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posted by cmn32480 on Tuesday December 26, @07:44PM   Printer-friendly
from the interesting-viewpoints dept.

Joseph Graham has written a very short blog post about software freedom and the direction we might take to achieve it.

The free software movement, founded in the 80s by Richard Stallman and supported by the Free Software Foundations 1, 2, 3, 4, preaches that we need software that gives us access to the code and the copyright permissions to study, modify and redistribute. While I feel this is entirely true, I think it's not the best way to explain Free Software to people.

I think the problem we have is better explained more like this:

"Computer technology is complicated and new. Education about computers is extremely poor among all age groups. Technology companies have taken advantage of this lack of education to brainwash people into accepting absurd abuses of their rights."

Source : The Free Software movement is Barking up the wrong tree


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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by kurenai.tsubasa on Tuesday December 26, @08:13PM (6 children)

    by kurenai.tsubasa (5227) on Tuesday December 26, @08:13PM (#614405) Journal

    No, it's not.

    The best way to explain free software to people is with case studies of vendor lock-in. “We need our software to do x.” Well, that's great and all. If you have free software, the response from IT is “Sure, we need t amount of time and a budget of $amount” and then it's simply another business decision. If you have proprietary, user- and even entire industry-subjugating software, the response from IT is “for the thousandth time NO.”

    I've gone so far down that road that I've had to back up my “no” with the CFAA and DMCA. That is the position people don't understand. Yes, I'm a programmer. No, I cannot do what you want me to do with this software because what I would need to do is ILLEGAL.

    But the assertion in TFS is not wrong, either. Proprietary software is what enables vendors to abuse their users. If you have proprietary software, and you don't like what it's doing, what are you going to do? Bitch about it? Fly off the handle with some conspiracy theory about how all assigned males are conspiring to prevent women from being programmers?

    Well, I'd rather have free software. When I have free software, and it does something that a lot of people don't like, then I just roll up my sleeves and get to work.

    It's not about some specific abuse or something that's gone too far. It's fundamentally about what you can do if you don't like how a program works.

    • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Tuesday December 26, @08:28PM (1 child)

      by krishnoid (1156) on Tuesday December 26, @08:28PM (#614421)

      That is the position people don't understand. Yes, I'm a programmer. No, I cannot do what you want me to do with this software because what I would need to do is ILLEGAL.

      Mention exposing the company to legal liability and show them the articles on some of the Business Software Alliance raids. Hopefully one of the company lawyers would nip this in the bud.

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by Pino P on Tuesday December 26, @10:33PM (3 children)

      by Pino P (4721) on Tuesday December 26, @10:33PM (#614470) Journal

      Instead of saying it's flat out illegal, say everything has a price. If the client is willing to pay billions of dollars to acquire a controlling stake in the publisher of the relevant piece of proprietary software, it's not illegal. So quote the client the publisher's market capitalization as part of your expenses for such a project.

      • (Score: 2) by TheRaven on Wednesday December 27, @04:33PM (2 children)

        by TheRaven (270) on Wednesday December 27, @04:33PM (#614774) Journal
        Even that's not the whole story. A lot of proprietary software projects include libraries that are licensed under specific terms and so you'd also need to acquire your suppliers' suppliers (for example, when Sun open sourced Solaris, they had to strip out the locale code from libc, because they had licensed a proprietary implementation from IBM and did not have the rights to release the source code, at all, let alone under an open source license). In some cases, the supplier provided a binary-only blob and has subsequently gone out of business and the receivers lost the code. Yahoo ended up in this situation with respect to a few things and so has some insane patches to FreeBSD to allow them to run a 32-bit library inside a 64-bit process.
        --
        sudo mod me up
        • (Score: 2) by Pino P on Wednesday December 27, @06:43PM (1 child)

          by Pino P (4721) on Wednesday December 27, @06:43PM (#614829) Journal

          In some cases, the supplier provided a binary-only blob and has subsequently gone out of business and the receivers lost the code.

          The procedure for this:

          1. Buy rights to what the receivers do have
          2. Disassemble
          3. Publish assembly code under free software license
          4. Add unit tests
          5. Refactor

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by chucky on Tuesday December 26, @08:16PM (1 child)

    by chucky (3309) on Tuesday December 26, @08:16PM (#614408)

    So I opened TFA and the nine examples there always end with this:

    Why do people put up with this? Because they are so poorly educated about computers that they cannot imagine anything different.

