA vs PETA.

    * Yes, I am aware of some potential legal shortcomings of using CC licenses for source code. I’m also aware of some potential legal shortcomings of using CC license for data (see Open Street Map discussions, ODbL, etc). But I still like the range of options and simplicity/usability for CC.

  4. Andrew_C
    October 10, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Yes, dethroning RMS and disassociating the FSF from him would IMHO be the correct response. He really has become a liability to Free Software, and his remarks about Steve Jobs are yet another example of why his time is past. No-one is irreplaceable, not Steve Jobs, not RMS.

    We will always be greatly indebted to him in too many ways to list, but it is time to move beyond him.

  5. October 12, 2011 at 1:49 am

    As offensive and irresponsible as Stallman’s comments about Jobs were, his comments about sex and children are even more offensive. The idea of allowing any and all types of videos – no matter how repulsive – to be allowed in schools, uncensored, and called “educational material” is just insane. And, yes, that is what Stallman has called for.

    He is not worthy of being the face of any organization.

    • October 12, 2011 at 4:25 am

      Michael — I am not aware of the comments about the videos. When did this happen?

  1. October 9, 2011 at 7:15 pm
  2. October 11, 2011 at 5:48 pm
  3. October 19, 2011 at 8:50 am

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