RMS On Mozilla
Tuesday August 17th, 1999
Joerg Beierle brought to our attention an interesting interview with Richard Stallman at LinuxWorld. There are a few comments about Mozilla about halfway into the article.
#1 RMS On Mozilla
by sj12fn <email@example.com>
Tuesday August 17th, 1999 2:46 PM
It might be a good idea if the FSF did take over Mozilla. They probably could get together a lot more developers together than AOL. RMS could probably get together a bunch of OSS/FS coders, go to AOL, and say "Look, we'll take over moz.org for you and finish the product". Whaddya think?
Sj12fn ----------------------------------- PS. I know this will start a flame war. Just remember, I don't have normal access to a computer (I'm visiting my cousins in NY) :-)
... and all the people paid by Netscape say "Oh sure, we'll let you finish it so we can go back to twiddling our thumbs and staring at the wall." ;) Sorry but I think that was a particularly halfwitted statement on the part of Mr Barr. Mozilla is doing just fine as it is.
Doing something like that would certainly kill the project, as the extra time needed for hundreds of new people to understand the code would be massive.
I don't want to start any religious wars, but I don't particularly care that Moz isn't GPLed. As long as I can tinker, I doesn't matter to me. Tinkering is fun, and I shall continue to do it. If I ever did something that was worthy of a shipping version, then I wouldn't have qualms about giving it to a company.. for me its just about making a better browser and having fun, nothing more.
Where is RMS coming from thinking that the FSF could do a better job with Mozilla than the Mozilla/Netscape developers? Mozilla is an incredibly complex piece of software -- the FSF would probably only muck it up. It was also interesting to read that RMS gave no reasons that he was unhappy with the MPL.
Uh, I thought he said he wasn't sure that the FSF could do any better than netscape/aol is already doing?
It was the person who had conducted the interview that was keep asking the stupid questions in the belief that Mozilla was going nowhere. Perhaps he doesn't know that there is some external developers and the fact is whether the developers are internal or external the source is open.
A closed source project does not have external developers, so why does a well funded open source project need external developers? (yes I know mozilla has external developers too)
> A closed source project does not have external developers, so why > does a well funded open source project need external developers?
Exactly! A company should go open source not to cut down on developers or expect a massive influx of developers they should go open source so that people can help if they want to or see how something is progressing. Once a project is finsihed, open source means that a user can fix the bugs themselves if they have the programming skills.
RMS never said that the FSF could do a better job.
He said, "I don't know if we can do technically a better job than they are doing, maybe we could. I see no reason to think that Netscape wants to give it up. Do they want to? I mean, I haven't heard. I suspect that they want to finish it."
In other words, Netscape is doing a fine job, and the FSF doesn't want to take over development unless Netscape is going to stop.
RMS discusses what problems he has with the NPL at <http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/netscape-npl.html>
RMS has a good point, every effort should be made to make the NPL and MPL compatible with the GNU GPL.
would you not say the current solution of being able to use two separate licences a good thing?
It would be a good idea if the FSF took over Mozilla - if AOL pulled the plug. If they don't Netscape should keep control of the project.
The incompatibilites between the NPL and GPL should be sorted out however, this would mean that the FSF would 'approve' of the license and then more developers would consider the project.
The main reason why Netscape had the NPL was because they didn't want to open up the source code to their server software that shared some code with Navigator. As the new mozilla (Gecko, et al) is a total rewrite it won't contain any Netscape server source so they could release it under GPL now.
I think there is no nightmare that gives me more chills than seeing Mozilla progress at the same breakneck pace that left egcs and XEmacs in the dust.
`I think there is no nightmare that gives me more chills than seeing Mozilla progress at the same breakneck pace that left egcs and XEmacs in the dust.'
What, you want Mozilla development to *slow down* from its current breakneck speed? May I ask why?
And by whom were egcs and XEmacs `left in the dust', exactly?
From the article:
LinuxWorld Today: What browser do you use? Richard Stallman: I use Lynx.
