Sunday, August 19, 2007

Linus and Linux: Sycophantic Hero Worship

I must admit to getting really fed up with the Linux community lately.

They seem to believe that their hero, Linus Torvalds, can do nothing wrong.

In a recent post on slashdot I said this:
For anyone who can't think for themselves, yes, his opinion really counts.

I, personally, like to form my own opinions of things. While Linux has been seized upon by people as a great operating system. The only good thing about it is that it's free.

Linux is a monolithic kernel architecture which, as many operating systems experts will tell you, has number of problems.

Don't fool yourself into thinking that he's some kind of visionary, when he's not. The man never says anything positive about anyone else's work. I find it really tiring to listen to him rail on everything under the sun... speaking of Sun. Linus railed against them for not giving anything to the community.... let's examine that assertion for a minute:

Sun has:
1) Given it's OS out under a Free Software license
2) Given it's Processor out under the GPL
3) Released Open Office under the GPL
4) Is in the process of releasing Java under the GPL.

What else would you like them to give? Does he want them to drop Solaris and start being a Linux distributor?

Linus poo-poo's CVS and SVN as being "good enough." While I agree that CVS certainly does suck, SVN is not a the piece of crap he thinks it us.

He regularly criticizes RMS. I don't agree with everything RMS says, but some of the things that Linus dings him on are completely assinine. The GPLv2 was created before certain technologies existed. The GPLv3 was made to address the problems these new technologies present... and keeps with the spirit of the GPLv2. Linus is too blind to see this.

Don't kid yourself... he's no one's hero. He's just started to believe his own press.

Good day.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Recent Fix for Gorm allows Mac style menus

I made a correction this morning which allows for Gorm to have a Mac style menu when NSMenuInterfaceStyle is set to the Mac style.

You may need to remove your Gorm preferences, or at least do the following:

defaults delete Gorm NSMenuInterfaceStyle

to reset the style so that it will show up properly.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Linus, Linux and the GPLv3

What most people forget is that Free Software is a balance between the rights of the creator and the user. Anything that disturbs that balance needs to be dealt with. Both patents and DRM represent things that disturb the rights of the users in favor of the creators.

RMS is not trying to force his personal beliefs on people. You don't have to change to the GPLv3, no one does. Linus, on the other hand, is coming out and engaging in name calling. I've seen more and more of this from Linus over the past few years. I don't see him as any better than RMS, in fact, I see him as worse. To me he seems like the kind of person who, if you don't agree with him, he'll freely and publicly call you names. That doesn't seem to me to be the approach of an intelligent or reasonable person. It seems to be to be the approach of someone who's ego has gotten a little too big for his own good. Not one of the reasons Linus has yet given for his dislike of the GPLv3 has made a great deal of sense from my point of view. Linus seems unable or, possibly, unwilling to engage in a debate about this pertaining to the facts of the matter. Instead he would rather distract people from the real issues by calling RMS a fanatic and calling anyone that adopts the GPLv3 hypocrites.

He states that the GPLv3 will make it difficult for business' to use GPL'd software. This is, in fact, correct. The GPLv3 will make it more difficult for companies to restrict the rights of their users (people like you and me). The GPL was meant to protect against this type of thing. As the world evolved, the GPLv2 became inadequate due to the simple fact that many of the technologies and problems which exist now did not exist when it was drafted. It therefore, has legal holes it in nowadays that one could drive a truck through. The GPLv3 was meant to address the shortcomings and, in some cases, the lack of clarity of the GPLv2. It protects the users better and is clearer on what is and is not distribution.

If Linus wants to play name calling games, that's just fine. If, however, he wants to actually discuss the facts, he and the rest of his sycophantic followers should engage the FSF in a debate.. or, at least, they should have been more of a part of the drafting of the GPLv3 than they were... certainly... if you don't put your 2 cents into something, especially when you're invited to do so (GPLv3 comments were open to the public and, indeed, Eben Moglen publicly asked the Linux contributors to participate)... then, in my opinion, you have no cause to complain when the process is finish.

Linus and his ilk had their chance to say something and they remained silent. Why should they be listened to now?

The GNUstep project is moving to the GPLv3, as are Samba and many other Free Software projects. Linus has forgotten what Free Software is all about... a balance of individual rights. The GPLv3 is, quite honestly, the best way to proceed forward, since it addresses critical issues in the previous version. If Linus want's to think us all hypocrites, then so be it. I would submit, however, that he is the one engaging in hypocrisy. When someone can take Linux and add DRM code to it and then distribute it under the GPLv2 and get away with it, then that defeats the spirit of the GPL in the first place. Perhaps, then, it's not so much hypocrisy on Linus' part as it is a sheer lack of understanding. Perhaps he never understood the GPL in the first place.