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October 26, 2011 7:30 PM   Subscribe

"If you buy bus or train tickets for me, do not give my name! Big Brother has no right to know where I travel, or where you travel, or where anyone travels. If they arbitrarily demand a name, give a name that does not belong to any person you know of. If they will check my ID before I board the bus or train, then let's look for another way for me to travel." Richard Stallman's rider. Via.
posted by unSane (189 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
And here I was thinking that Stallman had picked up a hitchhiker who went off on a rant which Stallman posted online.

At least he's consistently cranky across the decades. I respect that.
posted by hippybear at 7:37 PM on October 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


I wish everyone I knew made so much practical information about themselves available online.

"If you are thinking of setting up a lunch or dinner for me with more
than 4 people total, please consider that as a meeting, and discuss it
with me in advance."


Damn right!
posted by Lorin at 7:40 PM on October 26, 2011 [18 favorites]


Everyone should be of this opinion. Mass surveillance is scary stuff.
posted by Malor at 7:43 PM on October 26, 2011 [18 favorites]


Afaik, there is no requirement for showing identification on any train in Europe, unless said train crosses a national border, or the nation has a general identification requirement. Please, people actually use trains here, unlike the U.S.

I donno if you'll find ticket vending machines that take cash though, well probably for local trains. French TGV vending machines lack cash options, but some German ones probably support cash. Italian too I think. Britain might have vending machines for long distance rail with cash options. Spanish AVE stations have metal detectors and luggage scanners, but no identification as I recall.

There is a BahnCard 100 offered by Deutsche Bahn which serves as an identification, but requires no ticket purchase whatsoever in Germany. A controller simply looks at the hologram and expiration date and verifies that your face matches the picture, but afaik no records are kept. Talk about traveling in style!
posted by jeffburdges at 7:50 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, rms is awesome:
Asking for the text:

I don't write my speeches in advance--that would take too much time.
However, transcripts of my past speeches are available. If you can
make a transcript of my speech after I give it, that would be quite
useful.


Breaks:

I absolutely refuse to have a break in the middle of my speech.
Once I start, I will go straight through.
posted by kenko at 7:53 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also: "A supply of tea with milk and sugar would be nice. If it is tea I really like, I like it without milk and sugar. With milk and sugar, any kind of tea is fine. I always bring tea bags with me, so if we use my tea bags, I will certainly like that tea without milk or sugar."
posted by kenko at 7:54 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Man, I wish I could just push all my petty likes and dislikes onto someone else and say "Hey, here's a list of things I don't eat/do/want/need. Instead of me being an adult and coping with them, I've decided that's going to be YOUR responsibility. In return for this privilege I will attend your thing, conduct it entirely on my own terms, and if you have the hide to take me out to dinner afterward, I will do "work" instead via email."
posted by awfurby at 7:54 PM on October 26, 2011 [33 favorites]


If you can find a host for me that has a friendly parrot, I will be very very glad. If you can find someone who has a friendly parrot I can visit with, that will be nice too.

DON'T buy a parrot figuring that it will be a fun surprise for me.
The part about rules like that is it means that someone probably bought him a parrot.

Also, don't ask him about breakfast.
posted by autopilot at 7:56 PM on October 26, 2011 [16 favorites]


Well, awfurby, if you become an in-demand speaker known for being unusually principled (hence wanting to do things on his own terms and being persnickety about the kind of event, etc., in which he'll participate), you can do just that.
posted by kenko at 7:56 PM on October 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


This is the guy who founded the Free Software movement. That's enough that, as I read this, I start wondering maybe I shouldn't be giving my name for bus tickets either....
posted by JHarris at 7:56 PM on October 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't know who this guy is beyond a quick glance at his wikipedia entry but:

If you are thinking of erecting a larger event around my speech, which
includes inviting other speakers to speak before or after me, please
talk with me about the plans for that larger event _before_ inviting
other speakers. I want to make sure the event entirely supports the
goals and principles I work for, and I want to review the publicity
plans for the event.


Seems like a great way to preach to a lot of choirs and not actually bring new people around to your way of thinking.
posted by ghharr at 7:57 PM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


I want to make sure the event entirely supports the goals and principles I work for, and I want to review the publicity plans for the event.

Like with the parrot thing, what probably happened is that someone had him speak at Microsoft or something like that, and it became excessively confrontational.
posted by JHarris at 7:59 PM on October 26, 2011


In some places, my hosts act as if my every wish were their command.
By catering to my every whim, in effect they make me a tyrant over
them, which is not a role I like. I start to worry that I might
subject them to great burdens without even realizing. I start being
afraid to express my appreciation of anything, because they would get
it and give it to me at any cost. If it is night, and the stars are
beautiful, I hesitate to say so, lest my hosts feel obligated to try
to get one for me.

posted by Obscure Reference at 8:01 PM on October 26, 2011 [14 favorites]


The level of mental organization displayed in that note is just a little on the scary side.
posted by underflow at 8:02 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Not to be picky or anything, but for a guy preaching about reforming web practices, his website looks like it came right out of 1999.
posted by KeSetAffinityThread at 8:02 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dude wrote emacs. As far as I'm concerned he can type M-x no-brown-m&ms all he wants.
posted by vorfeed at 8:04 PM on October 26, 2011 [49 favorites]


Not to be picky or anything, but for a guy preaching about reforming web practices, his website looks like it came right out of 1999.

I don't understand what you mean by "reforming web practices" that is related to what Stallman does or what that has to do with a web page that doesn't look super snazzy and Web 3.0.
posted by grouse at 8:05 PM on October 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Not to be picky or anything, but for a guy preaching about reforming web practices, his website looks like it came right out of 1999.

Hell, I bet you can even view it with no loss of functionality in a text-mode browser. What a lame-o.
posted by kenko at 8:05 PM on October 26, 2011 [52 favorites]


I gotta say, if I could charge people money just for having me around to talk to them, I'd certainly take the time to write up something exactly like this. It makes things nicer for me, lowers the price I'd be willing to accept in order to speak, and makes things easier for them as they'd know exactly what they were getting into. From that perspective, this is one of the better riders I've ever read.
posted by davejay at 8:05 PM on October 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


> (no-brown-m&ms)
*** Eval error ***  Symbol's function definition is void: no-brown-m&ms
Damn. Of course M-x butterfly works, though.
posted by grouse at 8:07 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I actually thought he was being quite generous:
Accommodations:

I am willing to stay in a hotel if there is no other way.
Please book the hotel for me and arrange to pay the hotel directly.

But please DON'T make a hotel reservation until we have fully explored
other options. If there is anyone who wants to offer a spare couch, I
would much rather stay there than in a hotel (provided I have a door I
can close, in order to have some privacy). Staying with someone is
more fun for me than a hotel, and it would also save you money.
He also seems to have mellowed down quite a bit over the years, judging by his tone.

Had the opportunity to be associated with a team that organized one of his talks here; had stage manners generally considered shabby - fingering his nose in full public view on stage just as he stepped up to the podium, for one - but holy shit, can he talk. Quite a captivating speaker; he had that stage presence that just drew people in to his message. He was also quite down to earth and quite a nice person to speak to, despite the seeming pomposity in his instructions such as this.
posted by the cydonian at 8:08 PM on October 26, 2011 [8 favorites]


Also, there are many, many places in this document where rms says, basically, "you want x, y, or z? let's work it out." It's not just a list of weird demands.
posted by kenko at 8:09 PM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


ghharr: “I don't know who this guy is beyond a quick glance at his wikipedia entry but... ”

Richard Stallman founded the Free Software movement. Richard Stallman was the great programmer who saw what the future might be – closed architectures, software that the user can never touch, everything monetized to the detriment of people who care about software, and shared operating systems taken away from the people who use them. He saw this and, in the early 1980s, began working to create free software that human beings designed to be shared with each other. To facilitate this sharing, he created a special license, the GNU public license, which, instead of limiting the rights of the holder, expands on those rights, outlining that the source code is available, outlining how the user has the ability to change it if they wish, to distribute it if they wish, to share it and to use it.

