A Response to: Fuck you, Richard Stallman and other GNU/Trolls

You’re interested in Richard Stallman? Man, you seem to be sexually confused. I’d get counselling if I were you. I mean you’re interested in a 50 plus greying geek? Sheesh.

Comedy aside, as to the rest of what you wrote, it was awfully confused. OK, so you want to rant. Think first. If you don’t think, your arguments won’t make any sense.

Anyway, I’m taking your comments out of order, but you should be able to figure it out.

It is a rant to express my core belief that freedom is open to interpretation.

I have friends in the People’s Republic of China who believe they are free. Do you believe they are free? Are they free? For that matter are you free? There are levels of freedom, but freedom itself isn’t open to interpretation. Check out the entry for “FREEDOM” at Dictionary.com, there’s no mention of “FREEDOM” being open to interpretation.

Now let’s take your GPL section. You start off with:

I believe viral copyleft licenses like GPL are evil.

Really? I think that the GPL licenses were the greatest change to computing since the disk drive was invented.

“Freedom or Death” is not freedom. Wikipedia defines freedom as “Freedom is the right to act according to ones will without being held up by the power of others.” How am I even remotely free if I *have* to license all my code under GPL if I use GPLed libraries? Isn’t the right for a person to release liberal or proprietary software come under his/her freedom too as long as it’s not harming anyone?

I want the freedom to use the BSD or MIT license in my projects. I’m preventing from even referencing GPL libraries (not LGPL) while I’m trying to make open source software available. How is this fair?

People need proprietary software for their livelihood. Yes dual licensing or selling GPLed code is possible – but maybe not completely feasible. A developer hoping to make a living from small games cannot use GPLed libraries because that would violate the law.

If Richard Stallman had to make a living from writing software rather than whatever he does, I’m curious how much of his code he’d really open-source.

I believe that projects can open source re-usable components (google => protocol buffers, facebook => thrift, microsoft => asp.net/mvc).

I will never shun anything because it’s proprietary licensing.

While I prefer open source projects like everyone because you can take a look at the inner working, there are only nine projects who’s sources I have truly looked into with good depth.

My idea of freedom includes the freedom to make it proprietary. It’s your code, you can do what you want with it. I prefer releasing under MIT/X11 license and that’s my choice.

While the GPL is all about choice, it doesn’t give me any real choice. I *have* no choice

Ironically, mono is largely GPL/LGPL as well.

You are totally free. There’s nothing stopping you from writing your own libraries, and licensing them under the MIT or BSD license if you want, or from starting a project to produce MIT or BSD licensed libraries.

But when you talk about “Freedom”, it’s all about you. What about my “Freedom”? Shouldn’t I have the freedom to write software, and license it the way I want? Shouldn’t I have the freedom to demand payment from you for using my GPL licensed software, in source code if you write something that incorporates my code? The copyright act says I do. And you shouldn’t complain that it does, after all, the same copyright act prevents someone from using Windows as the base for something and not compensating your employer.

You talk about fairness. But only fairness as regards to you. Isn’t part of fairness compensating a creator for his or her work? So why do you regard compensating me as unfair?

The bit your wrote about “Proprietary Licensing” is really confused. I will however to admit to have an IMac and two MacBooks. But 95% of the software I’ve installed on them is GPL. The quality is better.

You have the freedom to take any project you write proprietary. You don’t have the freedom to take a project I’ve written proprietary (unless you meet my terms – and I’m expensive).

There are two main mistakes I see in your thinking so far. Your first mistake is that you think that the GPL is about YOUR choice. The GPL is about MY choice. My choice to use it, and to expect anyone who wants to use my project to pay me back by using it. Your other mistake is thinking that this is about “Open Source”. It isn’t. It’s about “Free Software”, with free being defined as software that is licensed so that IT CAN NEVER BE TAKEN PROPRIETARY. That’s what this is all about.

Now let’s look at Patents, FUD, and Mono:

There are two kinds of open source users in the world – People who love open source, and people who hate microsoft and proprietary software. I’m part of the first, which one are you?

I’m the third sort, who love FREE SOFTWARE, dislike OPEN SOURCE, and don’t give a shit about proprietary software. As to Microsoft, the company is in deep financial trouble, read their SEC reports.

I know NOTHING about patent law and how dangerous having these applications on your machine can be. In other words, I know as much as you do about all of this

Wrong. Unlike you I know a lot about this, it’s part of my job. While there may not be much danger to an individual, there’s a lot of danger to organisations, such as the Free BSD Foundation.

Most open source softwares replicate some features which may be patented. Do you think there won’t be patent issues over Openoffice or Gimp which replicate commercial software’s functionality.

An interesting statement, do you have any proof that “Most open source softwares” are infringing, or is this just an opinion?

A mentor of mine told me that patents are to prevent companies from getting sued, not to sue companies.

In that case how come Microsoft sued TomTom? I’m sorry, your mentor doesn’t know what they are talking about.

You don’t want to keep a free implementation of a language on your machine, but you are okay with downloading off bittorrent and aren’t worried about getting sued.

Um, what does this have to do with “Free Software” or “Open Source Software”?

GNote represents the limit of FUD to me. Tomboy is awesome and Sandy Armstrong doubly so.

