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GNU is Not Unix

Ask Richard Stallman Anything 573

Posted by samzenpus
from the ask-away dept.
Richard Stallman (RMS) founded the GNU Project in 1984, the Free Software Foundation in 1985, and remains one of the most important and outspoken advocates for software freedom. RMS now spends much of his time fighting excessive extension of copyright laws, digital rights management, and software patents. He's agreed to answer your questions about GNU/Linux, free software, and anything else you like, but please limit yourself to one question per post.
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Ask Richard Stallman Anything

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  • Re:GPL vs BSD (Score:2, Informative)

    by amorsen (7485) <benny+slashdot@amorsen.dk> on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @12:40PM (#42118253)

    Talk about kicking a dead horse.

    So far the questions are either trolls or completely redundant. Hopefully they will improve.

  • by zill (1690130) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @12:42PM (#42118303)
    1:51 [youtube.com], to save you guys some time.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @12:53PM (#42118487)

    Is he really that touchy and pedantic?

  • by X0563511 (793323) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @12:55PM (#42118515) Homepage Journal

    Free Software and Open Source are not the same thing, the terms are not interchangeable. See my signature for an explanation.

  • by alexhs (877055) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @01:12PM (#42118773) Homepage Journal

    allots (2783683) and quartersa (2783685) are both astroturfing accounts, posting the minute the story goes live. Usually there's only one of them by story, but they have no shame :)

  • by Cigarra (652458) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @01:18PM (#42118881)
    What ever happened with the stolen bag and laptop? Did you get something back? Did you LOSE data (that is, was something not backed up)? Are you mad with the organizers / country that hosted the event?
  • by molleradura (2544534) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @01:40PM (#42119249)
    Ok, but just in this case "opensource" can be substituted by "free software". The only licence i know that is "opensource" but not "free software" is: - NASA Open Source Agreement (NOSA) There are not licences that arre "free software" but not "opensource". Microsoft is not using "NOSA" so microsoft in this case "opensource" might be substituted by "free software".
  • Re:Microsoft and GPL (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dr_Barnowl (709838) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @02:15PM (#42119787)

    The only improvements I'm aware of are related directly to their own products - Hyper-V drivers for Linux operating systems hosted on their virtualization platform.

    Ironically, these were first contributed because of a GPL violation.

    Citation : Hyper-V submission by Microsoft [wikipedia.org]

    Things seem to have gone quiet on the matter of the alleged 235 patents that Linux (and "other open source software") are supposed to violate.

  • by Dr_Barnowl (709838) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @03:23PM (#42120897)

    The problem with the MOO-XML (Microsoft Office Open XML) specification (all 6,000-ish pages of it) was that it wasn't fully open.

    The format, as it started, was rather transparently a 1-for-1 XML serialization of the internal binary data structures of Office. Some bits of it are still blobs, they're just blobs inside an XML / ZIP container.

    The "strict" ECMA 376 / ISO 29500 variant is what happened as a result of the consultation process, and even MS Office doesn't support it. It likely never will. Office continues to support new non-XML binary formats.

    The only way to implement a lot of the features in the format is to have a comprehensive specification of exactly how the internals of Office behave. In some cases, you probably need detailed specs of the internals of Windows itself - remember all those special API calls in Windows that Office uses? And if you go to all the trouble of producing such a specification - well, it would have been easier and more accurate to publish the source code of the program.

    The "Office Open XML" serves two purposes... one, "Office Open" is similar enough to "OpenOffice" to introduce a desirable level of confusion. Two, it allows anyone who has an organizational policy to support Open formats, as you describe, to check a box on the form that says MS Office supports a "Standard" open format. Because the matter is complicated (and the spec is 6,000 pages long), investigating this claim takes so long that the purchase order to renew MS Office licenses can be signed while the arguments still go on. Those persons with a vested interest will shake hands, public money will go into corporate coffers, etc.

    How about this : the UK National Health Service once had an agreement to cover all it's users with MS Office licenses. The 3rd largest employer in the world, with over a million employees, a back-of-napkin calculation would suggest that the cost per year must have been on the order of $100M. Imagine what could be done for an open office suite with even a fraction of that. I think someone did imagine it at Microsoft UK HQ - the licensing agreement was broken off, and now individual healthcare trusts negotiate for their licensing deals - which is more likely ; someone saying

    * "Oh my, MS Office licenses are costing us $100M - let's divert $30M a year into LibreOffice and use that instead across the whole NHS"
    OR
    * "Oh my, MS Office licenses are costing us (a few tens of thousands) - let's divert (a few thousand) into LibreOffice and use that instead, even though no-one else will be"

  • by clarkn0va (807617) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {teg.tpa}> on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @05:31PM (#42122651) Homepage
    I don't see how preferring "free software" over "open source software" makes one touchy or pedantic, given that RMS has stated his reasons for said preference. You may not agree with him, but it doesn't add anything to the discussion to label him.

We are Microsoft. Unix is irrelevant. Openness is futile. Prepare to be assimilated.

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