Why Richard Stallman and the FSF bore me. December 20, 2007Posted by rjdohnert in Opinions.
While many see me as attacking Richards pride and joy and as hating free software and the FSF I dont. I disagree with his views and his conclusion on why Linux needs to be called GNU/Linux and I think he goes overboard, I dont hate the guy. I look at software as a tool. I use the tools that work best for me. Sometimes that tool may be an open source solution, sometimes its a proprietary solution and sometimes its a proprietary solution and open source solution in a mixed environment. I disagree that binary blobs are bad. I buy a piece of hardware I want it to work. If it doesnt work I find a solution that does work. We have to respect proprietary software/hardware vendors rights. If they dont want to open source their drivers or software products but are willing to provide the blobs and support why not use em?
Richards stance is everything needs to be free, well sorry. In the real world we live in it doesnt work that way. You have to have give and take, you have to reach a healthy compromise. Some people blame the lack of interest as the main failing point for Hurd and gNewSense. Its not, the failures of these systems rest solely on Richard and the FSF. By not having that give and take the systems failed. Richard failed. Both systems, on my hardware anyway, failed miserably. By not having that compromise the FSF will become obsolete. While the rest of the world is moving on and different Linux and BSD distributors are working together with hardware manufacturers and software vendors to get their hardware and software certified with these distributors the FSF and their systems are becoming more obsolete everyday.
I work with IT vendors and technology companies on an everyday basis. I have a good relationship with them, I have a good rapport with my vendors. If I have a piece of hardware or a software packages that fail, I dont sit there and say ” I need to see the source” I say “Look, Im having a problem with this, how can I help you expedite a fix? Bug reports, system logs etc etc.” Working with hardware manufacturers and software vendors is a lot like marriage. In marriage you need to have compromise, you need to have communication otherwise your marriage and relationship are doomed to failure. In a marriage if you go through demanding ridiculing and (running to the press and writing flame articles) complaining, what happens? Your spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, whatever is not going to want your company and will avoid you like the plague. The same with your relationship with hardware and software vendors. if you spend every meeting complaining, demanding and running to the press writing flame articles you are not being a partner. You are being a nuisance and will be hard pressed to find anyone willing to work with you. I know several good IT workers who are out of work because they fancy themselves as being all important and posterboys of some movement.
When Eben Moglen says that Microsoft needs to be afraid, to me he is just wasting air. Because I dont fear the FSF, Richard Stallman or even the numerous Linux zealots in the world. I pay attention to people like Sun, Oracle, BEA, Apple, Microsoft, Red Hat, Novell, Intel. The people that develop tools and solutions that will help me do my job. The FSF provides me with nothing nor do I pay them to provide me with anything. So when Richard posts to a mailing list I read or goes to a forum and starts blathering on why should I care what he writes?
So why do Richard Stallman and the FSF bore me? They sure as hell arent my partners, they dont provide me with anything, I dont give them anything. They dont even help with any kind of kernel development. So why should I or anyone else in the industry pay attention to anything they have to say?