LWN's comments on RMS and Freedom

Bernhard Reiter bernhard at intevation.de
Thu Aug 23 18:04:56 UTC 2001

Is worth a read, because they give their opinion on terminology
in the Free Software community and RMS' behaviour.
We can all learn how actions might be perceived by a broader public.

Note that LWN is very careful in the glibc Drepper debate which
shows their journalistic instincts.

| It could also have been motivated by a desire for less conflict
| with glibc maintainer Ulrich Drepper, who is also not always
| considered to be one of the easiest people to get along with. Unless
| Mr. Stallman acknowledges that this "hostile takeover" attempt truly
| happened, and explains his reasoning, it will be hard to understand
| what is really going on.

Also note that they implicitly equal FSF and the GNU-Project.
This paragraph shows that the people believing in the need for 
a modern role for the FSF do have a strong point. 
The FSF and the FSFE do a lot more than just running the GNU-Project.
They provide a base for all Free Software development.

| But much of the work has been done outside of the GNU project's
| organization since the beginning, and the proportion of non-GNU work
| is only increasing. Richard Stallman remains the head of the Free
| Software Foundation, but, if the larger Linux and free software
| movement has a head at all, it's not him.

They come to an interesting conclusion on "Should we be talking
about freedom?" which shows me that
LWN editors actually have understood more than most people:

| There is a claim LWN would like to put forward, however, made up of
| two parts:
|    1. The concept of freedom is a crucial, inseparable part of what
| makes the free software movement vital and important. It may make
| life easier to sweep the concept under the rug at times, but that is
| a temptation that should be resisted.
|    2. Richard Stallman has been one of our most articulate, vocal,
| and persistent proponents of software freedom for almost two
| decades. It is important that he not stop.


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