EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

07.28.09

Linus Torvalds’ Attitude Towards Free Software is Not News

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, GPL, Kernel, Microsoft at 3:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Reading a newspaper

Summary: Setting the record straight on news that’s not news

SEVERAL years ago, Microsoft was accused of spreading the false rumour that Linux had been derived from Minix. It was a lie, and some people still think it is true.

Microsoft’s loadable module for Linux [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] has demonstrated the strengths of the GPL, but Linus Torvalds continues to disrespect those who made the GPL possible. This is not news. FSF disdain from Torvalds has lasted an eternity, yet some people try to characterise his latest interview with Linux Magazine as some sort of change of heart; it’s not. As I pointed out 3 years ago, Torvalds even had a comment deleted for cursing Richard Stallman in Groklaw.

Regarding Microsoft’s loadable module, Free Software Magazine has just written an article explaining why Torvalds’ attitude is wrong.

Torvalds seemed to express indifference to the submission which he dismissed as only being about device drive code. If he looks at it at all it will be after it has been filtered through others, and even then only out of a sense of “morbid curiosity” apparently. The code is concerned with virtualizing GNU/Linux as a guest in Windows. That tells you a lot about Microsoft’s motives. If clients can’t run GNU/Linux on Hyper-V, Windows’ virtualization software, it makes it more likely that they would migrate to wholly free and open source systems running on wholly free and open systems.

Torvalds does the right thing by accepting Microsoft’s code (he hasn’t a choice), but the dismissal of the vigilant as irrational Microsoft Haters© is very unproductive but also very typical.

“Giving the Linus Torvalds Award to the Free Software Foundation is a bit like giving the Han Solo Award to the Rebel Alliance.”

Richard Stallman

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

11 Comments

  1. eet said,

    July 28, 2009 at 5:17 am

    Gravatar

    I’m all with Linus on this one. After all I (and you) am running HIS system on my computers, not R. Stallman’s.

    BTW, were you the one who asked Hubert Figuiere ‘Why did you write Gnote?’

    Well, you can read his answer now on his blog: http://www.figuiere.net/hub/blog/?2009/07/27/680-why-i-did-write-gnote

    Some quotes:
    [blockquote]I wrote Gnote to answer two questions:

    - How can I have Tomboy functionality on my custom openSUSE image I made for my EEE PC, that will fit the 2GB?
    - Is it easy to port a C# application to C++?

    For the rest, you all know what happened: the anti-Mono crowd took it as their victory, started FUDing, etc. Barely nobody asked me why I had written that code, compared to the many that actually thought I was supporting their cause.

    And if you still think I hate Mono think again. I worked for the company that pushes Mono (and still wish I was)[/blockquote]

    To summ it up: Looks like he won’t be mis-used as a figurehead for your dubious cause. Hubert Figuiere is a pragmatist; like Linus; like the overwhelming majority of developers, who happen to be level-headed. Unlike certain ideologists who instead of writing software only tell others what software not to use.

    Jose_X Reply:

    eet, I think I’m a little cranky today. Don’t mind the tone below.

    >> I’m all with Linus on this one. After all I (and you) am running HIS system on my computers, not R. Stallman’s.

    If by “his” you mean code over which he owns the copyrights, then I think the Linux I am running has less than 1/10 of 1% that belongs to Linus. [I pulled that number from the air, but keep in mind that would be about 1/1000th. I assume source code lines out of the total. It's an imperfect metric.]

    I’m not attacking Linus. I’m speaking for the many that are less in the spotlight than he is.

    >> BTW, were you the one who asked Hubert Figuiere ‘Why did you write Gnote?’

    The very day of the announcement (or soon thereafter), he had closed discussion on the article quickly, I believe, to keep the anti-mono noise out. [I don't have the link handy]

    Since then, I read him (at least once if not twice) commenting in other blogs also with a tone of sympathy towards mono.

    I would not be surprised if he is or was under NDA because his remarks appear to be of one that wants to say more than he is saying. [Obviously, I'm just guessing.]

    And, changing to C++ likely does not change many important parts of the structure of the app, which means you still can have many significant patent issues. See: http://boycottnovell.com/2009/02/04/the-api-trap-part-1/ .

