1. 20

    Am signatory, AMA.

    1. 5

      Were there any project leaders that refused to sign?

      1. 6

        Let’s provide some context here, shall we?

        There’s been 20 signatories, and one of them isn’t even a maintainer of any package (they’re a staff member).

        There’s close to 400 GNU packages, plus close to 100 additional discontinued GNU packages:

        E.g., about 5% of folks singed this. Many bigger packages like GCC would have more than one maintainer, too.

        Additionally, it’s been pointed out on another platform that this whole thing is a Guix’ response to disagreeing with Dr RMS on his GNU Kind Communications Guidelines some 11 months ago, because they weren’t punitive enough:

        I’d say the whole thing was brewing for quite a while. Would be surprised for the list of signatories to change in any significant manner. Just looking at these numbers and the dates, I’d be surprised if many more folks haven’t been afforded the opportunity to join the mob, but didn’t. The fact that they hide all these things reveals their methods of action.

        1. 5

          We are not hiding anything. Stallman is not a victim. We are not a mob. We are a collective of GNU maintainers who have had enough, and we’re hardly alone in the world with having had enough with RMS. He’s had good philosophies that persuaded all of us at one point, but his leadership and communication have been sorely lacking.

          I actually expect the number of signatories to increase a little. I know of at least a few who wanted to sign but just didn’t get around to it because they were busy. Of those 400 GNU maintainers, most are inactive. GNU is not as cohesive as you might think, which again I think shows lack of good leadership.

          Yes, there’s only 20 or so of us, but we represent some of the biggest GNU packages.

          1. 1

            We are not hiding anything. Stallman is not a victim. We are not a mob. We are a collective of GNU maintainers who have had enough, and we’re hardly alone in the world with having had enough with RMS. He’s had good philosophies that persuaded all of us at one point, but his leadership and communication have been sorely lacking.

            I actually expect the number of signatories to increase a little. I know of at least a few who wanted to sign but just didn’t get around to it because they were busy. Of those 400 GNU maintainers, most are inactive. GNU is not as cohesive as you might think, which again I think shows lack of good leadership.

            Yes, there’s only 20 or so of us, but we represent some of the biggest GNU packages.

            There’s so much misrepresentation here I don’t even know where to begin.

            There’s already at least a couple of people on the list that aren’t even developers.

            You refer to yourself and all other signatories as “GNU maintainers”, including the “GNU Octave maintainer” on your hat, but what does it mean exactly?

            Not familiar with GNU Octave, I originally got the impression that you were the sole person responsible for the project. In fact, that’s what the word “maintainer” means in most other projects. Which, per further examination, cannot be further from the truth — there’s a bunch of commits over at http://hg.savannah.gnu.org/hgweb/octave, and none of them seem from you. When searching for your name, http://hg.savannah.gnu.org/hgweb/octave/log?rev=Jordi, we get a whole 10 results, spanning 2014 to 2017. Do you use some other ID within the project? Or is this pretty much representative of your involvement with the project you claim to be an official representative of? Wikipedia has a link to http://hg.savannah.gnu.org/hgweb/octave/file/tip/doc/interpreter/contributors.in, which reveals that there are a whole of 445 contributors to GNU Octave, and you’re the only one of these people who is a Guix signatory listing Octave.

            Sure, some of the folks on the list are actual maintainers and/or are responsible for significant work. But do you even fail to see how simply putting a random list of semi-active part-time and drive-by developers as signatories behind cancelling the founder and 80-hours-per-week full-time advocate of Free Software is not exactly representing things as they are? How’s that not a mob?

            Also, what is your exact intention when presenting yourself and everyone else as a “maintainer”, and with statements like “we represent some of the biggest GNU packages”? Were you officially designated to speak on behalf of any of these projects? Or is the whole intention to confuse others in a way similar to how you had me confused with your hat here on Lobste.rs? I don’t have time to check out every name (and some do checkout, some don’t), but it is beyond obvious that you don’t actually represent the views of GNU Octave as you imply, and presenting yourself as an active “maintainer” shows that you have no interest in spreading any truths anywhere, either.