    Yes, maybe. And at the same time, they don't give a fuck.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday December 26, @09:19PM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 26, @09:19PM (#614452) Journal

      Well . . . yeah . . . but - if people WERE educated enough to understand how they are being led by the nose - don't you think they would object to having a ring in their noses? Look at politics. It has taken many years of mindless brainwashing to re-educate our population into two factions. The software industry is working on the very same strategy. Every middle and high school in the US, as well as most elementary schools have "computer science" courses - and precious few offer any "science". Almost all of them teach students how to use proprietary trash - as well as respect for software licensing. "Oh no, you can't do that, Honey, you would be violating a EULA!" That's science?

      --
      #Hillarygropedme
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @08:17PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @08:17PM (#614410)

    "educate people about computers"
    Impossible

    "Computers are very interesting so it should be worth their while."
    The masses disagree so strongly with this, that they don't even want computers. They want phones with a 1-finger interface, and "internet connected appliances" that can respond to their manufactured desires for more consumer trash.

    It's all irrelevant anyway, because the interface is just the protrusion into their physical existence, of the vast incomprehensible machinery of surveillance capitalism.
    You may as well explain computers to a dog, and maybe animal rights is the correct frame for this.
    "Sorry, you have an inalienable right to privacy now. No more facebook for you because lower organisms can't give consent".

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @09:04PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @09:04PM (#614442)

      Without having to have any understanding of how it works behind the scenes. Basically they want the Wizard of Oz, without having to poke their head behind the curtains to see how he does his job.

      The majority of people are lazy, but the majority of people have enough money to override the will of the intelligent, but not amoral.

      As a result the intelligent but amoral can enforce THEIR whims on everyone because they are the true shepards of the flock.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Tuesday December 26, @08:20PM (4 children)

    My mother is understands my explanation of open source but I have so far been unable to explain free software to her

    --
    127.0.0.1 www.hosted-pixel.com # I Am Absolutely Serious
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Pino P on Tuesday December 26, @10:37PM (2 children)

      by Pino P (4721) on Tuesday December 26, @10:37PM (#614473) Journal

      "Would you buy a house without its blueprints?"
      "Of course not."
      "Then why do you buy an app without its source code?"

      "Imagine if there were only one plumber or electrician legally allowed to work on your house. Now imagine that plumber or electrician going out of business. Now what do you do?"

      • (Score: 5, Informative) by Thexalon on Wednesday December 27, @03:24AM

        by Thexalon (636) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 27, @03:24AM (#614585) Homepage

        "Computer programs without the code is like a car where you aren't allowed to lift the hood for any reason, and could be sued if you tried to tinker with anything. Even if the problem was that your car was busted and you needed to fix it."

        An interesting point is that one population that understands this problem perfectly well are farmers, because John Deere has been using code copyrights to make it illegal for farmers to repair their own tractors.

        --
        If you act on pie in the sky, you're likely to get pie in the face.
      • (Score: 2) by choose another one on Wednesday December 27, @03:00PM

        by choose another one (515) on Wednesday December 27, @03:00PM (#614748)

        > "Would you buy a house without its blueprints?"
        > "Of course not."

        Umm, what?

        I have no blueprints for my current house, in fact it was built before blueprints were even invented (I think, it's close). In fact I have never been offered plans or blueprints for _any_ house I have looked at buying, even a new-build. It wouldn't help anyway, in most houses the stuff you want to know like where exactly the plumbing and wiring is, bears no relation to any plan, you just have to trace it.

        > "Imagine if there were only one plumber or electrician legally allowed to work on your house. Now imagine that plumber or electrician going out of business. Now what do you do?"

        Knock the house down and build another one, not repeating the same mistake? If the plumbing and electrics _cannot_ be fixed shouldn't take long for the house to become uninhabitable and you should be able to get an insurance claim out of that. If not, a quick flood or fire should make it certain - and what happens with can't-be-fixed plumbing and electrics?, yep, floods & fires.

        In reality, source availability is orthogonal to proprietary lockdown and software freedom - I've worked with proprietary software that was source available and proprietary software that had source in escrow (that's your insurance against supplier going out of business, but it costs, of course).

        Your second analogy is closer, but it's also the kind of s**t that _does_ happen to houses in real life:
            What if no one makes parts for your boiler any more, or your fridge, or cooker (and it's built into the kitchen)?
            What if your gas pipes no longer meet current standards?
            What if your phone-home IOT supplier (even if it uses free software - unless it's something like Affero GPL) suddenly switches off it's servers/service (think Revolv)?

