Sunday, October 22, 2006

Missing the Point

This article from Forbes
discusses Richard Stallman's attempt to re-write the GPL (the GNU General Public License) under which Linux operates.

Some of the proposed changes include "new restrictions on IBM and any other tech firm that distributes software using even a single line of Linux code. They would be forbidden from using Linux software to block users from infringing on copyright and intellectual-property rights ("digital rights management"); and they would be barred from suing over alleged patent infringements related to Linux."

Forbes says this new "crusade" could topple the Linux "revolution he helped create."

Stallman sounds like a bit of a tool, there's no doubt about that, but this article is such an abject lesson in corporation and capitalism-worship that it reads like parody.

Frankly, I would delight in dividing the forces of Linux between the money-hungry and the anarchists. Companies can either join completely with the idea of open-source or spend their own green to develop software from this point on.

The gist of the schism (which Forbes describes in delightful Cold War language - "putsch" and "radical" and "Orwellian") is that Stallman wants to keep DRM off Linux, and keep patent protections off Linux. Those are two sweet fucking ideas that make perfect sense if you consider the very nature of Linux.

When Forbes puts a big whine job like this on the web, bitching about "which tech companies Stallman's attack could hurt" I think, "Fuck 'em. It's not like they have a soul. Stallman, on the other hand . . . "

Economic magazines are always like that, though. If there's an underdog in the story (a union, a nonprofit, an open-source crusader) fighting against a GRUNCH of Giants, the econ rag will always side with the GRUNCH.

My heart breaks for the corporations. Really, it does.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Daniel Lyons has been writing anti-Linux articles for years - certainly six years or more. I think he got bitten by a Linux as a young child and is now deathly afraid of them.

Yes, his articles read like parodies. The really sad thing is that no one at Forbes knows enough to edit his work.