This license, and the foundation created by his software, was the foundation upon which Linux was built – and, in turn, Apache and a host of other extremely important pieces of software. It was the license that sparked a revolution, because it meant that people could share this software, that they could built something beautiful and new and useful together and know that what they shared was something in common. Many of the things that people in this community built were indispensable to the development of the internet as we know it; without many of them, the internet as we know it would not exist. And not only the internet, but Android and a host of other things which people all over the world use every single day.

So, in short: Richard M Stallman is, by almost any measure, a centrally important figure in computing. He is in the running for 'man who has done more for people who love computers than any other man alive.' And, though he is still relatively unknown in wider circles, he has bettered the lives of millions of people who probably will never know his name.

To make an analogy: Richard M Stallman is like a crazy old grandfather who played a pivotal role in the D-Day landing in World War 2. Man, the guy has quirks – and sometimes he goes on and on and on about stuff that seems arcane and ridiculous. But at the end of the day, it is worth listening to him, even if only out of respect, because without him and the things he's done, your life and the lives of many, many people would not be nearly as good as they are.

KeSetAffinityThread: “Not to be picky or anything, but for a guy preaching about reforming web practices, his website looks like it came right out of 1999.”

Hush. Richard M Stallman doesn't need the internet. The internet needs Richard M Stallman.
posted by koeselitz at 8:13 PM on October 26, 2011 [145 favorites]


Meh. I've always preferred vim.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:17 PM on October 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


M-x kill-the-infidel
posted by vorfeed at 8:24 PM on October 26, 2011 [12 favorites]


And not only the internet, but Android...

O_o
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:27 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


So Richard Stallman and Hillary Clinton came to speak at my college on the same day. Hillary got the conference center at the biggest, newest building on campus, with a Jumbotron outside so people could watch and promoters all over campus letting people know about the event. RMS got the dirtiest, dingiest 1000-seat lecture hall in an out-of-the-way building nowhere near the computer science department. It was still full.
posted by miyabo at 8:27 PM on October 26, 2011 [10 favorites]


I also prefer vim, Threeway Handshake. My copy was compiled on another work of Stallman's - gcc. How about yours?
posted by motty at 8:30 PM on October 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


Aside from the length and detail, and maybe fussiness, this list of perfectly reasonable negotiations could apply to any invited guest visiting overnight from out of town.
posted by ovvl at 8:31 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't see why everyone can't just STFU and use Windows like a normal person.

i keed i keed
posted by davejay at 8:32 PM on October 26, 2011


JOIN US NOW AND FREE THE SOFTWARE
HACKERS
YOU'LL BE FREE
HACKERS
YOU'LL BE FREE
posted by 200burritos at 8:34 PM on October 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


I love gcc but it's days are numbered.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:36 PM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


I also prefer vim, Threeway Handshake. My copy was compiled on another work of Stallman's - gcc. How about yours?

That's one old copy of GCC you've got there.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 8:43 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love Stallman, but some of his requirements are amusing! For example:

DON'T buy a parrot figuring that it will be a fun surprise for me. To
acquire a parrot is a major decision: it is likely to outlive you. If
you don't know how to treat the parrot, it could be emotionally
scarred and spend many decades feeling frightened and unhappy. If you
buy a captured wild parrot, you will promote a cruel and devastating
practice, and the parrot will be emotionally scarred before you get it.
Meeting that sad animal is not an agreeable surprise.

posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 8:44 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


That's one heckuva demanding parrot.
posted by parki at 8:46 PM on October 26, 2011


As JHarris said presumably that's because someone in the past read the description of his fondness for parrots and bought one. But that is in fact kind of a shitty thing to do.
posted by kenko at 8:46 PM on October 26, 2011


"GNU" is pronounced as one syllable with a hard g,
like "grew" but with n instead of r.


OK
posted by fuq at 8:47 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


How about yours?

cc
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:49 PM on October 26, 2011


Richard Stallman playing a recorder to parrots in Singapore in 2001. I vaguely remember that somebody bought him a parrot at some point because he's always loved them; can't find it, though.
posted by koeselitz at 8:50 PM on October 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


No, tylerkaraszewski, it's the latest stable version. I don't think I understand your point. Seems like you're arguing that Stallman wasn't responsible for the fact that gcc exists, but it's hard to imagine that someone who knows what gcc is would say something so completely stupid. Perhaps you meant something else. Care to expand?
posted by motty at 8:50 PM on October 26, 2011


motty -- gcc 4 is about as much a work of Stallman's as my MacBook Pro is a work of Woz's.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 8:52 PM on October 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


Yeah. My point exactly. Without Woz you wouldn't have one because it wouldn't exist.
posted by motty at 8:56 PM on October 26, 2011 [11 favorites]


Is it September or something?
posted by motty at 8:57 PM on October 26, 2011 [10 favorites]


Without Woz you wouldn't have one because it wouldn't exist.

Or you would just use a different c compiler.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:59 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'll just leave this here without comment.
posted by mike3k at 9:00 PM on October 26, 2011


I've switched to LLVM.
posted by mike3k at 9:01 PM on October 26, 2011


Or you would just use a different c compiler.

Seriously. There are lots of C compilers. Most people dont care if they're named "GNU" or not, which is probably Stallman's biggest contribution that's still around. I'm gonna go build vim in clang now, just to see if it'll work.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 9:02 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Aside from the length and detail, and maybe fussiness, this list of perfectly reasonable negotiations could apply to any invited guest visiting overnight from out of town.

And except for the parrot thing, presumably. Or have I been mistreating my out-of-town guests?
posted by lollusc at 9:06 PM on October 26, 2011


If that rider had the identifying information redacted, this thread would be full of MeFites inventing new ways to call the speaker a dickhead.
posted by Kwine at 9:09 PM on October 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


That is the best most awesome rider I have ever read, and it has raised my opinion of RMS substantially.
posted by bq at 9:13 PM on October 26, 2011 [8 favorites]


If you've never looked at the code in a slightly mature piece of software you won't recognize the style, but I do. You start off with a basic description of how things should work. Bug reports expose real-world situations it can't cope with, so you add code — some very specific, some nicely generalized. After a while it starts to look like just a jumble of if() statements describing a bunch of weird conditions. But it's incredibly robust and works in almost any conceivable situation. It's exactly what I'd expect from Stallman.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:17 PM on October 26, 2011 [27 favorites]


I knew I disliked the guy for a reason. The guy doesn't eat breakfast.
posted by schwa at 9:21 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


If that rider had the identifying information redacted, this thread would be full of MeFites inventing new ways to call the speaker a dickhead

What the man had to say about being kind to parrots, about not wanting to tyranize hosts, about wanting to save costs, are the most empathic things I've ever read attributed to Richard Stallman. They make him seem more cool. Thus do I negate your statement.
posted by JHarris at 9:26 PM on October 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


Please call the hotel and ask whether they will demand to see my
passport, and whether they report all their guests to the police. If
it has this policy, please join me in striking a blow against Big
Brother, by looking for a place I can stay in that doesn't demand to
see my passport, or report my visit to anyone. If the police want
information about free software, they are welcome to come to my
speech.


I love the last sentence of this bit.
posted by lollusc at 9:26 PM on October 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


If you can find a host for me that has a friendly parrot, I will be very very glad. If you can find someone who has a friendly parrot I can visit with, that will be nice too.

DON'T buy a parrot figuring that it will be a fun surprise for me.


I think that's Stallman pulling a Van Halen and brown M and Ms.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:33 PM on October 26, 2011


I think that's Stallman pulling a Van Halen and brown M and Ms.