    His “proof of concept” effectively provides some “excuses” to remain with mono.

    None of this is news.

    >> Unlike certain ideologists who instead of writing software only tell others what software not to use.

    The FSF has many developer-contributors. There are many people (even Linux kernel contributors) using the GPLv3 (or at least GPLv2 or later) and disliking Microsoft.

    There are people not contributing source code who want to help preserve the system in other ways and believe they are helping by speaking of the threats mono poses.

    eet, what software has Ballmer or Gates written lately? You should be on their case for speaking bad about Linux, the GPL, and competitors writing lots of code, etc.

    Maybe the money Ballmer/Gates make is indicative of what one can make when you get aggressive about threats.

    zatoichi Reply:

    I would not be surprised if he is or was under NDA because his remarks appear to be of one that wants to say more than he is saying. [Obviously, I'm just guessing.]

    That’s not “guessing”, Jose, that’s “reaching”.

    Jose, Hub’s writing in his own blog. With regard to whom could he possibly be under NDA?

    eet Reply:

    There are people not contributing source code who want to help preserve the system in other ways and believe they are helping by speaking of the threats mono poses.

    That’s not helping. If it really was about legal risks, you would leave it to the lawyers; this is about Microsoft-hatred and paranoia, nothing else.

    eet, what software has Ballmer or Gates written lately?

    As much as Richard Stallmann, I would say. These three are managers and PR-people; just the kind of unconstructive people without whose ‘contributions’ I could live perfectly fine.

    About Hubert, Lefty has already said it all.

  2. Needs Sunlight said,

    July 28, 2009 at 7:53 am

    Gravatar

    “Really, I’m not out to destroy Microsoft. That will just be a completely unintentional side effect.”
    - Linus Torvalds

    eet Reply:

    How much better this sounds than the preachy stance of RMS, doesn’t it.

  3. zatoichi said,

    July 28, 2009 at 8:29 am

    Gravatar

    Linus Torvalds continues to disrespect those who made the GPL possible.

    This is preposterous, Roy, based on the latest interview with Linus, unless you consider the folks on this site, for example, to be “those who made the GPL possible”. I’d like to see the reasoning behind this statement.

  4. zatoichi said,

    July 28, 2009 at 8:34 am

    Gravatar

    …what software has Ballmer or Gates written lately?

    What software have you written lately, Jose?

    (And since I can’t get an answer out of Roy as to whether he “supports the FSF”—leading me to believe the answer is “no”—do you support the FSF, Jose? if so, how? If not, why not?

  5. Jose_X said,

    July 28, 2009 at 11:12 am

    Gravatar

    [eet] >> That’s not helping. If it really was about legal risks, you would leave it to the lawyers; this is about Microsoft-hatred and paranoia, nothing else.

    Lawyers interpret under the context of law and usually not business strategy or engineering. “Everyone” has access to lawyers, yet many groups come to different conclusions over risks and strategy after consulting their lawyers.

    [zatoichi] >> With regard to whom could he possibly be under NDA?

    I explained why I considered he might be under NDA. It was a thought. And I did say is or was.

    [eet said] >> like the overwhelming majority of developers, who happen to be level-headed. Unlike certain ideologists who instead of writing software only tell others what software not to use.

    [I said] >> eet, what software has Ballmer or Gates written lately? You should be on their case for speaking bad about Linux, the GPL, and competitors writing lots of code, etc.

    [zatoichi replied] >> What software have you written lately, Jose?

    David, you do see the goose/gander connection, right? If people that don’t write software should not be giving advice on software use (as I think eet suggested), then this would apply to Ballmer and Gates as well. Given how much advice and opinions they have given in the past, I would think eet should be hot and heavy on their trail.

    I don’t write software frequently. Hope to start that back up in earnest. However, I did write not long ago javascript (tested on firefox only) that took stock brokerage trades in various formats (from various online brokerage firms) and produced a nicely formatted 1040 Schedule D-1. This was created for my needs, so it is missing functionality and generality. It also involved some manual cut-n-paste to get things going.

    Whenever/if I get back to that, I would like to clean it up and see what format I’ll convert it to so that other people can use it.

