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+% SiSU 4.0
+@title: Free as in Freedom (2.0)
+ :subtitle: Richard Stallman and the Free Software Revolution
+ :author: Williams, Sam; Stallman, Richard M.
+ :published: 2010
+ :copyright: Copyright (C) Sam Williams 2002; Copyright 2010 Richard M. Stallman
+ :license: Published under the GNU Free Documentation License. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License."
+ :topic_register: SiSU markup sample:book:biography;book:biography;copyright;GNU/Linux:GPL|copyleft|free software;free software;Software:Software Libré;GPL;Linux:GNU|Software Libré;programming
+ { Home and Source }http://faifzilla.org/
+ { @ Wikipedia }http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_as_in_Freedom:_Richard_Stallman%27s_Crusade_for_Free_Software
+ { @ Amazon.com }http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0596002874
+ { @ Barnes & Noble }http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?isbn=0596002874
+% :headings: none; none; none; Chapter;
+ :breaks: new=:A,:B,:C,1
+ :home_button_text: {Free as in Freedom 2.0}http://stallman.org/; {Free Software Foundation}http://www.fsf.org
+ :footer: {Free as in Freedom 2.0}http://stallman.org/; {Free Software Foundation}http://www.fsf.org
+% http://static.fsf.org/nosvn/faif-2.0.pdf
+% http://www.scribd.com/doc/55232810/Free-as-in-Freedom-Richard-Stallman
+:A~ @title, Sam Williams, Second Edition Revisions by Richard M. Stallman
+1~pre2 [Publisher Information]
+This is /{Free as in Freedom 2.0: Richard Stallman and the Free Soft-ware
+Revolution}/ , a revision of /{Free as in Freedom: Richard Stallman’s Crusade
+for Free Software}/.
+Copyright c 2002, 2010 Sam Williams \\ Copyright c 2010 Richard M. Stallman
+Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the
+terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version
+published by the Free Software Foundation;with no Invariant Sections, no
+Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included
+in the section entitled "GNUFree Documentation License."
+Published by the Free Software Foundation \\
+51 Franklin St., Fifth Floor \\
+Boston, MA 02110-1335 \\
+ISBN: 9780983159216
+The cover photograph of Richard Stallman is by Peter Hinely. The PDP-10
+photograph in Chapter 7 is by Rodney Brooks. The photo-graph of St. IGNUcius in
+Chapter 8 is by Stian Eikeland
+1~ Foreword by Richard M. Stallman
+I have aimed to make this edition combine the advantages of my knowledge and
+Williams' interviews and outside viewpoint. The reader can judge to what extent
+I have achieved this.
+I read the published text of the English edition for the first time in 2009
+when I was asked to assist in making a French translation of /{Free as in
+Freedom}/. It called for more than small changes.
+Many facts needed correction, but deeper changes were also needed. Williams, a
+non-programmer, blurred fundamental technical and legal distinctions, such as
+that between modifying an existing program's code, on the one hand, and
+implementing some of its ideas in a new program, on the other. Thus, the first
+edition said that both Gosmacs and GNU Emacs were developed by modifying the
+original PDP-10 Emacs, which in fact neither one was. Likewise, it mistakenly
+described Linux as a "version of Minix." SCO later made the same false claim in
+its infamous lawsuit against IBM, and both Torvalds and Tanenbaum rebutted it.
+The first edition over dramatized many events by projecting spurious emotions
+into them. For instance, it said that I "all but shunned" Linux in 1992, and
+then made a "a dramatic about-face" by deciding in 1993 to sponsor Debian
+GNU/Linux. Both my interest in 1993 and my lack of interest in 1992 were
+pragmatic means to pursue the same end: to complete the GNU system. The launch
+of the GNU Hurd kernel in 1990 was also a pragmatic move directed at that same
+For all these reasons, many statements in the original edition were mistaken or
+incoherent. It was necessary to correct them, but not straightforward to do so
+with integrity short of a total rewrite, which was undesirable for other
+reasons. Using explicit notes for the corrections was suggested, but in most
+chapters the amount of change made explicit notes prohibitive. Some errors were
+too pervasive or too in-grained to be corrected by notes. Inline or footnotes
+for the rest would have overwhelmed the text in some places and made the text
+hard to read; footnotes would have been skipped by readers tired of looking
+down for them. I have therefore made corrections directly in the text.
+However, I have not tried to check all the facts and quotations that are
+outside my knowledge; most of those I have simply carried forward on Williams'
+Williams' version contained many quotations that are critical of me. I have
+preserved all these, adding rebuttals when appropriate.I have not deleted any
+quotation, except in chapter 11where I have deleted some that were about open
+source and did not pertain to my life or work. Likewise I have preserved (and
+sometimes commented on) most of Williams' own interpretations that criticized
+me, when they did not represent misunderstanding of facts or technology, but I
+have freely corrected inaccurate assertions about my work and my thoughts and
+feelings. I have preserved his personal impressions when presented as such, and
+"I" in the text of this edition always refers to Williams except in notes
+labeled "RMS:".
+In this edition, the complete system that combines GNU and Linux is always
+"GNU/Linux," and "Linux" by itself always refers to Torvalds' kernel, except in
+quotations where the other usage is marked with "[sic]". \\ See
+http://www.gnu.org/gnu/gnu-linux-faq.html for more explanation of why it is
+erroneous and unfair to call the whole system "Linux."
+I would like to thank John Sullivan for his many useful criticisms and
+1~ Preface by Sam Williams
+This summer marks the 10th anniversary of the email exchange that set in motion
+the writing of /{Free as in Freedom: Richard Stallman's Crusade for Free
+Software}/ and, by extension, the work prefaced here, /{Richard Stallman and
+the Free Software Revolution}/.
+Needless to say, a lot has changed over the intervening decade.
+Originally conceived in an era of American triumphalism, the book's main
+storyline - about one man's Jeremiah-like efforts to enlighten fellow software
+developers as to the ethical, if not economic, shortsightedness of a commercial
+system bent on turning the free range intellectual culture that gave birth to
+computer science into a rude agglomeration of proprietary gated communities -
+seems almost nostalgic, a return to the days when the techno-capitalist system
+seemed to be working just fine, barring the criticism of a few outlying
+Now that doubting the system has become almost a common virtue,it helps to look
+at what narrative threads, if any, remained consistent over the last ten years.
+While I don't follow the software industry as closely as I once did, one thing
+that leaps out now, even more than it did then, is the ease with which ordinary
+consumers have proven willing to cede vast swaths of private information and
+personal user liberty in exchange for riding a top the coolest technology
+"platform" or the latest networking trend.
+A few years ago, I might have dubbed this the "iPod Effect," a shorthand salute
+to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs' unrivaled success in getting both the music
+industry and digital music listeners to put aside years of doubt and mutual
+animosity to rally around a single, sexy device - the Apple iPod - and its
+restrictive licensing regime, iTunes. Were I pitching the story to a magazine
+or newspaper nowadays, I'd probably have to call it the "iPad Effect" or maybe
+the "Kindle Effect" both in an attempt to keep up with the evolving brand names
+and to acknowledge parallel, tectonic shifts in the realm of daily journalism
+and electronic book publishing.
+Lest I appear to be gratuitously plugging the above-mentioned brand names, RMS
+suggests that I offer equal time to a pair of websites that can spell out their
+many disadvantages, especially in the realm of software liberty. I have agreed
+to this suggestion in the spirit of equal time. The web sites he recommends are
+DefectiveByDesign.org and BadVista.org.
+Regardless of title, the notion of corporate brand as sole guarantor of
+software quality in a swiftly changing world remains a hard one to dislodge,
+even at a time when most corporate brands are trading at or near historic lows.
+Ten years ago, it wasn't hard to find yourself at a technology conference
+listening in on a conversation (or subjected to direct tutelage) in which some
+old-timer, Richard Stallman included, offered a compelling vision of an
+alternate possibility. It was the job of these old-timers, I ultimately
+realized, to make sure we newbies in the journalism game recognized that the
+tools we prided ourselves in finally knowing how to use - Microsoft Word,
+PowerPoint, Internet Explorer, just to name a few popular offerings from a
+single oft-cited vendor - were but a pale shadow of towering edifice the
+original architects of the personal computer set out to build.
+Nowadays, it's almost as if the opposite situation is at hand. The edifice is
+now a sprawling ecosystem, a jungle teeming with ideas but offering only a few
+stable niches for sustainable growth. While one can still find plenty of
+hackers willing to grumble about, say, Vista's on going structural flaws,
+Apple's dictatorial oversight of the iPhoneApp Store or Google's shifting
+definition of the word "evil" - each year brings with it a fresh crop of
+"digital native" consumers willing to trust corporate guidance in this
+Hobbesian realm. Maybe that's because many of the problems that once made using
+your desktop computer such a teeth-grinding experience have largely been paved
+over with the help of free software.
+Whatever. As consumer software reliability has improved, the race to stay one
+step ahead of consumer taste has put application developers in an even tighter
+embrace with moneyed interests. I'm not saying that the hacker ethos no longer
+exists or that it has even weakened in any noticeable way. I'm just saying that
+I doubt the programmer who generated the Facebook algorithm that rewrites the
+"info" pages so that each keyword points to a sponsored page, with an
+80-percent semantic error rate to boot, spends much time in his new Porsche
+grousing about what the program really could have achieved if only the "suits"
+hadn't gotten in the way.
+True, millions of people now run mostly free software on their computers with
+many running free software exclusively. From an ordinary consumer perspective,
+however, terms like "software" and "computer" have become increasingly distant.
+Many 2010-era cell phones could give a 2000-era laptop a run for its money in
+the functionality department. And yet, when it comes time to make a cell phone
+purchase, how many users lend any thought to the computer or software operating
+system making that functionality possible? The vast majority of modern phone
+users base their purchasing decisions almost entirely on the number of
+applications offered, the robustness of the network and, most important of all,
+the monthly service plan. Getting a consumer in this situation to view his or
+her software purchase through the lens of personal liberty, as opposed to
+personal convenience, is becoming, if not more difficult, certainly a more
+complex endeavor.
+Given this form of pessimistic introduction, why should anyone want go on and
+read this book?
+I can offer two major reasons.
+The first reason is a personal one. As noted in the Epilogue of /{Free as in
+Freedom}/, Richard and I parted on less than cordial terms shortly before the
+publication of that book. The fault, in large part, was mine. Having worked
+with Richard to make sure that my biographical sketch didn't run afoul of free
+software principles - an effort that, I'm proud to say, made /{Free as in
+Freedom}/ one of the first works to employ the GNU Free Documentation License
+(GFDL) as a copyright mechanism - I abruptly ended the cooperative relationship
+when it came time to edit the work and incorporate Richard' lengthy list of
+error corrections and requests for clarification.
+Though able to duck behind my own principles of authorial independence and
+journalistic objectivity, I have since come to lament not begging the book's
+publisher - O'Reilly and Associates - for additional time. Because O'Reilly had
+already granted my one major stipulation - the GFDL - and had already put up
+with a heavy stream of last-minute changes on my part, however, I was hesitant
+to push my luck.
+In the years immediately following the publication of /{Free as in Freedom}/, I
+was able to justify my decision by noting that the GFDL, just like the GNU
+General Public License in the software realm, makes it possible for any reader
+to modify the book and resell it as a competitive work. As Ernest Hemingway
+once put it, "the first draft of anything is shit." If Stallman or others
+within the hacker community saw /{Free as in Freedom}/ as a first draft at
+best, well, at least I had spared them the time and labor of generating their
+own first draft.
+Now that Richard has indeed delivered what amounts to a significant rewrite, I
+can only but remain true to my younger self and endorse the effort. Indeed, I
+salute it. My only remaining hope is that, seeing as how Richard's work doesn't
+show any sign of slowing, additional documentation gets added to the mix.
+Before moving on to the next reason, I should note that one of the pleasant
+by-products of this book is a re-opening of email communication channels
+between Richard and myself. The resulting communication has reacquainted me
+with the razor-sharp Stallman writing style.
+An illustrative and perhaps amusing anecdote for anyone out there who has
+wrangled with Richard in text: In the course of discussing the passage in which
+I observe and document the process of Richard losing his cool amid the rush
+hour traffic of Kihei, Maui, a passage that served as the basis for Chapter 7
+("A Brief Journey through Hacker Hell") in the original book, I acknowledged a
+common complaint among the book's reviewers - namely, that the episode seemed
+out of place, a fragment of magazine-style profile interrupting a book-length
+biography. I told Richard that he could discard the episode for that reason
+alone but noted that my decision to include it was based on two justifications.
+First, it offered a glimpse of the Stallman temper, something I'd been warned
+about but had yet to experience in a first hand manner. Second, I felt the
+overall scene possessed a certain metaphorical value. Hence the chapter title.
+Stallman, to my surprise, agreed on both counts. His concern lay more in the
+two off-key words. At one point I quote him accusing the lead driver of our
+two-vehicle caravan with "deliberately" leading us down a dead-end street, an
+accusation that, if true, suggested a level of malice outside the bounds of the
+actual situation. Without the benefit of a recorded transcript - I only had a
+notebook at the time, I allowed that it was likely I'd mishandled Stallman's
+actual wording and had made it more hurtful than originally intended.
+On a separate issue, meanwhile, Stallman questioned his quoted use of the word
+"fucking." Again, I didn't have the moment on tape, but I wrote back that I
+distinctly recalled an impressive display of profanity, a reminder of Richard's
+New York roots, and was willing to stand by that memory.
+An email response from Richard, received the next day, restated the critique in
+a way that forced me to go back and re-read the first message. As it turned
+out, Stallman wasn't so much objecting to the "fuck" as the "-ing" portion of
+the quote.
+"Part of the reason I doubt [the words] is that they involve using fucking as
+an adverb," Stallman wrote. "I have never spoken that way. So I am sure the
+words are somewhat altered."
+The second reason a person should feel compelled to read this book cycles back
+to the opening theme of this preface - how different a future we face in 2010
+compared to the one we were still squinting our eyes to see back in 2000. I ll
+be honest: Like many Americans (and non-Americans), my world view was altered
+by the events of September 11, 2001, so much so that it wasn't much longer
+after the publication of /{Free as in Freedom}/ that my attention drifted
+sharply away from the free software movement and Stallman's efforts to keep it
+on course. While I have managed to follow the broad trends and major issues,
+the day-to-day drama surrounding software standards, software copyrights and
+software patents has become something I largely skip over - the Internet news
+equivalent of the Water Board notes in the local daily newspaper, in other
+[RMS: The September 2001 attacks, not mentioned later in the book, deserve
+brief comment here. Far from "changing everything," as many proclaim, the
+attacks have, in fact, changed very little in the U.S.: There are still
+scoundrels in power who hate our freedoms. The only major difference is that
+they can now cite "terrorists" as an excuse for laws to take them away. See the
+political notes on stallman.org for more about this.]
+This is a lamentable development in large part because, ten years in, I finally
+see the maturing 21st century in what I believe to be a clear light. Again, if
+this were a pitch letter to some editor, I'd call it "The Process Century."
+By that I mean I we stand at a rare point in history where, all cynicism aside,
+the power to change the world really does delegate down to the ordinary
+citizen's level. The catch, of course, is that the same power that belongs to
+you also belongs to everyone else. Wherein past eras one might have secured
+change simply by winning the sympathies of a few well-placed insiders, today's
+reformer must bring into alignment an entire vector field of competitive ideas
+and interests. In short, being an effective reformer nowadays requires more
+than just titanic stamina and a willingness to cry out in the wilderness for a
+decade or more, it requires knowing how to articulate durable, scalable ideas,
+how to beat the system at its own game.
+On all counts, I would argue that Richard M. Stallman, while maybe not the
+archetype, is at the very least an ur-type of the successful reformer just
+While some might lament a future in which every problem seems to take a few
+decades of committee meetings and sub-committee hearings just to reach the
+correction stage, I, for one, see the alternative - a future so responsive to
+individual or small group action that some self-appointed actor finally decides
+to put that responsiveness to the test- as too chilling to contemplate.
+In short, if you are the type of person who, like me, hopes to seethe 21st
+century follow a less bloody course than the 20th century, the Water Board - in
+its many frustrating guises - is where that battle is currently being fought.
+As hinted by the Virgil-inspired epigraph introducing the book's first chapter,
+I've always held out hope that this book might in some way become a sort of
+epic poem for the Internet Age. Built around a heroic but flawed central
+figure, its authorial stamp should be allowed to blur with age.
+On that note, I would like to end this preface the same way I always end this
+preface - with a request for changes and contributions from any reader wishing
+to improve the text. Appendix B - GNU Free Documentation License offers a guide
+on your rights as a reader to submit changes, make corrections, or even create
+your own spin-off version of the book. If you prefer to simply run the changes
+through Richard or myself, you can find the pertinent contact information on
+the Free Software Foundation web site. In the meantime, good luck and enjoy the
+Sam Williams
+Staten Island,
+1~ Chapter 1 - For Want of a Printer
+I fear the Greeks. Even when they bring gifts.
+ ---Virgil
+ The Aeneid
+The new printer was jammed, again.
+Richard M. Stallman, a staff software programmer at the Massachusetts Institute
+of Technology's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (AI Lab), discovered the
+malfunction the hard way. An hour after sending off a 50-page file to the
+office laser printer, Stallman, 27, broke off a productive work session to
+retrieve his documents. Upon arrival, he found only four pages in the printer's
+tray. To make matters even more frustrating, the four pages belonged to another
+user, meaning that Stallman's print job and the unfinished portion of somebody
+else's print job were still trapped somewhere within the electrical plumbing of
+the lab's computer network.
+={ AI Lab (Artificial Intelligence Laboratory) ;
+ MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology
+Waiting for machines is an occupational hazard when you're a software
+programmer, so Stallman took his frustration with a grain of salt. Still, the
+difference between waiting for a machine and waiting on a machine is a sizable
+one. It wasn't the first time he'd been forced to stand over the printer,
+watching pages print out one by one. As a person who spent the bulk of his days
+and nights improving the efficiency of machines and the software programs that
+controlled them, Stallman felt a natural urge to open up the machine, look at
+the guts, and seek out the root of the problem.
+Unfortunately, Stallman's skills as a computer programmer did not extend to the
+mechanical-engineering realm. As freshly printed documents poured out of the
+machine, Stallman had a chance to reflect on other ways to circumvent the
+printing jam problem.
+How long ago had it been that the staff members at the AI Lab had welcomed the
+new printer with open arms? Stallman wondered. The machine had been a donation
+from the Xerox Corporation. A cutting edge prototype, it was a modified version
+of a fast Xerox photocopier. Only instead of making copies, it relied on
+software data piped in over a computer network to turn that data into
+professional-looking documents. Created by engineers at the world-famous Xerox
+Palo Alto Research Facility, it was, quite simply, an early taste of the
+desktop-printing revolution that would seize the rest of the computing industry
+by the end of the decade.
+={ Xerox Corporation +10 :
+ Palo Alto Research Center
+Driven by an instinctual urge to play with the best new equipment, programmers
+at the AI Lab promptly integrated the new machine into the lab's sophisticated
+computing infrastructure. The results had been immediately pleasing. Unlike the
+lab's old printer, the new Xerox machine was fast. Pages came flying out at a
+rate of one per second, turning a 20-minute print job into a 2-minute print
+job. The new machine was also more precise. Circles came out looking like
+circles, not ovals. Straight lines came out looking like straight lines, not
+low-amplitude sine waves.
+It was, for all intents and purposes, a gift too good to refuse.
+Once the machine was in use, its flaws began to surface. Chief among the
+drawbacks was the machine's susceptibility to paper jams. Engineering-minded
+programmers quickly understood the reason behind the flaw. As a photocopier,
+the machine generally required the direct oversight of a human operator.
+Figuring that these human operators would always be on hand to fix a paper jam,
+if it occurred, Xerox engineers had devoted their time and energies to
+eliminating other pesky problems. In engineering terms, user diligence was
+built into the system.
+In modifying the machine for printer use, Xerox engineers had changed the
+user-machine relationship in a subtle but profound way. Instead of making the
+machine subservient to an individual human operator, they made it subservient
+to an entire networked population of human operators. Instead of standing
+directly over the machine, a human user on one end of the network sent his
+print command through an extended bucket brigade of machines, expecting the
+desired content to arrive at the targeted destination and in proper form. It
+wasn't until he finally went to check up on the final output that he realized
+how little of it had really been printed.
+Stallman was hardly the only AI Lab denizen to notice the problem, but he also
+thought of a remedy. Years before, for the lab's previous printer, Stallman had
+solved a similar problem by modifying the software program that regulated the
+printer, on a small PDP-11machine, as well as the Incompatible Timesharing
+System that ran on the main PDP-10 computer. Stallman couldn't eliminate paper
+jams, but he could insert software code that made the PDP-11 check the printer
+periodically, and report jams back to the PDP-10. Stallman also inserted code
+on the PDP-10 to notify every user with a waiting print job that the printer
+was jammed. The notice was simple, something along the lines of "The printer is
+jammed, please fix it," and because it went out to the people with the most
+pressing need to fix the problem, chances were that one of them would fix it
+={ PDP-10 computer ;
+ PDP-11 computer
+As fixes go, Stallman's was oblique but elegant. It didn't fix the mechanical
+side of the problem, but it did the next best thing by closing the information
+loop between user and machine. Thanks to a few additional lines of software
+code, AI Lab employees could eliminate the 10 or 15 minutes wasted each week in
+running back and forth to check on the printer. In programming terms,
+Stallman's fix took advantage of the amplified intelligence of the overall
+"If you got that message, you couldn't assume somebody else would fix it," says
+Stallman, recalling the logic. "You had to go to the printer. A minute or two
+after the printer got in trouble, the two or three people who got messages
+arrive to fix the machine. Of those two or three people, one of them, at least,
+would usually know how to fix the problem."
+Such clever fixes were a trademark of the AI Lab and its indigenous population
+of programmers. Indeed, the best programmers at the AI Lab disdained the term
+programmer, preferring the more slangy occupational title of hacker instead.
+The job title covered a host of activities - everything from creative mirth
+making to the improvement of existing software and computer systems. Implicit
+within the title, however, was the old-fashioned notion of Yankee ingenuity.
+For a hacker, writing a software program that worked was only the beginning. A
+hacker would try to display his cleverness (and impress other hackers) by
+tackling an additional challenge: to make the program particularly fast, small,
+powerful, elegant, or somehow impressive in a clever way.~{ For more on the
+term "hacker," see Appendix A - Hack, Hackers, and Hacking. }~
+Companies like Xerox made it a policy to donate their products(and software) to
+places where hackers typically congregated. If hackers used these products,
+they might go to work for the company later on. In the 60s and early 70s, they
+also sometimes developed programs that were useful for the manufacturer to
+distribute to other customers.
+={ hackers :
+ philosophy of donating software +7 ;
+ software :
+ companies donating ;
+ source code :
+ Xerox Corporation publishing +32
+When Stallman noticed the jamming tendency in the Xerox laser printer, he
+thought of applying the old fix or "hack" to this printer. In the course of
+looking up the Xerox laser-printer software, however, Stallman made a troubling
+discovery. The printer didn't have any software, at least nothing Stallman or a
+fellow programmer could read. Until then, most companies had made it a form of
+courtesy to publish source-code files-readable text files that documented the
+individual software commands that told a machine what to do. Xerox, in this
+instance, had provided software files only in compiled, or binary, form. If
+programmers looked at the files, all they would see was an endless stream of
+ones and zeroes - gibberish.
+={ Xerox Corporation :
+ source code, publishing +31 ;
+ text file source code, publishing ;
+ binary files
+There are programs, called "disassemblers," to convert the ones and zeroes into
+low-level machine instructions, but figuring out what those instructions
+actually "do" is a long and hard task, known as "reverse engineering." To
+reverse engineer this program could have taken more time than five years' worth
+of jammed printouts. Stallman wasn't desperate enough for that, so he put the
+problem aside.
+Xerox's unfriendly policy contrasted blatantly with the usual practices of the
+hacker community. For instance, to develop the program for the PDP-11 that ran
+the old printer, and the program for another PDP-11 that handled display
+terminals, the AI Lab needed a cross-assembler program to build PDP-11 programs
+on the PDP-10 main computer. The lab's hackers could have written one, but
+Stallman, a Harvard student, found such a program at Harvard's computer lab.
+That program was written to run on the same kind of computer, the PDP-10,
+albeit with a different operating system. Stallman never knew who had written
+the program, since the source code did not say. But he brought a copy back to
+the AI Lab. He then altered the source code to make it run on the AI Lab's
+Incompatible Timesharing System (ITS). With no muss and little fuss, the AI Lab
+got the program it needed for its software infrastructure. Stallman even added
+a few features not found in the original version, making the program more
+powerful. "We wound up using it for several years," Stallman says.
+={ Harvard University :
+ computer labs +2 ;
+ AI Lab (Artificial Intelligence Laboratory) :
+ borrowing source code for
+From the perspective of a 1970s-era programmer, the transaction was the
+software equivalent of a neighbor stopping by to borrow a power tool or a cup
+of sugar from a neighbor. The only difference was that in borrowing a copy of
+the software for the AI Lab, Stallman had done nothing to deprive anyone else
+of the use of the program. If anything, other hackers gained in the process,
+because Stallman had introduced additional features that other hackers were
+welcome to borrow back. For instance, Stallman recalls a programmer at the
+private engineering firm, Bolt, Beranek & Newman, borrowing the program. He
+made it run on Twenex and added a few additional features, which Stallman
+eventually reintegrated into the AI Lab's own source-code archive. The two
+programmers decided to maintain a common version together, which had the code
+to run either on ITSor on Twenex at the user's choice.
+={ Bolt, Beranek & Newman engineering firm }
+"A program would develop the way a city develops," says Stallman, recalling the
+software infrastructure of the AI Lab. "Parts would get replaced and rebuilt.
+New things would get added on. But you could always look at a certain part and
+say, 'Hmm, by the style, I see this part was written back in the early 60s and
+this part was written in themid-1970s.'"
+Through this simple system of intellectual accretion, hackers at the AI Lab and
+other places built up robust creations. Not every programmer participating in
+this culture described himself as a hacker, but most shared the sentiments of
+Richard M. Stallman. If a program or software fix was good enough to solve your
+problems, it was good enough to solve somebody else's problems. Why not share
+it out of a simple desire for good karma?
+This system of cooperation was being undermined by commercial secrecy and
+greed, leading to peculiar combinations of secrecy and co-operation. For
+instance, computer scientists at UC Berkeley had built up a powerful operating
+system called BSD, based on the Unix system they had obtained from AT&T.
+Berkeley made BSD available for the cost of copying a tape, but would only give
+these tapes to schools that could present a $50,000 source license obtained
+from AT&T. The Berkeley hackers continued to share as much as AT&T let them,
+but they had not perceived a conflict between the two practices.
+={ AT&T ;
+ Multics operating system ;
+ UC Berkeley :
+ building Unix ;
+ Unix operating system ;
+Likewise, Stallman was annoyed that Xerox had not provided the source-code
+files, but not yet angry. He never thought of asking Xerox for a copy. "They
+had already given us the laser printer," Stallman says. "I could not say they
+owed us something more. Besides, I took for granted that the absence of source
+code reflected an intentional decision, and that asking them to change it would
+be futile."
+Good news eventually arrived: word had it that a scientist at the
+computer-science department at Carnegie Mellon University had a copy of the
+laser printer source code.
+={ Carnegie Mellon University +17 }
+The association with Carnegie Mellon did not augur well. In 1979, Brian Reid, a
+doctoral student there, had shocked the community by refusing to share his
+text-formatting program, dubbed Scribe. This text formatter was the first to
+have mark-up commands oriented to-wards the desired semantics (such as
+"emphasize this word" or "this paragraph is a quotation") rather than low-level
+formatting details("put this word in italics" or "narrow the margins for this
+paragraph"). Instead Reid sold Scribe to a Pittsburgh-area software company
+called Unilogic. His graduate-student career ending, Reid says he simply was
+looking for a way to unload the program on a set of developers that would take
+pains to keep it from slipping into the public domain.(Why one would consider
+such an outcome particularly undesirable is not clear.) To sweeten the deal,
+Reid also agreed to insert a set of time-dependent functions - "time bombs" in
+software-programmer parlance - that deactivated freely copied versions of the
+program after a 90-day expiration date. To avoid deactivation, users paid the
+software company, which then issued a code that defused the internal time-bomb
+={ Unilogic software company +1 ;
+ time bombs, in software ;
+ Scribe text-formatting program +1 ;
+ anti-feature
+For Stallman, this was a betrayal of the programmer ethos, pure and simple.
+Instead of honoring the notion of share-and-share alike, Reid had inserted a
+way for companies to compel programmers to pay for information access. But he
+didn't think deeply about the question, since he didn't use Scribe much.
+Unilogic gave the AI Lab a gratis copy to use, but did not remove or mention
+the time bomb. It worked, for a while; then one day a user reported that Scribe
+had stopped working. System hacker Howard Cannon spent hours debugging the
+binary until he found the time-bomb and patched it out. Cannon was incensed,
+and wasn't shy about telling the other hackers how mad he was that Unilogic had
+wasted his time with an intentional bug.
+Stallman had a Lab-related reason, a few months later, to visit the Carnegie
+Mellon campus. During that visit, he made a point of looking for the person
+reported to have the printer software source code. By good fortune, the man was
+in his office.
+In true engineer-to-engineer fashion, the conversation was cordial but blunt.
+After briefly introducing himself as a visitor from MIT, Stallman requested a
+copy of the laser-printer source code that he wanted to modify. To his chagrin,
+the researcher refused.
+"He told me that he had promised not to give me a copy," Stallman says.
+Memory is a funny thing. Twenty years after the fact, Stallman's mental history
+tape is blank in places. Not only does he not remember the motivating reason
+for the trip or even the time of year during which he took it, he also has no
+recollection of who was on the other end of the conversation. According to
+Reid, the person most likely to have fielded Stallman's request is Robert
+Sproull, a former Xerox PARC researcher and current director of Sun
+Laboratories, a research division of the computer-technology conglomerate Sun
+Microsystems. During the 1970s, Sproull had been the primary developer of the
+laser-printer software in question while at Xerox PARC. Around 1980, Sproull
+took a faculty research position at Carnegie Mellon where he continued his
+laser-printer work amid other projects.
+={ Xerox Corporation :
+ PARC | Palo Alto Research Center ;
+ Sproull, Robert (Xerox PARC researcher) ;
+ Sun Laboratories
+When asked directly about the request, however, Sproull draws a blank. "I can't
+make a factual comment," writes Sproull via email. "I have absolutely no
+recollection of the incident."
+"The code that Stallman was asking for was leading-edge, state-of-the-art code
+that Sproull had written in the year or so before going to Carnegie Mellon,"
+recalls Reid. If so, that might indicate a mis-understanding that occurred,
+since Stallman wanted the source for the program that MIT had used for quite
+some time, not some newer version. But the question of which version never
+arose in the brief conversation.
+In talking to audiences, Stallman has made repeated reference to the incident,
+noting that the man's unwillingness to hand over the source code stemmed from a
+nondisclosure agreement, a contractual agreement between him and the Xerox
+Corporation giving the signatory access to the software source code in exchange
+for a promise of secrecy. Now a standard item of business in the software
+industry, the nondisclosure agreement, or NDA, was a novel development at the
+time, a reflection of both the commercial value of the laser printer to Xerox
+and the information needed to run it. "Xerox was at the time trying to make a
+commercial product out of the laser printer," recalls Reid. "They would have
+been insane to give away the source code."
+={ NDAs (nondisclosure agreements) :
+ for source code +13 ;
+ nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) :
+ for source code +13
+For Stallman, however, the NDA was something else entirely. It was a refusal on
+the part of some CMU researcher to participate in a society that, until then,
+had encouraged software programmers to regard programs as communal resources.
+Like a peasant whose centuries-old irrigation ditch had grown suddenly dry,
+Stallman had followed the ditch to its source only to find a brand-spanking-new
+hydroelectric dam bearing the Xerox logo.
+For Stallman, the realization that Xerox had compelled a fellow programmer to
+participate in this newfangled system of compelled secrecy took a while to sink
+in. In the first moment, he could only seethe refusal in a personal context. "I
+was so angry I couldn't think of a way to express it. So I just turned away and
+walked out without another word," Stallman recalls. "I might have slammed the
+door. Who knows? All I remember is wanting to get out of there. I went to his
+office expecting him to cooperate, so I had not thought about how I would
+respond if he refused. When he did, I was stunned speechless as well as
+disappointed and angry."
+Twenty years after the fact, the anger still lingers, and Stallman presents the
+event as one that made him confront an ethical issue, though not the only such
+event on his path. Within the next few months, a series of events would befall
+both Stallman and the AI Lab hacker community that would make 30 seconds worth
+of tension in a remote Carnegie Mellon office seem trivial by comparison.
+Nevertheless, when it comes time to sort out the events that would transform
+Stallman from a lone hacker, instinctively suspicious of centralized authority,
+to a crusading activist applying traditional notions of liberty, equality, and
+fraternity to the world of software development, Stallman singles out the
+Carnegie Mellon encounter for special attention.
+"It was my first encounter with a nondisclosure agreement, and it immediately
+taught me that nondisclosure agreements have victims," says Stallman, firmly.
+"In this case I was the victim. [My lab and I]were victims."
+Stallman later explained, "If he had refused me his cooperation for personal
+reasons, it would not have raised any larger issue. I might have considered him
+a jerk, but no more. The fact that his refusal was impersonal, that he had
+promised in advance to be uncooperative, not just to me but to anyone
+whatsoever, made this a larger issue."
+Although previous events had raised Stallman's ire, he says it wasn't until his
+Carnegie Mellon encounter that he realized the events were beginning to intrude
+on a culture he had long considered sacrosanct. He said, "I already had an idea
+that software should be shared, but I wasn't sure how to think about that. My
+thoughts weren't clear and organized to the point where I could express them in
+a concise fashion to the rest of the world. After this experience, I started to
+recognize what the issue was, and how big it was."
+As an elite programmer at one of the world's elite institutions, Stallman had
+been perfectly willing to ignore the compromises and bargains of his fellow
+programmers just so long as they didn't interfere with his own work. Until the
+arrival of the Xerox laser printer, Stallman had been content to look down on
+the machines and programs other computer users grimly tolerated.
+Now that the laser printer had insinuated itself within the AI Lab's network,
+however, something had changed. The machine worked fine, barring the paper
+jams, but the ability to modify software according to personal taste or
+community need had been taken away. From the viewpoint of the software
+industry, the printer software represented a change in business tactics.
+Software had become such a valuable asset that companies no longer accepted the
+need to publicize source code, especially when publication meant giving
+potential competitors a chance to duplicate something cheaply. From Stallman's
+viewpoint, the printer was a Trojan Horse. After a decade of failure, software
+that users could not change and redistribute - future hackers would use the
+term "proprietary" software - had gained a foothold inside the AI Lab through
+the sneakiest of methods. It had come disguised as a gift.
+={ proprietary software }
+That Xerox had offered some programmers access to additional gifts in exchange
+for secrecy was also galling, but Stallman takes pains to note that, if
+presented with such a quid pro quo bargain at a younger age, he just might have
+taken the Xerox Corporation up on its offer. The anger of the Carnegie Mellon
+encounter, however, had a firming effect on Stallman's own moral lassitude. Not
+only did it give him the necessary anger to view such future offers with
+suspicion, it also forced him to turn the situation around: what if a fellow
+hacker dropped into Stallman's office someday and it suddenly became Stallman's
+job to refuse the hacker's request for source code?
+"When somebody invited me to betray all my colleagues in that way, I remembered
+how angry I was when somebody else had done that to me and my whole lab,"
+Stallman says. "So I said, 'Thank you very much for offering me this nice
+software package, but I can't accept it on the conditions that you're asking
+for, so I'm going to do without it.'"
+It was a lesson Stallman would carry with him through the tumultuous years of
+the 1980s, a decade during which many of his MIT colleagues would depart the AI
+Lab and sign nondisclosure agreements of their own. They may have told
+themselves that this was a necessary evil so they could work on the best
+projects. For Stallman, however, the NDA called the moral legitimacy of the
+project into question. What good is a technically exciting project if it is
+meant to be withheld from the community?
+As Stallman would quickly learn, refusing such offers involved more than
+personal sacrifice. It involved segregating himself from fellow hackers who,
+though sharing a similar distaste for secrecy, tended to express that distaste
+in a more morally flexible fashion. Refusing another's request for source code,
+Stallman decided, was not only a betrayal of the scientific mission that had
+nurtured software development since the end of World War II, it was a violation
+of the Golden Rule, the baseline moral dictate to do unto others as you would
+have them do unto you.
+Hence the importance of the laser printer and the encounter that resulted from
+it. Without it, Stallman says, his life might have followed a more ordinary
+path, one balancing the material comforts of a commercial programmer with the
+ultimate frustration of a life spent writing invisible software code. There
+would have been no sense of clarity, no urgency to address a problem others
+weren't addressing. Most importantly, there would have been no righteous anger,
+an emotion that, as we soon shall see, has propelled Stallman's career as
+surely as any political ideology or ethical belief.
+"From that day forward, I decided this was something I could never participate
+in," says Stallman, alluding to the practice of trading personal liberty for
+the sake of convenience - Stallman's description of the NDA bargain - as well
+as the overall culture that encouraged such ethically suspect deal-making in
+the first place. "I decided never to make other people victims as I had been a
+1~ Chapter 2 - 2001: A Hacker's Odyssey
+The New York University computer-science department sits inside Warren Weaver
+Hall, a fortress-like building located two blocks east of Washington Square
+Park. Industrial-strength air-conditioning vents create a surrounding moat of
+hot air, discouraging loiterers and solicitors alike. Visitors who breach the
+moat encounter another formidable barrier, a security check-in counter
+immediately inside the building's single entryway.
+={ Warren Weaver Hall +2 ;
+ New York University computer science department +44
+Beyond the security checkpoint, the atmosphere relaxes somewhat. Still,
+numerous signs scattered throughout the first floor preach the dangers of
+unsecured doors and propped-open fire exits. Taken as a whole, the signs offer
+a reminder: even in the relatively tranquil confines of pre-September 11, 2001,
+New York, one can never be too careful or too suspicious.
+The signs offer an interesting thematic counterpoint to the growing number of
+visitors gathering in the hall's interior atrium. A few look like NYU students.
+Most look like shaggy-haired concert-goers milling outside a music hall in
+anticipation of the main act. For one brief morning, the masses have taken over
+Warren Weaver Hall, leaving the nearby security attendant with nothing better
+to do but watch Ricki Lake on TV and shrug her shoulders toward the nearby
+auditorium whenever visitors ask about "the speech."
+Once inside the auditorium, a visitor finds the person who has forced this
+temporary shutdown of building security procedures. The person is Richard M.
+Stallman, founder of the GNU Project, original president of the Free Software
+Foundation, winner of the 1990 MacArthur Fellowship, winner of the Association
+of Computing Machinery's Grace Murray Hopper Award (also in 1990), co-recipient
+of the Takeda Foundation's 2001 Takeda Award for Social/Economic Betterment,
+and former AI Lab hacker. As announced over a host of hacker-related web sites,
+including the GNU Project's own http://www.gnu.org site, Stallman is in
+Manhattan, his former hometown, to deliver a much anticipated speech in
+rebuttal to the Microsoft Corporation's recent campaign against the GNU General
+Public License.
+={ Free Software Foundation (FSF) +1 ;
+ FSF (Free Software Foundation) ;
+ GNU General Public License +1 ;
+ GNU Project :
+ web site for ;
+ GPL +1 ;
+ MacArthur Fellowship Program ;
+ Microsoft Corporation +8
+The subject of Stallman's speech is the history and future of the free software
+movement. The location is significant. Less than a month before, Microsoft
+senior vice president Craig Mundie appeared at the nearby NYU Stern School of
+Business, delivering a speech blasting the GNU General Public License, or GNU
+GPL, a legal device originally conceived by Stallman 16 years before. Built to
+counteract the growing wave of software secrecy overtaking the computer
+industry - a wave first noticed by Stallman during his 1980 troubles with the
+Xerox laser printer - the GPL has evolved into a central tool of the free
+software community. In simplest terms, the GPL establishes a form of communal
+ownership - what today's legal scholars now call the "digital commons" -
+through the legal weight of copyright. The GPL makes this irrevocable; once an
+author gives code to the community in this way, that code can't be made
+proprietary by anyone else. Derivative versions must carry the same copyright
+license, if they use a substantial amount of the original source code. For this
+reason, critics of the GPL have taken to calling it a "viral" license,
+suggesting inaccurately that it spreads itself to every software program it
+touches.~{ Actually, the GPL's powers are not quite that potent: just putting
+your code in the same computer with a GPL-covered program does not put your
+code under the GPL. "To compare something to a virus is very harsh," says
+Stallman. "A spider plant is a more accurate comparison; it goes to another
+place if you actively take a cutting." For more information on the GNU General
+Public License, \\ visit http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html. }~
+={ Mundie, Craig +2 ;
+ NYU Stern School of Business ;
+ Stern School of Business (NYU)
+In an information economy increasingly dependent on software and increasingly
+beholden to software standards, the GPL has become the proverbial "big stick."
+Even companies that once derided it as "software socialism" have come around to
+recognize the benefits. Linux, the kernel developed by Finnish college student
+Linus Torvalds in 1991, is licensed under the GPL, as are most parts of the GNU
+system: GNU Emacs, the GNU Debugger, the GNU C Compiler, etc. Together, these
+tools form the components of the free software GNU/Linux operating system,
+developed, nurtured, and owned by the worldwide hacker community. Instead of
+viewing this community as a threat, high-tech companies like IBM, Hewlett
+Packard, and Sun Microsystems have come to rely upon it, selling software
+applications and services built to ride atop the ever-growing free software
+infrastructure.~{ Although these applications run on GNU/Linux, it does not
+follow that they are themselves free software. On the contrary, most of them
+applications are proprietary software, and respect your freedom no more than
+Windows does. They may contribute to the success of GNU/Linux, but they don't
+contribute to the goal of freedom for which it exists. }~
+={ C Compiler (GNU) ;
+ GNU Debugger (GDB) ;
+ GDB (GNU Debugger) ;
+ Debugger ;
+ Emacs text editor ;
+ GNU Emacs ;
+ GNU C Compiler (GCC) +9 ;
+ GCC (GNU C Compiler) ;
+ Hewlett Packard :
+ free software community and ;
+ IBM :
+ free software community and ;
+ Linux ;
+ Torvalds, Linus ;
+ Sun Microsystems :
+ free software community and
+They've also come to rely upon it as a strategic weapon in the hacker
+community's perennial war against Microsoft, the Redmond, Washington-based
+company that has dominated the PC-software marketplace since the late 1980s. As
+owner of the popular Windows operating system, Microsoft stands to lose the
+most in an industry-wide shift to the GPL license. Each program in the Windows
+colossus is covered by copyrights and contracts (End User License Agreements,
+or EULAs) asserting the proprietary status of the executable, as well as the
+underlying source code that users can't get anyway. Incorporating code
+protected by the "viral" GPL into one of these programs is forbidden; to comply
+with the GPL's requirements, Microsoft would be legally required to make that
+whole program free software. Rival companies could then copy, modify, and sell
+improved versions of it, taking away the basis of Microsoft's lock over the
+={ Windows (Microsoft) :
+ source code and ;
+ open source :
+ software development, approach to ;
+ Redmond (Washington)
+Hence the company's growing concern over the GPL's rate of adoption. Hence the
+recent Mundie speech blasting the GPL and the "open source" approach to
+software development and sales. (Microsoft does not even acknowledge the term
+"free software," preferring to use its attacks to direct attention towards the
+apolitical "open source" camp described in chapter 11, and away from the free
+software movement.) And hence Stallman's decision to deliver a public rebuttal
+to that speech on the same campus here today.
+20 years is a long time in the software industry. Consider this: in 1980, when
+Richard Stallman was cursing the AI Lab's Xerox laser printer, Microsoft, which
+dominates the worldwide software industry, was still a privately held startup.
+IBM, the company then regarded as the most powerful force in the computer
+hardware industry, had yet to introduce its first personal computer, thereby
+igniting the current low-cost PC market. Many of the technologies we now take
+for granted - the World Wide Web, satellite television, 32-bit video-game
+consoles - didn't even exist. The same goes for many of the companies that now
+fill the upper echelons of the corporate establishment, companies like AOL, Sun
+Microsystems, Amazon.com, Compaq, and Dell. The list goes on and on.
+={ Amazon.com ;
+ AOL (America OnLine) ;
+ Compaq computers ;
+ Dell computers ;
+ PCs (personal computers) ;
+ personal computers (PCs)
+Among those who value progress above freedom, the fact that the high-technology
+marketplace has come so far in such little time is cited both for and against
+the GNU GPL. Some argue in favor of the GPL, pointing to the short lifespan of
+most computer hardware platforms. Facing the risk of buying an obsolete
+product, consumers tend to flock to companies with the best long-term survival.
+As a result, the software marketplace has become a winner-take-all arena.~{ See
+Shubha Ghosh, "Revealing the Microsoft Windows Source Code," Gi-galaw.com
+(January, 2000), \\ http://www.gigalaw.com/. }~ The proprietary software
+environment, they say, leads to monopoly abuse and stagnation. Strong companies
+suck all the oxygen out of the marketplace for rival competitors and innovative
+startups. Others argue just the opposite. Selling software is just as risky, if
+not more risky, than buying software, they say. Without the legal guarantees
+provided by proprietary software licenses, not to mention the economic
+prospects of a privately owned "killer app" (i.e., a break-through technology
+that launches an entirely new market),~{ Killer apps don't have to be
+proprietary. Still, I think the reader gets the point: the software marketplace
+is like the lottery. The bigger the potential pay-off, the more people want to
+participate. For a good summary of the killer-app phenomenon, see Philip
+Ben-David, "Whatever Happened to the 'Killer App'?", e-Commerce News (December
+7, 2000), \\ http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/5893.html. }~ companies lose
+the incentive to participate. Once again, the market stagnates and innovation
+declines. As Mundie himself noted in his May 3rd address on the same campus,
+the GPL's "viral" nature "poses a threat" to any company that relies on the
+uniqueness of its software as a competitive asset. Added Mundie:
+={ Mundie, Craig +3 }
+_1 It also fundamentally undermines the independent commercial software sector
+because it effectively makes it impossible to distribute software on a basis
+where recipients pay for the product rather than just the cost of
+distribution.~{ See Craig Mundie, "The Commercial Software Model," senior vice
+president, Microsoft Corp., excerpted from an online transcript of Mundie's May
+3, 2001, speech to the New York University Stern School of Business, \\
+http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/exec/craig/05-03sharedsource.asp. }~
+The mutual success of GNU/Linux and Windows over the last 10years suggests that
+both sides on this question are sometimes right. However, free software
+activists such as Stallman think this is a side issue. The real question, they
+say, isn't whether free or proprietary software will succeed more, it's which
+one is more ethical.
+Nevertheless, the battle for momentum is an important one in the software
+industry. Even powerful vendors such as Microsoft rely on the support of
+third-party software developers whose tools, programs, and computer games make
+an underlying software platform such as Windows more attractive to the
+mainstream consumer. Citing the rapid evolution of the technology marketplace
+over the last 20 years, not to mention his own company's impressive track
+record during that period, Mundie advised listeners to not get too carried away
+by the free software movement's recent momentum:
+={ GNU Project :
+ Linux and, mutual success of ;
+ Linux :
+ GNU Project and ;
+ third-party software developers supporting Microsoft
+_1 Two decades of experience have shown that an economic model that protects
+intellectual property and a business model that recoups research and
+development costs can create impressive economic benefits and distribute them
+very broadly.~{ /{Ibid.}/ }~
+Such admonitions serve as the backdrop for Stallman's speech today. Less than a
+month after their utterance, Stallman stands with his back to one of the chalk
+boards at the front of the room, edgy to begin.
+If the last two decades have brought dramatic changes to the software
+marketplace, they have brought even more dramatic changes to Stallman himself.
+Gone is the skinny, clean-shaven hacker who once spent his entire days
+communing with his beloved PDP-10. In his place stands a heavy-set middle-aged
+man with long hair and rabbinical beard, a man who now spends the bulk of his
+time writing and answering email, haranguing fellow programmers, and giving
+speeches like the one today. Dressed in an aqua-colored T-shirt and brown
+polyester pants, Stallman looks like a desert hermit who just stepped out of a
+Salvation Army dressing room.
+The crowd is filled with visitors who share Stallman's fashion and grooming
+tastes. Many come bearing laptop computers and cellular modems, all the better
+to record and transmit Stallman's words to a waiting Internet audience. The
+gender ratio is roughly 15 males to 1 female, and 1 of the 7 or 8 females in
+the room comes in bearing a stuffed penguin, the official Linux mascot, while
+another carries a stuffed teddy bear.
+Agitated, Stallman leaves his post at the front of the room and takes a seat in
+a front-row chair, tapping commands into an already-opened laptop. For the next
+10 minutes Stallman is oblivious to the growing number of students, professors,
+and fans circulating in front of him at the foot of the auditorium stage.
+Before the speech can begin, the baroque rituals of academic formality must be
+observed. Stallman's appearance merits not one but two introductions. Mike
+Uretsky, co-director of the Stern School's Center for Advanced Technology,
+provides the first.
+={ Uretsky, Mike +5 }
+"The role of a university is to foster debate and to have interesting
+discussions," Uretsky says. "This particular presentation, this seminar falls
+right into that mold. I find the discussion of open source particularly
+Before Uretsky can get another sentence out, Stallman is on his feet waving him
+down like a stranded motorist.
+"I do free software," Stallman says to rising laughter. "Open source is a
+different movement.
+"The laughter gives way to applause. The room is stocked with Stallman
+partisans, people who know of his reputation for verbal exactitude, not to
+mention his much publicized 1998 falling out with the open source software
+proponents. Most have come to anticipate such outbursts the same way radio fans
+once waited for Jack Benny's trademark, "Now cut that out!" phrase during each
+radio program.
+Uretsky hastily finishes his introduction and cedes the stage to Edmond
+Schonberg, a professor in the NYU computer-science department. As a computer
+programmer and GNU Project contributor, Schonberg knows which linguistic land
+mines to avoid. He deftly summarizes Stallman's career from the perspective of
+a modern-day programmer.
+={ Schonberg, Ed. +2 }
+"Richard is the perfect example of somebody who, by acting locally, started
+thinking globally [about] problems concerning the un-availability of source
+code," says Schonberg. "He has developed a coherent philosophy that has forced
+all of us to reexamine our ideas of how software is produced, of what
+intellectual property means, and of what the software community actually
+represents."~{ If this were to be said today, Stallman would object to the term
+"intellectual property" as carrying bias and confusion. \\ See
+http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/not-ipr.html. }~
+Schonberg welcomes Stallman to more applause. Stallman takes a moment to shut
+off his laptop, rises out of his chair, and takes the stage.
+At first, Stallman's address seems more Catskills comedy routine than political
+speech. "I'd like to thank Microsoft for providing me the opportunity to be on
+this platform," Stallman wisecracks. "For the past few weeks, I have felt like
+an author whose book was fortuitously banned somewhere."
+For the uninitiated, Stallman dives into a quick free software warm-up analogy.
+He likens a software program to a cooking recipe. Both provide useful
+step-by-step instructions on how to complete a desired task and can be easily
+modified if a user has special desires or circumstances. "You don't have to
+follow a recipe exactly," Stallman notes. "You can leave out some ingredients.
+Add some mushrooms, 'cause you like mushrooms. Put in less salt because your
+doctor said you should cut down on salt - whatever."
+Most importantly, Stallman says, software programs and recipes are both easy to
+share. In giving a recipe to a dinner guest, a cook loses little more than time
+and the cost of the paper the recipe was written on. Software programs require
+even less, usually a few mouse-clicks and a modicum of electricity. In both
+instances, however, the person giving the information gains two things:
+increased friendship and the ability to borrow interesting recipes in return.
+"Imagine what it would be like if recipes were packaged inside black boxes,"
+Stallman says, shifting gears. "You couldn't see what ingredients they're
+using, let alone change them, and imagine if you made a copy for a friend. They
+would call you a pirate and try to put you in prison for years. That world
+would create tremendous outrage from all the people who are used to sharing
+recipes. But that is exactly what the world of proprietary software is like. A
+world in which common decency towards other people is prohibited or prevented."
+With this introductory analogy out of the way, Stallman launches into a
+retelling of the Xerox laser-printer episode. Like the recipe analogy, the
+laser-printer story is a useful rhetorical device. With its parable-like
+structure, it dramatizes just how quickly things can change in the software
+world. Drawing listeners back to an era before Amazon.com one-click shopping,
+Microsoft Windows, and Oracle databases, it asks the listener to examine the
+notion of software ownership free of its current corporate logos.
+Stallman delivers the story with all the polish and practice of a local
+district attorney conducting a closing argument. When he gets to the part about
+the Carnegie Mellon professor refusing to lend him a copy of the printer source
+code, Stallman pauses.
+"He had betrayed us," Stallman says. "But he didn't just do it to us. Chances
+are he did it to you."
+On the word "you," Stallman points his index finger accusingly at an
+unsuspecting member of the audience. The targeted audience member's eyebrows
+flinch slightly, but Stallman's own eyes have moved on. Slowly and
+deliberately, Stallman picks out a second listener to nervous titters from the
+crowd. "And I think, mostly likely, he did it to you, too," he says, pointing
+at an audience member three rows behind the first.