Not really, though. If he said "do buy a parrot figuring that it will be a fun surprise for me", perhaps, but most hosts are not in the habit of buying their guests parrots.
posted by madcaptenor at 9:36 PM on October 26, 2011


Oh my god, he sounds like my ex-husband. Also like Sally Albright. "You're the worst kind: you're a high maintenance person who THINKS she's low maintenance."
posted by Madamina at 9:41 PM on October 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


My friend actually was detained by Amtrak security for reserving tickets and travelling under hilariously bogus false names. They gave him a really hard time about it and called him a terrorist and stuff, but fact is that you don't have to show ID if you've got a ticket. rms is allll good on Amtrak, at least as of a few years ago.
posted by troublesome at 9:42 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


"I refuse to have a cell phone because they are tracking and surveillance devices. They all enable the phone system to record where the user goes, and many (perhaps all) can be remotely converted into listening devices."
posted by The Lamplighter at 9:42 PM on October 26, 2011


How is it possible that the foot video hasn't been posted yet?
posted by The Lamplighter at 9:43 PM on October 26, 2011


I don't know jack about Free Software but I love this. If you think this is demanding and persnickety, you've never sat for my pets.
posted by dchrssyr at 9:46 PM on October 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm confused, are we making fun of him because we think he's ridiculous or are we quoting him because he's unfortunately, completely right?
posted by june made him a gemini at 9:47 PM on October 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Also, wow, this rider reminds me SO much of the long-winded instructions I leave for housesitters that I'm starting to rethink the enmity-for-life I swore against rms. Guy has style, for reals, even if he did spoil the ending of the 6th Harry Potter book for me.
posted by troublesome at 9:48 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh Stallman. The guy is like half genius half kook.

Here is him singing his free software song.

As of 2007 he did not use a browser. He used a daemon that he could email, which would the fetch the page via wget and email it back to him.

There is also the time he supposedly rubbed is underwear on Mae Ling Mak's forehead.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:03 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh Stallman. The guy is like half genius half kook.

It's more likely that he's all of both.
posted by JHarris at 10:07 PM on October 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm not making fun of the guy. Sure, he's got his quirks that border on cray-cray-sounding but after reading through all of that, I respect the guy a hell of a lot. He's clear and concise on his wishes and requirements, knows his limitations and doesn't seem to be a dick about it. My hat's off to him.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:09 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Someone asked for infamous foot video.

Kinda gross.

I'm not making fun of him, I think he has a legit disorder. I am very sympathetic to him.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:12 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Richard Stallman playing a recorder to parrots in Singapore in 2001.

Yes.
posted by the cydonian at 10:22 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, I wish I could just push all my petty likes and dislikes onto someone else and say "Hey, here's a list of things I don't eat/do/want/need. Instead of me being an adult and coping with them, I've decided that's going to be YOUR responsibility. In return for this privilege I will attend your thing, conduct it entirely on my own terms, and if you have the hide to take me out to dinner afterward, I will do "work" instead via email."

FYI, this is an undemanding and normal rider by the standards of very frequent speakers, bands, and other more or less constant travellers, especially middle aged ones. There is a difference between constant and intermittent travel that is qualitative rather than just quantitative.

When you travel constantly like this, you're not going home at the end of the day, nor at the end of many weeks. That's ok for a few weeks, but if it becomes your standard routine most of the year, it can become extremely tiring. What is even more tiring is having to explain the same things over and over again, that's why you put them in a standard rider.

Every time you see and odd seeming clause, remember that it is likely that a specific incident has likely prompted its inclusion.

It might seem odd to specify that you don't eat breakfast, but if you spend a substantial percentage of your life in a situation where other people plan parts of your day for you, I imagine it would exceptionally tiresome to explain this over and over.

Note that nothing in this rider is expensive to provide, he's OK with flying economy and even prefers staying with other people over hotels. I'm 26 and not a sought after speaker, and if I travel to somewhere 4 hours away I expect business class flights and a good hotel.
posted by atrazine at 10:57 PM on October 26, 2011 [23 favorites]


This is the guy who founded the Free Software movement.

Yes, but not the free software movement.

There was a lot of free/PD software around through the mid-1980s, before the Free Software Foundation was founded by Stallman. Project collaboration amongst programmers even. Would the free software world have been better or worse without Stallman? I don't know, possibly worse, but as a premise it's the stuff of sci-fi alternate universe authors. I do know that free software would have still existed without him.

Nor are GNU licenses, though the most popular of free software licenses, universally loved or admired by those who create and work on free software. Alternate licenses and public domain are not uncommonly used by programmers who release such software including, incidentally, me.

Arguments have been advanced that in his later years, post-code productive, Stallman may actually have hindered corporate acceptance of nonproprietary software by too often acting like a jerky nutjob, the guy the suits point to as the crazy face of free software. Parts of this rider are a reminder of that behavior, for example, his dogged insistence on everyone specifically referring to Linux in a non-kernal sense as GNU/Linux whenever in his presence has been mocked across the net for years.

I'll still give Stallman major props, mostly for his code and because he increased the visibility and viability of free software during the earlier days, but there is a nontrivial amount of negative baggage that goes along with him and the FSF. I don't think this rider does him any favors as far as fixing that.
posted by mdevore at 11:12 PM on October 26, 2011 [8 favorites]


This is the guy who founded the Free Software movement.
Yes, but not the free software movement.


When Stallman started using computers, there was a culture of software sharing in MIT's hacker culture. He doesn't take credit for that. It was people began to stop sharing source code that previously would have been shared, he started a project, and then a movement, to counteract this.
posted by grouse at 11:20 PM on October 26, 2011 [10 favorites]


(I dislike the taste of coke, and of all diet soda; also, there is an international boycott of the Coca Cola company for killing union organizers in Colombia and Guatemala; see
killercoke.org.)


Dude got class.

And the techno remix of his free software song is surprisingly good.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:22 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


"The citizens should be outraged by this, but often they are not."
posted by freebird at 11:23 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am an old guy who is simply an end user of software. The only if-then statement I know is, "If any of you homos call me Francis, [then] I will kill you". I have read many a rider for peformers. I never heard of rms before this thread.

I like the guy. Straight shooter. I would say he is endearingly insane. Obviuosly never met the man, but when I do, I know exactly what to not do and what to not say and what his basic preferences are. As someone saud up thread, I wish every one posted a simple personal statement like this.

If I had the dough, I would fly him economy to give a speech to my local high school and then take him to dinner just the two of us so I could hear him explain his view of software and the world.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:25 PM on October 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


And the techno remix of his free software song is surprisingly good

The original is really, really not.

It might seem odd to specify that you don't eat breakfast

No, it seems odd to say, "Please do not ask me any questions about what I will do breakfast. Please just do not bring it up."
posted by lollusc at 11:34 PM on October 26, 2011


Nothing he wants is so terrible. He gives good reasons for his preferences. The parrot thing and the Pepsi vs Coke thing especially!

Wanting not to be too warm at night is another point at which I sympathize. Also the cats and dogs thing. I love cats, but I am allergic to them and dogs.
I appreciate dogs that don't lick, that just sit peacefully in your lap to be petted.
I don't like dog or cat breath.

I love parrots but due to the fear that I could not meet the needs of a parrot, and that any animal I got could outlive me, haven't gotten one. I visit with my neighbor's animals and call it good.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 11:35 PM on October 26, 2011


I've always viewed RMS with mixed feelings but I don't understand people bagging on this rider. There's nothing onerous or odious in it. Is the very idea of a rider offensive? Should booking every engagement waste a ton of everybody's time instead? It seems like the perfect encapsulation of Ask vs Guess culture. Pretty much by definition a rider is an Ask culture thing. I'm usually more of a Guesser, but I admire Askers a lot of the time and wish I could be more Ask sometimes.
posted by kmz at 11:50 PM on October 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


Most of this sounds eminently reasonable, especially not wanting to appear on a bill with people he dislikes. It's just that most people would have their draw this up and it would read a lot less colorfully.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:54 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Assuming everyone in the world knows the full story behind the Van Halen M&Ms thing by now, but just in case:

1) Van Halen asks for no M&Ms of a certain color, everyone is all "oh those wacky demanding rock stars"
2) David Lee Roth in his autobiography claims they did this because they wanted to make sure people were reading the rider, which also contained detailed stage construction instructions, which if not followed could cause a disastrous collapse
3) Most people take 2) at face value, leaving aside Roth's reputation as a world-class bullshitter and self-aggrandizer, and failing to wonder if a construction contract for the stage might not be a different document than the band's personal rider
4) So probably really they were just drunk and high and thought it would be funny, but who knows

posted by drjimmy11 at 11:58 PM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Note the snopes article cites only Roth's often-fanciful autobiography and contains no image of the rider or evidence that the Pueblo, CO incident happened at all.
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:01 AM on October 27, 2011


Well, here are some details from Smoking Gun. They mention the M&Ms were listed in the "Munchies" section, not the "technical aspect of the rider" as Roth bullshitted. OK, I'll stop now.
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:06 AM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not to be picky or anything, but for a guy preaching about reforming web practices, his website looks like it came right out of 1999.

