Time Magazine: Man of the Millennium

Matthias Warkus mawarkus at t-online.de
Tue Sep 29 12:07:34 EST 1998

Peter da Silva schrieb:
> In article <6uot94$680$1 at news00.btx.dtag.de>,
> Matthias Warkus <mawa at iname.com> wrote:
> >Peter da Silva schrieb:
> >> The GNU people are *part* of the open source community,
> >Of course, never confuse Open Source and open source.
> >Anyway, I don't like the term "open source". Free software is what I like.
> I don't like the term "free software", because there's a lot of "free
> software" in the PC world that doesn't come with source. No charge,
> unlimited redistribution, just no access to the code. If you go around
> using the term "free software" today you'll confuse people.
OK. So I'll say "Free Software" as in GNU, and I'll be careful to pronounce it
with capital letters.

> >> Yes, GCC is cool. Yes, the GNU people to put a lot of good code into the
> >> community. They're noyt the whole community, though, and it's damned arrogant
> >> to assume that they're even the keystone. They certainly aren't now, if
> >> they ever were.
> >Hmm... to me, the creation of the General Public License certainly was a
> >keystone.
> I believe the Berkeley license predates it.
But the Berkeley license doesn't lock code out of proprietary development,
unlike GPL does.

> >Unless you claim, like some of the more radical Berkeley-License-ers
> >do, that free software is not free as long as you cannot rip code off for
> >commercial use.
> I wouldn't claim that it's not free, I just prefer not to use it.
> Both licenses have been used to crowbar open reluctant source trees.
> Neither license can prevent people from hoarding code, if they really
> want to. I've got that copy of the GNU's bulletin with Stallman's
> diatribe against commercial Linux distributions.
> It's a useful tool, but without people on the inside willing to push it's
> not any kind of golden key.
I think you can claim that of anything.

> >> I do believe that the BSD folks would have managed without the GNU people.
> >> There's multiple non-GPL open source C compilers... they had one of their
> >> own, and if GCC hadn't been there they'd have run with it, and probably
> >> have converted to TenDRA by now, and that's the only really central tool
> >> that isn't easily reproducible by a talented undergrad in his spare time.
> >Hmmm... sure?
> You're welcome to toss up counterexamples. I'll do my best to shoot them down.
> Remember, I've been using UNIX since the 6th edition. Tools that have been
> tossed into the pool since then won't be considered central. The only
> tough one I can think of that I'd really miss is groff.

So what about TeX?
It took a professor 7 (or was that 9?) years to develop, so I wonder whether a
talented undergraduate can do it in his spare time, really, and don't tell me
you don't need a text formatter.

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