Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Pure Words

Grr. I forgot to reinstall the rest of my development environment before I went out to do some programming. On the upside, it sounds like wonderful rain is on its way.

Two documents that are somehow like intellectual candy: Microsoft's Legacy-Free PC standards, and the Changelist for Perl 5.10.

OpenBSD 4.3's release song is harshly critical of Richard Stallman, first reporting on an incident on an airplane where after a wait to take off, rms demanded to get off the plane and was eventually taken off by security folk, and criticises him of hypocracy over the GPL and his comments over the OpenBSD ports tree, claiming that he both singled them out unfairly and that freedom means no rules. I think that's unfair - freedom is a term that is always at least a bit subjective, and even given a definition, struggles for a given notion are by necessity things that themself restrict people - any movement that wants to stand for anything must have borders of some kind for what's meant by the movement and what ideas belong within it. Real-life wars for some notion of freedom don't allow "the enemy" into their camp out of fear that to do otherwise would impinge on liberty - this is another area where tolerance in a liberal movement necessarily has limits, and Theo's "Freedom means you cannot dictate to anyone" statement falls apart. Just as the idea of freedom embedded in the GPL isn't the same as that used by the modern BSD license, the latter's is not precisely equivalent to public domain, preserving attribution in otherwise largely-waived copyright statements in code. Presented by a public domain operating system group, the same criticisms of hypocritical talk of freedom might easily be applied to the OpenBSD philosophy.

In any case, opening with the largely irrelevant airplane story (which might have a perfectly reasonable explanation) is hardly fair. Rms and theo are both known to be strongly opinionated, difficult-to-work-with people in some circumstances, but their personalities and life events have little to do with what's at heart a dispute over different notions of freedom and how each of them pushes theirs. There are more intelligent, respectful ways to address that difference than this.

Tags: tech

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