+By the time Stallman has a third audience member picked out, the titters have
+given away to general laughter. The gesture seems a bit staged, because it is.
+Still, when it comes time to wrap up the Xerox laser-printer story, Stallman
+does so with a showman's flourish. "He probably did it to most of the people
+here in this room - except a few, maybe, who weren't born yet in 1980,"
+Stallman says, drawing more laughs. "[That's] because he had promised to refuse
+to cooperate with just about the entire population of the planet Earth."
+Stallman lets the comment sink in for a half-beat. "He had signed a
+nondisclosure agreement," Stallman adds.
+Richard Matthew Stallman's rise from frustrated academic to political leader
+over the last 20 years speaks to many things. It speaks to Stallman's stubborn
+nature and prodigious will. It speaks to the clearly articulated vision and
+values of the free software movement Stallman helped build. It speaks to the
+high-quality software programs Stallman has built, programs that have cemented
+Stallman's reputation as a programming legend. It speaks to the growing
+momentum of the GPL, a legal innovation that many Stallman observers see as his
+most momentous accomplishment.
+Most importantly, it speaks to the changing nature of political power in a
+world increasingly beholden to computer technology and the software programs
+that power that technology.
+Maybe that's why, even at a time when most high-technology stars are on the
+wane, Stallman's star has grown. Since launching the GNU Project in 1984,~{ The
+acronym GNU stands for "GNU's not Unix." In another portion of the May 29,
+2001, NYU speech, Stallman summed up the acronym's origin: \\ We hackers always
+look for a funny or naughty name for a program, because naming a program is
+half the fun of writing the program. We also had a tradition of recursive
+acronyms, to say that the program that you're writing is similar to some
+existing program... I looked for a recursive acronym for Something Is Not UNIX.
+And I tried all 26 letters and discovered that none of them was a word. I
+decided to make it a contraction. That way I could have a three-letter acronym,
+for Something's Not UNIX. And I tried letters, and I came across the word
+"GNU." That was it. \\ Although a fan of puns, Stallman recommends that
+software users pronounce the "g" at the beginning of the acronym (i.e.,
+"gah-new").Not only does this avoid confusion with the word "gnu," the name of
+the African antelope, Connochaetes gnou, it also avoids confusion with the
+adjective "new." "We've been working on it for 17 years now, so it is not
+exactly new any more," Stallman says. \\ Source: author notes and online
+transcript of "Free Software: Freedom and Cooperation," Richard Stallman's May
+29, 2001, speech at New York University, \\
+http://www.gnu.org/events/rms-nyu-2001-transcript.txt. }~ Stallman has been at
+turns ignored, satirized, vilified, and attacked-both from within and without
+the free software movement. Through it all, the GNU Project has managed to meet
+its milestones, albeit with a few notorious delays, and stay relevant in a
+software marketplace several orders of magnitude more complex than the one it
+entered 18 years ago. So too has the free software ideology, an ideology
+meticulously groomed by Stallman himself.
+To understand the reasons behind this currency, it helps to examine Richard
+Stallman both in his own words and in the words of the people who have
+collaborated and battled with him along the way. The Richard Stallman character
+sketch is not a complicated one. If any person exemplifies the old adage "what
+you see is what you get," it's Stallman.
+"I think if you want to understand Richard Stallman the human being, you really
+need to see all of the parts as a consistent whole," advises Eben Moglen, legal
+counsel to the Free Software Foundation and professor of law at Columbia
+University Law School. "All those personal eccentricities that lots of people
+see as obstacles to getting to know Stallman really 'are' Stallman: Richard's
+strong sense of personal frustration, his enormous sense of principled ethical
+commitment, his inability to compromise, especially on issues he considers
+fundamental. These are all the very reasons Richard did what he did when he
+={ Columbia University ;
+ Moglen, Eben +2
+Explaining how a journey that started with a laser printer would eventually
+lead to a sparring match with the world's richest corporation is no easy task.
+It requires a thoughtful examination of the forces that have made software
+ownership so important in today's society. It also requires a thoughtful
+examination of a man who, like many political leaders before him, understands
+the malleability of human memory. It requires an ability to interpret the myths
+and politically laden codewords that have built up around Stallman over time.
+Finally, it requires an understanding of Stallman's genius as a programmer and
+his failures and successes in translating that genius to other pursuits.
+When it comes to offering his own summary of the journey, Stallman acknowledges
+the fusion of personality and principle observed by Moglen. "Stubbornness is my
+strong suit," he says. "Most people who attempt to do anything of any great
+difficulty eventually get discouraged and give up. I never gave up."
+He also credits blind chance. Had it not been for that run-in over the Xerox
+laser printer, had it not been for the personal and political conflicts that
+closed out his career as an MIT employee, had it not been for a half dozen
+other timely factors, Stallman finds it very easy to picture his life following
+a different career path. That being said, Stallman gives thanks to the forces
+and circumstances that put him in the position to make a difference.
+"I had just the right skills," says Stallman, summing up his decision for
+launching the GNU Project to the audience. "Nobody was there but me, so I felt
+like, 'I'm elected. I have to work on this. If not me, who?'"
+1~ Chapter 3 - A Portrait of the Hacker as a Young Man
+={ Stallman, Richard M. :
+ childhood +61
+Richard Stallman's mother, Alice Lippman, still remembers the moment she
+realized her son had a special gift.
+={ Lippman, Alice +60 }
+"I think it was when he was eight," Lippman recalls.
+The year was 1961, and Lippman, a recently divorced single mother, was whiling
+away a weekend afternoon within the family's tiny one-bedroom apartment on
+Manhattan's Upper West Side. Leafing throug ha copy of Scientific American,
+Lippman came upon her favorite section, the Martin Gardner-authored column
+titled "Mathematical Games." A substitute art teacher at the time, Lippman
+enjoyed Gardner's column for the brain-teasers it provided. With her son
+already ensconced in a book on the nearby sofa, Lippman decided to take a crack
+at solving the week's feature puzzle.
+"I wasn't the best person when it came to solving the puzzles," she admits.
+"But as an artist, I found they really helped me work through conceptual
+Lippman says her attempt to solve the puzzle met an immediate brick wall. About
+to throw the magazine down in disgust, Lippman was surprised by a gentle tug on
+her shirt sleeve.
+"It was Richard," she recalls, "He wanted to know if I needed any help."
+Looking back and forth, between the puzzle and her son, Lippman says she
+initially regarded the offer with skepticism. "I asked Richard if he'd read the
+magazine," she says. "He told me that, yes, he had and what's more he'd already
+solved the puzzle. The next thing I know, he starts explaining to me how to
+solve it."
+Hearing the logic of her son's approach, Lippman's skepticism quickly gave way
+to incredulity. "I mean, I always knew he was a bright boy," she says, "but
+this was the first time I'd seen anything that suggested how advanced he really
+Thirty years after the fact, Lippman punctuates the memory with a laugh. "To
+tell you the truth, I don't think I ever figured out how to solve that puzzle,"
+she says. "All I remember is being amazed he knew the answer."
+Seated at the dining-room table of her second Manhattan apartment - the same
+spacious three-bedroom complex she and her son moved to following her 1967
+marriage to Maurice Lippman, now deceased - Alice Lippman exudes a Jewish
+mother's mixture of pride and bemusement when recalling her son's early years.
+The nearby dining-room credenza offers an eight-by-ten photo of Stallman
+glowering in full beard and doctoral robes. The image dwarfs accompanying
+photos of Lippman's nieces and nephews, but before a visitor can make too much
+of it, Lippman makes sure to balance its prominent placement with an ironic
+={ Lippman, Maurice }
+Richard insisted I have it after he received his honorary doctorate at the
+University of Glasgow," says Lippman. "He said to me, 'Guess what, mom? It's
+the first graduation I ever attended.'"~{ One of the major background sources
+for this chapter was the interview "Richard Stallman: High School Misfit,
+Symbol of Free Software, MacArthur-Certified Genius" by Michael Gross, author
+of the 1999 book Talking About My Generation , a collection of interviews with
+notable personalities from the so-called "Baby Boom" generation. Although
+Stallman did not make it into the book, Gross published the interview as an
+online supplement to the book's web site. The URL for the interview has changed
+several times since I first came across it. According to various readers who
+have gone searching for it, you can now find the interview at \\
+http://www.mgross.com/MoreThgsChng/interviews/stallman1.html. }~
+={ University of Glasgow }
+Such comments reflect the sense of humor that comes with raising a child
+prodigy. Make no mistake, for every story Lippman hears and reads about her
+son's stubbornness and unusual behavior, she can deliver at least a dozen in
+"He used to be so conservative," she says, throwing up her hands in mock
+exasperation. "We used to have the worst arguments right here at this table. I
+was part of the first group of public city school teachers that struck to form
+a union, and Richard was very angry with me. He saw unions as corrupt. He was
+also very opposed to social security. He thought people could make much more
+money investing it on their own. Who knew that within 10 years he would become
+so idealistic? All I remember is his stepsister coming to me and saying, 'What
+is he going to be when he grows up? A fascist?'"~{ RMS: I don't remember
+telling her this. All I can say is I strongly disagree with those views now.
+When I was in my teens, I lacked compassion for the difficulties most people
+encounter in life; my problems were different. I did not appreciate how the
+wealthy will reduce most people to poverty unless we organize at all levels to
+stop them. I did not understand how hard it is for most people to resist social
+pressure to do foolish things, such as spend all their money instead of saving,
+since I hardly even noticed the pressure myself. In addition, unions in the
+60s, when they were very powerful, were sometimes arrogant or corrupt. But they
+are much weaker today, and the result is that economic growth, when it occurs,
+benefits mainly the rich. }~
+As a single parent for nearly a decade - she and Richard's father, Daniel
+Stallman, were married in 1948, divorced in 1958, and split custody of their
+son afterwards - Lippman can attest to her son's aversion to authority. She can
+also attest to her son's lust for knowledge. It was during the times when the
+two forces intertwined, Lippman says, that she and her son experienced their
+biggest battles.
+={ Stallman, Daniel }
+"It was like he never wanted to eat," says Lippman, recalling the behavior
+pattern that set in around age eight and didn't let up until her son's
+high-school graduation in 1970. "I'd call him for dinner, and he'd never hear
+me. I'd have to call him 9 or 10 times just to get his attention. He was
+totally immersed."
+Stallman, for his part, remembers things in a similar fashion, albeit with a
+political twist.
+"I enjoyed reading," he says. "If I wanted to read, and my mother told me to go
+to the kitchen and eat or go to sleep, I wasn't going to listen. I saw no
+reason why I couldn't read. No reason why she should be able to tell me what to
+do, period. Essentially, what I had read about, ideas such as democracy and
+individual freedom, I applied to myself. I didn't see any reason to exclude
+children from these principles."
+The belief in individual freedom over arbitrary authority extended to school as
+well. Two years ahead of his classmates by age 11, Stallman endured all the
+usual frustrations of a gifted public-school student. It wasn't long after the
+puzzle incident that his mother attended the first in what would become a long
+string of parent-teacher conferences.
+"He absolutely refused to write papers," says Lippman, recalling an early
+controversy. "I think the last paper he wrote before his senior year in high
+school was an essay on the history of the number system in the west for a
+fourth-grade teacher." To be required to choose a specific topic when there was
+nothing he actually wanted to write about was almost impossible for Stallman,
+and painful enough to make him go to great lengths to avoid such situations.
+Gifted in anything that required analytical thinking, Stallman gravitated
+toward math and science at the expense of his other studies. What some teachers
+saw as single-mindedness, however, Lippman saw as impatience. Math and science
+offered simply too much opportunity to learn, especially in comparison to
+subjects and pursuits for which her son seemed less naturally inclined. Around
+age 10 or 11, when the boys in Stallman's class began playing a regular game of
+touch football, she remembers her son coming home in a rage. "He wanted to play
+so badly, but he just didn't have the coordination skills," Lippman recalls.
+"It made him so angry."
+The anger eventually drove her son to focus on math and science all the more.
+Even in the realm of science, however, her son's impatience could be
+problematic. Poring through calculus textbooks by age seven, Stallman saw
+little need to dumb down his discourse for adults. Sometime, during his
+middle-school years, Lippman hired a student from nearby Columbia University to
+play big brother to her son. The student left the family's apartment after the
+first session and never came back. "I think what Richard was talking about went
+over his head," Lippman speculates.
+Another favorite maternal memory dates back to the early 1960s, shortly after
+the puzzle incident. Around age seven, two years after the divorce and
+relocation from Queens, Richard took up the hobby of launching model rockets in
+nearby Riverside Drive Park. What started as aimless fun soon took on an
+earnest edge as her son began recording the data from each launch. Like the
+interest in mathematical games,the pursuit drew little attention until one day,
+just before a major NASA launch, Lippman checked in on her son to see if he
+wanted to watch.
+"He was fuming," Lippman says. "All he could say to me was, 'But I'm not
+published yet.' Apparently he had something that he really wanted to show
+NASA." Stallman doesn't remember the incident, but thinks it more likely that
+he was anguished because he didn't have anything to show.
+Such anecdotes offer early evidence of the intensity that would become
+Stallman's chief trademark throughout life. When other kids came to the table,
+Stallman stayed in his room and read. When other kids played Johnny Unit as,
+Stallman played spaceman. "I was weird," Stallman says, summing up his early
+years succinctly in a 1999 interview. "After a certain age, the only friends I
+had were teachers."~{ /{Ibid.}/ }~ Stallman was not ashamed of his weird
+characteristics, distinguishing them from the social ineptness that he did
+regard as a failing. However, both contributed together to his social
+Although it meant courting more run-ins at school, Lippman decided to indulge
+her son's passion. By age 12, Richard was attending science camps during the
+summer and private school during the school year. When a teacher recommended
+her son enroll in the Columbia Science Honors Program, a post-Sputnik program
+designed for gifted middle- and high-school students in New York City, Stallman
+added to his extracurriculars and was soon commuting uptown to the Columbia
+University campus on Saturdays.
+={ Columbia University ;
+ Science Honors Program (Columbia) +2
+Dan Chess, a fellow classmate in the Columbia Science Honors Program, recalls
+Richard Stallman seeming a bit weird even among the students who shared a
+similar lust for math and science. "We were all geeks and nerds, but he was
+unusually poorly adjusted," recalls Chess, now a mathematics professor at
+Hunter College. "He was also smart as shit. I've known a lot of smart people,
+but I think he was the smartest person I've ever known."
+={ Chess, Dan ;
+ Hunter College
+Seth Breidbart, a fellow Columbia Science Honors Program alumnus, offers
+bolstering testimony. A computer programmer who has kept in touch with Stallman
+thanks to a shared passion for science fiction and science-fiction conventions,
+he recalls the 15-year-old, buzz-cut-wearing Stallman as "scary," especially to
+a fellow 15-year-old.
+={ Breidbart, Seth +1 }
+"It's hard to describe," Breidbart says. "It wasn't like he was unapproachable.
+He was just very intense. [He was] very knowledgeable but also very hardheaded
+in some ways."
+Such descriptions give rise to speculation: are judgment-laden adjectives like
+"intense" and "hardheaded" simply a way to describe traits that today might be
+categorized under juvenile behavioral disorder? A December, 2001, /{Wired}/
+magazine article titled "The Geek Syndrome" paints the portrait of several
+scientifically gifted children diagnosed with high-functioning autism or
+Asperger Syndrome. In many ways, the parental recollections recorded in the
+/{Wired}/ article are eerily similar to the ones offered by Lippman. Stallman
+also speculates about this. In the interview for a 2000 profile for the
+/{Toronto Star}/, Stallman said he wondered if he were "borderline autistic."
+The article inaccurately cited the speculation as a certainty.~{ See Judy
+Steed, Toronto Star, BUSINESS, (October 9, 2000): C03. His vision of free
+software and social cooperation stands in stark contrast to the isolated nature
+of his private life. A Glenn Gould-like eccentric, the Canadian pianist was
+similarly brilliant, articulate, and lonely. Stallman considers himself
+afflicted, to some degree, by autism: a condition that, he says, makes it
+difficult for him to interact with people. }~
+={ Asperger Syndrome +1 ;
+ autism +5 ;
+ Geek Syndrome, The (Silberman) +1 ;
+ Wired magazine ;
+ Toronto Star ;
+ Silberman, Steve +1 ;
+ Stallman, Richard M. :
+ behavioral disorders +1
+Such speculation benefits from the fast and loose nature of most so-called
+"behavioral disorders" nowadays, of course. As Steve Silberman, author of "The
+Geek Syndrome," notes, American psychiatrists have only recently come to accept
+Asperger Syndrome as a valid umbrella term covering a wide set of behavioral
+traits. The traits range from poor motor skills and poor socialization to high
+intelligence and an almost obsessive affinity for numbers, computers, and
+ordered systems.~{ See Steve Silberman, "The Geek Syndrome," Wired (December,
+2001), \\ http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/9.12/aspergers_pr.html. }~
+={ Stallman, Richard M. :
+ childhood, behavioral disorders
+"It's possible I could have had something like that," Stallman says. "On the
+other hand, one of the aspects of that syndrome is difficulty following
+rhythms. I can dance. In fact, I love following the most complicated rhythms.
+It's not clear cut enough to know." Another possibility is that Stallman had a
+"shadow syndrome" which goes someway in the direction of Asperger's syndrome
+but without going beyond the limits of normality.~{ See John Ratey and
+Catherine Johnson, "Shadow Syndromes." }~
+Chess, for one, rejects such attempts at back-diagnosis. "I never thought of
+him [as] having that sort of thing," he says. "He was just very unsocialized,
+but then, we all were."
+={ Chess, Dan }
+Lippman, on the other hand, entertains the possibility. She recalls a few
+stories from her son's infancy, however, that provide fodder for speculation. A
+prominent symptom of autism is an over-sensitivity to noises and colors, and
+Lippman recalls two anecdotes that stand out in this regard. "When Richard was
+an infant, we'd take him to the beach," she says. "He would start screaming two
+or three blocks before we reached the surf. It wasn't until the third time that
+we figured out what was going on: the sound of the surf was hurting his ears."
+She also recalls a similar screaming reaction in relation to color: "My mother
+had bright red hair, and every time she'd stoop down to pick him up, he'd let
+out a wail."
+In recent years, Lippman says she has taken to reading books about autism and
+believes that such episodes were more than coincidental. "I do feel that
+Richard had some of the qualities of an autistic child," she says. "I regret
+that so little was known about autism back then."
+Over time, however, Lippman says her son learned to adjust. By age seven, she
+says, her son had become fond of standing at the front window of subway trains,
+mapping out and memorizing the labyrinthian system of railroad tracks
+underneath the city. It was a hobby that relied on an ability to accommodate
+the loud noises that accompanied each train ride. "Only the initial noise
+seemed to bother him," says Lippman. "It was as if he got shocked by the sound
+but his nerves learned how to make the adjustment."
+For the most part, Lippman recalls her son exhibiting the excitement, energy,
+and social skills of any normal boy. It wasn't until after a series of
+traumatic events battered the Stallman household, she says, that her son became
+introverted and emotionally distant.
+The first traumatic event was the divorce of Alice and Daniel Stallman,
+Richard's father. Although Lippman says both she and her ex-husband tried to
+prepare their son for the blow, she says the blow was devastating nonetheless.
+"He sort of didn't pay attention when we first told him what was happening,"
+Lippman recalls. "But the reality smacked him in the face when he and I moved
+into a new apartment. The first thing he said was, 'Where's Dad's furniture?'"
+={ divorce of Alice and Daniel Stallman ;
+ Stallman, Daniel
+For the next decade, Stallman would spend his weekdays at his mother's
+apartment in Manhattan and his weekends at his father's home in Queens. The
+shuttling back and forth gave him a chance to study a pair of contrasting
+parenting styles that, to this day, leaves Stallman firmly opposed to the idea
+of raising children himself. Speaking about his father, a World War II vet who
+died in early 2001, Stallman balances respect with anger. On one hand, there is
+the man whose moral commitment led him to learn French just so he could be more
+helpful to Allies when they'd finally fight the Nazis in France. On the other
+hand, there was the parent who always knew how to craft a put-down for cruel
+effect.~{ Regrettably, I did not get a chance to interview Daniel Stallman for
+this book. During the early research for this book, Stallman informed me that
+his father suffered from Alzheimer's. When I resumed research in late 2001, I
+learned, sadly, that Daniel Stallman had died earlier in the year. }~
+"My father had a horrible temper," Stallman says. "He never screamed, but he
+always found a way to criticize you in a cold, designed-to-crush way."
+As for life in his mother's apartment, Stallman is less equivocal. "That was
+war," he says. "I used to say in my misery, 'I want to go home,' meaning to the
+nonexistent place that I'll never have."
+For the first few years after the divorce, Stallman found the tranquility that
+eluded him in the home of his paternal grandparents. One died when he was 8,
+and the other when he was 10. For Stallman, the loss was devastating. "I used
+to go and visit and feel I was in a loving, gentle environment," Stallman
+recalls. "It was the only place I ever found one, until I went away to
+Lippman lists the death of Richard's paternal grandparents as the second
+traumatic event. "It really upset him," she says. He was very close to both his
+grandparents. Before they died, he was very outgoing, almost a
+leader-of-the-pack type with the other kids. After they died, he became much
+more emotionally withdrawn.
+From Stallman's perspective, the emotional withdrawal was merely an attempt to
+deal with the agony of adolescence. Labeling his teenage years a "pure horror,"
+Stallman says he often felt like a deaf person amid a crowd of chattering music
+"I often had the feeling that I couldn't understand what other people were
+saying," says Stallman, recalling his sense of exclusion. "I could understand
+the words, but something was going on underneath the conversations that I
+didn't understand. I couldn't understand why people were interested in the
+things other people said."
+For all the agony it produced, adolescence would have an encouraging effect on
+Stallman's sense of individuality. At a time when most of his classmates were
+growing their hair out, Stallman preferred to keep his short. At a time when
+the whole teenage world was listening to rock and roll, Stallman preferred
+classical music. A devoted fan of science fiction, /{Mad}/ magazine, and
+late-night TV, Stallman came to have a distinctly off-the-wall personality that
+met with the incomprehension of parents and peers alike.
+"Oh, the puns," says Lippman, still exasperated by the memory of her son's
+teenage personality. "There wasn't a thing you could say at the dinner table
+that he couldn't throw back at you as a pun."
+Outside the home, Stallman saved the jokes for the adults who tended to indulge
+his gifted nature. One of the first was a summer-camp counselor who lent
+Stallman a manual for the IBM 7094 computer during his 8th or 9th year. To a
+pre teenager fascinated with numbers and science, the gift was a godsend.~{
+Stallman, an atheist, would probably quibble with this description. Suffice it
+to say, it was something Stallman welcomed. See Gross (1999): "As soon as I
+heard about computers, I wanted to see one and play with one." }~ Soon,
+Stallman was writing out programs on paper in the instructions of the 7094.
+There was no computer around to run them on, and he had no real applications to
+use one for, but he yearned to write a program - any program whatsoever. He
+asked the counselor for arbitrary suggestions of something to code.
+={ IBM 7094 computer +1 }
+With the first personal computer still a decade away, Stallman would be forced
+to wait a few years before getting access to his first computer. His chance
+finally came during his senior year of high school. The IBM New York Scientific
+Center, a now-defunct research facility in downtown Manhattan, offered Stallman
+the chance to try to write his first real program. His fancy was to write a
+pre-processor for the programming language PL/I, designed to add the tensor
+algebra summation convention as a feature to the language. "I first wrote it in
+PL/I, then started over in assembler language when the compiled PL/I program
+was too big to fit in the computer," he recalls.
+={ assembler language ;
+ IBM :
+ New York Scientific Center ;
+ IBM New York Scientific Center ;
+ PL/I programming language ;
+ Stallman, Richard M. :
+ childhood, first computer program
+For the summer after high-school graduation, the New York Scientific Center
+hired him. Tasked with writing a numerical analysis program in Fortran, he
+finished that in a few weeks, acquiring such a distaste for the Fortran
+language that he vowed never to write any-thing in it again. Then he spent the
+rest of the summer writing a text-editor in APL.
+Simultaneously, Stallman had held a laboratory-assistant position in the
+biology department at Rockefeller University. Although he was already moving
+toward a career in math or physics, Stallman's analytical mind impressed the
+lab director enough that a few years after Stallman departed for college,
+Lippman received an unexpected phone call. "It was the professor at
+Rockefeller," Lippman says. "He wanted to know how Richard was doing. He was
+surprised to learn that he was working in computers. He'd always thought
+Richard had a great future ahead of him as a biologist."
+={ Rockefeller University }
+Stallman's analytical skills impressed faculty members at Columbia as well,
+even when Stallman himself became a target of their ire. "Typically once or
+twice an hour [Stallman] would catch some mistake in the lecture," says
+Breidbart. "And he was not shy about letting the professors know it
+immediately. It got him a lot of respect but not much popularity."
+Hearing Breidbart's anecdote retold elicits a wry smile from Stallman. "I may
+have been a bit of a jerk sometimes," he admits. "But I found kindred spirits
+among teachers, because they, too, liked to learn. Kids, for the most part,
+didn't. At least not in the same way."
+={ Breidbart, Seth }
+Hanging out with the advanced kids on Saturday nevertheless encouraged Stallman
+to think more about the merits of increased socialization. With college fast
+approaching, Stallman, like many in his Columbia Science Honors Program, had
+narrowed his list of desired schools down to two choices: Harvard and MIT.
+Hearing of her son's desire to move on to the Ivy League, Lippman became
+concerned. As a 15-year-old high-school junior, Stallman was still having
+run-ins with teachers and administrators. Only the year before, he had pulled
+straight A's in American History, Chemistry, French, and Algebra, but a glaring
+F in English reflected the ongoing boycott of writing assignments. Such miscues
+might draw a knowing chuckle at MIT, but at Harvard, they were a red flag.
+={ Harvard University +7 ;
+ MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology
+During her son's junior year, Lippman says she scheduled an appointment with a
+therapist. The therapist expressed instant concern over Stallman's
+unwillingness to write papers and his run-ins with teachers. Her son certainly
+had the intellectual wherewithal to succeed at Harvard, but did he have the
+patience to sit through college classes that required a term paper? The
+therapist suggested a trial run. If Stallman could make it through a full year
+in New York City public schools, including an English class that required term
+papers, he could probably make it at Harvard. Following the completion of his
+junior year, Stallman promptly enrolled in public summer school downtown and
+began making up the mandatory humanities classes he had shunned earlier in his
+high-school career.
+={ Louis D. Brandeis High School +3 }
+By fall, Stallman was back within the mainstream population of New York City
+high-school students, at Louis D. Brandeis High School on on West 84th Street.
+It wasn't easy sitting through classes that seemed remedial in comparison with
+his Saturday studies at Columbia, but Lippman recalls proudly her son's ability
+to toe the line.
+"He was forced to kowtow to a certain degree, but he did it," Lippman says. "I
+only got called in once, which was a bit of a miracle. It was the calculus
+teacher complaining that Richard was interrupting his lesson. I asked how he
+was interrupting. He said Richard was always accusing the teacher of using a
+false proof. I said, 'Well, is he right?' The teacher said, 'Yeah, but I can't
+tell that to the class. They wouldn't understand.'"
+By the end of his first semester at Brandeis High, things were falling into
+place. A 96 in English wiped away much of the stigma of the 60 earned 2 years
+before. For good measure, Stallman backed it up with top marks in American
+History, Advanced Placement Calculus, and Microbiology. The crowning touch was
+a perfect 100 in Physics. Though still a social outcast, Stallman finished his
+10 months at Brandeis as the fourth-ranked student in a class of 789.
+Outside the classroom, Stallman pursued his studies with even more diligence,
+rushing off to fulfill his laboratory-assistant duties at Rockefeller
+University during the week and dodging the Vietnam protesters on his way to
+Saturday school at Columbia. It was there, while the rest of the Science Honors
+Program students sat around discussing their college choices, that Stallman
+finally took a moment to participate in the preclass bull session.
+Recalls Breidbart, "Most of the students were going to Harvard and MIT, of
+course, but you had a few going to other Ivy League schools. As the
+conversation circled the room, it became apparent that Richard hadn't said
+anything yet. I don't know who it was, but somebody got up the courage to ask
+him what he planned to do."
+={ Breidbart, Seth +1 }
+Thirty years later, Breidbart remembers the moment clearly. As soon as Stallman
+broke the news that he, too, would be attending Harvard University in the fall,
+an awkward silence filled the room. Almost as if on cue, the corners of
+Stallman's mouth slowly turned upward into a self-satisfied smile. Says
+Breidbart, "It was his silent way of saying, 'That's right. You haven't got rid
+of me yet.'"
+1~ Chapter 4 - Impeach God
+Although their relationship was fraught with tension, Richard Stallman would
+inherit one noteworthy trait from his mother: a passion for progressive
+It was an inherited trait that would take several decades to emerge, however.
+For the first few years of his life, Stallman lived in what he now admits was a
+"political vacuum."~{ See Michael Gross, "Richard Stallman: High School Misfit,
+Symbol of Free Software, Mac Arthur-certified Genius" (1999). }~ Like most
+Americans during the Eisenhower age, the Stallman family spent the Fifties
+trying to recapture the normalcy lost during the wartime years of the 1940s.
+"Richard's father and I were Democrats but happy enough to leave it at that,"
+says Lippman, recalling the family's years in Queens. "We didn't get involved
+much in local or national politics."
+={ Lippman, Alice :
+ political identity of +11
+That all began to change, however, in the late 1950s when Alice divorced Daniel
+Stallman. The move back to Manhattan represented more than a change of address;
+it represented a new, independent identity and a jarring loss of tranquility.
+={ Stallman, Daniel }
+"I think my first taste of political activism came when I went to the Queens
+public library and discovered there was only a single book on divorce in the
+whole library," recalls Lippman. "It was very controlled by the Catholic
+church, at least in Elmhurst, where we lived. I think that was the first
+inkling I had of the forces that quietly control our lives."
+={ Elmhurst (New York) ;
+ Queens public library
+Returning to her childhood neighborhood, Manhattan's Upper West Side, Lippman
+was shocked by the changes that had taken place since her departure to Hunter
+College a decade and a half before. The sky-rocketing demand for post-war
+housing had turned the neighborhood into a political battleground. On one side
+stood the pro-development city-hall politicians and businessmen hoping to
+rebuild many of the neighborhood's blocks to accommodate the growing number of
+white-collar workers moving into the city. On the other side stood the poor
+Irish and Puerto Rican tenants who had found an affordable haven in the
+={ Hunter College }
+At first, Lippman didn't know which side to choose. As a new resident, she felt
+the need for new housing. As a single mother with minimal income, however, she
+shared the poorer tenants' concern over the growing number of development
+projects catering mainly to wealthy residents. Indignant, Lippman began looking
+for ways to combat the political machine that was attempting to turn her
+neighborhood into a clone of the Upper East Side.
+Lippman says her first visit to the local Democratic party headquarters came in
+1958. Looking for a day-care center to take care of her son while she worked,
+she had been appalled by the conditions encountered at one of the city-owned
+centers that catered to low-income residents. "All I remember is the stench of
+rotten milk, the dark hallways, the paucity of supplies. I had been a teacher
+in private nursery schools. The contrast was so great. We took one look at that
+room and left. That stirred me up."
+={ Democratic party +3 }
+The visit to the party headquarters proved disappointing, however. Describing
+it as "the proverbial smoke-filled room," Lippman says she became aware for the
+first time that corruption within the party might actually be the reason behind
+the city's thinly disguised hostility toward poor residents. Instead of going
+back to the headquarters, Lippman decided to join up with one of the many clubs
+aimed at reforming the Democratic party and ousting the last vestiges of the
+Tammany Hall machine. Dubbed the Woodrow Wilson/FDR Reform Democratic Club,
+Lippman and her club began showing up at planning and city-council meetings,
+demanding a greater say.
+={ Woodrow Wilson/FDR Reform Democratic Club ;
+ Tammany Hall +1
+"Our primary goal was to fight Tammany Hall, Carmine DeSapio and his
+henchman,"~{ Carmine DeSapio holds the dubious distinction of being the first
+Italian-American boss of Tammany Hall, the New York City political machine. For
+more information on DeSapio and the politics of post-war New York, see John
+Davenport, "Skinning the Tiger: Carmine DeSapio and the End of the Tammany
+Era," New York Affairs (1975): 3:1. }~ says Lippman. "I was the representative
+to the city council and was very much involved in creating a viable
+urban-renewal plan that went beyond simply adding more luxury housing to the
+={ DeSapio, Carmine }
+Such involvement would blossom into greater political activity during the
+1960s. By 1965, Lippman had become an "outspoken" supporter for political
+candidates like William Fitts Ryan, a Democrat elected to Congress with the
+help of reform clubs and one of the first U.S. representatives to speak out
+against the Vietnam War.
+={ Vietnam War +10 ;
+ Ryan, William Fitts
+It wasn't long before Lippman, too, was an outspoken opponent of U.S.
+involvement in Indochina. "I was against the Vietnam War from the time Kennedy
+sent troops," she says. "I had read the stories by reporters and journalists
+sent to cover the early stages of the conflict. I really believed their
+forecast that it would become a quagmire."
+={ Indochina }
+Such opposition permeated the Stallman-Lippman household. In 1967, Lippman
+remarried. Her new husband, Maurice Lippman, a major in the Air National Guard,
+resigned his commission to demonstrate his opposition to the war. Lippman's
+stepson, Andrew Lippman, was at MIT and temporarily eligible for a student
+deferment. Still, the threat of induction should that deferment disappear, as
+it eventually did, made the risk of U.S. escalation all the more immediate.
+Finally, there was Richard who, though younger, faced the prospect of being
+drafted as the war lasted into the 1970s.
+={ Lippman, Andrew ;
+ Lippman, Maurice ;
+ MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology
+"Vietnam was a major issue in our household," says Lippman. "We talked about it
+constantly: what would we do if the war continued, what steps Richard or his
+stepbrother would take if they got drafted. We were all opposed to the war and
+the draft. We really thought it was immoral."
+For Stallman, the Vietnam War elicited a complex mixture of emotions:
+confusion, horror, and, ultimately, a profound sense of political impotence. As
+a kid who could barely cope in the mild authoritarian universe of private
+school, Stallman experienced a shiver whenever the thought of Army boot camp
+presented itself. He did not think he could get through it and emerge sane.
+={ draft (Vietnam War) +6 }
+"I was devastated by the fear, but I couldn't imagine what to do and didn't
+have the guts to go demonstrate," recalls Stallman, whose March 16th birthday
+earned him a low number in the dreaded draft lottery. This did not affect him
+immediately, since he had a college deferment, one of the last before the U.S.
+stopped granting them; but it would affect him in a few years. "I couldn't
+envision moving to Canada or Sweden. The idea of getting up by myself and
+moving somewhere. How could I do that? I didn't know how to live by myself. I
+wasn't the kind of person who felt confident in approaching things like that."
+Stallman says he was impressed by the family members who did speak out.
+Recalling a sticker, printed and distributed by his father, likening the My Lai
+massacre to similar Nazi atrocities in World War II, he says he was "excited"
+by his father's gesture of outrage. "I admired him for doing it," Stallman
+says. "But I didn't imagine that I could do anything. I was afraid that the
+juggernaut of the draft was going to destroy me."
+However, Stallman says he was turned off by the tone and direction of much of
+that movement. Like other members of the Science Honors Program, he saw the
+weekend demonstrations at Columbia as little more than a distracting
+spectacle.~{ Chess, another Columbia Science Honors Program alum, describes the
+protests as "background noise." "We were all political," he says, "but the SHP
+was important. We would never have skipped it for a demonstration." }~
+Ultimately, Stallman says, the irrational forces driving the anti-war movement
+became indistinguishable from the irrational forces driving the rest of youth
+culture. Instead of worshiping the Beatles, girls in Stallman's age group were
+suddenly worshiping firebrands like Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. To a kid
+already struggling to comprehend his teenage peers, slogans like "make love not
+war" had a taunting quality. Stallman did not want to make war, at least not in
+Southeast Asia, but nobody was inviting him to make love either.
+={ Beatles ;
+ Hoffman, Abbie ;
+ Rubin, Jerry ;
+ Science Honors Program (Columbia)
+"I didn't like the counter culture much," Stallman recalls. "I didn't like the
+music. I didn't like the drugs. I was scared of the drugs. I especially didn't
+like the anti-intellectualism, and I didn't like the prejudice against
+technology. After all, I loved a computer. And I didn't like the mindless
+anti-Americanism that I often encountered. There were people whose thinking was
+so simplistic that if they disapproved of the conduct of the U.S. in the
+Vietnam War, they had to support the North Vietnamese. They couldn't imagine a
+more complicated position, I guess."
+Such comments underline a trait that would become the key to Stallman's own
+political maturation. For Stallman, political confidence was directly
+proportionate to personal confidence. By 1970, Stallman had become confident in
+few things outside the realm of math and science. Nevertheless, confidence in
+math gave him enough of a foundation to examine the extremes of the anti-war
+movement in purely logical terms. Doing so, Stallman found the logic wanting.
+Although opposed to the war in Vietnam, Stallman saw no reason to disavow war
+as a means for defending liberty or correcting injustice.
+In the 1980s, a more confident Stallman decided to make up for his past
+inactivity by participating in mass rallies for abortion rights in Washington
+DC. "I became dissatisfied with my earlier self for failing in my duty to
+protest the Vietnam War," he explains.
+In 1970, Stallman left behind the nightly dinnertime conversations about
+politics and the Vietnam War as he departed for Harvard. Looking back, Stallman
+describes the transition from his mother's Manhattan apartment to life in a
+Cambridge dorm as an "escape." At Harvard, he could go to his room and have
+peace whenever he wanted it. Peers who watched Stallman make the transition,
+however, saw little to suggest a liberating experience.
+={ Harvard University +22 }
+"He seemed pretty miserable for the first while at Harvard," recalls Dan Chess,
+a classmate in the Science Honors Program who also matriculated at Harvard.
+"You could tell that human interaction was really difficult for him, and there
+was no way of avoiding it at Harvard. Harvard was an intensely social kind of
+={ Chess, Dan ;
+ Science Honors Program (Columbia) +1
+To ease the transition, Stallman fell back on his strengths: math and science.
+Like most members of the Science Honors Program, Stallman breezed through the
+qualifying exam for Math 55, the legendary "boot camp" class for freshman
+mathematics "concentrators" at Harvard. Within the class, members of the
+Science Honors Program formed a durable unit. "We were the math mafia," says
+Chess with a laugh. "Harvard was nothing, at least compared with the SHP."
+={ Math 55 (Harvard University) +9 }
+To earn the right to boast, however, Stallman, Chess, and the other SHP alumni
+had to get through Math 55. Promising four years worth of math in two
+semesters, the course favored only the truly devout. "It was an amazing class,"
+says David Harbater, a former "math mafia" member and now a professor of
+mathematics at the University of Pennsylvania. "It's probably safe to say there
+has never been a class for beginning college students that was that intense and
+that advanced. The phrase I say to people just to get it across is that, among
+other things, by the second semester we were discussing the differential
+geometry of Banach manifolds. That's usually when their eyes bug out, because
+most people don't start talking about Banach manifolds until their second year
+of graduate school."
+={ Harbater, David +2 ;
+ University of Pennsylvania
+Starting with 75 students, the class quickly melted down to 20by the end of the
+second semester. Of that 20, says Harbater, "only 10 really knew what they were
+doing." Of that 10, 8 would go on to become future mathematics professors, 1
+would go on to teach physics.
+"The other one," emphasizes Harbater, "was Richard Stallman." Seth Breidbart, a
+fellow Math 55 classmate, remembers Stallman distinguishing himself from his
+peers even then.
+={ Breidbart, Seth +14 }
+"He was a stickler in some very strange ways," says Breidbart. There is a
+standard technique in math which everybody does wrong. It's an abuse of
+notation where you have to define a function for something and what you do is
+you define a function and then you prove that it's well defined. Except the
+first time he did and presented it, he defined a relation and proved that it's
+a function. It's the exact same proof, but he used the correct terminology,
+which no one else did. That's just the way he was."
+It was in Math 55 that Richard Stallman began to cultivate a reputation for
+brilliance. Breidbart agrees, but Chess, whose competitive streak refused to
+yield, says the realization that Stallman might be the best mathematician in
+the class didn't set in until the next year. "It was during a class on Real
+Analysis," says Chess, now a math professor at Hunter College. "I actually
+remember in a proof about complex valued measures that Richard came up with an
+idea that was basically a metaphor from the calculus of variations. It was the
+first time I ever saw somebody solve a problem in a brilliantly original way."
+={ Hunter College }
+For Chess, it was a troubling moment. Like a bird flying into a clear glass
+window, it would take a while to realize that some levels of insight were
+simply off limits.
+"That's the thing about mathematics," says Chess. "You don't have to be a
+first-rank mathematician to recognize first-rate mathematical talent. I could
+tell I was up there, but I could also tell I wasn't at the first rank. If
+Richard had chosen to be a mathematician, he would have been a first-rank
+mathematician."~{ Stallman doubts this, however. "One of the reasons I moved
+from math and physics to programming is that I never learned how to discover
+anything new in the former two. I only learned to study what others had done.
+In programming, I could do something useful every day." }~
+For Stallman, success in the classroom was balanced by the same lack of success
+in the social arena. Even as other members of the math mafia gathered to take
+on the Math 55 problem sets, Stallman preferred to work alone. The same went
+for living arrangements. On the housing application for Harvard, Stallman
+clearly spelled out his preferences. "I said I preferred an invisible,
+inaudible, intangible roommate," he says. In a rare stroke of bureaucratic
+foresight, Harvard's housing office accepted the request, giving Stallman a
+one-room single for his freshman year.
+Breidbart, the only math-mafia member to share a dorm with Stallman that
+freshman year, says Stallman slowly but surely learned how to interact with
+other students. He recalls how other dorm mates, impressed by Stallman's
+logical acumen, began welcoming his input whenever an intellectual debate broke
+out in the dining club or dorm commons."
+We had the usual bull sessions about solving the world's problems or what would
+be the result of something," recalls Breidbart. "Say somebody discovers an
+immortality serum. What do you do? What are the political results? If you give
+it to everybody, the world gets overcrowded and everybody dies. If you limit
+it, if you say everyone who's alive now can have it but their children can't,
+then you end up with an underclass of people without it. Richard was just
+better able than most to see the unforeseen circumstances of any decision."
+Stallman remembers the discussions vividly. "I was always in favor of
+immortality," he says. "How else would we be able to see what the world is like
+200 years from now?" Curious, he began asking various acquaintances whether
+they would want immortality if offered it. "I was shocked that most people
+regarded immortality as a bad thing." Many said that death was good because
+there was no use living a decrepit life, and that aging was good because it got
+people prepared for death, without recognizing the circularity of the
+Although perceived as a first-rank mathematician and first-rate in-formal
+debater, Stallman shied away from clear-cut competitive events that might have
+sealed his brilliant reputation. Near the end of fresh-man year at Harvard,
+Breidbart recalls how Stallman conspicuously ducked the Putnam exam, a
+prestigious test open to math students throughout the U.S. and Canada. In
+addition to giving students ac hance to measure their knowledge in relation to
+their peers, the Putnam served as a chief recruiting tool for academic math
+departments. According to campus legend, the top scorer automatically qualified
+for a graduate fellowship at any school of his choice, including Harvard.
+={ Putnam exam +1 }
+Like Math 55, the Putnam was a brutal test of merit. A six-hour exam in two
+parts, it seemed explicitly designed to separate the wheat from the chaff.
+Breidbart, a veteran of both the Science Honors
+Program and Math 55, describes it as easily the most difficult test he ever
+took. "Just to give you an idea of how difficult it was," says Breidbart, "the
+top score was a 120, and my score the first year was in the 30s. That score was
+still good enough to place me 101st in the country."
+Surprised that Stallman, the best student in the class, had skipped the test,
+Breidbart says he and a fellow classmate cornered him in the dining common and
+demanded an explanation. "He said he was afraid of not doing well," Breidbart
+Breidbart and the friend quickly wrote down a few problems from memory and gave
+them to Stallman. "He solved all of them," Breidbart says, " leading me to
+conclude that by not doing well, he either meant coming in second or getting
+something wrong."
+Stallman remembers the episode a bit differently. "I remember that they did
+bring me the questions and it's possible that I solved one of them, but I'm
+pretty sure I didn't solve them all," he says. Nevertheless, Stallman agrees
+with Breidbart's recollection that fear was the primary reason for not taking
+the test. Despite a demonstrated willingness to point out the intellectual
+weaknesses of his peers and professors in the classroom, Stallman hated and
+feared the notion of head-to-head competition - so why not just avoid it?
+"It's the same reason I never liked chess," says Stallman. "Whenever I'd play,
+I would become so consumed by the fear of making a single mistake and losing
+that I would start making stupid mistakes very early in the game. The fear
+became a self-fulfilling prophecy." He avoided the problem by not playing
+Whether such fears ultimately prompted Stallman to shy away from a mathematical
+career is a moot issue. By the end of his freshman year at Harvard, Stallman
+had other interests pulling him away from the field. Computer programming, a
+latent fascination throughout Stallman's high-school years, was becoming a
+full-fledged passion. Where other math students sought occasional refuge in art
+and history classes, Stallman sought it in the computer-science laboratory.
+For Stallman, the first taste of real computer programming at the IBM New York
+Scientific Center had triggered a desire to learn more. "Toward the end of my
+first year at Harvard school, I started to have enough courage to go visit
+computer labs and see what they had. I'd ask them if they had extra copies of
+any manuals that I could read." Taking the manuals home, Stallman would examine
+the machine specifications to learn about the range of different computer
+One day, near the end of his freshman year, Stallman heard about a special
+laboratory near MIT. The laboratory was located on the ninth floor of a
+building in Tech Square, the mostly-commercial office park MIT had built across
+the street from the campus. According to the rumors, the lab itself was
+dedicated to the cutting-edge science of artificial intelligence and boasted
+the cutting-edge machines and software to match.
+={ artificial intelligence ;
+ MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology :
+ first visit to +2
+Intrigued, Stallman decided to pay a visit.
+The trip was short, about 2 miles on foot, 10 minutes by train, but as Stallman
+would soon find out, MIT and Harvard can feel like opposite poles of the same
+planet. With its maze-like tangle of inter-connected office buildings, the
+Institute's campus offered an aestheticy in to Harvard's spacious
+colonial-village yang. Of the two, the maze of MIT was much more Stallman's
+style. The same could be said for the student body, a geeky collection of
+ex-high school misfits known more for its predilection for pranks than its
+politically powerful alumni.
+The yin-yang relationship extended to the AI Lab as well. Unlike Harvard
+computer labs, there was no grad-student gatekeeper, no clipboard waiting list
+for terminal access, no atmosphere of "look but don't touch." Instead, Stallman
+found only a collection of open terminals and robotic arms, presumably the
+artifacts of some AI experiment. When he encountered a lab employee, he asked
+if the lab had any spare manuals it could loan to an inquisitive student. "They
+had some, but a lot of things weren't documented," Stallman recalls. "They were
+hackers, after all," he adds wryly, referring to hackers' tendency to move on
+to a new project without documenting the last one.
+={ AI Lab (Artificial Intelligence Laboratory) +40 }
+Stallman left with something even better than a manual: A job. His first
+project was to write a PDP-11 simulator that would run on a PDP-10. He came
+back to the AI Lab the next week, grabbing an available terminal, and began
+writing the code.
+Looking back, Stallman sees nothing unusual in the AI Lab's willingness to
+accept an unproven outsider at first glance. "That's the way it was back then,"
+he says. "That's the way it still is now. I'll hire somebody when I meet him if
+I see he's good. Why wait? Stuffy people who insist on putting bureaucracy into
+everything really miss the point. If a person is good, he shouldn't have to go
+through a long, detailed hiring process; he should be sitting at a computer
+writing code."
+To get a taste of "bureaucratic and stuffy," Stallman need only visit the
+computer labs at Harvard. There, access to the terminals was doled out
+according to academic rank. As an undergrad, Stallman sometimes had to wait for
+hours. The waiting wasn't difficult, but it was frustrating. Waiting for a
+public terminal, knowing all the while that a half dozen equally usable
+machines were sitting idle inside professors' locked offices, seemed the height
+of irrational waste. Although Stallman continued to pay the occasional visit to
+the Harvard computer labs, he preferred the more egalitarian policies of the AI
+Lab. "It was a breath of fresh air," he says. "At the AI Lab, people seemed
+more concerned about work than status."
+={ Harvard University :
+ computer labs
+Stallman quickly learned that the AI Lab's first-come, first-served policy owed
+much to the efforts of a vigilant few. Many were holdovers from the days of
+Project MAC, the Department of Defense-funded re-search program that had given
+birth to the first time-share operating systems. A few were already legends in
+the computing world. There was Richard Greenblatt, the lab's in-house Lisp
+expert and author of MacHack, the computer chess program that had once humbled
+AI critic Hubert Dreyfus. There was Gerald Sussman, original author of the
+robotic block-stacking program HACKER. And there was Bill Gosper, the in-house
+math whiz already in the midst of an 18-month hacking bender triggered by the
+philosophical implications of the computer game LIFE.~{ See Steven Levy,
+Hackers (Penguin USA [paperback], 1984): 144. Levy devotes about five pages to
+describing Gosper's fascination with LIFE, a math-based software game first
+created by British mathematician John Conway. I heartily recommend this book as
+a supplement, perhaps even a prerequisite, to this one. }~
+={ Dreyfus, Hubert ;
+ Gosper, Bill ;
+ Greenblat, Richard ;
+ LIFE mathematical game ;
+ LISP programming language ;
+ MacHack ;
+ Project MAC ;
+ Sussman, Gerald +2
+Members of the tight-knit group called themselves "hackers." Overtime, they
+extended the "hacker" description to Stallman as well. In the process of doing
+so, they inculcated Stallman in the ethical traditions of the "hacker ethic."
+In their fascination with exploring the limits of what they could make a
+computer do, hackers might sit at a terminal for 36 hours straight if
+fascinated with a challenge. Most importantly, they demanded access to the
+computer (when no one else was using it) and the most useful information about
+it. Hackers spoke openly about changing the world through software, and
+Stallman learned the instinctual hacker disdain for any obstacle that prevented
+a hacker from fulfilling this noble cause. Chief among these obstacles were
+poor software, academic bureaucracy, and selfish behavior.
+={ ethics of hacking ;
+ hackers +7 :
+ ethics of
+Stallman also learned the lore, stories of how hackers, when presented with an
+obstacle, had circumvented it in creative ways. This included various ways that
+hackers had opened professors' offices to "liberate" sequestered terminals.
+Unlike their pampered Harvard counterparts, MIT faculty members knew better
+than to treat the AI Lab's limited stock of terminals as private property. If a
+faculty member made the mistake of locking away a terminal for the night,
+hackers were quick to make the terminal accessible again - and to remonstrate
+with the professor for having mistreated the community. Some hackers did this
+by picking locks ("lock hacking"), some by removing ceiling tiles and climbing
+over the wall. On the 9th floor, with its false floor for the computers'
+cables, some spelunked under it. "I was actually shown a cart with a heavy
+cylinder of metal on it that had been used to break down the door of one
+professor's office,"~{ Gerald Sussman, an MIT faculty member and hacker whose
+work at the AI Lab predates Stallman's, disputes this story. According to
+Sussman, the hackers never broke any doors to retrieve terminals. }~ Stallman
+={ AI Lab (Artificial Intelligence Laboratory) :
+ lock hacking at +31
+The hackers' insistence served a useful purpose by preventing the professors
+from egotistically obstructing the lab's work. The hackers did not disregard
+people's particular needs, but insisted that these be met in ways that didn't
+obstruct everyone else. For instance, professors occasionally said they had
+something in their offices which had to be protected from theft. The hackers
+responded, "No one will object if you lock your office, although that's not
+very friendly, as long as you don't lock away the lab's terminal in it."