    Anyway, you might be making a similar error as eet if you are insinuating that those that don’t write software can’t provide useful opinions or advice.

    For example, lawyers don’t usually write software.

  6. eet said,

    July 28, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Gravatar

    If people that don’t write software should not be giving advice on software use (as I think eet suggested), then this would apply to Ballmer and Gates as well. Given how much advice and opinions they have given in the past, I would think eet should be hot and heavy on their trail.

    Since when do we take the propaganda from Ballmer or Gates as advice in the Linux camp?

    No; no, this doesn’t apply. We were talking about who to listen to, and Ballmers and Gates, I THINK, we can rule out…

  7. zatoichi said,

    July 28, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Gravatar

    If people that don’t write software should not be giving advice on software use (as I think eet suggested), then this would apply to Ballmer and Gates as well.

    As surprising as you might find this, I don’t actually take advice from Messrs. Ballmer and Gates on software use. I don’t think too many people take them all that seriously when they talk about the GPL, and—having agreed that there’s nothing wrong with the GPL, after all, and that it’s the right license to use when submitting code to the kernel—they’ll look pretty darned silly if they try to talk smack about it in the future, won’t they?

    It’s a free country and people can talk about whatever they like, Jose. But if it’s wrong for ideologists like Ballmer and Gates to tell people what software not to use, then it’s equally wrong for ideologists on the free software side—and even more wrong if you’re serious about “freedom”, since that has to include other people’s freedom to do think you don’t happen to enjoy—to tell people what software not to use.

What Else is New


  1. [Humour/Meme] The 'New' Edge (Chrome Copycat) is Already Dead, So Microsoft is Trying to Just Kill the Competition

    Edge market share is so minuscule that it doesn’t even make it into this chart (it’s in “other”); no wonder Microsoft now bullies Windows users into using it, for users reject it even after months of endless advertising/AstroTurfing and aggressive exploitation/appropriation



  2. Fourth of July in the United Kingdom and the United States

    In these bizarre times Independence Day is still being celebrated, even as so many people are out of work, running out of hope and being fed xenophobia in social control media with a racist 'celebrity' president (the "user in chief")



  3. [Humour] Bigger is Always Better When You're a Deluded Maximalist

    The EPO totally lost sight of its mission; it's just speeding everything up, very carelessly, not minding quality and accuracy/certainty/legal validity



  4. 'Managing Intellectual Property' Managing to Become Uncritical Parrot of EPO Management

    Managing to amplify the EPO's lies isn't hard; one just needs to copy, paste, edit a little; then they call it 'journalism', irrespective of the proven track record of EPO management lying to staff and to the media



  5. IRC Proceedings: Friday, July 03, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, July 03, 2020



  6. Monopoly Abuse, Still: Microsoft Pays Projects to Embrace/Move to C#, GitHub and Visual Studio

    Microsoft's greatest of efforts to lull regulators into inaction and fool us all into thinking that things have changed are undone by actual behaviour, which is abusive, anti-competitive and just... typical Microsoft



  7. Links 4/7/2020: Grml 2020.06 and diffoscope 150 Released

    Links for the day



  8. [Humour/Meme] Don't Let a COVID Crisis Go to Waste When You're Eager to Find Excuses for Many Layoffs and Shutdowns

    Microsoft business units that were defunct (long-failing, well before COVID-19) are being thrown out and Microsoft exploits a virus to rationalise these decisions while spicing up media coverage with "Hey Hi" (AI) and "virtual" experience or Facebook (to give the false impression that nothing really goes away)



  9. Free Software Tackles Political Issues. Political Tactics Are Also Being Weaponised Against Free Software.

    Divide-and-rule tactics seem to have been exploited to weaken collaborative work on Free/libre software; the response to these tactics needs to start with realisation that this is going on (even if it's done in a somewhat clandestine nature)



  10. Offence and Racism

    o those in positions of power and privilege (financial) you are controllable by guilt; dividing us and causing us to feel guilt and fear (over potential offence) is a powerful social control mechanism and pretext for dismissal, censorship, humiliation



  11. Links 3/7/2020: TrueNAS 12 Beta 1, Librem 13 Product Line

    Links for the day



  12. [Humour] European Patents Only Useful Outside the Legal Framework?