Because the only important web practices are the ones that deal with flashy design?

I don't want to live on this planet anymore.

But really, it probably looks like that because he was spending the rest of his time creating the editor, GNU Emacs, it was written in, along with the entire toolchain and most of rest of the operating system that goes along with it.

I can excuse him a bad webpage.

Stallman, like Julian Assange and other obsessive ideologues, can be abrasive and socially awkward. But because of him and his friends we have the concept of free software and open source. The right to tinker, the Maker movement, so many of these things are outgrowths of his philosophy.

As we have more discussions in the coming months and years about the 1% and ownership and especially intellectual property rights, keep in mind Stallman's essay almost 15 years ago: The Right to Read, before the DMCA, the Sony Rootkit, the Kindle, jailbreaking and 16-page EULAs.
posted by formless at 12:09 AM on October 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


re: Blazecock Pileon: You're right that Android is not-very-free software (here is Stallman explaining that point at length) but it is built on top of the GNU-licensed Linux kernel, so koeselitz's point still stands I think.
posted by memebake at 12:13 AM on October 27, 2011


This XKCD comic about Stallman is worth linking.

In the "XKCD Volume 0" book, Randall adds this footnote:
Originally, I had the phrase "Open Source" and "Free Software" reversed here, but a flood of 1:00 am letters told me Stallman notoriously hates the term "Open Source" and would never use it. The comic title was "Open Source" and I couldn't change that, so I just switched who said what and went to sleep.

Only one person wrote in post-change to complain about "Open Source" still being used in the title - Stallman himself.
posted by memebake at 12:21 AM on October 27, 2011 [16 favorites]


Oddly enough if the guy on the train asks for a name I walways say Richard Stallman. I have to admit it does make the credit card transaction a bit trickier than it might otherwise be.
posted by biffa at 12:37 AM on October 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


To do what Stallman has achieved requires that you be very smart, very determined, and more or less impervious to setbacks. It takes a very particular kind of resolute tenaciousness. Few people max out in those qualities and have a sunny, amiable, popularity-winning disposition as well.

Dude is not perfect. I've met him a couple of times, and I would agree with those who think he's likely not neurotypical. But who cares? He could be a nicer person, but he's already a great person, and if he had the kind of personality that was more accomodating, it might have come at the cost of not achieving what's he's achieved.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:00 AM on October 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


but holy shit, can he talk. Quite a captivating speaker; he had that stage presence that just drew people in to his message.

Quite. That's my experience of him speaking.

I'm also puzzled by the antipathy to the rider. It's obsessively detailed, to Rain Man like levels, but it's asking for stuff which is pretty innocuous. "I like to eat at nice restaurants, let me worry about my weird food preferences unless you really want to, here's what I need for a good night's sleep."
posted by rodgerd at 1:37 AM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anybody who understands that dinners with more than four or five people are draining rather than relaxing is okay with me.
posted by Justinian at 2:46 AM on October 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


I really appreciate his work on GNU's not UNIX's not UNIX's not UNIX, but man...

Recursive acronyms are a PITA in the ass.
posted by Anything at 3:47 AM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


> but he's already a great person

Not really.
posted by jsavimbi at 3:50 AM on October 27, 2011


>but he's already a great person

Not really.


Yes, he is. There is more than one meaning for "great."
posted by JHarris at 3:57 AM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


There is more than one meaning for "great."

Please list me one meaning of greatness in reference to rms that I'll be unable to dissect and disprove without resorting to the googles.
posted by jsavimbi at 4:11 AM on October 27, 2011


@jsavimbi

i bet you'd think it was pretty funny if i said 'fat'

I'll be unable to dissect and disprove without resorting to the googles

cringe cringe flinch
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 4:38 AM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Please list me one meaning of greatness in reference to rms

GPL, dude. That one thing saved modern software. If it wasn't for the GPL there wouldn't be open source. There wouldn't be linux. The internet as we know it would never have happened. It'd all be AOL and Prodigy and Compuserve.

without resorting to the googles

There'd be no Google.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:40 AM on October 27, 2011 [10 favorites]


Please list me one meaning of greatness in reference to rms that I'll be unable to dissect and disprove without resorting to the googles.

Sorry, but I have to go and stand over there now.
posted by unSane at 4:41 AM on October 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


<3 Stallman.

Standing on the shoulders of giants requires giants, which is something that escapes a large portion of the previous commenters.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 5:02 AM on October 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


I came in here pre-cringing but came out pleasantly surprised. Only a few idiots mocking the guy who made probably half of what you do with computers possible. The deafening silence of the media when rms dies, like when Ritchie and McCarthy did, compared to the clamor of Jobs will be pretty sad.

Speaking of which, rms on Jobs' death:
Steve Jobs, the pioneer of the computer as a jail made cool, designed to sever fools from their freedom, has died.

As Chicago Mayor Harold Washington said of the corrupt former Mayor Daley, "I'm not glad he's dead, but I'm glad he's gone." Nobody deserves to have to die - not Jobs, not Mr. Bill, not even people guilty of bigger evils than theirs. But we all deserve the end of Jobs' malign influence on people's computing.

Unfortunately, that influence continues despite his absence. We can only hope his successors, as they attempt to carry on his legacy, will be less effective.
I concur.
posted by DU at 5:21 AM on October 27, 2011 [10 favorites]


GPL, dude. That one thing saved modern software.

So Stallman created, through immaculate conception, a new form of licensing without which an entire generation of software engineers would sit on their collective asses without being able to work?

Hardly, dude.
posted by jsavimbi at 5:21 AM on October 27, 2011


The Lamplighter: "How is it possible that the foot video hasn't been posted yet?"

It had been, by mike3k, but you'd have had to follow the link.
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:22 AM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


So Stallman created, through immaculate conception, a new form of licensing...

Yes.

...without which an entire generation of software engineers would sit on their collective asses without being able to work?

No, they'd be able to work. But in isolation. With the GPL, they can cooperate. Which gets you a hell of a lot farther than attempting to create the universe from scratch for each apple pie.
posted by DU at 5:26 AM on October 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Not a single word of this surprises me in any way.
posted by tommasz at 5:26 AM on October 27, 2011


mdevore: "Arguments have been advanced that in his later years, post-code productive, Stallman may actually have hindered corporate acceptance of nonproprietary software by too often acting like a jerky nutjob, the guy the suits point to as the crazy face of free software. "

It's like the argument that OWS people shouldn't look like hippies and should have a "clear message." Then they would be much more effective.
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:28 AM on October 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Stallman may actually have hindered corporate acceptance of nonproprietary software by too often acting like a jerky nutjob, the guy the suits point to as the crazy face of free software.

There are no suits who can even name, let alone point to, Stallman.
posted by DU at 5:34 AM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ummmm, guys (and girls),

Open eyes here. The cited link is NOT his site, it is an HTML mailing list archive. How fancy do you expect it to be?

Oh, although I am a GNU/Linux evangelist, I do not say "GNU/Linux." It's awkward and adds extra syllables.
posted by Samizdata at 5:36 AM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Imagine a world where you'd have to pay to use the 'ls' command.

Now thank rms you don't live in that world.
posted by mikelieman at 5:36 AM on October 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


Stallman may actually have hindered corporate acceptance of nonproprietary software by too often acting like a jerky nutjob, the guy the suits point to as the crazy face of free software.

There are no suits who can even name, let alone point to, Stallman.


Word. My enormous corporation was scared witless of the "viral" nature of the GPL, not of Stallman.
posted by tommasz at 5:37 AM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whenever anyone complains, in any context, about the "viral nature of the GPL", they inadvertently confess they were planning on stealing GPL code, and were stopped by Mr. Stallman's brilliant license.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 6:11 AM on October 27, 2011 [28 favorites]


On gMetaFilter, I'd be able to favorite that comment as many times as I want.

