Slashdot trashing Stallman

I never thought I will see slashdotters madly lashing out at Stallman. I could not believe the kind of idiotic comments that were posted in reaction to the news about GPL update. WTF? I thought slashdot crowd would be supporting any kind of anti-patent and anti-drm activism. And yet, most of the people were trashing stallman, and proclaiming the looming death of GPL.

First of all, GPL “aint dead” till netcraft confirms it.

Second, I think Richard Stallman and GNU foundation have more common sense, and license writing skills than the average slashbot. There is no way in hell they would put a clause in GPL that could prevent enterprise adoption of open source. These new clauses are not designed to broadly penalize any and all usage of patents and DRM technology. That would be nuts. There is idealism, and there is idiocy. I really have great respect for Stallman and other good people at GNU, and I don’t suspect they just got borderline retarded overnight.

No, these additions will most likely penalize dirty tricks like patenting GPL implementation. Many companies might be tempted to use GPL’d code, only to encumber all their contributions with heavy patents. In effect, you get GPL’d code that cannot be used by anyone without paying patent licenses. This should not be allowed, and as far as I know GPL contains clauses that could be used to prevent this. Yet the license itself does not name patents by name.

I think Stallman and co want to clarify this. In other words they want to make sure that no one patents their contributions, and get away with it.

The DRM bit is probably a direct response to Sun’s Open Media Commons initiative. I wholeheartedly agree with Cory Doctorow that there is no such thing as open DRM – and OMC is a mockery, and abomination. GNU people probably share similar sentiments. They want to make sure that no one implements crap like DRM under GPL. You can say that this restriction is against the spirit of software freedom… But then again, isn’t DRM also against these same principles? How do you justify using opens source technology to create corporate lock-in mechanisms?

I think this update is a great idea. I doubt this will hinder enterprise and corporate adoption in any way. It might stop some corporate shenanigans, but it surely wont hurt linux. If ANYONE on slashdot would RTFA they would probably come to similar conclusion. But hey… It’s slashdot…

Still, I expected more faith in RMS and GNU from the overtly linux zealot community than this… Have some faith people! This stuff was not even written yet! How can you bash Stallman for something he didn’t even write?


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