    Patents that aren't valid in the eyes of courts would best serve patent trolls that settle out of courts, en masse



  13. Microsoft's Share in Web Servers Rapidly Falls to Just 4.5% (Falling More Than 5% in a Single Month)

    Microsoft's share as measured at Netcraft (de facto authority in this area) is rapidly declining; expect IIS to go the way of the dodo some time in the coming years



  14. The Lock-downs Are Over and Still Zero Media Coverage About EPO Scandals and Corruption

    The appalling state of journalism in Europe (and to some extent in the world at large) means that the EPO's management can get away with all sorts of horrible crimes and fraud; the silencing of the media is, in its own right, quite scandalous



  15. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, July 02, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, July 02, 2020



  16. “Microsoft's Deadly Love” by Alessandro Ebersol (Agent Smith)

    Full credit goes to PCLOS Magazine for publishing this good piece, which we’re reproducing



  17. Links 2/7/2020: Microsoft Partner Says GNU/Linux Share in Desktops/Laptops at 4% Even After Lock-downs, OpenSUSE Leap 15.2 and Mageia 8 Alpha 1 Released

    Links for the day



  18. Why People Should Never Ever Use DuckDuckGo

    DuckDuckGo is another privacy abuser in disguise; the above forum thread enumerates key reasons



  19. After 2 Years and 2 Days António Campinos is a Perfect Leader, Fostering EPO Abuses While Smiling

    EPO corruption persists, but this time the corruption enjoys better marketing/PR and complicit (or at best silent) media



  20. [Humour] As If Monopolies for Life Will Save People's Lives...

    The mentality of monopoly or the mindset of patent maximalism has been quick to exploit the deaths of half a million



  21. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, July 01, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, July 01, 2020



  22. IBM-Funded FSF Censors Itself on Software Patents

    Donald Robertson’s article bemoaning and openly condemning the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) over software patents, which it illegally grants in some cases, was modified a week later; and why? One can only guess… (but remember that the FSF’s foremost sponsor is lobbying against 35 U.S.C. § 101 and for software patents)



  23. [Humour/Meme] Remember That As Recently as Last Year Microsoft Was Still Shaking Down and Even Suing Companies Over 'Linux Patent Infringement'

    There's no 'new Microsoft' except a (better at) lying Microsoft; its covert actions tell us a lot about its ongoing hatred of GNU/Linux, which it is assaulting in new and more sophisticated ways



  24. Contrary to Common Misconceptions, Free Software is More 'Corporate' or More 'Enterprise-Grade' Than Proprietary Abandonware (All Proprietary Software Will Die)

    Free software can leverage the superficial and bland boardroom lingo/slang to promote itself; it would definitely harm or dilute/weaken the terms which proprietary software giants like to leverage against us



  25. Social Control Media Will Not Exist One Day

    Digital obsolescence and Internet bitrot — that’s what Social Control Media is really good for; as many Google+ ‘users’ (useds) found out, they’re just being ‘farmed’ for their ‘content’, which is neither valuable nor resilient (definitely of no value to Google)



  26. What Freedom of Software Actually Means to Us

    Liberty or libre (freedom) is about more than brands or personalities, as names or institutions or individuals can change or completely perish; but concepts outlast superficialities



  27. [Humour] Thinking Beyond Just the Linux Brand

    We're supposed to believe that because "Linux" is dominant we finally have freedom; but almost all the very big companies that are using GNU/Linux leverage it for freedom-hostile purposes and keep about 99% of their code secret from us, so the fight for software freedom must go on



  28. Corporate Media Blames 'China' and 'Open Source' for Back Doors in Microsoft's Intentionally Flawed Proprietary Software That's Causing Chaos

    'Red Scare' tactics are being used to divert attention away from Microsoft's incompetence and conspiracy with the NSA (to put back doors in everything, essentially making all software inherently vulnerable, by design)



  29. Microsoft Has Infiltrated Authorities and/or Their Consultation Processes

    In the European Union, the United States and just about everywhere else in the world one can find Microsoft officials replacing public officials, as if the decision-making too has been outsourced to the "Good Folks" from Microsoft



  30. Links 1/7/2020: Tails 4.8, Serpent OS

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts