February 19, 2019

.comment: Peace in Our Time? - page 3

Weird and Confusing Events

  • September 6, 2000
  • By Dennis E. Powell

My conversations with Nat and Miguel left me heartened. They're both pleasant and enthusiastic, and of course they favor their own project, but I got no sense that there was any desire to create or prolong any bad blood with KDE. My communications with KDE developers have revealed a similar spirit. There is always going to be a little bit of an overtone of battle, because Gnome was, after all, created, to put it in the kindest terms, in response to KDE's licensing issue; now that that issue is no longer there, it's not as if the Gnomes are going to roll up their tents and go home. I don't think anyone finds that unreasonable.

One cannot say as much for the attitude of Richard M. Stallman, who having won a victory now seems to want to loot the conquered foe. Though the posting of the forged message on Slashdot is reprehensible, it also really says nothing that Stallman himself hasn't said; it's troubling when the parody is indistinguishable from the real thing. There is no denying Stallman's contributions over time. But sadly, seeing his article and the response to it within the community, I cannot help but believe that his very inflexibility, perhaps fed by whatever it was that causes him to make 5-meg picture files of himself available for download, is likely to do a great deal of harm to the cause he has championed for so long. People are already writing him off as a totalitarian loon, and should that become the general opinion, and absent any real legal force behind the GPL, his dream will have died--and he will have killed it.

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