petrus at bmail.com.au
Mon Oct 3 05:17:03 PDT 2005
> As a result, this morning I see a malicious message in my Inbox from one
> of the team members here. It suggested that I created this notion of
> leaving LFS as a ruse to gain more recognition and ended with the
> comment that I 'need help'.
I will admit that sort of thing was my main reason for also putting my own
involvement of just about any kind with Linux on hold, possibly
indefinitely. Although I found this group to be extremely helpful and
positive, (with only one or two exceptions) I found what I saw of the Linux
"community" in different places (Slashdot in particular) to be consistently
distressing. The main element of this consisted of members of the GNU/FSF
faction in particular continually bullying others into adopting their
positions on various issues, and having the expectation that the rest of the
planet conform to their worldview generally.
An interview of Richard Stallman that I came across two weeks ago where he
displayed his usual attitude of (in my opinion) smug hypocrisy was the last
straw, since I'd also come across reports of his behaviour towards Ulrich
Drepper in connection with Glibc, and older material concering Jamie
Zawinski and the XEmacs split. Probably the most damning of the lot was a
series of debates with Tim O'Reilly, in which the mask really came off and
Stallman basically revealed just what a deceptive megalomaniac he really is.
You might ask why, as an end user, I'd care about that. I care because one
of my reasons for wanting to leave Windows is that I saw Microsoft as
authoritarian, and no longer wanted to remain subject to their dictates.
(Such as being forced to upgrade my hardware for Vista, whether I wanted to
or not...not to mention them basically being able to name their price for
Windows, as well as it's technical inferiority, refusal to listen to feature
requests, etc.) You can therefore probably imagine my surprise and dismay
when I discovered that as a Linux user, I'd basically traded Bill Gates or
Steve Ballmer for Stallman, who (to me anyway) demonstrated the attitude
pretty much constantly that anyone who involved themselves with Linux in any
way is somehow on his turf and subject to his decrees, whatever they might
be. He even seems to have the attitude that his own contributions to Linux
have been more important than Linus' own.
I also care because I care very much about my own freedom. Stallman claims
to value freedom also, but virtually all of his statements and actions that
I have seen have led me to a very different conclusion; namely, that rather
than freedom what he really cares about is being able to take credit for
other people's work, and having a group of people who worship him, adopt his
philosophies without question, and attempt to bully and coerce other people
into doing the same. I remember reading about how the journalist Laura
Didio received death threats from Linux users, and I have no doubt that
virtually all of the people who made such threats came from the GNU side of
the GNU/OSS factional fence.
The other thing is, I hadn't initially planned to simply remain an end
user...I originally had plans to put together at least a small distribution
for family members to use, and to possibly sell locally offline...and so
this added reasons as to why Stallman is/was an issue. I realised that I
could not in good conscience attempt to construct and sell a product to
people which was basically (at least partially anyway) a ticket into a group
led by a man who I have come to rather intensely despise.
Richard Stallman *is* a Communist, despite his protestations to the
contrary. He has fostered a culture in which many people react with moral
outrage to the idea of individuals being paid for their work, even to the
point where if a person's skillset is exclusively computer-related, in the
scenario which his followers envision, (even if he himself does not on this
one point) that person would be economically unable to feed themselves. He
has also fostered a culture within his "movement" in which individuals
expect to essentially be given everything free of charge. That, by
definition, is Communism.
I am autistic myself, physically disabled in a number of ways, and with the
exception of a certification in Web design, entirely unqualified and
self-taught. Hence, as formidable as such an undertaking might be, in the
event of the collapse of the social welfare system in the country where I
live, entrepreneurialism would be my only option if I wished to avoid
starving. In the proverbial "Brave GNU World" that Stallman and his
followers are working to create, programming as an income-earning trade
would be outlawed, and there is reason to suspect that earning financial
recompense for a number of other forms of creative endeavour would be also.
He is also a tyrant who has ceaselessly worked to marginalise and render
irrelevant the BSD license in particular, and any other license which he
considers not to be "GPL compatible." I often heard it said on #lfs-support
that Linux was supposed to be about choice. In Stallman's mind, however,
the only choices any Linux user is free to make are the ones which Stallman
himself dictates. That is not freedom.
I expect that I will not soon forget the exhilaration I felt when loading X
Windows from within the first LFS that I had installed. It truly felt for a
little while as though I had regained ownership of my machine. I remember
however, the conclusion of George Orwell's story Animal Farm, in which after
the animals initially drove the farmer and other tyrannical humans from the
farm, the pigs eventually formed an alliance with the humans, to the point
where the other animals were almost unable to tell the difference between
pig and man. As I said above, Stallman is a Communist, and (as, due to
human nature, he like every other Communist inevitably must) he has betrayed
If I thought it had a chance of succeeding, I would form a petition to
request Linus Torvalds to relicense the Linux kernel, and to disassociate
Linux from the FSF entirely, as I believe that Stallman and his followers
are now doing far more harm than the good that they have done in the past.
I can only hope that such change will be caused in the future by someone
more able than I, for I will not, and cannot continue to use or advocate
Linux while it is in any way associated with Richard Stallman. The freedom
to only use a computer on anyone else's terms, be it Stallman or Microsoft,
is not true freedom at all. I must, as must we all, follow my conscience.
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