            1. 5

              As much as I dislike the backstabbing of this “joint statement” by GNU developers, I have to say that you are grossly mis-representing JordiGH contribution to Octave. He’s easily the main scientific contributor to this project after Eaton himself (which makes me even sadder that he’s actually signed the backstabbing manifesto).

              1. 2

                He’s been busy, but jwe finally got around to signing it too. 24 signatories now.

                1. 3

                  I’m very sad to hear about that. From the outside it looks like you are part of the pithy smearing campaign against free software. I fail to understand how this “joint statement” at this moment helps anybody (besides mattl and the like).

                  I admire the work of most people who signed this statement, and jwe is one of my heros and sources of inspiration–as much as RMS. Even if I agree with the principle that the FSF/GNU leadership can change for the good, the second part of the statement that you signed reads as a callous backstabbing. I literally cried when I read the list of signatories. I cannot help but feel a bit guilty today when recommending octave to my students.

                  1. 1

                    GNU leadership and its structure needs to change. Hell, GNU needs a structure to begin with – we don’t have any sort of organisation yet and thus our ties and cohesion between GNU packages over the years have weakened.

                    Even if RMS were a perfect saint and the hero many of us made him out to be, nobody should be appointed leader for life. We rotate other leadership positions, and we should do the same with this one.

                    1. 4

                      I agree 100% with what you say here, but not with the public statement that you signed, which alienates me.

              2. 1

                He’s been busy, but jwe finally got around to signing it too. 24 signatories now.

            2. 1

              Who is the staff member?

            3. 3

              I don’t know. I wasn’t the one doing the outreaching.

            4. 4

              How was this coordinated?

              1. 8

                Private emails. We all were kind of aware of each other and Ludovic started an email thread where we discussed this.

              2. 4

                You all planning to replace RMS with a new “chief GNUsciance”, or planning to switch to a steering council like Python did?

                If there is no plan, then which one do you prefer?

                1. 9

                  No plan yet, just a plan to discuss. I am personally in favour of a steering committee. It seems to have mostly worked for gcc. I got to see some gcc people a couple of weeks ago for GNU cauldron, and that was fun. I would like something more like that.

                2. 2

                  I’m confused by this FSF statement: https://www.fsf.org/news/fsf-and-gnu.

                  It links using “GNU leadership has also published a statement”, which kinda implies with the surrounding text that GNU leadership is multiple people, but the link target is mail by Stallman saying that he will talk to FSF as a single person.

                  https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/info-gnu/2019-10/msg00004.html

                  Is there anyone else or is this just a language oddity?

                  1. 3

                    Just a language oddity. As of right now, nothing has changed and “GNU leadership” is synonymous with “RMS”.

                  2. 2

                    So, if rms resigns from GNU and suffers any negative mental health outcomes, would you believe yourselves to be contributing factors or perhaps even responsible?

                    1. 27

                      Let’s not play into “if you leave me, I’ll hurt myself and it’ll be your fault” abuser playbook.

                      RMS should get help if he needs it, but not in the form of coddling him in a position of power he’s unfit for.

                      1. 9

                        I don’t know about abuser playbooks, I’m just thinking about it in terms of common decency for folks that have had internet mobs arrayed against them (correctly or incorrectly).

                        I certainly think it would be tacky if, say, a bunch of trolls got somebody ousted from their position in an open-source project and then refused to take responsibility if that person was harmed. The only salient difference to me here seems that you think (and correct me if I’m wrong!) of rms as an acceptable target.

                        1. 10

                          RMS getting fired over the Minsky remarks is utter bullshit, and it was a total violation of due process, journalistic integrity, and other niceties of civilization… but that doesn’t mean he should be in a leadership position. I think the the whole Epstein business was used as a pretext for people who already wanted him out (for good reasons) to kick him out (based on a bad reason).

                          Which is to say, it’s not entirely that simple.