Why is Gnote FUD? It’s an example of Free Software at it’s best. A programmer had an itch, and scratched it by writing a program, then released it so others could use it. It appears to be just as competent as Tomboy. That said, neither one is worth the time and effort to use in my opinion. But again, that’s part of Free Software, the freedom not to use something.

I’m no expert on patents, but “There might be risk” sounds just like “There might not be risk”. At the end the question is whether it’s finally worth it.

You don’t appear to be an expert at anything. What I said is “There is a risk”. And there is, based on how the Patent Act operates. There is a concept called “Due Diligence“, which lays certain responsibilities on organisations like the Fedora Project Board, the Free BSD Foundation, the Ubuntu Foundation, etc.

Please read Jo Shield’s article if my intellectually devoid rant hasn’t convinced you.

I did, and I rebutted it as well. Jo was not happy that I did.

Roy Schestowitz (of boycottnovell.com) is a dick. Period. I would never respect anyone who spends more effort spreading fear and bringing things down rather than contributing anything significant.

Let’s see. Roy spots a danger to the community, and talks about it, and that isn’t contributing something significant?

On Mono and C#:

Have a look at gnome-do, which runs on mono(http://do.davebsd.com). That thing you’re feeling when you open the link is pure undiluted lust lust.

The thing I feel is undiluted yawn.

Firefox has 80,000 lines of code. The MonoDevelop project has 800,000 lines. The Mono project (just mono) has 8 fucking million lines, let’s not forget the debugger, compiler and gtk# bindings. (ohloh.net)

Number of lines is not proof of quality. If it was, Windows Vista would be one of the most fantastic programs ever, rather than a slow, bloated, hog. In my personal opinion Windows 2000 was a lot nicer.

I have met the nicest and most helpful people I know on the Mono project. Even the most busy and experienced of devs (hello mhutch and lluis!) take time off to help (and spoonfeed) me whenever I need.

Glad you’ve had a good experience.

C# is plain awesome. I used to think it was bloated and MS specific (just like most of you), but an awesome standard library, coupled with type safety, innovative features and tight IDE integration make it a killer platform for development.

I could go on about how blissful an experience it is to write code in a full featured, statically typed language. But you’re too full of propoganda to listen.

C# seems spectacularly inefficient to me. But hey, whatever turns your crank.

Join the conversation


  1. Thank you for englightening me. I have not the patience or the caliber to respond, and so I will concede defeat.

    I have nothing to say. I honestly never did. I'm an obscure Indian student, and like writing some code now and then, playing my guitar and enjoying my college years.

    Unfortunately I'm a nice person who believes in the kindness of humanity. I am never worried about patents or companies or FUD. This was nonsense to me a few months ago.

    I too thought the Mono project was something bad and evil like everyone else. There was one project which I tried to hack on and contribute and really liked the Mono stack.

    Unlike most of the philosophies of the GNU project, I don't say that some things are right and some things are wrong. I feel everything is right, some are more right than the others.

    What hurts me is that the linux community is at war from the inside over a core project that's so old and mature, it's not going to go away. Nobody wants a compromise, and flames fly left and right.

    If you really like a project and want to contribute in the future to it, and someone like rms, who everyone looks up to tries to cripple it by flagging it as dangerous. Then you'll know how I feel, let alone the people who *really* contribute to the project.

    Please realize that beneath all this patent nonsense, there are *real people* who are caring enough to passionately contribute. Miguel de Icaza has been writing open source code before I even knew what computer was, and he's still ready to answer any questions I have on IRC.

    This passion to help the rest of the world without getting anything back, is almost like philanthrophy. You see it in every project, you see it in Wikipedia, you see it when people get together to work on a cause bigger than themselves.

    That, to me is the spirit of Open Source – not a License or a set of rules.

  2. Anirudh,

    THe issue is not over how evil mono is and should be avoided at all costs. It seems you haven't been keeping up on the drama.

    The issue is about having mono included by DEFAULT. If you have patented code and give it away, you can get sued. Microsoft's position on mono seems to be that of "only Novell can use it without getting sued" so people have a right to be nervous.
    Many people are accusing Microsoft of being up to their old tricks, probably with good reason. Microsoft has done a lot of horrible things to opponents. Others don't care, perhaps like you.
    But because you don't think there are 'wrong' things (you seem to be a little unspecific what right and more right are as well) you are opening yourself up to harm.
    If GNU/Linux does incorporate mono in by default (thereby overriding the freedom of their users in the process), they can get sued and shut down (possibly) or forced to SELL GNU/Linux. All those *real people* you mentioned, who just want to work on projects, won't be able to because they chose the side less right.

    Grow a backbone. It is not patent nonsense, it is survival from a malicious corporation driven by money. Who by the way has taken actions against superior projects (OS2) and more *real people* in order to get their way and earn money.

    What hurts me is that people like you are trying to stop people from understanding the dangers of current events. Please stop it.

  3. For anyone reading this. Sanjeev's comments started a firestorm, which culminated in Sam Varghese writing about his post.

    What Sam didn't know was that I'd talked to Sanjeev in IRC on July First, and didn't get around to mentioning it to anyone since I was working on my write up about the Microsoft Financials. And then I forgot.

    Sanjeev seems like a really nice guy, who hadn't thought a couple of things through, and also didn't know about some of the things that are happening in the background.

    So don't dump on him.

    After all, just about all of us have said something at one time or another that we wish we could take back. I know I have. Heck, I'm surprised that my wife can put up with me sometimes.

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