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @10:45PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @10:45PM (#614476)

      I was talking to the medical tech who runs the periodic check on my pacemaker and the subject of what FOSS is came up.

      I gave him the example of the guy who bought a "bargain" monitor then found that his video card didn't support that resolution out of the box.

      With EULAware, he would have been SOL and would have needed to make another trip to return the "non-working" gear.

      With FOSS, he was able to tweak the code and his bargain remained a bargain.
      Why Open Source Is Important (Video Is Tweakable Beyond What Was Shipped) [googleusercontent.com] (orig) [goodbyemicrosoft.net]

      -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by krishnoid on Tuesday December 26, @08:22PM

    by krishnoid (1156) on Tuesday December 26, @08:22PM (#614413)

    Technology companies have taken advantage of this lack of education to brainwash people into accepting absurd abuses of their rights.

    And good old animal nature [theregister.co.uk].

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Appalbarry on Tuesday December 26, @08:25PM (12 children)

    by Appalbarry (66) on Tuesday December 26, @08:25PM (#614417) Journal

    "Computer technology is complicated and new. Education about computers is extremely poor among all age groups. Technology companies have taken advantage of this lack of education to brainwash people into accepting absurd abuses of their rights."

    I'll grant you the second sentence (in bold) but the first is utter nonsense. General use computers have been ubiquitous for several decades, and with smart phones are nearly universal. "Complicated" ceased to be true around the launch of the Mac and Windows. Pretty much anyone today can sit down in front a GUI computer and make it do what they need. The point is that well designed technology doesn't require people to understand the guts of how it works.

    • (Score: 3, Touché) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Tuesday December 26, @08:28PM (6 children)

      Coders should ask their aged grandmothers to test their UI

      --
      127.0.0.1 www.hosted-pixel.com # I Am Absolutely Serious
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by tftp on Tuesday December 26, @08:59PM (5 children)

        by tftp (806) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 26, @08:59PM (#614437) Homepage
        Depends on the intended circle of users. The GUI of Photoshop is complex enough to repel most grannies, and still it is good and efficient in hands of a professional.
        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by nobu_the_bard on Tuesday December 26, @09:25PM (4 children)

          by nobu_the_bard (6373) on Tuesday December 26, @09:25PM (#614454)

          It needs to make sense to a graphics professional because it is well designed for a graphics professional though, not necessarily to someone who is a professional user of that specific software, which just means they're used to the bad UI. I see a lot of people confuse the concepts.

          Case in point: Dwarf Fortress has a terrible UI. Fans are good with it, but it's definitely not because it is intuitive to anyone besides people used to Dwarf Fortress.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @11:07PM (3 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @11:07PM (#614485)

            Yup.
            I've got an item in the Pending Stories queue about Cadsoft EAGLE.
            ISTM that it was first developed under DOS.
            It has a noun-verb UI (where Windoze and other modern GUIs have a verb-noun syntax).

            New users find EAGLE to be bass-ackwards.
            Folks who have used it for a while have gotten used to it and forget to mention that weirdness when they recommend it to newbies looking for an ECAD.

            -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

            • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Wednesday December 27, @08:27AM (2 children)

              by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 27, @08:27AM (#614651) Journal

              GUIs have a syntax? How so?

              --
              The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, @11:49AM (1 child)

                by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, @11:49AM (#614694)

                Sure. Pull-down menus for example.
                You have to click Edit, or View, or Search (verbs) before you can make another choice.

                In EAGLE, you have to specify what object(s) you want the action to affect before you select a verb.

                -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

                • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Wednesday December 27, @02:12PM

                  by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 27, @02:12PM (#614739) Journal

                  Let's see. I want to copy text. I select the text (object), and then I select "Copy" (verb) from the menu. Doesn't fit your description, does it?

                  --
                  The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @08:46PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @08:46PM (#614430)

      I'll grant you the second sentence (in bold) but the first is utter nonsense.

      It's not. Most people can use Facebook and Microsoft Office, but they can't do anything even remotely complex. Education about computers is very poor, and you must have a very low bar to think otherwise.

      The point is that well designed technology doesn't require people to understand the guts of how it works.

      A total lack of understanding of the details about how computers work is kind of a hindrance when you're trying to explain source code and Free Software.

      • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Tuesday December 26, @09:42PM (1 child)

        by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 26, @09:42PM (#614463) Homepage Journal

        My wife is considered the 'tech' person at her school because she knows enough to wiggle or push in the mouse connection to the computer if the mouse stops working.....but ask her to open up a tab in her browser and wtf?

