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Ralsina.Me — Roberto Alsina's website

Advogato post for 2000-08-09 19:58:29

Ok, so there goes the idea of speedy reporting ;-)

I did present my thing af­ter the pre­vi­ous post, and I did it in front of a whole lot of peo­ple. It went well, even if a bit faster than I ex­pect­ed. The Q&A part was nice, and on­ly one ques­tion con­tained the word li­cense ;-)

Lat­er that same day, RMS gave his speech in the same place (yes, he had a big­ger au­di­ence ;-). It was his usu­al speech, ba­si­cal­ly the same thing you can read in the FS­F's web page.

Some nugget­s: "we cre­at­ed GNOME be­cause of the ter­ri­ble threat of KDE". There you have it GNOME guys and gal­s, you on­ly ex­ist be­cause of us, and to you GNOME fan­s, you can now con­sid­er GNOME a side ef­fect of KDE, be thank­ful and stop bick­er­ing ;-)

He did say KDE is il­le­gal, and I de­cid­ed NOT to ask him when had he be­come a lawyer and/or judge. He did­n't men­tion his lates "im­plic­it per­mis­sion is given" po­si­tion, ei­ther.

How­ev­er, af­ter fi­nal­ly se­ing him in per­son, I can un­der­stand why he has such ra­bid fan­s. He is kin­da in­spi­ra­tional. As long as you are un­der 25. I would con­sid­er any­one old­er that that, who still swal­lows it as un­crit­i­cal­ly as most of the au­di­ence did, im­ma­ture.

And yes, he did say that you can al­ways go flip burg­ers and code in your (ob­vi­ous­ly co­pi­ous) free time.

And yes, he did say that an­oth­er al­ter­na­tive is to work de­vel­op­ing cus­tom soft­ware, which is "90% of the soft­ware in­dus­try", and that would not be un­eth­i­cal.

I have a VERY big prob­lem with that ar­gu­men­t, which I should some day write down care­ful­ly.

The ba­sics are that the cus­tom soft­ware writ­ten for, say, a aero­space com­pa­ny would be just as use­ful for an­oth­er. In fac­t, it's that soft­ware's EX­TREME use­ful­ness to oth­er com­pa­nies what keeps the soft­ware closed.

Con­sid­er that it's so use­ful that a com­pa­ny is will­ing to pay for the en­tire de­vel­op­men­t!

And if that soft­ware would be use­ful for "the neigh­bour", then that soft­ware's li­cense presents the same eth­i­cal im­per­a­tives as any oth­er. You, de­vel­op­er of cus­tom soft­ware, are cre­at­ing soft­ware that is use­ful for "the neigh­bour", giv­ing it to oth­er­s, and for­bid­ding those oth­ers help "the neigh­bour" (or at least you are do­ing just the same as if you were a Word de­vel­op­er).

Now, I don't be­lieve free soft­ware de­vel­op­ment is eth­i­cal­ly su­pe­ri­or to pro­pri­etary soft­ware de­vel­op­men­t, but RMS does.

And since he does, he ei­ther has not no­ticed this, or he has two in­com­pat­i­ble po­si­tion­s. Your pick.

Or, of course, I'm to­tal­ly wrong. But I'd like some rea­sons why, if you be­lieve that. A good one would be "here is a way in which de­vel­op­ing pro­pri­etary cus­tom soft­ware for a com­pa­ny is dif­fer­ent from de­vel­op­ing pro­pri­etary soft­ware for user­s".

Lat­er that night, we had our speak­er­s' and or­ga­niz­er­s' din­ner.... where there were about 50 who were not any of those things.

That din­ner kin­da sucked, in the food sense, but the or­ga­ni­za­tion of the whole thing was just too good for one bad menu choice (rice & chick­en) to be con­sid­ered :-)

Then (con­sid­er­ably amount of beer in me) I went to the hotel, and over­slept next morn­ing, miss­ing Julio San­ta Cruz's stuff (sor­ry julio), saw an­oth­er one I can't re­cal­l, said good­bye to ev­ery­one, missed RM­S's sec­ond speech (if I had seen it, I would have ar­rived home way too late), and left.

All in al­l, fun, in­for­ma­tive, some good stuff to be seen, saw a lot of peo­ple I had on­ly known by email, and a lot of peo­ple I had not seen in a long while and missed (the guys from UNER, UTN and UN­L!).

I got WAY too tired from this, so I came to work in a zom­bie fash­ion on mon­day, closed a course, and stayed home yes­ter­day... and that's pret­ty much it :-)