Exactly...command line and Pine/Pico is lotsa fun but this is Y2K and it's about time some back benchers smell the coffee!!
Why can't he use Lynx if he wants to? Just because he uses Lynx doesn't mean he believes that everybody else should.
Remember, this is RMS. Free Software or bust. Although, personaly I would have thought he'd be using one of the EMACS browser hacks....;)
Although, really...You can't really attack someone for using Lynx. Netscape has it's problems like stability, speed, and size. My Netscape session right now is taking up 36M, plus what ever resources it has loaded in X (which is at 42M). Lynx viewing slash dot takes up 1.6M. Not a big deal for me, though, at 256M total mem.
Whenever I get tired of messages saying `The application "Netscape Communicator" has unexpectedly quit, because an error of type 1 occurred", I start a telnet session to my Unix account ... and get Lynx going.
It's fast (not *that* fast, but still fast), it's simple, you don't have to endure cruft such as tables for layout (hello, mozAdmin) and decorative graphics, and its cookie management is the best I've seen in *any* browser.
Interestingly, I find that when I'm using Lynx the apparent quality of the Web goes up. It took me a while to figure out why, and it's this. I obviously end up spending far less time at sites which don't bother to put in their ALT text, or those which use frames (yes, I know Lynx does frames, but still ...). But these sites *just happen* to also be the sites which, generally, aren't worth visiting anyway -- no matter *what* the browser.
And, of course, I don't see any ads.
(But Lynx's text entry widget isn't that hot, which is why I'm posting this in NC 4.5:-)
Am I the only one who has had problems accessing stuff on the LinuxWorld Today server? Maybe it's just something funky with my ISP, but the domain never resolves. Is there anywhere else a similar thing is mirrored? Sounds quite interesting.
Seems fine now!
This interview kind of changed my opinion of RMS... It thought he was an evil bastard out to get programmers--now I see he's just an ordinary fool.
No, he's just some one who's very passionate in what he believes in and isn't willing to go against what he believes unlike most people in this world.
You just keep right on thinking that.
... And don't you *dare* ever use Linux, or we'll know who's *really* the fool.
(And don't you dare ever use gcc to compile Mozilla, either)
I keep hoping to see RMS in the MIT subway station singing the free software theme song for spare change. Maybe, maybe some day.
You won't see him begging for money, he earns too much for personal appearances and he's always popular at these events.
"Join us now, and share the software... You'll be free, hackers, you'll be free..."
RMS doesn't have much of a singing voice, but hell, I have a techno-ized mp3 of the free software song that's pretty dope :)
Disclaimer: I can't access the article for some reason or another, so I haven't actually seen what RMS said.
That having been said, the URL given (to RMS's comments on the NPL on gnu.org) is out of date. As I understand the 13th item in the NPL version 1.1, RMS's arguments against GPL compatibility are moot, as you can license pieces of the code separately under different licenses. 1.1 was made for this reason (and a couple of others).
That being said, I've never particularly cared for copyleft. It's fine for software in which no profit is to be extracted from derivatives, but I prefer the NPL/MPL in commercial software (because the company can make needed extensions without having to release proprietary code for public consumption). GPLing Mozilla would, IMHO, probably drive many commercial companies away from using it as an embedded service.
I know its more of a joke but copyright makes sense (the right to copy) copyleft is just stupid.
Well, anyway I don't think RMs has keep track of the license change. And since he uses Lynx he probably hasn't even used it.
#31 `Hate leads to suffering' -- Yoda
Thursday August 19th, 1999 1:18 AM
`I know its more of a joke but copyright makes sense (the right to copy) copyleft is just stupid.'
`Copyright' is *not* the right to copy. It's the right to *stop* people from copying. So what's your point? Are you complaining just about the word `copyleft', or about the idea?
If it's the word you don't like, you're probably right. rms has a very bad habit of giving things confusing names (`free software', `copyleft', `GNU') which make it harder for people to understand what he's on about.