In fact, can I rebroadcast that line? Unaltered other than making it fit into 140 characters?
posted by DU at 6:22 AM on October 27, 2011


Open eyes here. The cited link is NOT his site, it is an HTML mailing list archive. How fancy do you expect it to be?
I think they were discussing his site http://stallman.org/ which is also linked from the FPP (on the word 'stallman').
posted by memebake at 6:34 AM on October 27, 2011


With the GPL, they can cooperate.

That's like the inventor of the [modern] condom making a claim that a purchase will get you laid. But only if you buy his condoms. And you have to call them "assurance caps".
posted by jsavimbi at 6:39 AM on October 27, 2011


Go right ahead DU.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 6:41 AM on October 27, 2011


Whenever anyone complains, in any context, about the "viral nature of the GPL", they inadvertently confess they were planning on stealing GPL code, and were stopped by Mr. Stallman's brilliant license.

Why couldn't they just be concerned that GPL'd software would erode the profits on their proprietary software?

Frothy-mouthed statements like this are the kind of thing that raise hackles even of people sympathetic to free/open source software, which I am.
posted by unSane at 6:57 AM on October 27, 2011


look, open software is a mess because there are no barriers to ensure quality, plus something something 'open-source serfdom' something something

also subsidizing health insurance doesn't properly disincentivize getting sick

what do you mean, "there is a common thread linking together my ideas", i assure you i choose all my positions on their individual merits, i am Rational

stop kicking me in the nuts ow ow
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 7:06 AM on October 27, 2011 [3 favorites]



Why couldn't they just be concerned that GPL'd software would erode the profits on their proprietary software?

Frothy-mouthed statements like this are the kind of thing that raise hackles even of people sympathetic to free/open source software, which I am.


The viral nature of the GPL is not viral like a youtube video with many views. It is viral in the sense that code linked with GPL code must be licensed as GPL.

Which is only a problem if you wanted to take GPL code and use it to improve your software without giving anything back.

Eat some more beans before claiming others are frothy-mouthed.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 7:12 AM on October 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


It is viral in the sense that code linked with GPL code must be licensed as GPL.

See how rational that statement is? It makes perfect sense to anyone who works with such code in the real world. It's a widely accepted and adopted idea with legal teeth behind it. It makes sense.

It would make more sense if you were able to divorce Dr. Stallman from it. You can't claim to be rational and marry crazy at the same time. Most people cannot see beyond what is obvious.
posted by jsavimbi at 7:21 AM on October 27, 2011


jsavimbi, I will grant you that he looks crazy. But he is consistently right in these crazy times we live.

To divorce the GPL from Stallman (what), or to deny Stallman any of his accomplishments and insights, is a disservice to ourselves and the truth.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 7:28 AM on October 27, 2011


jsavimbi, I will grant you that he looks crazy. But he is consistently right in these crazy times we live.

To divorce the GPL from Stallman (what), or to deny Stallman any of his accomplishments and insights, is a disservice to ourselves and the truth.

GPL: indistinguishable from a cult.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 7:51 AM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Threeway Handshake, I have explained myself with logic, when talking about a legal document.

I see it was wasted on you.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 7:55 AM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


The GPL license? It isn't a legal document, it is a software license.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 7:59 AM on October 27, 2011


Whenever anyone complains, in any context, about the "viral nature of the GPL", they inadvertently confess they were planning on stealing GPL code, and were stopped by Mr. Stallman's brilliant license.

It's not stealing if it's allowed as it is, for example, under the MIT license. What they're complaining about is that the GPL adds restrictions to code that YOU write if it uses GPL software.

The only "confession" is that they want to LEGALLY use other people's code without releasing their own, which maybe sounds (and maybe is) hypocritical, but it's not anything like stealing.
posted by callmejay at 8:03 AM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


The GPL license? It isn't a legal document, it is a software license.
posted by Threeway Handshake


Ah, you don't even know what a software license is. It is a legal document. It grants rights, under certain conditions, that you would not have otherwise.

It's not stealing if it's allowed as it is, for example, under the MIT license

We were talking about the GPL, not the MIT license.

The only "confession" is that they want to LEGALLY use other people's code without releasing their own, which maybe sounds (and maybe is) hypocritical, but it's not anything like stealing.

Of course not, it's copyright infringement, which the legal department also discourages.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 8:11 AM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


The only "confession" is that they want to LEGALLY use other people's code without releasing their own, which maybe sounds (and maybe is) hypocritical, but it's not anything like stealing.

It's as similar to stealing as making unlicensed copies of movies and CDs is. Which CEOs do seem kind of upset about.
posted by DU at 8:12 AM on October 27, 2011


Actually, it would compare to SELLING unlicensed copies of movies and CDs.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 8:15 AM on October 27, 2011


Still not stealing. Unless you're the RIAA or MPAA, of course.
posted by unSane at 8:20 AM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hi unSane, nice to see you less frothy. You are wrong, too. Copyright infringement for profit IS stealing in my book, and in pretty much everyone's book.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 8:24 AM on October 27, 2011


Nobody's forced to use GPL code. If you don't want to erode your profits, write your own shit.

LGPL and BSD style licenses are fine too, of course, if that's what the authors want. Hell, make it public domain, make it closed source, whatever. But if you want to use GPL'd code, you gotta give back.

See how rational that statement is? It makes perfect sense to anyone who works with such code in the real world. It's a widely accepted and adopted idea with legal teeth behind it. It makes sense.

It would make more sense if you were able to divorce Dr. Stallman from it. You can't claim to be rational and marry crazy at the same time. Most people cannot see beyond what is obvious.


I'm really confused jsavimbi. Are you saying that RMS has nothing to do with the GPL? Or that the GPL would exist in some form if somehow RMS didn't exist? The latter is probably true, but hell every invention probably would have been discovered sooner or later, but we still credit the original inventors.

It isn't a legal document, it is a software license.

It's not a book, it's a novel.

It's not a conic section, it's a circle.

It's not a website, it's Metafilter.
posted by kmz at 8:34 AM on October 27, 2011 [8 favorites]


Conic sections are often ellipses, parabolas, or hyperbolas.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 9:05 AM on October 27, 2011


*headdesk*

Subsets, do you understand them? A conic section is of course not necessarily a circle, but a circle is a conic section.

Not all legal documents are software licenses. But software licenses are a type of legal document.
posted by kmz at 9:10 AM on October 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


There are no suits who can even name, let alone point to, Stallman.

You have reversed the importance of the claim. Name him: possibly only a few people. Point in the general direction of Stallman and his group whenever people raise the topic of free software, quite a few more.

Stallman has made significant press over the years, and a lot of it isn't complimentary, particularly in the business world. You may not like the business world, but OWS or no, it has an extremely strong influence on how most things work, including software.

Stallman hasn't exactly endeared himself to the legions of Steve Jobs fans after taking a big dump on his death announcement, either.

It has been a few years since I bothered to notice what the press was saying about Stallman, and his much of his old controversy should have aged out now, so how about a quickie search on recent business press.

A recent Forbes article on Stallman. Yeah, that's not good. Condescending and cutting, leavened with a few compliments for those who might support Stallman's work.

When you are the head of a group or foundation, titular or not (and besides being founder, Stallman is President of the FSF), most people think you speak for the group. That is not fair, but that is reality. It has always been a problem when the head guy makes controversial remarks, or lives their life in a controversial way. Stallman's antics over the years have not helped the case for the acceptance of free software in Corporate Businessland. I think there is considerable evidence that he has impeded it.

Back to the original post. The rider is classic Stallman. You may think it an amusing or clever document from a fellow free spirit. OK, I can appreciate that. But man, does he play the oogie-boogie wild-eyed man role so perfectly for his foes.
posted by mdevore at 9:33 AM on October 27, 2011


Linux (sorry Mr. Stallman) and other associated software has enormous acceptance in Corporate Businessland in Europe. It's just better than the alternatives for server work.

