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Open Source

Interview: Ask Eric Raymond What You Will 126

Author of The Cathedral and the Bazaar and The Art of Unix Programming, Eric S.Raymond (ESR) has long been an important spokesperson for the open source movement. It's been a while since we talked to the co-founder of the Open Source Initiative so ESR has agreed to give us some of his time and answer your questions. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.
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Interview: Ask Eric Raymond What You Will

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @01:46PM (#46398157)
    What are your feelings about protocols and file formats and keeping them open? Where do the efforts to keep protocols and file formats open and accessible to others fall on your list of priorities?
  • Slashdot Beta (Score:2, Interesting)

    by linuxci ( 3530 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @01:47PM (#46398181)

    What do you think of Slashdot beta?

  • by stox ( 131684 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @01:47PM (#46398191) Homepage

    What's your opinion of the damage done to the Internet by the NSA scandal, and potentially by, the Comcast TWC merger?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @02:05PM (#46398461)

    Eric, I remember "fondly" what was it 15+ years ago hearing you pontificating in person about gift culture and other sociology that you only had the slightest understanding of and economics that you had zero understanding of. The 'cathedral and the barzaar' has proven to be spectacularly wrong in every meaningful sense and nearly all of your technology predictions related to it have failed. My question is: will you for once have the humility to apologize and admit that you were wrong?

  • Android (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @02:08PM (#46398501)

    Do you consider the widespread global adoption of the Linux-based Android operating system to be a victory for Open Source, or a danger to the cause?

  • Hard work or talent? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @02:08PM (#46398507)

    You often come across as classless and creepy. Do you work at it or does it come naturally?

  • by Connie_Lingus ( 317691 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @02:09PM (#46398523) Homepage

    it's been almost 20 years since your write tCatB...i gave it a quick read and thought, "well, it *is* dated now, isn't it?" altho i am old enough to remember when its' ideas were pretty cutting edge.

    given the current state of software development (ie the ease of use of PHP and the fact that, without a doubt, the cathedral model has won), what would you either like to change or add to your original thesis?

  • Why the attitude? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Slartibartfast ( 3395 ) <ken @ j> on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @02:33PM (#46398897) Homepage Journal

    It permeates everything you write: the moral assuredness that You Are Right. I'm all in favor of positing that a position someone takes is the right one -- that's human nature. But your whole "I speak for the hackers" tone, wherein you seem to feel the need to put your views forward as representing others', puzzles me. I give, as a case-in-point, your "Sex Tips for Geeks []" as exhibit A, but, really, most any of your writings -- most definitely including your handling of The Jargon File [], as well as your stance on homosexuality [] -- qualify. Care to comment?

  • systemd (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Canek ( 37105 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @02:46PM (#46399123) Homepage

    As a long time "Unix philosophy" advocate, and in the light of the announced switch to it by Debian, Ubuntu, and basically every other major Linux distribution, what do you think of systemd, and the tight vertical integration it intends to bring as a standard plumbing for (most of) all Linux distributions?

  • How to ask questions (Score:4, Interesting)

    by houstonbofh ( 602064 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @03:06PM (#46399453)
    When you wrote "How to ask questions" did you have any idea how big it would be? Or how long it would be relevent?

    And how do you feel that your most referenced piece of work is a howto for the clueless? :)
  • Halloween Documents (Score:4, Interesting)

    by frdmfghtr ( 603968 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @03:43PM (#46399947)

    I recall reading (and re-reading on occasion) the Halloween Documents. Have you written anything regarding any other opponents to OSS, or perhaps a look back on them and see what the end effect of Microsoft's attempts did long term?

  • Apple today (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wordtech ( 774952 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2014 @07:01PM (#46402539) Homepage
    Your comments in The Art of Unix Programming about Apple/Mac developers being diametrically opposed to Unix developers in development style and emphases (designing simple, user-friendly interfaces from the outside in) were quite interesting. I am wondering about your perspective on Apple now. My interest is specifically in Apple's contributions to open-source (WebKit and LLVM, chiefly) and your take on those. It seems to me that Apple has done quite a bit to foster an alternative ecosystem to the GNU environment, for instance in FreeBSD's adoption of clang as their default compiler; and also it seems to to me that WebKit has supplanted Gecko as the most widely used browser framework. Curious about your viewpoint here.

If graphics hackers are so smart, why can't they get the bugs out of fresh paint?