If it's the idea you detest, though, you're on much shakier ground. Copyleft *is* a very, very good idea.
FrodoB: that was incredibly informative. i spent some time (not too long, but not too short) staring at the MozPL and couldn't figure out all the legalese, even with the annotations provided. just wanted to say "thanks".
A couple of years ago, when I was younger and more impressionable than I am now, I used to think rather highly of Mr Barr; he detested Microsoft for many of the same reasons that I was less than enchanted with it, and he was fairly eloquent in his expression of his views.
However, two things have happened to change that:
1. His slide downhill into pottymouth-ism in the MS forums at the NY Times website, and
2) His website, which a) is designed so that it's virtually unusable at anything under 12X10 resolution; and b) has an "IE is banned" policy. The former is annoying and shows either narrowmindedness or ignorance (and I'm less and less inclined to let it off as the latter, since I've personally communicated to him on numerous occasions that the majority of folks *don't* surf the Web at anything over 8X6); and the second is just plain juvenile -- not to mention a major disservice to those who could possibly benefit from exposure to some of his views (namely, MSIE users).
This article makes #3. I really wish that JB would either grow a couple of clues or quit getting his cluelessness passed off as journalism.
I'm sorry, I really like the guy, but it needed to be said.
As for RMS, I'm sorry, but -- place the care and feeding of Moz in the hands of someone who thinks the whole world ought to be on a command line and nothing else? I think not. I hope Moz stays put -- I have no bone to pick with FSF, far from it -- and if they want to grab a copy of the source and release their own "branded" version, I'm okay with that, but I see no need to fix something that seems to be working...
What makes you think rms thinks everyone should use the command line and nothing else? Would it be his support for the GNOME project or his support for the GNUStep project?
His personal preferences aside, I have not seen anything to indicate that he wants to force CLI onto people who do not want to use it.
#35 A couple of thoughts
Thursday August 19th, 1999 10:44 AM
RMS suggests (though hedgingly) that developers might not have been attracted to Mozilla because of the licence.
This is unlikely. The more plausible reason is that Mozilla has been - until recently - a non-functioning piece of code. It didn't much at all except take a very long time to download, configure and build. Only masochistic developers (or paid employees of Netscape) would assist in shaping it to what it has become. Now that it is more stable and usable, the number of volunteers is increasing very nicely.
Another interesting thing to come out of the interview is that RMS is *way* behind the times when it comes to browsers. I mean Lynx is one of the most antiquated browsers around. It certainly explains why the Gnu site has such an appalling appearance.
I doubt very much (whether RMS was doing it or someone else) that the FSF could produce Mozilla any faster than it is being done now. Just look at the aeons it took for GNOME to make 1.0. And Mozilla is at least as complicated as GNOME, if not more so.
#38 A couple of thoughts
Saturday August 21st, 1999 9:24 PM
Adam, I have a real respect for you in what you've done with the ActiveX control, but you really don't have any clue what you're talking about w.r.t. RMS.
Lynx is in no way antiquated. It's actually /extremely/ fast, and, moreover, stable. There are no window.open() bombs. There is very, VERY little crashing. In fact, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who has seen Lynx crash. I think I have once, when I triggered an exploit in order to learn a bit more about script kiddies. It's constantly improved, does support mouse (through GPM and xterm) and generally is a very great browser.
As for GNOME, it didn't take all that long to mature, actually. About the same time as Mozilla has since the switch-over to nglayout, I'd say.
I wish it to be known that I have done penance for my irresponsible remark concerning RMS by going back and re-reading the GNU Manifesto <http://www.gnu.org/gnu/manifesto.html> in its entireity.
RMS is not nearly as crazy as many people try to make him out to be. It's just that the rest of the world is a lot crazier than we usually care to admit.
--Zontar The Mindless, Village Idiot.
Let the FSF take over Mozilla?
Hey, that's a great idea! I mean, look how far the Hurd has come along. :>