+Although the academic people greatly outnumbered the hackers in the AI Lab, the
+hacker ethic prevailed. The hackers were the lab staff and students who had
+designed and built parts of the computers, and written nearly all the software
+that users used. They kept everything working, too. Their work was essential,
+and they refused to be downtrodden. They worked on personal pet projects as
+well as features users had asked for, but sometimes the pet projects revolved
+around improving the machines and software even further. Like teenage
+hot-rodders, most hackers viewed tinkering with machines as its own form of
+Nowhere was this tinkering impulse better reflected than in the operating
+system that powered the lab's central PDP-10 computer. Dubbed ITS, short for
+the Incompatible Time Sharing system, the operating system incorporated the
+hacking ethic into its very design. Hackers had built it as a protest to
+Project MAC's original operating system, the Compatible Time Sharing System,
+CTSS, and named it accordingly. At the time, hackers felt the CTSS design too
+restrictive, limiting programmers' power to modify and improve the program's
+own internal architecture if needed. According to one legend passed down by
+hackers, the decision to build ITS had political overtones as well. Unlike
+CTSS, which had been designed for the IBM 7094, ITS was built specifically for
+the PDP-6. In letting hackers write the system themselves, AI Lab
+administrators guaranteed that only hackers would feel comfortable using the
+PDP-6. In the feudal world of academic research, the gambit worked. Although
+the PDP-6 was co-owned in conjunction with other departments, AI researchers
+soon had it to themselves. Using ITS and the PDP-6 as a foundation, the Lab had
+been able to declare independence from Project MAC shortly before Stallman's
+arrival.~{ Ibid. }~
+={ Compatible Time Sharing System (CTSS) ;
+ CTSS (Compatible Time Sharing System) ;
+ IBM 7094 computer ;
+ Incompatible Timesharing System (ITS) +5 ;
+ PDP-6 computer +1 ;
+ Project MAC :
+ Incompatible Time Sharing system and
+By 1971, ITS had moved to the newer but compatible PDP-10, leaving the PDP-6
+for special stand-alone uses. The AI PDP-10 had a very large memory for 1971,
+equivalent to a little over a megabyte;in the late 70s it was doubled. Project
+MAC had bought two other PDP-10s; all were located on the 9th floor, and they
+all ran ITS. The hardware-inclined hackers designed and built a major hardware
+addition for these PDP-10s, implementing paged virtual memory, a feature
+lacking in the standard PDP-10.~{ I apologize for the whirlwind summary of ITS'
+genesis, an operating system many hackers still regard as the epitome of the
+hacker ethos. For more information on the program's political significance, see
+Simson Garfinkel, Architects of the Information Society: Thirty-Five Years of
+the Laboratory for Computer Science at MIT (MIT Press, 1999). }~
+As an apprentice hacker, Stallman quickly became enamored with ITS. Although
+forbidding to some non-hackers, ITS boasted features most commercial operating
+systems wouldn't offer for years (or even to this day), features such as
+multitasking, applying the debugger immediately to any running program, and
+full-screen editing capability.
+"ITS had a very elegant internal mechanism for one program to examine another,"
+says Stallman, recalling the program. "You could examine all sorts of status
+about another program in a very clean, well-specified way." This was convenient
+not only for debugging, but also for programs to start, stop or control other
+Another favorite feature would allow the one program to freeze an-other
+program's job cleanly, between instructions. In other operating systems,
+comparable operations might stop the program in the middle of a system call,
+with internal status that the user could not see and that had no well-defined
+meaning. In ITS, this feature made sure that monitoring the step-by-step
+operation of a program was reliable and consistent.
+"If you said, 'Stop the job,' it would always be stopped in user mode. It would
+be stopped between two user-mode instructions, and everything about the job
+would be consistent for that point," Stallman says. "If you said, 'Resume the
+job,' it would continue properly. Not only that, but if you were to change the
+(explicitly visible) status of the job and continue it, and later change it
+back, everything would be consistent. There was no hidden status anywhere."
+Starting in September 1971, hacking at the AI Lab had become a regular part of
+Stallman's weekly school schedule. From Sunday through Friday, Stallman was at
+Harvard. As soon as Friday afternoon arrived, however, he was on the subway,
+heading down to MIT for the weekend. Stallman usually made sure to arrive well
+before the ritual food run. Joining five or six other hackers in their nightly
+quest for Chinese food, he would jump inside a beat-up car and head across the
+Harvard Bridge into nearby Boston. For the next hour or so, he and his hacker
+colleagues would discuss everything from ITS to the internal logic of the
+Chinese language and pictograph system. Following dinner, the group would
+return to MIT and hack code until dawn, or perhaps go to Chinatown again at 3
+Stallman might stay up all morning hacking, or might sleep Saturday morning on
+a couch. On waking he would hack some more, have another Chinese dinner, then
+go back to Harvard. Sometimes he would stay through Sunday as well. These
+Chinese dinners were not only delicious; they also provided sustenance lacking
+in the Harvard dining halls, where on the average only one meal a day included
+anything he could stomach. (Breakfast did not enter the count, since he didn't
+like most breakfast foods and was normally asleep at that hour.)
+For the geeky outcast who rarely associated with his high-school peers, it was
+a heady experience to be hanging out with people who shared the same
+predilection for computers, science fiction, and Chinese food. "I remember many
+sunrises seen from a car coming back from Chinatown," Stallman would recall
+nostalgically, 15 years after the fact in a speech at the Swedish Royal
+Technical Institute. "It was actually a very beautiful thing to see a sunrise,
+'cause that's such a calm time of day. It's a wonderful time of day to get
+ready to go to bed. It's so nice to walk home with the light just brightening
+and the birds starting to chirp; you can get a real feeling of gentle
+satisfaction, of tranquility about the work that you have done that night."~{
+See Richard Stallman, "RMS lecture at KTH (Sweden)," (October 30, 1986), \\
+http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/stallman-kth.html. }~
+={ Swedish Royal Technical Institute }
+The more Stallman hung out with the hackers, the more he adopted the hacker
+world view. Already committed to the notion of personal liberty, Stallman began
+to infuse his actions with a sense of communal duty. When others violated the
+communal code, Stallman was quick to speak out. Within a year of his first
+visit, Stallman was the one opening locked offices to recover the sequestered
+terminals that belonged to the lab community as a whole. In true hacker
+fashion, Stallman also sought to make his own personal contribution to the art.
+One of the most artful door-opening tricks, commonly attributed to Greenblatt,
+involved bending a stiff wire into several right angles and attaching a strip
+of tape to one end. Sliding the wire under the door, a hacker could twist and
+rotate the wire so that the tape touched the inside doorknob. Provided the tape
+stuck, a hacker could turn the doorknob by pulling the handle formed from the
+outside end of the wire.
+={ Greenblat, Richard :
+ lock-hacking and
+When Stallman tried the trick, he found it hard to execute. Getting the tape to
+stick wasn't always easy, and twisting the wire in a way that turned the
+doorknob was similarly difficult. Stallman thought about another method:
+sliding away ceiling tiles to climb over the wall. This always worked, if there
+was a desk to jump down onto, but it generally covered the hacker in itchy
+fiberglass. Was there a way to correct that flaw? Stallman considered an
+alternative approach. What if, instead of slipping a wire under the door, a
+hacker slid away two ceiling panels and reached over the wall with a wire?
+Stallman took it upon himself to try it out. Instead of using a wire, Stallman
+draped out a long U-shaped loop of magnetic tape with a short U of adhesive
+tape attached sticky-side-up at the base. Reaching across over the door jamb,
+he dangled the tape until it looped under the inside doorknob. Lifting the tape
+until the adhesive stuck, he then pulled on one end of the tape, thus turning
+the doorknob. Sure enough, the door opened. Stallman had added a new twist to
+the art of getting into a locked room.
+"Sometimes you had to kick the door after you turned the doorknob," says
+Stallman, recalling a slight imperfection of the new method. "It took a little
+bit of balance to pull it off while standing on a chair on a desk."
+Such activities reflected a growing willingness on Stallman's part to speak and
+act out in defense of political beliefs. The AI Lab's spirit of direct action
+had proved inspirational enough for Stallman to breakout of the timid impotence
+of his teenage years. Opening up an office to free a terminal wasn't the same
+as taking part in a protest march, but it was effective in a way that most
+protests weren't: it solved the problem at hand.
+By the time of his last years at Harvard, Stallman was beginning to apply the
+whimsical and irreverent lessons of the AI Lab back at school .
+"Did he tell you about the snake?" his mother asks at one point during an
+interview. "He and his dorm mates put a snake up for student election.
+Apparently it got a considerable number of votes.
+"The snake was a candidate for election within Currier House, Stallman's dorm,
+not the campus-wide student council. Stallman does re-member the snake
+attracting a fair number of votes, thanks in large part to the fact that both
+the snake and its owner both shared the same last name. "People may have voted
+for it because they thought they were voting for the owner," Stallman says.
+"Campaign posters said that the snake was 'slithering for' the office. We also
+said it was an 'at large' candidate, since it had climbed into the wall through
+the ventilating unit a few weeks before and nobody knew where it was."
+Stallman and friends also "nominated" the house master's 3-year-old son. "His
+platform was mandatory retirement at age seven," Stallman recalls. Such pranks
+paled in comparison to the fake-candidate pranks on the MIT campus, however.
+One of the most successful fake-candidate pranks was a cat named Woodstock,
+which actually managed to outdraw most of the human candidates in a campus-wide
+election. "They never announced how many votes Woodstock got, and they treated
+those votes as spoiled ballots," Stallman recalls. "But the large number of
+spoiled ballots in that election suggested that Woodstock had actually won. A
+couple of years later, Woodstock was suspiciously run over by a car. Nobody
+knows if the driver was working for the MIT administration." Stallman says he
+had nothing to do with Woodstock's candidacy, "but I admired it."~{ In an email
+shortly after this book went into its final edit cycle, Stallman says he drew
+political inspiration from the Harvard campus as well. "In my first year of
+Harvard, in a Chinese History class, I read the story of the first revolt
+against the Qin dynasty," he says. (That's the one whose cruel founder burnt
+all the books and was buried with the terra cotta warriors.) "The story is not
+reliable history, but it was very moving." }~
+At the AI Lab, Stallman's political activities had a sharper-edged tone. During
+the 1970s, hackers faced the constant challenge of faculty members and
+administrators pulling an end-run around ITS and its hacker-friendly design.
+ITS allowed anyone to sit down at a console and do anything at all, even order
+the system to shut down in five minutes. If someone ordered a shutdown with no
+good reason, some other user canceled it. In the mid-1970s some faculty members
+(usually those who had formed their attitudes elsewhere) began calling for a
+file security system to limit access to their data. Other operating systems had
+such features, so those faculty members had become accustomed to living under
+security, and to the feeling that it was protecting them from something
+dangerous. But the AI Lab, through the insistence of Stallman and other
+hackers, remained a security-free zone.
+={ Incompatible Timesharing System (ITS) +1 }
+Stallman presented both ethical and practical arguments against adding
+security. On the ethical side, Stallman appealed to the AI Lab community's
+traditions of intellectual openness and trust. On the practical side, he
+pointed to the internal structure of ITS, which was built to foster hacking and
+cooperation rather than to keep every user under control. Any attempt to
+reverse that design would require a major overhaul. To make it even more
+difficult, he used up the last empty field in each file's descriptor for a
+feature to record which user had most recently changed the file. This feature
+left no place to store file security information, but it was so useful that
+nobody could seriously propose to remove it.
+={ security (computer), opposition to }
+"The hackers who wrote the Incompatible Timesharing System decided that file
+protection was usually used by a self-styled system manager to get power over
+everyone else," Stallman would later explain. "They didn't want anyone to be
+able to get power over them that way, so they didn't implement that kind of a
+feature. The result was, that whenever something in the system was broken, you
+could always fix it" (since access control did not stand in your way).~{ See
+Richard Stallman (1986). }~
+Through such vigilance, hackers managed to keep the AI Lab's machines
+security-free. In one group at the nearby MIT Laboratory for Computer Sciences,
+however, security-minded faculty members won the day. The DM group installed
+its first password system in 1977. Once again, Stallman took it upon himself to
+correct what he saw as ethical laxity. Gaining access to the software code that
+controlled the password system, Stallman wrote a program to decrypt the
+encrypted passwords that the system recorded. Then he started an email
+campaign, asking users to choose the null string as their passwords. If the
+user had chosen "starfish," for example, the email message looked something
+like this:
+={ password-based systems, hacking into +5 }
+_1 I see you chose the password "starfish". I suggest that you switch to the
+password "carriage return", which is what I use. It's easier to type, and also
+opposes the idea of passwords and security.
+The users who chose "carriage return" - that is, users who simply pressed the
+Enter or Return button, entering a blank string instead of a unique password -
+left their accounts accessible to the world at large, just as all accounts had
+been, not long before. That was the point: by refusing to lock the shiny new
+locks on their accounts, they ridiculed the idea of having locks. They knew
+that the weak security implemented on that machine would not exclude any real
+intruders, and that this did not matter, because there was no reason to be
+concerned about intruders, and that no one wanted to intrude anyway, only to
+Stallman, speaking in an interview for the 1984 book /{Hackers}/, proudly noted
+that one-fifth of the LCS staff accepted this argument and employed the
+null-string password.~{ See Steven Levy, Hackers (Penguin USA [paperback],
+1984): 417. }~
+={ Hackers (Levy) }
+Stallman's null-string campaign, and his resistance to security in general,
+would ultimately be defeated. By the early 1980s, even the AI Lab's machines
+were sporting password security systems. Even so, it represented a major
+milestone in terms of Stallman's personal and political maturation. Seen in the
+context of Stallman's later career, it represents a significant step in the
+development of the timid teenager, afraid to speak out even on issues of
+life-threatening importance, into the adult activist who would soon turn
+needling and cajoling into a full-time occupation.
+In voicing his opposition to computer security, Stallman drew on many of the
+key ideas that had shaped his early life: hunger for knowledge, distaste for
+authority, and frustration over prejudice and secret rules that rendered some
+people outcasts. He would also draw on the ethical concepts that would shape
+his adult life: responsibility to the community, trust, and the hacker spirit
+of direct action. Expressed in software-computing terms, the null string
+represents the 1.0 version of the Richard Stallman political world view -
+incomplete in a few places but, for the most part, fully mature.
+={ computer security, opposition to }
+Looking back, Stallman hesitates to impart too much significance to an event so
+early in his hacking career. "In that early stage there were a lot of people
+who shared my feelings," he says. "The large number of people who adopted the
+null string as their password was a sign that many people agreed that it was
+the proper thing to do. I was simply inclined to be an activist about it."
+Stallman does credit the AI Lab for awakening that activist spirit, however. As
+a teenager, Stallman had observed political events with little idea as to how
+he could do or say anything of importance. As a young adult, Stallman was
+speaking out on matters in which he felt supremely confident, matters such as
+software design, responsibility to the community, and individual freedom. "I
+joined this community which had a way of life which involved respecting each
+other's freedom," he says. "It didn't take me long to figure out that that was
+a good thing. It took me longer to come to the conclusion that this was a moral
+Hacking at the AI Lab wasn't the only activity helping to boost Stallman's
+esteem. At the start of his junior year at Harvard, Stallman began
+participating in a recreational international folk dance group which had just
+been started in Currier House. He was not going to try it, considering himself
+incapable of dancing, but a friend pointed out, "You don't know you can't if
+you haven't tried." To his amazement, he was good at it and enjoyed it. What
+started as an experiment became another passion alongside hacking and studying;
+also, occasionally, away to meet women, though it didn't lead to a date during
+his college career. While dancing, Stallman no longer felt like the awkward,
+un-coordinated 10-year-old whose attempts to play football had ended in
+frustration. He felt confident, agile, and alive. In the early 80s, Stallman
+went further and joined the MIT Folk Dance Performing Group. Dancing for
+audiences, dressed in an imitation of the traditional garb of a Balkan peasant,
+he found being in front of an audience fun, and discovered an aptitude for
+being on stage which later helped him in public speaking.
+={ folk dancing ;
+ Stallman, Richard M. :
+ folk dancing
+Although the dancing and hacking did little to improve Stallman's social
+standing, they helped him overcome the sense of exclusion that had clouded his
+pre-Harvard life. In 1977, attending a science-fiction convention for the first
+time, he came across Nancy the Button maker, who makes calligraphic buttons
+saying whatever you wish. Excited, Stallman ordered a button with the words
+"Impeach God" emblazoned on it.
+For Stallman, the "Impeach God" message worked on many levels. An atheist since
+early childhood, Stallman first saw it as an attempt to start a "second front"
+in the ongoing debate on religion. "Back then everybody was arguing about
+whether a god existed," Stallman recalls. "'Impeach God' approached the subject
+from a completely different viewpoint. If a god was so powerful as to create
+the world and yet did nothing to correct the problems in it, why would we ever
+want to worship such a god? Wouldn't it be more just to put it on trial?"
+At the same time, "Impeach God" was a reference to the Watergate scandal of the
+1970s, in effect comparing a tyrannical deity to Nixon. Watergate affected
+Stallman deeply. As a child, Stallman had grown up resenting authority. Now, as
+an adult, his mistrust had been solidified by the culture of the AI Lab hacker
+community. To the hackers, Watergate was merely a Shakespearean rendition of
+the daily power struggles that made life such a hassle for those without
+privilege. It was an out sized parable for what happened when people traded
+liberty and openness for security and convenience.
+Buoyed by growing confidence, Stallman wore the button proudly. People curious
+enough to ask him about it received a well-prepared spiel. "My name is
+Jehovah," Stallman would say. "I have a secret plan to end injustice and
+suffering, but due to heavenly security reasons I can't tell you the workings
+of my plan. I see the big picture and you don't, and you know I'm good because
+I told you so. So put your faith in me and obey me without question. If you
+don't obey, that means you're evil, so I'll put you on my enemies list and
+throw you in a pit where the Infernal Revenue Service will audit your taxes
+every year for all eternity."
+Those who interpreted the spiel as a parody of the Watergate hearings only got
+half the message. For Stallman, the other half of the message was something
+only his fellow hackers seemed to be hearing. One hundred years after Lord
+Acton warned about absolute power corrupting absolutely, Americans seemed to
+have forgotten the first part of Acton's truism: power, itself, corrupts.
+Rather than point out the numerous examples of petty corruption, Stallman felt
+content voicing his outrage toward an entire system that trusted power in the
+first place.
+"I figured, why stop with the small fry," says Stallman, recalling the button
+and its message. "If we went after Nixon, why not go after Mr. Big? The way I
+see it, any being that has power and abuses it deserves to have that power
+taken away."
+1~ Chapter 5 - Puddle of Freedom
+[RMS: In this chapter, I have corrected statements about facts, including facts
+about my thoughts and feelings, and removed some gratuitous hostility in
+descriptions of events. I have preserved Williams' statements of his own
+impressions, except where noted.]
+Ask anyone who's spent more than a minute in Richard Stallman's presence, and
+you'll get the same recollection: forget the long hair. Forget the quirky
+demeanor. The first thing you notice is the gaze. One look into Stallman's
+green eyes, and you know you're in the presence of a true believer.
+To call the Stallman gaze intense is an understatement. Stallman's eyes don't
+just look at you; they look through you. Even when your own eyes momentarily
+shift away out of simple primate politeness, Stallman's eyes remain locked-in,
+sizzling away at the side of your head like twin photon beams.
+Maybe that's why most writers, when describing Stallman, tend to go for the
+religious angle. In a 1998 Salon.com article titled "The Saint of Free
+Software," Andrew Leonard describes Stallman's green eyes as "radiating the
+power of an Old Testament prophet."1~{ See Andrew Leonard, "The Saint of Free
+Software," Salon.com (August 1998), \\
+http://www.salon.com/21st/feature/1998/08/cov_31feature.html. }~ A 1999 Wired
+magazine article describes the Stallman beard as "Rasputin-like,"~{ See Leander
+Kahney, "Linux's Forgotten Man," Wired News (March 5, 1999), \\
+http://www.wired.com/news/print/0,1294,18291,00.html. }~ while a London
+Guardian profile describes the Stallman smile as the smile of "a disciple
+seeing Jesus."~{ See "Programmer on moral high ground; Free software is a moral
+issue for Richard Stallman believes in freedom and free software," London
+Guardian (November 6, 1999), \\
+http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/1999/nov/06/andrewbrown. \\ These are just a small
+sampling of the religious comparisons. To date, the most extreme comparison has
+to go to Linus Torvalds, who, in his autobiography - see Linus Torvalds and
+David Diamond, Just For Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary
+(HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2001): 58 - writes, "Richard Stallman is the
+God of Free Software." Honorable mention goes to Larry Lessig, who, in a
+footnote description of Stallman in his book - see Larry Lessig, The Future of
+Ideas (Random House, 2001): 270 - likens Stallman to Moses:... \\ as with
+Moses, it was another leader, Linus Torvalds, who finally carried the movement
+into the promised land by facilitating the development of the final part of the
+OS puzzle. Like Moses, too, Stallman is both respected and reviled by allies
+within the movement. He is[an] unforgiving, and hence for many inspiring,
+leader of a critically important aspect of modern culture. I have deep respect
+for the principle and commitment of this extraordinary individual, though I
+also have great respect for those who are courageous enough to question his
+thinking and then sustain his wrath. \\ In a final interview with Stallman, I
+asked him his thoughts about the religious comparisons. "Some people do compare
+me with an Old Testament prophet, and the reason is Old Testament prophets said
+certain social practices were wrong. They wouldn't compromise on moral issues.
+They couldn't be bought off, and they were usually treated with contempt." }~
+={ Wired magazine ;
+ Leonard, Andrew ;
+ London Guardian ;
+ Salon.com
+Such analogies serve a purpose, but they ultimately fall short. That's because
+they fail to take into account the vulnerable side of the Stallman persona.
+Watch the Stallman gaze for an extended period of time, and you will begin to
+notice a subtle change. What appears at first to be an attempt to intimidate or
+hypnotize reveals itself upon second and third viewing as a frustrated attempt
+to build and maintain contact. If his personality has a touch or "shadow" of
+autism or Asperger's Syndrome, a possibility that Stallman has entertained from
+time to time, his eyes certainly confirm the diagnosis. Even at their most
+high-beam level of intensity, they have a tendency to grow cloudy and distant,
+like the eyes of a wounded animal preparing to give up the ghost.
+={ Asperger Syndrome ;
+ autism
+My own first encounter with the legendary Stallman gaze dates back to the
+March, 1999, LinuxWorld Convention and Expo in San Jose, California. Billed as
+a "coming out party" for the "Linux" software community, the convention also
+stands out as the event that reintroduced Stallman to the technology media.
+Determined to push for his proper share of credit, Stallman used the event to
+instruct spectators and reporters alike on the history of the GNU Project and
+the project's overt political objectives.
+={ GNU Project :
+ GNOME 1.0 +1 ;
+ Linux +6 ;
+ LinuxWorld +8
+As a reporter sent to cover the event, I received my own Stallman tutorial
+during a press conference announcing the release of GNOME 1.0, a free software
+graphic user interface. Unwittingly, I push an entire bank of hot buttons when
+I throw out my very first question to Stallman himself: "Do you think GNOME's
+maturity will affect the commercial popularity of the Linux operating system?"
+={ GNOME 1.0 }
+"I ask that you please stop calling the operating system Linux," Stallman
+responds, eyes immediately zeroing in on mine. "The Linux kernel is just a
+small part of the operating system. Many of the software programs that make up
+the operating system you call Linux were not developed by Linus Torvalds at
+all. They were created by GNU Project volunteers, putting in their own personal
+time so that users might have a free operating system like the one we have
+today. To not acknowledge the contribution of those programmers is both
+impolite and a misrepresentation of history. That's why I ask that when you
+refer to the operating system, please call it by its proper name, GNU/Linux."
+={ GNU Project :
+ Linux and | kernel ;
+ Torvalds, Linus +3
+Taking the words down in my reporter's notebook, I notice an eerie silence in
+the crowded room. When I finally look up, I find Stallman's unblinking eyes
+waiting for me. Timidly, a second reporter throws out a question, making sure
+to use the term "GNU/Linux" instead of Linux. Miguel de Icaza, leader of the
+GNOME project, fields the question. It isn't until halfway through de Icaza's
+answer, however, that Stallman's eyes finally unlock from mine. As soon as they
+do, a mild shiver rolls down my back. When Stallman starts lecturing another
+reporter over a perceived error in diction, I feel a guilty tinge of relief. At
+least he isn't looking at me, I tell myself.
+={ de Icaza, Miguel ;
+ GNU/Linux
+For Stallman, such face-to-face moments would serve their purpose. By the end
+of the first LinuxWorld show, most reporters know better than to use the term
+"Linux" in his presence, and Wired.com is running a story comparing Stallman to
+a pre-Stalinist revolutionary erased from the history books by hackers and
+entrepreneurs eager to downplay the GNU Project's overly political
+objectives.~{ See Leander Kahney (1999). }~ Other articles follow, and while
+few reporters call the operating system GNU/Linux in print, most are quick to
+credit Stallman for launching the drive to build a free software operating
+system 15 years before.
+I won't meet Stallman again for another 17 months. During the interim, Stallman
+will revisit Silicon Valley once more for the August, 1999 LinuxWorld show.
+Although not invited to speak, Stallman does manage to deliver the event's best
+line. Accepting the show's Linus Torvalds Award for Community Service - an
+award named after Linux creator Linus Torvalds - on behalf of the Free Software
+Foundation, Stallman wisecracks, "Giving the Linus Torvalds Award to the Free
+Software Foundation is a bit like giving the Han Solo Award to the Rebel
+This time around, however, the comments fail to make much of a media dent.
+Midway through the week, Red Hat, Inc., a prominent GNU/Linux vendor, goes
+public. The news merely confirms what many reporters such as myself already
+suspect: "Linux" has become a Wall Street buzzword, much like "e-commerce" and
+"dot-com" before it. With the stock market approaching the Y2K rollover like a
+hyperbola approaching its vertical asymptote, all talk of free software or open
+source as a political phenomenon falls by the wayside.
+={ Red Hat Inc. :
+ going public
+Maybe that's why, when LinuxWorld follows up its first two shows with a third
+LinuxWorld show in August, 2000, Stallman is conspicuously absent.
+My second encounter with Stallman and his trademark gaze comes shortly after
+that third LinuxWorld show. Hearing that Stallman is going to be in Silicon
+Valley, I set up a lunch interview in Palo Alto, California. The meeting place
+seems ironic, not only because of his absence from the show but also because of
+the overall backdrop. Outside of Redmond, Washington, few cities offer a more
+direct testament to the economic value of proprietary software. Curious to see
+how Stallman, a man who has spent the better part of his life railing against
+our culture's predilection toward greed and selfishness, is coping in a city
+where even garage-sized bungalows run in the half-million-dollar price range, I
+make the drive down from Oakland.
+={ Redmond (Washington) ;
+ Palo Alto (California) ;
+ Silicon Valley +1
+I follow the directions Stallman has given me, until I reach the headquarters
+of Art.net, a nonprofit "virtual artists collective." Located in a
+hedge-shrouded house in the northern corner of the city, the Art.net
+headquarters are refreshingly run-down. Suddenly, the idea of Stallman lurking
+in the heart of Silicon Valley doesn't seem so strange after all.
+={ Art.net }
+I find Stallman sitting in a darkened room, tapping away on his gray laptop
+computer. He looks up as soon as I enter the room, giving me a full blast of
+his 200-watt gaze. When he offers a soothing "Hello," I offer a return
+greeting. Before the words come out, however, his eyes have already shifted
+back to the laptop screen.
+"I'm just finishing an article on the spirit of hacking," Stallman says,
+fingers still tapping. "Take a look."
+I take a look. The room is dimly lit, and the text appears as greenish-white
+letters on a black background, a reversal of the color scheme used by most
+desktop word-processing programs, so it takes my eyes a moment to adjust. When
+they do, I find myself reading Stallman's account of a recent meal at a Korean
+restaurant. Before the meal, Stallman makes an interesting discovery: the
+person setting the table has left six chopsticks instead of the usual two in
+front of Stallman's place setting. Where most restaurant goers would have
+ignored the redundant pairs, Stallman takes it as challenge: find away to use
+all six chopsticks at once. Like many software hacks, the successful solution
+is both clever and silly at the same time. Hence Stallman's decision to use it
+as an illustration.
+As I read the story, I feel Stallman watching me intently. I look over to
+notice a proud but child-like half smile on his face. When I praise the essay,
+my comment barely merits a raised eyebrow.
+"I'll be ready to go in a moment," he says.
+Stallman goes back to tapping away at his laptop. The laptop is gray and boxy,
+not like the sleek, modern laptops that seemed to be a programmer favorite at
+the recent LinuxWorld show. Above the keyboard rides a smaller, lighter
+keyboard, a testament to Stallman's aging hands. During the mid 1990s, the pain
+in Stallman's hands became so unbearable that he had to hire a typist. Today,
+Stallman relies on a keyboard whose keys require less pressure than a typical
+computer keyboard.
+Stallman has a tendency to block out all external stimuli while working.
+Watching his eyes lock onto the screen and his fingers dance, one quickly gets
+the sense of two old friends locked in deep conversation.
+The session ends with a few loud keystrokes and the slow disassembly of the
+"Ready for lunch?" Stallman asks.
+We walk to my car. Pleading a sore ankle, Stallman limps along slowly. Stallman
+blames the injury on a tendon in his left foot. The injury is three years old
+and has gotten so bad that Stallman, a huge fan of folk dancing, has been
+forced to give up all dancing activities."I love folk dancing intensely,"
+Stallman laments. "Not being able to dance has been a tragedy for me."
+={ folk dancing ;
+ Stallman, Richard M. :
+ folk dancing
+Stallman's body bears witness to the tragedy. Lack of exercise has left
+Stallman with swollen cheeks and a pot belly that was much less visible the
+year before. You can tell the weight gain has been dramatic, because when
+Stallman walks, he arches his back like a pregnant woman trying to accommodate
+an unfamiliar load.
+The walk is further slowed by Stallman's willingness to stop and smell the
+roses, literally. Spotting a particularly beautiful blossom, he strokes the
+innermost petals against his nose, takes a deep sniff, and steps back with a
+contented sigh.
+"Mmm, rhinophytophilia," he says, rubbing his back.~{ At the time, I thought
+Stallman was referring to the flower's scientific name. Months later, I would
+learn that rhino phytophilia was in fact a humorous reference to the activity -
+i.e., Stallman's sticking his nose into a flower and enjoying the moment -
+presenting it as the kinky practice of nasal sex with plants. For another
+humorous Stallman flower incident, \\ visit:
+http://www.stallman.org/articles/texas.html. }~
+The drive to the restaurant takes less than three minutes. Upon recommendation
+from Tim Ney, former executive director of the Free Software Foundation, I have
+let Stallman choose the restaurant. While some reporters zero in on Stallman's
+monk-like lifestyle, the truth is, Stallman is a committed epicure when it
+comes to food. One of the fringe benefits of being a traveling missionary for
+the free software cause is the ability to sample delicious food from around the
+world. "Visit almost any major city in the world, and chances are Richard knows
+the best restaurant in town," says Ney. "Richard also takes great pride in
+knowing what's on the menu and ordering for the entire table." (If they are
+willing, that is.)
+={ Ney, Tim }
+For today's meal, Stallman has chosen a Cantonese-style dim sum restaurant two
+blocks off University Avenue, Palo Alto's main drag. The choice is partially
+inspired by Stallman's recent visit to China, including a stop in Hong Kong, in
+addition to Stallman's personal aversion to spicier Hunanese and Szechuan
+cuisine. "I'm not a big fan of spicy," Stallman admits.
+We arrive a few minutes after 11 a.m. and find ourselves already subject to a
+20-minute wait. Given the hacker aversion to lost time, I hold my breath
+momentarily, fearing an outburst. Stallman, contrary to expectations, takes the
+news in stride.
+"It's too bad we couldn't have found somebody else to join us," he tells me.
+"It's always more fun to eat with a group of people."
+During the wait, Stallman practices a few dance steps. His moves are tentative
+but skilled. We discuss current events. Stallman says his only regret about not
+attending LinuxWorld was missing out on a press conference announcing the
+launch of the GNOME Foundation. Backed by Sun Microsystems and IBM, the
+foundation is in many ways a vindication for Stallman, who has long championed
+that free software and free-market economics need not be mutually exclusive.
+Nevertheless, Stallman remains dissatisfied by the message that came out.
+"The way it was presented, the companies were talking about Linux with no
+mention of the GNU Project at all," Stallman says.
+={ GNU Project :
+ Linux and ;
+ Linux :
+ GNU Project and
+Such disappointments merely contrast the warm response coming from overseas,
+especially Asia, Stallman notes. A quick glance at the Stallman 2000 travel
+itinerary bespeaks the growing popularity of the free software message. Between
+recent visits to India, China, and Brazil, Stallman has spent 12 of the last
+115 days on United States soil. His travels have given him an opportunity to
+see how the free software concept translates into different languages of
+"In India many people are interested in free software, because they see it as a
+way to build their computing infrastructure without spending a lot of money,"
+Stallman says. "In China, the concept has been much slower to catch on.
+Comparing free software to free speech is harder to do when you don't have any
+free speech. Still, the level of interest in free software during my last visit
+was profound."
+The conversation shifts to Napster, the San Mateo, California software company,
+which has become something of a media cause c'el'ebre in recent months. The
+company markets a controversial software tool that lets music fans browse and
+copy the music files of other music fans. Thanks to the magnifying powers of
+the Internet, this so-called "peer-to-peer" program has evolved into a de facto
+online jukebox, giving ordinary music fans a way to listen to MP3 music files
+over the computer without paying a royalty or fee, much to record companies'
+={ Napster +4 ;
+ San Mateo (California) +2
+Although based on proprietary software, the Napster system draws inspiration
+from the long-held Stallman contention that once a work enters the digital
+realm - in other words, once making a copy is less a matter of duplicating
+sounds or duplicating atoms and more a matter of duplicating information - the
+natural human impulse to share a work becomes harder to restrict. Rather than
+impose additional restrictions, Napster execs have decided to take advantage of
+the impulse. Giving music listeners a central place to trade music files, the
+company has gambled on its ability to steer the resulting user traffic toward
+other commercial opportunities.
+The sudden success of the Napster model has put the fear in traditional record
+companies, with good reason. Just days before my Palo Alto meeting with
+Stallman, U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Patel granted a request filed by
+the Recording Industry Association of America for an injunction against the
+file-sharing service. The in-junction was subsequently suspended by the U.S.
+Ninth District Court of Appeals, but by early 2001, the Court of Appeals, too,
+would find the San Mateo-based company in breach of copyright law,~{ See Cecily
+Barnes and Scott Ard, "Court Grants Stay of Napster Injunction," News.com (July
+28, 2000), \\ http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-2376465.html. }~ a decision
+RIAA spokesperson Hillary Rosen would later proclaim a "clear victory for the
+creative content community and the legitimate online marketplace."~{ See "A
+Clear Victory for Recording Industry in Napster Case," RIAA press release
+(February 12, 2001), \\ http://www.riaa.com/PR_story.cfm?id=372. }~
+For hackers such as Stallman, the Napster business model is troublesome in
+different ways. The company's eagerness to appropriate time-worn hacker
+principles such as file sharing and communal information ownership, while at
+the same time selling a service based on proprietary software, sends a
+distressing mixed message. As a person who already has a hard enough time
+getting his own carefully articulated message into the media stream, Stallman
+is understandably reticent when it comes to speaking out about the company.
+Still, Stallman does admit to learning a thing or two from the social side of
+the Napster phenomenon.
+"Before Napster, I thought it might be [sufficient] for people to privately
+redistribute works of entertainment," Stallman says. "The number of people who
+find Napster useful, however, tells me that the right to redistribute copies
+not only on a neighbor-to-neighbor basis, but to the public at large, is
+essential and therefore may not be taken away."
+No sooner does Stallman say this than the door to the restaurant swings open
+and we are invited back inside by the host. Within a few seconds, we are seated
+in a side corner of the restaurant next to a large mirrored wall.
+The restaurant's menu doubles as an order form, and Stallman is quickly
+checking off boxes before the host has even brought water to the table.
+"Deep-fried shrimp roll wrapped in bean-curd skin," Stallman reads. "Bean-curd
+skin. It offers such an interesting texture. I think we should get it."
+This comment leads to an impromptu discussion of Chinese food and Stallman's
+recent visit to China. "The food in China is utterly exquisite," Stallman says,
+his voice gaining an edge of emotion for the first time this morning. "So many
+different things that I've never seen in the U.S., local things made from local
+mushrooms and local vegetables. It got to the point where I started keeping a
+journal just to keep track of every wonderful meal."
+The conversation segues into a discussion of Korean cuisine. During the same
+June, 2000, Asian tour, Stallman paid a visit to South Korea. His arrival
+ignited a mini-firestorm in the local media thanks to a Korean software
+conference attended by Microsoft founder and chairman Bill Gates that same
+week. Next to getting his photo above Gates's photo on the front page of the
+top Seoul newspaper, Stallman says the best thing about the trip was the food.
+"I had a bowl of naeng myun, which is cold noodles," says Stallman. "These were
+a very interesting feeling noodle. Most places don't use quite the same kind of
+noodles for your naeng myun, so I can say with complete certainty that this was
+the most exquisite naeng myun I ever had."
+={ Gates, Bill ;
+ South Korea
+The term "exquisite" is high praise coming from Stallman. I know this, because
+a few moments after listening to Stallman rhapsodize about naeng myun, I feel
+his laser-beam eyes singeing the top of my right shoulder.
+"There is the most exquisite woman sitting just behind you," Stallman says.
+I turn to look, catching a glimpse of a woman's back. The woman is young,
+somewhere in her mid-20s, and is wearing a white sequined dress. She and her
+male lunch companion are in the final stages of paying the check. When both get
+up from the table to leave the restaurant, I can tell without looking, because
+Stallman's eyes suddenly dim in intensity.
+"Oh, no," he says. "They're gone. And to think, I'll probably never even get to
+see her again."
+After a brief sigh, Stallman recovers. The moment gives me a chance to discuss
+Stallman's reputation vis-'a-vis the fairer sex. The reputation is a bit
+contradictory at times. A number of hackers report Stallman's predilection for
+greeting females with a kiss on the back of the hand.~{ See Mae Ling Mak, "A
+Mae Ling Story" (December 17, 1998), \\
+http://crackmonkey.org/pipermail/crackmonkey/1998-December/001777.html. So far,
+Mak is the only person I've found willing to speak on the record in regard to
+this practice, although I've heard this from a few other female sources. Mak,
+despite expressing initial revulsion at it, later managed to put aside her
+misgivings and dance with Stallman at a 1999 LinuxWorld show. }~ A May 26, 2000
+Salon.com article, meanwhile, portrays Stallman as a bit of a hacker lothario.
+Documenting the free software-free love connection, reporter Annalee Newitz
+presents Stallman as rejecting traditional family values, telling her, "I
+believe in love, but not monogamy."~{ See Annalee Newitz, "If Code is Free Why
+Not Me?", Salon.com (May 26,2000), \\
+http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2000/05/26/free_love/print.html. }~
+={ Newitz, Annalee ;
+ Salon.com
+Stallman lets his menu drop a little when I bring this up. "Well, most men seem
+to want sex and seem to have a rather contemptuous attitude towards women," he
+says. "Even women they're involved with. I can't understand it at all."
+I mention a passage from the 1999 book /{Open Sources}/ in which Stallman
+confesses to wanting to name the GNU kernel after a girl-friend at the time.
+The girlfriend's name was Alix, a name that fit perfectly with the Unix
+developer convention of putting an "x" at the end names of operating systems
+and kernels - e.g., "Linux." Alix was a Unix system administrator, and had
+suggested to her friends, "Someone should name a kernel after me." So Stallman
+decided to name the GNU kernel "Alix" as a surprise for her. The kernel's main
+developer renamed the kernel "Hurd," but retained the name "Alix" for part of
+it. One of Alix's friends noticed this part in a source snapshot and told her,
+and she was touched. A later redesign of the Hurd eliminated that part.~{ See
+Richard Stallman, "The GNU Operating System and the Free Software Movement,"
+Open Sources (O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 1999): 65. [RMS: Williams
+interpreted this vignette as suggesting that I am a hopeless romantic, and that
+my efforts were meant to impress some as-yet-unidentified woman. No MIT hacker
+would believe this, since we learned quite young that most women wouldn't
+notice us, let alone love us, for our programming. We programmed because it was
+fascinating. Meanwhile, these events were only possible because I had a
+thoroughly identified girlfriend at the time. If I was a romantic, at the time
+I was neither a hopeless romantic nor a hopeful romantic, but rather
+temporarily a successful one. On the strength of that naive interpretation,
+Williams went on to compare meto Don Quijote. For completeness' sake, here's a
+somewhat inarticulate quote from the first edition: "I wasn't really trying to
+be romantic. It was more of a teasing thing. I mean, it was romantic, but it
+was also teasing, you know? It would have been a delightful surprise."] }~
+={ HURD kernel ;
+ Open Sources (DiBona, et al)
+For the first time all morning, Stallman smiles. I bring up the hand kissing.
+"Yes, I do do that," Stallman says. "I've found it's a way of offering some
+affection that a lot of women will enjoy. It's a chance to give some affection
+and to be appreciated for it."
+Affection is a thread that runs clear through Richard Stallman's life, and he
+is painfully candid about it when questions arise. "There really hasn't been
+much affection in my life, except in my mind," he says. Still, the discussion
+quickly grows awkward. After a few one-word replies, Stallman finally lifts up
+his menu, cutting off the inquiry.
+"Would you like some shu mai?" he asks.
+When the food comes out, the conversation slaloms between the arriving courses.
+We discuss the oft-noted hacker affection for Chinese food, the weekly dinner
+runs into Boston's Chinatown district during Stallman's days as a staff
+programmer at the AI Lab, and the underlying logic of the Chinese language and
+its associated writing system. Each thrust on my part elicits a well-informed
+parry on Stallman's part.
+"I heard some people speaking Shanghainese the last time I was in China,"
+Stallman says. "It was interesting to hear. It sounded quite different [from
+Mandarin]. I had them tell me some cognate words in Mandarin and Shanghainese.
+In some cases you can see the resemblance, but one question I was wondering
+about was whether tones would be similar. They're not. That's interesting to
+me, because there's a theory that the tones evolved from additional syllables
+that got lost and replaced. Their effect survives in the tone. If that's true,
+and I've seen claims that that happened within historic times, the dialects
+must have diverged before the loss of these final syllables."
+The first dish, a plate of pan-fried turnip cakes, has arrived. Both Stallman
+and I take a moment to carve up the large rectangular cakes, which smell like
+boiled cabbage but taste like potato latkes fried in bacon.
+I decide to bring up the outcast issue again, wondering if Stallman's teenage
+years conditioned him to take unpopular stands, most notably his uphill battle
+since 1994 to get computer users and the media to replace the popular term
+"Linux" with "GNU/Linux."
+"I believe [being an outcast] did help me [to avoid bowing to popular views],"
+Stallman says, chewing on a dumpling. "I have never understood what peer
+pressure does to other people. I think the reason is that I was so hopelessly
+rejected that for me, there wasn't anything to gain by trying to follow any of
+the fads. It wouldn't have made any difference. I'd still be just as rejected,
+so I didn't try."
+Stallman points to his taste in music as a key example of his contrarian
+tendencies. As a teenager, when most of his high school classmates were
+listening to Motown and acid rock, Stallman preferred classical music. The
+memory leads to a rare humorous episode from Stallman's middle-school years.
+Following the Beatles' 1964 appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, most of
+Stallman's classmates rushed out to purchase the latest Beatles albums and
+singles. Right then and there, Stallman says, he made a decision to boycott the
+Fab Four.
+={ Beatles +2 ;
+ music +4
+"I liked some of the pre-Beatles popular music," Stallman says. "But I didn't
+like the Beatles. I especially disliked the wild way people reacted to them. It
+was like: who was going to have a Beatles assembly to adulate the Beatles the
+When his Beatles boycott failed to take hold, Stallman looked for other ways to
+point out the herd-mentality of his peers. Stallman says he briefly considered
+putting together a rock band himself dedicated to satirizing the Liverpool
+"I wanted to call it Tokyo Rose and the Japanese Beetles."
+Given his current love for international folk music, I ask Stallman if he had a
+similar affinity for Bob Dylan and the other folk musicians of the early 1960s.
+Stallman shakes his head. "I did like Peter, Paul and Mary," he says. "That
+reminds me of a great filk."
+={ Dylan, Bob ;
+ Peter, Paul and Mary
+When I ask for a definition of "filk," Stallman explains that the term is used
+in science fiction fandom to refer to the writing of new lyrics for songs. (In
+recent decades, some filkers write melodies too.) Classic filks include "On Top
+of Spaghetti," a rewrite of "On Top of Old Smokey," and "Yoda," filk-master
+"Weird" Al Yankovic's Star Wars-oriented rendition of the Kinks tune, "Lola."
+Stallman asks me if I would be interested in hearing the filk. As soon as I say
+yes, Stallman's voice begins singing in an unexpectedly clear tone, using the
+tune of "Blowin' in the Wind":
+ How much wood could a woodchuck chuck,
+ f a woodchuck could chuck wood?
+ How many poles could a polak lock,
+ If a polak could lock poles?
+ How many knees could a negro grow,
+ If a negro could grow knees?
+ The answer, my dear,
+ is stick it in your ear.
+ The answer is, stick it in your ear...
+The singing ends, and Stallman's lips curl into another child-like half smile.
+I glance around at the nearby tables. The Asian families enjoying their Sunday
+lunch pay little attention to the bearded alto in their midst.~{ For Stallman's
+own filks, \\ visit http://www.stallman.org/doggerel.html . To hear Stallman
+singing "The Free Software Song," \\ visit
+http://www.gnu.org/music/free-software-song.html. }~ After a few moments of
+hesitation, I finally smile too.
+"Do you want that last cornball?" Stallman asks, eyes twinkling. Before I can
+screw up the punch line, Stallman grabs the corn-encrusted dumpling with his
+two chopsticks and lifts it proudly. "Maybe I'm the one who should get the
+cornball," he says.
+The food gone, our conversation assumes the dynamics of a normal interview.
+Stallman reclines in his chair and cradles a cup of tea in his hands. We resume
+talking about Napster and its relation to the free software movement. Should
+the principles of free software be extended to similar arenas such as music
+publishing? I ask.
+"It's a mistake to transfer answers from one thing to another," says Stallman,
+contrasting songs with software programs. "The right approach is to look at
+each type of work and see what conclusion you get."
+When it comes to copyrighted works, Stallman says he divides the world into
+three categories. The first category involves "functional" works - e.g.,
+software programs, dictionaries, and textbooks. The second category involves
+works that might best be described as "testimonial" - e.g., scientific papers
+and historical documents. Such works serve a purpose that would be undermined
+if subsequent readers or authors were free to modify the work at will. It also
+includes works of personal expression - e.g., diaries, journals, and
+autobiographies. To modify such documents would be to alter a person's
+recollections or point of view, which Stallman considers ethically
+unjustifiable. The third category includes works of art and entertainment.
+={ copyrighted works, categories of }
+Of the three categories, the first should give users the unlimited right to
+make modified versions, while the second and third should regulate that right
+according to the will of the original author. Regardless of category, however,
+the freedom to copy and redistribute non-commercially should remain unabridged
+at all times, Stallman insists. If that means giving Internet users the right
+to generate a hundred copies of an article, image, song, or book and then email
+the copies to a hundred strangers, so be it. "It's clear that private
+occasional redistribution must be permitted, because only a police state can
+stop that," Stallman says. "It's antisocial to come between people and their
+friends. Napster has convinced me that we also need to permit, must permit,
+even noncommercial redistribution to the public for the fun of it. Because so
+many people want to do that and find it so useful."
+={ Napster }
+When I ask whether the courts would accept such a permissive outlook, Stallman
+cuts me off.
+"That's the wrong question," he says. "I mean now you've changed the subject
+entirely from one of ethics to one of interpreting laws. And those are two
+totally different questions in the same field. It's useless to jump from one to
+the other. How the courts would interpret the existing laws is mainly in a
+harsh way, because that's the way these laws have been bought by publishers."
+The comment provides an insight into Stallman's political philosophy: just
+because the legal system currently backs up businesses' ability to treat
+copyright as the software equivalent of land title doesn't mean computer users
+have to play the game according to those rules. Freedom is an ethical issue,
+not a legal issue. "I'm looking beyond what the existing laws are to what they
+should be," Stallman says. "I'm not trying to draft legislation. I'm thinking
+about what should the law do? I consider the law prohibiting the sharing of
+copies with your friend the moral equivalent of Jim Crow. It does not deserve
+The invocation of Jim Crow prompts another question. How much influence or
+inspiration does Stallman draw from past political leaders? Like the
+civil-rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, his attempt to drive social
+change is based on an appeal to timeless values: freedom, justice, and fair
+Stallman divides his attention between my analogy and a particularly tangled
+strand of hair. When I stretch the analogy to the point where I'm comparing
+Stallman with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Stallman, after breaking off a split
+end and popping it into his mouth, cuts me off.
+"I'm not in his league, but I do play the same game," he says, chewing.
+I suggest Malcolm X as another point of comparison. Like the former Nation of
+Islam spokesperson, Stallman has built up a reputation for courting
+controversy, alienating potential allies, and preaching a message favoring
+self-sufficiency over cultural integration.
+Chewing on another split end, Stallman rejects the comparison. "My message is
+closer to King's message," he says. "It's a universal message. It's a message
+of firm condemnation of certain practices that mistreat others. It's not a
+message of hatred for anyone. And it's not aimed at a narrow group of people. I
+invite anyone to value freedom and to have freedom."
+Many criticize Stallman for rejecting handy political alliances; some
+psychologize this and describe it as a character trait. In the case of his
+well-publicized distaste for the term "open source," the unwillingness to
+participate in recent coalition-building projects seems understand-able. As a
+man who has spent the last two decades stumping on the behalf of free software,
+Stallman's political capital is deeply invested in the term. Still, comments
+such as the "Han Solo" comparison at the 1999 LinuxWorld have only reinforced
+Stallman's reputation, amongst those who believe virtue consists of following
+the crowd, as a disgruntled mossback unwilling to roll with political or
+marketing trends.
+"I admire and respect Richard for all the work he's done," says Red Hat
+president Robert Young, summing up Stallman's paradoxical political conduct.
+"My only critique is that sometimes Richard treats his friends worse than his
+={ Young, Robert ;
+ Red Hat Inc.
+[RMS: The term "friends" only partly fits people such as Young, and companies
+such as Red Hat. It applies to some of what they did, and do: for instance, Red
+Hat contributes to development of free software, including some GNU programs.
+But Red Hat does other things that work against the free software movement's
+goals - for instance, its versions of GNU/Linux contain non-free software.
+Turning from deeds to words, referring to the whole system as "Linux" is
+unfriendly treatment of the GNU Project, and promoting "open source" instead of
+"free software" rejects our values. I could work with Young and Red Hat when we
+were going in the same direction, but that was not often enough to make them
+possible allies.]
+Stallman's reluctance to ally the free software movement with other political
+causes is not due to lack of interest in them. Visit his offices at MIT, and
+you instantly find a clearinghouse of left-leaning news articles covering
+civil-rights abuses around the globe. Visit his personal web site,
+stallman.org, and you'll find attacks on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act,
+the War on Drugs, and the World Trade Organization. Stallman explains, "We have
+to be careful of entering the free software movement into alliances with other
+political causes that substantial numbers of free software supporters might not
+agree with. For instance, we avoid linking the free software movement with any
+political party because we do not want to drive away the supporters and elected
+officials of other parties."
+={ Digital Millennium Copyright Act ;
+ War on Drugs ;
+ World Trade Organization
+Given his activist tendencies, I ask, why hasn't Stallman sought a larger
+voice? Why hasn't he used his visibility in the hacker world as a platform to
+boost his political voice? [RMS: But I do - when I see a good opportunity.
+That's why I started stallman.org. ]
+Stallman lets his tangled hair drop and contemplates the question for a moment.
+[RMS: My quoted response doesn't fit that question. It does fit a different
+question, "Why do you focus on free software rather than on the other causes
+you believe in?" I suspect the question I was asked was more like that one.]
+"I hesitate to exaggerate the importance of this little puddle of freedom," he
+says. "Because the more well-known and conventional areas of working for
+freedom and a better society are tremendously important. I wouldn't say that
+free software is as important as they are. It's the responsibility I undertook,
+because it dropped in my lap and I saw a way I could do something about it.
+But, for example, to end police brutality, to end the war on drugs, to end the
+kinds of racism we still have, to help everyone have a comfortable life, to
+protect the rights of people who do abortions, to protect us from theocracy,
+these are tremendously important issues, far more important than what I do. I
+just wish I knew how to do something about them."
+Once again, Stallman presents his political activity as a function of personal
+confidence. Given the amount of time it has taken him to develop and hone the
+free software movement's core tenets, Stallman is hesitant to believe he can
+advance the other causes he supports.
+"I wish I knew how to make a major difference on those bigger issues, because I
+would be tremendously proud if I could, but they're very hard and lots of
+people who are probably better than I am have been working on them and have
+gotten only so far," he says. "But as I see it, while other people were
+defending against these big visible threats, I saw another threat that was
+unguarded. And so I went to defend against that threat. It may not be as big a
+threat, but I was the only one there [to oppose it]."
+Chewing a final split end, Stallman suggests paying the check. Be-fore the
+waiter can take it away, however, Stallman pulls out a white-colored dollar
+bill and throws it on the pile. The bill looks so clearly counterfeit, I can't
+help but pick it up and read it. Sure enough, it did not come from the US Mint.
+Instead of bearing the image of a George Washington or Abe Lincoln, the bill's
+front side bears the image of a cartoon pig. Instead of the United States of
+America, the banner above the pig reads, "Untied Status of Avarice." The bill
+is for zero dollars,~{ RMS: Williams was mistaken to call this bill
+"counterfeit." It is legal tender, worth zero dollars for payment of any debt.
+Any U.S. government office will convert it into zero dollars' worth of gold. }~
+and when the waiter picks up the money, Stallman makes sure to tug on his
+"I added an extra zero to your tip," Stallman says, yet another half smile
+creeping across his lips.
+The waiter, uncomprehending or fooled by the look of the bill, smiles and
+scurries away.
+"I think that means we're free to go," Stallman says.
+1~ Chapter 6 - The Emacs Commune
+={ Emacs Commune +52 ;
+ Stallman, Richard M. :
+ AI Lab, as a programmer +18 ;
+ Stallman, Richard M. :
+ Emacs Commune and +52
+The AI Lab of the 1970s was by all accounts a special place. Cutting-edge
+projects and top-flight researchers gave it an esteemed position in the world
+of computer science. The internal hacker culture and its anarchic policies lent
+a rebellious mystique as well. Only later, when many of the lab's scientists
+and software superstars had departed, would hackers fully realize the unique
+and ephemeral world they had once inhabited.
