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Does the FSF (and R. Stallman) still matter, in an age where the piece of hardware (“computer”) is of secondary importance and where the “Cloud” – whatever that actually is? A text with some food for thoughts.
Via Michael Tsai.
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- From: Avon Park, FL
- Registered: 2004-02-24
- Posts: 1,315
Re: Fading FSF
phiw13 wrote #319817:
Does the FSF (and R. Stallman) still matter, in an age where the piece of hardware (“computer”) is of secondary importance and where the “Cloud” – whatever that actually is?
My brother gave me a copy of Steven Levy’s Hackers one Christmas about 35 years ago. For anyone who has never read it, it details the various generations of computing enthusiasts up to that point. The first generation was the Tech Model Railroad Club at MIT, who figured out how to gain access to the campus mainframes after hours. The second was the Homebrew Computer Club members in California and their various attempts to get home computing off the ground. The third was focused on the early game companies, specifically Sierra Online and Roberta Williams.
The epilogue tells the story of the last of the TMRC who was determined to keep the Hacker Ethic alive when everyone else went off to work on commercial LISP interpreters and other proprietary software. His name was Richard Stallman.
- Access to computers—and anything which might teach you something about the way the world works—should be unlimited and total. Always yield to the Hands-on Imperative!
- All information should be free.
- Mistrust authority—promote decentralization.
- Hackers should be judged by their hacking, not bogus criteria such as degrees, age, race or position.
- You can create art and beauty on a computer.
- Computers can change your life for the better.
Cloud Computing violates at least 2 of the 6 points of the Hacker Ethic. I can respect RMS for his adherence to principle even if he might have been better off compromising a bit. It really seemed like he was fighting a losing battle there in the early ’80s but the fact that people are arguing over his legacy now is something of an accomplishment.
p.s. I used to have a copy of Byte Magazine from around 1990 that talked about how GNU was mostly ready but that they still needed to finish the Hurd Kernel. Then Linus Torvalds came up with the Linux Kernel. And Hurd is all but dead.