[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [DotGNU]DotGNU Manifesto - first draft

From: S11001001
Subject: Re: [DotGNU]DotGNU Manifesto - first draft
Date: Sat, 13 Apr 2002 13:27:13 -0500
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i586; en-US; rv:0.9.9+) Gecko/20020326

Barry Fitzgerald wrote:
The GNU project has taken a stand for the freedom of computer
users, by making a complete operating system available where
every component is Free Software, so that its users can freely
modify and share it.

To many people this goal has seemed impossibly ambitious, and
yet it has been reached.  In combination with the operating
system kernel called Linux, the GNU system now has millions
of users.  An alternative kernel named Hurd is still under

The GNU project has achieved its goal, but with this the work
of GNU is not finished.  It is often said that the price of
freedom is eternal vigilance.  This truth was popularized by
Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826).  The original source seems to be
a speech by John Philpot Curran, who said:

  "It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights
  become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God
  hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which
  condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence
  of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

  -- John Philpot Curran: Speech upon the Right of Election, 1790.
     (Speeches. Dublin, 1808.)

I would reliable this "A short history of the GNU project - and why
DotGNU has chosen to be a GNU project."

And also put it at the end. Let me explain...

The thing that was so great about the GNU Manifesto was that it was so, well, *original*. It was the first of its kind. It assumed no context, as this does when it basically says #include <gnu>.

I realise that the freedom ideals do in no way "belong" to DotGNU, as they did to GNU. However, unlike certain other projects that would forget GNU, the Freedom principles are still there, and clearly strong at that.

More importantly, when RMS wrote the original Manifesto, he was correctly assuming that the whole Free Software philosophy would have to be introduced from scratch. That makes it a very compelling document.

In my experience, this situation is still largely true. Evidence:

Before jumping off the TIGCC diving board into the mainstream Free Software community, I wrote this <> in 2000. At the time, I had heard of the term `open source', but knew nothing about the actual definitions floating around, be it FSF or Debian or OSI. I extrapolated that page from the term itself. Hmm, I actually think that MS `shared source' and the annoying BSD advertising clause would be acceptable under the philosophy on that page....I give you warning right now, if you read that page, you will be frightened. And this was in 2000! A good page for anyone who thinks the term `open source' is clearer than `free software'.

Someone asked me what I used at home, Windows or Mac. After I responded, she said "Linux? Noone uses that!" I didn't stop to explain the GNU/Linux think, because she was already too far off.

A friend of mine who is relatively close to the hacker/mainstream culture, has used various GNU/Linux distros, and whom I have pointed to various GNU philosophy pages, combined with my own tirades on Free Software, recently called Rotor "open source." I almost started screaming, never mind the term he used. For anyone who thinks the term `open source' is less confusing, I don't think he would have said `free software' about Rotor.

When describing the "Free As In Freedom" book [I had to order because the bookstore didn't have it in stock, btw] to my mother, to whom I have at various times explained various principles and mores of `working' with DotGNU, I had to, yet again, explain the meaning of `free book'. Oh well, it's easier to explain than `open source book'.

The unfortunate thing is that, while there is a GNU context included here, that context does not exist for most people. For [most of] us, mentioning GNU brings up a whole host of ideas, ideals, and experiences. But for most in general, mentioning GNU brings up a whole host of `shouldn't it be pronounced NEW instead?'

Hence my request to put the `short history of GNU' at the end.

Stephen Compall
DotGNU `contributor'

The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
                -- Miguel de Cervantes

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]