+"It was a bit like the Garden of Eden," says Stallman, summing up the lab and
+its software-sharing ethos in a 1998 /{Forbes}/ article. "It hadn't occurred to
+us not to cooperate."~{ See Josh McHugh, "For the Love of Hacking," Forbes
+(August 10, 1998), \\ http://www.forbes.com/forbes/1998/0810/6203094a.html. }~
+Such mythological descriptions, while extreme, underline an important fact. The
+ninth floor of 545 Tech Square was more than a workplace for many. For hackers
+such as Stallman, it was home.
+The word "home" is a weighted term in the Stallman lexicon. In a pointed swipe
+at his parents, Stallman, to this day, refuses to acknowledge any home before
+Currier House, the dorm he lived in during his days at Harvard. He has also
+been known to describe leaving that home in tragicomic terms. Once, while
+describing his years at Harvard, Stallman said his only regret was getting
+kicked out. It wasn't until I asked Stallman what precipitated his ouster, that
+I realized I had walked into a classic Stallman setup line.
+={ Currier House (Harvard University) }
+"At Harvard they have this policy where if you pass too many classes they ask
+you to leave," Stallman says.
+With no dorm and no desire to return to New York, Stallman followed a path
+blazed by Greenblatt, Gosper, Sussman, and the many other hackers before him.
+Enrolling at MIT as a grad student, Stallman rented a room in an apartment in
+nearby Cambridge but soon viewed the AI Lab itself as his de facto home. In a
+1986 speech, Stallman recalled his memories of the AI Lab during this period:
+={ Gosper, Bill ;
+ Greenblat, Richard ;
+ Sussman, Gerald
+_1 I may have done a little bit more living at the lab than most people,
+because every year or two for some reason or other I'd have no apartment and I
+would spend a few months living at the lab. And I've always found it very
+comfortable, as well as nice and cool in the summer. But it was not at all
+uncommon to find people falling asleep at the lab, again because of their
+enthusiasm; you stay up as long as you possibly can hacking, because you just
+don't want to stop. And then when you're completely exhausted, you climb over
+to the nearest soft horizontal surface. A very informal atmosphere.~{ See
+Stallman (1986). }~
+The lab's home-like atmosphere could be a problem at times. What some saw as a
+dorm, others viewed as an electronic opium den. In the 1976 book /{Computer
+Power and Human Reason}/, MIT researcher Joseph Weizenbaum offered a withering
+critique of the "computer bum," Weizenbaum's term for the hackers who populated
+computer rooms such as the AI Lab. "Their rumpled clothes, their unwashed hair
+and unshaved faces, and their uncombed hair all testify that they are oblivious
+to their bodies and to the world in which they move," Weizenbaum wrote.
+"[Computer bums] exist, at least when so engaged, only through and for the
+computers."~{ See Joseph Weizenbaum, Computer Power and Human Reason: From
+Judgment to Calculation (W. H. Freeman, 1976): 116. }~
+={ computer bums ;
+ Computer Power and Human Reason (Weizenbaum) ;
+ Weizenbaum, Joseph +1
+Almost a quarter century after its publication, Stallman still bristles when
+hearing Weizenbaum's "computer bum" description, discussing it in the present
+tense as if Weizenbaum himself was still in the room. "He wants people to be
+just professionals, doing it for the money and wanting to get away from it and
+forget about it as soon as possible," Stallman says. "What he sees as a normal
+state of affairs, I see as a tragedy."
+Hacker life, however, was not without tragedy. Stallman characterizes his
+transition from weekend hacker to full-time AI Lab denizen as a series of
+painful misfortunes that could only be eased through the euphoria of hacking.
+As Stallman himself has said, the first misfortune was his graduation from
+Harvard. Eager to continue his studies in physics, Stallman enrolled as a
+graduate student at MIT. The choice of schools was a natural one. Not only did
+it give Stallman the chance to follow the footsteps of great MIT alumni:
+William Shockley ('36), Richard P. Feynman ('39), and Murray Gell-Mann ('51),
+it also put him two miles closer to the AI Lab and its new PDP-10 computer. "My
+attention was going toward programming, but I still thought, well, maybe I can
+do both," Stallman says.
+={ Feynman, Richard ;
+ Gell-Mann, Murray ;
+ Harvard University :
+ graduation from ;
+ Shockley, William
+Toiling in the fields of graduate-level science by day and programming in the
+monastic confines of the AI Lab by night, Stallman tried to achieve a perfect
+balance. The fulcrum of this geek teeter-totter was his weekly outing with the
+Folk-Dance Club, his one social outlet that guaranteed at least a modicum of
+interaction with the opposite sex. Near the end of that first year at MIT,
+however, disaster struck. A knee injury forced Stallman to stop dancing. At
+first, Stallman viewed the injury as a temporary problem; he went to dancing
+and chatted with friends while listening to the music he loved. By the end of
+the summer, when the knee still ached and classes reconvened, Stallman began to
+worry. "My knee wasn't getting any better," Stallman recalls," which meant I
+had to expect to be unable to dance, permanently. I was heartbroken."
+With no dorm and no dancing, Stallman's social universe imploded. Dancing was
+the only situation in which he had found success in meeting women and
+occasionally even dating them. No more dancing ever was painful enough, but it
+also meant, it seemed, no more dates ever.
+"I felt basically that I'd lost all my energy," Stallman recalls. "I'd lost my
+energy to do anything but what was most immediately tempting. The energy to do
+something else was gone. I was in total despair."
+Stallman retreated from the world even further, focusing entirely on his work
+at the AI Lab. By October, 1975, he dropped out of MIT and out of physics,
+never to return to studies. Software hacking, once a hobby, had become his
+Looking back on that period, Stallman sees the transition from full-time
+student to full-time hacker as inevitable. Sooner or later, he believes, the
+siren's call of computer hacking would have overpowered his interest in other
+professional pursuits. "With physics and math, I could never figure out a way
+to contribute," says Stallman, recalling his struggles prior to the knee
+injury. "I would have been proud to advance either one of those fields, but I
+could never see a way to do that. I didn't know where to start. With software,
+I saw right away how to write things that would run and be useful. The pleasure
+of that knowledge led me to want to do it more."
+Stallman wasn't the first to equate hacking with pleasure. Many of the hackers
+who staffed the AI Lab boasted similar, incomplete academic resumes. *** Most
+had come in pursuing degrees in math or electrical engineering only to
+surrender their academic careers and professional ambitions to the sheer
+exhilaration that came with solving problems never before addressed. Like St.
+Thomas Aquinas, the scholastic known for working so long on his theological
+summae that he sometimes achieved spiritual visions, hackers reached
+transcendent internal states through sheer mental focus and physical
+exhaustion. Although Stallman shunned drugs, like most hackers, he enjoyed the
+"high" that came near the end of a 20-hour coding bender.
+={ Thomas Aquinas, saint }
+Perhaps the most enjoyable emotion, however, was the sense of personal
+fulfillment. When it came to hacking, Stallman was a natural. A childhood's
+worth of late-night study sessions gave him the ability to work long hours with
+little sleep. As a social outcast since age 10, he had little difficulty
+working alone. And as a mathematician with a built-in gift for logic and
+foresight, Stallman possessed the ability to circumvent design barriers that
+left most hackers spinning their wheels.
+"He was special," recalls Gerald Sussman, an AI Lab faculty member and (since
+1985) board member of the Free Software Foundation. Describing Stallman as a
+"clear thinker and a clear designer," Sussman invited Stallman to join him in
+AI research projects in 1973 and 1975, both aimed at making AI programs that
+could analyze circuits the way human engineers do it. The project required an
+expert's command of Lisp, a programming language built specifically for AI
+applications, as well as understanding (supplied by Sussman) of how a human
+might approach the same task. The 1975 project pioneered an AI technique called
+dependency-directed backtracking or truth maintenance, which consists of
+positing tentative assumptions, noticing if they lead to contradictions, and
+reconsidering the pertinent assumptions if that occurs.
+={ LISP programming language ;
+ Sussman, Gerald
+When he wasn't working on official projects such as these, Stallman devoted his
+time to pet projects. It was in a hacker's best interest to improve the lab's
+software infrastructure, and one of Stallman's biggest pet projects during this
+period was the lab's editor program TECO.
+={ TECO editor program +23 }
+The story of Stallman's work on TECO during the 1970s is inextricably linked
+with Stallman's later leadership of the free software movement. It is also a
+significant stage in the history of computer evolution, so much so that a brief
+recapitulation of that evolution is necessary. During the 1950s and 1960s, when
+computers were first appearing at universities, computer programming was an
+incredibly abstract pursuit. To communicate with the machine, programmers
+created a series of punch cards, with each card representing an individual
+software command. Programmers would then hand the cards over to a central
+system administrator who would then insert them, one by one, into the machine,
+waiting for the machine to spit out a new set of punch cards, which the
+programmer would then decipher as output. This process, known as "batch
+processing," was cumbersome and time consuming. It was also prone to abuses of
+authority. One of the motivating factors behind hackers' inbred aversion to
+centralization was the power held by early system operators in dictating which
+jobs held top priority.
+={ batch processing ;
+ Free Software Foundation (FSF) :
+ TECO text-editor and ;
+ punch cards, for batch processing
+In 1962, computer scientists and hackers involved in MIT's Project MAC, an
+early forerunner of the AI Lab, took steps to alleviate this frustration.
+Time-sharing, originally known as "time stealing," made it possible for
+multiple programs to take advantage of a machine's operational capabilities.
+Teletype interfaces also made it possible to communicate with a machine not
+through a series of punched holes but through actual text. A programmer typed
+in commands and read the line-by-line output generated by the machine.
+={ Project MAC ;
+ teletype interfaces vs. batch processing +3
+During the late 1960s, interface design made additional leaps. In a famous 1968
+lecture, Doug Engelbart, a scientist then working at the Stanford Research
+Institute, unveiled a prototype of the modern graphical interface. Rigging up a
+television set to the computer and adding a pointer device which Engelbart
+dubbed a "mouse," the scientist created a system even more interactive than the
+time-sharing system developed at MIT. Treating the video display like a
+high-speed printer, Engelbart's system gave a user the ability to move the
+cursor around the screen and see the cursor position updated by the computer in
+real time. The user suddenly had the ability to position text anywhere on the
+={ Engelbart, Doug ;
+ graphial interfaces ;
+ mice, as video pointers ;
+ Stanford Research Institute
+Such innovations would take another two decades to make their way into the
+commercial marketplace. Still, by the 1970s, video screens had started to
+replace teletypes as display terminals, creating the potential for full-screen
+- as opposed to line-by-line - editing capabilities.
+={ display terminals, replacing teletypes ;
+ video screens
+One of the first programs to take advantage of this full-screen capability was
+the MIT AI Lab's TECO. Short for Text Editor and COrrector, the program had
+been upgraded by hackers from an old teletype line editor for the lab's PDP-6
+machine.~{ According to the Jargon File, TECO's name originally stood for Tape
+Editor and Corrector. \\ See http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/T/TECO.html. }~
+TECO was a substantial improvement over old editors, but it still had its
+drawbacks. To create and edit a document, a programmer had to enter a series of
+commands specifying each edit. It was an abstract process. Unlike modern word
+processors, which update text with each keystroke, TECO demanded that the user
+enter an extended series of editing instructions followed by an "end of command
+string" sequence just to change the text. Over time, a hacker grew proficient
+enough to make large changes elegantly in one command string, but as Stallman
+himself would later point out, the process required "a mental skill like that
+of blindfold chess."~{ See Richard Stallman, "EMACS: The Extensible,
+Customizable, Display Editor," AI Lab Memo (1979). An updated HTML version of
+this memo, from which I am quoting, is available at \\
+http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/emacs-paper.html. }~
+To facilitate the process, AI Lab hackers had built a system that displayed
+both the text and the command string on a split screen. Despite this innovative
+hack, editing with TECO still required skill and planning.
+TECO wasn't the only full-screen editor floating around the computer world at
+this time. During a visit to the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab in 1976,
+Stallman encountered an edit program named E. The program contained an internal
+feature, which allowed a user to update display text after each command
+keystroke. In the language of 1970s programming, E was one of the first
+rudimentary WYSIWYG editors. Short for "what you see is what you get," WYSIWYG
+meant that a user could manipulate the file by moving through the displayed
+text, as opposed to working through a back-end editor program."~{ See Richard
+Stallman, "Emacs the Full Screen Editor" (1987), \\
+http://www.lysator.liu.se/history/garb/txt/87-1-emacs.txt. }~
+={ E edit program ;
+ Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
+Impressed by the hack, Stallman looked for ways to expand TECO's functionality
+in similar fashion upon his return to MIT. He found a TECO feature called
+Control-R, written by Carl Mikkelson and named after the two-key combination
+that triggered it. Mikkelson's hack switched TECO from its usual abstract
+command-execution mode to a more intuitive keystroke-by-keystroke mode. The
+only flaws were that it used just five lines of the screen and was too
+inefficient for real use. Stallman reimplemented the feature to use the whole
+screen efficiently, then extended it in a subtle but significant way. He made
+it possible to attach TECO command strings, or "macros," to keystrokes.
+Advanced TECO users already saved macros in files; Stallman's hack made it
+possible to call them up fast. The result was a user-programmable WYSIWYG
+editor. "That was the real breakthrough," says Guy Steele, a fellow AI Lab
+hacker at the time.~{ Ibid. }~
+={ macro modes, adding to TECO +11 ;
+ Steele, Guy +13
+By Stallman's own recollection, the macro hack touched off an explosion of
+further innovation. "Everybody and his brother was writing his own collection
+of redefined screen-editor commands, a command for everything he typically
+liked to do," Stallman would later recall. "People would pass them around and
+improve them, making them more powerful and more general. The collections of
+redefinitions gradually became system programs in their own right."~{ Ibid. }~
+So many people found the macro innovations useful and had incorporated it into
+their own TECO programs that the TECO editor had become secondary to the macro
+mania it inspired. "We started to categorize it mentally as a programming
+language rather than as an editor," Stallman says. Users were experiencing
+their own pleasure tweaking the software and trading new ideas.~{ Ibid. }~
+Two years after the explosion, the rate of innovation began to exhibit
+inconvenient side effects. The explosive growth had provided an exciting
+validation of the collaborative hacker approach, but it had also led to
+incompatibility. "We had a Tower of Babel effect," says Guy Steele.
+The effect threatened to kill the spirit that had created it, Steele says.
+Hackers had designed ITS to facilitate programmers' ability to share knowledge
+and improve each other's work. That meant being able to sit down at another
+programmer's desk, open up a programmer's work and make comments and
+modifications directly within the software. "Sometimes the easiest way to show
+somebody how to program or debug something was simply to sit down at the
+terminal and do it for them," explains Steele.
+The macro feature, after its second year, began to foil this capability. In
+their eagerness to embrace the new full-screen capabilities, hackers had
+customized their versions of TECO to the point where a hacker sitting down at
+another hacker's terminal usually had to spend the first hour just figuring out
+what macro commands did what.
+Frustrated, Steele took it upon himself to solve the problem. He gathered
+together the four different macro packages and began assembling a chart
+documenting the most useful macro commands. In the course of implementing the
+design specified by the chart, Steele say she attracted Stallman's attention.
+"He started looking over my shoulder, asking me what I was doing," recalls
+For Steele, a soft-spoken hacker who interacted with Stallman infrequently, the
+memory still sticks out. Looking over another hacker's shoulder while he worked
+was a common activity at the AI Lab. Stallman, the TECO maintainer at the lab,
+deemed Steele's work "interesting" and quickly set off to complete it.
+"As I like to say, I did the first 0.001 percent of the implementation, and
+Stallman did the rest," says Steele with a laugh.
+The project's new name, Emacs, came courtesy of Stallman. Short for "editing
+macros," it signified the evolutionary transcendence that had taken place
+during the macros explosion two years before. It also took advantage of a gap
+in the software programming lexicon. Noting a lack of programs on ITS starting
+with the letter "E," Stallman chose Emacs, making it natural to reference the
+program with a single letter. Once again, the hacker lust for efficiency had
+left its mark.~{ Ibid. }~
+={ Emacs text editor +11 ;
+ GNU Emacs +11
+Of course, not everyone switched to Emacs, or not immediately. Users were free
+to continue maintaining and running their own TECO-based editors as before. But
+most found it preferable to switch to Emacs, especially since Emacs was
+designed to make it easy to replace or add some parts while using others
+"On the one hand, we were trying to make a uniform command set again; on the
+other hand, we wanted to keep it open ended, because the programmability was
+important," recalls Steele.
+Stallman now faced another conundrum: if users made changes but didn't
+communicate those changes back to the rest of the community, the Tower of Babel
+effect would simply emerge in other places. Falling back on the hacker doctrine
+of sharing innovation, Stallman embedded a statement within the source code
+that set the terms of use. Users were free to modify and redistribute the code
+on the condition that they gave back all the extensions they made. Stallman
+called this "joining the Emacs Commune." Just as TECO had become more than a
+simple editor, Emacs had become more than a simple software program. To
+Stallman, it was a social contract. In a 1981 memo documenting the project,
+Stallman spelled out the contract terms. "EMACS," he wrote, "was distributed on
+a basis of communal sharing, which means that all improvements must be given
+back to me to be incorporated and distributed."~{ See Stallman (1979): #SEC34.
+={ Emacs Commune }
+The original Emacs ran only on the PDP-10 computer, but soon users of other
+computers wanted an Emacs to edit with. The explosive innovation continued
+throughout the decade, resulting in a host of Emacs-like programs with varying
+degrees of cross-compatibility. The Emacs Commune's rules did not apply to
+them, since their code was separate. A few cited their relation to Stallman's
+original Emacs with humorously recursive names: Sine (Sine is not Emacs), Eine
+(Eine isnot Emacs), and Zwei (Zwei was Eine initially). A true Emacs had to
+provide user-programmability like the original; editors with similar keyword
+commands but without the user-programmability were called "ersatz Emacs." One
+example was Mince (Mince is Not Complete Emacs).
+={ Eine (Eine is not Emacs) text editor ;
+ Zwei (Zwei was Eine initially) text editor ;
+ Sine (Sine is not Emacs) text editor
+While Stallman was developing Emacs in the AI Lab, there were other, unsettling
+developments elsewhere in the hacker community. Brian Reid's 1979 decision to
+embed "time bombs" in Scribe, making it possible for Unilogic to limit unpaid
+user access to the software, was a dark omen to Stallman. "He considered it the
+most Nazi thing he ever saw in his life," recalls Reid. Despite going on to
+later Internet fame as the co-creator of the Usenet /{alt}/ hierarchy, Reid
+says he still has yet to live down that 1979 decision, at least in Stallman's
+eyes. "He said that all software should be free and the prospect of charging
+money for software was a crime against humanity."~{ In a 1996 interview with
+online magazine MEME , Stallman cited Scribe's sale as irksome, but declined to
+mention Reid by name. "The problem was nobody censured or punished this student
+for what he did," Stallman said. "The result was other people got tempted to
+follow his example." See MEME 2.04, \\ http://memex.org/meme2-04.html. }~
+={ Reid, Brian +1 ;
+ Unilogic software company ;
+ time bombs, in software ;
+ Scribe text-formatting program
+Although Stallman had been powerless to head off Reid's sale, he did possess
+the ability to curtail other forms of behavior deemed contrary to the hacker
+ethos. As central source-code maintainer for the original Emacs, Stallman began
+to wield his power for political effect. During his final stages of conflict
+with the administrators at the Laboratory for Computer Science over password
+systems, Stallman initiated a software "strike," refusing to send lab members
+the latest version of Emacs until they rejected the security system on the
+lab's computers.~{ See Steven Levy, Hackers (Penguin USA [paperback], 1984):
+419. }~ This was more gesture than sanction, since nothing could stop them from
+installing it themselves. But it got the point across: putting passwords on an
+ITS system would lead to condemnation and reaction.
+={ security (computer), opposition to ;
+ strike, at the Laboratory for Computer Science
+"A lot of people were angry with me, saying I was trying to hold them hostage
+or blackmail them, which in a sense I was," Stallman would later tell author
+Steven Levy. "I was engaging in violence against them because I thought they
+were engaging in violence to everyone at large."~{ Ibid. }~
+Over time, Emacs became a sales tool for the hacker ethic. The flexibility
+Stallman had built into the software not only encouraged collaboration, it
+demanded it. Users who didn't keep abreast of the latest developments in Emacs
+evolution or didn't contribute their contributions back to Stallman ran the
+risk of missing out on the latest breakthroughs. And the breakthroughs were
+many. Twenty years later, users of GNU Emacs (a second implementation started
+in 1984)have modified it for so many different uses - using it as a
+spreadsheet, calculator, database, and web browser - that later Emacs
+developers adopted an overflowing sink to represent its versatile
+functionality. "That's the idea that we wanted to convey," says Stallman. "The
+amount of stuff it has contained within it is both wonderful and awful at the
+same time."
+Stallman's AI Lab contemporaries are more charitable. Hal Abelson, an MIT grad
+student who worked with Sussman during the 1970sand would later assist Stallman
+as a charter board member of the FreeSoftware Foundation, describes Emacs as
+"an absolutely brilliant creation." In giving programmers a way to add new
+software libraries and features without messing up the system, Abelson says,
+Stallman paved the way for future large-scale collaborative software projects.
+"Its structure was robust enough that you'd have people all over the world who
+were loosely collaborating [and] contributing to it," Abelson says. "I don't
+know if that had been done before."~{ In writing this chapter, I've elected to
+focus more on the social significance of Emacs than the software significance.
+To read more about the software side, I recommend Stallman's 1979 memo. I
+particularly recommend the section titled "Research Through Development of
+Installed Tools" (#SEC27). Not only is it accessible to the nontechnical
+reader, it also sheds light on how closely inter-twined Stallman's political
+philosophies are with his software-design philosophies. A sample excerpt
+follows:EMACS could not have been reached by a process of careful design,
+because such processes arrive only at goals which are visible at the outset,
+and whose desirability is established on the bottom line at the outset. Neither
+I nor anyone else visualized an extensible editor until I had made one, nor
+appreciated its value until he had experienced it. EMACS exists because I felt
+free to make individually useful small improvements on a path whose end was not
+in sight. }~
+={ Abelson, Hal }
+Guy Steele expresses similar admiration. Currently a research scientist for Sun
+Microsystems, he remembers Stallman primarily as a "brilliant programmer with
+the ability to generate large quantities of relatively bug-free code." Although
+their personalities didn't exactly mesh, Steele and Stallman collaborated long
+enough for Steele to get a glimpse of Stallman's intense coding style. He
+recalls a notable episode in the late 1970s when the two programmers banded
+together to write the editor's "pretty print" feature. Originally conceived by
+Steele, pretty print was another keystroke-triggered feature that reformatted
+Emacs' source code so that it was both more readable and took up less space,
+further bolstering the program's WYSIWYG qualities. The feature was strategic
+enough to attract Stallman's active interest, and it wasn't long before Steele
+wrote that he and Stallman were planning an improved version.
+={ Steele, Guy +3 ;
+ Sun Microsystems
+"We sat down one morning," recalls Steele. "I was at the keyboard, and he was
+at my elbow," says Steele. "He was perfectly willing to let me type, but he was
+also telling me what to type.
+The programming session lasted 10 hours. Throughout that entire time, Steele
+says, neither he nor Stallman took a break or made any small talk. By the end
+of the session, they had managed to hack the pretty print source code to just
+under 100 lines. "My fingers were on the keyboard the whole time," Steele
+recalls, "but it felt like both of our ideas were flowing onto the screen. He
+told me what to type, and I typed it."
+The length of the session revealed itself when Steele finally left the AI Lab.
+Standing outside the building at 545 Tech Square, he was surprised to find
+himself surrounded by nighttime darkness. Asa programmer, Steele was used to
+marathon coding sessions. Still, something about this session was different.
+Working with Stallman had forced Steele to block out all external stimuli and
+focus his entire mental energies on the task at hand. Looking back, Steele says
+he found the Stallman mind-meld both exhilarating and scary at the same time.
+"My first thought afterward was [that] it was a great experience, very intense,
+and that I never wanted to do it again in my life."
+1~ Chapter 7 - A Stark Moral Choice
+={ Stallman, Richard M. :
+ GNU Project +72
+On September 27, 1983, computer programmers logging on to the Usenet newsgroup
+net.unix-wizards encountered an unusual message. Posted in the small hours of
+the morning, 12:30 a.m. to be exact, and signed by rms@mit-oz, the message's
+subject line was terse but attention-grabbing. "New UNIX implementation," it
+read. Instead of introducing a newly released version of Unix, however, the
+message's opening paragraph issued a call to arms:
+={ GNU Project :
+ new UNIX implementation ;
+ net.unix-wizards newsgroup
+_1 Starting this Thanksgiving I am going to write a complete Unix-compatible
+software system called GNU (for Gnu's Not Unix), and give it away free to
+everyone who can use it. Contributions of time, money, programs and equipment
+are greatly needed.~{ See Richard Stallman, "Initial GNU Announcement"
+(September 1983). }~
+={ Unix operating system :
+ GNU system and
+To an experienced Unix developer, the message was a mixture of idealism and
+hubris. Not only did the author pledge to rebuild the already mature Unix
+operating system from the ground up, he also proposed to improve it in places.
+The new GNU system, the author predicted, would carry all the usual components
+- a text editor, a shell program to run Unix-compatible applications, a
+compiler, "and a few other things."~{ Ibid. }~ It would also contain many
+enticing features that other Unix systems didn't yet offer: a graphic user
+interface based on the Lisp programming language, a crash-proof file system,
+and networking protocols built according to MIT's internal networking system.
+={ LISP programming language :
+ GNU system and
+"GNU will be able to run Unix programs, but will not be identical to Unix," the
+author wrote. "We will make all improvements that are convenient, based on our
+experience with other operating systems."
+Anticipating a skeptical response on some readers' part, the author made sure
+to follow up his operating-system outline with a brief biographical sketch
+titled, "Who am I?":
+_1 I am Richard Stallman, inventor of the original much-imitated EMACS editor,
+now at the Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT. I have worked extensively on
+compilers, editors, debuggers, command interpreters, the Incompatible
+Timesharing System and the Lisp Machine operating system. I pioneered
+terminal-independent display support in ITS. In addition I have implemented one
+crash proof file system and two window systems for Lisp machines.~{ Ibid. }~
+As fate would have it, Stallman's fanciful GNU Project missed its Thanksgiving
+launch date. By January, 1984, however, Stallman made good on his promise and
+fully immersed himself in the world of Unix software development. For a
+software architect raised on ITS, it was like designing suburban shopping malls
+instead of Moorish palaces. Even so, building a Unix-like operating system had
+its hidden advantages. ITS had been powerful, but it also possessed an
+Achilles' heel: MIT hackers had written it specifically to run on the powerful
+DEC-built PDP-10 computer. When AI Lab administrators elected to phase out the
+lab's PDP-10 machine in the early 1980s, the operating system that hackers once
+likened to a vibrant city became an instant ghost town. Unix, on the other
+hand, was designed for portability, which made it immune to such dangers.
+Originally developed by junior scientists at AT&T, the program had slipped out
+under corporate-management radar, finding a happy home in the cash-strapped
+world of academic computer systems. With fewer resources than their MIT
+brethren, Unix developers had customized the software to ride atop a motley
+assortment of hardware systems, primarily the 16-bit PDP-11 - a machine
+considered fit for only small tasks by most AI Lab hackers - but later also
+32-bit mainframes such as the VAX 11/780. By 1983, a few companies, most
+notably Sun Microsystems, were developing a more powerful generation of desktop
+computers, dubbed "workstations," to take advantage of that increasingly
+ubiquitous operating system on machines comparable in power to the much older
+={ AT&T ;
+ Incompatible Timesharing System (ITS) +5 ;
+ VAX 11/780 ;
+ PDP-10 computer ;
+ PDP-11 computer ;
+ Sun Microsystems :
+ developing workstations
+To facilitate portability, the developers of Unix had put an extra layer of
+abstraction between the software and the machine. Rather than writing it in the
+instructions of a specific machine type - as the AI Lab hackers had done with
+ITS and the PDP-10 - Unix developers wrote in a high-level language, called C.
+Focusing more on the inter-locking interfaces and specifications that held the
+operating system's many subcomponents together, rather than the actual
+components themselves, they created a system that could be quickly modified to
+run on any machine. If a user disliked a certain component, the interface
+specifications made it possible to pull out an individual subcomponent and
+either fix it or replace it with something better. Simply put, the Unix
+approach promoted flexibility and economy, hence its rapid adoption.~{ See
+Marshall Kirk McKusick, "Twenty Years of Berkeley Unix," Open Sources (O'Reilly
+& Associates, Inc., 1999): 38. }~
+={ abstraction :
+ designing Unix ;
+ Unix operating system :
+ adoption through flexibility
+Stallman's decision to start developing the GNU system was triggered by the end
+of the ITS system that the AI Lab hackers had nurtured for so long. The demise
+of ITS, and the AI Lab hacker community which had sustained it, had been a
+traumatic blow to Stallman. If the Xerox laser printer episode had taught him
+to recognize the in- justice of proprietary software, the community's death
+forced him to choose between surrendering to proprietary software and opposing
+={ AI Lab (Artificial Intelligence Laboratory) :
+ ITS demise +3
+Like the software code that composed it, the roots of ITS' demise stretched way
+back. By 1980, most of the lab's hackers were working on developing the Lisp
+Machine and its operating system.
+Created by artificial-intelligence research pioneer John McCarthy, a MIT
+artificial-intelligence researcher during the late 1950s, Lisp is an elegant
+language, well-suited for writing complex programs to operate on data with
+irregular structure. The language's name is a shortened version of LISt
+Processing. Following McCarthy's departure to the Stanford Artificial
+Intelligence Laboratory, MIT hackers refined the language into a local dialect
+dubbed MACLISP. The "MAC" stood for Project MAC, the DARPA-funded research
+project that gave birth to the AI Lab and the Laboratory for Computer Science.
+Led by AI Labarch-hacker Richard Greenblatt, the AI Lab hackers during the late
+1970s designed a computer specialized for running Lisp efficiently and
+conveniently, the Lisp Machine, then developed an entire Lisp-based operating
+system for it.
+By 1980, two rival groups of hackers had formed two companies to manufacture
+and sell copies of the Lisp Machine. Greenblatt started Lisp Machines
+Incorporated. He planned to avoid outside investment and make a "hacker
+company." Most of the hackers joined Symbolics, a conventional startup. In 1982
+they entirely ceased to work at MIT.
+With few hackers left to mind the shop, programs and machines took longer to
+fix - or were not fixed at all. Even worse, Stallman says, the lab began to
+undergo a "demographic change." The hackers who had once formed a vocal
+minority within the AI Lab were almost gone while "the professors and the
+students who didn't really love the [PDP-10] were just as numerous as
+before."~{ See Richard Stallman (1986). }~
+={ PDP-10 computer +4 }
+In 1982, the AI Lab received the replacement for its main computer, the PDP-10,
+which was over 12 years old. Digital's current model, the Dec system 20, was
+compatible for user programs but would have re-quired a drastic rewrite or
+"port" of ITS if hackers wanted to continue running the same operating system.
+Fearful that the lab had lost its critical mass of in-house programming talent,
+AI Lab faculty members pressed for Twenex, a commercial operating system
+developed by Digital. Outnumbered, the hackers had no choice but to comply.
+"Without hackers to maintain the system, [faculty members] said,'We're going to
+have a disaster; we must have commercial software,'" Stallman would recall a
+few years later. "They said, 'We can expect the company to maintain it.' It
+proved that they were utterly wrong, but that's what they did."~{ Ibid. }~
+At first, hackers viewed the Twenex system as yet another authoritarian symbol
+begging to be subverted. The system's name itself was a protest. Officially
+dubbed TOPS-20 by DEC, it was named as a successor to TOPS-10, a proprietary
+operating system DEC distributed for the PDP-10. But TOPS-20 was not based on
+TOPS-10. It was derived from the Tenex system which Bolt Beranek Newmanhad
+developed for the PDP-10.~{ Multiple sources: see Richard Stallman interview,
+Gerald Sussman email, and Jargon File 3.0.0 at \\
+http://catb.org/jargon/html/T/TWENEX.html. }~ Stallman, the hacker who coined
+the Twenex term, says he came up with the name as a way to avoid using the
+TOPS-20 name. "The system was far from tops, so there was noway I was going to
+call it that," Stallman recalls. "So I decided to insert a 'w' in the Tenex
+name and call it Twenex."
+={ DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) ;
+ TOPS-20 operating system +1 ;
+ KL-10 mainframe +11 ;
+ Twenex operating systems +4
+{free_as_in_freedom_2_01_pdp_1_processor_with_kl_10.png 302x203 "PDP-1 processor with KL-10 (a PDP-10 similar to that of the AI Lab), Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, 1979." }http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_stallman
+The machine that ran the Twenex/TOPS-20 system had its own derisive nickname:
+Oz. According to one hacker legend, the machine got its nickname because it
+required a smaller PDP-11 machine to power its terminal. One hacker, upon
+viewing the KL-10-PDP-11setup for the first time, likened it to the wizard's
+bombastic on screen introduction in the Wizard of Oz. "I am the great and
+powerful Oz," the hacker intoned. "Pay no attention to the PDP-11 behind that
+console."~{ See http://www.as.cmu.edu/~geek/humor/See_Figure_1.txt. }~
+={ Oz +8 ;
+ PDP-11 computer
+If hackers laughed when they first encountered the KL-10, their laughter
+quickly died when they encountered Twenex. Not only did Twenex boast built-in
+security, but the system's software engineers had designed the tools and
+applications with the security system in mind. What once had been a
+cat-and-mouse game over passwords in the case of the Laboratory for Computer
+Science's security system, now became an out-and-out battle over system
+management. System administrators argued that without security, the Oz system
+was more prone to accidental crashes. Hackers argued that crashes could be
+better prevented by overhauling the source code. Unfortunately, the number of
+hackers with the time and inclination to perform this sort of overhaul had
+dwindled to the point that the system-administrator argument prevailed.
+={ security (computer), opposition to :
+ Twenex operating systems and
+The initial policy was that any lab member could have the "wheel privilege" to
+bypass security restrictions. But anyone who had the "wheel privilege" could
+take it away from anyone else, who would then be powerless to restore it. This
+state of affairs tempted a small group of hackers to try to seize total control
+by canceling the "wheel privilege" for all but themselves.
+Cadging passwords, and applying the debugger during startup, Stallman
+successfully foiled these attempts. After the second foiled" /{coup d'état}/,"
+Stallman issued an alert to all the AI Lab personnel.~{ See Richard Stallman
+(1986). }~
+"There has been another attempt to seize power," Stallman wrote. "So far, the
+aristocratic forces have been defeated." To protect his identity, Stallman
+signed the message "Radio Free OZ."
+The disguise was a thin one at best. By 1982, Stallman's aversion to passwords
+and secrecy had become so well known that users outside the AI Laboratory were
+using his account from around the ARPAnet - the research-funded computer
+network that would serve as a foundation for today's Internet. One such
+"tourist" during the early 1980s was Don Hopkins, a California programmer who
+learned through the hacking grapevine that all an outsider needed to do to gain
+access to MIT's vaunted ITS system was to log in under the initials RMS and
+enter the same three-letter monogram when the system requested a password.
+={ ARPAnet +2 ;
+ Hopkins, Don
+"I'm eternally grateful that MIT let me and many other people use their
+computers for free," says Hopkins. "It meant a lot to many people."
+This so-called "tourist" policy, which had been openly tolerated by MIT
+management during the ITS years,~{ See "MIT AI Lab Tourist Policy," \\
+http://www.art.net/~hopkins/Don/text/tourist-policy.html. }~ fell by the
+wayside when Oz became the lab's primary link to the ARPAnet. At first,
+Stallman continued his policy of repeating his login ID as a password so
+outside users could have access through his account. Over time, however, Oz's
+fragility prompted administrators to bar outsiders who, through sheer accident
+or malicious intent, might bring down the system. When those same
+administrators eventually demanded that Stall-man stop publishing his password,
+Stallman, citing personal ethics, instead ceased using the Oz system
+altogether.~{ See Richard Stallman (1986). }~
+"[When] passwords first appeared at the MIT AI Lab I [decided] to follow my
+belief that there should be no passwords," Stallman would later say. "Because I
+don't believe that it's really desirable to have security on a computer, I
+shouldn't be willing to help uphold the security regime."~{ Ibid. }~
+Stallman's refusal to bow before the great and powerful Oz symbolized the
+growing tension between hackers and AI Lab management during the early 1980s.
+This tension paled in comparison to the conflict that raged within the hacker
+community itself. By the time the Dec system 20 arrived, the hacker community
+was divided into two camps, LMI and Symbolics.
+={ Symbolics +15 ;
+ LISP programming language +1
+Symbolics, with its outside investment, recruited various AI Lab hackers and
+set some of them working on improving parts of the Lisp Machine operating
+system outside the auspices of the AI Lab. By the end of 1980, the company had
+hired 14 AI Lab staffers as part-time consultants to develop its version of the
+Lisp Machine. The remaining few, apart from Stallman, worked for LMI.~{ See
+Steve Levy, Hackers, page 423. }~ Stallman, preferring the unpressured life at
+the AI Lab and not wishing to take a side, chose to join neither company.
+={ AI Lab (Artificial Intelligence Laboratory) :
+ Symbolics and +10
+At first, the other hackers continued spending some of their time at MIT, and
+contributed to MIT's Lisp Machine operating system. Both LMI and Symbolics had
+licensed this code from MIT. The license required them to return their changes
+to MIT, but did not require them to let MIT redistribute these changes.
+However, through 1981 they adhered to a gentleman's agreement to permit that,
+so all their system improvements were included in the MIT version and thus
+shared with all Lisp Machine users. This situation allowed those still at MIT
+to remain neutral.
+On March 16, 1982, a date Stallman remembers well because it was his birthday,
+Symbolics executives ended the gentleman's agreement. The motive was to attack
+LMI. LMI had fewer hackers, and fewer staff in general, so the Symbolics
+executives thought that LMI was getting the main benefit of sharing the system
+improvements. By ending the sharing of system code, they hoped to wipe out LMI.
+So they decided to enforce the letter of the license. Instead of contributing
+their improvements to the MIT version of the system, which LMI could use, they
+provided MIT with a copy of the Symbolics version of the system for users at
+MIT to run. Anyone using it would provide the service of testing only to
+Symbolics, and if he made improvements, most likely they too would only be
+useful for Symbolics.
+As the person responsible (with help from Greenblatt for the first couple of
+months) for keeping up the lab's Lisp Machine system, Stallman was incensed.
+The Symbolics hackers had left the system code with hundreds of half-made
+changes that caused errors. Viewing this announcement as an "ultimatum," he
+retaliated by disconnecting Symbolics' microwave communications link to the
+laboratory. He then vowed never to work on a Symbolics machine, and pledged to
+continue the development of MIT's system so as to defend LMI from Symbolics.
+"The way I saw it, the AI Lab was a neutral country, like Belgium in World War
+II," Stallman says. "If Germany invades Belgium, Belgium declares war on
+Germany and sides with Britain and France."
+={ DARPA;
+ Greenblat, Richard;
+ LISP programming language:
+ operating system for+4;
+ MACLISP language;
+ McCarthy, John;
+ Project MAC;
+ Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
+When Symbolics executives noticed that their latest features were still
+appearing in the MIT Lisp Machine system and, by extension, the LMI Lisp
+machine, they were not pleased. Stallman knew what copyright law required, and
+was rewriting the features from scratch.He took advantage of the opportunity to
+read the source code Symbolics supplied to MIT, so as to understand the
+problems and fixes, and then made sure to write his changes in a totally
+different way. But the Symbolics executives didn't believe this. They installed
+a "spy" program on Stallman's computer terminal looking for evidence against
+him. However, when they took their case to MIT administration, around the start
+of 1983, they had little evidence to present: a dozen places in the sources
+where both versions had been changed and appeared similar.
+={ Brain Makers :
+ Genius, Ego, and Greed in the Quest for Machines that Think, The Newquist ;
+ Newquist, Harvey
+When the AI Lab administrators showed Stallman Symbolics' supposed evidence, he
+refuted it, showing that the similarities were actually held over from before
+the fork. Then he turned the logic around:if, after the thousands of lines he
+had written, Symbolics could produce no better evidence than this, it
+demonstrated that Stallman's diligent efforts to avoid copying were effective.
+The AI Lab approved Stallman's work, which he continued till the end of 1983.~{
+The Brain Makers by H. P. Newquist says inaccurately that the AI Lab told
+Stallman to stay away from the Lisp Machine project. }~
+Stallman did make a change in his practices, though. "Just to be ultra safe, I
+no longer read their source code [for new features and major changes]. I used
+only the documentation and wrote the code from that." For the biggest new
+features, rather than wait for Symbolics to release documentation, he designed
+them on his own; later, when the Symbolics documentation appeared, he added
+compatibility with Symbolics' interface for the feature. Then he read
+Symbolics' source code changes to find minor bugs they had fixed, and fixed
+each of them differently.
+The experience solidified Stallman's resolve. As Stallman designed replacements
+for Symbolics' new features, he also enlisted members of the AI Lab to keep
+using the MIT system, so as to provide a continuous stream of bug reports. MIT
+continued giving LMI direct access to the changes. "I was going to punish
+Symbolics if it was the last thing I did," Stallman says. Such statements are
+revealing. Not only do they shed light on Stallman's non pacifist nature, they
+also reflect the intense level of emotion triggered by the conflict.
+The level of despair owed much to what Stallman viewed as the "destruction" of
+his "home" - i.e., the demise of the AI Lab's close-knit hacker subculture. In
+a later email interview with Levy, Stall-man would liken himself to the
+historical figure Ishi, the last surviving member of the Yahi, a Pacific
+Northwest tribe wiped out during the Indian wars of the 1860s and 1870s. The
+analogy casts Stallman's survival in epic, almost mythical, terms.~{ Steven
+Levy in Hackers had this period in mind when he described Stallman as the "last
+of the true hackers," but his intended meaning was not what you might think.
+Levy used the term "true hackers" to distinguish the MIT hacker community from
+two other hacker communities described later in the book, to which he gave
+other names. When this community had dissolved, leaving only Stallman, he
+therefore became the last of the "true hackers." Levy did not mean that nobody
+else was truly a hacker, but people tend to interpret his words that way,
+especially those who see them without reading the explanations in Levy's book.
+Stallman has never described himself using those words of Levy's. }~ The
+hackers who worked for Symbolics saw it differently. Instead of seeing
+Symbolics as an ex-terminating force, many of Stallman's colleagues saw it as a
+belated bid for relevance. In commercializing the Lisp Machine, the company
+pushed hacker principles of engineer-driven software design out of the
+ivory-tower confines of the AI Lab and into the corporate market place where
+manager-driven design principles held sway. Rather than viewing Stallman as a
+holdout, many hackers saw him as the representative of an obsolete practice.
+={ Ishi ;
+ Yahi
+Personal hostilities also affected the situation. Even before Symbolics hired
+away most of the AI Lab's hacker staff, Stallman says many of the hackers who
+later joined Symbolics were shunning him. "I was no longer getting invited to
+go to Chinatown," Stallman recalls. "The custom started by Greenblatt was that
+if you went out to dinner, you went around or sent a message asking anybody at
+the lab if they also wanted to go. Sometime around 1980-1981, I stopped getting
+asked. They were not only not inviting me, but one person later confessed that
+he had been pressured to lie to me to keep their going away to dinner without
+me a secret."
+={ Greenblat, Richard }
+Although Stallman felt hurt by this petty form of ostracism, there was nothing
+to be done about it. The Symbolics ultimatum changed the matter from a personal
+rejection to a broader injustice. When Symbolics excluded its source changes
+from redistribution, as a means to defeat its rival, Stallman determined to
+thwart Symbolics' goal. By holing up in his MIT offices and writing equivalents
+for each new software feature and fix, he gave users of the MIT system,
+including LMI customers, access to the same features as Symbolics users.
+It also guaranteed Stallman's legendary status within the hacker community.
+Already renowned for his work with Emacs, Stallman's ability to match the
+output of an entire team of Symbolics programmers - a team that included more
+than a few legendary hackers itself - still stands as one of the major human
+accomplishments of the Information Age, or of any age for that matter. Dubbing
+it a "master hack" and Stallman himself a "virtual John Henry of computer
+code," author Steven Levy notes that many of his Symbolics-employed rivals had
+no choice but to pay their idealistic former comrade grudging respect. Levy
+quotes Bill Gosper, a hacker who eventually went to work for Symbolics in the
+company's Palo Alto office, expressing amazement over Stallman's output during
+this period:
+={ Gosper, Bill }
+_1 I can see something Stallman wrote, and I might decide it was bad (probably
+not, but somebody could convince me it was bad), and I would still say, "But
+wait a minute - Stallman doesn't have anybody to argue with all night over
+there. He's working alone! It's incredible anyone could do this alone!"~{ See
+Steven Levy, Hackers (Penguin USA [paperback], 1984): 426 }~
+For Stallman, the months spent playing catch up with Symbolics evoke a mixture
+of pride and profound sadness. As a dyed-in-the-wool liberal whose father had
+served in World War II, Stallman is no pacifist. In many ways, the Symbolics
+war offered the rite of passage toward which Stallman had been careening ever
+since joining the AI Lab staff a decade before. At the same time, however, it
+coincided with the traumatic destruction of the AI Lab hacker culture that had
+nurtured Stallman since his teenage years. One day, while taking a break from
+writing code, Stallman experienced a traumatic moment passing through the lab's
+equipment room. There, Stallman encountered the hulking, unused frame of the
+PDP-10 machine. Startled by the dormant lights, lights that once actively
+blinked out a silent code indicating the status of the internal program,
+Stallman says the emotional impact was not unlike coming across a beloved
+family member's well-preserved corpse.
+={ PDP-10 computer }
+"I started crying right there in the machine room," he says. "Seeing the
+machine there, dead, with nobody left to fix it, it all drove home how
+completely my community had been destroyed."
+Stallman would have little opportunity to mourn. The Lisp Ma-chine, despite all
+the furor it invoked and all the labor that had gone into making it, was merely
+a sideshow to the large battles in the technology marketplace. The relentless
+pace of computer miniaturization was bringing in newer, more powerful
+microprocessors that would soon incorporate the machine's hardware and software
+capabilities like a modern metropolis swallowing up an ancient desert village.
+Riding atop this microprocessor wave were hundreds - thousands- of proprietary
+software programs, each protected by a patchwork of user licenses and
+nondisclosure agreements that made it impossible for hackers to review or share
+source code. The licenses were crude and ill-fitting, but by 1983 they had
+become strong enough to satisfy the courts and scare away would-be interlopers.
+Software, once a form of garnish most hardware companies gave away to make
+their expensive computer systems more flavorful, was quickly becoming the main
+dish. In their increasing hunger for new games and features, users were putting
+aside the traditional demand to review the recipe after every meal.
+Nowhere was this state of affairs more evident than in the realm of personal
+computer systems. Companies such as Apple Computer and Commodore were minting
+fresh millionaires selling machines with built-in operating systems. Unaware of
+the hacker culture and its distaste for binary-only software, many of these
+users saw little need to protest when these companies failed to attach the
+accompanying source-code files. A few anarchic adherents of the hacker ethic
+helped propel that ethic into this new marketplace, but for the most part, the
+marketplace rewarded the programmers speedy enough to write new programs and
+savvy enough to write End User License Agreements to lock them up tight.
+={ Apple Computers ;
+ Commodore computers ;
+ software +10
+One of the most notorious of these programmers was Bill Gates, a Harvard
+dropout two years Stallman's junior. Although Stallman didn't know it at the
+time, seven years before sending out his message to the net.unix-wizards
+newsgroup, Gates, a budding entrepreneur and general partner with the
+Albuquerque-based software firm Micro-Soft, later spelled as Microsoft, had
+sent out his own open letter to the software-developer community. Written in
+response to the PC users copying Micro-Soft's software programs, Gates' "Open
+Letter to Hobbyists" had excoriated the notion of communal software
+={ Gates, Bill +2 ;
+ Micro-Soft ;
+ net.unix-wizards newsgroup ;
+ Open Letter to Hobbyists (Gates) +1
+"Who can afford to do professional work for nothing?" asked Gates. "What
+hobbyist can put three man-years into programming, finding all bugs,
+documenting his product, and distributing it for free?"~{ See Bill Gates, "An
+Open Letter to Hobbyists" (February 3, 1976). To view an online copy of this
+letter, \\ go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Letter_to_Hobbyists. }~
+Although few hackers at the AI Lab saw the missive, Gates' 1976 letter
+nevertheless represented the changing attitude toward software both among
+commercial software companies and commercial software developers. Why treat
+software as a zero-cost commodity when the market said otherwise? As the 1970s
+gave way to the 1980s, selling software became more than a way to recoup costs;
+it became a political statement. At a time when the Reagan Administration was
+rushing to dismantle many of the federal regulations and spending programs that
+had been built up during the half century following the Great Depression, more
+than a few software programmers saw the hacker ethic as anticompetitive and, by
+extension, un-American. At best, it was a throwback to the anti-corporate
+attitudes of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Like a Wall Street banker
+discovering an old tie-dyed shirt hiding between French-cuffed shirts and
+double-breasted suits, many computer programmers treated the hacker ethic as an
+embarrassing reminder of an idealistic age.
+For a man who had spent the entire 1960s as a throwback to the 1950s, Stallman
+didn't mind living out of step with his peers. As a programmer used to working
+with the best machines and the best software, however, Stallman faced what he
+could only describe as a "stark moral choice": either swallow his ethical
+objection for "proprietary" software - the term Stallman and his fellow hackers
+used to describe any program that carried copyright terms or an end-user
+license that restricted copying and modification - or dedicate his life to
+building an alternate, non-proprietary system of software programs. After his
+two-year battle with Symbolics, Stallman felt confident enough to undertake the
+latter option. "I suppose I could have stopped working
+={ proprietary software +3 }
+on computers altogether," Stallman says. "I had no special skills, but I'm sure
+I could have become a waiter. Not at a fancy restaurant, probably, but I
+could've been a waiter somewhere."
+Being a waiter - i.e., dropping out of programming altogether -would have meant
+completely giving up an activity, computer programming, that had given him so
+much pleasure. Looking back on his life since moving to Cambridge, Stallman
+finds it easy to identify lengthy periods when software programming provided
+the only pleasure. Rather than drop out, Stallman decided to stick it out.
+An Atheist, Stallman rejects notions such as fate, karma, or a divine calling
+in life. Nevertheless, he does feel that the decision to shun proprietary
+software and build an operating system to help others do the same was a natural
+one. After all, it was Stallman's own personal combination of stubbornness,
+foresight, and coding virtuosity that led him to consider a fork in the road
+most others didn't know existed. In his article, "The GNU Project," Stallman
+affirms agreement with the ideals encapsulated in the words of the Jewish sage
+={ Hillel +1 ;
+ Open Sources (DiBona, et al) +1
+% ### group --> ? compare earlier version
+_1 If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am
+I? If not now, when?~{ See http://www.gnu.org/gnu/the-gnu-project.html.
+Stallman adds his own footnote to this statement, writing, "As an Atheist, I
+don't follow any religious leaders, but I sometimes find I admire something one
+of them has said. }~
+Speaking to audiences, Stallman avoids the religious route and ex-presses the
+decision in pragmatic terms. "I asked myself: what could I, an operating-system
+developer, do to improve the situation? It wasn't until I examined the question
+for a while that I realized an operating-system developer was exactly what was
+needed to solve the problem."
+Once he recognized that, Stallman says, everything else "fell into place." In
+1983, MIT was acquiring second-generation Lisp Machines from Symbolics, on
+which the MIT Lisp Machine system could not possibly run. Once most of the MIT
+machines were replaced, he would be unable to continue maintaining that system
+effectively for lack of users' bug reports. He would have to stop. But he also
+wanted to stop. The MIT Lisp Machine system was not free software: even though
+users could get the source code, they could not redistribute it freely.
+Meanwhile, the goal of continuing the MIT system had already been achieved: LMI
+had survived and was developing software on its own.
+Stallman didn't want to spend his whole life punishing those who had destroyed
+his old community. He wanted to build a new one. He decided to denounce
+software that would require him to compromise his ethical beliefs, and devote
+his life to the creation of programs that would make it easier for him and
+others to escape from it. Pledging to build a free software operating system
+"or die trying - of old age, of course," Stallman quips, he resigned from the
+MIT staff in January, 1984, to build GNU.
+The resignation distanced Stallman's work from the legal auspices of MIT.
+Still, Stallman had enough friends and allies within the AI Lab to continue
+using the facilities, and later his own office. He also had the ability to
+secure outside consulting gigs to underwrite the early stages of the GNU
+Project. In resigning from MIT, however, Stallman negated any debate about
+conflict of interest or Institute ownership of the software. The man whose
+early adulthood fear of social isolation had driven him deeper and deeper into
+the AI Lab's embrace was now building a legal firewall between himself and that
+={ GNU Project }
+For the first few months, Stallman operated in isolation from the Unix
+community as well. Although his announcement to the net.unix-wizards group had
+attracted sympathetic responses, few volunteers signed on to join the crusade
+in its early stages.