                          1. 3

                            RMS getting fired over the Minsky remarks is utter bullshit,

                            He wasn’t fired. He voluntarily left of his own accord, because of comments that he made, while interjecting into a conversation that he was not originally part of. The comments are in line with culturally taboo statements he has made public on his website for over 20 years that people have willfully ignored for the sole reason of giving him the benefit of the doubt. This time, he crossed a line because a) the statements that he made are incredibly adjacent to, and almost identical to, arguments made by people who abuse young children (Regardless of his intent) and b) there were abuse survivors in the conversation that he interjected into, that were likely affected by those statements.

                            and it was a total violation of due process, journalistic integrity, and other niceties of civilization…

                            Well, no. Not only is his position as chairman not subject to those concerns, he himself violated said niceties of civilization.

                            but that doesn’t mean he should be in a leadership position. I think the the whole Epstein business was used as a pretext for people who already wanted him out (for good reasons) to kick him out (based on a bad reason).

                            Indeed. The word is that he has continually scuppered several projects (Including GNU’s version of DotNET which had a presence on the steering committee!!!) which caused non-GNU alternatives to have the upper hand, defeating GNU’s objectives of software freedom in the process.

                            1. 8

                              Pretending his exit was voluntary is disingenuous.

                              1. 4

                                he himself violated said niceties of civilization.

                                One of the niceties of civilization is the rule of law, in particular “just because you broke the rules doesn’t mean I get to”. So that’s irrelevant.

                              2. 0

                                They railroaded a guilty man, in other words?

                                1. 3

                                  Not sure I follow the phrasing, but perhaps “a good thing done badly” might describe it, depending on whose stories you give credence to.

                              3. 7

                                Part of leadership is your subordinates not wanting to be lead by you anymore. This doesn’t make him a target.

                                Harm reduction may be a goal in these situations and, if you have a look at the statement, it gives appropriate credit to RMS, but also makes it clear that his time is over.

                            2. 17

                              He’s fine. We’re not responsible for his behaviour or his health. He is, and his own actions over the decades are.

                              But really, he’ll be fine. He’s not a martyr. We need a change in leadership and he needs time to reflect.

                            3. 2

                              What’s the big deal?

                              1. 8

                                I don’t understand the question. Big deal about what?

                              2. 1

                                Perhaps I’m out of the loop. I’m aware of Stallman’s anti-social behavior in the past, but is there some new reason this is happening now, rather than years ago?

                                Edit: Oh, I am definitely out of the loop. I just read about Stallman’s Epstein remarks. How vile.

                                1. 10

                                  If you ask me (which I think you did), this should have happened years ago, but yes, the recent incidents were the final push we all needed.

                                  1. 2

                                    I don’t think that the Epstein remarks, at least what I’ve heard of them, are anything new or surprising if you’ve followed Stallman for a while. It’s not out of character at all.

                                  2. 1

                                    Well, it may be nice to have a different leadership for the GNU project. Why not discuss it with the man himself? Has anyone tried before going public?

                                    1. 1

                                      We’re trying to discuss different leadership. And they’re trying to not go public. I don’t think i can say much more without being unkind.

                                      1. 1

                                        So I guess, that’s a no. “Unkind” is too kind a word.

                                        Edit: to clarify this comment, this all reeks of “the ends justify the means”. While I agree with the ends, the means do not look good, and it changed how I perceive both RMS & the projects under the GNU umbrella.

                                        I hope I did not sound angry. I’m just annoyed at myself (mostly). I wish you luck in this endeavour and other future projects. :)

                                  1. 9

                                    I did a search and according to this tweet it’s a nascent project of Matt Lee, who was behind GNU social, and also a signatory on the joint statement that was being discussed the other day. I’m not sure what to make of it yet. I suspect a lot is going unsaid.

                                    1. 1

                                      Interesting!

                                      1. 0

                                        More details coming soon, I promise.

                                      1. 5

                                        As Linux gets more and more corporate and less targeted for the desktop, having a light-weight and responsive OS is enough to make it unique.

                                        I do patch my Linux with the MuQSS scheduler, the best thing for Linux responsiveness, but I was recently told the Haiku one is essentially the same. This is awesome to me.