        She still uses the click the link then click the back button to go forwards and back on pages. Tab? Nope, even though I've explained it takes less time.

        Oh well, at least the young kids have learned at least this much.

        --
        --- That's not flying: that's... falling... with more luck than I have. ---
        • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Wednesday December 27, @08:31AM

          by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 27, @08:31AM (#614654) Journal

          I use tabs a lot, and yet I often do use the click link/back button interface (well, except that instead of using the button, I use the keyboard shortcut). Because in some cases it simply is the most efficient. And in the rare cases where I misjudged and find only afterwards that I want to have both open at the same time, I simply duplicate the tab before going back.

          --
          The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @09:02PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @09:02PM (#614441)

      Any technology that is mere decades old compared to centuries or millenia old really is new. Even the word technology hails from Ancient Greek, that is from 9000 BCE. This newness of computers is reflected by the poor understanding of them by politicians and the general public. To the vast majority of people computers like all other technology are but magical artefacts, complete black boxes of wonder to them. People have no idea how they work and sadly no interest in finding out despite our modern society entirely depends on computers. Using a computer (GUI) has very little to do with understanding how computers work and other tightly related issues, such as copyright and patents. People are lazy and dumb. Those qualities will make us all suffer.

    • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Wednesday December 27, @04:25PM

      by urza9814 (3954) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 27, @04:25PM (#614771) Journal

      "Computer technology is complicated and new. Education about computers is extremely poor among all age groups. Technology companies have taken advantage of this lack of education to brainwash people into accepting absurd abuses of their rights."

      I'll grant you the second sentence (in bold) but the first is utter nonsense. General use computers have been ubiquitous for several decades, and with smart phones are nearly universal. "Complicated" ceased to be true around the launch of the Mac and Windows. Pretty much anyone today can sit down in front a GUI computer and make it do what they need. The point is that well designed technology doesn't require people to understand the guts of how it works.

      Being able to use a computer is not the same as being educated about computers. And the fact that the UI can be made simple does not mean the technology driving it is not complicated.

      Sure, any idiot can use a smartphone. But unless you know how that device actually works, you aren't going to be able to effectively protect your rights while using that device. *That* is the education that is missing. If you don't understand the functional, technical difference between online speech processors like Siri compared to offline ones like Dragon NaturallySpeaking, then you can't understand the privacy or reliability implications of choosing one over the other. Instead, you're going to pick the one that costs less, or the one that's more popular, or the one that works best in some limited demo. And when the servers are shut down, or your personal information leaks, or your license gets revoked, or it fails because your internet went down...you won't know why it failed, and you won't know how to do anything about it. Because you don't understand the technology, you've just been trained to use a specific interface pushed by a specific company.

  • (Score: 2) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Tuesday December 26, @08:25PM (18 children)

    Some claim the the Linux kernel is free software because it has the gpl license. It's not: Linus has made clear that it is open source

    It's not the license that counts but the reason the license was chosen. Richard confirms this

    --
    127.0.0.1 www.hosted-pixel.com # I Am Absolutely Serious
    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @08:48PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @08:48PM (#614431)

      Linux is Free Software because it respects the users' four freedoms. The difference between a Free Software advocate and an Open Source advocate, however, is that Free Software advocates necessarily maintain that it is unethical for software to not respect users' freedoms.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by Ramze on Tuesday December 26, @08:52PM (5 children)

      by Ramze (6029) on Tuesday December 26, @08:52PM (#614435)

      No. The license determines what one can do with the software code, thus the license is what one uses to make that determination. The reason the license was chosen makes no difference whatsoever.

      RMS likes "free software" as in GPL2, GPL3 because the user can see the code, modify the code, and be held to an agreement to distribute any changes of the code along with the software as well as binding the changed code to the original license. RMS doesn't care about just being able to see code (which is what open source is). Nor does he care about being able to see and change the code without having to distribute the changes (as in BSD and other licenses). RMS is perfectly fine with people selling software as long as the software is under the GPL so that users are free to use it according to the GPL.

      Linus only cares about GPL2 code -- his take is that he wants to get changes back, but he doesn't care about the "free software" philosophy of RMS which has gone even further with the GPL3 on restricting usage. So, Linus talks about "open source" -- really meaning GPL2 licensed code and RMS talks about "free software" meaning a whole philosophy regarding computers and code that happens to be reflected in the GPL... which to his mind is now on GPL3... but, Linux will never move the linux kernel to GPL3, so RMS is stuck with HURD or modifying a BSD kernel and releasing it under GPL3.