+={ net.unix-wizards newsgroup }
+"The community reaction was pretty much uniform," recalls Rich Morin, leader of
+a Unix user group at the time. "People said, 'Oh, that's a great idea. Show us
+your code. Show us it can be done.'"
+Aware that the job was enormous, Stallman decided to try to reuse existing free
+software wherever possible. So he began looking for existing free programs and
+tools that could be converted into GNU programs and tools. One of the first
+candidates was a compiler named VUCK, which converted programs written in the
+popular C programming language into machine-runnable code. Translated from the
+Dutch, the program's acronym stood for the Free University Compiler Kit.
+Optimistic, Stallman asked the program's author if the program was free. When
+the author informed him that the words "Free University" were a reference to
+the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, and that the program was not free,
+Stallman was chagrined.
+"He responded derisively, stating that the university was free but the compiler
+was not," recalls Stallman. He had not only refused to help - he suggested
+Stallman drop his plan to develop GNU, and instead write some add-ons to boost
+sales of VUCK, in return for a share of the profits. "I therefore decided that
+my first program for the GNU Project would be a multi-language, multi-platform
+compiler." 19~{ See Richard Stallman, "The GNU Operating System and the Free
+Software Movement," Open Sources (O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 1999): 65. }~
+Instead of VUCK, Stallman found the Pastel compiler ("off-color Pascal"),
+written by programmers at Lawrence Livermore National Lab. According to what
+they said when they gave him a copy, the compiler was free to copy and modify.
+Unfortunately, the program was unsuitable for the job, because its memory
+requirements were enormous. It parsed the entire input file in core memory,
+then retained all the internal data until it finished compiling the file. On
+mainframe systems this design had been forgivable. On Unix systems it was a
+crippling barrier, since even 32-bit machines that ran Unix were often unable
+to provide so much memory to a program. Stallman made substantial progress at
+first, building a C-compatible front end to the compiler and testing it on the
+larger Vax, whose system could handle large memory spaces. When he tried
+porting the system to the 68010, and investigated why it crashed, he discovered
+the memory size problem, and concluded he would have to build a totally new
+compiler from scratch. Stallman eventually did this, producing the GNU C
+Compiler or GCC. But it was not clear in 1984 what to do about the compiler, so
+he decided to let those plans gel while turning his attention to other parts of
+={ C programming language :
+ VUCK compiler for ;
+ VUCK compiler
+In September of 1984, thus, Stallman began development of a GNU version of
+Emacs, the replacement for the program he had been supervising for a decade.
+Within the Unix community, the two native editor programs were vi, written by
+Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy, and ed, written by Bell Labs scientist
+(and Unix co-creator) Ken Thompson. Both were useful and popular, but neither
+offered the endlessly expandable nature of Emacs.
+={ Bell Labs ;
+ Emacs text editor :
+ rewriting for Unix +2 ;
+ GNU Emacs :
+ rewriting for Unix +2 ;
+ Joy, Bill ;
+ vi text editor ;
+ Thompson, Ken
+Looking back, Stallman says he didn't view the decision in strategic terms. "I
+wanted an Emacs, and I had a good opportunity to develop one."
+Once again, Stallman had found existing code with which he hoped to save time.
+In writing a Unix version of Emacs, Stallman was soon following the footsteps
+of Carnegie Mellon graduate student James Gosling, author of a C-based version
+dubbed Gosling Emacs or Gosmacs. Gosling's version of Emacs included an
+interpreter for a simplified offshoot of the Lisp language, called Mocklisp.
+Although Gosling had put Gosmacs under copyright and had sold the rights to
+UniPress, a privately held software company, Stallman received the assurances
+of a fellow developer who had participated in early Gosmacs development.
+According to the developer, Gosling, while a Ph.D. student at Carnegie Mellon,
+had given him permission by email to distribute his own version of Gosmacs in
+exchange for his contribution to the code.
+={ Carnegie Mellon University ;
+ Gosling, James +3 ;
+ GOSMACS (Gosling Emacs) ;
+ interpreters for LISP +1 ;
+ LISP programming language :
+ EMACS and +1 ;
+ MOCKLISP language ;
+ UniPress software company +1
+At first Stallman thought he would change only the user-level commands, to
+implement full compatibility with the original PDP-10Emacs. However, when he
+found how weak Mocklisp was in comparison with real Lisp, he felt compelled to
+replace it with a true Lisp system. This made it natural to rewrite most of the
+higher-level code of Gosmacs in a completely different way, taking advantage of
+the greater power and flexible data structures of Lisp. By mid-1985, in GNU
+Emacs as released on the Internet, only a few files still had code remaining
+from Gosmacs.
+Then UniPress caught wind of Stallman's project, and denied that the other
+developer had received permission to distribute his own version of Gosmacs. He
+could not find a copy of the old email to defend his claim. Stallman eliminated
+this problem by writing replacements for the few modules that remained from
+Nevertheless, the notion of developers selling off software rights - indeed,
+the very notion of developers having such powers to sell in the first place -
+rankled Stallman. In a 1986 speech at the Swedish Royal Technical Institute,
+Stallman cited the UniPress incident as yet another example of the dangers
+associated with proprietary software.
+={ proprietary software :
+ Emacs and +4 ;
+ Swedish Royal Technical Institute
+"Sometimes I think that perhaps one of the best things I could do with my life
+is find a gigantic pile of proprietary software that was a trade secret, and
+start handing out copies on a street corner so it wouldn't be a trade secret
+any more," said Stallman. "Perhaps that would be a much more efficient way for
+me to give people new free software than actually writing it myself; but
+everyone is too cowardly to even take it."~{ See Richard Stallman (1986). }~
+Despite the stress it generated, the dispute over Gosling's code would assist
+both Stallman and the free software movement in the longterm. It would force
+Stallman to address the weaknesses of the Emacs Commune and the informal trust
+system that had allowed problematic offshoots to emerge. It would also force
+Stallman to sharpen the free software movement's political objectives.
+Following the release of GNU Emacs in 1985, Stallman issued /{The GNU
+Manifesto}/, an expansion of the original announcement posted in September,
+1983. Stallman included within the document a lengthy section devoted to the
+many arguments used by commercial and academic programmers to justify the
+proliferation of proprietary software programs. One argument, "Don't
+programmers deserve a reward for their creativity," earned a response
+encapsulating Stallman's anger over the recent Gosling Emacs episode:
+={ Emacs Commune :
+ proprietary software and ;
+ Emacs text editor ;
+ GNU Emacs ;
+ GNU Manifesto
+"If anything deserves a reward, it is social contribution," Stallman wrote.
+"Creativity can be a social contribution, but only in so far [ sic ] as society
+is free to use the results. If programmers deserve to be rewarded for creating
+innovative programs, by the same token they deserve to be punished if they
+restrict the use of these programs."~{ See Richard Stallman, The GNU Manifesto
+(1985), \\ http://www.gnu.org/gnu/ manifesto.html. }~
+With the release of GNU Emacs, the GNU Project finally had code to show. It
+also had the burdens of any software-based enterprise. As more and more Unix
+developers began playing with the software, money, gifts, and requests for
+tapes began to pour in. To address the business side of the GNU Project,
+Stallman drafted a few of his colleagues and formed the Free Software
+Foundation (FSF), a non-profit organization dedicated to speeding the GNU
+Project towards its goal. With Stallman as president and various friends and
+hacker allies as board members, the FSF helped provide a corporate face for the
+GNU Project.
+={ Free Software Foundation (FSF) :
+ GNU Project and ;
+ GNU Project :
+ Emacs, release of
+Robert Chassell, a programmer then working at Lisp Machines, Inc., became one
+of five charter board members at the Free Software Foundation following a
+dinner conversation with Stallman. Chassell also served as the organization's
+treasurer, a role that started small but quickly grew.
+={ Chassell, Robert +6 ;
+ LISP Machines Inc. (LMI) ;
+ LMI (LISP Machines Inc.)
+"I think in '85 our total expenses and revenue were something in the order of
+$23,000, give or take," Chassell recalls. "Richard had his office, and we
+borrowed space. I put all the stuff, especially the tapes, under my desk. It
+wasn't until sometime later LMI loaned us some space where we could store tapes
+and things of that sort."
+In addition to providing a face, the Free Software Foundation provided a center
+of gravity for other disenchanted programmers. The Unix market that had seemed
+so collegial even at the time of Stallman's initial GNU announcement was
+becoming increasingly competitive. In an attempt to tighten their hold on
+customers, companies were starting to deny users access to Unix source code, a
+trend that only speeded the number of inquiries into ongoing GNU software
+The Unix wizards who once regarded Stallman as a noisy kook were now beginning
+to see him as a software prophet or a software Cassandra, according as they
+felt hope or despair over escaping the problem she identified.
+"A lot of people don't realize, until they've had it happen to them, how
+frustrating it can be to spend a few years working on a software program only
+to have it taken away," says Chassell, summarizing the feelings and opinions of
+the correspondents writing in to the FSF during the early years. "After that
+happens a couple of times, you start to say to yourself, 'Hey, wait a minute.'"
+For Chassell, the decision to participate in the Free Software Foundation came
+down to his own personal feelings of loss. Prior to LMI, Chassell had been
+working for hire, writing an introductory book on Unix for Cadmus, Inc., a
+Cambridge-area software company. When Cadmus folded, taking the rights to the
+book down with it, Chassell says he attempted to buy the rights back with no
+"As far as I know, that book is still sitting on a shelf somewhere, unusable,
+uncopyable, just taken out of the system," Chassell says. "It was quite a good
+introduction if I may say so myself. It would have taken maybe three or four
+months to convert [the book] into a perfectly usable introduction to GNU/Linux
+today. The whole experience, aside from what I have in my memory, was lost."
+Forced to watch his work sink into the mire while his erstwhile employer
+struggled through bankruptcy, Chassell says he felt a hint of the anger that
+drove Stallman to fits of apoplexy. "The main clarity, for me, was the sense
+that if you want to have a decent life, you don't want to have bits of it
+closed off," Chassell says. "This whole idea of having the freedom to go in and
+to fix something and modify it, whatever it may be, it really makes a
+difference. It makes one think happily that after you've lived a few years that
+what you've done is worthwhile. Because otherwise it just gets taken away and
+thrown out or abandoned or, at the very least, you no longer have any relation
+to it. It's like losing a bit of your life."
+1~ Chapter 8 - St. Ignucius
+={ Ignucius, (St.) ;
+ St. Ignucius
+The Maui High Performance Computing Center is located in a single-story
+building in the dusty red hills just above the town of Kihei. Framed by
+million-dollar views and the multi-million dollar real estate of the
+Silversword Golf Course, the center seems like the ultimate scientific
+boondoggle. Far from the boxy, sterile confines of Tech Square or even the
+sprawling research metropolises of Argonne, Illinois and Los Alamos, New
+Mexico, the MHPCC seems like the kind of place where scientists spend more time
+on their tans than their post-doctoral research projects.
+={ Argonne (Illinois) ;
+ Los Alamos (New Mexico) ;
+ Maui High Performance Computing Center (MHPCC) ;
+ MHPCC (Maui High Performance Computing Center)
+The image is only half true. Although researchers at the MHPCC do take
+advantage of the local recreational opportunities, they also take their work
+seriously. According to { Top500.org }http://top500.org, a web site that tracks
+the most powerful supercomputers in the world, the IBMSP Power3 supercomputer
+housed within the MHPCC clocks in at 837 billion floating-point operations per
+second, making it one of 25most powerful computers in the world. Co-owned and
+operated by the University of Hawaii and the U.S. Air Force, the machine
+divides its computer cycles between the number crunching tasks associated with
+military logistics and high-temperature physics research.
+={ IBM SP Power3 supercomputer ;
+ U.S Air Force ;
+ University of Hawaii ;
+ Top500.org
+Simply put, the MHPCC is a unique place, a place where the brainy culture of
+science and engineering and the laid-back culture of the Hawaiian islands
+coexist in peaceful equilibrium. A slogan on the lab's 2000 web site sums it
+up: "Computing in paradise."
+It's not exactly the kind of place you'd expect to find Richard Stallman, a man
+who, when taking in the beautiful view of the nearby Maui Channel through the
+picture windows of a staffer's office, mutters a terse critique: "Too much
+sun." Still, as an emissary from one computing paradise to another, Stallman
+has a message to deliver, even if it means subjecting his hacker eyes to
+painful solar glare.
+The conference room is already full by the time I arrive to catch Stallman's
+speech. The gender breakdown is a little better than at the New York speech,
+85% male, 15% female, but not by much. About half of the audience members wear
+khaki pants and logo-encrusted golf shirts. The other half seems to have gone
+native. Dressed in the gaudy flower-print shirts so popular in this corner of
+the world, their faces area deep shade of ochre. The only residual indication
+of geek status are the gadgets: Nokia cell phones, Palm Pilots, and Sony VAIO
+Needless to say, Stallman, who stands in front of the room dressed in plain
+blue T-shirt, brown polyester slacks, and white socks, sticks out like a sore
+thumb. The fluorescent lights of the conference room help bring out the
+unhealthy color of his sun-starved skin.~{ RMS: The idea that skin can be
+"sun-starved" or that paleness is "unhealthy"is dangerous misinformation;
+staying out of the sun can't hurt you as long as you have enough Vitamin D.
+What damages the skin, and can even kill you, is excessive exposure to
+sunlight. }~ His beard and hair are enough to trigger beads of sweat on even
+the coolest Hawaiian neck. Short of having the words "mainlander" tattooed on
+his forehead, Stallman couldn't look more alien if he tried. [RMS: Is there
+something bad about looking different from others?]
+As Stallman putters around the front of the room, a few audience members
+wearing T-shirts with the logo of the Maui FreeBSD Users Group (MFUG) race to
+set up camera and audio equipment. FreeBSD, a free software offshoot of the
+Berkeley Software Distribution, the venerable 1970s academic version of Unix,
+is technically a competitor to the GNU/Linux operating system. Still, in the
+hacking world, Stallman speeches are documented with a fervor reminiscent of
+the Grateful Dead and its legendary army of amateur archivists. As the local
+free software heads, it's up to the MFUG members to make sure fellow
+programmers in Hamburg, Mumbai, and Novosibirsk don't miss out on the latest
+pearls of RMS wisdom.
+={ Berkely Software Distribution (BSD) ;
+ BSD (Berkely Software Distribution) ;
+ Grateful Dead, The +1 ;
+ Maui FreeBSD Users Group
+The analogy to the Grateful Dead is apt. Often, when describing the business
+opportunities inherent within the free software model, Stallman has held up the
+Grateful Dead as an example. In refusing to restrict fans' ability to record
+live concerts, the Grateful Dead became more than a rock group. They became the
+center of a tribal community dedicated to Grateful Dead music. Over time, that
+tribal community became so large and so devoted that the band shunned record
+contracts and supported itself solely through musical tours and live
+appearances. In 1994, the band's last year as a touring act, the Grateful Dead
+drew $52 million in gate receipts alone.~{ See "Grateful Dead Time Capsule:
+1985-1995 North American Tour Grosses," \\ http://www.dead101.com/1197.htm. }~
+While few software companies have been able to match that success, the tribal
+aspect of the free software community is one reason many in the latter half of
+the 1990s started to accept the notion that publishing software source code
+might be a good thing. Hoping to build their own loyal followings, companies
+such as IBM, Sun Microsystems, and Hewlett Packard have come to accept the
+letter, if not the spirit, of the Stallman free software message. Describing
+the GPL as the information-technology industry's /{Magna Carta}/, ZDNet
+software columnist Evan Leibovitch sees the growing affection for all things
+GNU as more than just a trend. "This societal shift is letting users take back
+control of their futures," Leibovitch writes. "Just as the /{Magna Carta}/ gave
+rights to British subjects, the GPL enforces consumer rights and freedoms on
+behalf of the users of computer software."~{ See Evan Leibovitch, "Who's Afraid
+of Big Bad Wolves," /{ZDNet}/ Tech Update (December 15, 2000), \\
+http://www.zdnet.com/news/whos-afraid-of-the-big-bad-wolves/298394. }~
+={ Hewlett Packard ;
+ IBM ;
+ Sun Microsystems
+The tribal aspect of the free software community also helps explain why 40-odd
+programmers, who might otherwise be working on physics projects or surfing the
+Web for windsurfing buoy reports, have packed into a conference room to hear
+Stallman speak.
+Unlike the New York speech, Stallman gets no introduction. He also offers no
+self-introduction. When the FreeBSD people finally get their equipment up and
+running, Stallman simply steps forward, starts speaking, and steamrolls over
+every other voice in the room.
+={ FreeBSD }
+"Most of the time when people consider the question of what rules society
+should have for using software, the people considering it are from software
+companies, and they consider the question from a self-serving perspective,"
+says Stallman, opening his speech. "What rules can we impose on everybody else
+so they have to pay us lots of money? I had the good fortune in the 1970s to be
+part of a community of programmers who shared software. And because of this I
+always like to look at the same issue from a different direction to ask: what
+kind of rules make possible a good society that is good for the people who are
+in it? And therefore I reach completely different answers."
+Once again, Stallman quickly segues into the parable of the Xerox laser
+printer, taking a moment to deliver the same dramatic finger-pointing gestures
+to the crowd. He also devotes a minute or two to the GNU/Linux name.
+"Some people say to me, 'Why make such a fuss about getting credit for this
+system? After all, the important thing is the job is done, not whether you get
+recognition for it.' Well, this would be wise advice if it were true. But the
+job wasn't to build an operating system; the job is to spread freedom to the
+users of computers. And to do that we have to make it possible to do everything
+with computers in freedom."~{ For narrative purposes, I have hesitated to go
+in-depth when describing Stallman's full definition of software "freedom." The
+GNU Project web site lists four fundamental components: \\ _* The freedom to
+run the program as you wish, for any purpose (freedom 0). \\ _* The freedom to
+study the program's source code, and change it so that the program does what
+you wish (freedom 1). \\ _* The freedom to redistribute copies of the program
+so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2). \\ _* The freedom to distribute
+copies of your modified versions, so that the whole community can benefit from
+them (freedom 3). For more information, please visit "The Free Software
+Definition" at \\ http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html. }~
+Adds Stallman, "There's a lot more work to do."
+For some in the audience, this is old material. For others, it's a little
+arcane. When a member of the golf-shirt contingent starts dozing off, Stallman
+stops the speech and asks somebody to wake the person up.
+"Somebody once said my voice was so soothing, he asked if I was some kind of
+healer," says Stallman, drawing a quick laugh from the crowd. "I guess that
+probably means I can help you drift gently into a blissful, relaxing sleep. And
+some of you might need that. I guess I shouldn't object if you do. If you need
+to sleep, by all means do."
+The speech ends with a brief discussion of software patents, a growing issue of
+concern both within the software industry and within the free software
+community. Like Napster, software patents reflect the awkward nature of
+applying laws and concepts written for the physical world to the frictionless
+universe of information technology.
+Copyright law and patent law work differently, and have totally different
+effects in the software field. The copyright on a program controls the copying
+and adaptation of that program's code, and it belongs to the program's
+developer. But copyright does not cover ideas. In other words, a developer is
+free, under copyright, to implement in his own code features and commands he
+has seen in existing programs. Those aspects are ideas, not expression, and
+thus outside the scope of copyright law.
+It is likewise lawful - though hard work - to decode how a binary program
+works, and then implement the same ideas and algorithms indifferent code. This
+practice is known as "reverse engineering."
+Software patents work differently. According to the U.S. Patent Office,
+companies and individuals can obtain patents for computing ideas that are
+innovative (or, at least, unknown to the Patent Office). In theory, this allows
+the patent-holder to trade off disclosure of the technique for a specific
+monopoly lasting a minimum of 20 years after the patent filing. In practice,
+the disclosure is of limited value to the public, since the operation of the
+program is often self-evident, and could in any case be determined by reverse
+engineering. Unlike copyright, a patent gives its holder the power to forbid
+the independent development of software programs which use the patented idea.
+={ U.S. Patent Office }
+In the software industry, where 20 years can cover the entire life cycle of a
+marketplace, patents take on a strategic weight. Where companies such as
+Microsoft and Apple once battled over copyright and the "look and feel" of
+various technologies, today's Internet companies use patents as a way to stake
+out individual applications and business models, the most notorious example
+being Amazon.com's 2000 attempt to patent the company's "one-click" on line
+shopping process. For most companies, however, software patents have become a
+defensive tool, with cross-licensing deals balancing one set of corporate
+patents against another in a tense form of corporate detente. Still, in a few
+notable cases of computer encryption and graphic imaging algorithms, software
+vendors have successfully stifled rival developments. For instance, some
+font-rendering features are missing from free soft-ware because of patent
+threats from Apple.
+For Stallman, the software-patent issue dramatizes the need for eternal hacker
+vigilance. It also underlines the importance of stressing the political
+benefits of free software programs over the competitive benefits. Stallman says
+competitive performance and price, two areas where free software operating
+systems such as GNU/Linux and FreeBSD already hold a distinct advantage over
+their proprietary counterparts, are side issues compared to the large issues of
+user and developer freedom.
+={ FreeBSD +2 }
+This position is controversial within the community: open source advocates
+emphasize the utilitarian advantages of free software over the political
+advantages. Rather than stress the political significance of free software
+programs, open source advocates have chosen to stress the engineering integrity
+of the hacker development model. Citing the power of peer review, the open
+source argument paints programs such as GNU/Linux or FreeBSD as better built,
+better inspected and, by extension, more trustworthy to the average user.
+That's not to say the term "open source" doesn't have its political
+implications. For open source advocates, the term open source serves two
+purposes. First, it eliminates the confusion associated with the word "free," a
+word many businesses interpret as meaning "zero cost." Second, it allows
+companies to examine the free software phenomenon on a technological, rather
+than ethical, basis. Eric Raymond, co-founder of the Open Source Initiative and
+one of the leading hackers to endorse the term, explained his refusal to follow
+Stallman's political path in a 1999 essay, titled "Shut Up and Show Them the
+={ OSI (Open Source Initiative) ;
+ Open Source Initiative (OSI) ;
+ Raymond, Eric ;
+ Shut Up and Show Them the Code (Raymond) +1
+_1 RMS's rhetoric is very seductive to the kind of people we are. We hackers
+are thinkers and idealists who readily resonate with appeals to "principle" and
+"freedom" and "rights." Even when we disagree with bits of his program, we want
+RMS's rhetorical style to work; we think it ought to work; we tend to be
+puzzled and disbelieving when it fails on the 95% of people who aren't wired
+like we are.~{ See Eric Raymond, "Shut Up and Show Them the Code," online
+essay, (June28, 1999), \\
+http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/shut-up-and-show-them.html. }~
+Included among that 95%, Raymond writes, are the bulk of business managers,
+investors, and non-hacker computer users who, through sheer weight of numbers,
+tend to decide the overall direction of the commercial software marketplace.
+Without a way to win these people over, Raymond argues, programmers are doomed
+to pursue their ideology on the periphery of society:
+_1 When RMS insists that we talk about "computer users' rights," he's issuing a
+dangerously attractive invitation to us to repeat old failures. It's one we
+should reject - not because his principles are wrong, but because that kind of
+language, applied to software, simply does not persuade anybody but us. In
+fact, it confuses and repels most people outside our culture.~{ Ibid. }~
+Stallman, however, rejects Raymond's premises:
+_1 Raymond's attempt to explain our failure is misleading because we have not
+failed. Our goal is large, and we have a long way to go, but we have also come
+a long way.
+_1 Raymond's pessimistic assertion about the values of non-hackers is an
+exaggeration. Many non-hackers are more concerned with the political issues we
+focus on than with the technical advantages that open source emphasizes. This
+often includes political leaders too, though not in all countries.
+_1 It was the ethical ideals of free software, not "better software," which
+persuaded the presidents of Ecuador and Brazil to move government agencies to
+free software. They are not geeks, but they understand freedom.
+But the principal flaw in the open source argument, according to Stallman, is
+that it leads to weaker conclusions. It convinces many users to run some
+programs which are free, but does not offer the many reason to migrate entirely
+to free software. This partially gives them freedom, but does not teach them to
+recognize it and value it as such, so they remain likely to let it drop and
+lose it. For instance, what happens when the improvement of free software is
+blocked by a patent?
+Most open source advocates are equally, if not more, vociferous as Stallman
+when it comes to opposing software patents. So too are most proprietary
+software developers, since patents threaten their projects too. However,
+pointing to software patents' tendency to put areas of software functionality
+off limits, Stallman contrasts what the free software idea and the open source
+idea imply about such cases.
+"It's not because we don't have the talent to make better software," says
+Stallman. "It's because we don't have the right. Somebody has prohibited us
+from serving the public. So what's going to happen when users encounter these
+gaps in free software? Well, if they have been persuaded by the open source
+movement that these freedoms are good because they lead to more-powerful
+reliable software, they're likely to say, 'You didn't deliver what you
+promised. This software's not more powerful. It's missing this feature. You
+lied to me.' But if they have come to agree with the free software movement,
+that the freedom is important in itself, then they will say, 'How dare those
+people stop me from having this feature and my freedom too.' And with that kind
+of response, we may survive the hits that we're going to take as these patents
+Watching Stallman deliver his political message in person, it is hard to see
+anything confusing or repellent. Stallman's appearance may seem off-putting,
+but his message is logical. When an audience member asks if, in shunning
+proprietary software, free software proponents lose the ability to keep up with
+the latest technological advancements, Stallman answers the question in terms
+of his own personal beliefs. "I think that freedom is more important than mere
+technical advance," he says. "I would always choose a less advanced free
+program rather than a more advanced non free program, because I won't give up
+my freedom for something like that [advance]. My rule is, if I can't share it
+with you, I won't take it."
+In the minds of those who assume ethics means religion, such answers reinforce
+the quasi-religious nature of the Stallman message. However, unlike a Jew
+keeping kosher or a Mormon refusing to drink alcohol, Stallman is not obeying a
+commandment, but simply refusing to cede his freedom. His speech explains the
+practical requisites for doing so: a proprietary program takes away your
+freedom, so if you want freedom, you need to reject the program.
+Stallman paints his decision to use free software in place of proprietary in
+the color of a personal belief he hopes others will come to share. As software
+evangelists go, Stallman avoids forcing those beliefs down listeners' throats.
+Then again, a listener rarely leaves a Stallman speech not knowing where the
+true path to software righteousness lies.
+As if to drive home this message, Stallman punctuates his speech with an
+unusual ritual. Pulling a black robe out of a plastic grocery bag, Stallman
+puts it on. Then he pulls out a reflective brown computer disk and places it on
+his head. The crowd lets out a startled laugh.
+"I am St. IGNUcius of the Church of Emacs," says Stallman, raising his right
+hand in mock-blessing. "I bless your computer, my child."
+={ Ignucius, (St.) ;
+ St. Ignucius
+The laughter turns into full-blown applause after a few seconds. As audience
+members clap, the computer disk on Stallman's head catches the glare of an
+overhead light, eliciting a perfect halo effect. In the blink of an eye,
+Stallman resembles a Russian religious icon.
+{free_as_in_freedom_2_02_rms_st_ignucius.png 254x240 "Stallman dressed as St. IGNUcius. The photo was taken by Stian Eikeland in Bergen, Norway on February 19, 2009." }http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_stallman
+"Emacs was initially a text editor," says Stallman, explaining the getup.
+"Eventually it became a way of life for many and a religion for some. We call
+this religion the Church of Emacs."
+={ Church of Emacs +8 ;
+ Emacs text editor +11 ;
+ GNU Emacs +11
+The skit is a lighthearted moment of self-parody, a humorous return-jab at the
+many people who might see Stallman's form of software asceticism as religious
+fanaticism in disguise. It is also the sound of the other shoe dropping -
+loudly. It's as if, in donning his robe and halo, Stallman is finally letting
+listeners off the hook, saying, "It's OK to laugh. I know I'm weird." [RMS: To
+laugh at someone for being weird is boorish, and it is not my intention to
+excuse that. But I hope people will laugh at my St. IGNUcius comedy routine.]
+Discussing the St. IGNUcius persona afterward, Stallman says he first came up
+with it in 1996, long after the creation of Emacs but well before the emergence
+of the "open source" term and the struggle for hacker-community leadership that
+precipitated it. At the time, Stallman says, he wanted a way to "poke fun at
+himself," to remind listeners that, though stubborn, Stallman was not the
+fanatic some made him out to be. It was only later, Stallman adds, that others
+seized the persona as a convenient way to play up his reputation as software
+ideologue, as Eric Raymond did in an 1999 interview with the Linux.com web
+={ linux.com ;
+ Raymond, Eric :
+ St. Ignucius and +2
+_1 When I say RMS calibrates what he does, I'm not belittling or accusing him
+of insincerity. I'm saying that like all good communicators he's got a
+theatrical streak. Sometimes it's conscious - have you ever seen him in his St.
+IGNUcius drag, blessing software with a disk platter on his head? Mostly it's
+unconscious; he's just learned the degree of irritating stimulus that works,
+that holds attention without (usually) freaking people out.~{ See "Guest
+Interview: Eric S. Raymond," /{Linux.com}/ (May 18, 1999), \\
+http://www.linux.com/interviews/19990518/8/. }~
+Stallman takes issue with the Raymond analysis. "It's simply my way of making
+fun of myself," he says. "The fact that others see it as anything more than
+that is a reflection of their agenda, not mine."
+That said, Stallman does admit to being a ham. "Are you kidding?" he says at
+one point. "I love being the center of attention." To facilitate that process,
+Stallman says he once enrolled in Toastmasters, an organization that helps
+members bolster their public-speaking skills and one Stallman recommends highly
+to others. He possesses a stage presence that would be the envy of most
+theatrical performers and feels a link to vaudevillians of years past. A few
+days after the Maui High Performance Computing Center speech, I allude to the
+1999 LinuxWorld performance and ask Stallman if he has a Groucho Marx complex -
+i.e., the unwillingness to belong to any club that would have him as a
+member.~{ RMS: Williams misinterprets Groucho's famous remark by treating it as
+psychological. It was intended as a jab at the overt antisemitism of many
+clubs, which was why they would refuse him as a member. I did not understand
+this either until my mother explained it to me. Williams and I grew up when
+bigotry had gone underground, and there was no need to veil criticism of
+bigotry in humor as Groucho did. }~ Stallman's response is immediate: "No, but
+I admire Groucho Marx in a lot of ways and certainly have been in some things I
+say inspired by him. But then I've also been inspired in some ways by Harpo."
+={ Marx, Groucho +1 }
+The Groucho Marx influence is certainly evident in Stallman's lifelong fondness
+for punning. Then again, punning and wordplay are common hacker traits. Perhaps
+the most Groucho-like aspect of Stallman's personality, however, is the deadpan
+manner in which the puns are delivered. Most come so stealthily - without even
+the hint of a raised eyebrow or upturned smile - you almost have to wonder if
+Stal-man's laughing at his audience more than the audience is laughing at him.
+Watching members of the Maui High Performance Computer Center laugh at the St.
+IGNUcius parody, such concerns evaporate. While not exactly a standup act,
+Stallman certainly possesses the chops to keep a roomful of engineers in
+stitches. "To be a saint in the Church of Emacs does not require celibacy, but
+it does require making a commitment to living a life of moral purity," he tells
+the Maui audience. "You must exorcise the evil proprietary operating systems
+from all your computers, and then install a wholly [holy] free operating
+system. And then you must install only free software on top of that. If you
+make this commitment and live by it, then you too will be a saint in the Church
+of Emacs, and you too may have a halo."
+The St. IGNUcius skit ends with a brief inside joke. On most Unix systems and
+Unix-related offshoots, the primary competitor program to Emacs is vi,
+pronounced vee-eye, a text-editing program developed by former UC Berkeley
+student and current Sun Microsystems chief scientist, Bill Joy. Before doffing
+his "halo," Stallman pokes fun at the rival program. "People sometimes ask me
+if it is a sin in the Church of Emacs to use vi," he says. "Using a free
+version of vi is not a sin;it is a penance. So happy hacking."~{ The service of
+the Church of Emacs has developed further since 2001. Users can now join the
+Church by reciting the Confession of the Faith: "There is no system but GNU,
+and Linux is one of its kernels." Stallman sometimes mentions the religious
+ceremony known as the Foobar Mitzvah, the Great Schism between various rival
+versions of Emacs, and the cult of the Virgin of Emacs (which refers to any
+person that has not yet learned to use Emacs). In addition, "vi vi vi" has been
+identified as the Editor of the Beast. }~
+={ Joy, Bill ;
+ vi text editor :
+ as an Emacs competitor ;
+ UC Berkeley ;
+ Sun Microsystems
+After a brief question-and-answer session, audience members gather around
+Stallman. A few ask for autographs. "I'll sign this," says Stallman, holding up
+one woman's print out of the GNU General Public License, "but only if you
+promise me to use the term GNU/Linux instead of Linux" (when referring to the
+system), "and tell all your friends to do likewise."
+={ GNU General Public License ;
+The comment merely confirms a private observation. Unlike other stage
+performers and political figures, Stallman has no "off" mode. Aside from the
+St. IGNUcius character, the ideologue you see on stage is the ideologue you
+meet backstage. Later that evening, during a dinner conversation in which a
+programmer mentions his affinity for "open source" programs, Stallman, between
+bites, upbraids his table-mate: "You mean free software. That's the proper way
+to refer to it."
+During the question-and-answer session, Stallman admits to playing the
+pedagogue at times. "There are many people who say, 'Well, first let's invite
+people to join the community, and then let's teach them about freedom.' And
+that could be a reasonable strategy, but what we have is almost everybody's
+inviting people to join the community, and hardly anybody's teaching them about
+freedom once they come in."
+The result, Stallman says, is something akin to a third-world city. "You have
+millions of people moving in and building shantytowns, but nobody's working on
+step two: getting them out of those shantytowns. If you think talking about
+software freedom is a good strategy, please join in doing step two. There are
+plenty working on step one. We need more people working on step two."
+Working on "step two" means driving home the issue that freedom, not
+acceptance, is the root issue of the free software movement. Those who hope to
+reform the proprietary software industry from the inside are on a fool's
+errand. "Change from the inside is risky," Stallman stays. "Unless you're
+working at the level of a Gorbachev, you're going to be neutralized."
+Hands pop up. Stallman points to a member of the golf shirt-wearing contingent.
+"Without patents, how would you suggest dealing with commercial espionage?"
+"Well, those two questions have nothing to do with each other, really," says
+"But I mean if someone wants to steal another company's piece of software."
+Stallman's recoils as if hit by a poisonous spray. "Wait a second," Stallman
+says. "Steal? I'm sorry, there's so much prejudice in that statement that the
+only thing I can say is that I reject that prejudice." Then he turns to the
+substance of the question. "Companies that develop non-free software and other
+things keep lots and lots of trade secrets, and so that's not really likely to
+change. In the old days -even in the 1980s - for the most part programmers were
+not aware that there were even software patents and were paying no attention to
+them. What happened was that people published the interesting ideas, and if
+they were not in the free software movement, they kept secret the little
+details. And now they patent those broad ideas and keep secret the little
+details. So as far as what you're describing, patents really make no difference
+to it one way or another."
+"But if it doesn't affect their publication," a new audience member jumps in,
+his voice trailing off almost as soon as he starts speaking.
+"But it does," Stallman says. "Their publication is telling you that this is an
+idea that's off limits to the rest of the community for 20 years. And what the
+hell good is that? Besides, they've written it in such a hard way to read, both
+to obfuscate the idea and to make the patent as broad as possible, that it's
+basically useless looking at the published information [in the patent] to learn
+anything anyway. The only reason to look at patents is to see the bad news of
+what you can't do."
+The audience falls silent. The speech, which began at 3:15, is now nearing the
+5:00 whistle, and most listeners are already squirming in their seats, antsy to
+get a jump start on the weekend. Sensing the fatigue, Stallman glances around
+the room and hastily shuts things down. "So it looks like we're done," he says,
+following the observation with an auctioneer's "going, going, gone" to flush
+out any last-minute questioners. When nobody throws their hand up, Stallman
+signs off with a traditional exit line.
+"Happy hacking," he says.
+1~ Chapter 9 - The GNU General Public License
+={ GNU General Public License +82 ;
+ GPL +82 ;
+ Stallman, Richard M. :
+ childhood | GNU General Public License +82
+By the spring of 1985, Richard Stallman had produced the GNU Project's first
+useful result - a Lisp-based version of Emacs for Unix-like operating systems.
+To make it available to others as free software, he had to develop the way to
+release it - in effect, the follow-on for the Emacs Commune.
+={ Emacs Commune +7 ;
+ Emacs text editor :
+ Lisp-based free software version ;
+ GNU Emacs :
+ List-based free software version
+The tension between the freedom to modify and authorial privilege had been
+building before Gosmacs. The Copyright Act of 1976 had overhauled U.S.
+copyright law, extending the legal coverage of copyright to software programs.
+According to Section 102(b) of the Act, individuals and companies could
+copyright the "expression" of a software program but not the "actual processes
+or methods embodied in the program."~{ See Hal Abelson, Mike Fischer, and
+Joanne Costello, "Software and Copyright Law," updated version (1997), \\
+={ Copyright Act of 1976 ;
+ copyright laws ;
+ GOSMACS (Gosling Emacs) ;
+ software :
+ copyright laws on
+Translated, this treated a program much like an algebra textbook:its author can
+claim copyright on the text but not on the mathematical ideas of algebra or the
+pedagogical technique employed to explain it. Thus, regardless of what Stallman
+said about using the code of the original Emacs, other programmers were legally
+entitled to write their own implementations of the ideas and commands of Emacs,
+and they did. Gosmacs was one of 30-odd imitations of the original Emacs
+developed for various computer systems.
+The Emacs Commune applied only to the code of the original Emacs program
+written by Stallman himself. Even if it had been legally enforced, it would not
+have applied to separately developed imitations such as Gosmacs. Making Gosmacs
+non-free was unethical according to the ethical ideas of the free software
+movement, because(as proprietary software) it did not respect its users'
+freedom, but this issue had nothing to do with where the ideas in Gosmacs came
+Under copyright, programmers who wanted to copy code from an existing program
+(even with changes) had to obtain permission from the original developer. The
+new law applied copyright even in the absence of copyright notices - though
+hackers generally did not know this - and the copyright notices too began
+Stallman saw these notices as the flags of an invading, occupying army. Rare
+was the program that didn't borrow source code from past programs, and yet,
+with a single stroke of the president's pen, the U.S. government had given
+programmers and companies the legal power to forbid such reuse. Copyright also
+injected a dose of formality into what had otherwise been an informal system.
+Simply put, disputes that had once been settled hacker-to-hacker were now to be
+settled lawyer-to-lawyer. In such a system, companies, not hackers, held the
+automatic advantage. Some saw placing one's name in a copyright notice as
+taking responsibility for the quality of the code, but the copyright notice
+usually has a company's name, and there are other ways for individuals to say
+what code they wrote.
+={ source code :
+ copy rights for
+However, Stallman also noticed, in the years leading up to the GNU Project,
+that copyright allowed an author to grant permission for certain activities
+covered by copyright, and place conditions on them too. "I had seen email
+messages with copyright notices plus simple 'verbatim copying permitted'
+licenses," he recalls. "Those definitely were [an] inspiration." These licenses
+carried the condition not to remove the license. Stallman's idea was to take
+this a few steps further. For example, a permission notice could allow users to
+redistribute even modified versions, with the condition that these versions
+carry the same permission.
+Thus Stallman concluded that use of copyright was not necessarily unethical.
+What was bad about software copyright was the way it was typically used, and
+designed to be used: to deny the user essential freedoms. Most authors imagined
+no other way to use it. But copyright could be used in a different way: to make
+a program free and assure its continued freedom.
+By GNU Emacs 16, in early 1985, Stallman drafted a copyright-based license that
+gave users the right to make and distribute copies. It also gave users the
+right to make and distribute modified versions, but only under the same
+license. They could not exercise the unlimited power of copyright over those
+modified versions, so they could not make their versions proprietary as Gosmacs
+was. And they had to make the source code available. Those conditions closed
+the legal gap that would otherwise allow restricted, non-free versions of GNU
+Emacs to emerge.
+={ Emacs text editor :
+ copyrights and | GNU Emacs License and ;
+ GNU Emacs :
+ copyrights and | GNU Emacs License and ;
+ GOSMACS (Gosling Emacs) :
+ copyrights and ;
+ licenses +15
+Although helpful in codifying the social contract of the Emacs Commune, the
+early GNU Emacs license remained too "informal" for its purpose, Stallman says.
+Soon after forming the Free Software Foundation he began working on a more
+airtight version, consulting with the other directors and with the attorneys
+who had helped to set it up.
+Mark Fischer, a Boston copyright attorney who initially provided Stallman's
+legal advice, recalls discussing the license with Stallman during this period.
+"Richard had very strong views about how it should work," Fischer says, "He had
+two principles. The first was to make the software absolutely as open as
+possible." (By the time he said this, Fischer seems to have been influenced by
+open source supporters; Stallman never sought to make software "open.") "The
+second was to encourage others to adopt the same licensing practices." The
+requirements in the license were designed for the second goal.
+={ Fischer, Mark +2 }
+The revolutionary nature of this final condition would take a while to sink in.
+At the time, Fischer says, he simply viewed the GNU Emacs license as a simple
+trade. It put a price tag on GNU Emacs' use. Instead of money, Stallman was
+charging users access to their own later modifications. That said, Fischer does
+remember the license terms as unique.
+"I think asking other people to accept the price was, if not unique, highly
+unusual at that time," he says.
+In fashioning the GNU Emacs license, Stallman made one major change to the
+informal tenets of the old Emacs Commune. Where he had once demanded that
+Commune members send him all the changes they wrote, Stallman now demanded only
+that they pass along source code and freedom whenever they chose to
+redistribute the program. In other words, programmers who simply modified Emacs
+for private use no longer needed to send the source-code changes back to
+Stallman. In a rare alteration of free software doctrine, Stallman slashed the
+"price tag" for free software. Users could innovate without Stallman looking
+over their shoulders, and distribute their versions only when they wished, just
+so long as all copies came with permission for their possessors to develop and
+redistribute them further.
+Stallman says this change was fueled by his own dissatisfaction with the Big
+Brother aspect of the original Emacs Commune social contract. As much as he had
+found it useful for everyone to send him their changes, he came to feel that
+requiring this was unjust. "It was wrong to require people to publish all
+changes," says Stallman.
+"It was wrong to require them to be sent to one privileged developer. That kind
+of centralization and privilege for one was not consistent with a society in
+which all had equal rights."
+The GNU Emacs General Public License made its debut on a version of GNU Emacs
+in 1985. Following the release, Stallman welcomed input from the general hacker
+community on how to improve the license's language. One hacker to take up the
+offer was future software activist John Gilmore, then working as a consultant
+to Sun Microsystems. As part of his consulting work, Gilmore had ported Emacs
+over to SunOS, the company's in-house version of Unix. In the process of doing
+so, Gilmore had published the changed version under the GNU Emacs license.
+Instead of viewing the license as a liability, Gilmore saw it as clear and
+concise expression of the hacker ethos. "Up until then, most licenses were very
+informal," Gilmore recalls.
+={ Gilmore, John +6 ;
+ SunOS :
+ porting Emacs to ;
+ Sun Microsystems
+As an example of this informality, Gilmore cites the mid-1980s copyright
+license of trn, a news reader program written by Larry Wall, a hacker who could
+go onto later fame as the creator of both the Unix "patch" utility and the Perl
+scripting language. In the hope of striking a balance between common hacker
+courtesy and an author's right to dictate the means of commercial publication,
+Wall used the program's accompanying copyright notice as an editorial sounding
+={ Wall, Larry +1 ;
+ patches, inserting into source code ;
+ Perl programming language ;
+ source code :
+ patches
+_1 Copyright (c) 1985, Larry Wall \\ You may copy the trn kit in whole or in
+part as long as you don't try to make money off it, or pretend that you wrote
+it.~{ See Trn Kit README, \\
+http://stuff.mit.edu/afs/sipb/project/trn/src/trn-3.6/README. }~
+Such statements, while reflective of the hacker ethic, also reflected the
+difficulty of translating the loose, informal nature of that ethic into the
+rigid, legal language of copyright. In writing the GNU Emacs license, Stallman
+had done more than close up the escape hatch that permitted proprietary
+offshoots. He had expressed the hacker ethic in a manner understandable to both
+lawyer and hacker alike.
+It wasn't long, Gilmore says, before other hackers began discussing ways to
+"port" the GNU Emacs license over to their own programs. Prompted by a
+conversation on Usenet, Gilmore sent an email to Stallman in November, 1986,
+suggesting modification:
+_1 You should probably remove "EMACS" from the license and replace it with
+"SOFTWARE" or something. Soon, we hope, Emacs will not be the biggest part of
+the GNU system, and the license applies to all of it.~{ See John Gilmore,
+quoted from email to author. }~
+Gilmore wasn't the only person suggesting a more general approach. By the end
+of 1986, Stallman himself was at work with GNU Project's next major milestone,
+the source-code debugger GDB. To release this, he had to modify the GNU Emacs
+license so it applied to GDB instead of GNU Emacs. It was not a big job, but it
+was an opening for possible errors. In 1989, Stallman figured out how to remove
+the specific references to Emacs, and express the connection between the
+program code and the license solely in the program's source files. This way,
+any developer could apply the license to his program without changing the
+license. The GNU General Public License, GNU GPL for short, was born. The GNU
+Project soon made it the official license of all existing GNU programs.
+={ GNU Debugger (GDB) +1 ;
+ GDB (GNU Debugger) ;
+ Debugger +1
+In publishing the GPL, Stallman followed the software convention of using
+decimal numbers to indicate versions with minor changes and whole numbers to
+indicate versions with major changes. The first version, in 1989, was labeled
+Version 1.0. The license contained a preamble spelling out its political
+_1 The General Public License is designed to make sure that you have the
+freedom to give away or sell copies of free software, that you receive source
+code or can get it if you want it, that you can change the software or use
+pieces of it in new free programs; and that you know you can do these things.
+_1 To protect your rights, we need to make restrictions that forbid anyone to
+deny you these rights or to ask you to surrender the rights. These restrictions
+translate to certain responsibilities for you if you distribute copies of the
+software, or if you modify it.~{ See Richard Stallman, et al., "GNU General
+Public License: Version 1,"(February, 1989), \\
+http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/gpl-1.0.html. }~
+As hacks go, the GPL stands as one of Stallman's best. It created a system of
+communal ownership within the normally proprietary confines of copyright law.
+More importantly, it demonstrated the intellectual similarity between legal
+code and software code. Implicit within the GPL's preamble was a profound
+message: instead of viewing copyright law with suspicion, hackers should view
+it as a dangerous system that could be hacked.
+% ={Emacs Commune+1}
+"The GPL developed much like any piece of free software with a large community
+discussing its structure, its respect or the opposite in their observation,
+needs for tweaking and even to compromise it mildly for greater acceptance,"
+says Jerry Cohen, another attorney who advised Stallman after Fischer departed.
+"The process worked very well and GPL in its several versions has gone from
+widespread skeptical and at times hostile response to widespread acceptance."
+In a 1986 interview with /{BYTE}/ magazine, Stallman summed up the GPL in
+colorful terms. In addition to proclaiming hacker values, Stallman said,
+readers should also "see it as a form of intellectual ju-jitsu, using the legal
+system that software hoarders have set up against them."~{ See David Betz and
+Jon Edwards, "Richard Stallman discusses his public-domain [ sic ]
+Unix-compatible software system with BYTE editors," BYTE (July, 1986).
+(Reprinted on the GNU Project web site: \\
+http://www.gnu.org/gnu/byte-interview.html .) \\ This interview offers an
+interesting, not to mention candid, glimpse at Stallman's political attitudes
+during the earliest days of the GNU Project. It is also helpful in tracing the
+evolution of Stallman's rhetoric. \\ Describing the purpose of the GPL,
+Stallman says, "I'm trying to change the way people approach knowledge and
+information in general. I think that to try to own knowledge, to try to control
+whether people are allowed to use it, or to try to stop other people from
+sharing it, is sabotage." \\ Contrast this with a statement to the author in
+August 2000: "I urge you not to use the term 'intellectual property' in your
+thinking. It will lead you to misunderstand things, because that term
+generalizes about copyrights, patents, and trademarks. And those things are so
+different in their effects that it is entirely foolish to try to talk about
+them at once. If you hear somebody saying something' about intellectual
+property,' without [putting it in] quotes, then he's not thinking very clearly
+and you shouldn't join." \\ [RMS: The contrast it shows is that I've learned to
+be more cautious in generalizing. I probably wouldn't talk about "owning
+knowledge" today, since it's a very broad concept. But "owning knowledge" is
+not the same generalization as "intellectual property," and the difference
+between those three laws is crucial to understanding any legal issue about
+owning knowledge. Patents are direct monopolies over using specific knowledge;
+that really is one form of "owning knowledge." Copyrights are one of the
+methods used to stop the sharing of works that embody or explain knowledge,
+which is a very different thing. Meanwhile, trademarks have very little to do
+with the subject of knowledge.] }~ Years later, Stallman would describe the
+GPL's creation in less hostile terms. "I was thinking about issues that were in
+a sense ethical and in a sense political and in a sense legal," he says. "I had
+to try to do what could be sustained by the legal system that we're in. In
+spirit the job was that of legislating the basis for a new society, but since I
+wasn't a government, I couldn't actually change any laws. I had to try to do
+this by building on top of the existing legal system, which had not been
+designed for anything like this."
+={ Byte magazine }
+About the time Stallman was pondering the ethical, political, and legal issues
+associated with free software, a California hacker named Don Hopkins mailed him
+a manual for the 68000 microprocessor. Hopkins, a Unix hacker and fellow
+science-fiction buff, had borrowed the manual from Stallman a while earlier. As
+a display of gratitude, Hopkins decorated the return envelope with a number of
+stickers obtained at a local science-fiction convention. One sticker in
+particular caught Stallman's eye. It read, "Copyleft (L), All Rights Reversed."
+Stallman, inspired by the sticker, nicknamed the legal technique employed in
+the GNU Emacs license (and later in the GNU GPL) "Copyleft," jocularly
+symbolized by a backwards "C" in a circle. Over time, the nickname would become
+general Free Software Foundation terminology for any copyright license "making
+a program free software and requiring all modified and extended versions of the
+program to be free software as well."
+={ copyleft ;
+ Hopkins, Don
+The German sociologist Max Weber once proposed that all great religions are
+built upon the "routinization" or "institutionalization" of charisma. Every
+successful religion, Weber argued, converts the charisma or message of the
+original religious leader into a social, political, and ethical apparatus more
+easily translatable across cultures and time.
+={ Weber, Max }
+While not religious per se, the GNU GPL certainly qualifies as an interesting
+example of this "routinization" process at work in the modern, decentralized
+world of software development. Since its unveiling, programmers and companies
+who have otherwise expressed little loyalty or allegiance to Stallman have
+willingly accepted the GPL bargain at face value. Thousands have also accepted
+the GPL as a preemptive protective mechanism for their own software programs.
+Even those who reject the GPL conditions as too limiting still credit it as
+One hacker falling into this latter group was Keith Bostic, a University of
+California employee at the time of the GPL 1.0 release. Bostic's department,
+the Computer Systems Research Group (SRG), had been involved in Unix
+development since the late 1970s and was responsible for many key parts of
+Unix, including the TCP/IP networking protocol, the cornerstone of modern
+Internet communications. By the late 1980s, AT&T, the original owner of the
+Unix software, began to focus on commercializing Unix and began looking to the
+Berkeley Software Distribution, or BSD, the academic version of Unix developed
+by Bostic and his Berkeley peers, as a key source of commercial technology.
+={ AT&T +1 ;
+ Berkely Software Distribution (BSD) +6 ;
+ Bostic, Keith +5 ;
+ BSD (Berkely Software Distribution) +6 ;
+ Computer Systems Research Group ;
+ University of California +4 ;
+The code written by Bostic and friends was off limits to nearly everyone,
+because it was intermixed with proprietary AT&T code. Berkeley distributions
+were therefore available only to institutions that already had a Unix source
+license from AT&T. As AT&T raised its license fees, this arrangement, which had
+at first seemed innocuous (to those who thought only of academia) became
+increasingly burdensome even there. To use Berkeley's code in GNU, Stallman
+would have to convince Berkeley to separate it from AT&T's code and release it
+as free software. In 1984 or 1985 he met with the leaders of the BSD effort,
+pointing out that AT&T was not a charity and that for a university to donate
+its work (in effect) to AT&T was not proper. He asked them to separate out
+their code and release it as free software.
+={ licenses :
+ AT&T UNIX source code and +2
+Hired in 1986, Bostic had taken on the personal project of porting the latest
+version of BSD to the PDP-11 computer. It was during this period, Bostic says,
+that he came into close interaction with Stallman during Stallman's occasional
+forays out to the west coast. "I remember vividly arguing copyright with
+Stallman while he sat at borrowed workstations at CSRG," says Bostic. "We'd go
+to dinner afterward and continue arguing about copyright over dinner."