Now a company that chooses it's software based on the programmer's looks will risks meeting the same harsh death as Diginotar. Diginotar beats Stallman in corporate scary stories, believe you me.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 9:47 AM on October 27, 2011


There is a good reason why Linux is better than every other operating system kernel on the plant. In particular, there is a palpable degradation in kernel performance when switching from a Linux box to a Mac OS X machine, clearly Apple could improve performance by ditching BSD for Linux.

As an illustration, there were many years when Linux had two competing schedulers, but Linux ultimately selected the completely fair scheduler for a variety of reasons, including the dedication showed by its maintainers. Ain't possible to make that sort of technical decision in that way in a company.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:17 AM on October 27, 2011


Some organizations feel that hospitality calls for providing me with a
business class ticket. That is indeed more comfortable, but an
economy class seat is good enough. Meanwhile, speaking is my main
source of income, and the extra price of a business class ticket would
be a lot more useful for me if I can spend it on something else. So
if you were thinking of spending extra for business class, how about
if you pay the extra to me as a speaker's fee instead?


I like this guy, just all like, don't be wasting money fool, give it to me instead.
posted by fruit sandwich at 10:38 AM on October 27, 2011


Dude wrote emacs. As far as I'm concerned he can type M-x no-brown-m&ms all he wants.

He could, but it would still make him a douchenozzle diva.

"In some hotels with central air conditioning, it simply does not work
very well: it can make a room less hot, but can't make it cool.
Before using a hotel that has central air conditioning, find out what
temperature it can actually lower a room to, during the relevant
dates."
posted by mrgrimm at 10:38 AM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


You may think it an amusing or clever document from a fellow free spirit.

I don't get that at all. I get mild OCD which he chooses to inflict on everyone else. People who do good things and have right ideas can still be douchey. I think his odd behavior hurts his cause.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:42 AM on October 27, 2011


There is a good reason why Linux is better than every other operating system kernel on the plant. In particular, there is a palpable degradation in kernel performance when switching from a Linux box to a Mac OS X machine, clearly Apple could improve performance by ditching BSD for Linux.
Eek.

Mac OS X doesn't really use the BSD kernel per se. xnu is a combination of the Mach microkernel (as first used by NeXT) and a number of BSD bits for things like the POSIX API, process -> Mach task abstraction, etc.

There's a common misconception that Mac OS X simply uses a kernel from FreeBSD or the like and puts stuff on top of it. That's quite far from the truth. xnu is quite different from what you'd find running on your average Free/Net/Dragonfly/OpenBSD box.

Apple might be able to improve performance by ditching xnu for NT or for the FreeBSD kernel. It's hard to say without answering the other part of that question: performance of what and on what?
As an illustration, there were many years when Linux had two competing schedulers, but Linux ultimately selected the completely fair scheduler for a variety of reasons, including the dedication showed by its maintainers. Ain't possible to make that sort of technical decision in that way in a company.

Linux has only ever had one scheduler at a time in the mainline. For years this was the O(1) scheduler. Then Con Kolivas researched and developed a more fair scheduler. He had a bit of a falling out with the kernel development community, which worsened when Ingo rejected his patches and then implemented his own solution with a *very* similar design, which then *was* merged into the mainline (replacing the O(1)) scheduler.

I'm still not sure if I'd say that SD was competing with anything. Both parties (mainline and con) seemed to agree that the O(1) scheduler was in need of a serious reworking -- it was just the solution to the problem that was up for debate. So I guess in that sense SD was competing against CFS? If anything, I'd say that SD was competing against personality types more than anything else... and that is *very much* the sort of thing one sees in the closed-source software world.

Recently, Con's returned to the kernel hacking scene with BFS, another scheduler. BFS isn't "competing" as much as it's being made available for people to use if they choose. That's part of what happens with OSS: people re-implement things, do research, try out wacky ideas, etc.
posted by -1 at 10:43 AM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oops. I botched the markup there. My response starts with "Linux has only ever had one scheduler at a time".
posted by -1 at 10:43 AM on October 27, 2011


The Stallman Dialogues
posted by unSane at 11:06 AM on October 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I like the critiques that seem to be about, "Well, I was going to put him up in a hotel with shitty A/C, BUT NOT NOW. What a jerk!"

For those with a problem with this rider, do you know how freelancers manage their workload? Pricing. Consider this rider in that light.
posted by rhizome at 12:06 PM on October 27, 2011


copyright infringement for profit ISN'T "stealing"

it's fun
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 12:34 PM on October 27, 2011


So Stallman created, through immaculate conception, a new form of licensing without which an entire generation of software engineers would sit on their collective asses without being able to work?

What? jsavimbi, are you being willfully obtuse or are you just selecting bits and pieces of this thread? Because from where I'm sitting, it's looking like one or the other. Stallman's influence is incalculable, he is almost as important to the rise of Linux as Linus Torvalds, because without the GPL it could not have accreted from the efforts of all those programmers. And, because in these threads it's inevitable that someone will pooh pooh Linux when it is mentioned, Android, Kindle, Tivo, and many web servers run Linux, in addition to a good number of desktop systems.

GPL: indistinguishable from a cult.
posted by Threeway Handshake


This coming from you, the ParisParamus of Apple? You sound like a Cthulhu cultist complaining about the rise of the Church of Dagon. BTW, have you heard of Darwin or BSD?
posted by JHarris at 12:41 PM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


You're right that Android is not-very-free software...but it is built on top of the GNU-licensed Linux kernel

By that reasoning, iOS could be called open because it is built atop Darwin, a freely-available and open source kernel. I find it odd that people keep calling Android an open source free software project, in the vein of emacs etc. when Google locks it down. Marketing works in insidious ways, and to some extent the blurring of lines by software projects like Android is probably more of an enemy to RMS's ideals than any one software company.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:46 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


As an open source author myself, I sympathize with RMS more than I disagree. But his rider does make him look just a bit more kooky. Still, here's to the crazy ones.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:48 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Stallman is the only person I have ever met who has been completely consistent with his principles and ideals. Yes he may lack some social skills -- but he is kind, considerate, and cares about improving the lot of humanity.

When you add to that all the actual things he's done to change the world for the better (many above have already pointed out his accomplishments) there is no doubt about his greatness.

But don't let me get in the way of the lulz. Dude, he picks his nose and chews his hair! He prefers to crash at someone's place instead of a hotel! What a kook!!!

My heroes list: dmr, rms, and P. G. Wodehouse.
posted by phliar at 1:35 PM on October 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


Yes, I have. I make my living running, among other things, IPSO firewalls. I've contributed bug fixes (and money) to OpenBSD. My DNS server at home runs FreeBSD.

What would you like to know? And what's your point? None of these OS's are GPL.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 2:22 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


But note: my Minecraft server is on Debian. FreeBSD, that, and OpenJDK never got along very well.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 2:27 PM on October 27, 2011


There are many wonderful things about the GPL but imho the whole point behind the viral licensing is : You shouldn't write free code that people turn into less free code. I.e. reward the companies who participate and punish those who don't.

Yet, there isn't gonna be any long term solution via GPL-like viral licenses. Instead, we must simply restrict all copyright protection to open source software only, i.e. no copyright protection for Mac OS X, Windows, etc. Ain't happening any time soon, but eventually.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:41 PM on October 27, 2011


shocked that this appears to be the only place on the web that thinks this is just funny and cool.
posted by Avenger50 at 2:48 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


And what's your point? None of these OS's are GPL.

The GPL was the first open source license, and open source software arose from the free software movement. Without the GPL, it is unlikely that open source software would have caught on. It was arguably a necessary step along the line to all other open source licenses. That software you use might not be GPL'd, but it's undeniable that it owes it a great debt.

I suppose you could agree, but say that the BSD license isn't as bad in the ways that matter to you. If that is the case then I vacate that part of my comment.
posted by JHarris at 3:05 PM on October 27, 2011


is that the GPL adds restrictions to code that YOU write if it uses GPL software.

Sure. Yep, that's the point of the GPL. Why should you be entitled to take advantage of someone else's work for free? If I'm going to share my work with you, you'd better be willing to share your work with me. It's only fair. The GPL is a legal framework for allowing people to share their work without getting ripped off. (You could pay me for a license to my code instead, if you want - but the free license requires you to share back under the same terms I shared my code with you.)