      There are a lot of open source licenses, of course... but even Microsoft refers to a lot of their software as "open source" even though they only let certain people look at it, don't let them make any changes, and would sue them if they ever distributed it. There's no good definition of "open source" which is why RMS hates the term. Just being able to view the source isn't sufficient to have the freedom to do something with it, thus "free software" is the term he chooses for what he proposes.

      But, at the end of the day, it's the license that binds one legally for what they can do with the code, not the intent of the author.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @11:35PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @11:35PM (#614496)

        Microsoft refers to a lot of their software as "open source"

        The correct term is "open core".
        In order to run their "open" stuff, you will need to pay M$ for -something-.
        Typically, that's a Windoze license at a minimum.

        ...and any time you go to get their "open" stuff, take note of the PATENTS.TXT file that comes with that.

        -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, @04:55AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, @04:55AM (#614616)

          The correct term is "open core".

          No.
          "Open core" refers to software whose core functionality is open source, but which also has proprietary additions available. Often such a product is mostly useless for its intended task without the proprietary parts.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, @06:58AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, @06:58AM (#614638)

            We're very close to agreeing.
            You say "available"; I say "mandatory".

            Without the payware, you can look at the code all you want but it won't be able to actually do anything useful for you.
            It's the reason that a new term needed to be invented.

            -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

      • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Wednesday December 27, @04:07PM

        by urza9814 (3954) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 27, @04:07PM (#614766) Journal

        There's no good definition of "open source" which is why RMS hates the term.

        There is one pretty widely known definition that I've never seen or heard anyone dispute:
        https://opensource.org/osd [opensource.org]

        even Microsoft refers to a lot of their software as "open source" even though they only let certain people look at it, don't let them make any changes, and would sue them if they ever distributed it.

        They do have some open source code, yes. And anyone is free to view it and fork it and do what they want with it. The few I checked were released under MIT and BSD licenses, both of which are specifically named as meeting the above definition.
        https://github.com/Microsoft [github.com]

        I can't find anything that they call "open source" that is restricted like what you describe. In fact, Microsoft representatives have stated in interviews that "open source is more than just releasing the source code", so they definitely know that just releasing source code snippets to a partner under NDA does not at all qualify. Maybe some sales monkey is doing that, but that's definitely not an official corporate statement as far as I can tell.

      • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Wednesday December 27, @09:13PM

        by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Wednesday December 27, @09:13PM (#614872) Homepage
        > No. The license determines what one can do with the software code,

        No. The licence determines if and how you may distribute the code. It grants additional rights that you wouldn't otherwise have because of copyright (which is still upheld, it doesn't just evaporate).

        > thus the license is what one uses to make that determination. The reason the license was chosen makes no difference whatsoever.

        That's correct.

        > Linus only cares about GPL2 code

        The bottom line is that he doesn't care about GPL3, plus the impossibility to change stone soup this far down the line anyway.

        > his take is that he wants to get changes back

        He *doesn't* particularly want to get changes back. Idiots can change shit all they want, and *he doesn't want it*. He only wants well-maintained working code back. (I'm an ex kernel dev.)
        --
        I was worried about my command. I was the scientist of the Holy Ghost.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @09:12PM (10 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @09:12PM (#614448)

      Although Linux is under the GPL, because Linus does not enforce it, in practice the kernel may as well be under the BSD license, or public domain.

      First he didn't care about binary drivers, which may have been good at the beginning to help gain acceptance of the kernel, but today it's counterproductive as even GPU manufacturers now release their drivers under GPL, yet phone manufacturers are free to lock away their kernel drivers, so that no one can update their phones. Though the GPL2 doesn't have anti-tivoization rules, and so there's be no legal recourse against things like locked bootloaders, with those problems circumvented there's still no way to update the kernel. And today, by volume, there are more Linux kernels on phones than anywhere else.

      Then he doesn't bother to enforce the GPL against willful and flagrant violations such as GRSecurity https://perens.com/2017/06/28/warning-grsecurity-potential-contributory-infringement-risk-for-customers/ [perens.com]. Sure, he said you shouldn't use it, but that's not the same as requiring them to fulfill their obligations under the GPL.

      Making matters worse is that he chose GPL2 only, not GPL3, so there will never be anti-tivoization or patent protection for the Linux kernel, until the end of time. I remember at the time I heard that it was because he didn't want to risk the license terms changing without knowing what would be happening in the future, but since he doesn't enforce the license anyway, what does it matter?

