09.22.20

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What the Efforts to Remove Dr. Stallman Reveal About the Agenda of Large Corporations (Looking to Absorb the Competition, Remove Freedom, Spread Proprietary Software in ‘Open’ Clothing)

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 1:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related: Guix Petition Demographic Data, by Figosdev | Red Hat/IBM Got ‘Tired’ of RMS. Is It Getting ‘Tired’ of GPL/Copyleft Too?

A decorative metal
Caging us in by taking down our leaders

Summary: Richard Stallman’s (RMS) positions and foresight are usually correct; at the moment we’re losing access to key people whose leadership positions are essential for the independence of cornerstone projects

THE ‘cancellation’ of Dr. Stallman didn’t start in 2019. It started before that, some say around the time of a certain LibrePlanet event. We wrote about that event several times months before he ‘resigned’ or ‘stepped down’ from his position at the FSF.

To better understand what’s going on or what happened we must explore further back in time (than September 2019). We must consider what set the scene and the tone for ‘cancellation’ of principled people, typically for expressing the ‘wrong’ view. All that was needed was a ‘trigger’ event… then some distortion and ‘spilling of beans’ as in past stories and ‘old beef’ (things said like a decade earlier).

It “depends on what the real goal of the CoC is,” somebody told us this morning, as “the real goal is to oust non-corporate technical leads; that blue-haired * [link/reference to Lamb's girlfriend with that description in GitHub] is just a distraction.”

“To better understand what’s going on or what happened we must explore further back in time (than September 2019).”Shawn wrote in response in IRC a few hours ago, “that makes sense” (he had contributed to some of GNU/GCC).

It’s the “same with the hostile attitude towards GPLv3,” he added. “I have been at GCC and LLVM conferences (both before and after they got intensely corporate) and the LLVM ones are all “I can’t talk about that” [...] and also NDAs are a “I’m stupid and not a political person” [...] at GCC conferences you don’t get that “I can’t talk about my work” attitude, which makes it much healthier.”

I told him that may change or has already changed, citing LibrePlanet with their “Safe Space” concept (where it means nothing to actual safety in practice, it’s more about gagging potential critics and even an opinionated RMS himself).

“RMS was put under pressure to justify his assertion that LLVM was like a corporate plot (not his words) against GCC and — by extension — against GPL/copyleft.”Shawn quoted, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me…”

MinceR said it “sounds like LLVM isn’t really free software” and Shawn (who is good at compilers) noted that “as RMS said, it is a platform for non-free compilers and he realized GCC could go that way when Steve Jobs asked him if he could release Obj-C as binary blobs linked to GCC [...] there is a real opening right now for a good portable language for FPGAs as Verilog has many problems and because FPGAs are not the same as ASICs mainly because FPGAs perform things in lock step to the clock…”

For those who miss some context, here we have LWN outlining things as follows: “During a discussion on the GCC mailing list about the comparative performance of GCC versus Clang, Richard Stallman weighed in to argue that LLVM’s permissive license makes it a “terrible setback” for the free software community, because contributions to it benefit proprietary compilers as well as free ones. The original topic was Eric S. Raymond’s suggestion that GCC should allow non-free plugins—an idea which, unsurprisingly, Stallman does not find appealing. “To make GCC available for such use would be throwing in the towel. If that enables GCC to ‘win’, the victory would be hollow, because it would not be a victory for what really matters: users’ freedom.””

“We’ve contacted RMS for a potential interview (not related to this topic) and hopefully we can say more some time soon.”RMS was put under pressure to justify his assertion that LLVM was like a corporate plot (not his words) against GCC and — by extension — against GPL/copyleft.

“I have to say that RMS is right here and ESR wrong,” Shawn added, “while there are cool thing that can done with a more open compiler, losing control over having a libre compiler is not worth it [...] The nonfree compilers that are now based on LLVM prove that I was right — that the danger was real. If I had “opened” up GCC code for use in nonfree combinations, that would not have prevented a defeat; rather, it would have caused that defeat to occur very soon. [...] the whole point is that if you are going to be anti-social, the GNU project is not going to help you do that [...] The only code that helps us and not our adversaries is copylefted code. Free software released under a pushover license…”

We’ve contacted RMS for a potential interview (not related to this topic) and hopefully we can say more some time soon.

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