People who complain about the "viral" nature of the GPL are effectively griping about how they wish they could rip off other coders.
posted by Mars Saxman at 3:11 PM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


It isn't a legal document, it is a software license.

It's not a book, it's a novel.

It's not a conic section, it's a circle.

It's not a website, it's Metafilter.


It's not TV. It's HBO.
posted by hippybear at 3:16 PM on October 27, 2011


shocked that this appears to be the only place on the web that thinks this is just funny and cool.

Maybe we're the only part of the web where most people read the actual rider, and didn't immediately HURF DURF STALLMAN.
posted by JHarris at 3:17 PM on October 27, 2011


Maybe we're the only part of the web where most people read the actual rider, and didn't immediately HURF DURF STALLMAN.
posted by madcaptenor at 4:25 PM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


The words 'autism' and 'Aspergers' don't appear in this thread. The word 'neurotypical' appears once.

The rider is not funny, nor is it cool. It's unbelievably fucking tiresome and thuddingly familiar. It's a crystal-clear demonstration of why integrating spectrum disorder sufferers into society is a big damn deal, and is only going to get more difficult and pressing as geekdom and engineering/hacker culture 'go mainstream,' so to speak.

RMS is a socially maladapted paranoiac. He has no choice but to organize his life/mind this way. That's not funny. It's difficult - because folks like him are (1) essential to modern society and (2) very seriously ill-fitting in modern society.
posted by waxbanks at 4:31 PM on October 27, 2011 [13 favorites]


Hey, check it out. Apple's lossless audio codec is now open source, with an Apache license and everything.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:20 PM on October 27, 2011


Why should you be entitled to take advantage of someone else's work for free? If I'm going to share my work with you, you'd better be willing to share your work with me. It's only fair. The GPL is a legal framework for allowing people to share their work without getting ripped off.
Hence why people argue that the GPL imposes more restrictions than the BSD license(s).

The former not only requires credit, but also requires that anything you ever make based on my work is bound by the same license as my work in perpetuity. The latter only require that you not claim you are the author of my work.

It seems clear -- at least to me -- which embraces the concept of freedom a little more thoroughly.

I'm biased though. When I pick a license I usually go with BSD. Each time I do, I ask myself why I'm open-sourcing the work. Is it to benefit other people or to further the cause of Free Software? I tend to care more about the code than the ideology, thus my choice.
posted by -1 at 6:37 PM on October 27, 2011


memebake: "Open eyes here. The cited link is NOT his site, it is an HTML mailing list archive. How fancy do you expect it to be?
I think they were discussing his site http://stallman.org/ which is also linked from the FPP (on the word 'stallman').
"

Hmmmmm. Didn't think of that. Was mainly focused on substantive link.

smacks forehead - You are really firing on all cylinders there, asshat...
posted by Samizdata at 6:47 PM on October 27, 2011


Yeah, finally read the rider, and if anybody's even still reading this- YES INDEED he appears to kind spectrum-y. BUT- think who the people are who are probably inviting him to speak... you think they might appreciate this level of detail?

And, honestly, stuff like "don't ask me what kind of food I want" is great, I think, just because I hate making that kind of decision, and if I was traveling almost all the time, surrounded by people who didn't know me at all, just not *having* to deal with that kind of thing two or three times a day would make this thing worth it all by itself. And how can one not be charmed by his *preferring* to fly coach and stay in peoples' houses? I'm not the biggest fanboy around, and have thought his public pronouncements to be um socially tone-deaf in the past, but if anything I like him as a persona a lot more for having read this.
posted by hap_hazard at 7:03 PM on October 27, 2011


RMS is a socially maladapted paranoiac. He has no choice but to organize his life/mind this way.

It's only paranoia if the thing you're worried about isn't true. Many of Stallman's fears were quite prescient, and as several people (including myself) have suggested, each of the items in this rider probably matches up to a specific incident from Stallman's extensive public speaking history.
posted by JHarris at 7:05 PM on October 27, 2011


It's only paranoia if the thing you're worried about isn't true.

Stallman isn't just concerned about things that happen, he's paranoid about the ideas of things that don't yet happen, and acts totally (literally) unreasonably - i.e. at disproportionate cost to himself - about relating to the world given those ideas. His habits of checking into hotels under an assumed name, or refusing to own a cell phone (but happily bothering other people's), cost him disproportionately in terms of fluidity of interpersonal interaction and being-in-the-world. He'd be better for the world if he were less of an absolutist about such things.

He can't imagine an acceptable level of public identity-sharing, say, because he has no imagination of that kind. That's sad - and/but what he substitutes for that imagination sure looks to me like paranoia.

Taking absolute assurance of some limited form of personal autonomy over the chance at joy - which is always shared, which is always about being with other people - is bad for 'the soul,' or whatever the soul is a metaphor for. Stallman might not be capable of acting otherwise, but it's sad, and his inability to understand that sadness or see the impact on his effectiveness and the people around him is an undesirable and worrisome personality trait.

He's like my dad, though. Long past changing. Which is a shame; he'd regain some of his influence and effectiveness if he learned that software is about earthly human lives, not abstract legal/ethical categories or winning a game of 'whose logic is stronger.'
posted by waxbanks at 7:28 PM on October 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


When I pick a license I usually go with BSD. Each time I do, I ask myself why I'm open-sourcing the work. Is it to benefit other people or to further the cause of Free Software? I tend to care more about the code than the ideology, thus my choice.

I make my software free to benefit other people, but I choose to do it in a way that doesn't enable them to make a profit off of my work while giving nothing back. If you want to say that's "less free," that's fine. I don't care about you having the ability to make money off of the software I give away for free.

Many of Stallman's fears were quite prescient

At one point, the development of Linux used a proprietary revision control system called BitKeeper that provided a free version. Stallman and others raised a big fuss about entrusting a crown jewel of free software into a closed system out of their control, and Linus Torvalds responded by saying he was being ridiculous, BitKeeper worked just fine and Torvalds didn't really care for ideological purity as an aim. At the time, I agreed—getting the job done was more important than some sort of principle.

Three years later, the developer of BitKeeper pulled the plug on everyone in a fit of pique and left the Linux community scrambling for a way to manage their source, which was exactly one of the things that Stallman warned about. Since then I have stopped thinking of him as paranoid.
posted by grouse at 7:28 PM on October 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


I donno, Stallman failed to foresee Tivoization, nor even react to it quickly. You sure he's paranoid enough?

There is of course a difference between Stallman and say myself. When I bald face lie to the Radio Shack employee about my phone number, I'm doing so out of pure spite. Does that really make me a better person than RMS, who's gonna react fairly differently, but with the same end results?
posted by jeffburdges at 7:36 PM on October 27, 2011


If instead of telling me there is no more need for me to
wait, you wait for me to stop waiting for you, we will both wait
forever -- or until I figure out what's happening.


I can't believe he didn't squeeze in a joke about deadlocking here.
posted by destrius at 7:45 PM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Three years later, the developer of BitKeeper pulled the plug on everyone in a fit of pique and left the Linux community scrambling for a way to manage their source, which was exactly one of the things that Stallman warned about. Since then I have stopped thinking of him as paranoid.

That's actually not a totally fair assessment of the situation. Linus's take was that certain more diehard members of the free software movement actively sabotaged the situation by abusing the no-cost bitkeeper license by reverse engineering the software in direct contravention to the terms it was offered. This interpretation is not absolute, but 'fit of pique' is the kind of blame-shifting that is not productive.
posted by Thoth at 8:56 PM on October 27, 2011


That's actually not a totally fair assessment of the situation. Linus's take was that certain more diehard members of the free software movement actively sabotaged the situation by abusing the no-cost bitkeeper license by reverse engineering the software in direct contravention to the terms it was offered. This interpretation is not absolute, but 'fit of pique' is the kind of blame-shifting that is not productive.

