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

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From: Rodent of Unusual Size (
Date: Wed Sep 13 2000 - 05:17:08 PDT

[I am not Ccing rms for a number of reasons, among them that
he has made it clear to me that he has no interest in anything
I have to say, and will misconstrue and twist it to suit himself
in any event. I'm also unclear about your motives, Kragen;
if I wanted rms to read what I had to say, I would have Cced
him myself. Why did you drag him into this discussion? Please do
NOT do so with this message nor replies to it.]

Kragen Sitaker wrote:
> Ken, which things did RMS accuse you of?

Why do you care? But anyway:

From the LinuxToday article:

> David Winer is passionate in his disgust for me and my work;
> so much so that he does not limit himself to rebuking me for
> the things I have done. He feels entitled to imagine other
> things he would disapprove of, and attack me for them too.

Substitute RMS for Dave, and remove the 'disgust' portion, and
you pretty much have it. I don't believe he has disgust for
me or my work, but he definitely has imagined me to be guilty of
things and attacked me for them.

From some recent exchanges concerning the cvswebedit project,
(which exchanges should have been public but probably weren't
because of eGroups thinking I was eight months old):

> --- Richard Stallman <> wrote:
> > In general, we should try to respect the wishes of the developers
> > of a program, and we should not call something a GNU package
> > unless the main developers are in agreement with it.
> >
> > But when one of those developers are hostile, as Ken Coar
> > evidently is, that changes the situation. Nobody has an
> > obligation to be solicitous of the wishes of an active enemy.
> > So we can disregard his wishes in deciding what to do about
> > cvswebedit. We can legitimately make a GNU version of cvswebedit,
> > if that suits us, and never mind whether he likes it. We will
> > not be ashamed to say why we disregarded his wishes.
> >
> > Nonetheless, we should still give the usual respect to any of the
> > main cvswebedit developers who are not hostile to us. We should
> > not treat them all like Ken Coar (unless they individually
> > deserve it).

Later in the exchange:

> Richard Stallman wrote:
> >
> > Calling someone's work a "virus" is a nasty insult
> Since you obviously take it personally, I apologise. It
> was not directed at you. However, neither was the term
> original with me.
> > and the context
> > reinforced the hostility. Coar has expressed hostility before; his
> > venting it here, without provocation, showed it has not subsided.
> 'Without provocation' is a matter of opinion, and in this matter
> you're not qualified to have one, since you weren't party to the
> exchange that prompted my response. The 'hostility [I] have
> expressed before,' as you insist on calling it, was directed at
> your claims that 'Linux' is more properly 'GNU/Linux.' I considered
> those claims specious then, as I do now, and the fact that I told
> you so makes me hostile to the GNU project? I don't think so.
> I personally felt somewhat provoked that Martin seemed to be
> assuming that moving cvsweb from BSD to GPL should be a no-brainer.
> Perhaps that wasn't his intention, but that's how it struck me at
> the time and why I responded as I did.
> > But occasionally we encounter an individual who is hostile, and that
> > is a different matter. Ken Coar's message on Friday was full of
> > distortions designed to put the GNU Project unjustly in the wrong.
> Absolute rubbish. If anything, it was full of responses to the
> distortions and unjust accusations *you* made about *me*, and
> was aimed at *you*, not the GNU project.
> > In general, though, when discussing what the GNU Project ought to do,
> > I am not going to include Ken Coar in the discussion. The job
> > is hard enough without deliberately handicapping ourselves.
> And then you proceed to respond to my remarks without even
> displaying the courtesy of making them to my 'face.' I don't
> know why you're apparently deliberately trying to antagonise me,
> Richard, but you're doing a pretty good job. My (high, BTW) opinion
> of GNU and FSF remains unchanged by your antics, but my opinion
> of you as an individual drops every time you engage in these
> tactics.
> If you'd step out of the black-or-white anyone-not-my-ally-is-my-enemy
> foxhole in which you seem to have your being.. but I doubt that's
> likely to happen. However, regardless of your opinion, Richard,
> I'm both a bigger fan and a bigger proponent of the GNU project than
> you know (or care to know), particularly inside IBM. But I don't
> expect you to believe me, since you've apparently engraved 'Ken Coar
> is an enemy to the GNU project' on your cerebral ROM.
> > If you're prepared to have a double standard (as the first sentence
> > of Richard's paragraph clearly advocates), and treat people,
> > and regard their opinions and wishes, differently depending upon
> > the value judgement of whether you consider them hostile..
> >
> > What Ken Coar describes as a double standard is really just treating
> > people as their conduct deserves.
> 'Treating people' is one thing. Treating their work is something
> else. Just because person A doesn't like person B does *not*
> give A licence to take B's work without his permission, which
> certainly seems to be what you were expressing.
> The matter is clouded because cvsweb is released under the BSD
> licence, which permits the GNU project to obtain and fork it.
> > But when someone treats the GNU Project with hostility again and
> > again, distorts our actions, and makes unjust accusations, then we
> > don't need to offer him this extra courtesy.
> And here's where the libel and misrepresentation enter. Please
> provide proof that I have done any of the above, or else cease
> from asserting it.
> I reiterate: I harbour no hostility toward the GNU project; I
> acknowledge and honour it as a valuable facet of the evolving
> industry. I can (and do) do that without feeling obligated
> to contribute under a licence with which I do not feel comfortable.
> > well,
> > that certainly raises issues with ethics and trust.
> >
> > Is it ethical not to treat a long-time enemy as well as you treat a
> > friend or a stranger? People can make up their own minds about that
> > question, but I think the answer is "yes".
> Again, it's not a matter of how you treat the people, but how you
> treat their work. You are saying one and doing the other, and the
> saying and the doing appear to be in conflict.
> As for 'long-time'.. you and I had our first negative interaction
> barely a year ago, in May of 1999, through the auspices of the GNHLUG
> list. And if it appeared that I opposed the GNU project, it was
> rather that I opposed the position it seemed to be taking, through
> you as its mouthpiece, on the 'Linux' versus 'GNU/Linux' issue.
> > As for trust, I don't think we have broken any trust with Ken Coar,
> > because we have not made him any promises that I recall.
> At this point I do not trust you, Richard. In my view, you have
> lied about my past actions, misrepresented my motivations, and
> impugned my character, stating all as fact without supporting
> evidence. My opinions concerning the GNU project, and you,
> remain my opinions and no more, as I have always portrayed them
> to be.
> > Those are examples of unjust accusations, and not the first he has
> > made.
> More libel. Prove your assertions or stop making them.

And then in response, but once again not Ccing me,

> I do not believe I should spend time responding to Ken Coar's
> latest accusations. I am going to let it drop.

I perceive this last as pusillanimity; he's wrong and has wronged
me, and walks away rather than admit either.

#ken    P-|}

Ken Coar <http://Golux.Com/coar/> Apache Software Foundation <> "Apache Server for Dummies" <http://Apache-Server.Com/> "Apache Server Unleashed" <http://ApacheUnleashed.Com/>

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