+={ PDP-11 computer }
+The arguments eventually took hold, although not in the way Stallman would have
+preferred. In June, 1989, Berkeley had separated its networking code from the
+rest of the AT&T-owned operating system and began distributing it under a
+copyright-based free license. The license terms were liberal. All a licensee
+had to do was give credit to the university in advertisements touting
+derivative programs.~{ The University of California's "obnoxious advertising
+clause" would later prove to be a problem. Looking for a permissive alternative
+to the GPL, some hackers used the original BSD license, replacing "University
+of California" with their own names or the names of their institutions. The
+result: free software systems using many of these programs would have to cite
+dozens of names in advertisements. In 1999, after a few years of lobbying on
+Stallman's part, the University of California agreed to drop this clause. See
+"The BSD License Problem" at \\ http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/bsd.html. }~ In
+contrast to the GPL, this license permitted proprietary offshoots. One problem
+limited the use of the BSD Networking release: it wasn't a complete operating
+system, just the network-related parts of one. While the code would be a major
+contribution to any free operating system, it could only be run at that time in
+conjunction with other, proprietary-licensed code.
+={ AT&T +1 }
+Over the next few years, Bostic and other University of California employees
+worked to replace the missing components and turn BSD into a complete, freely
+redistributable operating system. Although delayed by a legal challenge from
+Unix Systems Laboratories - the AT&T spin-off that retained ownership of the
+Unix code - the effort would finally bear fruit in the early 1990s. Even before
+then, however, many of the Berkeley network utilities would make their way into
+Stallman's GNU system.
+"I think it's highly unlikely that we ever would have gone as strongly as we
+did without the GNU influence," says Bostic, looking back. "It was clearly
+something where they were pushing hard and we liked the idea."
+By the end of the 1980s, the GPL was beginning to exert a gravitational effect
+on the free software community. A program didn't have to carry the GPL to
+qualify as free software - witness the case of the BSD network utilities - but
+putting a program under the GPL sent a definite message. "I think the very
+existence of the GPL inspired people to think through whether they were making
+free software, and how they would license it," says Bruce Perens, creator of
+Electric Fence, a popular Unix utility, and future leader of the Debian
+GNU/Linux development team. A few years after the release of the GPL, Perens
+says he decided to discard Electric Fence's homegrown license in favor of
+Stallman's lawyer-vetted copyright. "It was actually pretty easy to do," Perens
+={ Perens, Bruce }
+Rich Morin, the programmer who had viewed Stallman's initial GNU announcement
+with a degree of skepticism, recalls being impressed by the software that began
+to gather under the GPL umbrella. As the leader of a SunOS user group, one of
+Morin's primary duties during the 1980s had been to send out distribution tapes
+containing the best freeware or free software utilities. The job often mandated
+calling up original program authors to verify whether their programs were
+copyrighted or whether they had been consigned to the public domain. Around
+1989, Morin says, he began to notice that the best software programs typically
+fell under the GPL license. "As a software distributor, as soon as I saw the
+word GPL, I knew I was home free,"recalls Morin.
+={ SunOS }
+To compensate for the prior hassles that went into compiling distribution tapes
+to the Sun User Group, Morin had charged recipients a convenience fee. Now,
+with programs moving over to the GPL, Morin was suddenly getting his tapes put
+together in half the time, turning a tidy profit in the process. Sensing a
+commercial opportunity, Morin rechristened his hobby as a business: Prime Time
+={ Sun User Group }
+Such commercial exploitation was completely consistent with the free software
+agenda. "When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not
+price," advised Stallman in the GPL's preamble. By the late 1980s, Stallman had
+refined it to a more simple mnemonic: "Don't think free as in free beer; think
+free as in free speech."
+For the most part, businesses ignored Stallman's entreaties. Still, for a few
+entrepreneurs, the freedom associated with free software was the same freedom
+associated with free markets. Take software ownership out of the commercial
+equation, and you had a situation where even the smallest software company was
+free to compete against the IBMs and DECs of the world.
+One of the first entrepreneurs to grasp this concept was Michael Tiemann, a
+software programmer and graduate student at Stanford University. During the
+1980s, Tiemann had followed the GNU Project like an aspiring jazz musician
+following a favorite artist. It wasn't until the release of the GNU C Compiler,
+or GCC, in 1987, however, that he began to grasp the full potential of free
+software. Dubbing GCC a "bombshell," Tiemann says the program's own existence
+underlined Stallman's determination as a programmer.
+={ C Compiler (GNU) +9 ;
+ GNU C Compiler (GCC) +9 ;
+ GCC (GNU C Compiler) +9 ;
+ Tiemann, Michael +8 ;
+ Stanford University
+"Just as every writer dreams of writing the great American novel, every
+programmer back in the 1980s talked about writing the great American compiler,"
+Tiemman recalls. "Suddenly Stallman had done it. It was very humbling."
+"You talk about single points of failure, GCC was it," echoes Bostic. "Nobody
+had a compiler back then, until GCC came along."
+Rather than compete with Stallman, Tiemann decided to build on top of his work.
+The original version of GCC weighed in at 110,000 lines of code, but Tiemann
+recalls the program as surprisingly easy to understand. So easy in fact that
+Tiemann says it took less than five days to master and another week to port the
+software to a new hardware platform, National Semiconductor's 32032 microchip.
+Over the next year, Tiemann began playing around with the source code, creating
+the first "native" or direct compiler for the C++ programming language, by
+extending GCC to handle C++ as well as C. (The existing, proprietary
+implementation of the C++ language worked by converting the code to the C
+language, then feeding the result to a C compiler.) One day, while delivering a
+lecture on the program at Bell Labs, Tiemann ran into some AT&T developers
+struggling to pull off the same thing.
+={ C+ programming language }
+"There were about 40 or 50 people in the room, and I asked how many people were
+working on the native code compiler," Tiemann recalls. "My host said the
+information was confidential but added that if I took a look around the room I
+might get a good general idea."
+It wasn't long after, Tiemann says, that the light bulb went off in his head.
+"I had been working on that project for six months," Tiemann says. I just
+thought to myself, whether it's me or the code, this is a level of efficiency
+that the free market should be ready to reward."
+Tiemann found added inspiration in the /{GNU Manifesto}/: while excoriating the
+greed of proprietary software vendors, it also encourages companies, as long as
+they respect users freedom, to use and redistribute free software in their
+commercial activities. By removing the power of monopoly from the commercial
+software question, the GPL makes it possible for even small companies to
+compete on the basis of service, which extends from simple tech support to
+training to extending free programs for specific clients' needs.
+={ GNU Manifesto }
+In a 1999 essay, Tiemann recalls the impact of Stallman's /{Manifesto}/. "It
+read like a socialist polemic, but I saw something different. I saw a business
+plan in disguise."~{ See Michael Tiemann, "Future of Cygnus Solutions: An
+Entrepreneur's Account," Open Sources (O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 1999): 139,
+\\ http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/opensources/book/tiemans.html. }~
+This business plan was not new; Stallman supported himself in the late 80s by
+doing this on a small scale. But Tiemann intended to take it to a new level.
+Teaming up with John Gilmore and David Vinayak Wallace, Tiemann launched a
+software consulting service dedicated to customizing GNU programs. Dubbed
+Cygnus Support (informally, "Cygnus" was a recursive acronym for "Cygnus, Your
+GNU Support"), the company signed its first development contract in February,
+1990. By the end of the year, the company had $725,000 worth of support and
+development contracts.
+={ Gilmore, John }
+The complete GNU operating system Stallman envisioned required more than
+software development tools. In the 1990s, GNU also developed a command line
+interpreter or "shell," which was an extended replacement for the Bourne Shell
+(written by FSF employee Brian Fox, and christened by Stallman the Bourne Again
+Shell, or BASH), as well as the PostScript interpreter Ghostscript, the
+documentation browser platform Texinfo, the C Library which C programs need in
+order to run and talk to the system's kernel, the spreadsheet Oleo ("better for
+you than the more expensive spreadsheet"), and even a fairly good chess game.
+However, programmers were typically most interested in the GNU programming
+GNU Emacs, GDB, and GCC were the "big three" of developer-oriented tools, but
+they weren't the only ones developed by the GNU Project in the 80s. By 1990,
+GNU had also generated GNU versions of the build-controller Make, the
+parser-generator YACC (rechristened Bison), and awk (rechristened gawk); as
+well as dozens more. Like GCC, GNU programs were usually designed to run on
+multiple systems, not just a single vendor's platform. In the process of making
+programs more flexible, Stallman and his collaborators often made them more
+useful as well.
+Recalling the GNU universalist approach, Prime Time Freeware's Morin points to
+a useless but vitally important software package called GNU Hello, which serves
+as an example to show programmers how to properly package a program for GNU.
+"It's the hello world program which is five lines of C, packaged up as if it
+were a GNU distribution," Morin says. "And so it's got the Texinfo stuff and
+the configure stuff. It's got all the other software engineering goo that the
+GNU Project has come up with to allow packages to port to all these different
+environments smoothly. That's tremendously important work, and it affects not
+only all of [Stallman's] software, but also all of the other GNU Project
+According to Stallman, improving technically on the components of Unix was
+secondary to replacing them with free software. "With each piece I may or may
+not find a way to improve it," said Stallman to /{BYTE}/. "To some extent I am
+getting the benefit of reimplementation, which makes many systems much better.
+To some extent it's because I have been in the field a long time and worked on
+many other systems. I therefore have many ideas [which I learned from them] to
+bring to bear."~{ See Richard Stallman, BYTE (1986). }~
+={ Byte magazine }
+Nevertheless, as GNU tools made their mark in the late 1980s, Stallman's AI
+Lab-honed reputation for design fastidiousness soon became legendary throughout
+the entire software-development community.
+Jeremy Allison, a Sun user during the late 1980s and programmer destined to run
+his own free software project, Samba, in the 1990s, recalls that reputation
+with a laugh. During the late 1980s, Allison began using Emacs. Inspired by the
+program's community-development model, Allison says he sent in a snippet of
+source code only to have it rejected by Stallman.
+={ Allison, Jeramy +1 }
+"It was like the /{Onion}/ headline," Allison says. "'Child's prayers to God
+answered: No.'"
+={ Onion, The }
+As the GNU Project moved from success to success in creation of user-level
+programs and libraries, it postponed development of the kernel, the central
+"traffic cop" program that controls other programs' access to the processor and
+all machine resources.
+As with several other major system components, Stallman sought a head-start on
+kernel development by looking for an existing program to adapt. A review of GNU
+Project "GNUs letters" of the late 1980s reveals that this approach, like the
+initial attempt to build GCC out of Pastel, had its problems. A January, 1987
+GNUs letter reported the GNU Project's intention to overhaul TRIX, a kernel
+developed at MIT. However, Stallman never actually tried to do this, since he
+was working on GCC at the time; later he concluded that TRIX would require too
+much change to be a good starting point. By February of 1988, according to a
+newsletter published that month, the GNU Project had shifted its kernel plans
+to Mach, a lightweight "micro-kernel" developed at Carnegie Mellon. Mach was
+not then free software, but its developers privately said they would liberate
+it; when this occurred, in 1990, GNU Project kernel development could really
+commence.~{ See "Hurd History," \\
+http://www.gnu.org/software/hurd/history.html. }~
+The delays in kernel development were just one of many concerns weighing on
+Stallman during this period. In 1989, Lotus Development Corporation filed suit
+against rival software companies, Paperback Software International and Borland,
+for copying menu commands from Lotus' popular 1-2-3 Spreadsheet program. Lotus'
+suit, coupled with the Apple-Microsoft "look and feel" battle, endangered the
+future of the GNU system. Although neither suit directly attacked the GNU
+Project, both threatened the right to develop software compatible with existing
+programs, as many GNU programs were. These lawsuits could impose a chilling
+effect on the entire culture of software development. Determined to do
+something, Stallman and a few professors put an ad in /{The Tech}/ (the MIT
+student newspaper) blasting the lawsuits and calling for a boycott of both
+Lotus and Apple. He then followed up the ad by helping to organize a group to
+protest the corporations filing the suit. Calling itself the League for
+Programming Freedom, the group held protests outside the offices of Lotus, Inc.
+={ Apple Computers ;
+ Lotus Development Corp. ;
+ Microsoft Corporation :
+ Apple Computer lawsuit ;
+ Paperback Software International
+The protests were notable.~{ According to a League for Programming Freedom
+press release at \\
+http://progfree.org/Links/prep.ai.mit.edu/demo.final.release, the protests were
+no-table for featuring the first hexadecimal protest chant: \\ 1-2-3-4, toss
+the lawyers out the door \\ 5-6-7-8, innovate don't litigate \\ 9-A-B-C, 1-2-3
+is not for me \\ D-E-F-O, look and feel have got to go }~
+They document the evolving nature of the software industry. Applications had
+quietly replaced operating systems as the primary corporate battleground. In
+its unfinished quest to build a free software operating system, the GNU Project
+seemed hopelessly behind the times to those whose primary values were fashion
+and success. Indeed, the very fact that Stallman had felt it necessary to put
+together an entirely new group dedicated to battling the "look and feel"
+lawsuits led some observers to think that the FSF was obsolete.
+However, Stallman had a strategic reason to start a separate organization to
+fight the imposition of new monopolies on software development: so that
+proprietary software developers would join it too. Extending copyright to cover
+interfaces would threaten many proprietary software developers as well as many
+free software developers. These proprietary developers were unlikely to endorse
+the Free Soft-ware Foundation, but there was, intentionally, nothing in the
+League for Programming Freedom to drive them away. For the same reason,
+Stallman handed over leadership of LPF to others as soon as it was feasible.
+In 1990, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation certified Stallman's
+genius status when it granted Stallman a Mac Arthur fellowship, the so-called
+"genius grant," amounting in this case to$240,000 over 5 years. Although the
+Foundation does not state a reason for its grants, this one was seen as an
+award for launching the GNU Project and giving voice to the free software
+philosophy. The grant relieved a number of short-term concerns for Stallman.
+For instance, it enabled him to cease the consulting work through which he had
+obtained his income in the 80s and devote more time to the free software cause.
+The award also made it possible for Stallman to register normally to vote. In
+1985 a fire in the house where Stallman lived left him without an official
+domicile. It also covered most of his books with ash, and cleaning these "dirty
+books" did not yield satisfying results. From that time he lived as a
+"squatter" at 545 Technology Square, and had to vote as a "homeless person."~{
+See Reuven Lerner, "Stallman wins $240,000 MacArthur award," MIT, The Tech
+(July 18, 1990), \\ http://the-tech.mit.edu/V110/N30/rms.30n.html. }~ "[The
+Cambridge Election Commission] didn't want to accept that as my address,"
+Stallman would later recall. "A newspaper article about the MacArthur grant
+said that, and then they let me register."~{ See Michael Gross, "Richard
+Stallman: High School Misfit, Symbol of Free Software, Mac Arthur-certified
+Genius" (1999). }~
+Most importantly, the MacArthur fellowship gave Stallman press attention and
+speaking invitations, which he used to spread the word about GNU, free
+software, and dangers such as "look and feel" lawsuits and software patents.
+Interestingly, the GNU system's completion would stem from one of these trips.
+In April 1991, Stallman paid a visit to the Polytechnic University in Helsinki,
+Finland. Among the audience members was 21-year-old Linus Torvalds, who was
+just beginning to develop the Linux kernel - the free software kernel destined
+to fill the GNU system's main remaining gap.
+={ Helsinki, Finland +3 ;
+ Polytechnic University (Finland) ;
+ Torvalds, Linus +16
+A student at the nearby University of Helsinki at the time, Torvalds regarded
+Stallman with bemusement. "I saw, for the first time in my life, the
+stereotypical long-haired, bearded hacker type," recalls Torvalds in his 2001
+autobiography /{Just for Fun}/. "We don't have much of them in Helsinki."~{ See
+Linus Torvalds and David Diamond, Just For Fun: The Story of an Accidental
+Revolutionary (Harper Collins Publishers, Inc., 2001): 58-59. Although
+presumably accurate in regard to Torvalds' life, what the book says about
+Stallman is sometimes wrong. For instance, it says that Stallman "wants to make
+everything open source," and that he "complains about other people not using
+the GPL." In fact, Stallman advocates free software, not open source. He urges
+authors to choose the GNU GPL, in most circumstances, but says that all free
+software licenses are ethical. }~
+While not exactly attuned to the "socio political" side of the Stallman agenda,
+Torvalds nevertheless appreciated one aspect of the agenda's underlying logic:
+no programmer writes error-free code. Even when users have no wish to adapt a
+program to their specific preferences, any program can use improvement. By
+sharing software, hackers put a program's improvement ahead of individual
+motivations such as greed or ego protection.
+Like many programmers of his generation, Torvalds had cut his teeth not on
+mainframe computers like the IBM 7094, but on a motley assortment of home-built
+computer systems. As a university student, Torvalds had made the step up from
+PC programming to Unix, using the university's MicroVAX. This ladder-like
+progression had given Torvalds a different perspective on the barriers to
+machine access. For Stallman, the chief barriers were bureaucracy and
+privilege. For Torvalds, the chief barriers were geography and the harsh
+Helsinki winter. Forced to trek across the University of Helsinki just to log
+in to his Unix account, Torvalds quickly began looking for a way to log in from
+the warm confines of his off-campus apartment.
+={ IBM 7094 computer ;
+ MicroVAX +1
+Torvalds was using Minix, a lightweight non-free system developed as an
+instructional example by Dutch university professor Andrew Tanenbaum.~{ It was
+non-free in 1991. Minix is free software now. }~ It included the non-free Free
+University Compiler Kit, plus utilities of the sort that Tanenbaum had
+contemptuously invited Stallman in 1983 to write.~{ Tanenbaum describes Minix
+as an "operating system" in his book, Operating System Design and
+Implementation , but what the book discusses is only the part of the system
+that corresponds to the kernel of Unix. There are two customary usages of the
+term "operating system," and one of them is what is called the "kernel" in Unix
+terminology. But that's not the only terminological complication in the
+subject. That part of Minix consists of a microkernel plus servers that run on
+it, a design of the same kind as the GNU Hurd plus Mach. The microkernel plus
+servers are comparable to the kernel of Unix. But when that book says "the
+kernel," it refers to the microkernel only. See Andrew Tanenbaum, Operating
+System Design and Implementation , 1987. }~
+={ Minix operating system +2 ;
+ Unix operating system :
+ Minix and ;
+ Tanenbaum, Andrew
+Minix fit within the memory confines of Torvalds' 386 PC, but it was intended
+more to be studied than used. The Minix system also lacked the facility of
+terminal emulation, which would mimic a typical display terminal and thus
+enable Torvalds to log in to the MicroVAX from home.
+Early in 1991, Torvalds began writing a terminal emulation program. He used
+Minix to develop his emulator, but the emulator didn't run on Minix; it was a
+stand-alone program. Then he gave it features to access disk files in Minix's
+file system. Around then, Torvalds referred to his evolving work as the
+"GNU/Emacs of terminal emulation programs."~{ See Linus Torvalds and David
+Diamond, Just For Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary (Harper Collins
+Publishers, Inc., 2001): 78. }~
+Since Minix lacked many important features. Torvalds began extending his
+terminal emulator into a kernel comparable to that of Minix, except that it was
+monolithic. Feeling ambitious, he solicited a Minix newsgroup for copies of the
+POSIX standards, the specifications for a Unix-compatible kernel.~{ POSIX was
+subsequently extended to include specifications for many command-line features,
+but that did not exist in 1991. }~ A few weeks later, having put his kernel
+together with some GNU programs and adapted them to work with it, Torvalds was
+posting a message reminiscent of Stallman's original 1983 GNU posting:
+_1 Hello everybody out there using minix-
+_1 I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and
+professional like gnu) for 386 (486) AT clones. This has been brewing since
+April, and is starting to get ready. I'd like any feedback on things people
+like/dislike in minix, as my OS resembles it somewhat (same physical layout of
+the file-system (due to practical reasons) among other things). I've currently
+ported bash (1.08) and gcc(1.40)...~{ Ibid, p. 85. }~
+The posting drew a smattering of responses and within a month, Torvalds had
+posted a 0.01 version of his kernel - i.e., the earliest possible version fit
+for outside review - on an Internet FTP site. In the course of doing so,
+Torvalds had to come up with a name for the new kernel. On his own PC hard
+drive, Torvalds had saved the program as Linux, a name that paid its respects
+to the software convention of giving each Unix variant a name that ended with
+the letter X. Deeming the name too "egotistical," Torvalds changed it to Freax,
+only to have the FTP site manager change it back.
+={ Freax }
+Torvalds said he was writing a free operating system, and his comparing it with
+GNU shows he meant a complete system. However, what he actually wrote was a
+kernel, pure and simple. Torvalds had no need to write more than the kernel
+because, as he knew, the other needed components were already available, thanks
+to the developers of GNU and other free software projects. Since the GNU
+Project wanted to use them all in the GNU system, it had perforce made them
+work together. While Torvalds continued developing the kernel, he (and later
+his collaborators) made those programs work with it too.
+Initially, Linux was not free software: the license it carried did not qualify
+as free, because it did not allow commercial distribution. Torvalds was worried
+that some company would swoop in and take Linux away from him. However, as the
+growing GNU/Linux combination gained popularity, Torvalds saw that sale of
+copies would be useful for the community, and began to feel less worried about
+a possible takeover.~{ Ibid, p. 94-95. }~ This led him to reconsider the
+licensing of Linux.
+Neither compiling Linux with GCC nor running GCC with Linux required him
+legally to release Linux under the GNU GPL, but Torvalds' use of GCC implied
+for him a certain obligation to let other users borrow back. As Torvalds would
+later put it: "I had hoisted myself up on the shoulders of giants."~{ Ibid, p.
+95-97. }~ Not surprisingly, he began to think about what would happen when
+other people looked to him for similar support. A decade after the decision,
+Torvalds echoes the Free Software Foundation's Robert Chassell when he sums up
+his thoughts at the time:
+={ C Compiler (GNU) :
+ Linux development and +3 ;
+ GNU C Compiler (GCC) :
+ Linux development and ;
+ GCC (GNU C Compiler) :
+ Linux development and}
+_1 You put six months of your life into this thing and you want to make it
+available and you want to get something out of it, but you don't want people to
+take advantage of it. I wanted people to be able to see [Linux], and to make
+changes and improvements to their hearts' content. But I also wanted to make
+sure that what I got out of it was to see what they were doing. I wanted to
+always have access to the sources so that if they made improvements, I could
+make those improvements myself.~{ See Linus Torvalds and David Diamond, Just
+For Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary (Harper Collins Publishers,
+Inc., 2001): 94-95. }~
+When it was time to release the 0.12 version of Linux, the first to operate
+fully with GCC, Torvalds decided to throw his lot in with the free software
+movement. He discarded the old license of Linux and replaced it with the GPL.
+Within three years, Linux developers were offering release 1.0 of Linux, the
+kernel; it worked smoothly with the almost complete GNU system, composed of
+programs from the GNU Project and elsewhere. In effect, they had completed the
+GNU operating system by adding Linux to it. The resulting system was basically
+GNU plus Linux. Torvalds and friends, however, referred to it confusingly as
+By 1994, the amalgamated system had earned enough respect in the hacker world
+to make some observers from the business world wonder if Torvalds hadn't given
+away the farm by switching to the GPL in the project's initial months. In the
+first issue of /{Linux Journal}/, publisher Robert Young sat down with Torvalds
+for an interview. When Young asked the Finnish programmer if he felt regret at
+giving up private ownership of the Linux source code, Torvalds said no. "Even
+with 20/20 hindsight," Torvalds said, he considered the GPL "one of the very
+best design decisions" made during the early stages of the Linux project.~{ See
+Robert Young, "Interview with Linus, the Author of Linux," Linux Journal (March
+1, 1994), \\ http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/2736. }~
+={ Young, Robert }
+That the decision had been made with zero appeal or deference to Stallman and
+the Free Software Foundation speaks to the GPL's growing portability. Although
+it would take a couple of years to be recognized by Stallman, the explosiveness
+of Linux development conjured flashbacks of Emacs. This time around, however,
+the innovation triggering the explosion wasn't a software hack like Control-R
+but the novelty of running a Unix-like system on the PC architecture. The
+motives may have been different, but the end result certainly fit the ethical
+specifications: a fully functional operating system composed entirely of free
+={ Control-R (^R) }
+As his initial email message to the comp.os.minix newsgroup indicates, it would
+take a few months before Torvalds saw Linux as anything more than a holdover
+until the GNU developers delivered on the Hurd kernel. As far as Torvalds was
+concerned, he was simply the latest in a long line of kids taking apart and
+reassembling things just for fun. Nevertheless, when summing up the runaway
+success of a project that could have just as easily spent the rest of its days
+on an abandoned computer hard drive, Torvalds credits his younger self for
+having the wisdom to give up control and accept the GPL bargain. "I may not
+have seen the light," writes Torvalds, reflecting on Stallman's 1991
+Polytechnic University speech and his subsequent decision to switch to the GPL.
+"But I guess something from his speech sunk in."~{ See Linus Torvalds and David
+Diamond, Just For Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary (Harper Collins
+Publishers, Inc., 2001): 59. }~
+={ HURD kernel }
+1~ Chapter 10 - GNU/Linux
+={ GNU/Linux +45 ;
+ Linux +45 ;
+ Stallman, Richard M. :
+ GNU Linux +46
+By 1993, the free software movement was at a crossroads. To the optimistically
+inclined, all signs pointed toward success for the hacker culture. /{Wired}/
+magazine, a funky, new publication offering stories on data encryption, Usenet,
+and software freedom, was flying off magazine racks. The Internet, once a slang
+term used only by hackers and research scientists, had found its way into
+mainstream lexicon. Even President Clinton was using it. The personal computer,
+once a hobbyist's toy, had grown to full-scale respectability, giving a whole
+new generation of computer users access to hacker-built software. And while the
+GNU Project had not yet reached its goal of a fully intact, free GNU operating
+system, users could already run the GNU/Linux variant.
+={ Internet +3 ;
+ Wired magazine ;
+ PCs (personal computers) +2 ;
+ personal computers (PCs) +2
+Any way you sliced it, the news was good, or so it seemed. After a decade of
+struggle, hackers and hacker values were finally gaining acceptance in
+mainstream society. People were getting it.
+Or were they? To the pessimistically inclined, each sign of acceptance carried
+its own troubling countersign. Sure, being a hacker was suddenly cool, but was
+cool good for a community that thrived on alienation? Sure, the White House was
+saying nice things about the Internet, even going so far as to register its own
+domain name, white-house.gov, *** but it was also meeting with the companies,
+censorship advocates, and law-enforcement officials looking to tame the
+Internet's Wild West culture. Sure, PCs were more powerful, but in
+commoditizing the PC marketplace with its chips, Intel had created a situation
+in which proprietary software vendors now held the power. For every new user
+won over to the free software cause via GNU/Linux, hundreds, perhaps thousands,
+were booting up Microsoft Windows for the first time. GNU/Linux had only
+rudimentary graphical interfaces, so it was hardly user-friendly. In 1993, only
+an expert could use it. The GNU Project's first attempt to develop a graphical
+desktop had been abortive.
+={ Intel }
+Then there was the political situation. Copyrighting of user interfaces was
+still a real threat - the courts had not yet rejected the idea. Meanwhile,
+patents on software algorithms and features were a growing danger that
+threatened to spread to other countries.
+Finally, there was the curious nature of GNU/Linux itself. Unrestricted by
+legal disputes (such as BSD faced), GNU/Linux's high-speed evolution had been
+so unplanned, its success so accidental, that programmers closest to the
+software code itself didn't know what to make of it. More compilation album
+than unified project, it was comprised of a hacker medley of greatest hits:
+everything from GCC, GDB, and glibc (the GNU Project's newly developed C
+Library) toX (a Unix-based graphic user interface developed by MIT's Laboratory
+for Computer Science) to BSD-developed tools such as BIND (the Berkeley
+Internet Naming Daemon, which lets users substitute easy-to-remember Internet
+domain names for numeric IP addresses) and TCP/IP. In addition, it contained
+the Linux kernel - itself designed as a replacement for Minix. Rather than
+developing a new operating system, Torvalds and his rapidly expanding Linux
+development team had plugged their work into this matrix. As Torvalds himself
+would later translate it when describing the secret of his success: "I'm
+basically a very lazy person who likes to take credit for things other people
+actually do."~{ Torvalds has offered this quote in many different settings. To
+date, however, the quote's most notable appearance is in the Eric Raymond
+essay, "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" (May, 1997), \\
+http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/. }~
+={ BIND (Berkely Internet Naming Daemon) ;
+ Berkely Internet Naming Daemon (BIND) ;
+ C programming language :
+ glibc ;
+ GNU Debugger (GDB) :
+ Linux and ;
+ GDB (GNU Debugger) :
+ Linux and ;
+ glibc (GNU C Library) ;
+ GNU C Library (glibc) ;
+ kernel (Linux) ;
+ X graphic user interface ;
+ Laboratory for Computer Science :
+ X, developing ;
+ Minix operating system :
+ kernel, used for Linux ;
+ TCP/IP ;
+ Torvalds, Linus :
+ Minix, reworking for Linux +2
+Such laziness, while admirable from an efficiency perspective, was troubling
+from a political perspective. For one thing, it underlined the lack of an
+ideological agenda on Torvalds' part. Unlike the GNU developers, Torvalds
+hadn't built his kernel out of a desire to give his fellow hackers freedom;
+he'd built it to have something he himself could play with. So what exactly was
+the combined system, and which philosophy would people associate it with? Was
+it a manifestation of the free software philosophy first articulated by
+Stallman in the /{GNU Manifesto}/? Or was it simply an amalgamation of nifty
+software tools that any user, similarly motivated, could assemble on his own
+home system?
+={ GNU Manifesto }
+By late 1993, a growing number of GNU/Linux users had begun to lean toward the
+latter definition and began brewing private variations on the theme. They began
+to develop various "distributions" of GNU/Linux and distribute them, sometimes
+gratis, sometimes for a price. The results were spotty at best.
+"This was back before Red Hat and the other commercial distributions,"
+remembers Ian Murdock, then a computer science student at Purdue University.
+"You'd flip through Unix magazines and find all these business card-sized ads
+proclaiming 'Linux.' Most of the companies were fly-by-night operations that
+saw nothing wrong with slipping a little of their own [proprietary] source code
+into the mix."
+={ Murdock, Ian +38 ;
+ Red Hat Inc. ;
+ Purdue University
+Murdock, a Unix programmer, remembers being "swept away" by GNU/Linux when he
+first downloaded and installed it on his home PC system. "It was just a lot of
+fun," he says. "It made me want to get involved." The explosion of poorly built
+distributions began to dampen his early enthusiasm, however. Deciding that the
+best way to get involved was to build a version free of additives, Murdock set
+about putting a list of the best free software tools available with the
+intention of folding them into his own distribution. "I wanted something that
+would live up to the Linux name," Murdock says.
+In a bid to "stir up some interest," Murdock posted his intentions on the
+Internet, including Usenet's comp.os.linux newsgroup. One of the first
+responding email messages was from rms@ai.mit.edu. As a hacker, Murdock
+instantly recognized the address. It was Richard M. Stallman, founder of the
+GNU Project and a man Murdock knew even back then as "the hacker of hackers."
+Seeing the address in his mail queue, Murdock was puzzled. Why on Earth would
+Stallman, a person leading his own operating-system project, care about
+Murdock's gripes over "Linux" distributions?
+Murdock opened the message.
+"He said the Free Software Foundation was starting to look closely at Linux and
+that the FSF was interested in possibly doing a Linux [sic] system, too.
+Basically, it looked to Stallman like our goals were in line with their
+={ Free Software Foundation (FSF) :
+ Linux and +3
+Not to over dramatize, the message represented a change in strategy on
+Stallman's part. Until 1993, Stallman had been content to keep his nose out of
+Linux affairs. After first hearing of the new kernel, Stallman asked a friend
+to check its suitability. Recalls Stallman, "Here ported back that the software
+was modeled after System V, which was the inferior version of Unix. He also
+told me it wasn't portable."
+={ System V }
+The friend's report was correct. Built to run on 386-based machines, Linux was
+firmly rooted to its low-cost hardware platform. What the friend failed to
+report, however, was the sizable advantage Linux enjoyed as the only free
+kernel in the marketplace. In other words, while Stallman spent the next year
+and a half listening to progress reports from the Hurd developer, reporting
+rather slow progress, Torvalds was winning over the programmers who would later
+uproot and replant Linux and GNU onto new platforms.
+By 1993, the GNU Project's failure to deliver a working kernel was leading to
+problems both within the GNU Project and in the free software movement at
+large. A March, 1993, /{Wired}/ magazine article by Simson Garfinkel described
+the GNU Project as "bogged down" despite the success of the project's many
+tools.~{ See Simson Garfinkel, "Is Stallman Stalled?" /{Wired}/ (March, 1993).
+}~ Those within the project and its nonprofit adjunct, the Free Software
+Foundation, remember the mood as being even worse than Garfinkel's article let
+on. "It was very clear, at least to me at the time, that there was a window of
+opportunity to introduce a new operating system," says Chassell. "And once that
+window was closed, people would become less interested. Which is in fact
+exactly what happened."~{ Chassell's concern about there being a 36-month
+"window" for a new operating system is not unique to the GNU Project. During
+the early 1990s, free software versions of the Berkeley Software Distribution
+were held up by Unix System Laboratories' lawsuit restricting the release of
+BSD-derived software. While many users consider BSD offshoots such as FreeBSD
+and OpenBSD to be demonstrably superior to GNU/Linux both in terms of
+performance and security, the number of FreeBSD and OpenBSD users remains a
+fraction of the total GNU/Linux user population. To view a sample analysis of
+the relative success of GNU/Linux in relation to other free software operating
+systems, see the essay by New Zealand hacker, Liam Greenwood, "Why is Linux
+Successful" (1999), \\ http://www.freebsddiary.org/linux.php. }~
+={ Garfinkel, Simson ;
+ GNU Project :
+ kernel ;
+ Wired magazine :
+ GNU Project and
+Much has been made about the GNU Project's struggles during the 1990-1993
+period. While some place the blame on Stallman for those struggles, Eric
+Raymond, an old friend of Stallman's who supported the GNU Project lukewarmly,
+says the problem was largely institutional. "The FSF got arrogant," Raymond
+says. "They moved away from the goal of doing a production-ready operating
+system to doing operating-system research." Even worse, "They thought nothing
+outside the FSF could affect them."
+={ HURD kernel +4 ;
+ Raymond, Eric
+Murdock adopts a more charitable view. "I think part of the problem is they
+were a little too ambitious and they threw good money after bad," he says.
+"Micro-kernels in the late 80s and early 90s were a hot topic. Unfortunately,
+that was about the time that the GNU Project started to design their kernel.
+They ended up with a lot of baggage and it would have taken a lot of
+backpedaling to lose it."
+Stallman responds, "Although the emotions Raymond cites come from his
+imagination, he's right about one cause of the Hurd's delay:the Hurd developer
+several times redesigned and rewrote large parts of the code based on what he
+had learned, rather than trying to make the Hurd run as soon as possible. It
+was good design practice, but it wasn't the right practice for our goal: to get
+something working ASAP."
+Stallman cites other issues that also caused delay. The Lotus and Apple
+lawsuits claimed much of his attention; this, coupled with hand problems that
+prevented him from typing for three years, mostly excluded Stallman from
+programming. Stallman also cites poor communication between various portions of
+the GNU Project. "We had to do a lot of work to get the debugging environment
+to work," he recalls." And the people maintaining GDB at the time were not that
+cooperative." They had given priority to supporting the existing platforms of
+GDB's current users, rather than to the overall goal of a complete GNU system.
+Most fundamentally, however, Stallman says he and the Hurd developers
+underestimated the difficulty of developing the Unix kernel facilities on top
+of the Mach microkernel. "I figured, OK, the [Mach]part that has to talk to the
+machine has already been debugged," Stallman says, recalling the Hurd team's
+troubles in a 2000 speech. "With that head start, we should be able to get it
+done faster. But instead, it turned out that debugging these asynchronous
+multi-threaded programs was really hard. There were timing bugs that would
+clobber the files, and that's no fun. The end result was that it took many,
+many years to produce a test version."~{ See Maui High Performance Computing
+Center Speech. In subsequent emails, I asked Stallman what exactly he meant by
+the term "timing bugs." Stallman said "timing errors" was a better way to
+summarize the problem and offered an elucidating technical information of how a
+timing error can hamper an operating system's performance: \\ "Timing errors"
+occur in an asynchronous system where jobs done in parallel can theoretically
+occur in any order, and one particular order leads to problems. \\ Imagine that
+program A does X, and program B does Y, where both X and Y are short routines
+that examine and update the same data structure. Nearly always the computer
+will do X before Y, or do Y before X, and then there will be no problem. On
+rare occasions, by chance, the scheduler will let program A run until it is in
+the middle of X, and then run B which will do Y. Thus, Y will be done while Xis
+half-done. Since they are updating the same data structure, they will
+interfere. For instance, perhaps X has already examined the data structure, and
+it won't notice that there was a change. There will be an unreproducible
+failure, unreproducible because it depends on chance factors (when the
+scheduler decides to run which program and how long). \\ The way to prevent
+such a failure is to use a lock to make sure X and Y can't run at the same
+time. Programmers writing asynchronous systems know about the general need for
+locks, but sometimes they overlook the need for a lock in a specific place or
+on a specific data structure. Then the program has a timing error. }~
+Over time, the growing success of GNU together with Linux made it clear that
+the GNU Project should get on the train that was leaving and not wait for the
+Hurd. Besides, there were weaknesses in the community surrounding GNU/Linux.
+Sure, Linux had been licensed under the GPL, but as Murdock himself had noted,
+the desire to treat GNU/Linux as a purely free software operating system was
+far from unanimous. By late 1993, the total GNU/Linux user population had grown
+from a dozen or so enthusiasts to somewhere between 20,000 and 100,000.~{
+GNU/Linux user-population numbers are sketchy at best, which is why I've
+provided such a broad range. The 100,000 total comes from the Red Hat
+"Milestones" site, \\ http://www.redhat.com/about/corporate/milestones.html. }~
+What had once been a hobby was now a marketplace ripe for exploitation, and
+some developers had no objection to exploiting it with non-free software. Like
+Winston Churchill watching Soviet troops sweep into Berlin, Stallman felt an
+understandable set of mixed emotions when it came time to celebrate the
+GNU/Linux "victory."~{ I wrote this Winston Churchill analogy before Stallman
+himself sent me his own unsolicited comment on Churchill: \\ World War II and
+the determination needed to win it was a very strong memory as I was growing
+up. Statements such as Churchill's, "We will fight them in the landing zones,
+we will fight them on the beaches... we will never surrender," have always
+resonated for me. }~
+Although late to the party, Stallman still had clout. As soon as the FSF
+announced that it would lend its money and moral support to Murdock's software
+project, other offers of support began rolling in. Murdock dubbed the new
+project Debian - a compression of his and his wife, Deborah's, names - and
+within a few weeks was rolling out the first distribution. "[Richard's support]
+catapulted Debian almost overnight from this interesting little project to
+something people within the community had to pay attention to," Murdock says.
+={ Debian +19 }
+In January of 1994, Murdock issued the /{Debian Manifesto}/. Written in the
+spirit of Stallman's /{GNU Manifesto}/ from a decade before, it explained the
+importance of working closely with the Free Software Foundation. Murdock wrote:
+={ Debian Manifesto +3 ;
+ Free Software Foundation (FSF) :
+ Debian Manifesto and ;
+ GNU Manifesto :
+ Debian Manifesto and
+_1 The Free Software Foundation plays an extremely important role in the future
+of Debian. By the simple fact that they will be distributing it, a message is
+sent to the world that Linux [sic] is not a commercial product and that it
+never should be, but that this does not mean that Linux will never be able to
+compete commercially. For those of you who disagree, I challenge you to
+rationalize the success of GNU Emacs and GCC, which are not commercial software
+but which have had quite an impact on the commercial market regardless of that
+_1 The time has come to concentrate on the future of Linux[sic] rather than on
+the destructive goal of enriching one-self at the expense of the entire Linux
+community and its future. The development and distribution of Debian may not be
+the answer to the problems that I have outlined in the /{Manifesto}/, but I
+hope that it will at least attract enough attention to these problems to allow
+them to be solved.~{ See Ian Murdock, /{A Brief History of Debian}/, (January
+6, 1994): Appendix A, "The Debian Manifesto," \\
+http://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/project-history/ap-manifesto.en.html. }~
+Shortly after the /{Manifesto's}/ release, the Free Software Foundation made
+its first major request. Stallman wanted Murdock to call its distribution
+"GNU/Linux." At first, Stallman proposed the term "Lignux" - combining the
+names Linux and GNU - but the initial reaction was very negative, and this
+convinced Stallman to go with the longer but less criticized GNU/Linux.
+={ Lignux (Linux with GNU) }
+Some dismissed Stallman's attempt to add the "GNU" prefix as a belated quest
+for credit, never mind whether it was due, but Murdock saw it differently.
+Looking back, Murdock saw it as an attempt to counteract the growing tension
+between the GNU Project's developers and those who adapted GNU programs to use
+with the Linux kernel. "There was a split emerging," Murdock recalls. "Richard
+was concerned."
+={ C programming language :
+ glibc +3 ;
+ glibc (GNU C Library) +3 ;
+ GNU C Library (glibc) +3
+By 1990, each GNU program had a designated maintainer-in-charge. Some GNU
+programs could run on many different systems, and users often contributed
+changes to port them to another system. Often these users knew only that one
+system, and did not consider how to keep the code clean for other systems. To
+add support for the new system while keeping the code comprehensible, so it
+could be maintained reliably for all systems, then required rewriting much of
+the changes. The maintainer-in-charge had the responsibility to critique the
+changes and tell their user-authors how to redo parts of the port. Generally
+they were eager to do this so that their changes would be integrated into the
+standard version. Then the maintainer-in-charge would edit in there worked
+changes, and take care of them in future maintenance. For some GNU programs,
+this had happened dozens of times for dozens of different systems.
+The programmers who adapted various GNU programs to work with the kernel Linux
+followed this common path: they considered only their own platform. But when
+the maintainers-in-charge asked them to help clean up their changes for future
+maintenance, several of them were not interested. They did not care about doing
+the correct thing, or about facilitating future maintenance of the GNU packages
+they had adapted. They cared only about their own versions and were inclined to
+maintain them as forks.
+In the hacker world, forks are an interesting issue. Although the hacker ethic
+permits a programmer to do anything he wants with a given program's source
+code, it is considered correct behavior to offer to work with the original
+developer to maintain a joint version. Hackers usually find it useful, as well
+as proper, to pour their improvements into the program's principal version. A
+free software license gives every hacker the right to fork a program, and
+sometimes it is necessary, but doing so without need or cause is considered
+somewhat rude.
+={ forks (code) +3 ;
+ tree (source code)
+As leader of the GNU Project, Stallman had already experienced the negative
+effects of a software fork in 1991. Says Stallman, "Lucid hired several people
+to write improvements to GNU Emacs, meant to be contributions to it; but the
+developers did not inform me about the project. Instead they designed several
+new features on their own. As you might expect, I agreed with some of their
+decisions and disagreed with others. They asked me to incorporate all their
+code, but when I said I wanted to use about half of it, they declined to help
+me adapt that half to work on its own. I had to do it on my own." The fork had
+given birth to a parallel version, Lucid Emacs, and hard feelings all around.~{
+Jamie Zawinski, a former Lucid programmer who would go on to head the Mozilla
+development team, has a web site that documents the Lucid/GNU Emacs fork,
+titled, "The Lemacs/FSFmacs Schism.", at \\ http://www.jwz.org/doc/lemacs.html.
+Stallman's response to those accusations is in \\
+http://stallman.org/articles/xemacs.origin. }~
+={ Emacs text editor :
+ Lucid software company and ;
+ GNU Emacs :
+ Lucid software company and ;
+ Lucid software company
+Now programmers had forked several of the principal GNU packages at once. At
+first, Stallman says he considered the forks to be a product of impatience. In
+contrast to the fast and informal dynamics of the Linux team, GNU source-code
+maintainers tended to be slower and more circumspect in making changes that
+might affect a program's long-term viability. They also were unafraid of
+harshly critiquing other people's code. Over time, however, Stallman began to
+sense that there was an underlying lack of awareness of the GNU Project and its
+objectives when reading Linux developers' emails.
+"We discovered that the people who considered themselves 'Linux users' didn't
+care about the GNU Project," Stallman says. "They said, 'Why should I bother
+doing these things? I don't care about the GNU Project. It [the program]'s
+working for me. It's working for us Linux users, and nothing else matters to
+us.' And that was quite surprising, given that people were essentially using a
+variant of the GNU system, and they cared so little. They cared less than
+anybody else about GNU." Fooled by their own practice of calling the
+combination "Linux," they did not realize that their system was more GNU than
+For the sake of unity, Stallman asked the maintainers-in-charge to do the work
+which normally the change authors should have done. In most cases this was
+feasible, but not in glibc. Short for GNU C Library, glibc is the package that
+all programs use to make "system calls" directed at the kernel, in this case
+Linux. User programs on a Unix-like system communicate with the kernel only
+through the C library.
+The changes to make glibc work as a communication channel between Linux and all
+the other programs in the system were major and ad-hoc, written without
+attention to their effect on other platforms. For the glibc
+maintainer-in-charge, the task of cleaning them up was daunting. Instead the
+Free Software Foundation paid him to spend most of a year reimplementing these
+changes from scratch, to make glibc version 6 work "straight out of the box" in
+Murdock says this was the precipitating cause that motivated Stallman to insist
+on adding the GNU prefix when Debian rolled out its software distribution. "The
+fork has since converged. Still, at the time, there was a concern that if the
+Linux community saw itself as a different thing as the GNU community, it might
+be a force for disunity."
+While some viewed it as politically grasping to describe the combination of GNU
+and Linux as a "variant" of GNU, Murdock, already sympathetic to the free
+software cause, saw Stallman's request to call Debian's version GNU/Linux as
+reasonable. "It was more for unity than for credit," he says.
+Requests of a more technical nature quickly followed. Although Murdock had been
+accommodating on political issues, he struck a firmer pose when it came to the
+design and development model of the actual software. What had begun as a show
+of solidarity soon became a running disagreement.
+"I can tell you that I've had my share of disagreements with him," says Murdock
+with a laugh. "In all honesty Richard can be a fairly difficult person to work
+with." The principal disagreement was over debugging. Stallman wanted to
+include debugging information in all executable programs, to enable users to
+immediately investigate any bugs they might encounter. Murdock thought this
+would make the system files too big and interfere with distribution. Neither
+was willing to change his mind.
+In 1996, Murdock, following his graduation from Purdue, decided to hand over
+the reins of the growing Debian project. He had already been ceding management
+duties to Bruce Perens, the hacker best known for his work on Electric Fence, a
+Unix utility released under the GPL. Perens, like Murdock, was a Unix
+programmer who had become enamored of GNU/Linux as soon as the operating
+system's Unix-like abilities became manifest. Like Murdock, Perens sympathized
+with the political agenda of Stallman and the Free Software Foundation, albeit
+from afar.
+={ Electric Fence Unix utility ;
+ Perens, Bruce +3
+"I remember after Stallman had already come out with the /{GNU Manifesto}/, GNU
+Emacs, and GCC, I read an article that said he was working as a consultant for
+Intel," says Perens, recalling his first brush with Stallman in the late 1980s.
+"I wrote him asking how he could be advocating free software on the one hand
+and working for Intel on the other. He wrote back saying, 'I work as a
+consultant to produce free-software.' He was perfectly polite about it, and I
+thought his answer made perfect sense."
+As a prominent Debian developer, however, Perens regarded Murdock's design
+battles with Stallman with dismay. Upon assuming leadership of the development
+team, Perens says he made the command decision to distance Debian from the Free
+Software Foundation. "I decided we did not want Richard's style of
+micro-management," he says.
+According to Perens, Stallman was taken aback by the decision but had the
+wisdom to roll with it. "He gave it some time to cool off and sent a message
+that we really needed a relationship. He requested that we call it GNU/Linux
+and left it at that. I decided that was fine. I made the decision unilaterally.
+Everybody breathed a sigh of relief."
+Over time, Debian would develop a reputation as the hacker's version of
+GNU/Linux, alongside Slackware, another popular distribution founded during the
+same 1993-1994 period. However, Slackware contained some non-free programs, and
+Debian after its separation from GNU began distributing non-free programs
+too.~{ Debian Buzz in June 1996 contained non-free Netscape 3.01 in its Contrib
+section. }~ Despite labeling them as "non-free" and saying that they were "not
+officially part of Debian," proposing these programs to the user implied a kind
+of endorsement for them. As the GNU Project became aware of these policies, it
+came to recognize that neither Slackware nor Debian was a GNU/Linux distro it
+could recommend to the public.
+={ Gilmore, John ;
+ Young, Robert +2 ;
+ Red Hat Inc. ;
+ Teimann, Michael ;
+ Slackware
+Outside the realm of hacker-oriented systems, however, GNU/Linux was picking up
+steam in the commercial Unix marketplace. In North Carolina, a Unix company
+billing itself as Red Hat was revamping its business to focus on GNU/Linux. The
+chief executive officer was Robert Young, the former /{Linux Journal}/ editor
+who in 1994 had put the question to Linus Torvalds, asking whether he had any
+regrets about putting the kernel under the GPL. To Young, Torvalds' response
+had a "profound" impact on his own view toward GNU/Linux. Instead of looking
+for a way to corner the GNU/Linux market via traditional software tactics,
+Young began to consider what might happen if a company adopted the same
+approach as Debian - i.e., building an operating system completely out of free
+software parts. Cygnus Solutions, the company founded by Michael Tiemann and
+John Gilmore in 1990, was already demonstrating the ability to sell free
+software based on quality and customizability. What if Red Hat took the same
+approach with GNU/Linux?
+"In the western scientific tradition we stand on the shoulders of giants," says
+Young, echoing both Torvalds and Sir Isaac Newton before him. "In business,
+this translates to not having to reinvent wheels as we go along. The beauty of
+[the GPL] model is you put your code into the public domain.~{ Young uses the
+term "public domain" loosely here. Strictly speaking, it means "not
+copyrighted." Code released under the GNU GPL cannot be in the public domain,
+since it must be copyrighted in order for the GNU GPL to apply. }~ If you're an
+independent software vendor and you're trying to build some application and you
+need a modem-dialer, well, why reinvent modem dialers? You can just steal PPP
+off of Red Hat [GNU/]Linux and use that as the core of your modem-dialing tool.
+If you need a graphic tool set, you don't have to write your own graphic
+library. Just download GTK. Suddenly you have the ability to reuse the best of
+what went before. And suddenly your focus as an application vendor is less on
+software management and more on writing the applications specific to your
+customer's needs." However, Young was no free software activist, and readily
+included non-free programs in Red Hat's GNU/Linux system.
+Young wasn't the only software executive intrigued by the business efficiencies
+of free software. By late 1996, most Unix companies were starting to wake up
+and smell the brewing source code. The GNU/Linux sector was still a good year
+or two away from full commercial breakout mode, but those close enough to the
+hacker community could feel it: something big was happening. The Intel 386
+chip, the Internet, and the World Wide Web had hit the marketplace like a set
+of monster waves; free software seemed like the largest wave yet.
+For Ian Murdock, the wave seemed both a fitting tribute and a fitting
+punishment for the man who had spent so much time giving the free software
+movement an identity. Like many Linux aficionados, Murdock had seen the
+original postings. He'd seen Torvalds' original admonition that Linux was "just
+a hobby." He'd also seen Torvalds' admission to Minix creator Andrew Tanenbaum:
+"If the GNU kernel had been ready last spring, I'd not have bothered to even
+start my project."~{ This quote is taken from the much publicized
+Torvalds-Tanenbaum "flame war" following the initial release of Linux. In the
+process of defending his choice of a non-portable monolithic kernel design,
+Torvalds says he started working on Linux as a way to learn more about his new
+386 PC. "If the GNU kernel had been ready last spring, I'd not have bothered to
+even start my project." See Chris DiBona et al., /{Open Sources}/ (O'Reilly &
+Associates, Inc., 1999): 224. }~ Like many, Murdock knew that some
+opportunities had been missed. He also knew the excitement of watching new
+opportunities come seeping out of the very fabric of the Internet.
+={ Tanenbaum, Andrew }
+"Being involved with Linux in those early days was fun," recalls Murdock. "At
+the same time, it was something to do, something to pass the time. If you go
+back and read those old [comp.os.minix]exchanges, you'll see the sentiment:
+this is something we can play with until the Hurd is ready. People were
+anxious. It's funny, but in a lot of ways, I suspect that Linux would never
+have happened if the Hurd had come along more quickly."
+By the end of 1996, however, such "what if" questions were already moot,
+because Torvalds' kernel had gained a critical mass of users. The 36-month
+window had closed, meaning that even if the GNU Project had rolled out its Hurd
+kernel, chances were slim anybody outside the hard-core hacker community would
+have noticed. Linux, by filling the GNU system's last gap, had achieved the GNU
+Project's goal of producing a Unix-like free software operating system.
+However, most of the users did not recognize what had happened: they thought
+the whole system was Linux, and that Torvalds had done it all. Most of them
+installed distributions that came with non-free software; with Torvalds as
+their ethical guide, they saw no principled reason to reject it. Still, a
+precarious freedom was available for those that appreciated it.
+={ HURD kernel }
+1~ Chapter 11 - Open Source
+={ GNU Project :
+ open source movement and +59 ;
+ open source +59 ;
+ Stallman, Richard M. :
+ open source and +59
+[RMS: In this chapter only, I have deleted some quotations. The material
+deleted was about open source and didn't relate to my life or my work.]
