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Old 04-04-2008, 03:12 PM
Andrew Sackville-West
 
Default

On Fri, Apr 04, 2008 at 10:04:46AM +0200, Ivan Savcic wrote:

> AFAIK, RMS considers only one distribution to be really and truly free
> -- it's the Gentoo based Ututo[1]. He talked about this in his talk he
> held in Belgrade, Serbia.

I have a problem with this. Debian, in it's default install is almost
assuredly GNU free. And it has the additional freedom of allowing the
user to choose to use non-free software within the structure of it's
packaging system. IMO that is more free than preventing people from
using the software they want.

.02

A
 
Old 04-04-2008, 03:42 PM
Hal Vaughan
 
Default

On Friday 04 April 2008, Andrew Sackville-West wrote:
> On Fri, Apr 04, 2008 at 10:04:46AM +0200, Ivan Savcic wrote:
> > AFAIK, RMS considers only one distribution to be really and truly
> > free -- it's the Gentoo based Ututo[1]. He talked about this in his
> > talk he held in Belgrade, Serbia.
>
> I have a problem with this. Debian, in it's default install is almost
> assuredly GNU free. And it has the additional freedom of allowing the
> user to choose to use non-free software within the structure of it's
> packaging system. IMO that is more free than preventing people from
> using the software they want.
>
> .02

Another interesting note, from the same RMS talk. Someone pointed out
that people had the freedom to choose so they should be able to choose
non-free if they want. His response? A person never has the choice to
be a slave.

Hal


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Old 04-04-2008, 04:17 PM
"Ivan Savcic"
 
Default

On Fri, Apr 4, 2008 at 5:12 PM, Andrew Sackville-West
<andrew@farwestbilliards.com> wrote:

> I have a problem with this. Debian, in it's default install is almost
> assuredly GNU free. And it has the additional freedom of allowing the
> user to choose to use non-free software within the structure of it's
> packaging system. IMO that is more free than preventing people from
> using the software they want.

I had exactly the same view on that. But RMS is obviously a purist, he
dreams to banish all closed source from this world. Like Hal pointed
out, RMS believes that there should be no freedom when it comes to
choosing freedom itself.

Ivan


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Old 04-04-2008, 04:32 PM
Hal Vaughan
 
Default

On Friday 04 April 2008, Ivan Savcic wrote:
> On Fri, Apr 4, 2008 at 5:12 PM, Andrew Sackville-West
>
> <andrew@farwestbilliards.com> wrote:
> > I have a problem with this. Debian, in it's default install is
> > almost assuredly GNU free. And it has the additional freedom of
> > allowing the user to choose to use non-free software within the
> > structure of it's packaging system. IMO that is more free than
> > preventing people from using the software they want.
>
> I had exactly the same view on that. But RMS is obviously a purist,
> he dreams to banish all closed source from this world. Like Hal
> pointed out, RMS believes that there should be no freedom when it
> comes to choosing freedom itself.

Personally I use very little closed source software. I have two Windows
partitions for testing software for my clients. I use Java, but that's
not closed anymore (depending on who you ask). Other than that, I have
been using TaxCut to do family taxes (which are too complex now, since
my Father's death and estate issues, to do on my own). To me that's a
good example of what freedom is. There just isn't a FOSS tax program
that is as reliable as TaxCut (I know there's one, but that's the kind
of program I'll consider a new release for at least 5 years due to the
nature of that particular beast). I have a choice of spending about
$25 for TaxCut fed and state or paying an account many times that or
doing it myself. In that case I want the freedom to choose. Using
TaxCut provides me with more freedom than I lose by not being able to
modify a program I don't want to modify anyway.

I also would hate to lose the freedom of being able to enjoy the one
immersive game I've ever enjoyed: Myst. I like the game and what
they've done and don't care if it's closed source. (Although I admit
if it were FOSS, many more sequels would have been produced, but they
might also be of low quality compared to the originals.)

