Christopher Carella: Viva Free Software!
Jul 13, 2001, 14:31 (50 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Chris Carella)
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By Christopher Carella
I am terribly sorry that you have such a misguided view of the Free
Software Foundation, and Free Software in general. I will attempt
to make this email brief and just address some of the issues you
stated in your osOpinion column, "Free Software
Foundation Must Die."
"When a project receives the foundation's approval, it
results in much effort being poured into that project. In theory
this might be a good thing, except the foundation has a knack for
approving technologically unsound projects. That lack of
perspective combined with influence has cost the community millions
of lost man-hours. And that is inexcusable."
The Free Software Foundation, the GNU Project, and Free Software
in general is on a total volunteer basis. People contribute to
projects they are passionate about, we never recommend a project to
anyone, we just ask people to work on something they are interested
in. If they are working on something you feel is "technologically
unsound", it has little to do with the Free Software Foundation,
but with the developers of the project.
Many times the software is created outside the realm of the GNU,
or stared outside of the GNU project, and the authors come to us
and say "Will you accept this into the GNU project?" We then decide
if that piece of software fits into the GNU system, make sure it is
well coded and technologically sound.
We do have our own goals, they can be found on the GNU Task-List.
Remember: the GNU system is designed to be a Free Computing
System, and there are many parts that go into a computer system,
and we have a large variety of software that helps this goal.
"From a user's perspective, GNOME is out-classed by
KDE. KDE is more functional, scalable and polished."
I won't get involved in the classic flame war here, but I am a
user and from my perspective GNOME is not out-classes, and infact I
actually prefer using it.
"Some might argue that because Qt was not under a free
license in the past, the community needed a truly free desktop
environment. However, what the community needed was a free and
functionally superior replacement for Windows, i.e.
I think this is where you are misguided about Free Software. If
Qt was not under a Free Software License in the past, then how
could the community create a "free and functinally superior
replacement for Windows"? Think of the word Free as the French word
Libre... Freedom. Let me refer you to this document written
by Richard Stallman.
"What has been the result of this lack of
Again, I don't think this is a lack of perspective. The GNOME
project was the first Desktop that fit into the category of Free
Software. It's creation was very vital to the life of Free
Software, and the freedom of software developers and users around
I also believe that perhaps this duplicate effort produces some
waste, but both projects are doing very well, and I applaud both
"The latest and most disastrous act of the FSF was
approving DotGNU. By announcing its support for such a misguided
project, the FSF is again guilty of the crime of misleading the
Please read more about DotGNU and the Mono Project. Here are
some places to look: http://www.gnu.org/projects/dotgnu/
I think after reading these documents you may think again about
calling this a "misguided project." I don't think it is any secret
that Microsoft has a hold on most of the world. As Free Software is
increasingly being supported by more people and companies everyday,
Microsoft still hold a large share of the computer market. To allow
them to have a central repository of all internet users information
would be a great cost to Freedom. DOTGNU will offer an alternative
to this, so the world is not locked into a Microsoft only
I hope I have helped clear some things up for you. I also hope
you don't forget that most of the basic software you use on your
GNU/Linux systems were created by the Free Software Foundation. By
no means have we ever harmed the community.
Thanks for your time,
GNU Volunteer Coordinator
- osOpinion: Free Software Foundation Must Die (Jul 13, 2001)
- FreeDevelopers: DotGNU: .GNU to Face Down .NET
(Jul 12, 2001)
- internetnews.com: One Net, One Law?(Jun 27, 2001)
- A Few of Microsoft's Questions at RMS' NYU Speech & A New GPL FAQ on
the Shared Source Page(Jun 06, 2001)
- New York Times: New Economy: Open-Source Movement Advances(Jun 04, 2001)
- RMS Speech at NYU Available in Ogg Format(May 31, 2001)
- eWeek: RMS rips Microsoft, Caldera's Ransom Love(May 30, 2001)
- Richard Stallman to Deliver Speech at NYU, Countering Mundie's Attack on
Free Software(May 26, 2001)