                                        There is a lot and more in apps and hardware support that Heroku would need for me to switch over, but it seems like a cool project.

                                        Does it do virtual desktops, btw?

                                        1. 4

                                          MuQSS schedule

                                          I heard there was a better scheduler for desktop use. Didn’t know the name. Thanks for the tip.

                                          1. 3

                                            Does it do virtual desktops, btw?

                                            It does.

                                            The things that it’s missing that I would need to make it my daily driver:

                                            Minimum:

                                            • Support for multiple monitors (was in the works at one point, may be there now)
                                            • Support for videoconferencing and screen sharing in Google Meet (long shot because Google barely even supports Firefox there)
                                            • Full disk encryption (there’s an encrypted block device driver in the tree but last I checked it was moribund)

                                            Optimal:

                                            • The ability to run virtual machines at full speed (there’s qemu but without OS support it’s doing true emulation and is unusably slow for my purposes)
                                            • The ability to use Firefox Sync

                                            I’d say BeOS is my favorite operating system of all time, but I can’t quite bring myself to say it since AmigaOS existed.

                                            1. 3

                                              I do patch my Linux with the MuQSS scheduler, the best thing for Linux responsiveness, but I was recently told the Haiku one is essentially the same. This is awesome to me.

                                              I don’t know a lot about the MuQSS scheduler, but from reading over the introductory document, it indeed looks pretty similar to Haiku’s. (I wonder where you read this previously, though?)

                                              There is a lot and more in apps and hardware support that Haiku would need for me to switch over, but it seems like a cool project.

                                              What would those be? Most minor tools are easily ported at this point.

                                              1. 3

                                                IRC, oftc.net, can’t remember why I joined Con Kolivas’ channel #ck, but there. I consider him a friend after all this time and tested some of his prototypes way back.

                                                The Godot engine would be one big thing.

                                              2. 3

                                                Virtual desktops: yes.

                                                Linux gets more and more corporate and less targeted for the desktop

                                                Let’s hope the competitors get better in quality. I doubt I will want change to Haiku unless something really bad happens in the nix world, but hopefully its presence will make everyone else better nonetheless.

                                                1. 3

                                                  Disk encryption, does it have that? Password-protected screensaver?

                                                  1. 4

                                                    BeOS had a password-protected screensaver.

                                                2. 2

                                                  How does mainstream GNU/Linux get worse?

                                                  1. 10

                                                    NB: this turned out to be a poettering rant.

                                                    adding ever more complicated layers onto complicated layers to reinvent the wheel. most things should be done a few layers down, not by adding a few layers on top. this while having the same functionality 10 years ago, which most of the time was working as good as today, only less complicated and prone to break. the sound stack is just horrible, the most sane thing would be to throw out alsa and pulseaudio and use oss4, which implements most of the features. session and login management is also insane, a mess of daemons connected via dbus of all things. systemd people constantly reinventing square wheels (resolved, really?). while i’m at it, ps found a now one i didn’t know about: “rtkit-daemon”, fixing problems i don’t have, running by default.

                                                    i know, it’s open source, i can write a patch.

                                                    1. 3

                                                      I’ve been geeking out on schedulers for a long, long time and every encounter with vanilla Linux on a heavily-loaded box has been awful. It might behave better now, but that would be by very complicated code and bizarre special-case settings.

                                                      As a simple user, I just use the -ck patch set and ignore the horrors of the sound stack, systemd, Linux Foundation’s corporate politics, cgroups and what have you.

                                                      I mean, it kinda still works, but sometimes it feels the best desktop-experience parity with Windows was reached 20 years ago, if you exclude hardware support and games, and or with gnome3-type shit and everything got worse.

                                                      I’m not positive the desktop experience is as good as it gets but I am positive it’s no one’s priority.

