[AUUG-Talk]: Good examples of highly-productive coders...

David McDonald David.McDonald at semagroup.com.au
Thu Oct 4 11:54:39 EST 2007

I think that RMS sees his role as an evangelist for the GNU licenses
(and the specific objectives encompassed within the licenses), the FSF,
and for GNU software in general. Perhaps not necessarily specifically in
that order, but in roughly that order.

Where his objectives clash with those of others (who generally have
other objectives or other priorities between their objectives) RMS's
will pursue his objectives like they are a religious belief.

I dare say, something similar might be said of others too (such as
Linus, but also of other well known characters like Bernstein and
Reiser). It is a feature of many other aspects of life and politics as

We don't do ourselves or our (open source/free software) objectives any
justice if we focus on the vitriol exhibited in these disputes. Those
"outside" looking in, without opinions for themselves (yet) on the
issues involved will tend to turn away (and back to proprietary

Keep in mind that a dispute between, say Linus and Tridge, can get as
much media coverage on a given day than a court case between, say Sun
and Microsoft. The general public has become complacent about legal
disputes (there's so many of them). I don't think that they are yet
comfortable with individuals getting such coverage.

I would therefore encourage others to focus on their own (open
source/free software) objectives and how to promote these to the broader
public. I doubt whether adding fuel to the fire can be of any
assistance. By all means, take sides in the debates, just don't make bad
matters worse.

To this end, I think that metrics might be great, but a comparison
between individuals will not bear the kind of fruit that's worth

Dave McDonald

> -----Original Message-----
> From: 
> talk-bounces+david.mcdonald=securitymail.com.au at auug.org.au 
> [mailto:talk-bounces+david.mcdonald=securitymail.com.au at auug.o
rg.au] On Behalf Of Arjen Lentz
> Sent: Thursday, 4 October 2007 10:56 am
> To: steve jenkin
> Cc: AUUG Talk-list
> Subject: Re: [AUUG-Talk]: Good examples of highly-productive coders...
> Hi Steve,
> On 03/10/2007, at 4:18 PM, steve jenkin wrote:
> > You'll notice I didn't include RMS on the list.
> > I've been reflecting on GNU & RMS [especially his bagging of Linus 
> > recently over "Open" vs "Free"]
> His personality is not an input parameter of your metrics, is 
> it? ;-) Linus himself has behaved like an ass at various 
> occasions too, but I don't think that disqualifies any of his 
> other accomplishments.
> Nobody is perfect, and I reckon that this type of person 
> combined with their high profile nearly inevitably makes for extremes.
> > and realised there is a huge gap between the public 
> perception of RMS 
> > & his "legendary" coding powers and the reality.
> >
> > Thompson & Linus both created new kernels from scratch in around 12 
> > months.
> > RMS has been going on Hurd for approaching 20 years... [really!]
> So RMS is not a kernel magician.
>  From what I know though, he has been quite active doing his 
> part in coding the GNU tool chain, such as the many 
> two-letter unix-ish commands that you use daily, and of 
> course apps like Emacs.
> A kernel is just a kernel, it does need other stuff on top. 
> GNU provided Linus with everything else he needed on top of 
> his kernel, and I do think we need to give RMS & co credit 
> for that, even if he's an "excentric personality".
> Every time you run 'ls' on a Linux box, you are using some RMS code.
> You don't have to like the guy, and you get the stuff "free" anyway.
> Regards,
> Arjen.--
> Arjen Lentz, Owner @ Open Query (http://openquery.com.au/) 
> Based in Brisbane, Australia - ph. +61-7-3103 0809 Open 
> Source Experts, MySQL Specialists
> Open Source Developers Conference, Brisbane 26-29 Nov 2007 
> Register now ($275) only during earlybird until Oct 14th! (http://
> osdc.com.au/)
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