Yeah. I think Richard Stallman is a legend (umm if that's too close to "awesome" vocabulary wise then let's say he's an inspiration :) :) ), I totally agree with everything he's done for & on behalf of free software and really it's easy to forget how totally locked out of the unix world I was as a 10yr old MS Basic programming hobbyist or 20yr old MS Basic programming developer, never even used an SCCS until I was nearly 30. My professional life would have been way more productive and satisfying if Stallman had come along much earlier... I knew people who used unix and packet-switched networks such as X.25 but being run for profit by large corporations it was totally out of my price range. I also remember how much I just yearned to have the source code of MS DOS, CP/M, AppleSoft & DOS 3.3, etc, so many unanswered questions that were only partially alleviated by books such as "Undocumented DOS" and "Beneath Apple DOS"... I did eventually get some of those sources or a version of them when it was much too late & was disappointed to see how mediocre they looked from developer's viewpoint... community could have dome much better but were locked out of the process & relegated to writing apps & device drivers that took ages to get working in light of limited technical info.

I'll never be in that situation again thanks to Stallman's insights and Torvalds's and everyone else's contribution. I deplore the infighting though and have had bad experiences in trying to offer what little time I could afford to open source projects, now I do not really bother & just use the tools with my own private modifications. I do think Stallman has a point about naming of Linux v. GNU/Linux though.

What I do not like about GNU is the "kitchen sink" philosophy of including every little used feature in every utility with longer and longer command line switches and manpages. Bash I guess is an extreme example of this, we do not need a commandline shell that is 1Mb in size!! Another issue I have is the incredibly complex tools such as GCC being written in plain C when some subset of C++ would clearly be more appropriate given their fundamentally object oriented design. This is very laborious, repetitive and wasteful and involves a lot of differing "private solutions" to already-solved problems. Further the build systems are totally broken, I appreciate what automake/autoconf is doing but from a developer point of view they are totally unwieldy and another example of the "kitchen sink" philosophy of supporting every conceivable, and outdated, architecture. Much better solutions exist for these kinds of problems.

For these reasons I would likely not work on a GNU project, however I use the tools daily and simply ignore the parts I don't like. If software development were left to me I would be infinitely subroutinized, redesigning the CPU so I could redesign the ISA and then return to redesigning the compiler followed by the OS kernel followed by the C library, the windowing system and the apps hehehe so RMS perceived a need and filled it within a useful timescale and I'm infinitely grateful :)

cheers, Nick

On 02/06/2014 1:26 PM, "Greg 'groggy' Lehey" <> wrote:
On Sunday,  1 June 2014 at 20:59:13 -0600, Warner Losh wrote:
> On Jun 1, 2014, at 8:09 PM, Doug McIlroy <> wrote:
>> Phil Garcia wrote:
>> I've always wondered about something
>> else, though: Were the original Unix authors annoyed when they learned that
>> some irascible young upstart named Richard Stallman was determined to make
>> a free Unix clone? Was he a gadfly, or just some kook you decided to
>> ignore? The fathers of Unix have been strangely silent on this topic for
>> many years. Maybe nobody's ever asked?
> In private moments, some of the BSD old-timers have told me they are
> silent due to bad blood that Stallman?s early fund-raising and
> propaganda efforts created. Why rehash 20 year old battles with an
> obvious nutcase, eh? Since more than one person has told me this, so
> I think silence is a wide-spread case of ?If you can?t say anything
> nice, say nothing at all."

But now you've said something, and it's not nice.

Clearly this is indicative of the standpoints of the others as well.
A lot is simply personality conflict.  As you know, I don't share that
opinion, and I think the emphasis that FreeBSD places on ridding
itself of GNU software is unhealthy.  Yes, rms is "unusual", but that
goes for a lot of the BSD crowd too.  And I know enough people in the
Linux space who dislike him as well.

>> Gnu was always taken as a compliment. And of course the Unix clone
>> was pie in the sky until Linus came along. I wonder about the power
>> relationship underlying "GNU/Linux", as rms modestly styles it.
> Of course, it should be noted that the GNU project was totally
> incapable of producing a working kernel? They did decent clones of
> user land stuff, but Hurd was a total dead end...

But if you state that, you need to analyse why.  I think the big issue
was the grandiose goals that they set.  And who knows what might have
happened if Linux and the free BSDs hadn't come along?  I don't think
it's fair to simply dismiss it as a dead end.

>> There are certain differences in taste between Unix and Gnu, vide
>> emacs and texinfo...
> Emacs is awesome?.

Not part of my vocabulary, but I couldn't live without Emacs.  Shall
we degrade this discussion into a vi/Emacs fight?

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