                                                      1. 4

                                                        I actually like Gnome 3 UI-wise, but the Linux scheduler seems to be more horrific than it used to be, and I remember it being bad a decade ago. I’ve had systems where X11 chugged hard and took 30 minutes to get to a vt when Firefox was stressing the system, when Windows on even more decrepit hardware was slow, but at least felt usable due to seemingly better scheduling - and it didn’t matter what WM you were using.

                                                    2. 1

                                                      I’m not seeing Linux move away from the desktop at all. In fact I’m seeing more investment in the LInux desktop than ever.

                                                      It’s just that they’re investing in the wrong (from my selfish stance :) desktop environment :)

                                                      1. 2

                                                        they’re moving away from the desktop and towards tablets, even though linux doesn’t run on any

                                                    1. -1

                                                      GNU should be correctly capitalized.

                                                      1. 4

                                                        Today is the first day that I’m full-time on The Labrary, my consultancy for helping and upskilling software teams.

                                                        So this week involves lots of office hours calls, improving my website, and otherwise generating leads and clients before the bank account runs out. Additionally a lot of learning.

                                                        1. 3

                                                          Be sure to check out Barnacl.es if you haven’t yet for more ideas on generating leads.

                                                          1. 2

                                                            Thanks! I’m already signed up over there, although at the moment that DNS name doesn’t seem to be resolving.

                                                          2. 2

                                                            Very interested to see what Labrary turns into. Had a read of the site this weekend and will be pointing people at you.

                                                            1. 1

                                                              Thank you Matt!

                                                          1. 2

                                                            I feel much the same about ‘coder’ and by extension ‘coding’. For whatever reason these words irritate me to the point I can’t take them seriously. It also feels like these terms are co-opting coding from the medical field too.

                                                            1. 6

                                                              Trying to get a “new” OPENSTEP box running at home — bought a $30 PC from eBay.

                                                              1. 11

                                                                Ugh, what Mongo and others are doing isn’t free software. It’s not open source. Trying to broadly expand the scope of copyleft far beyond the GNU licenses “derivative work”, which solely relies on copyright law, not contract law (or wasn’t intended to), is not in the interest of promoting free software.

                                                                Copyleft GNU licenses are pretty clear: no discrimination against fields of endeavour (actually, this is what the open source definition says, but it’s the same spirit of the GNU licenses). Saying “if you make money, we treat you differently” is discriminating against commercial interests. The new Mongo license is discriminating solely on your income. Not whether you release source or not, but whether you’re making money. This is not free software! This is not open source!

                                                                GNU copyleft licenses are trying to level the playing field. Author gave you the source code and in exchange you must pay it forward. You cannot deny someone else the freedom that you were granted. Conditionally granting someone else freedom on whether they’re making money or not is not at all the same thing.

                                                                1. 3

                                                                  “Copyleft GNU licenses are pretty clear: no discrimination against fields of endeavour (actually, this is what the open source definition says, but it’s the same spirit of the GNU licenses). Saying “if you make money, we treat you differently” is discriminating against commercial interests.”

                                                                  My first question is “Why?” In a market where money talks and theyre mostly selfish, why structure your licenses to give selfish, freeloading, for-profit companies a bunch of free labor and software at others’ expense? Those commercial users are also themselves usually discriminatory by paying proprietary developers but not OSS. OSS-like for non-commercial with paid for commercial is more fair.

                                                                  Next, there’s the issue that it’s a capitalist market where money defines the very laws that govern software freedom. In this system, big companies in software are actively removing software freedoms and increasing lockin with their money. OSS/FOSS proponents need lots of money to counter it. Telling them not to do models that generate revenue to protect user’s and developer’s freedoms aids those taking them away. Today, I see most free licenses as unethical and damaging to freedom as proprietary sector for that reason.

                                                                  The author of post is trying to address this with License Zero. He, imho correctly, focuses on use and modification as triggers of software freedom and/or payment instead of distribution conditions. His Parity license also forces all changes to be shared. That counters the cloud folks quite a bit since a new player can leverage their changes. So, mixing commercial licensing to capture developer and lawyer funds plus strongest, reciprocal copyleft seems most freedom- and developer-protecting compromise.