I think it is totally fair. One person decided to reverse engineer BitKeeper. Larry McVoy responded by pulling access for everyone. He was within his rights to do so. But that is precisely the problem. Torvalds put the Linux source repository into a system that someone else could remove his access to for arbitrary reasons, and then his access was removed, for arbitrary reasons having nothing to do with Linus's actions.
posted by grouse at 9:04 PM on October 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


Yes, that's exactly it. Stallman's fundamental warning is that using proprietary code is putting yourself in a subservient position to the entity that created the code. It can be used as a weapon against you, and the Bitkeeper fiasco was a demonstration of a particularly egregious sort. But there have been many, many others, to the point that companies using code as a weapon to force you to spend more money is almost a matter of course.
posted by Malor at 11:28 PM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


What jeffburdges, grouse and Malor said.
posted by JHarris at 1:25 AM on October 28, 2011


I'm biased though. When I pick a license I usually go with BSD. Each time I do, I ask myself why I'm open-sourcing the work. Is it to benefit other people or to further the cause of Free Software? I tend to care more about the code than the ideology, thus my choice.
posted by -1 at 3:37 AM on October 28 [+]


BSD gives more freedom to programmers, but GPL keeps the code free. If you care about the code, you should use GPL.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 2:26 AM on October 28, 2011


When I bald face lie to the Radio Shack employee about my phone number, I'm doing so out of pure spite.

You realize you can just say 'no' when they ask for your phone number, right?
posted by unSane at 5:23 AM on October 28, 2011


Since Stallman refuses to travel by bus/train if he's required to show ID, why is he willing to fly?
posted by mullacc at 9:09 AM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm afraid many companies simply lack any procedure for handling a refusal, unsane, they'll simply stare at you blankly, unable to sell you the product. Interestingly, they're often clever enough to simply truncate a thirteen digit foreign number since the company mostly wants it for identification.

Isn't there another open source luminary who refuses to fly except internationally, because he refuses to show id for domestic flights, but accepts the necessary of passport control for international travel, mullacc.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:17 AM on October 28, 2011


Dr. waxbanks, where did you get your MD? Where did you do your residency in neurology? When did you examine Richard Stallman and under what circumstances? What is the basis for your diagnosis?

Or are you just completely full of shit?
posted by Crabby Appleton at 9:19 AM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Isn't there another open source luminary who refuses to fly except internationally, because he refuses to show id for domestic flights, but accepts the necessary of passport control for international travel, mullacc.
You may be thinking of John Gilmore.
posted by yz at 9:28 AM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm afraid many companies simply lack any procedure for handling a refusal, unsane, they'll simply stare at you blankly, unable to sell you the product.

I've never ever had anyone refuse to sell me something because I didn't give them a phone number, and I never ever give it out to retailers at checkouts unless i have an account there. If you encounter a real drone type you just say "You realize I'm just going to make up a phone number, right?"
posted by unSane at 10:03 AM on October 28, 2011


I donno, maybe I'm just impatient, but I don't like explaining everything all the time, and I ain't famous enough to have a rider. ;)
posted by jeffburdges at 10:11 AM on October 28, 2011


Ditto. I just say "no phone" and have never had a problem. I do remember than maybe Circuit City required a phone # for cash purchases for a while?

It's really funny to me when cashiers ask for my phone number and I ask them why they want it:

"Um ... " tiny smirk "... so we can let you know about coupons?"

Then some of them will even laugh. And I laugh too. lolz abound.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:17 AM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you read recent threads on Jobs, and notice user names, and then read this thread, it's a bit humorous. The same members that were 'jobs is no hero' are now foaming at the mouth for Stallman.

The world is better for having both (yin/yang and all that). Though one Stallman, really, is enough, picking sides seems shortsighted.

Or are you just completely full of shit?

Come on. The entire thread regarding the rider is full of assumptions. Jharris is attributing everything in the rider to it actually happening to the guy at one point in his life... based on... you know, nothing.

But it's not difficult to look at the rider, look at his entire career, and come up with a basic personality disorder. Maybe he has Stallman completely wrong. Maybe not. But I find it a more sympathetic view than 'lol Stallman's nuts'. And every time Stallman comes across as an asshole (Jobs is dead, yay!), which is often, I try and remember that.

Also, Stallman hate's cell phones, but he will gladly borrow yours.
posted by justgary at 10:30 AM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


The same members that were 'jobs is no hero' are now foaming at the mouth for Stallman.

I don't care much for either. I'd say Stallman has better ideas, but this rider is ludicrous to me and signals a somewhat a deranged person. (Unless it's a joke.)

The cult of personality is stupid. No one person is that important.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:03 AM on October 28, 2011


When you look at the history of movements like free software -- or of any group, for that matter -- "one person" typically is much more important than most of the others. The cult of group inevitability is also stupid: there's this idea in software that X would've happened anyway, someone else would have done Y, the real work was done by M N L O P, blah blah etc, as if all we're doing is uncovering some Platonic solid which cannot but exist in a single form.

Bullshit. Funny how no one says this about Picasso or Warhol or Black Flag or Kant or even Einstein, who really was uncovering something which already existed. Stallman changed the way computing went, just as Jobs did, and that makes all this whining about how they're not "that" important seem... well, not that important.

Real work is done by individuals acting in groups, and personality is one of the primary drivers of how and why it gets done.
posted by vorfeed at 11:56 AM on October 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


RMS may be deranged or not, but this rider is NOT ludicrous within the context for which it was intended. I wish all of my speakers were prepared to give me this level of detail.
posted by bq at 11:58 AM on October 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Bullshit. Funny how no one says this about Picasso or Warhol or Black Flag or Kant or even Einstein, who really was uncovering something which already existed.

I do, fwiw, but carry on...

posted by mrgrimm at 12:14 PM on October 28, 2011


Is there anyone here who wouldn't let RMS crash on their couch? Or Assange for that matter. ;)
posted by jeffburdges at 6:57 PM on October 28, 2011


Stallman MAYBE. Assange no.
posted by unSane at 7:13 PM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


There is no way I let the accused rapist sleep on my couch. rms, sure, if he is willing to follow my rider.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:52 PM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Blazecock Pileon, I wasn't arguing that Android was open, just pointing out that it is built on top of something that Stallman helped to create (the license that Linux uses). This was also what koeselitz was trying to say, I think. More generally, giving Stallman (partial) credit for the existince of Z is not the same as saying Z is open, free or something that Stallman would like.
posted by memebake at 10:54 AM on October 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


i gotta wonder how much dissing on assange (and rms for that matter) is just sour grapes and spiteful ressentiment

i mean rms has done so much while being so "crazy", and i'm a normal upright socially acceptable dude with nothing to show for it, nothing at all, and i'm pretty sure assange thinks he's better than me, he's not brave he's just stupid etc. etc.
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 11:41 AM on October 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is Android free?
posted by jeffburdges at 11:21 PM on October 30, 2011


it's free. the debatable point is whether or not it's "open."
posted by mrgrimm at 10:12 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is there anyone here who wouldn't let RMS crash on their couch? Or Assange for that matter. ;)

God no, & I know em both.

I think waxbanks has it right, RMS suffers from a personality disorder that cripples him socially, in a way that remind me of Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory except without the laugh track. It's an inflexibility of perspective that makes him incapable of even acknowledging that there are other ways of seeing things let alone that they might be valid for others if not for him. And it certainly hinders the acceptability & spread of free/open source software when people have such a visceral negative impression of one of its chief evangelists. I met the woman I nearly married at a GNU dinner (Mary Chung of course) when I rescued her from his attention as we literally ran down the Infinite Corridor fleeing from him after watching him slurp a bowl of soup that had a clump of his own hair immersed in it. I'm sure any number of people have tried to improve his sociability over the years, but none of it seems to have stuck. I feel bad for him but I don't think humoring his disorder is the solution.

As for Julian, I wouldn't trust him anywhere near my hardware or personal effects. I've known him a long time but the guy still skeeves me out.
posted by scalefree at 2:48 PM on October 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


Whether Android is free or open has nothing to do with the subject of this thread whatsoever. The point is that it wouldn't exist without rms. Pointless and silly arguments about the preference for this or that phone operating system have no bearing on that essential fact.
posted by koeselitz at 6:56 PM on October 31, 2011


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