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Editor's Note: On RMS

Sep 18, 2000, 20:54 (56 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Kevin Reichard)

"Which is why I watch the conflicts in the Linux world with a good measure of amusement and detachment. Really, when it comes to whether the majority of Linux users adopt KDE or GNOME it's not worth a lot of mental energy: users usually move in the direction of their self-interest, enlightened or not. I don't particularly care about toolkits, as most programmers will use the one that best fits their needs. Since I dislike being defined by others, it matters little to me what Microsoft is doing at any particular moment. And the nature of many of the hot-button issues in the Linux community really does throw me for a loop."

"But what mystifies me the most is the amount of vehemence that Richard Stallman provokes whenever he weighs in on a subject. I have this seen this time and time again, most recently regarding licensing issues surrounding KDE, Qt, and Python. In these cases, RMS was asked his opinion regarding licenses by many folks -- including TrollTech, BeOpen, and LinuxToday -- and in each case Stallman responded in a professional and constructive manner. He didn't go out in search of fights, and in the case of TrollTech and BeOpen I was told both on and off the record that RMS had proven to be very helpful. Similarly, when we were seeking comments on licensing issues for Linux Today, RMS was very helpful."

"That's why it's so distressing to me to see the reaction he engendered from people on Linux Today and Slashdot. The talkbacks in both public forums were filled with anger and denouncement. He was called a fascist, a dictator, and a communist. Readers felt compelled to make pointed personal attacks on RMS in the course of disagreeing with him. I have disagreed with RMS in the past (I don't agree with his stands re: Linux vs. GNU/Linux) and I probably will again in the future. But on the big issues -- the importance of Open Source/Free Software, the motivations behind the GNU Public License, the need for a set of convictions in your life, and why organizations like the Free Software Foundation are important -- I totally agree with RMS, and I can respect where he's coming from. But let me make something perfectly clear: he was invited to contribute his opinions to Linux Today. He didn't force himself on anyone."

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