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Date:      Sun, 20 May 2001 00:25:35 -0700
From:      "Ted Mittelstaedt" <tedm@toybox.placo.com>
To:        "Rahul Siddharthan" <rsidd@physics.iisc.ernet.in>
Cc:        "Greg Lehey" <grog@lemis.com>, "Don Wilde" <Don@Silver-Lynx.com>, "Anders Nordby" <anders@fix.no>, <freebsd-advocacy@FreeBSD.ORG>, <core@daemonnews.org>
Subject:   RE: [dn-core] Re: Perens' "Free Software Leaders Stand Together"
Message-ID:  <000001c0e0fe$0fb1cf00$1401a8c0@tedm.placo.com>
In-Reply-To: <20010519162038.E9158@lpt.ens.fr>

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>-----Original Message-----
>From: owner-freebsd-advocacy@FreeBSD.ORG
>[mailto:owner-freebsd-advocacy@FreeBSD.ORG]On Behalf Of Rahul
>Siddharthan
>Sent: Saturday, May 19, 2001 7:21 AM
>To: Ted Mittelstaedt
>Cc: Greg Lehey; Don Wilde; Anders Nordby; freebsd-advocacy@FreeBSD.ORG;
>core@daemonnews.org
>Subject: Re: [dn-core] Re: Perens' "Free Software Leaders Stand
>Together"
>
>
>Ted Mittelstaedt said on May 18, 2001 at 22:54:10:
>>
>> Yes, there's no shortage of BSD followers bashing GPL, and
>> vis-versa.  But, I guess I don't see the bashing being carried out
>> by the BSD leadership, like McKusick for example.  Contrast this to
>> Linus calling MacOS X "crap"
>
>Er, he didn't do that.  He called the Mach microkernel, and the
>general idea of microkernels, crap.  And there's nothing new in that:
>it's been his opinion for over 10 years.
>

He didn't take pains to separate Mach from BSD when it was reported.  I'll
give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he did indeed tell the
reporters the complete story.  But, that's not how it was reported, and in
addition the timing of that remark was taken as a slam against MacOS X, not
against Mach.  There was no followup from Linus either explaining that he
had been misreported, either.

>
>The problem wasn't putting one acknowledgement.  It was putting
>additional acknowledgements for each contributor.  See, for example,
>
>http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/bsd.html
>
>   When people put many such programs together in an operating system,
>   the result is a serious problem. Imagine if a software system required
>   75 different sentences, each one naming a different author or group of
>   authors. To advertise that, you would need a full-page ad.
>
>   This might seem like extrapolation ad absurdum, but it is actual fact.
>   NetBSD comes with a long list of different sentences, required by the
>   various licenses for parts of the system. In a 1997 version of NetBSD,
>   I counted 75 of these sentences. I would not be surprised if the list
>   has grown by now.
>

So what?  I guess that I fail to see the justification for NOT acknowledging
someone's contribution.  It's not like everyone that signs on gets royalties
or something where you have to track it carefully.

In any case, I read Bruce's original pages that were part of OSI (they are
still out there on the web somewhere) and the problem WASN'T additional
contributors, it was listing UCB that they didn't like.  Simply that.  They
recommended the X license instead of BSD just because they said that it was
a burden to list UCB's name somewhere buried in the docs as credit.  That
was
all.  In fact, the current pointer to the MIT license that's in the BSD page
on OSI is a vestige of that bias.

>
>There are plenty of other issues out there.  This is my trouble with
>the BSD crowd: on the one hand there are claims that "we aren't into
>grabbing attention", on the other hand there are cribs when the linux
>people do.  And the issues are important: the LZW patent and gifs, the
>DVD/DeCSS issue (in fact Johansen used a FreeBSD machine, but it was
>the linux people who jumped to his support), there's something new
>along these lines almost every week now.  If it worries you that Bruce
>Perens is making all the noise, why don't *you* go out and make some
>noise yourself?
>

Unfortunately, what you have listed here are basically non-issues, or
they are past the point of "making noise.  For starters, the LZW patent is
expiring this year, so soon we will be able to use gifs, besides the
fact that enough commercial software firms have already paid Unisys their
extortion fee that it's a moot issue.  Secondly, as far as DeCSS goes,
under the DMCA that our idiotic congress and President passed 2 years
ago, posting source to DeCSS is illegal on the Internet, although it's
perfectly legal (due to Freedom of Speech) to publish it in a book.  That's
one law that's ripe for a court case to get it overturned in the US, but
that's a battle that isn't going to be fought by anyone bitching about it,
it's a battle that will be fought with a lot of money paid to lawyers to
sort it all out.

There ARE some things that are still in the stage where making noise would
be useful, and I have made some myself already, in my column venue.  Never
fear about that!

>My present crib with Microsoft is that I find it absolutely impossible
>(here in France) to buy a laptop machine that doesn't have windows
>pre-installed on it.  If I want a laptop computer, I can't avoid
>paying Bill Gates, whether I use his software or not.  Does that kind
>of thing worry you?  It worries the linux people, and they do make a
>noise about it, and I'm sure they could use some help.  Or you can
>start a movement about it on your own.
>

This is your problem, I can't help you.  Why - because since Windows is
a separate item, you can return it.  A number of people have done so
until Microsoft changed the shrinkwrap so that if you open the package
(before booting the system up) you have accepted purchase of the software.
Here in the US this is currently legal - there's several pending court
cases on shrinkwrap licenses that are trying to change this.  But, in
France,
if the government of France wants to outlaw this kind of license they
can do so - and then you can simply return the license for the software
back to the laptop manufacturer and get credit for it.

The reson that you haven't seen more activity on this issue in the US is
because we are waiting the results of the Microsoft Anti-Trust
trial.  Remember that Microsoft is still in appeal - so technically
they are still not guilty.  Once they are found guilty then all of the
contracts they have with the OEM's that mandate Windows preloads will be
held illegal, and this problem will probably go away.

>I can think of quite a few other issues which you could take up, if
>these aren't important enough.
>

There are and I have already.  But, I still think that the attempt by GPL to
convince the general populace that GPL is the only way that you can do
Free Software, is more of a serious issue then most of the rest of them.


Ted Mittelstaedt                      tedm@toybox.placo.com
Author of:          The FreeBSD Corporate Networker's Guide
Book website:         http://www.freebsd-corp-net-guide.com



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