                                                                  1. 5

                                                                    why structure your licenses to give selfish, freeloading, for-profit companies a bunch of free labor and software at others’ expense?

                                                                    Because there’s no inherent connection between “for-profit” and “abuses the trust of their users”. The FSF doesn’t want to prevent companies who respect user freedom from making a profit; that would be the opposite of what they’re trying to achieve.

                                                                    1. 2

                                                                      I said force them to share some profit they derive via software with those whose work produces the software. That’s opposite of what you’re saying where FSF wants OSS people to make no profit or little profit while companies can freeload and profit massively. That’s not hypothetical: it’s what’s occuring in the current environment with current licenses.

                                                                      1. 5

                                                                        I don’t think that’s what the FSF wants at all.

                                                                        1. 1

                                                                          It’s what their strategies are doing and have since they started. If they continue, then it’s what they want in practice if not in theory. I care about practical results more than good intentions.

                                                                          1. 2

                                                                            The FSF doesn’t want companies to freeload. It wants users to be free.

                                                                            The practical result is that users are free.

                                                                            If we are concerned with the investors in corporations that aren’t able to rent-seek because of this then that’s a different conversation.

                                                                            1. 1

                                                                              Users cant be free if politicians are paid to reduce their protections. Money is needed to defend them. My point is models that dont generate revenue needed to protect software freedom… a large amount on just patent side alone… dont protect software freedom. Esp if other side is rewriting or reinterpreting the law while free side is relying on same law.

                                                                              Models that maximize revenue from business use plus allow free, non-commercial use (or even free commercial under certain revenue) can fund a defense against those removing software freedom. That’s on top of funding tons of paid work on such software and/or FSF-style software. If looking at outcomes, it achieves overall goals better even if limiting distribution goal a bit.

                                                                        2. 4

                                                                          The problem is not wanting to get paid – the problem is wanting to use a copyright monopoly to restrict legitimate use in order to get paid.

                                                                          1. 1

                                                                            Why is that a problem if the alternative is massive, evil companies getting paid while mostly freeloading on ethical people and paying to reduce/remove their software freedoms? What is your alternative that doesn’t keep most FOSS developers working for pennies to lower-middle-class income? And captures more of the value FOSS is creating to sustain it? (Hell, secure it, too.)

                                                                            1. 2

                                                                              Write software that does something useful and charge for that.

                                                                              Simple.

                                                                              Trying to treat software development like the search for an old fashioned pop music hit, something you write once then live off the residuals if you get lucky, isn’t a good model.

                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                There are multiple business models in the wild that don’t abuse users. This is one of them. I call this one “libre non gratis” and it is used, to my knowledge, by at least Conversations, Synergy, Jason Rohrer’s indie games (and some other video games too by other people. similar setup), to name a few.

                                                                    2. 2

                                                                      What the GPL means to me is to give the end user the freedom to fix abusive software. It isn’t really about money or even paying it forward (it doesn’t require you to contribute back to the author at all, only to make the source available to your users so they can modify it same as you have).

                                                                      Ever use a smartphone app that sends spammy notifications? Wouldn’t happen with GPL - you can just fix the crap yourself.

                                                                      1. 2

                                                                        Right, paying it forward to your users, not paying back to the original author.

                                                                        1. 1

                                                                          Yes the latter is the “but what about the project?” antipattern.

                                                                      2. 1

                                                                        While i would generally agree that there should be no discrimination for fields of endeavor. I am however sometimes thinking about the possibility that my software might be used for controlling weaponry. And I don’t like that thought.

                                                                        Probably a non-binding preamble might be the better solution than a pacifist license though, given the complications that a pacifist license would have.

                                                                        1. 5

                                                                          That sort of thing comes up often. It doesn’t seem like software licenses are the right place to make a stand against that.

                                                                          We had a discussion about this not long ago,

                                                                          https://lobste.rs/s/gpzhu8/is_freedom_zero_such_hot_idea

                                                                      1. 4

                                                                        I’ve been lucky to meet many of them. rms, Ted Nelson, timbl.