Hal


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Old 04-04-2008, 04:48 PM
Andrew Sackville-West
 
Default

On Fri, Apr 04, 2008 at 11:42:47AM -0400, Hal Vaughan wrote:
> On Friday 04 April 2008, Andrew Sackville-West wrote:
> > On Fri, Apr 04, 2008 at 10:04:46AM +0200, Ivan Savcic wrote:
> > > AFAIK, RMS considers only one distribution to be really and truly
> > > free -- it's the Gentoo based Ututo[1]. He talked about this in his
> > > talk he held in Belgrade, Serbia.
> >
> > I have a problem with this. Debian, in it's default install is almost
> > assuredly GNU free. And it has the additional freedom of allowing the
> > user to choose to use non-free software within the structure of it's
> > packaging system. IMO that is more free than preventing people from
> > using the software they want.
> >
> > .02
>
> Another interesting note, from the same RMS talk. Someone pointed out
> that people had the freedom to choose so they should be able to choose
> non-free if they want. His response? A person never has the choice to
> be a slave.

yeah, this is where RMS loses me. Don't get me wrong, I have immense
respect for him and the work he does. But these kinds of statements
are really difficult.

I mean, I can think for a while and get what he's saying (I think): if
a person is in a position where the only choice is to become a slave
then they have not actually chosen to be a slave, but have merely been
forced into it somehow. I guess an example of this in computing would be
if I chose to use 3-d rendering on my system. Since I have an nvidia
card then I currently have two choices (assuming I don't have the $ to
go buy a new card):

1) choose to use the nvidia proprietary drivers

or

2) choose to not use 3-d rendering.

So in reality, I don't have choice and my decision is forced, hence,
no freedom. And in that case I can agree with what he says (though he
should spend more time trying to explain what he means instead of just
hanging these things out there...).

But what about a situation where there is a choice between multiple
open and closed source software packages that each do the job well?
What if the particular feature set I want is implemented in a
particular way that I prefer by the closed source option? (or even, I
just arbitrarily choose the closed source one for no real reason) In
that case I am not forced to choose the closed source option, it
merely happens to be the one I choose. I could just as validly choose
the open source one and contirbute to the project in such a way that
it suits my preference better (and that is, FTR, what *I* would
choose). But that is not a case of "slavery" as there are many options
available to me, I merely have chosen one that he doesn't agree
with. That's not a slavery situation. But I also agree that this is a
fairly contrived example.

more .02

A
 
Old 04-04-2008, 05:35 PM
Hal Vaughan
 
Default

On Friday 04 April 2008, Andrew Sackville-West wrote:
> On Fri, Apr 04, 2008 at 11:42:47AM -0400, Hal Vaughan wrote:
> > On Friday 04 April 2008, Andrew Sackville-West wrote:
> > > On Fri, Apr 04, 2008 at 10:04:46AM +0200, Ivan Savcic wrote:
> > > > AFAIK, RMS considers only one distribution to be really and
> > > > truly free -- it's the Gentoo based Ututo[1]. He talked about
> > > > this in his talk he held in Belgrade, Serbia.
> > >
> > > I have a problem with this. Debian, in it's default install is
> > > almost assuredly GNU free. And it has the additional freedom of
> > > allowing the user to choose to use non-free software within the
> > > structure of it's packaging system. IMO that is more free than
> > > preventing people from using the software they want.
> > >
> > > .02
> >
> > Another interesting note, from the same RMS talk. Someone pointed
> > out that people had the freedom to choose so they should be able to
> > choose non-free if they want. His response? A person never has
> > the choice to be a slave.
>
> yeah, this is where RMS loses me. Don't get me wrong, I have immense
> respect for him and the work he does. But these kinds of statements
> are really difficult.

I would agree with you. I know there are people who will starve rather
than violate their beliefs, but I also wonder what he would do if he
had a kid to feed and his choice was to program for a company that
produces closed source software and not having a job. From what I know
of his life, I don't think he has ever been in a position where he had
to make the tough ethical choices like that and I honestly do not think
he understands such situations. He has spent most of his life in the
Ivory Tower and, like the Prince at the start of "The Prince and the
Pauper," I think he has little understanding of the reality most people
live on a day-to-day basis.

> I mean, I can think for a while and get what he's saying (I think):
> if a person is in a position where the only choice is to become a
> slave then they have not actually chosen to be a slave, but have
> merely been forced into it somehow.

Now we're getting into existentialism. (The more we get off topic, it
seems, the more interesting things get so I'm sure a topic cop will be
here any moment.) You still have a choice, technically. For instance,
if someone holds a gun to your head and says, "Torture this suspect,"
some say, "I had no choice," but there is a choice: die as you are,
with your morals and ethics intact, or violate your own integrity and
stay alive. Some, those generally at the lower levels of Piaget's
Hierarchy of Needs, will say survival is important while those focused
on the higher levels (focused on self actualization) where, since it's
a pyramid, there are far fewer people, will say maintaining your sense
of self and integrity is more important. Many with religious views
would agree with the latter as well.

