Strategy (was Re: Improving copyright)

Jeroen Dekkers jeroen at
Sat May 15 09:20:15 UTC 2004

At Fri, 14 May 2004 20:57:00 +0100,
Niall Douglas wrote:
> On 14 May 2004 at 20:27, Jeroen Dekkers wrote:
> > > Linux has had this problem twenty times over in trying to behave
> > > like all the different Unices out there *at* *the* *same* *time*.
> > > Following this logic, Linus should have dumped the idea of Linux and
> > > gone with forking Plan 9 instead - which while very appealing on
> > > technical grounds, it ignores how much worth legacy compatibility is
> > > worth to people.
> > 
> > GNU/Linux almost complies to an international standard called
> > POSIX. Why would you want to throw away that standard and implement
> > some non-standard, proprietary API which changes every few years?
> > Don't you like open standards?
> That was actually my point - legacy standards are worth a lot to 
> people. The Windows API is also pretty ancient & very stable, there's 
> a lot of Windows 2.x and 3.x stuff in there still plus smatterings 
> from OS/2. Of course Windows NT also provides a POSIX subsystem which 
> was wonderful back in the day.

You still haven't answer my question. Why throw away POSIX, an open
standard, for a non-standard, proprietary API?
> > > Are we talking about the same system here? I can run my Win95 and
> > > often my DOS binaries unmodified on the latest Windows. A Linux
> > > binary from 1996 stands *zero* *chance* of running unmodified on the
> > > latest Linux.
> > 
> > I know from other people that most games written for win 9x work
> > poorly or not at all on XP. Even microsoft can't make XP fully
> > compatible with 9x, and we should be able to do so without specs,
> > source code and knowledge of the internals?  I don't think so.
> Almost every *application* for DOS runs fine on NT. Games less so I 
> agree, but then Microsoft's WOW team set a target of being able to 
> play DOS Doom in the subsystem and then it'd be considered done. 
> Business apps were their primary concern and these run very well.

You are switching from home users to business users. Can you make up
your mind please? Home users play games, business users
don't. Business users aren't the same as home users. They have system
administrators who setup their system. System administrators aren't
the "average Joe". We were talking about home users, and they have
games which don't work on XP. So binary compatiblity doesn't work for

> > Which resources? FSF doesn't have any resources for this at all. And I
> > think the FSF had created enough serious change and is still doing so
> > - or do you want to say the FSF didn't create a change the last 20
> > years? Do you want to say that the increasing number of GNU/Linux
> > users isn't a change?
> The self-appointed leaders of the free software movement could begin 
> by publicly encouraging ReactOS and its ilk instead of decrying it as 
> encouraging further lock-in into MS's evil grip (complete nonsense, 
> but who am I to disagree with RMS?). That alone sadly enough would 
> cause developer resources to flock to cloning Windows.

You're totally ignorant about the goal of the FSF. The goal is to
provide a totally free operating system. Not a system made for
non-free drivers and non-free applications. A windows clone would be
just that, encouraging non-free software. Maybe you should read the
essay "The Free Software Community After 20 Years: With great but
incomplete success, what now?" to get a picture of what the FSF's goal

> > And about the patenting stuff, I don't think there will be software
> > patents in Europe.
> Our best and only chance was via the parliament because it's 
> something we can influence. The council of ministers is effectively 
> closed to our voice and there's little we can do about it (that's why 
> the old left in Britain disliked the EU, it's fundamentally anti-
> democratic). I personally am resting easy until the directive returns 
> to the EP when I'll either campaign for a yes or no vote depending on 
> whether it's good or not.

I've been demonstrating yesterday and at least they listed to our
points of view and it's just waiting what they are going to do with
it. It's possible to influence the council of ministers, through
national MPs and by demonstrating for example. Saying it's something
we can't influence at all is wrong IMHO. In Germany, Belgium and
Denmark it already resulted in that their minister would probably vote
no. We only need a few countries more.
> However my comments were referring to the globe. Microsoft is quietly 
> patenting key parts of Linux and if it ever needed to, it could sue 
> everyone using Linux for patent breach though not in the EU if the 
> parliament amended directive were passed. Bye bye Linux if that 
> happens.

So? That is that country's problem, it might slowdown Linux
development a bit, but that's all. Most development would just move to
places without such wrong laws (the EU and India for example). Just
like what happened with cryptograhy software when the US had still
those strict export laws.

Jeroen Dekkers

More information about the Discussion mailing list