+In November, 1995, Peter Salus, a member of the Free Software Foundation and
+author of the 1994 book, /{A Quarter Century of Unix}/, issued a call for
+papers to members of the GNU Project's "system-discuss" mailing list. Salus,
+the conference's scheduled chairman, wanted to tip off fellow hackers about the
+upcoming Conference on Freely Redistributable Software in Cambridge,
+Massachusetts. Slated for February, 1996, and sponsored by the Free Software
+Foundation, the event promised to be the first engineering conference solely
+dedicated to free software and, in a show of unity with other free software
+programmers, welcomed papers on "any aspect of GNU, Linux, NetBSD, 386BSD,
+FreeBSD, Perl, Tcl/tk, and other tools for which the code is accessible and
+redistributable." Salus wrote:
+={ Free Software Foundation (FSF) ;
+ FSF (Free Software Foundation) ;
+ FreeBSD ;
+ Conference on Freely Redistributable Software +1 ;
+ Linux ;
+ NetBSD ;
+ Perl programming language ;
+ 386BSD ;
+ Salus, Peter +4
+_1 Over the past 15 years, free and low-cost software has become ubiquitous.
+This conference will bring together implementers of several different types of
+freely redistributable software and publishers of such software (on various
+media). There will be tutorials and refereed papers, as well as keynotes by
+Linus Torvalds and Richard Stallman.~{ See Peter Salus, "FYI-Conference on
+Freely Redistributable Software, 2/2, Cambridge" (1995) (archived by Terry
+Winograd), \\
+http://bat8.inria.fr/~lang/hotlist/free/licence/fsf96/call-for-papers.html. }~
+Among the recipients of Salus' email was conference committee member Eric S.
+Raymond. Although not the leader of a project or company like the various other
+members of the list, Raymond had built a tidy reputation within the hacker
+community for some software projects and as editor of /{The New Hacker's
+Dictionary}/, a greatly enlarged version of /{The Hacker's Dictionary}/
+published a decade earlier by Guy Steele.
+={ New Hacker Dictionary, The ;
+ Raymond, Eric :
+ open source and +56
+For Raymond, the 1996 conference was a welcome event. Although he did not
+thoroughly support the free software movement's ideas, he had contributed to
+some GNU programs, in particular to GNU Emacs. Those contributions stopped in
+1992, when Raymond demanded authority to make changes in the official GNU
+version of GNU Emacs without discussing them with Stallman, who was directly in
+charge of Emacs development. Stallman rejected the demand, and Raymond accused
+Stallman of "micro-management." "Richard kicked up a fuss about my making
+unauthorized modifications when I was cleaning up the Emacs LISP libraries,"
+Raymond recalls. "It frustrated me so much that I decided I didn't want to work
+with him anymore."
+Despite the falling out, Raymond remained active in the free software
+community. So much so that when Salus suggested a conference pairing Stallman
+and Torvalds as keynote speakers, Raymond eagerly seconded the idea. With
+Stallman representing the older, wiser contingent of ITS/Unix hackers and
+Torvalds representing the younger, more energetic crop of Linux hackers, the
+pairing indicated a symbolic show of unity that could only be beneficial,
+especially to ambitious younger (i.e., below 40) hackers such as Raymond. "I
+sort of had afoot in both camps," Raymond says.
+By the time of the conference, the tension between those two camps had become
+palpable. Both groups had one thing in common, though:the conference was their
+first chance to meet the Finnish /{wunderkind}/ in the flesh. Surprisingly,
+Torvalds proved himself to be a charming, affable speaker. Possessing only a
+slight Swedish accent, Torvalds surprised audience members with his quick,
+self-effacing wit.~{ Although Linus Torvalds is Finnish, his mother tongue is
+Swedish. "The Rampantly Unofficial Linus FAQ" at \\
+http://catb.org/~esr/faqs/linus/ offers a brief explanation:Finland has a
+significant (about 6%) Swedish-speaking minority population. They call
+themselves finlands svensk or finlands svenskar and consider themselves Finns;
+many of their families have lived in Finland for centuries. Swedish is one of
+Finland's two official languages. }~
+Even more surprising, says Raymond, was Torvalds' equal willingness to take
+potshots at other prominent hackers, including the most prominent hacker of
+all, Richard Stallman. By the end of the conference, Torvalds' half-hacker,
+half-slacker manner was winning over older and younger conference-goers alike.
+"It was a pivotal moment," recalls Raymond. "Before 1996, Richard was the only
+credible claimant to being the ideological leader of the entire culture. People
+who dissented didn't do so in public. The person who broke that taboo was
+The ultimate breach of taboo would come near the end of the show. During a
+discussion on the growing market dominance of Microsoft Windows or some similar
+topic, Torvalds admitted to being a fan of Microsoft's PowerPoint slideshow
+software program. From the perspective of old-line software purists, it was
+like bragging about one's slaves at an abolitionist conference. From the
+perspective of Torvalds and his growing band of followers, it was simply common
+sense. Why shun convenient proprietary software programs just to make a point?
+They didn't agree with the point anyway. When freedom requires a sacrifice,
+those who don't care about freedom see the sacrifice as self-denial, rather
+than as a way to obtain something important. Being a hacker wasn't about
+self-denial, it was about getting the job done, and "the job," for them, was
+defined in practical terms.
+={ Windows (Microsoft) ;
+ Microsoft Corporation +3 ;
+ PowerPoint (Microsoft) +3 ;
+ proprietary software :
+ Torvalds, Linus and ;
+ Torvalds, Linus :
+ PowerPoint and +3
+"That was a pretty shocking thing to say," Raymond remembers. "Then again, he
+was able to do that, because by 1995 and 1996, he was rapidly acquiring clout."
+Stallman, for his part, doesn't remember any tension at the 1996conference; he
+probably wasn't present when Torvalds made that statement. But he does remember
+later feeling the sting of Torvalds' celebrated "cheekiness." "There was a
+thing in the Linux documentation which says print out the GNU coding standards
+and then tear them up," says Stallman, recalling one example. "When you look
+closely, what he disagreed with was the least important part of it, the
+recommendation for how to indent C code."
+"OK, so he disagrees with some of our conventions. That's fine, bu the picked a
+singularly nasty way of saying so. He could have just said,'Here's the way I
+think you should indent your code.' Fine. There should be no hostility there."
+For Raymond, the warm reception other hackers gave to Torvalds' comments
+confirmed a suspicion: the dividing line separating Linux developers from GNU
+developers was largely generational. Many Linux hackers, like Torvalds, had
+grown up in a world of proprietary software. They had begun contributing to
+free software without perceiving any injustice in non-free software. For most
+of them, nothing was at stake beyond convenience. Unless a program was
+technically inferior, they saw little reason to reject it on licensing issues
+alone. Some day hackers might develop a free software alternative to
+PowerPoint. Until then, why criticize PowerPoint or Microsoft; why not use it?
+This was an example of the growing dispute, within the free software community,
+between those who valued freedom as such, and those who mainly valued powerful,
+reliable software. Stallman referred to the two camps as political parties
+within the community, calling the former the "freedom party." The supporters of
+the other camp did not try to name it, so Stallman disparagingly called it the
+"bandwagon party" or the "success party," because many of them presented "more
+users" as the primary goal.
+In the decade since launching the GNU Project, Stallman had built up a fearsome
+reputation as a programmer. He had also built up a reputation for intransigence
+both in terms of software design and people management. This was partly true,
+but the reputation provided a convenient excuse that anyone could cite if
+Stallman did not do as he wished. The reputation has been augmented by mistaken
+For example, shortly before the 1996 conference, the Free Software Foundation
+experienced a full-scale staff defection. Brian Youmans, a current FSF staffer
+hired by Salus in the wake of the resignations, recalls the scene: "At one
+point, Peter [Salus] was the only staff member working in the office." The
+previous staff were unhappy with the executive director; as Bryt Bradley told
+her friends in December, 1995:
+_1 [name omitted] (the Executive Director of the FSF) decided to come back from
+Medical/Political Leave last week. The office staff (Gena Bean, Mike Drain, and
+myself) decided we could not work with her as our supervisor because of the
+many mistakes she had made in her job tasks prior to her taking a leave. Also,
+there had been numerous instances where individuals were threatened with
+inappropriate firing and there were many instances of what we felt were verbal
+abuse from her to ALL members of the office staff. We requested (many times)
+that she not come back as our supervisor, but stated that we were willing to
+work with her as a co-worker. Our requests were ignored. We quit.
+The executive director in question then gave Stallman an ultimatum: give her
+total autonomy in the office or she would quit. Stallman, as president of the
+FSF, declined to give her total control over its activities, so she resigned,
+and he recruited in Peter Salus to replace her.
+When Raymond, an outsider, learned that these people had left the FSF, he
+presumed Stallman was at fault. This provided confirmation for his theory that
+Stallman's personality was the cause of any and all problems in the GNU
+Raymond had another theory: recent delays such as the Hurd and recent troubles
+such as the Lucid-Emacs schism reflected problems normally associated with
+software project management, not software code development.
+Shortly after the Freely Redistributable Software Conference, Raymond began
+working on his own pet software project, a mail utility called "fetchmail."
+Taking a cue from Torvalds, Raymond issued his program with a tacked-on promise
+to update the source code as early and as often as possible. When users began
+sending in bug reports and feature suggestions, Raymond, at first anticipating
+a tangled mess, found the resulting software surprisingly sturdy. Analyzing the
+success of the Torvalds approach, Raymond issued a quick analysis: using the
+Internet as his "petri dish" and the harsh scrutiny of the hacker community as
+a form of natural selection, Torvalds had created an evolutionary model free of
+central planning.
+={ fetchmail ;
+ FreeBSD ;
+ Conference on Freely Redistributable Software ;
+ Internet
+What's more, Raymond decided, Torvalds had found a way around Brooks' Law.
+First articulated by Fred P. Brooks, manager of IBM's OS/360 project and author
+of the 1975 book, /{The Mythical Man-Month}/, Brooks' Law held that adding
+developers to a project only resulted in further project delays. Believing as
+most hackers that software, like soup, benefits from a limited number of cooks,
+Raymond sensed something revolutionary at work. In inviting more and more cooks
+into the kitchen, Torvalds had actually found a way to make the resulting
+software /{better}/.~{ Brooks' Law is the shorthand summary of the following
+quote taken from Brooks' book:Since software construction is inherently a
+systems effort - an exercise in complex interrelationships - communication
+effort is great, and it quickly dominates the decrease in individual task time
+brought about by partitioning. Adding more men then lengthens, not shortens,
+the schedule. See Fred P. Brooks, The Mythical Man-Month (Addison Wesley
+Publishing, 1995). }~
+={ Brooks, Fred P. ;
+ Mythical Man-Month, The (Brooks)
+Raymond put his observations on paper. He crafted them into a speech, which he
+promptly delivered before a group of friends and neighbors in Chester County,
+Pennsylvania. Dubbed "The Cathedral and the Bazaar," the speech contrasted the
+"Bazaar" style originated by Torvalds with the "Cathedral" style generally used
+by everyone else.
+={ Cathedral and the Bazaar, The (Raymond) +10 ;
+ Linux Kongress +6
+Raymond says the response was enthusiastic, but not nearly as enthusiastic as
+the one he received during the 1997 Linux Kongress, a gathering of GNU/Linux
+users in Germany the next spring.
+"At the Kongress, they gave me a standing ovation at the end of the speech,"
+Raymond recalls. "I took that as significant for two reasons. For one thing, it
+meant they were excited by what they were hearing. For another thing, it meant
+they were excited even after hearing the speech delivered through a language
+Eventually, Raymond would convert the speech into a paper, also titled "The
+Cathedral and the Bazaar." The paper drew its name from Raymond's central
+analogy. Previously, programs were "cathedrals," impressive, centrally planned
+monuments built to stand the test of time. Linux, on the other hand, was more
+like "a great babbling bazaar," a software program developed through the loose
+decentralizing dynamics of the Internet.
+Raymond's paper associated the Cathedral style, which he and Stallman and many
+others had used, specifically with the GNU Project and Stallman, thus casting
+the contrast between development models as a comparison between Stallman and
+Torvalds. Where Stallman was his chosen example of the classic cathedral
+architect - i.e., a programming "wizard" who could disappear for 18 months and
+return with something like the GNU C Compiler - Torvalds was more like a genial
+dinner-party host. In letting others lead the Linux design discussion and
+stepping in only when the entire table needed a referee, Torvalds had created a
+development model very much reflective of his own laid-back personality. From
+Torvalds' perspective, the most important managerial task was not imposing
+control but keeping the ideas flowing.
+Summarized Raymond, "I think Linus's cleverest and most consequential hack was
+not the construction of the Linux kernel itself, but rather his invention of
+the Linux development model."~{ See Eric Raymond, "The Cathedral and the
+Bazaar" (1997). }~
+If the paper's description of these two styles of development was perceptive,
+its association of the Cathedral model specifically with Stallman (rather than
+all the others who had used it, including Raymond himself) was sheer calumny.
+In fact, the developers of some GNU packages including the GNU Hurd had read
+about and adopted Torvalds' methods before Raymond tried them, though without
+analyzing them further and publicly championing them as Raymond's paper did.
+Thousands of hackers, reading Raymond's article, must have been led to a
+negative attitude towards GNU by this smear.
+In summarizing the secrets of Torvalds' managerial success, Raymond attracted
+the attention of other members of the free software community for whom freedom
+was not a priority. They sought to interest business in the use and development
+of free software, and to do so, decided to cast the issue in terms of the
+values that appeal to business: powerful, reliable, cheap, advanced. Raymond
+became the best-known proponent of these ideas, and they reached the management
+of Netscape, whose proprietary browser was losing market share to Microsoft's
+equally proprietary Internet Explorer. Intrigued by a speech by Raymond,
+Netscape executives took the message back to corporate headquarters. A few
+months later, in January, 1998, the company announced its plan to publish the
+source code of its flagship Navigator web browser in the hopes of enlisting
+hacker support in future development.
+={ Netscape +8 ;
+ source code :
+ Netscape +4
+% ={Monterey (California);O'Reilly, Tim;O'Reilly & Associates}
+% ={Apache web server;BIND (Berkely Internet Naming Daemon);Berkely Internet Naming Daemon (BIND);Wall, Larry;Perl programming language;Python programming language;sendmail Unix mail program}
+% ={Mountain View (California);Netscape+8}
+When Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale cited Raymond's "Cathedral and the Bazaar"
+essay as a major influence upon the company's decision, the company instantly
+elevated Raymond to the level of hacker celebrity. He invited a few people
+including Larry Augustin, founder of VA Research which sold workstations with
+the GNU/Linux operating system pre-installed; Tim O'Reilly, founder of the
+publisher O'Reilly& Associates; and Christine Peterson, president of the
+Foresight Institute, a Silicon Valley think tank specializing in nano
+technology, to talk. "The meeting's agenda boiled down to one item: how to take
+advantage of Netscape's decision so that other companies might follow suit?"
+={ Augustin, Larry ;
+ Foresight Institute ;
+ VA Research ;
+ Peterson, Christine +4 ;
+ Barksdale, Jim
+Raymond doesn't recall the conversation that took place, but he does remember
+the first complaint addressed. Despite the best efforts of Stallman and other
+hackers to remind people that the word "free" in free software stood for
+freedom and not price, the message still wasn't getting through. Most business
+executives, upon hearing the term for the first time, interpreted the word as
+synonymous with "zero cost," tuning out any follow-up messages in short order.
+Until hackers found a way to get past this misunderstanding, the free software
+movement faced an uphill climb, even after Netscape.
+Peterson, whose organization had taken an active interest in advancing the free
+software cause, offered an alternative: "open source."
+Looking back, Peterson says she came up with the "open source" term while
+discussing Netscape's decision with a friend in the public relations industry.
+She doesn't remember where she came upon the term or if she borrowed it from
+another field, but she does remember her friend disliking the term.~{ See
+Malcolm Maclachlan, "Profit Motive Splits Open Source Movement," Tech-Web News
+(August 26, 1998), \\
+http://www.techweb.com/article/showArticle?articleID=29102344. }~
+At the meeting, Peterson says, the response was dramatically different. "I was
+hesitant about suggesting it," Peterson recalls. "I had no standing with the
+group, so started using it casually, not highlighting it as a new term." To
+Peterson's surprise, the term caught on. By the end of the meeting, most of the
+attendees, including Raymond, seemed pleased by it.
+Raymond says he didn't publicly use the term "open source" as a substitute for
+"free software" until a day or two after the Mozilla launch party, when
+O'Reilly had scheduled a meeting to talk about free-software. Calling his
+meeting "the Freeware Summit," O'Reilly says he wanted to direct media and
+community attention to the other deserving projects that had also encouraged
+Netscape to release Mozilla. "All these guys had so much in common, and I was
+surprised they didn't all know each other," says O'Reilly. "I also wanted to
+let the world know just how great an impact the free software culture had
+already made. People were missing out on a large part of the free-software
+={ Freeware Summit ;
+ O'Reilly, Tim :
+ open source and +8
+In putting together the invite list, however, O'Reilly made a decision that
+would have long-term political consequences. He decided to limit the list to
+west-coast developers such as Wall, Eric Allman, creator of send mail, and Paul
+Vixie, creator of BIND. There were exceptions, of course: Pennsylvania-resident
+Raymond, who was already in town thanks to the Mozilla launch, earned an quick
+invite. So did Virginia-resident Guido van Rossum, creator of Python. "Frank
+Willison, my editor in chief and champion of Python within the company, invited
+him without first checking in with me," O'Reilly recalls. "I was happy to have
+him there, but when I started, it really was just a local gathering."
+={ van Rossum, Guido ;
+ Python programming language ;
+ BIND (Berkely Internet Naming Daemon) ;
+ Berkely Internet Naming Daemon (BIND) ;
+ Wall, Larry ;
+ Perl programming language ;
+ Python programming language ;
+ sendmail Unix mail program
+For some observers, the unwillingness to include Stallman's name on the list
+qualified as a snub. "I decided not to go to the event because of it," says
+Perens, remembering the summit. Raymond, who did go, says he argued for
+Stallman's inclusion to no avail. The snub rumor gained additional strength
+from the fact that O'Reilly, the event's host, had feuded publicly with
+Stallman over the issue of software-manual copyrights. Prior to the meeting,
+Stallman had argued that free software manuals should be as freely copyable and
+modifiable as free software programs. O'Reilly, meanwhile, argued that a
+value-added market for non-free books increased the utility of free software by
+making it more accessible to a wider community. The two had also disputed the
+title of the event, with Stallman insisting on "Free Software" rather than
+"Freeware." The latter term most often refers to programs which are available
+gratis, but which are not free software because their source code is not
+Looking back, O'Reilly doesn't see the decision to leave Stallman's name off
+the invite list as a snub. "At that time, I had never met Richard in person,
+but in our email interactions, he'd been inflexible and unwilling to engage in
+dialogue. I wanted to make sure the GNU tradition was represented at the
+meeting, so I invited John Gilmore and Michael Tiemann, whom I knew personally,
+and whom I knew were passionate about the value of the GPL but seemed more
+willing to engage in a frank back-and-forth about the strengths and weaknesses
+of the various free software projects and traditions. Given all the later
+brouhaha, I do wish I'd invited Richard as well, but I certainly don't think
+that my failure to do so should be interpreted as a lack of respect for the GNU
+Project or for Richard personally."
+={ Gilmore, John ;
+ Tiemann, Michael +7
+Snub or no snub, both O'Reilly and Raymond say the term "open-source" won over
+just enough summit-goers to qualify as a success. The attendees shared ideas
+and experiences and brainstormed on how to improve free software's image. Of
+key concern was how to point out the successes of free software, particularly
+in the realm of Internet infrastructure, as opposed to playing up the GNU/Linux
+challenge to Microsoft Windows. But like the earlier meeting at VA, the
+discussion soon turned to the problems associated with the term "free
+software." O'Reilly, the summit host, remembers a comment from Torvalds, a
+summit attendee.
+"Linus had just moved to Silicon Valley at that point, and he explained how
+only recently that he had learned that the word 'free' had two meanings - free
+as in 'libre' and free as in 'gratis' - in English."
+Michael Tiemann, founder of Cygnus, proposed an alternative to the troublesome
+"free software" term: sourceware. "Nobody got too excited about it," O'Reilly
+recalls. "That's when Eric threw out the term 'open source.'"
+Although the term appealed to some, support for a change in offcial terminology
+was far from unanimous. At the end of the one-day conference, attendees put the
+three terms - free software, open source, or sourceware - to a vote. According
+to O'Reilly, 9 out of the 15 attendees voted for "open source." Although some
+still quibbled with the term, all attendees agreed to use it in future
+discussions with the press. "We wanted to go out with a solidarity message,"
+O'Reilly says.
+The term didn't take long to enter the national lexicon. Shortly after the
+summit, O'Reilly shepherded summit attendees to a press conference attended by
+reporters from the /{New York Times}/, the /{Wall Street Journal}/, and other
+prominent publications. Within a few months, Torvalds' face was appearing on
+the cover of /{Forbes}/ magazine, with the faces of Stallman, Perl creator
+Larry Wall, and Apache team leader Brian Behlendorf featured in the interior
+spread. Open source was open for business.
+={ Wall, Larry }
+For summit attendees such as Tiemann, the solidarity message was the most
+important thing. Although his company had achieved a fair amount of success
+selling free software tools and services, he sensed the difficulty other
+programmers and entrepreneurs faced.
+"There's no question that the use of the word free was confusing in a lot of
+situations," Tiemann says. "Open source positioned itself as being business
+friendly and business sensible. Free software positioned itself as morally
+righteous. For better or worse we figured it was more advantageous to align
+with the open source crowd.
+Raymond called Stallman after the meeting to tell him about the new term "open
+source" and ask if he would use it. Raymond says Stallman briefly considered
+adopting the term, only to discard it. "I know because I had direct personal
+conversations about it," Raymond says.
+Stallman's immediate response was, "I'll have to think about it." The following
+day he had concluded that the values of Raymond and O'Reilly would surely
+dominate the future discourse of "open source," and that the best way to keep
+the ideas of the free software movement in public view was to stick to its
+traditional term.
+Later in 1998, Stallman announced his position: "open source," while helpful in
+communicating the technical advantages of free software also encouraged
+speakers to soft-pedal the issue of software freedom. It avoided the unintended
+meaning of "gratis software" and the intended meaning of "freedom-respecting
+software" equally. As a means for conveying the latter meaning, it was
+therefore no use. In effect, Raymond and O'Reilly had given a name to the
+non-idealistic political party in the community, the one Stallman did not agree
+In addition, Stallman thought that the ideas of "open source" led people to put
+too much emphasis on winning the support of business. While such support in
+itself wasn't necessarily bad in itself, he expected that being too desperate
+for it would lead to harmful compromises. "Negotiation 101 would teach you that
+if you are desperate to get someone's agreement, you are asking for a bad
+deal," he says. "You need to be prepared to say no." Summing up his position at
+the 1999 LinuxWorld Convention and Expo, an event billed by Torvalds himself as
+a "coming out party" for the "Linux" community, Stallman implored his fellow
+hackers to resist the lure of easy compromise.
+={ LinuxWorld Conventions +2 }
+"Because we've shown how much we can do, we don't have to be desperate to work
+with companies or compromise our goals," Stallman said during a panel
+discussion. "Let them offer and we'll accept. We don't have to change what
+we're doing to get them to help us. You can take a single step towards a goal,
+then another and then more and more and you'll actually reach your goal. Or,
+you can take a half measure that means you don't ever take another step, and
+you'll never get there."
+Even before the LinuxWorld show, however, Stallman was showing an increased
+willingness to alienate open source supporters. A few months after the Freeware
+Summit, O'Reilly hosted its second annual Perl Conference. This time around,
+Stallman was in attendance. During a panel discussion lauding IBM's decision to
+employ the free software Apache web server in its commercial offerings,
+Stallman, taking advantage of an audience microphone, made a sharp denunciation
+of panelist John Ousterhout, creator of the Tcl scripting language. Stallman
+branded Ousterhout a "parasite" on the free software community for marketing a
+proprietary version of Tcl via Ousterhout's startup company, Scriptics.
+Ousterhout had stated that Scriptics would contribute only the barest minimum
+of its improvements to the free version of Tcl, meaning it would in effect use
+that small contribution to win community approval for much a larger amount of
+non-free software development. Stallman rejected this position and denounced
+Scriptics' plans. "I don't think Scriptics is necessary for the continued
+existenceof Tcl," Stallman said to hisses from the fellow audience members.~{
+Ibid. }~
+={ Apache web server ;
+ IBM :
+ Apache web server and ;
+ Ousterhout, John ;
+ Tcl scripting language +1 ;
+ Scriptics
+"It was a pretty ugly scene," recalls Prime Time Freeware's Rich Morin. "John's
+done some pretty respectable things: Tcl, Tk, Sprite. He's a real contributor."
+Despite his sympathies for Stallman and Stallman's position, Morin felt empathy
+for those troubled by Stallman's discordant words.
+={ Morin, Rich +1 ;
+ Prime Time Freeware ;
+ Sprite
+Stallman will not apologize. "Criticizing proprietary software isn't ugly -
+proprietary software is ugly. Ousterhout had indeed made real contributions in
+the past, but the point is that Scriptics was going to be nearly 100% a
+proprietary software company. In that conference, standing up for freedom meant
+disagreeing with nearly everyone. Speaking from the audience, I could only say
+a few sentences. The only way to raise the issue so it would not be immediately
+forgotten was to put it in strong terms."
+"If people rebuke me for 'making a scene' when I state a serious criticism of
+someone's conduct, while calling Torvalds 'cheeky' for saying nastier things
+about trivial matters, that seems like a double standard to me."
+Stallman's controversial criticism of Ousterhout momentarily alienated a
+potential sympathizer, Bruce Perens. In 1998, Eric Raymond proposed launching
+the Open Source Initiative, or OSI, an organization that would police the use
+of the term "open source" and provide a definition for companies interested in
+making their own programs. Raymond recruited Perens to draft the definition.~{
+See Bruce Perens et al., "The Open Source Definition," The Open Source
+Initiative (1998), \\ http://www.opensource.org/docs/definition.html. }~
+={ OSI (Open Source Initiative) ;
+ Open Source Initiative (OSI) ;
+ Perens, Bruce +1
+Perens would later resign from the OSI, expressing regret that the organization
+had set itself up in opposition to Stallman and the FSF. Still, looking back on
+the need for a free software definition outside the Free Software Foundation's
+auspices, Perens understands why other hackers might still feel the need for
+distance. "I really like and admire Richard," says Perens. "I do think Richard
+would do his job better if Richard had more balance. That includes going away
+from free-software for a couple of months."
+Stallman's energies would do little to counteract the public-relations momentum
+of open source proponents. In August of 1998, when chip-maker Intel purchased a
+stake in GNU/Linux vendor Red Hat, an accompanying /{New York Times}/ article
+described the company as the product of a movement "known alternatively as free
+software and opensource."~{ See Amy Harmon, "For Sale: Free Operating System,"
+New York Times (September 28, 1998), \\
+http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/98/09/biztech/articles/28linux.html. }~ Six
+months later, a John Markoff article on Apple Computerwas proclaiming the
+company's adoption of the "open source" Apache server in the article
+headline.~{ See John Markoff, "Apple Adopts 'Open Source' for its Server
+Computers," New York Times (March 17, 1999), \\
+http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/99/03/biztech/articles/17apple.html. }~
+={ Apache web server ;
+ Apple Computers :
+ open source software and ;
+ Intel ;
+ Markoff, John ;
+ Red Hat Inc. :
+ success of +1
+Such momentum would coincide with the growing momentum of companies that
+actively embraced the "open source" term. By August of 1999, Red Hat, a company
+that now eagerly billed itself as "opensource," was selling shares on Nasdaq.
+In December, VA Linux -formerly VA Research - was floating its own IPO to
+historic effect. Opening at $30 per share, the company's stock price exploded
+past the $300 mark in initial trading only to settle back down to the $239
+level. Shareholders lucky enough to get in at the bottom and stay until the end
+experienced a 698% increase in paper wealth, a Nasdaq record. Eric Raymond, as
+a board member, owned shares worth $36 million. However, these high prices were
+temporary; they tumbled when the dot-com boom ended.
+={ VA Linux +1 ;
+ VA Research
+The open source proponents' message was simple: all you need, to sell the free
+software concept, is to make it business-friendly. They saw Stallman and the
+free software movement as fighting the market;they sought instead to leverage
+it. Instead of playing the role of high-school outcasts, they had played the
+game of celebrity, magnifying their power in the process.
+These methods won great success for open source, but not for the ideals of free
+software. What they had done to "spread the message" was to omit the most
+important part of it: the idea of freedom as an ethical issue. The effects of
+this omission are visible today: as of 2009, nearly all GNU/Linux distributions
+include proprietary programs, Torvalds' version of Linux contains proprietary
+firmware programs, and the company formerly called VA Linux bases its business
+on proprietary software. Over half of all the world's web servers run some
+version of Apache, and the usual version of Apache is free software, but many
+of those sites run a proprietary modified version distributed by IBM.
+"On his worst days Richard believes that Linus Torvalds and I conspired to
+hijack his revolution," Raymond says. "Richard's rejection of the term open
+source and his deliberate creation of an ideological fissure in my view comes
+from an odd mix of idealism and territoriality. There are people out there who
+think it's all Richard's personal ego. I don't believe that. It's more that he
+so personally associates himself with the free software idea that he sees any
+threat to that as a threat to himself."
+Stallman responds, "Raymond misrepresents my views: I don't think Torvalds
+'conspired' with anyone, since being sneaky is not his way. However, Raymond's
+nasty conduct is visible in those statements themselves. Rather than respond to
+my views (even as he claims they are) on their merits, he proposes
+psychological interpretations for them. He attributes the harshest
+interpretation to unnamed others, then 'defends' me by proposing a slightly
+less derogatory one. He has often 'defended' me this way."
+Ironically, the success of open source and open source advocates such as
+Raymond would not diminish Stallman's role as a leader - but it would lead many
+to misunderstand what he is a leader of. Since the free software movement lacks
+the corporate and media recognition of open source, most users of GNU/Linux do
+not hear that it exists, let alone what its views are. They have heard the
+ideas and values of opensource, and they never imagine that Stallman might have
+different ones. Thus he receives messages thanking him for his advocacy of
+"open source," and explains in response that he has never been a supporter of
+that, using the occasion to inform the sender about free-software.
+Some writers recognize the term "free software" by using the term "FLOSS,"
+which stands for "Free/Libre and Open Source Software." However, they often say
+there is a single "FLOSS" movement, which is like saying that the U.S. has a
+"Liberal/Conservative" movement, and the views they usually associate with this
+supposed single movement are the open source views they have heard.
+Despite all these obstacles, the free software movement does make its ideas
+heard sometimes, and continues to grow in absolute terms. By sticking to its
+guns, and presenting its ideas in contrast to those of open source, it gains
+ground. "One of Stallman's primary character traits is the fact he doesn't
+budge," says Ian Murdock. "He'll wait up to a decade for people to come around
+to his point of view if that's what it takes."
+Murdock, for one, finds that un-budgeable nature both refreshing and valuable.
+Stallman may no longer be the solitary leader of the free software movement,
+but he is still the polestar of the free software community. "You always know
+that he's going to be consistent in his views," Murdock says. "Most people
+aren't like that. Whether you agree with him or not, you really have to respect
+1~ Chapter 12 - A Brief Journey through Hacker Hell
+[RMS: In this chapter my only change is to add a few notes labeled like this
+Richard Stallman stares, unblinking, through the windshield of a rental car,
+waiting for the light to change as we make our way through downtown Kihei.
+={ Kihei (Hawaii) +15 }
+The two of us are headed to the nearby town of Pa'ia, where we are scheduled to
+meet up with some software programmers and their wives for dinner in about an
+hour or so.
+={ Pa'ia (Hawaii) +2 }
+It's about two hours after Stallman's speech at the Maui High Performance
+Center, and Kihei, a town that seemed so inviting before the speech, now seems
+profoundly uncooperative. Like most beach cities, Kihei is a one-dimensional
+exercise in suburban sprawl. Driving down its main drag, with its endless
+succession of burger stands, realty agencies, and bikini shops, it's hard not
+to feel like a steel-coated morsel passing through the alimentary canal of a
+giant commercial tapeworm. The feeling is exacerbated by the lack of side
+roads. With nowhere to go but forward, traffic moves in spring-like lurches.
+200 yards ahead, a light turns green. By the time we are moving, the light is
+yellow again.
+For Stallman, a lifetime resident of the east coast, the prospect of spending
+the better part of a sunny Hawaiian afternoon trapped in slow traffic is enough
+to trigger an embolism. [RMS: Since I was driving, I was also losing time to
+answer my email, and that's a real pain since I can barely keep up anyway.]
+Even worse is the knowledge that, with just a few quick right turns a quarter
+mile back, this whole situation easily could have been avoided. Unfortunately,
+we are at the mercy of the driver ahead of us, a programmer from the lab who
+knows the way and who has decided to take us to Pa'ia via the scenic route
+instead of via the nearby Pilani Highway.
+"This is terrible," says Stallman between frustrated sighs. "Why didn't we take
+the other route?"
+Again, the light a quarter mile ahead of us turns green. Again, we creep
+forward a few more car lengths. This process continues for another 10 minutes,
+until we finally reach a major crossroad promising access to the adjacent
+The driver ahead of us ignores it and continues through the intersection.
+"Why isn't he turning?" moans Stallman, throwing up his hands in frustration.
+"Can you believe this?"
+I decide not to answer either. I find the fact that I am sitting in a car with
+Stallman in the driver seat, in Maui no less, unbelievable enough. Until two
+hours ago, I didn't even know Stallman knew how to drive. Now, listening to
+Yo-Yo Ma's cello playing the mournful bass notes of "Appalachian Journey" on
+the car stereo and watching the sunset pass by on our left, I do my best to
+fade into the upholstery.
+When the next opportunity to turn finally comes up, Stallman hits his right
+turn signal in an attempt to cue the driver ahead of us. No such luck. Once
+again, we creep slowly through the intersection, coming to a stop a good 200
+yards before the next light. By now, Stallman is livid.
+"It's like he's deliberately ignoring us," he says, gesturing and pantomiming
+like an air craft carrier landing-signals officer in a futile attempt to catch
+our guide's eye. The guide appears unfazed, and for the next five minutes all
+we see is a small portion of his head in the rear-view mirror.
+I look out Stallman's window. Nearby Kahoolawe and Lanai Islands provide an
+ideal frame for the setting sun. It's a breathtaking view, the kind that makes
+moments like this a bit more bearable if you're a Hawaiian native, I suppose. I
+try to direct Stallman's attention to it, but Stallman, by now obsessed by the
+inattentiveness of the driver ahead of us, blows me off.
+={ Lanai Islands (Hawaii) }
+When the driver passes through another green light, completely ignoring a
+"Pilani Highway Next Right," I grit my teeth. I remember an early warning
+relayed to me by BSD programmer Keith Bostic. "Stallman does not suffer fools
+gladly," Bostic warned me. "If somebody says or does something stupid, he'll
+look them in the eye and say, 'That's stupid.'"
+={ Bostic, Keith }
+Looking at the oblivious driver ahead of us, I realize that it's the stupidity,
+not the inconvenience, that's killing Stallman right now.
+"It's as if he picked this route with absolutely no thought on how to get there
+efficiently," Stallman says.
+The word "efficiently" hangs in the air like a bad odor. Few things irritate
+the hacker mind more than inefficiency. It was the inefficiency of checking the
+Xerox laser printer two or three times a day that triggered Stallman's initial
+inquiry into the printer source code. It was the inefficiency of rewriting
+software tools hijacked by commercial software vendors that led Stallman to
+battle Symbolics and to launch the GNU Project. If, as Jean Paul Sartre once
+opined, hell is other people, hacker hell is duplicating other people's stupid
+mistakes, and it's no exaggeration to say that Stallman's entire life has been
+an attempt to save mankind from these fiery depths.
+={ Sartre, Jean Paul }
+This hell metaphor becomes all the more apparent as we take in the slowly
+passing scenery. With its multitude of shops, parking lots, and poorly timed
+street lights, Kihei seems less like a city and more like a poorly designed
+software program writ large. Instead of rerouting traffic and distributing
+vehicles through side streets and expressways, city planners have elected to
+run everything through a single main drag. From a hacker perspective, sitting
+in a car amidst all this mess is like listening to a CD rendition of nails on a
+chalkboard at full volume.
+"Imperfect systems infuriate hackers," observes Steven Levy, another warning I
+should have listened to before climbing into the car with Stallman. "This is
+one reason why hackers generally hate driving cars - the system of randomly
+programmed red lights and oddly laid out one-way streets causes delays which
+are so goddamn /{unnecessary}/ [Levy's emphasis] that the impulse is to
+rearrange signs, open up traffic-light control boxes . . . re-design the entire
+system."~{ See Steven Levy, /{Hackers}/ (Penguin USA [paperback], 1984): 40. }~
+More frustrating, however, is the duplicity of our trusted guide. Instead of
+searching out a clever shortcut - as any true hacker would do on instinct - the
+driver ahead of us has instead chosen to play along with the city planners'
+game. Like Virgil in Dante's /{Inferno}/, our guide is determined to give us
+the full guided tour of this hacker hell whether we want it or not.
+Before I can make this observation to Stallman, the driver finally hits his
+right turn signal. Stallman's hunched shoulders relax slightly, and for a
+moment the air of tension within the car dissipates. The tension comes back,
+however, as the driver in front of us slows down. "Construction Ahead" signs
+line both sides of the street, and even though the Pilani Highway lies less
+than a quarter mile off in the distance, the two-lane road between us and the
+highway is blocked by a dormant bulldozer and two large mounds of dirt.
+It takes Stallman a few seconds to register what's going on as our guide begins
+executing a clumsy five-point U-turn in front of us. When he catches a glimpse
+of the bulldozer and the "No Through Access" signs just beyond, Stallman
+finally boils over.
+"Why, why, why?" he whines, throwing his head back. "You should have known the
+road was blocked. You should have known this way wouldn't work. You did this
+deliberately." [RMS: I meant that he chose the slow road deliberately. As
+explained below, I think these quotes are not exact.]
+The driver finishes the turn and passes us on the way back toward the main
+drag. As he does so, he shakes his head and gives us an apologetic shrug.
+Coupled with a toothy grin, the driver's gesture reveals a touch of mainlander
+frustration but is tempered with a protective dose of islander fatalism. Coming
+through the sealed windows of our rental car, it spells out a succinct message:
+"Hey, it's Maui; what are you gonna do?"
+Stallman can take it no longer.
+"Don't you fucking smile!" he shouts, fogging up the glass as he does so. "It's
+your fucking fault. This all could have been so much easier if we had just done
+it my way." [RMS: These quotes appear to be inaccurate, because I don't use
+"fucking" as an adverb. This was not an interview, so Williams would not have
+had a tape recorder running. I'm sure things happened overall as described, but
+these quotations probably reflect his understanding rather than my words.]
+Stallman accents the words "my way" by gripping the steering wheel and pulling
+himself towards it twice. The image of Stallman's lurching frame is like that
+of a child throwing a temper tantrum in a car seat, an image further underlined
+by the tone of Stallman's voice. Halfway between anger and anguish, Stallman
+seems to be on the verge of tears.
+Fortunately, the tears do not arrive. Like a summer cloudburst, the tantrum
+ends almost as soon as it begins. After a few whiny gasps, Stallman shifts the
+car into reverse and begins executing his own U-turn. By the time we are back
+on the main drag, his face is as impassive as it was when we left the hotel 30
+minutes earlier.
+It takes less than five minutes to reach the next cross-street. This one offers
+easy highway access, and within seconds, we are soon speeding off toward Pa'ia
+at a relaxing rate of speed. The sun that once loomed bright and yellow over
+Stallman's left shoulder is now burning a cool orange-red in our rear-view
+mirror. It lends its color to the gauntlet wili wili trees flying past us on
+both sides of the highway.
+={ Pa'ia (Hawaii) }
+For the next 20 minutes, the only sound in our vehicle, aside from the ambient
+hum of the car's engine and tires, is the sound of a cello and a violin trio
+playing the mournful strains of an Appalachian folktune.
+1~ Chapter 13 - Continuing the Fight
+For Richard Stallman, time may not heal all wounds, but it does provide a
+convenient ally.
+Four years after "The Cathedral and the Bazaar," Stallman still chafes over the
+Raymond critique. He also grumbles over Linus Torvalds' elevation to the role
+of world's most famous hacker. He recalls a popular T-shirt that began showing
+at Linux tradeshows around 1999. Designed to mimic the original promotional
+poster for Star Wars, the shirt depicted Torvalds brandishing a light-saber
+like Luke Skywalker, while Stallman's face rides atop R2D2. The shirt still
+grates on Stallman's nerves not only because it depicts him as Torvalds'
+sidekick, but also because it elevates Torvalds to the leadership role in the
+free-software community, a role even Torvalds himself is loath to accept. "It's
+ironic," says Stallman mournfully. "Picking up that sword is exactly what Linus
+refuses to do. He gets everybody focusing on him as the symbol of the movement,
+and then he won't fight. What good is it?"
+={ Cathedral and the Bazaar, The (Raymond) ;
+ Luke Skywalker ;
+ R2D2 ;
+ Torvalds, Linus +1 ;
+ Star Wars
+Then again, it is that same unwillingness to "pick up the sword," on Torvalds'
+part, that has left the door open for Stallman to bolster his reputation as the
+hacker community's ethical arbiter. Despite his grievances, Stallman has to
+admit that the last few years have been quite good, both to himself and to his
+organization. Relegated to the periphery by the ironic success of the GNU/Linux
+system because users thought of it as "Linux," Stallman has nonetheless
+successfully recaptured the initiative. His speaking schedule between January
+2000and December 2001 included stops on six continents and visits to countries
+where the notion of software freedom carries heavy overtones -China and India,
+for example.
+Outside the bully pulpit, Stallman has taken advantage of the leverage of the
+GNU General Public License (GPL), of which he remains the steward. During the
+summer of 2000, while the air was rapidly leaking out of the 1999 Linux IPO
+bubble, Stallman and the Free Software Foundation scored two major victories.
+In July, 2000, Troll tech, a Norwegian software company and developer of Qt, a
+graphical interface library that ran on the GNU/Linux operating system,
+announced it was licensing its software under the GPL. A few weeks later, Sun
+Microsystems, a company that, until then, had been warily trying to ride the
+open source bandwagon without actually contributing its code, finally relented
+and announced that it, too, was dual licensing its new OpenOffice~{ Sun was
+compelled by a trademark complaint to use the clumsy name "OpenOffice.org." }~
+application suite under the Lesser GNU Public License(LGPL) and the Sun
+Industry Standards Source License (SISSL).
+={ Free Software Foundation (FSF) :
+ QT graphic tools and ;
+ GNU General Public License :
+ QT graphics tools and ;
+ Lesser GNU Public License (LGPL) ;
+ OpenOffice application suite +4 ;
+ Qt +1 ;
+ Troll Tech +1 ;
+ SISSL (Sun Industry Standards Source Licence) ;
+ Sun Industry Standards Source License (SISSL) ;
+ Sun Microsystems :
+ OpenOffice application suite
+In the case of Trolltech, this victory was the result of a protracted effort by
+the GNU Project. The non-freeness of Qt was a serious problem for the free
+software community because KDE, a free graphical desktop environment that was
+becoming popular, depended on it. Qt was non-free software but Trolltech had
+invited free software projects(such as KDE) to use it gratis. Although KDE
+itself was free software, users that insisted on freedom couldn't run it, since
+they had to reject Qt. Stallman recognized that many users would want a
+graphical desktop on GNU/Linux, and most would not value freedom enough to
+reject the temptation of KDE, with Qt hiding within. The danger was that
+GNU/Linux would become a motor for the installation of KDE, and therefore also
+of non-free Qt. This would undermine the freedom which was the purpose of GNU.
+To deal with this danger, Stallman recruited people to launch two parallel
+counter projects. One was GNOME, the GNU free graphical desktop environment.
+The other was Harmony, a compatible free replacement for Qt. If GNOME
+succeeded, KDE would not be necessary; if Harmony succeeded, KDE would not need
+Qt. Either way, users would be able to have a graphical desktop on GNU/Linux
+without non-free Qt.
+In 1999, these two efforts were making good progress, and the management of
+Trolltech were starting to feel the pressure. So Trolltech released Qt under
+its own free software license, the QPL. The QPL qualified as a free license,
+but Stallman pointed out the drawback of incompatibility with the GPL: in
+general, combining GPL-covered code with Qt in one program was impossible
+without violating one license or the other. Eventually the Trolltech management
+recognized that the GPL would serve their purposes equally well, and released
+Qt with dual licensing: the same Qt code, in parallel, was available under the
+GNU GPL and under the QPL. After three years, this was victory.
+Once Qt was free, the motive for developing Harmony (which wasn't complete
+enough for actual use) had disappeared, and the developers abandoned it. GNOME
+had acquired substantial momentum, so its development continued, and it remains
+the main GNU graphical desktop.
+Sun desired to play according to the Free Software Foundation's conditions. At
+the 1999 O'Reilly Open Source Conference, Sun Microsystems co-founder and chief
+scientist Bill Joy defended his company's "community source" license,
+essentially a watered-down compromise letting users copy and modify Sun-owned
+software but not sell copies of said software without negotiating a royalty
+agreement with Sun. (With this restriction, the license did not qualify as
+free, nor for that matter as open source.) A year after Joy's speech, Sun
+Microsystems vice president Marco Boerries was appearing on the same stage
+spelling out the company's new licensing compromise in the case of OpenOffice,
+an office-application suite designed specifically for the GNU/Linux operating
+={ Boerries, Marco +2 ;
+ community source, license of Sun Microsystems ;
+ Joy, Bill ;
+ O'Reilly & Associates :
+ Open Source Conferences
+"I can spell it out in three letters," said Boerries. "GPL."
+At the time, Boerries said his company's decision had little to do with
+Stallman and more to do with the momentum of GPL-protected programs. "What
+basically happened was the recognition that different products attracted
+different communities, and the license you use depends on what type of
+community you want to attract," said Boerries. "With [OpenOffice], it was clear
+we had the highest correlation with the GPL community."~{ Marco Boerries,
+interview with author (July, 2000). }~ Alas, this victory was incomplete, since
+OpenOffice recommends the use of non-free plug-ins.
+Such comments point out the under-recognized strength of the GPL and,
+indirectly, the political genius of the man who played the largest role in
+creating it. "There isn't a lawyer on earth who would have drafted the GPL the
+way it is," says Eben Moglen, Columbia University law professor and Free
+Software Foundation general counsel. "But it works. And it works because of
+Richard's philosophy of design."
+={ Columbia University ;
+ Moglen, Eben +35
+A former professional programmer, Moglen traces his pro bono work with Stallman
+back to 1990 when Stallman requested Moglen's legal assistance on a private
+affair. Moglen, then working with encryption expert Phillip Zimmerman during
+Zimmerman's legal battles with the federal government, says he was honored by
+the request.~{ For more information on Zimmerman's legal travails, read Steven
+Levy's /{Crypto}/, p. 287-288. In the original book version of /{Free as in
+Freedom}/, I reported that Moglen helped defend Zimmerman against the National
+Security Agency. According to Levy's account, Zimmerman was investigated by the
+U.S. Attorney's office and U.S. Customs, not the NSA. }~
+={ Zimmerman, Phillip ;
+ National Security Administration
+"I told him I used Emacs every day of my life, and it would take an awful lot
+of lawyering on my part to pay off the debt."
+Since then, Moglen, perhaps more than any other individual, has had the best
+chance to observe the crossover of Stallman's hacker philosophies into the
+legal realm. Moglen says Stallman's approach to legal code and his approach to
+software code are largely the same. "I have to say, as a lawyer, the idea that
+what you should do with a legal document is to take out all the bugs doesn't
+make much sense," Moglen says. "There is uncertainty in every legal process,
+and what most lawyers want to do is to capture the benefits of uncertainty for
+their client. Richard's goal is the complete opposite. His goal is to remove
+uncertainty, which is inherently impossible. It is inherently impossible to
+draft one license to control all circumstances in all legal systems all over
+the world. But if you were to go at it, you would have to go at it his way. And
+the resulting elegance, the resulting simplicity in design almost achieves what
+it has to achieve. And from there a little lawyering will carry you quite far."
+As the person charged with pushing the Stallman agenda, Moglen understands the
+frustration of would-be allies. "Richard is a man who does not want to
+compromise over matters that he thinks of as fundamental," Moglen says, "and he
+does not take easily the twisting of words or even just the seeking of artful
+ambiguity, which human society often requires from a lot of people."
+In addition to helping the Free Software Foundation, Moglen has provided legal
+aid to other copyright defendants, such as Dmitry Sklyarov, and distributors of
+the DVD decryption program deCSS.
+={ Sklyarov, Dmitri +1 }
+Sklyarov had written and released a program to break digital copy-protection on
+Adobe e-Books, in Russia where there was no law against it, as an employee of a
+Russian company. He was then arrested while visiting the US to give a
+scientific paper about his work. Stallman eagerly participated in protests
+condemning Adobe for having Sklyarov arrested, and the Free Software Foundation
+denounced the Digital Millennium Copyright Act as "censorship of software," but
+it could not intervene in favor of Sklyarov's program because that was
+non-free. Thus, Moglen worked for Sklyarov's defense through the Electronic
+Frontier Foundation. The FSF avoided involvement in the distribution of deCSS,
+since that was illegal, but Stallman condemned the U.S. government for
+prohibiting deCSS, and Moglen worked as direct counsel for the defendants.
+={ Electronic Frontier Foundation }
+Following the FSF's decision not to involve itself in those cases, Moglen has
+learned to appreciate the value of Stallman's stubbornness. "There have been
+times over the years where I've gone to Richard and said, 'We have to do this.
+We have to do that. Here's the strategic situation. Here's the next move.
+Here's what he have to do.' And Richard's response has always been, 'We don't
+have to do anything.'Just wait. What needs doing will get done."
+"And you know what?" Moglen adds. "Generally, he's been right."
+Such comments disavow Stallman's own self-assessment: "I'm not good at playing
+games," Stallman says, addressing the many unseen critics who see him as a
+shrewd strategist. "I'm not good at looking ahead and anticipating what
+somebody else might do. My approach has always been to focus on the foundation
+[of ideas], to say 'Let's make the foundation as strong as we can make it.'"
+The GPL's expanding popularity and continuing gravitational strength are the
+best tributes to the foundation laid by Stallman and his GNU colleagues. While
+Stallman was never the sole person in the world releasing free software, he
+nevertheless can take sole credit for building the free software movement's
+ethical framework. Whether or not other modern programmers feel comfortable
+working inside that framework is immaterial. The fact that they even have a
+choice at all is Stallman's greatest legacy.
+Discussing Stallman's legacy at this point seems a bit premature. Stallman, 48
+at the time of this writing, still has a few years left to add to or subtract
+from that legacy. Still, the momentum of the free software movement makes it
+tempting to examine Stallman's life outside the day-to-day battles of the
+software industry and within a more august, historical setting.
+To his credit, Stallman refuses all opportunities to speculate about this.
+"I've never been able to work out detailed plans of what the future was going
+to be like," says Stallman, offering his own premature epitaph. "I just said
+'I'm going to fight. Who knows where I'll get?'"
+There's no question that in picking his fights, Stallman has alienated the very
+people who might otherwise have been his greatest champions, had he been
+willing to fight for their views instead of his own. It is also a testament to
+his forthright, ethical nature that many of Stallman's erstwhile political
+opponents still manage to put in a few good words for him when pressed. The
+tension between Stallman the ideologue and Stallman the hacker genius, however,
+leads a biographer to wonder: how will people view Stallman when Stallman's own
+personality is no longer there to get in the way?
+In early drafts of this book, I dubbed this question the "100 year" question.
+Hoping to stimulate an objective view of Stallman and his work, I asked various
+software-industry luminaries to take themselves out of the current time-frame
+and put themselves in a position of a historian looking back on the free
+software movement 100 years in the future. From the current vantage point, it
+is easy to see similarities between Stallman and past Americans who, while
+somewhat marginal during their lifetime, have attained heightened historical
+importance in relation to their age. Easy comparisons include Henry David
+Thoreau, transcendentalist philosopher and author of /{Civil Disobedience}/,
+and John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club and progenitor of the modern
+environmental movement. It is also easy to see similarities in men like William
+Jennings Bryan, a.k.a. "The Great Commoner," leader of the populist movement,
+enemy of monopolies, and a man who, though powerful, seems to have faded into
+historical insignificance.
+={ Bryan, Willliam Jennings ;
+ Muir, John ;
+ On Civil Disobedience (Thoreau) ;
+ Thoreau, Henry David ;
+ Sierra Club
+Although not the first person to view software as public property, Stallman is
+guaranteed a footnote in future history books thanks to the GPL. Given that
+fact, it seems worthwhile to step back and examine Richard Stallman's legacy
+outside the current time frame. Will the GPL still be something software
+programmers use in the year 2102, or will it have long since fallen by the
+wayside? Will the term "free-software" seem as politically quaint as "free
+silver" does today, or will it seem eerily prescient in light of later
+political events?