So if it comes to freedom or slavery, you can still choose freedom. It
may mean, in a literal choice of slavery, execution or torture, but you
can still make the choice to not act as a slave.

In software, that would mean you still have the choice to not use closed
source software. In my case making that choice would mean 1) Losing
clients, 2) Having to either do my taxes by hand or hire an accountant
(who will himself, use closed source software), and 3) No longer
playing Myst.

I have to wonder about #2. It would have been interesting to ask RMS
who does his taxes. If he pays an accountant to do them and that
accountant is using proprietary software, I wonder how he'd respond to
the charge that he's still using closed source by extension...

> I guess an example of this in
> computing would be if I chose to use 3-d rendering on my system.
> Since I have an nvidia card then I currently have two choices
> (assuming I don't have the $ to go buy a new card):
>
> 1) choose to use the nvidia proprietary drivers
>
> or
>
> 2) choose to not use 3-d rendering.
>
> So in reality, I don't have choice and my decision is forced, hence,
> no freedom. And in that case I can agree with what he says (though he
> should spend more time trying to explain what he means instead of
> just hanging these things out there...).

But you do have a choice: Use 3d or not. One you make the choice to use
3D you are making the choice to use closed source.

> But what about a situation where there is a choice between multiple
> open and closed source software packages that each do the job well?
> What if the particular feature set I want is implemented in a
> particular way that I prefer by the closed source option? (or even, I
> just arbitrarily choose the closed source one for no real reason) In
> that case I am not forced to choose the closed source option, it
> merely happens to be the one I choose. I could just as validly choose
> the open source one and contirbute to the project in such a way that
> it suits my preference better (and that is, FTR, what *I* would
> choose). But that is not a case of "slavery" as there are many
> options available to me, I merely have chosen one that he doesn't
> agree with. That's not a slavery situation. But I also agree that
> this is a fairly contrived example.

I think a parallel point is that you pick a FOSS program that you
prefer, you may make the choice to not modify it. If you have a choice
between open and closed source and you pick closed source due to
features, I think freedom has been preserved, but I'm not up with RMS
in his Ivory Tower.

I have picked closed source at times. (Generally all I use closed
source for, and I've mentioned some of these, is 1) To test my programs
for my clients on Windows, 2) TaxCut (not needed anymore, have to hire
an accountant), and 3) To play Myst. I used to have to use Windows to
run the manual CD for the vintage car I have and work on, but I wrote a
Perl script that went through all the files on it and changed the ""
characters in URLs to the "/" like they should have been.) If I can, I
use open source and have contributed to open source projects and even
done some of my own FOSS programs.

But I feel it is not slavery and not an abdication of rights or choice
to elect to use a closed source program.

But then, I'm not living in an Ivory Tower and have a business to run
and don't get nice speaker's fees for showing up wearing socks and
talking about my philosophical views.

Hal


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Old 04-04-2008, 05:36 PM
Hal Vaughan
 
Default

On Friday 04 April 2008, Michael C wrote:
> Ivan Savcic wrote:
> > On Fri, Apr 4, 2008 at 5:12 PM, Andrew Sackville-West
> >
> > <andrew@farwestbilliards.com> wrote:
> >> I have a problem with this. Debian, in it's default install is
> >> almost assuredly GNU free. And it has the additional freedom of
> >> allowing the user to choose to use non-free software within the
> >> structure of it's packaging system. IMO that is more free than
> >> preventing people from using the software they want.
> >
> > I had exactly the same view on that. But RMS is obviously a purist,
> > he dreams to banish all closed source from this world. Like Hal
> > pointed out, RMS believes that there should be no freedom when it
> > comes to choosing freedom itself.
> >
> > Ivan
>
> RMS is more of a hypocrite than anything else. He morally objects to
> distros/*BSD variants with non-free applications in their
> repositories/ports systems, on the grounds that this implicitly
> advocates the use of non-free software, whilst explicitly advocating
> GPL-licensed software for use in conjunction with that ultimate
> proprietary platform, MS Windows:
> http://www.gnu.org/software/for-windows.html

I think what RMS objects to is anything that was not his idea first.

