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Posts tagged as “stallman”

Of Distros & Donnybrooks

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in a slightly different form on The Blog of Helios on Monday, October 25, 2010.

We’re all aware of the Distro Wars. Some of us are bloodied warriors…Others sit on the sidelines experiencing mixed degrees of amusement. I’ve been both, but more the latter these days.

Arguments over who’s distro is best have subsided over the past few years. Many of us realize that arguing over which distro is best is an exercise in futility. It’s akin to arguing over religion or politics. Nothing I say will change your mind and the same can be said for any arguments you may present Still, there are those who want to carry the war forward.

FOSSReglue and our project before it,The HeliOS Project; has been a long-time user of Mint…and not for any other reason than it fits our needs. As my friend Eric Johnson says:

“Operating Systems are tools, not religions.”

It wouldn’t take me long to drill down into any given Microsoft eula and find points to disagree with Eric, but the truth is, most “average” computer users don’t care about their “freedom”…and when we preach to them, many of us come off as fanatics. The concept of “free software” is foreign to them. To them, “freedom” means they don’t have to pay for it. So yeah, we can come off as fanatics.

Trust me, I know. I was a long time card-carrying member of Fanatics-R-Us.

RMS – Too Crude to Lose

Richard Stallman at the University of Pittsburgh 2010 (courtesy Wikipedia)
When it comes to software freedom, Richard Stallman is a bomb throwing anarchist. That’s a good thing. The FOSS community needs a few bomb throwers in its arsenal.

His job is to keep the bad guys, those who constantly attempt to usurp our principles for their own gain, at bay. More importantly, his job is to expose them, which helps keep us FOSSers from believing the spinmasters when they use Orwellian magic to convince us that “closed is open.”

We are susceptible to such spin.

We love our Linux, we love our GPL, we love our “free and open” so much that we often jump on the bandwagon to proclaim projects “free and open” just because they contain some open source code. Look how pleased many of us are that Android runs atop the Linux kernel. That means it’s got to be FOSS, doesn’t it?

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

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