+Predicting the future is risky sport. Stallman refuses, saying that asking what
+people will think in 100 years presumes we have no influence over it. The
+question he prefers is, "What should we do to make a better future?" But most
+people, when presented with the predictive question, seemed eager to bite.
+"One hundred years from now, Richard and a couple of other people are going to
+deserve more than a footnote," says Moglen. "They're going to be viewed as the
+main line of the story."
+The "couple of other people" Moglen nominates for future textbook chapters
+include John Gilmore, who beyond contributing in various ways to free software
+has founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Theodor Holm Nelson, a.k.a.
+Ted Nelson, author of the 1982book, /{Literary Machines}/. Moglen says
+Stallman, Nelson, and Gilmore each stand out in historically significant,
+non-overlapping ways. He credits Nelson, commonly considered to have coined the
+term "hypertext," for identifying the predicament of information ownership in
+the digital age. Gilmore and Stallman, meanwhile, earn notable credit for
+identifying the negative political effects of information control and building
+organizations - the Electronic Frontier Foundation in the case of Gilmore and
+the Free Software Foundation in the case of Stallman - to counteract those
+effects. Of the two, however, Moglen sees Stallman's activities as more
+personal and less political in nature.
+={ Electronic Frontier Foundation ;
+ Gilmore, John ;
+ Nelson, Theodor Holm +2 ;
+ Nelson, Ted +2
+"Richard was unique in that the ethical implications of un-free software were
+particularly clear to him at an early moment," says Moglen. "This has a lot to
+do with Richard's personality, which lots of people will, when writing about
+him, try to depict as epiphenomenal or even a drawback in Richard Stallman's
+own life work."
+Gilmore, who describes his inclusion between the erratic Nelson and the
+irascible Stallman as something of a "mixed honor," nevertheless seconds the
+Moglen argument. Writes Gilmore:
+_1 My guess is that Stallman's writings will stand up as well as Thomas
+Jefferson's have; he's a pretty clear writer and also clear on his
+principles... Whether Richard will be as influential as Jefferson will depend
+on whether the abstractions we call "civil rights" end up more important a
+hundred years from now than the abstractions that we call "software" or
+"technically imposed restrictions."
+={ Jefferson, Thomas }
+Another element of the Stallman legacy not to be overlooked, Gilmore writes, is
+the collaborative software-development model pioneered by the GNU Project.
+Although flawed at times, the model has nevertheless evolved into a standard
+within the software-development industry. All told, Gilmore says, this
+collaborative software-development model may end up being even more influential
+than the GNU Project, the GPL License, or any particular software program
+developed by Stallman:
+_1 Before the Internet, it was quite hard to collaborate over distance on
+software, even among teams that know and trust each other. Richard pioneered
+collaborative development of software, particularly by disorganized volunteers
+who seldom meet each other. Richard didn't build any of the basic tools for
+doing this (the TCP protocol, email lists, diff and patch, tar files, RCS or
+CVS or remote-CVS), but he used the ones that were available to form social
+groups of programmers who could effectively collaborate.
+Stallman thinks that evaluation, though positive, misses the point. "It
+emphasizes development methods over freedom, which reflects the values of open
+source rather than free software. If that is how future users look back on the
+GNU Project, I fear it will lead to a world in which developers maintain users
+in bondage, and let them aid development occasionally as a reward, but never
+take the chains off them."
+Lawrence Lessig, Stanford law professor and author of the 2001 book, /{The
+Future of Ideas}/, is similarly bullish. Like many legal scholars, Lessig sees
+the GPL as a major bulwark of the current so-called "digital commons," the vast
+agglomeration of community-owned software programs, network and
+telecommunication standards that have triggered the Internet's exponential
+growth over the last three decades. Rather than connect Stallman with other
+Internet pioneers, men such as Vannevar Bush, Vinton Cerf, and J. C. R.
+Licklider who convinced others to see computer technology on a wider scale,
+Lessig sees Stallman's impact as more personal, introspective, and, ultimately,
+={ Future of Ideas, The (Lessig) }
+_1 [Stallman] changed the debate from "is" to "ought." He made people see how
+much was at stake, and he built a device to carry these ideals forward... That
+said, I don't quite know how to place him in the context of Cerf or Licklider.
+The innovation is different. It is not just about a certain kind of code, or
+enabling the Internet. [It's] much more about getting people to see the value
+in a certain kind of Internet. I don't think there is anyone else in that
+class, before or after.
+Not everybody sees the Stallman legacy as set in stone, of course. Eric
+Raymond, the open source proponent who feels that Stallman's leadership role
+has diminished significantly since 1996, sees mixed signals when looking into
+the 2102 crystal ball:
+_1 I think Stallman's artifacts (GPL, Emacs, GCC) will be seen as revolutionary
+works, as foundation-stones of the information world. I think history will be
+less kind to some of the theories from which RMS operated, and not kind at all
+to his personal tendency towards territorial, cult-leader behavior.
+As for Stallman himself, he, too, sees mixed signals:
+_1 What history says about the GNU Project, twenty years from now, will depend
+on who wins the battle of freedom to use public knowledge. If we lose, we will
+be just a footnote. If we win, it is uncertain whether people will know the
+role of the GNU operating system - if they think the system is "Linux," they
+will build a false picture of what happened and why.
+_1 But even if we win, what history people learn a hundred years from now is
+likely to depend on who dominates politically.
+Searching for his own 19th-century historical analogy, Stallman summons the
+figure of John Brown, the militant abolitionist regarded as a hero on one side
+of the Mason Dixon line and a madman on the other.
+John Brown's slave revolt never got going, but during his subsequent trial he
+effectively roused national demand for abolition. During the Civil War, John
+Brown was a hero; 100 years after, and for much of the 1900s, history textbooks
+taught that he was crazy. During the era of legal segregation, while bigotry
+was shameless, the U.S. partly accepted the story that the South wanted to tell
+about itself, and history textbooks said many untrue things about the Civil War
+and related events.
+Such comparisons document both the self-perceived peripheral nature of
+Stallman's current work and the binary nature of his current reputation. It's
+hard to see Stallman's reputation falling to the same level of infamy as
+Brown's did during the post-Reconstruction period. Stallman, despite his
+occasional war-like analogies, has done little to inspire violence. Still, it
+is easy to envision a future in which Stallman's ideas wind up on the
+ash-heap.~{ RMS: Sam Williams' further words here, "In fashioning the free
+software cause not not as a mass movement but as a collection of private
+battles against the forces of proprietary temptation," do not fit the facts.
+Ever since the first announcement of the GNU Project, I have asked the public
+to support the cause. The free software movement aims to be a mass movement,
+and the only question is whether it has enough supporters to qualify as "mass."
+As of 2009, the Free Software Foundation has some 3000 members that pay the
+hefty dues, and over 20,000 subscribers to its monthly e-mail newsletter. }~
+Then again, it is that very will that may someday prove to be Stallman's
+greatest lasting legacy. Moglen, a close observer over the last decade, warns
+those who mistake the Stallman personality as counter-productive or
+epiphenomenal to the "artifacts" of Stallman's life. Without that personality,
+Moglen says, there would be precious few artifacts to discuss. Says Moglen, a
+former Supreme Court clerk:
+_1 Look, the greatest man I ever worked for was Thurgood Marshall. I knew what
+made him a great man. I knew why he had been able to change the world in his
+possible way. I would be going out on a limb a little bit if I were to make a
+comparison, because they could not be more different: Thurgood Marshall was a
+man in society, representing an outcast society to the society that enclosed
+it, but still a man in society. His skill was social skills. But he was all of
+a piece, too. Different as they were in every other respect, the person I now
+most compare him to in that sense - of a piece, compact, made of the substance
+that makes stars, all the way through - is Stallman.
+={ Marshall, Thurgood }
+In an effort to drive that image home, Moglen reflects on a shared moment in
+the spring of 2000. The success of the VA Linux IPO was still resonating in the
+business media, and a half dozen issues related to free software were swimming
+through the news. Surrounded by a swirling hurricane of issues and stories each
+begging for comment, Moglen recalls sitting down for lunch with Stallman and
+feeling like a castaway dropped into the eye of the storm. For the next hour,
+he says, the conversation calmly revolved around a single topic: strengthening
+the GPL.
+={ VA Linux }
+"We were sitting there talking about what we were going to do about some
+problems in Eastern Europe and what we were going to do when the problem of the
+ownership of content began to threaten free software," Moglen recalls. "As we
+were talking, I briefly thought about how we must have looked to people passing
+by. Here we are, these two little bearded anarchists, plotting and planning the
+next steps. And, of course, Richard is plucking the knots from his hair and
+dropping them in the soup and behaving in his usual way. Anybody listening in
+on our conversation would have thought we were crazy, but I knew: I knew the
+revolution's right here at this table. This is what's making it happen. And
+this man is the person making it happen."
+Moglen says that moment, more than any other, drove home the elemental
+simplicity of the Stallman style.
+"It was funny," recalls Moglen. "I said to him, 'Richard, you know, you and I
+are the two guys who didn't make any money out of this revolution.' And then I
+paid for the lunch, because I knew he didn't have the money to pay for it."~{
+RMS: I never refuse to let people treat me to a meal, since my pride is not
+based on picking up the check. But I surely did have the money to pay for
+lunch. My income, which comes from around half the speeches I give, is much
+less than a law professor's salary, but I'm not poor. }~
+1~ Epilogue from Sam Williams: Crushing Loneliness
+[RMS: Because this chapter is so personally from Sam Williams, I have indicated
+all changes to the text with square brackets or ellipses, and I have made such
+changes only to clear up technical or legal points,and to remove passages that
+I found to be hostile and devoid of information. I have also added notes
+labeled 'RMS:' to respond to certain points. Williams has also changed the text
+of this chapter; changes made by Williams are not explicitly indicated.]
+Writing the biography of a living person is a bit like producing a play. The
+drama in front of the curtain often pales in comparison to the drama backstage.
+In /{The Autobiography of Malcolm X}/, Alex Haley gives readers a rare glimpse
+of that backstage drama. Stepping out of the ghostwriter role, Haley delivers
+the book's epilogue in his own voice. The epilogue explains how a freelance
+reporter originally dismissed as a "tool" and"spy" by the Nation of Islam
+spokesperson managed to work through personal and political barriers to get
+Malcolm X's life story on paper.
+={ Autobiography of Malcolm X, The (Haley) +1 ;
+ Haley, Alex
+While I hesitate to compare this book with /{The Autobiography of Malcolm X}/,
+I do owe a debt of gratitude to Haley for his candid epilogue. Over the last 12
+months, it has served as a sort of instruction manual on how to deal with a
+biographical subject who has built an entire career on being disagreeable.
+[RMS: I have built my career on saying no to things others accept without much
+question, but if I sometimes seem or am disagreeable, it is not through
+specific intention.] From the outset, I envisioned closing this biography with
+a similar epilogue, both as an homage to Haley and as a way to let readers know
+how this book came to be.
+The story behind this story starts in an Oakland apartment, winding its way
+through the various locales mentioned in the book - Silicon Valley, Maui,
+Boston, and Cambridge. Ultimately, however, it is a tale of two cities: New
+York, New York, the book-publishing capital of the world, and Sebastopol,
+California, the book-publishing capital of Sonoma County.
+The story starts in April, 2000. At the time, I was writing stories for the
+ill-fated web site BeOpen.com. One of my first assignments was a phone
+interview with Richard M. Stallman. The interview went well, so well that
+Slashdot (http://www.slashdot.org), the popular "news for nerds" site owned by
+VA Software, Inc. (formerly VA LinuxSystems and before that, VA Research), gave
+it a link in its daily list of feature stories. Within hours, the web servers
+at BeOpen were heating up as readers clicked over to the site.
+={ BeOpen.com +3 ;
+ VA Linux ;
+ VA Research ;
+ VA Software, Inc. ;
+ Slashdot
+For all intents and purposes, the story should have ended there. Three months
+after the interview, while attending the O'Reilly Open Source Conference in
+Monterey, California, I received the following email message from Tracy
+Pattison, foreign-rights manager at a large New York publishing house:
+={ Monterey (California) ;
+ O'Reilly & Associates :
+ Open Source Conferences ;
+ Pattison, Tracy
+% poem or group what follows ?
+To: sam@BeOpen.com
+Subject: RMS Interview Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2000 15:56:37 - 0400
+Dear Mr. Williams,
+I read your interview with Richard Stallman on BeOpen
+with great interest. I've been intrigued by RMS and his
+work for some time now and was delighted to find your
+piece which I really think you did a great job of capturing
+some of the spirit of what Stallman is trying to do with
+GNU-Linux and the Free Software Foundation.
+What I'd love to do, however, is read more - and I don't
+think I'm alone. Do you think there is more information
+and/or sources out there to expand and update your
+interview and adapt it into more of a profile of Stallman?
+Perhaps including some more anecdotal information about
+his personality and background that might really interest
+and enlighten readers outside the more hardcore
+programming scene?
+Tracy ended the email with a request that I give her a call to discuss the idea
+further. I did just that. Tracy told me her company was launching a new
+electronic book line, and it wanted stories that appealed to an early-adopter
+audience. The e-book format was 30,000words, about 100 pages, and she had
+pitched her bosses on the idea of profiling a major figure in the hacker
+community. Her bosses liked the idea, and in the process of searching for
+interesting people to profile,she had come across my BeOpen interview with
+Stallman. Hence her email to me.
+That's when Tracy asked me: would I be willing to expand the interview into a
+full-length feature profile?
+My answer was instant: yes. Before accepting it, Tracy suggested I put together
+a story proposal she could show her superiors. Two days later, I sent her a
+polished proposal. A week later, Tracy sent me a follow up email. Her bosses
+had given it the green light.
+I have to admit, getting Stallman to participate in an e-book project was an
+afterthought on my part. As a reporter who covered the open source beat, I knew
+Stallman was a stickler. I'd already received a half dozen emails at that point
+upbraiding me for the use of "Linux" instead of "GNU/Linux."
+Then again, I also knew Stallman was looking for ways to get his message out to
+the general public. Perhaps if I presented the project to him that way, he
+would be more receptive. If not, I could always rely upon the copious amounts
+of documents, interviews, and recorded online conversations Stallman had left
+lying around the Internet and do an unauthorized biography.
+During my research, I came across an essay titled "Freedom - Or Copyright?"
+Written by Stallman and published in the June, 2000,edition of the MIT
+/{Technology Review}/, the essay blasted e-books for an assortment of software
+sins. Not only did readers have to use proprietary software programs to read
+them, Stallman lamented, but the methods used to prevent unauthorized copying
+were overly harsh. Instead of downloading a transferable HTML or PDF file,
+readers downloaded an encrypted file. In essence, purchasing an e-book meant
+purchasing a nontransferable key to unscramble the encrypted content. Any
+attempt to open a book's content without an authorized key constituted a
+criminal violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the 1998 law
+designed to bolster copyright enforcement on the Internet. Similar penalties
+held for readers who converted a book's content into an open file format, even
+if their only intention was to read the book on a different computer in their
+home. Unlike a normal book, the reader no longer held the right to lend, copy,
+or resell an e-book. They only had the right to read it on an authorized
+machine, warned Stallman:
+={ Digital Millennium Copyright Act }
+_1 We still have the same old freedoms in using paper books.But if e-books
+replace printed books, that exception will do little good. With "electronic
+ink," which makes it possible to download new text onto an apparently printed
+piece of paper, even newspapers could become ephemeral. Imagine:no more used
+book stores; no more lending a book to your friend; no more borrowing one from
+the public library - no more "leaks" that might give someone a chance to read
+without paying. (And judging from the ads for Microsoft Reader, no more
+anonymous purchasing of books either.)This is the world publishers have in mind
+for us.~{ See "Freedom - Or Copyright?" (May, 2000), \\
+http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/stallman0500.asp. }~
+Needless to say, the essay caused some concern. Neither Tracy nor I had
+discussed the software her company would use nor had we discussed the type of
+copyright [license] that would govern the e-book's usage. I mentioned the
+/{Technology Review}/ article and asked if she could give me information on her
+company's e-book policies. Tracy promised to get back to me.
+Eager to get started, I decided to call Stallman anyway and mention the book
+idea to him. When I did, he expressed immediate interest and immediate concern.
+"Did you read my essay on e-books?" he asked.
+When I told him, yes, I had read the essay and was waiting to hear back from
+the publisher, Stallman laid out two conditions: he didn't want to lend support
+to an e-book licensing mechanism he fundamentally opposed, and he didn't want
+to come off as lending support. "I don't want to participate in anything that
+makes me look like a hypocrite," he said.
+For Stallman, the software issue was secondary to the copyright issue. He said
+he was willing to ignore whatever software the publisher or its third-party
+vendors employed just so long as the company specified within the copyright
+that readers were free to make and distribute verbatim copies of the e-book's
+content. Stallman pointed to Stephen King's /{The Plant}/ as a possible model.
+In June, 2000, King announced on his official web site that he was
+self-publishing /{The Plant}/ in serial form. According to the announcement,
+the book's total cost would be $13, spread out over a series of $1
+installments. As long as at least 75% of the readers paid for each chapter,
+King promised to continue releasing new installments. By August, the plan
+seemed to be working, as King had published the first two chapters with a third
+on the way.
+={ King, Stephen ;
+ open source +4 ;
+ Plant, The (King)
+"I'd be willing to accept something like that," Stallman said. "As long as it
+also permitted verbatim copying." [RMS: As I recall, I also raised the issue of
+encryption; the text two paragraphs further down confirms this. I would not
+have agreed to publish the book in a way that /{required}/ a non-free program
+to read it.]
+I forwarded the information to Tracy. Feeling confident that she and I might be
+able to work out an equitable arrangement, I called up Stallman and set up the
+first interview for the book. Stallman agreed to the interview without making a
+second inquiry into the status issue. Shortly after the first interview, I
+raced to set up a second interview (this one in Kihei), squeezing it in before
+Stallman headed off on a 14-day vacation to Tahiti. [RMS: That was not a pure
+vacation; I gave a speech there too.]
+={ Kihei (Hawaii) }
+It was during Stallman's vacation that the bad news came from Tracy. Her
+company's legal department didn't want to adjust its [license] notice on the
+e-books. Readers who wanted to make their books transferable would [first have
+to crack the encryption code, to be able to convert the book to a free, public
+format such as HTML. This would be illegal and they might face criminal
+With two fresh interviews under my belt, I didn't see any way to write the book
+without resorting to the new material. I quickly set up a trip to New York to
+meet with my agent and with Tracy to see if there was a compromise solution.
+When I flew to New York, I met my agent, Henning Guttman. It was our first
+face-to-face meeting, and Henning seemed pessimistic about our chances of
+forcing a compromise, at least on the publisher's end. The large, established
+publishing houses already viewed the e-book format with enough suspicion and
+weren't in the mood to experiment with copyright language that made it easier
+for readers to avoid payment. As an agent who specialized in technology books,
+however,Henning was intrigued by the novel nature of my predicament. I told him
+about the two interviews I'd already gathered and the promise not to publish
+the book in a way that made Stallman "look like a hypocrite." Agreeing that I
+was in an ethical bind, Henning suggested we make that our negotiating point.
+={ Guttman, Henning }
+Barring that, Henning said, we could always take the carrot-and-stick approach.
+The carrot would be the publicity that came with publishing an e-book that
+honored the hacker community's internal ethics. The stick would be the risks
+associated with publishing an e-book that didn't. Nine months before Dmitry
+Sklyarov became an Internet /{cause célèbre}/, we knew it was only a matter of
+time before an enterprising programmer revealed how to hack e-books. We also
+knew that a major publishing house releasing an [encrypted] e-book on Richard
+M. Stallman was the software equivalent of putting "Steal This E-Book" on the
+={ Sklyarov, Dmitri }
+After my meeting with Henning, I called Stallman. Hoping to make the carrot
+more enticing, I discussed a number of potential compromises. What if the
+publisher released the book's content under a[dual] license, something similar
+to what Sun Microsystems had done with Open Office, the free software desktop
+applications suite? The publisher could then release DRM-restricted~{ RMS:
+Williams wrote "commercial" here, but that is a misnomer, since it means
+"connected with business." All these versions would be commercial if a company
+published them. }~ versions of the e-book under [its usual] format, taking
+advantage of all the bells and whistles that went with the e-book software,
+while releasing the copyable version under a less aesthetically pleasing HTML
+Stallman told me he didn't mind the [dual-license] idea, but he did dislike the
+idea of making the freely copyable version inferior to the restricted version.
+Besides, he said [on second thought, this case was different precisely because
+he had] a way to control the outcome. He could refuse to cooperate.
+[RMS: The question was whether it would be wrong for me to agree to the
+restricted version. I can endorse the free version of Sun's Open Office,
+because it is free software and much better than nothing,while at the same time
+I reject the non-free version. There is no self- contradiction here, because
+Sun didn't need or ask my approval for the non-free version; I was not
+responsible for its existence. In this case, if I had said yes to the
+non-freely-copyable version, the onus would fall on me.]
+I made a few more suggestions with little effect. About the only thing I could
+get out of Stallman was a concession [RMS: i.e., a further compromise] that the
+e-book's [license] restrict all forms of file sharing to "noncommercial
+Before I signed off, Stallman suggested I tell the publisher that I'd promised
+Stallman that the work would be [freely sharable]. I told Stallman I couldn't
+agree to that statement [RMS: though it was true,since he had accepted my
+conditions at the outset] but that I did view the book as unfinishable without
+his cooperation. Seemingly satisfied,Stallman hung up with his usual sign-off
+line: "Happy hacking."
+Henning and I met with Tracy the next day. Tracy said her company was willing
+to publish copyable excerpts in a unencrypted format but would limit the
+excerpts to 500 words. Henning informed her that this wouldn't be enough for me
+to get around my ethical obligation to Stallman. Tracy mentioned her own
+company's contractual obligation to online vendors such as Amazon.com. Even if
+the company decided to open up its e-book content this one time, it faced the
+risk of its partners calling it a breach of contract. Barring a change of heart
+in the executive suite or on the part of Stallman, the decision was up tome. I
+could use the interviews and go against my earlier agreement with Stallman, or
+I could plead journalistic ethics and back out of the verbal agreement to do
+the book.
+={ Amazon.com }
+Following the meeting, my agent and I relocated to a pub on Third Ave. I used
+his cell phone to call Stallman, leaving a message when nobody answered.
+Henning left for a moment, giving me time to collect my thoughts. When he
+returned, he was holding up the cell phone.
+"It's Stallman," Henning said.
+The conversation got off badly from the start. I relayed Tracy's comment about
+the publisher's contractual obligations.
+"So," Stallman said bluntly. "Why should I give a damn about their contractual
+Because asking a major publishing house to risk a legal battle with its vendors
+over a 30,000-word e-book is a tall order, I suggested. [RMS: His unstated
+premise was that I couldn't possibly refuse this deal for mere principle.]
+"Don't you see?" Stallman said. "That's exactly why I'm doing this. I want a
+signal victory. I want them to make a choice between freedom and business as
+As the words "signal victory" echoed in my head, I felt my attention wander
+momentarily to the passing foot traffic on the sidewalk. Coming into the bar, I
+had been pleased to notice that the location was less than half a block away
+from the street corner memorialized in the 1976 Ramones song, "53rd and 3rd," a
+song I always enjoyed playing in my days as a musician. Like the perpetually
+frustrated street hustler depicted in that song, I could feel things falling
+apart as quickly as they had come together. The irony was palpable. After weeks
+of gleefully recording other people's laments, I found myself in the position
+of trying to pull off the rarest of feats: a Richard Stallman compromise. When
+I continued hemming and hawing, pleading the publisher's position and revealing
+my growing sympathy for it,Stallman, like an animal smelling blood, attacked.
+"So that's it? You're just going to screw me? You're just going to bend to
+their will?"
+[RMS: The quotations show that Williams' interpretation of this conversation
+was totally wrong. He compares me to a predator, but I was only saying no to
+the deal he was badgering me to accept.I had already made several compromises,
+some described above; I just refused to compromise my principles entirely away.
+I often do this; people who aren't satisfied say I "refused to compromise at
+all, "but that is an exaggeration; \\ see
+http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/compromise.html. Then I feared he was going to
+disregard the conditions he had previously agreed to, and publish the book with
+DRM despite my refusal. What I smelled was not his "blood" but possible
+I brought up the issue of a dual-copyright again.
+"You mean license," Stallman said curtly.
+"Yeah, license. Copyright. Whatever," I said, feeling suddenly like a wounded
+tuna trailing a rich plume of plasma in the water.
+"Aw, why didn't you just fucking do what I told you to do!" he shouted. [RMS: I
+think this quotation was garbled, both because using "fucking" as an adverb was
+never part of my speech pattern, and because the words do not fit the
+circumstances. The words he quotes are a rebuke to a disobedient subordinate. I
+felt he had an ethical obligation, but he was not my subordinate, and I would
+not have spoken to him as one. Using notes rather than a recorder, he could not
+reliably retain the exact words.]
+I must have been arguing on behalf of the publisher to the very end, because in
+my notes I managed to save a final Stallman chestnut: "I don't care. What
+they're doing is evil. I can't support evil. Goodbye." [RMS: It sounds like I
+had concluded that he would never take no for an answer, and the only way to
+end the conversation without accepting his proposition was to hang up on him.]
+As soon as I put the phone down, my agent slid a freshly poured Guinness to me.
+"I figured you might need this," he said with a laugh. "I could see you shaking
+there towards the end."
+I was indeed shaking. The shaking wouldn't stop until the Guinness was more
+than halfway gone. It felt weird, hearing myself characterized as an emissary
+of "evil." [RMS: My words as quoted criticize the publisher, not Williams
+personally. If he took it personally, perhaps that indicates he was starting to
+take ethical responsibility for the deal he had pressed me to accept.] It felt
+weirder still, knowing that three months before, I was sitting in an Oakland
+apartment trying to come up with my next story idea. Now, I was sitting in a
+part of the world I'd only known through rock songs, taking meetings with
+publishing executives and drinking beer with an agent I'd never even laid eyes
+on until the day before. It was all too surreal, like watching my life
+reflected back as a movie montage.
+About that time, my internal absurdity meter kicked in. The initial shaking
+gave way to convulsions of laughter. To my agent, I must have looked like a
+another fragile author undergoing an untimely emotional breakdown. To me, I was
+just starting to appreciate the cynical beauty of my situation. Deal or no
+deal, I already had the makings of a pretty good story. It was only a matter of
+finding a place to tell it. When my laughing convulsions finally subsided, I
+held up my drink in a toast.
+"Welcome to the front lines, my friend," I said, clinking pints with my agent.
+"Might as well enjoy it."
+If this story really were a play, here's where it would take a momentary,
+romantic interlude. Disheartened by the tense nature of our meeting, Tracy
+invited Henning and me to go out for drinks with her and some of her coworkers.
+We left the bar on Third Ave., headed down to the East Village, and caught up
+with Tracy and her friends.
+Once there, I spoke with Tracy, careful to avoid shop talk. Our conversation
+was pleasant, relaxed. Before parting, we agreed to meet the next night. Once
+again, the conversation was pleasant, so pleasant that the Stallman e-book
+became almost a distant memory.
+When I got back to Oakland, I called around to various journalist friends and
+acquaintances. I recounted my predicament. Most upbraided me for giving up too
+much ground to Stallman in the pre-interview negotiation. [RMS: Those who have
+read the whole book know that I would never have dropped the conditions.] A
+former j-school professor suggested I ignore Stallman's "hypocrite" comment and
+just write the story. Reporters who knew of Stallman's media-savviness
+ex-pressed sympathy but uniformly offered the same response: it's your call.
+I decided to put the book on the back burner. Even with the interviews, I
+wasn't making much progress. Besides, it gave me a chance to speak with Tracy
+without running things past Henning first.By Christmas we had traded visits:
+she flying out to the west coast once, me flying out to New York a second time.
+The day before New Year's Eve, I proposed. Deciding which coast to live on, I
+picked New York. By February, I packed up my laptop computer and all my
+research notes related to the Stallman biography, and we winged our way to JFK
+Airport. Tracy and I were married on May 11. So much for failed book deals.
+During the summer, I began to contemplate turning my interview notes into a
+magazine article. Ethically, I felt in the clear doing so,since the original
+interview terms said nothing about traditional print media. To be honest, I
+also felt a bit more comfortable writing about Stallman after eight months of
+radio silence. Since our telephone conversation in September, I'd only received
+two emails from Stallman.Both chastised me for using "Linux" instead of
+"GNU/Linux" in a pair of articles for the web magazine /{Upside Today}/. Aside
+from that, I had enjoyed the silence. In June, about a week after the New York
+University speech, I took a crack at writing a 5,000-word magazine-length story
+about Stallman. This time, the words flowed. The distance had helped restore my
+lost sense of emotional perspective, I suppose.
+={ Upside Today web magazine }
+In July, a full year after the original email from Tracy, I got a call from
+Henning. He told me that O'Reilly & Associates, a publishing house out of
+Sebastopol, California, was interested in the running the Stallman story as a
+biography. [RMS: I have a vague memory that I suggested contacting O'Reilly,
+but I can't be sure after all these years.] The news pleased me. Of all the
+publishing houses in the world, O'Reilly, the same company that had published
+Eric Raymond's /{The Cathedral and the Bazaar}/, seemed the most sensitive to
+the issues that had killed the earlier e-book. As a reporter, I had relied
+heavily on the O'Reilly book /{Open Sources}/ as a historical reference. I also
+knew that various chapters of the book, including a chapter written by
+Stallman, had been published with [license] notices that permitted
+redistribution. Such knowledge would come in handy if the issue of electronic
+publication ever came up again.
+={ Cathedral and the Bazaar, The (Raymond) ;
+ O'Reilly & Associates ;
+ Open Sources (DiBona, et al) +2 ;
+ Raymond, Eric
+Sure enough, the issue did come up. I learned through Henning that O'Reilly
+intended to publish the biography both as a book and as part of its new Safari
+Tech Books Online subscription service. The Safari user license would involve
+special restrictions,~{ See "Safari Tech Books Online; Subscriber Agreement:
+Terms of Service" \\ http://my.safaribooksonline.com/termsofservice. As of
+December, 2009, the see-books require non-free reader software, so people
+should refuse to use them. }~ Henning warned, but O'Reilly was willing to allow
+for a copyright that permitted users to copy and share the book's text
+regardless of medium. Basically, as author, I had the choice between two
+licenses: the Open Publication License or the GNU Free Documentation License.
+={ Open Publication License (OPL) +8 ;
+ OPL (Open Publication License) +8 ;
+ Safari Tech Books Online subscription service
+I checked out the contents and background of each license. The Open Publication
+License (OPL)~{ See "The Open Publication License: Draft v1.0" (June 8, 1999),
+\\ http://opencontent.org/openpub/. }~ gives readers the right to reproduce and
+distribute a work, in whole or in part, in any medium "physical or electronic,"
+provided the copied work retains the Open Publication License. It also permits
+modification of a work, provided certain conditions are met. Finally, the Open
+Publication License includes a number of options, which, if selected by the
+author, can limit the creation of "substantively modified" versions or
+book-form derivatives without prior author approval.
+The GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL), meanwhile, permits the copying and
+distribution of a document in any medium, provided the resulting work carries
+the same license.~{ See "The GNU Free Documentation License: Version 1.3"
+(November, 2008), \\ http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html. }~
+={ GFDL (GNU Free Documentation License) +1 ;
+ GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) +1
+It also permits the modification of a document provided certain conditions.
+Unlike the OPL, however, it does not give authors the option to restrict
+certain modifications. It also does not give authors the right to reject
+modifications that might result in a competitive book product. It does require
+certain forms of front - and back-cover information if a party other than the
+copyright holder wishes to publish more than 100 copies of a protected work,
+In the course of researching the licenses, I also made sure to visit the GNU
+Project web page titled "Various Licenses and Comments About Them."~{ See
+http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/license-list.html. }~
+On that page, I found a Stallman critique of the Open Publication License.
+Stallman's critique related to the creation of modified works and the ability
+of an author to select either one of the OPL's options to restrict
+modification. If an author didn't want to select either option, it was better
+to use the GFDL instead, Stallman noted, since it minimized the risk of the
+non-selected options popping up in modified versions of a document.
+The importance of modification in both licenses was a reflection of their
+original purpose - namely, to give software-manual owners a chance to improve
+their manuals and publicize those improvements to the rest of the community.
+Since my book wasn't a manual, I had little concern about the modification
+clause in either license. My only concern was giving users the freedom to
+exchange copies of the book or make copies of the content, the same freedom
+they would have enjoyed if they purchased a hardcover book. Deeming either
+license suitable for this purpose, I signed the O'Reilly contract when it came
+to me.
+Still, the notion of unrestricted modification intrigued me. In my early
+negotiations with Tracy, I had pitched the merits of a GPL-style license for
+the e-book's content. At worst, I said, the license would guarantee a lot of
+positive publicity for the e-book. At best, it would encourage readers to
+participate in the book-writing process. As an author, I was willing to let
+other people amend my work just so long as my name always got top billing.
+Besides, it might even be interesting to watch the book evolve. I pictured
+later editions looking much like online versions of the /{Talmud}/, my original
+text in a central column surrounded by illuminating, third-party commentary in
+the margins.
+My idea drew inspiration from Project Xanadu (http://www.xanadu.com), the
+legendary software concept originally conceived by Ted Nelson in 1960. During
+the O'Reilly Open Source Conference in 1999, I had seen the first demonstration
+of the project's [free] offshoot Udanax and had been wowed by the result. In
+one demonstration sequence, Udanax displayed a parent document and a derivative
+work in a similar two-column, plain-text format. With a click of the button,
+the program introduced lines linking each sentence in the parent to its
+conceptual offshoot in the derivative. An e-book biography of Richard M.
+Stallman didn't have to be Udanax-enabled, but given such technological
+possibilities, why not give users a chance to play around?~{ Anybody willing to
+"port" this book over to Udanax, the free software version of Xanadu, will
+receive enthusiastic support from me. To find out more about this intriguing
+technology, \\ visit http://www.udanax.com. }~
+={ Nelson, Ted ;
+ O'Reilly & Associates :
+ Open Source Conferences ;
+ Project Xanadu ;
+ Udanax
+When Laurie Petrycki, my editor at O'Reilly, gave me a choice be-tween the OPL
+or the GFDL, I indulged the fantasy once again. By September of 2001, the month
+I signed the contract, e-books had become almost a dead topic. Many publishing
+houses, Tracy's included,were shutting down their e-book imprints for lack of
+interest. I had to wonder. If these companies had treated e-books not as a form
+of publication but as a form of community building, would those imprints have
+={ GFDL (GNU Free Documentation License) +1 ;
+ GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) +1 ;
+ Petrycki, Laurie
+After I signed the contract, I notified Stallman that the book project was back
+on. I mentioned the choice O'Reilly was giving me between the Open Publication
+License and the GNU Free Documentation License. I told him I was leaning toward
+the OPL, if only for the fact I saw no reason to give O'Reilly's competitors a
+chance to print the same book under a different cover. Stallman wrote back,
+arguing in favor of the GFDL, noting that O'Reilly had already used it several
+times in the past. Despite the events of the past year, I suggested a deal. I
+would choose the GFDL if it gave me the possibility to do more interviews and
+if Stallman agreed to help O'Reilly publicize the book. Stallman agreed to
+participate in more interviews but said that his participation in
+publicity-related events would depend on the content of the book. Viewing this
+as only fair, I set up an interview for December 17, 2001 in Cambridge.
+I set up the interview to coincide with a business trip my wife Tracy was
+taking to Boston. Two days before leaving, Tracy suggested I invite Stallman
+out to dinner.
+"After all," she said, "he is the one who brought us together."I sent an email
+to Stallman, who promptly sent a return email accepting the offer. When I drove
+up to Boston the next day, I met Tracy at her hotel and hopped the T to head
+over to MIT. When we got to Tech Square, I found Stallman in the middle of a
+conversation just as we knocked on the door.
+"I hope you don't mind," he said, pulling the door open far enough so that
+Tracy and I could just barely hear Stallman's conversational counterpart. It
+was a youngish woman, mid-20s I'd say, named Sarah.
+"I took the liberty of inviting somebody else to have dinner with us," Stallman
+said, matter-of-factly, giving me the same catlike smile he gave me back in
+that Palo Alto restaurant.
+To be honest, I wasn't too surprised. The news that Stallman had a new female
+friend had reached me a few weeks before, courtesy of Stallman's mother. "In
+fact, they both went to Japan last month when Richard went over to accept the
+Takeda Award," Lippman told me at the time.~{ Alas, I didn't find out about the
+Takeda Foundation's decision to award Stallman, along with Linus Torvalds and
+Ken Sakamura, with its first-ever award for"Techno-Entrepreneurial Achievement
+for Social/Economic Well-Being" until after Stallman had made the trip to Japan
+to accept the award. For more information about the award and its accompanying
+$1 million prize, visit the Takeda site, \\ http://www.takeda-foundation.jp. }~
+={ Takeda Awards }
+On the way over to the restaurant, I learned the circumstances of Sarah and
+Richard's first meeting. Interestingly, the circumstances were very familiar.
+Working on her own fictional book, Sarah said she heard about Stallman and what
+an interesting character he was. She promptly decided to create a character in
+her book on Stallman and,in the interests of researching the character, set up
+an interview with Stallman. Things quickly went from there. The two had been
+dating since the beginning of 2001, she said.
+"I really admired the way Richard built up an entire political movement to
+address an issue of profound personal concern," Sarah said,explaining her
+attraction to Stallman.
+My wife immediately threw back the question: "What was the issue?" "Crushing
+loneliness." During dinner, I let the women do the talking and spent most of
+the time trying to detect clues as to whether the last 12 months had softened
+Stallman in any significant way. I didn't see anything to suggest they had.
+Although more flirtatious than I remembered,Stallman retained the same general
+level of prickliness. At one point,my wife uttered an emphatic "God forbid"
+only to receive a typical Stallman rebuke.
+"I hate to break it to you, but there is no God," Stallman said.[RMS: I must
+have been too deadpan. He could justly accuse me of being a wise guy, but not
+of rebuking.]
+Afterwards, when the dinner was complete and Sarah had departed, Stallman
+seemed to let his guard down a little. As we walked to a nearby bookstore, he
+admitted that the last 12 months had dramatically changed his outlook on life.
+"I thought I was going to be alone forever," he said. "I'm glad I was wrong."
+Before parting, Stallman handed me his "pleasure card," a business card listing
+Stallman's address, phone number, and favorite pastimes("sharing good books,
+good food and exotic music and dance") so that I might set up a final
+The next day, over another meal of dim sum, Stallman seemed even more
+lovestruck than the night before. Recalling his debates with Currier House dorm
+maters over the benefits and drawbacks of an immortality serum, Stallman
+expressed hope that scientists might some day come up with the key to
+immortality. "Now that I'm finally starting to have happiness in my life, I
+want to have [a longer life]," he said.
+When I mentioned Sarah's "crushing loneliness" comment, Stallman failed to see
+a connection between loneliness on a physical or spiritual level and loneliness
+on a hacker level. "The impulse to share code is about friendship but
+friendship at a much lower level," he said. Later, however, when the subject
+came up again, Stallman did admit that loneliness, or the fear of perpetual
+loneliness [RMS: at the hacker-to-hacker, community level, that is], had played
+a major role in fueling his determination during the earliest days of the GNU
+"My fascination with computers was not a consequence of anything else," he
+said. "I wouldn't have been less fascinated with computers if I had been
+popular and all the women flocked to me. However, it's certainly true the
+experience of feeling I didn't have a home, finding one and losing it, finding
+another and having it destroyed, affected me deeply. The one I lost was the
+dorm. The one that was destroyed was the AI Lab. The precariousness of not
+having any kind of home or community was very powerful. It made me want to
+fight to get it back."
+After the interview, I couldn't help but feel a certain sense of emotional
+symmetry. Hearing Sarah describe what attracted her to Stallman and hearing
+Stallman himself describe the emotions that prompted him to take up the free
+software cause, I was reminded of my own reasons for writing this book. Since
+July, 2000, I have learned to appreciate both the seductive and the repellent
+sides of the Richard Stallman persona. Like Eben Moglen before me, I feel that
+dismissing that persona as epiphenomenal or distracting in relation to the
+overall free software movement would be a grievous mistake. In many ways the
+two are so mutually defining as to be indistinguishable.
+[RMS: Williams objectifies his reactions, both positive and negative, as parts
+of me, but they are functions also of his own attitudes about appearance,
+conformity, and business success.]
+While I'm sure not every reader feels the same level of affinity for
+Stallman...I'm sure most will agree [that] few individuals offer as singular a
+human portrait as Richard M. Stallman. It is my sincere hope that, with this
+initial portrait complete and with the help of the GFDL, others will feel a
+similar urge to add their own perspective to that portrait.
+1~ Appendix A - Hack, Hackers and Hacking
+={ hackers +18 }
+To understand the full meaning of the word "hacker," it helps to examine the
+word's etymology over the years.
+/{The New Hacker Dictionary}/, an online compendium of software-programmer
+jargon, officially lists nine different connotations of the word "hack" and a
+similar number for "hacker." Then again, the same publication also includes an
+accompanying essay that quotes Phil Agre, an MIT hacker who warns readers not
+to be fooled by the word's perceived flexibility. "Hack has only one meaning,"
+argues Agre. "An extremely subtle and profound one which defies articulation."
+Richard Stallman tries to articulate it with the phrase, "Playful cleverness."
+={ Agre, Phil ;
+ New Hacker Dictionary, The
+Regardless of the width or narrowness of the definition, most modern hackers
+trace the word back to MIT, where the term bubbled upas popular item of student
+jargon in the early 1950s. In 1990 the MIT Museum put together a journal
+documenting the hacking phenomenon.According to the journal, students who
+attended the institute during the fifties used the word "hack" the way a modern
+student might use the word "goof." Hanging a jalopy out a dormitory window was
+a "hack," but anything harsh or malicious - e.g., egging a rival dorm's windows
+or defacing a campus statue - fell outside the bounds. Implicit within the
+definition of "hack" was a spirit of harmless, creative fun.
+={ MIT Museum }
+This spirit would inspire the word's gerund form: "hacking." A 1950s student
+who spent the better part of the afternoon talking on the phone or dismantling
+a radio might describe the activity as "hacking." Again, a modern speaker would
+substitute the verb form of "goof" -"goofing" or "goofing off" - to describe
+the same activity.
+As the 1950s progressed, the word "hack" acquired a sharper, more rebellious
+edge. The MIT of the 1950s was overly competitive, and hacking emerged as both
+a reaction to and extension of that competitive culture. Goofs and pranks
+suddenly became a way to blow off steam, thumb one's nose at campus
+administration, and indulge creative thinking and behavior stifled by the
+Institute's rigorous undergraduate curriculum. With its myriad hallways and
+underground steam tunnels, the Institute offered plenty of exploration
+opportunities for the student undaunted by locked doors and "No
+Trespassing"signs. Students began to refer to their off-limits explorations as
+"tunnel hacking." Above ground, the campus phone system offered similar
+opportunities. Through casual experimentation and due diligence, students
+learned how to perform humorous tricks. Drawing inspiration from the more
+traditional pursuit of tunnel hacking, students quickly dubbed this new
+activity "phone hacking."
+The combined emphasis on creative play and restriction-free exploration would
+serve as the basis for the future mutations of the hacking term. The first
+self-described computer hackers of the 1960s MIT campus originated from a late
+1950s student group called the Tech Model Railroad Club. A tight clique within
+the club was the Signals and Power (S&P) Committee - the group behind the
+railroad club's electrical circuitry system. The system was a sophisticated
+assortment of relays and switches similar to the kind that controlled the local
+cam-pus phone system. To control it, a member of the group simply dialed in
+commands via a connected phone and watched the trains do his bidding.
+={ Tech Model Railroad Club ;
+ S&P (Signals and Power) Committee +2 ;
+ Signals and Power (S&P) Committee +2
+The nascent electrical engineers responsible for building and maintaining this
+system saw their activity as similar in spirit to phone hacking. Adopting the
+hacking term, they began refining it even further. From the S&P hacker point of
+view, using one less relay to operate a particular stretch of track meant
+having one more relay for future play. Hacking subtly shifted from a synonym
+for idle play to a synonym for idle play that improved the overall performance
+or efficiency of the club's railroad system at the same time. Soon S&P
+committee members proudly referred to the entire activity of improving and
+reshaping the track's underlying circuitry as "hacking" and to the people who
+did it as "hackers."
+Given their affinity for sophisticated electronics - not to mention the
+traditional MIT-student disregard for closed doors and "No Trespassing" signs -
+it didn't take long before the hackers caught wind of a new machine on campus.
+Dubbed the TX-0, the machine was one of the first commercially marketed
+computers. By the end of the 1950s, the entire S&P clique had migrated en masse
+over to the TX-0 control room, bringing the spirit of creative play with
+them.The wide-open realm of computer programming would encourage yet another
+mutation in etymology. "To hack" no longer meant soldering unusual looking
+circuits, but cobbling together software programs with little regard to
+"official" methods or software-writing procedures. It also meant improving the
+efficiency and speed of already-existing pro-grams that tended to hog up
+machine resources. True to the word's roots, it also meant writing programs
+that served no other purpose than to amuse or entertain.
+={ TX-0 computer }
+A classic example of this expanded hacking definition is the game Spacewar, the
+first computer-based video game. Developed by MIT hackers in the early 1960s,
+Spacewar had all the traditional hacking definitions: it was goofy and random,
+serving little useful purpose other than providing a nightly distraction for
+the dozen or so hackers who delighted in playing it. From a software
+perspective, however,it was a monumental testament to innovation of programming
+skill.It was also completely free. Because hackers had built it for fun,they
+saw no reason to guard their creation, sharing it extensively with other
+programmers. By the end of the 1960s, Spacewar had become a diversion for
+programmers around the world, if they had the (then rather rare) graphical
+This notion of collective innovation and communal software ownership distanced
+the act of computer hacking in the 1960s from the tunnel hacking and phone
+hacking of the 1950s. The latter pursuits tended to be solo or small-group
+activities. Tunnel and phone hackers relied heavily on campus lore, but the
+off-limits nature of their activity discouraged the open circulation of new
+discoveries. Computer hackers, on the other hand, did their work amid a
+scientific field biased toward collaboration and the rewarding of innovation.
+Hackers and "official" computer scientists weren't always the best of allies,
+but in the rapid evolution of the field, the two species of computer programmer
+evolved a cooperative - some might say symbiotic - relationship.
+Hackers had little respect for bureaucrats' rules. They regarded computer
+security systems that obstructed access to the machine as just another bug, to
+be worked around or fixed if possible. Thus,breaking security (but not for
+malicious purposes) was a recognized aspect of hacking in 1970, useful for
+practical jokes (the victim might say, "I think someone's hacking me") as well
+as for gaining access to the computer. But it was not central to the idea of
+hacking. Where there was a security obstacle, hackers were proud to display
+their wits in surmounting it; however, given the choice, as at the MIT AI
+Lab,they chose to have no obstacle and do other kinds of hacking. Where there
+is no security, nobody needs to break it.
+It is a testament to the original computer hackers' prodigious skill that later
+programmers, including Richard M. Stallman, aspired to wear the same hacker
+mantle. By the mid to late 1970s, the term"hacker" had acquired elite
+connotations. In a general sense, a computer hacker was any person who wrote
+software code for the sake of writing software code. In the particular sense,
+however, it was a testament to programming skill. Like the term "artist," the
+meaning carried tribal overtones. To describe a fellow programmer as a hacker
+was a sign of respect. To describe oneself as a hacker was a sign of immense
+personal confidence. Either way, the original looseness of the computer-hacker
+appellation diminished as computers became more common.
+As the definition tightened, "computer" hacking acquired additional semantic
+overtones. The hackers at the MIT AI Lab shared many other characteristics,
+including love of Chinese food, disgust for tobacco smoke, and avoidance of
+alcohol, tobacco and other addictive drugs. These characteristics became part
+of some people's under-standing of what it meant to be a hacker, and the
+community exerted an influence on newcomers even though it did not demand
+conformity. However, these cultural associations disappeared with the AI Lab
+hacker community. Today, most hackers resemble the surrounding society on these
+As the hackers at elite institutions such as MIT, Stanford, and Carnegie Mellon
+conversed about hacks they admired, they also considered the ethics of their
+activity, and began to speak openly of a "hacker ethic": the yet-unwritten
+rules that governed a hacker's day-to-day behavior. In the 1984 book
+/{Hackers}/, author Steven Levy, after much research and consultation, codified
+the hacker ethic as five core hacker tenets.
+={ Hackers (Levy) +1 }
+In the 1980s, computer use expanded greatly, and so did security breaking.
+Mostly it was done by insiders with criminal intent, who were generally not
+hackers at all. However, occasionally the police and administrators, who
+defined disobedience as evil, traced a computer "intrusion" back to a hacker
+whose idea of ethics was "Don't hurt people." Journalists published articles in
+which "hacking" meant breaking security, and usually endorsed the
+administrators' view of the matter. Although books like /{Hackers}/ did much to
+document the original spirit of exploration that gave rise to the hacking
+culture, for most newspaper reporters and readers the term "computer
+hacker"became a synonym for "electronic burglar."
+By the late 1980s, many U.S. teenagers had access to computers.Some were
+alienated from society; inspired by journalists' distorted picture of
+"hacking," they expressed their resentment by breaking computer security much
+as other alienated teens might have done it by breaking windows. They began to
+call themselves "hackers," but they never learned the MIT hackers' principle
+against malicious behavior.As younger programmers began employing their
+computer skills to harmful ends - creating and disseminating computer viruses,
+breaking into computer systems for mischief, deliberately causing computers to
+crash - the term "hacker" acquired a punk, nihilistic edge which attracted more
+people with similar attitudes.
+Hackers have railed against this perceived mis-usage of their self-designator
+for nearly two decades. Stallman, not one to take things lying down, coined the
+term "cracking" for "security breaking" so that people could more easily avoid
+calling it "hacking." But the distinction between hacking and cracking is often
+misunderstood. These two descriptive terms are not meant to be exclusive. It's
+not that "Hacking is here, and cracking is there, and never the twain shall
+meet." Hacking and cracking are different attributes of activities, just as
+"young"and "tall" are different attributes of persons.
+Most hacking does not involve security, so it is not cracking. Most cracking is
+done for profit or malice and not in a playful spirit, so it is not hacking.
+Once in a while a single act may qualify as cracking and as hacking, but that
+is not the usual case. The hacker spirit includes irreverence for rules, but
+most hacks do not break rules. Cracking is by definition disobedience, but it
+is not necessarily malicious or harmful. The computer security field
+distinguishes between "black hat"and "white hat" crackers - i.e., crackers who
+turn toward destructive,malicious ends versus those who probe security in order
+to fix it.
+The hacker's central principle not to be malicious remains the primary cultural
+link between the notion of hacking in the early 21st century and hacking in the
+1950s. It is important to note that, as the idea of computer hacking has
+evolved over the last four decades,the original notion of hacking - i.e.,
+performing pranks or exploring underground tunnels - remains intact. In the
+fall of 2000, the MIT Museum paid tribute to the Institute's age-old hacking
+tradition with a dedicated exhibit, the Hall of Hacks. The exhibit includes a
+number of photographs dating back to the 1920s, including one involving amock
+police cruiser. In 1993, students paid homage to the original MIT notion of
+hacking by placing the same police cruiser, lights flashing, atop the
+Institute's main dome. The cruiser's vanity license plate read IHTFP, a popular
+MIT acronym with many meanings. The most noteworthy version, itself dating back
+to the pressure-filled world of MIT student life in the 1950s, is "I hate this
+fucking place." In 1990,however, the Museum used the acronym as a basis for a
+journal on the history of hacks. Titled /{The Journal of the Institute for
+Hacks,Tomfoolery, and Pranks}/, it offers an adept summary of the hacking.
+={ Hall of Hacks }
+"In the culture of hacking, an elegant, simple creation is as highly valued as
+it is in pure science," writes /{Boston Globe}/ reporter Randolph Ryan in a
+1993 article attached to the police car exhibit. "A Hack differs from the
+ordinary college prank in that the event usually requires careful planning,
+engineering and finesse, and has an under-lying wit and inventiveness," Ryan
+writes. "The unwritten rule holds that a hack should be good-natured,
+non-destructive and safe. In fact,hackers sometimes assist in dismantling their
+own handiwork."
+={ Boston Globe ;
+ Ryan, Randolph
+The urge to confine the culture of computer hacking within the same ethical
+boundaries is well-meaning but impossible. Although most software hacks aspire
+to the same spirit of elegance and simplicity,the software medium offers less
+chance for reversibility. Dismantling a police cruiser is easy compared with
+dismantling an idea, especially an idea whose time has come.
+Once a vague item of obscure student jargon, the word "hacker" has become a
+linguistic billiard ball, subject to political spin and ethical nuances.
+Perhaps this is why so many hackers and journalists enjoy using it. We cannot
+predict how people will use the word in the future.We can, however, decide how
+we will use it ourselves. Using the term "cracking" rather than "hacking," when
+you mean "security breaking,"shows respect for Stallman and all the hackers
+mentioned in this book,and helps preserve something which all computer users
+have benefited from: the hacker spirit.
+={ crackers }
+1~ Appendix B - GNU Free Documentation License
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+2~ ADDENDUM: How to use this License for your documents
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+1~ Colophon
+The front and back covers of this book were designed and produced by Rob Myers
+using Inkscape, the free software vector graphics program. Jeanne Rasata also
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