A year later, I realised how idiotic it all was and went back to using systems that I didn't have to fight in order to use. This is 10 years ago, now, so I'm sure Linux has made *some* improvements in the meantime, but honestly, the community as a whole really annoyed me. Every time you asked any of them a question about how to do something, it was 9 times out of 10 responded with "Read the fucking manual, noob."
First off, no need to be rude. Secondly, man-pages are horrendous to read.
Anyway, there's very little chance I'll be going back to the whole "open source" community any time soon. But time to time, I'll keep tabs on them to see if things are getting better.
Unfortunately, they aren't. There's a big hubbub over GPLv3 now, the newest version of the GPL. Richard "what the hell is a razor" Stallman is hyping this new license as the ultimate in freedom, and it will prevent that evil thing called "tivoization".
Now, what, pray tell, is "tivoization"? It's really rather simple.
The Tivo machine uses linux and some GPL'ed code on it. The GPL states that if you modify code and distribute it, you must distribute your modifications. Well, being a good little company, Tivo did just that. You are free to download the Tivo linux code, right from their site.
So everything is great, right? Tivo took from the open source community, and provided their hard work back.
Except... the open source people are pissed off. In no less than 3 slashdot threads this week, there were scores of comments about how Tivo is evil and stealing from the open source community. At this point I got confused, and decided to look into why these people hate Tivo.
Well, the issue is this: Tivo has a chip in hardware that checks to see if the tivo binaries matches a precomputed CRC, to assure that the code has not been tampered with. Obviously, this is a very reasonable thing. Now that devices are becoming increasingly networked, it would be downright irresponsible to let embedded device code be modified with viruses and whatnot.
But no, that's evil, according to the open sores people. Tivo stole their freedom and profited from it, according to slashbots everywhere. So, because of this, the GPL people decided that they need to step in and introduce a new license, which states that now not only do they have to distribute the modified source code, but they cannot prohibit the source code from being modified on the devices that it runs on as well. This isn't just a bad idea. This is a monumentally irresponsible idea. Tivo will get sued out of existence by the media companies who are upset that the DRM is now easily hackable. Tivo boxes everywhere will be hacked and put into botnets that do nothing but spam you all day long.
You idiots are pissed off because Tivo won't let you play with their machines, so you're going to change a license around and try to screw them over. I want to know what the hell you're smoking. How can you possibly have that small of a grasp on reality that you think that this is a good idea?
It's funny, because these are the same people ranting every day on slashdot about how orwellian our society has become, yet they're the ones who are convinced that the GPL is the epitome of "freedom". You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
Here's a choice selection of highly retarded, highly moderated, and highly hilarious comments on slashdot:
We'd like some companies to stop using Free Software: the companies that can't comply with the license in both letter and spirit, and insist on engineering loopholes - be they in hardware (Tivo) or in law (Novell-Microsoft). Those companies work to de-motivate the developers of the software that they are using, who contributed their software on a share-and-share-alike basis and expect that to be respected. We would do better without them.
I think this is great. I'm sorry they built their work on the backs of other people who have always clearly stated their intentions with regards to the use of their software. The lack of this in GPLv2 is a HOLE. A HOLE which, of course, should be fixed.
If they disagree with the fundamental goal of the GPL, to free software so people CAN tinker with it, then they should have chosen a different set of software to build their product on.
This means that when TiVO decided to use GPL-licenced software, yet lock their hardware in a manner that denied the user some of these freedoms, they knew they were using a loophole, and thus acting in bad faith. They can try to play the victim all they want now that the loophole is being closed, but informed people will have no sympathy for them. They should have seen this coming from day 1.
Hmm, well, the whole purpose of the GPL is to discourage leeches and encourage co-operation. Nobody forced Tivo et al to mooch off GPL code. They are free to either re-invent it all, or to become honest players.
He who keeps taking our ball and goes home with it, has to play alone or bring the ball back...
They've gotten a free ride for a long time, and not contributed anything back, and now they might not get to use some of the free stuff that comes out in the future.
It must really suck to be them.
If they don't like it, then don't use.
If using freely obtained software (with the associated licenses) is hurting their business, then they should just start spending some money hiring developers and making their own fully proprietary software. You can't have your free beer and drink it too.
This one was moderated +4 "Insightful":
Too bad !
Tivo users suffer under their current GPLv2 abuse. Their rights are unjustly stolen from them, exploiting a circumstance hard to imagine in 1991 when the GPLv2 was published. Tivo knows this full well. Now is time to clean up their act (before GPLv3 would be best) or else they await a just upcommance.
Seems to me that (just like Tivo's) your dislike for the GPL comes only because you don't really want give back where you take.
Dear God. How stupid can people be?
Oh this is hilarious:
Change is unlikely to cease once GPLv3 is released. If new threats to users' freedom develop, we will have to develop GPL version 4. It is important to make sure that programs will have no trouble upgrading to GPLv4 when the time comes.
One way to do this is to release a program under "GPL version 3 or any later version".
-Richard "What the fuck is a razor" Stallman
Right. So you're trying to get your legions of drones to license their software under a license that doesn't even exist yet?!! Only a complete moron would think this is a good idea.