Re: It's Dave Winer's turn to get savaged by RMS

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From: Kragen Sitaker (
Date: Tue Sep 12 2000 - 21:19:09 PDT

Ken Coar writes:
> Robert Harley wrote:
> >
> What's particularly obnoxious is that among the actions and motives
> rms ascribes to Dave are precisely those in which he has indulged
> when attacking me (if not others).

Let me list the actions and motives RMS ascribes to Dave in the article:
a- disgust for RMS
b- disgust for RMS's work
c- passion in his disgust
d- rebuking RMS for things RMS has done
e- imagining things Dave would disapprove of [which RMS has not done]
f- rebuking RMS for these things Dave has imagined

>From my reading of Dave's past writing, A through C are definitely
true, and are not limited to RMS, but applies to the whole
free-software and open-source movements.

Here's the piece I think RMS is responding to:

 Thank you. Don't give in to Stallman. Open source should not have
 restrictions. Stallman's philosophy is not open source, it's not the
 spirit of sharing, it's not generous. It has other purposes, it's
 designed to create a wall between commercial development and free
 development. The world is not that simple. There are plenty of
 commercial developers who participate in open source. Python belongs
 in commercial products. How does that hurt Python? Why should Python
 adopt Stallman's goals? What has he done to build Python? (Maybe I'm
 missing something.) I have a different philosophy which is
 incompatible with GPL, I will support any open source developer who
 truly lets the source go. Also, I much prefer the term "commercial" to
 "proprietary", which is perjorative, imho. (It's possible to make
 commercial software which is quite open and has major non-proprietary


It appears that Dave is accusing RMS of trying to make Python
incompatible with proprietary software. (I'm using "proprietary" here
because it means something different from "commercial", and I mean
"proprietary", not "commercial", but I understand that Dave means
"proprietary" rather than "commercial" --- since, obviously, the GPL is
not incompatible with commercial development.)

RMS asserts that he has not done this, and I believe him. This means
that Dave has, in some sense, imagined it. (Unless I have
misunderstood him.)

I think the sense in which Dave has imagined it is that Dave has read
some bits of the discussion and misunderstood the situation. I think
Dave has exhibited quite a bit of general animosity toward free
software in general and RMS in particular, and it is reasonable to
guess that this animosity has predisposed him to misunderstand the
situation. I don't think it's reasonable to assert it as a fact.

So I think Dave is definitely doing items E and F, but RMS's phrasing
of them was unnecessarily vicious and seems designed to worsen the
situation rather than to heal it.

I haven't seen Dave do D. Has he? Is that the issue?

About "proprietary" vs. "commercial": Apache is commercial. IBM, among
others, sells it. It was built by commercial developers who were
working for money. But it's not proprietary. Gopherd is noncommercial
software developed and released by a university, and could not actually
be used for commercial purposes, last I heard. But it is proprietary.

Someone on FoRK said that "proprietary" and "commercial" were mutually
exclusive; I think they meant something like "orthogonal", because a
lot of software is both proprietary and commercial.

About the ASF license: AFAIK, RMS doesn't have any issues with the ASF
license; it's just that it's written in such a way that you can't
legally link it with GPL-licensed code. It would certainly be possible
to change the GPL to accommodate it, but I doubt that this is a high
enough priority that the FSF will do it.

Ken, which things did RMS accuse you of?

[Repliers: please don't Cc RMS unless you think he'd be interested in
reading your response; he gets a lot of email. RMS, you're welcome to
reply privately or publicly if you like, especially if something I have
said is inaccurate. FoRK allows open posting.]

<>       Kragen Sitaker     <>
Perilous to all of us are the devices of an art deeper than we ourselves
                -- Gandalf the Grey [J.R.R. Tolkien, "Lord of the Rings"]

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