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SubjectRe: Why is Nvidia given GPL'd code to use in closed source drivers?
On Tue, Jan 07, 2003 at 08:40:27AM -0500, Richard Stallman wrote:
> But the fact that you focus on the Hurd, when the Hurd is not the
> issue, suggests a possible misunderstanding. Are you identifying the
> success of GNU with the success of the Hurd? The Hurd is just one part
> of GNU, just one of many programs we developed for GNU. The success
> of GNU doesn't require the Hurd.

It's not Hurd that I'm criticizing as much as the over emphasis on any single
ideological entity and the amorphous definition of GNU in multipule
contexts, social, technological, etc...

> Some GNU packages have failed completely, and been abandoned. You
> have probably never heard of them. But the GNU system overall is a
> great success despite that.
> I mean, FreeBSD is a free system, yet why didn't it create an entire movement
> of free software like Linux did ?
> Linux alone didn't do this. It was the combination of GNU and Linux
> that did this.

But largely, IMO, because of the uprising of the Internet as a new kind of social
communication and collaboration along with a GPL style license to protect property from
being outright exploited. It's the combination of all those things that makes it unique
and very dangerous.

> I don't know why the BSD systems did not become as popular; perhaps
> it's because they became available some years later.

I think the failures of the BSDs in this area are related to the lack of social
consciousness needed to create a kind of technology that has some protective intellectual
statement behind it to solidify it as a legitimate movement. You don't need much of that
activistic political structure to bind a project like this, but the successful execution
of Linux as a large scale political, social and economic product (credit to folks like Linus,
Alan Cox, Stephen Tweedie, etc...) really paved the way for the entire open source community
as we understand it. I'm saying it's not just simply the intellectual existence of GPL/GNU
that resulted from in this success, but a kind of convergence of multipule social phenomenons
that brought us GNU as we know it. The definitions we have of "it" are dry and meaningless.

Linux, as a social force, removes a certain cultural pollution and inaccessibility about technology,
(as these perceptions are created in late 80s from either large corporations or DARPA) that
deconstructs this mythos and brings into question something that's more directly controllable
and believeable by folks like us. This is straight out of Nietzsche's culture criticism about
both religion, power and how nihilistic cultural values, the unbelieveability of cultural
beliefs, must be reborn and become believeable again.

That's why I do open source stuff. I'm just about annoying an idealist as they get while
still being a legitimate nerd since it really speaks to me, how I feel about technology
and how it effects my career/life.

It's a bit heavy, but that's all. :)


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