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 :-)


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