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Re: Cathedrals - was Re: [Fsfe-uk] Free software book?

From: Dave Crossland
Subject: Re: Cathedrals - was Re: [Fsfe-uk] Free software book?
Date: Sat, 2 Feb 2008 19:43:06 +0100

On 02/02/2008, Jon Grant <address@hidden> wrote:
> Hi!
> > The way Rob explain cathedrals makes the GNU project's strategy in
> > that metaphor sound very cool. That ESR is so down on it says more
> > about his falling out with RMS than it does about
> > central-vs-distributed development models.
> >
> > Aren't the Python and Linux kernel project run by architecting
> > "dictators-for-life," Cathedral-style?
> But they are public development projects... My understanding of the
> Cathedral bit was that it also indicated a closed project like GCC
> used to be.. (did I get that right?)

GCC wasn't a closed project, it just ended up with snobby release
managers, so it got forked a lot. Eventually one of the forks, EGCS,
which was the one backed by Cygnus, the first high-revenue free
software company, stabilized as better than the mainline, and the FSF
adopted it as the mainline.

AIUI, the reasons for being snobby were to do with idealism about not
becoming too dependent on Intel processors, or becoming too dependent
on one free software companies' work. It makes sense that the GNU
project would try to avoid supporting monopolising players like Intel
and oligopolies in general, because the dudes involved are a pretty
anti-corporate bunch.

But its important to scope what the movement is about; challenging
corporate power is important IMO, but the GNU project and FSF ought to
be about the 4 freedoms and not much past that. That's why I've been
happy to support QT and KDE equally to GTK and GNOME, if not more so -
because KDE is GPL'd, and (most of) GNOME is LGPL'd, KDE seems to lead
towards a total-free-software world faster.

However, does it matter than KDE is controlled by a single corporation
by proxy of QT?

Until the Nokia purchase of Trolltech, I wasn't convinced it mattered;
if Trolltech did something dumb for the software freedom movement, QT
was all GPL so that wouldn't matter, right?

We'll have to see if selling to Nokia was dumb :-)

> and XFree86 was (do any OSs still use XFree86 !?)

No. :-)


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