      I know it's not popular to criticize Linus and his technical and leadership abilities are excellent, but in the area of licensing, he rarely gets it right. GPL2 was simply a lucky choice, and everything since then has been a mistake.

      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @11:44PM (9 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @11:44PM (#614502)

        At the time when much of the kernel was developed, GPLv3 didn't exist.
        In order to change to GPLv3, he would have to get the consent of EVERYONE who contributed code--or rewrite that code.

        Stallman is an ideolog.
        Torvalds is a pragmatist.

        -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @11:48PM (8 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @11:48PM (#614504)

          Or he could have done what almost everyone writing GPL software did (and still does), which is license under GPL 2 or newer. Instead he chose GPL 2 only.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, @12:08AM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, @12:08AM (#614508)

            I have no idea what you're on about.
            I don't think you do either.

            -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, @02:26AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, @02:26AM (#614557)

              I understand quite well. As for you, I've already explained it. If you can't figure it out from that, you aren't trying.

          • (Score: 3, Informative) by Immerman on Wednesday December 27, @01:34AM (4 children)

            by Immerman (3985) on Wednesday December 27, @01:34AM (#614539)

            One of the problems with "or newer" licensing is that you have no control over what that might be. There's absolutely nothing stopping Stallman (or whoever it is that has the authority to update the GPL) from releasing GPL v666, aka "everything belongs to me now and I can do whatever I want with it" edition, and instantly gaining unrestricted proprietary-compatible license to *everything* ever released under "GPL2 or later". Even if you trust the current stewards, such stewardship can and does change radically over time.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, @02:45AM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, @02:45AM (#614562)

              There is that risk, but it's pretty minor in practice. First, the FSF is about as trustworthy as you can get. But even if they turn evil at some point, it's not really a big problem for a living project. Suppose GPL3 is the last good version, and GPL4 is evil. You could just license all new code under GPL3 only. The new code can be used with the old code under GPL3. The old code could be used under the new GPL4, but the earlier versions under GPL3 wouldn't go away, so there's no risk of that code being rendered unusable somehow. And the worst case scenario, that the code might be absorbed into proprietary projects, has already happened. So I don't think there's even a theoretical benefit to GPL2 only.

              • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Wednesday December 27, @03:30AM

                by Immerman (3985) on Wednesday December 27, @03:30AM (#614591)

                Yes, the risk is not of code being locked up, but of code appropriation.

                And it is true that there are currently outstanding cases of illegal code appropriation - but unlike the case of "evil GPL" the distribution of such programs are in fact ongoing crimes, and it is almost certain that the source for the illegally derived programs will be released if anyone with standing cares to take the issue to court. The GPL is after all extremely well tested at this point, and the standard penalties for copyright infringement extremely high. Offhand I can't think of a single example of a person or organization choosing to pay the penalties and discontinue their product rather than releasing the source.

            • (Score: 2) by romlok on Wednesday December 27, @05:08AM (1 child)

              by romlok (1241) on Wednesday December 27, @05:08AM (#614619)

              One of the problems with "or newer" licensing is that you have no control over what that might be. There's absolutely nothing stopping Stallman (or whoever it is that has the authority to update the GPL) from releasing GPL v666, aka "everything belongs to me now and I can do whatever I want with it" edition, and instantly gaining unrestricted proprietary-compatible license to *everything* ever released under "GPL2 or later". Even if you trust the current stewards, such stewardship can and does change radically over time.

              Actually, this is not true in this case.
              The "or later" clause specifies that the version of the license chosen must be "published by the Free Software Foundation", and the articles of incorporation (or whatever the non-profit equivalent is) for the FSF was specifically crafted with the "evil replicant" problem in mind. That is; if every member of the FSF board was replaced by 90s-Microsoft evil replicants, they would still be legally compelled to continue the stated mission supporting software freedom.

              • (Score: 2) by choose another one on Wednesday December 27, @04:20PM

                by choose another one (515) on Wednesday December 27, @04:20PM (#614769)

                Actually, this is not true in this case.
                The "or later" clause specifies that the version of the license chosen must be "published by the Free Software Foundation", and the articles of incorporation (or whatever the non-profit equivalent is) for the FSF was specifically crafted with the "evil replicant" problem in mind. That is; if every member of the FSF board was replaced by 90s-Microsoft evil replicants, they would still be legally compelled to continue the stated mission supporting software freedom.

                Actually it is more subtle than that, and less clear cut.

