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Thread: Politics of Free and Open Source

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Re: Politics of Free and Open Source

    It is disconcerting how the give and take of a forum so often leads to digression and unintended emphasis on secondary issues:

    I did not set out to critique your article. On the contrary, I admired it and found it very insightful and provocative (in the good sense). Though I felt (and still feel) that RMS is too often held up as an exemplar/leader/guardian/spokesman for that subset of FOSS that you have identified as the "Libre" contingent, this is really something of a niggle on my part and I don't feel at all strongly about it. I thought that my suggestion to contrast RMS with Shuttleworth (for a much starker contrast) as opposed to Torvalds showed my own readiness to accept the injection of personalities into the discussion, but again, this is not central to your thesis, so it qualifies as another niggle.

    But since I am niggling anyway, I would point out that it is not RMS's standing with the FOSS community that is at issue, but rather, his outsized status in the Libre contingent/movement. I would be the first to agree that the FOSS community is too diverse, anarchic, meritocratic and--dare I say--cynical to hero-worship anyone, but this is not the case in the FSF/Libre movement, where RMS holds a status far above that of any other figure. I concede that demigod may be going too far, but father-figure, commander-in-chief, big-cheese all fit the bill. And niggle though it be, this is not good for the movement.

    In leaving, I completely understand the attraction of certain personalities. There is a reason why we invented the word "charisma" and many of the recognizable figures in the FOSS community possess this property to a degree far exceeding the norm. If you decide to write a further article specifically exploring the differing personalities inhabiting the FOSS community, I for one would find that fascinating, though continuing to be mindful that it is an exploration of personalities.

    My intent was to engage in a friendly discussion. When I manage to contribute to the community the quality of articles you already have, I might then consider myself qualified to critique.

    Happy Ubuntuing!

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Re: Politics of Free and Open Source

    Quote Originally Posted by DuckHook View Post
    But since I am niggling anyway, I would point out that it is not RMS's standing with the FOSS community that is at issue, but rather, his outsized status in the Libre contingent/movement. I would be the first to agree that the FOSS community is too diverse, anarchic, meritocratic and--dare I say--cynical to hero-worship anyone, but this is not the case in the FSF/Libre movement, where RMS holds a status far above that of any other figure. I concede that demigod may be going too far, but father-figure, commander-in-chief, big-cheese all fit the bill. And niggle though it be, this is not good for the movement.
    The reason people respect rms so much is that he sticks to his ideals. He lives by not having proprietary software anywhere on any hardware he owns. Nobody else in the world, as far as I know, is willing to make that kind of personal sacrifice. In that sense he is indeed a paragon of Free Software as espoused by the FSF. A man who believes that being "free" is much more important than practical convenience. In fact I would say that his existence is extremely important if not essential for the movement because he is living proof that we have that choice.

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