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Advogato: Fallible Hacker Figureheads

Jul 17, 2000, 12:24 (14 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by trj)


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"...Open source is the power hungry brat child of GNU. Concerned with short term publicity and gain, they abandoned the principles that have given GNU such a strong foundation. After RMS split from opensource, there were various other internal squabblings, most visibly over the use of the trademark "Open Source". Next came the talks at Microsoft from ESR and the killing he made by being on the board of VA Linux. In the space of a few months he managed to suddenly move from the editor of the Hacker's Dictionary and hacker icon, to sold out betrayor of GNU in the eyes of many."

"In a sense, ESR not only distanced himself from the hacker ideal. But showed software developers and marketeerers just what potential for cash-in existed in open source software. Since then, it seems, open source has been the latest and greatest buzzword. Everyone (even Microsoft) has either released open source software or talked about it. Suddenly, there is a vast amount of code available to normal users."

"RMS argues that it is wrong to call the "Linux distributions" "Linux". Instead he favours GNU/Linux, to show that the system is comprised of both GNU tools and the Linux kernel. This will probably never happen as the term "Linux" is so well established in the media now (when HURD comes along, things may be very different though). A much better name for most of today's Linux distributions would be opensource/Linux. For example, Mandrake comprises binary only versions of software such as netscape while providing open-source software with restrictive licenses such as QT. The only distribution which could realistically be called GNU/Linux is Debian (but only if they finally ditch non-free)."

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