                The GPL itself expressly commits to new versions being "similar in spirit" to current, but as GPLv3 showed, even "similar in spirit" is a matter of opinion, and what you are buying if you use "or later" is a license similar in spirit in the opinion of the FSF. I still do not understand, for instance, why the anti-tivo clause only applies to devices used by "consumers" and not business/professional users - it seems such a license can only be "similar in spirit" for one set of users (either anti-tivo was in the spirit of GPL before or it wasn't, it can't be both).

                Unfortunately "similar in spirit" also does not mean "compatible with previous versions" or "compatible with the same other software licences you were using" or "compatible with the terms of the contracts you have with your customers" (which is what caused BSD to limit to only using GPLv2 versions pf GCC etc., and switch to Clang/LLVM, allegedly) or...

                Linus saw these sort of problems coming and avoided them, Linux may end up with other problems as a result, but it hasn't so far (AFAICS).

          • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Wednesday December 27, @09:15PM

            by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Wednesday December 27, @09:15PM (#614874) Homepage
            Because "or newer" is insanity. GPL5 could include a clause about sacrificing your first born.
            --
            I was worried about my command. I was the scientist of the Holy Ghost.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @08:32PM (16 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @08:32PM (#614425)

    then write it. Don't be mad at companies that profit off of other's laziness (not wanting to learn how to build hardware, program computers and software, etc.). If you want software that is free or open source, then you're going to have to make it. Don't expect Apple, MS, etc. to give it to you. Make it and make it better - if you can. Otherwise, don't complain.

    • (Score: 3, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @08:44PM (13 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @08:44PM (#614429)

      Does advocating for sane copyright and patent terms count as complaining?

      • (Score: 4, Funny) by turgid on Tuesday December 26, @09:00PM (4 children)

        by turgid (4318) on Tuesday December 26, @09:00PM (#614439) Journal

        It's worse than that, it's Un-American Communism(TM).

        --
        Don't let Righty keep you down.
        • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @09:09PM (3 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @09:09PM (#614446)

          Yeah, somehow government-granted monopolies are considered an example of the free market by some people.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @09:17PM (2 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @09:17PM (#614451)

            Then define your perfect world and government and make it happen.

            • (Score: 2) by turgid on Tuesday December 26, @09:20PM

              by turgid (4318) on Tuesday December 26, @09:20PM (#614453) Journal

              How do you make "perfect" happen? Perhaps a philosopher could explain?

              --
              Don't let Righty keep you down.
            • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Wednesday December 27, @08:44AM

              by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 27, @08:44AM (#614657) Journal

              The problem is that there are only two possibilities to make something happen: Either you force everyone to comply with it through absolute control, or you try to convince people of it.

              The first option, even if one actually happens to be able to pull it off, should be off the table for anyone ethical. The second option, on the other hand, is exactly what you are complaining about.

              --
              The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @09:08PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @09:08PM (#614445)

        Probably, but define sane. I believe sanity is based on frame of reference. My sanity is probably not the same as yours. But I could write books on my sanity (or lack there of, if based on your reference)

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @11:55PM (6 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @11:55PM (#614507)

        In order to get a copyright, shouldn't you have to publish that work?
        ...or at least make that text available to all?

        sane [...] patent terms

        The terms are quite clear:
        If a 7 year old could come up with the same process, what you have done (1-click) is not patentable.

        The problem is the revolving-door bureaucracy and the business-friendly/consumer-hostile courts.

        -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

        • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Wednesday December 27, @08:47AM (5 children)

          by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 27, @08:47AM (#614659) Journal

          In order to get a copyright, shouldn't you have to publish that work?

          So you write a book, and just as you are ready to publish it, someone gets hand on it and publishes it himself. Don't you think copyright should protect against that?

          --
          The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, @11:41AM (2 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, @11:41AM (#614693)

            I was thinking specifically how M$ makes claims that someone reused some of their copyrighted code but didn't pay them.
            Without a copy of that code on file somewhere where it can be compared against, it's impossible for someone outside M$ to determine the veracity of their claim.

            Pretty sure that's not what the Founding Fathers had in mind.

            More like this: You can have secrets or you can have intellectual property protection; not both.

            -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

            • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Wednesday December 27, @02:06PM (1 child)

              by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 27, @02:06PM (#614736) Journal

              If you sue, you must prove. So if MS does not have that code on file somewhere, they better have some other very good evidence that the code is theirs. No evidence, no chance at court. At least assuming the courts work as they should (but if not, even the best law won't adequately protect you).

              --
              The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, @09:13PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, @09:13PM (#614873)

                It's interesting how many companies won't challenge the big dog and instead just pay the geld.

