[nSLUG] On topic of favorite distros, and Linux on the Desktop

Paul Boudreau pbx at eastlink.ca
Tue Mar 2 09:47:46 AST 2004

George N. White III wrote:

>On Mon, 1 Mar 2004, Jeff Warnica wrote:
>>I think this is the major distinction between the GNU "Free Software"
>>and the OSI "Open Source" camps. GNU is a political movement with
>>philosophic goals. OSI is pragmatic, pushing the theory that Open Source
>>methodologies produce better systems, and that many OSS packages are
>>better then their closed source competitors.
>Those "philosophic" goals have practical consequences.  Useful software is
>being "lost" due to business decisions (withdrawing a package that isn't
>sufficiently profitable, buying up a competing package and then abandoning
>it, or simple business failure where the backup tapes end up in the
>landfill) or simple lack of interest by the author.  One example is the
>Macsyma symbolic algebra system (which added proprietary extensions to the
>same public domain code base used by GNU maxima, which is having to
>reinvent the same enhancements).  There are many small packages that
>can't be included in linux distros because the author put some ad-hoc
>license conditions on the package and now can't be found to get the
>conditions changed.  Publishers often encounter problems tracking down
>copyright owners to get permission to reprint excerpts.
>It isn't just a question of what software is currently "best" for your
>task -- you have to consider the potential disruption to your task it
>the author dies in a motorcycle accident or the company goes under,
>gets split up by an anti-trust settlement, etc.
>An alternative to GNU-style licenses would be an escrow system where
>intellectual property protections can be lost if not actively maintained,
>resulting in release of the source code, loss of copyright protection,
>George N. White III  <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>
>  Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada
>nSLUG mailing list
>nSLUG at nslug.ns.ca
GNU is more than a political movement, it is the basis for
all free software out there, not just Linux. Open source,
the term, has been watered down to be meaningless.
If you want to hear advocacy, don't listen to  someone
like Eric S. Raymond, but Eben Moglen (chief council of
the FSF, Columbia Law Professor). His philosophy is that
Microsoft's business model is dying, and it is not a matter
of if, but when people (and companies and governments)
switch to the Free (as in libre, not gratis) model.
We've already won, so stop arguing.
Here's a link to Prof. Moglen's last speech at Harvard, wherein he kicks 
Darl McBride's butt:
It's real media, but it works in Xine (with the, ahem,
"appropriate" codecs).

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