castanyes blaves

Random ramblings about some random stuff, and things; but more stuff than things -- all in a mesmerizing and kaleidoscopic soapbox-like flow of words.


Demistifying Richard M. Stallman There are quite miths out there about Richard Stallman being too crazy about freedom. I read a recent interview: And some snippeds surprised me, debunking some of those myths: when talking about first BSD distributions: FB: Wasn't that BSD license free enough? RMS: This license does qualify as free software, but I think it is not as good as some free software licenses because it doesn't protect the freedom of all users. It allows middlemen to make the software proprietary, which means they distribute the software to others but without the freedom. FB: Why have you chosen to write a new license (the GPL)? RMS: I think I see a confusion here. My decision to develop GNU licenses had nothing to do with any of the BSD licenses. The BSD licenses were used after the GNU GPL. In 1985 or 1986 I visited the people at Berkeley CSRG and asked them to please separate their work from the AT&T Unix code. I asked them to release their code as free software rather than making it available only to AT&T licensees. I did this because I wanted to be able to use BSD code in GNU. And explains quite frankly why some BSD licenses suck: FB: [...] It seems to my eyes that the BSD license gives more freedom to users, developers, and businesses. Am I wrong? RMS: This is what ensures that the users have the four freedoms. The BSD licenses do not ensure this, and thus not all users have these freedoms. The BSD licenses (there were more than one of them) do not give more freedom. What they offer, to those who can take advantage of it, is power: power to deny others' freedom. That is not a good thing. See this page ( for more explanation. Uhmmm, I didn't know that: FB: How would you define Apple's Darwin? Both proprietary and open source? RMS: Darwin is currently free software, not proprietary. (It is also open source.) However, two years ago some of the code in Darwin had a different license. It was open source, but it was not free software. Oh, this is _truly fantastic_: FB: I read that Microsoft claimed that GPL kills innovation for businesses. RMS: The GPL is designed to protect the freedom of free software. It says that modified versions of the software must be free as well. This is what Microsoft does not like. Microsoft thinks it should be entitled to use our work in its own products--even when those products are proprietary. Microsoft won't let us use their source code in our programs, but they think we are obliged to let them use our source code in their programs. Microsoft says, "What's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine." That's exactly why I don't like Apple's Mac OS X model. They build on free software, put some candy on top of it as propietary software, and they say: "Look, we are nice people giving you lots of free software, and some candy as well...", and then mutter, or avoid to say: "^^^...which is propietary software^^^". So basically, the question is: should I buy an overpriced hardware that comes with a platform with lots of open source at its foundation, and with some eyecandy that you will be charged for? My question is: no. Right now, on the verge of 2005, I prefer to spend my money on an IBM/Lenovo's X40 laptop than on an Apple's Powerbook, and install GNU/Linux on it. I know I would be paying a little sum of money to Microsoft to do that, but there are legal ways, and successful examples, to get that money back.

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