Essays Of Richard Stallman

Essays Of Richard Stallman-24
It doesn't help that the FOSS community inherited an annoying streak of social Darwinism from the old-line Unix world; an anonymous commenter, upon the release of Mac OS X, noted that "Apple has finally separated the Unix world into people who use Unix because they like the technology and people who use Unix because it lets them feel superior." This machismo pervades many FOSS projects; one example might be the very popular multitrack sound recording/editing app Audacity.Numark shipped it for several years with Numark and Ion Audio USB cassette decks and turntables, and there's no question Audacity, being among the more popular FOSS apps out there (not to mention one of its grassroots success stories, in contrast to de-proprietaried projects like Mozilla, Libre Office, and Qt; it's a standby for podcasters, for example), is a very high quality product.

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Many don't understand interpersonal relations above a lizard brain level, which is why Libertarianism is so common among successful geeks.

As a result, the social isolation becomes an echo chamber -- as the author of the article mentioned at the top of the page points out, Eric Raymond's view of himself as one of the bright and talented is rather exaggerated, but it radiates throughout his blog writings.

This also explains the staggering misogyny of the geek community and the way many gravitate towards groups like the seduction community and transhumanism; once someone's convinced themselves that they're infallible, anything that doesn't go their way is taken as both a slight and a problem to be solved, and those held responsible are treated as enemies. Finding people willing to help fix the interface and standardization issues in open source software shouldn't be difficult; the problem is that once they get an idea of what the community is like, they won't stick around.

(Artists have egos too.) Decentralized movements have their ups and their downs; the Occupy movement, for example, has a long-standing problem with tinfoil hatters and right-wing extremists, and Anonymous is a big sloppy mess of people, many of whom share nothing but the typically blunt and occasionally alien morality of the *chans.

(And let's not even get started on what you have to know just to run a couple of filters on a photo in The GIMP.) The simple fact is that there is no way to standardize these things, and since the supply side has grown -- even metastasized -- out of control, there is no way there ever will be.

Unless a distribution maintainer makes a decision to focus on one specific design and builds everything accordingly, there will always be a crazy quilt of languages, toolkits, and interface designs.The constructed language community is infested with them for example; one conlanger wrote a 1997 essay essentially throwing in the towel on Esperanto-like auxiliary languages because the supply far outstrips demand and because the auxlang community simply can't agree on anything when it comes to language design; on the other hand, the artlang community, consisting as it does of fans of languages like Klingon, Quenya, and Na'vi, has no need for such debates because their languages are works of art, not solutions to problems already solved.The FOSS community certainly leans more towards the auxlangers in that regard; the one thing that makes it work in spite of the chaos is that there's usually someone interested in something no matter how obscure, so if there's an unfilled sector of the market, someone will probably (and I stress probably) fill it at some point.In his programming years he was perhaps better known by his initials, "RMS".In the first edition of the Hacker's Dictionary, he wrote, '"Richard Stallman" is just my mundane name; you can call me "rms".' His first access to a computer came during his junior year at high school in the 1960s.The main alternative is the more Windows-like KDE, which tends to make more sense, but at the cost of frequently exposing too much of the underlying functionality when the user doesn't need to see it.And, of course, there's the lesser competition like XFCE and LXDE...The nature of the FOSS market is such that a simplified version of Audacity would probably be laughed out of the room before anyone even considered bundling it.I mentioned KDE above as something similar; although the hostility towards GUI environments has died down over the last 20 years, KDE apps still occasionally make the mistake of giving you everything at once without even the benefit of a mode switch between simple and advanced.However, one thing I do agree with the author on: a lot of the leading lights of FOSS are completely. By comparison, Linus Torvalds is merely snarky and tactless (but at least baseline sane), and I've yet to hear anyone say much of anything bad about, say, Larry Wall or Guido Van Rossum.Truth is, utopians in general are shit-stirrers who frequently have trouble agreeing on anything, and utopians with pretensions of Randroidism are worse than most because they're convinced that the rules of the world don't apply to them.


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