Hal


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Old 04-04-2008, 05:48 PM
Michael C
 
Default

Hal Vaughan wrote:

On Friday 04 April 2008, Michael C wrote:


Ivan Savcic wrote:


On Fri, Apr 4, 2008 at 5:12 PM, Andrew Sackville-West

<andrew@farwestbilliards.com> wrote:


I have a problem with this. Debian, in it's default install is
almost assuredly GNU free. And it has the additional freedom of
allowing the user to choose to use non-free software within the
structure of it's packaging system. IMO that is more free than
preventing people from using the software they want.


I had exactly the same view on that. But RMS is obviously a purist,
he dreams to banish all closed source from this world. Like Hal
pointed out, RMS believes that there should be no freedom when it
comes to choosing freedom itself.

Ivan


RMS is more of a hypocrite than anything else. He morally objects to
distros/*BSD variants with non-free applications in their
repositories/ports systems, on the grounds that this implicitly
advocates the use of non-free software, whilst explicitly advocating
GPL-licensed software for use in conjunction with that ultimate
proprietary platform, MS Windows:
http://www.gnu.org/software/for-windows.html



I think what RMS objects to is anything that was not his idea first.

Hal




Honi soit qui mal y pense!

The FSF's list curiously doesn't mention the GNU Foundation's support
for the Win32 port of emacs and gcc:
http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/windows/ntemacs.html




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Old 04-04-2008, 06:03 PM
Michael C
 
Default

Ivan Savcic wrote:

On Fri, Apr 4, 2008 at 5:12 PM, Andrew Sackville-West
<andrew@farwestbilliards.com> wrote:



I have a problem with this. Debian, in it's default install is almost
assuredly GNU free. And it has the additional freedom of allowing the
user to choose to use non-free software within the structure of it's
packaging system. IMO that is more free than preventing people from
using the software they want.



I had exactly the same view on that. But RMS is obviously a purist, he
dreams to banish all closed source from this world. Like Hal pointed
out, RMS believes that there should be no freedom when it comes to
choosing freedom itself.

Ivan



RMS is more of a hypocrite than anything else. He morally objects to
distros/*BSD variants with non-free applications in their
repositories/ports systems, on the grounds that this implicitly
advocates the use of non-free software, whilst explicitly advocating
GPL-licensed software for use in conjunction with that ultimate
proprietary platform, MS Windows:
http://www.gnu.org/software/for-windows.html






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Old 04-04-2008, 06:07 PM
Hal Vaughan
 
Default

On Friday 04 April 2008, Michael C wrote:
> Hal Vaughan wrote:
> > On Friday 04 April 2008, Michael C wrote:
> >> Ivan Savcic wrote:
> >>> On Fri, Apr 4, 2008 at 5:12 PM, Andrew Sackville-West
> >>>
> >>> <andrew@farwestbilliards.com> wrote:
> >>>> I have a problem with this. Debian, in it's default install is
> >>>> almost assuredly GNU free. And it has the additional freedom of
> >>>> allowing the user to choose to use non-free software within the
> >>>> structure of it's packaging system. IMO that is more free than
> >>>> preventing people from using the software they want.
> >>>
> >>> I had exactly the same view on that. But RMS is obviously a
> >>> purist, he dreams to banish all closed source from this world.
> >>> Like Hal pointed out, RMS believes that there should be no
> >>> freedom when it comes to choosing freedom itself.
> >>>
> >>> Ivan
> >>
> >> RMS is more of a hypocrite than anything else. He morally objects
> >> to distros/*BSD variants with non-free applications in their
> >> repositories/ports systems, on the grounds that this implicitly
> >> advocates the use of non-free software, whilst explicitly
> >> advocating GPL-licensed software for use in conjunction with that
> >> ultimate proprietary platform, MS Windows:
> >> http://www.gnu.org/software/for-windows.html
> >
> > I think what RMS objects to is anything that was not his idea
> > first.
> >
> > Hal
>
> Honi soit qui mal y pense!

Merde!

Granted that's just my opinion, based on what I've read and less than 2
1/2 hours at one of his talks (including some time talking to him
afterwards), so I could be way off base, but I did get the sense that
his world definitely starts and ends with his own views -- and
basically contains only his views.

> The FSF's list curiously doesn't mention the GNU Foundation's support
> for the Win32 port of emacs and gcc:
> http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/windows/ntemacs.html

I admire RMS and a lot of what he's done. I'm currently working on
source for controlling an HD radio in C++ so I'm using gcc, based on
his earlier version and he did write emacs (isn't that an OS or
religion?). That doesn't mean that I think he carries things too far.

But then again, maybe it's that blindness and need of his to go too far
that has achieved what he has.

Hal


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