                This gets into the (bogus) software patents thing too.
                M$ typically claims a bunch of infringements (and they won't supply the ID numbers of those) and if you balk at 1 of those in the process, they'll trot out another among their stable of (bogus) patents to take its place.
                It's their covert nature and requirement for NDAs that was/is their power base.

                It wasn't until Barnes and Noble (and, later, the Chinese gov't) saw the specifics of M$'s claimed patents (without signing NDAs) that things started to fall apart for M$.
                Add the Alice and the TC Heartland cases for good measure.

                -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

          • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Wednesday December 27, @09:18PM (1 child)

            by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Wednesday December 27, @09:18PM (#614875) Homepage
            If you interpret "get" as "register", then his question makes sense. However, if he doesn't understand the difference between registered and unregistered IP, he's out of his depth. (Little things like punitive verses compensatory damages upon proven violation, etc.)
            --
            I was worried about my command. I was the scientist of the Holy Ghost.
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 28, @01:01AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 28, @01:01AM (#614939)

              Oh, man. Now we have to make all our stuff rhyme and have meter?? [google.com]
              8-D

              ...and, yeah. I liked it better before USA signed on to the Bern Convention (back before things got automatic copyright, without an application).

              -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @08:51PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 26, @08:51PM (#614434)

      Yes, don't you dare complain about how we live in a world filled with computers and yet so many of them are essentially just black boxes that may or may not be doing nefarious things under the hood. That is actually a very dangerous situation and you're extremely short-sighted if you think the problem starts and ends with people just needing to write some Free Software. That is something people should do, but the abuse of society by proprietary software companies cannot be overlooked.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, @09:32PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, @09:32PM (#614878)

      nobody is mad at them for charging for their work. we're mad at them because they are too stupid, lazy or evil to use a business model and license that doesn't victimize their customers. they can charge for convenience without enslaving their users.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Grishnakh on Wednesday December 27, @12:21AM (6 children)

    by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday December 27, @12:21AM (#614512)

    One big problem with the Free Software movement is the quality of the software and the design choices made. I think GNOME 3 epitomizes this problem, and the lack of adoption of Linux on the desktop can be directly traced to this DE.

    • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Wednesday December 27, @02:09PM (2 children)

      by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday December 27, @02:09PM (#614737) Journal

      As bad as Gnome 3 was, I cannot see in which way it was worse than Metro.

      And thanks to Open Source, we got Gnome 2 forked as Mate. What did we get on Windows?

      --
      The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
      • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Wednesday December 27, @04:25PM (1 child)

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday December 27, @04:25PM (#614770)

        As bad as Gnome 3 was, I cannot see in which way it was worse than Metro.

        Metro wasn't a product of the Free/open-source community (or its corporate patrons/overseers), so you can't blame FOSS for Metro. The way that Gnome3 is worse is that it IS a product of FOSS, and one of the goals of FOSS for a long time has been to unseat Microsoft's dominance on the desktop, at least to some reasonable extent, to provide a viable alternative. Gnome3 has been nothing more than FOSS shooting itself in the foot; it hasn't helped bring any new users to Linux-on-the-desktop (it works nothing like the desktops they're used to on proprietary OSes), it's been extremely divisive within the community, yet for some odd reason it's been shoved down our throats by all the largest and most influential distros.

        • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Wednesday December 27, @05:26PM

          by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday December 27, @05:26PM (#614797)

          I forgot to add that while Metro is indeed awful, Microsoft has a LOT of room to make mistakes and to force bad design choices on users because of their dominant position. People will generally use whatever crap that MS shovels at them. FOSS doesn't have that luxury. And instead of exploiting this golden opportunity with Metro and then the addition horrors of Windows 10 (forced updates, spyware, etc.) to increase the popularity of FOSS, instead they shoot themselves in the foot with Gnome3.

          It's just like Dark Helmet's quote: "Evil will always triumph because good is dumb."

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, @06:10PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, @06:10PM (#614812)

      It goes beyond this I think. The fact gnome remained the flagship DE in just about every distribution's main branch despite it being unanimously loathed says a lot about the current ecosystem and the mindset driving it.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, @06:13PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, @06:13PM (#614815)

        PS: If failure and delivery of poor quality has no repercussions at all it will be repeated. They really should've had their collective asses roasted by distro maintainers, at least that would've been a bit harder to ignore than the lowly userbase.

      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, @10:23PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, @10:23PM (#614890)

        it's not *universally* loathed, obviously. ignorant/trolling windows users and curmudgeonly greybeards not withstanding.

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