Strategy (was Re: Improving copyright)

Jeroen Dekkers jeroen at
Sun May 16 09:44:04 UTC 2004

At Sat, 15 May 2004 23:28:11 +0100,
Niall Douglas wrote:
> On 15 May 2004 at 11:20, Jeroen Dekkers wrote:
> > You still haven't answer my question. Why throw away POSIX, an open
> > standard, for a non-standard, proprietary API?
> Whether something is proprietary or not isn't anything like as 
> important as its ubiquity. In fact, most ISO standards start life as 
> a proprietary interface.

Sure it is. If it's proprietary it means there is no good
documentation about the interface, one company can change it at their
will, etc. And that is *very* important.

> > > 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.
> It was you who brought up games. I made a sweeping generalised 
> statement that Microsoft places great import in maintaining backwards 
> compatibility with legacy binaries. Someone else claimed this was the 
> case with Linux and I sought to dispute that because it's not true - 
> it's only very recently that an effort has been made to ensure binary 
> compatibility, and I strongly welcome that.

Very recently?!? Glibc is backwards compatible since version 2.0 when
they started using versioned symbols. And that was in 1997.
> > 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
> > is.
> What someone states is their goal usually isn't their goal. I 
> distrust them, and I'm not alone - note how Linus mandates that the 
> Linux kernel is licensed under a specific version of the GPL and not 
> "this or any later version" as the FSF would have you do.

It's pretty clear what their goals are if you look what they've done
in the past 20 years. However, if you don't even see that the FSF
isn't a non-free software supporting organisation, this discussion is
quite useless.
> > 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.
> Wow, you're seriously naïve. Professional politicians have the innate 
> ability to make anyone think they're taking you seriously, they 
> really agree with you privately and they'll urgently expedite action 
> favourable to your cause. And ministers don't get to be ministers 
> without being really good at that.

Software patents already changed from an A-item to a B-item. I don't
know what the outcome will be, we can only wait.

> > 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.
> Well we'll see. Cryptography was quite something else because 
> everyone knew the US had to relax it sometime - that means investment 
> will not be wasted. There would be deep uncertainty if patents were 
> used in anger against Linux and while I think it'd be like the 
> chilling of BSD from the AT&T lawsuit, these are different times. 
> Some diehard BSD fans claim that that AT&T suit caused Linux to beat 
> BSD to become the world's favourite Unix but I think that's 
> underestimating why Linux is so popular.

With software patents it would be the same, if this would happen the
US would very soon be in a position where they are behind on the rest
of world without software patents. Just thinking about having to
replace all patent-infringing GNU/Linux servers with windows...

Jeroen Dekkers

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