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Hodgman

The Stallman requirements

18 posts in this topic

I was emailed this link for teh lulz:[url="https://secure.mysociety.org/admin/lists/pipermail/developers-public/2011-October/007647.html"]https://secure.mysoc...ber/007647.html[/url]

Is this for real? Is this a parody of RMS, or is he really this crazy ([i]no offense to intended to people with aspergers or OCD[/i])?
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This has been floating around reddit lately, and probably other outlets as well. As near as I can tell, it's either authentic, or so close to it that nobody can tell the difference.

I can sort of see both sides... the guy knows what he wants and isn't afraid to tell others how best to get along with him. The flip side of the coin, though, is that he's got some really unusual ideas regarding socially appropriate conduct.


I laughed, but I also sort of felt guilty :-)
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Read 3/4ths of it. The only thing I thought odd about it, is it's huge length. I imagine he gets lots of offers to speak, and wastes plenty of time answering questions, so his list grew and grew. Still, 21 pages long in [s]Microsoft Wor[/s]... [i]Open Office ([/i][img]http://public.gamedev.net/public/style_emoticons/default/unsure.gif[/img]) is no laughing matter. But it's length is the very reason why I think it's legitimate - If I was pulling a prank, I would use bullet points and stop around 20 items or so. I doubt someone sat there for who knows how many hours typing that out... unless it was a forum working together for fun, and someone later came along and editted it and cleaned it up before pretending it was the real deal.

[quote name='Nypyren' timestamp='1319769483' post='4877783']
I don't know. It seemed legit until the part about parrots. Now it's too hard to believe anymore.
[/quote]

Had to do a quick CTRL+F, missed that part. That's really weird. Now I think it's probably a hodgepodge of real notes scattered over a few different events, that someone compiled together and made to look like a single document, with a few 'additions'.
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It's either a legit list of things that he had noticed in the past and slowly built up, or someone has [i]way way way [/i]too much time on their hands!

Also, I'mma gonna buy him a parrot if he makes a speech for GD ;-)
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Well, it's still shorter than the typical Terms and Conditions you get sent by companies when you sign up to some standard service, or even just visit their web page.

I agree with Antheus. Given how many talks he must give, and that they are likely to be well attended events, I think it's reasonable, and useful. As are the clarifications needed to clear up a lot of the misconceptions to do with Free Software. Unlike people who speak as members of a company (e.g., Jobs as mentioned in the emails), he perhaps doesn't have other people to sort out the admin details.

I think a lot of that information is useful to have there (e.g., about audio recordings), rather than leaving people guessing, or getting it wrong.

Much of the content is also not specifically for giving talks, but for conducting interviews with journalists - I suspect it gets lumped into a single document for convenience. (And given what the media can be like, I don't blame him for this!)

There's also a lot of information covering the general other aspects when someone is on a trip - travelling, food, etc - which is all quite reasonable.

Now, the bit where it goes off on a tangent, and which I guess has attracted ridicule, is the bit where because he prefers to say with people (entirely reasonable), he then has to cover all the likes and dislikes relevant to that. I don't think that's bad in itself - if I'm going to stay with a bunch of strangers to do someone else a service for nothing in return for me, of course I'm going to specify some preferences! But you might wonder that it's probably better kept for a separate document...

And to be honest, I read the parrot bit as more of a light hearted end to that section. Hey, I love cats, and would much rather stay with a home that has a cat - does that make me strange too?

Yes the bit about not doing web browsing seems odd, but I thought that was old news about RMS. Similarly, the bits about him refusing to run any non-free software might seem unusual - but for heaven's sake, it's Richard Stallman.

(As an aside - Ubuntu is non-free? Anyone know what he's referring to here?)

[quote name='ApochPiQ']he's got some really unusual ideas regarding socially appropriate conduct.[/quote]Which ones are you referring to, out of interest?
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It seems possible that deviations from his needs are upsetting or draining enough that he would need to have as many met and as exactly as possible in order to ensure his best performance for an event.

But it also makes me think of celebrity performance contracts with test clauses (bowl of m&m's available, all brown ones removed). The idea is to have something unimportant but easy to notice, so that the performer can be more comfortable that the entire contract has been read and followed, including more significant things like safety considerations. Of course this list is more about things not to do, so maybe the comparison isn't worth much...
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I'd have to re-read the doc to cherry-pick the examples that struck me as strange, and frankly I don't feel like giving the guy that much of a hard time - but I do remember one in particular, which is his thing about pulling out his laptop during conversation that doesn't interest/directly concern him.

Maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but if someone came to my place to crash with a laundry list of requirements and then started hacking in the middle of dinner, it'd strike me as unusual at the very least. Not to say I don't understand it; he's a busy guy and has plenty of stuff to do, and frankly it's what we'd all wish we could do when dinner conversation gets boring ;-)

I dunno, it just seems to me like he's willing to eschew social convention for the sake of his own optimal performance. I don't mean to imply that's a bad thing, necessarily, but it would certainly ruffle feathers in a lot of the social contexts I've been in. It's half-admirable in that it shows he doesn't follow convention for its own sake, particularly when it runs against his convictions.


The cost of that kind of dedication, though, is that people (rightly or wrongly) often come away feeling like you're a jerk. That's unfortunately the image that he seems to project, from people I know who have dealt with him personally. For my own part, I'd rather be flexible and amenable than religiously immovable.
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I think this is good information and it is very considerate of him to provide it for free (as in freedom !). This helps tremendously at organizing an event while making sure that Stallmann will not accidentally show up and [url="http://www.fsf.org/blogs/community/rms-ati-protest.html"]ruin it[/url]. Following these guidelines will also make sure that Stallmann will not knock on your door while looking for a place to sleep, resulting in your A/C suddenly running a free firmware locking it to 22 degrees centigrade and your cat being traumatized for life.

[quote name='mdwh' timestamp='1319807818' post='4877855']
(As an aside - Ubuntu is non-free? Anyone know what he's referring to here?)
[/quote]
Ubuntu includes many components that does not follow RMS own personal religious definition of "freedom" (binary drivers or firmware, non-GPL software, use of trademarked logos like the Firefox one, etc).
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[quote name='mdwh' timestamp='1319807818' post='4877855']
(As an aside - Ubuntu is non-free? Anyone know what he's referring to here?)[/quote]
Ubuntu includes closed-source/non-GPL packages (things like Adobe Flash, and ATI/NVidia graphics drivers) in their package manager. The upstream Debian distro is almost identical to Ubuntu, except that it doesn't provide any proprietary packages, so that they can rigorously claim to be entirely 'free software'.

It's the primary reason why I run Ubuntu at work, as convenience trumps ideology in production environments :)
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[quote name='Yann L' timestamp='1319824719' post='4877926']Following these guidelines will also make sure that Stallmann will not knock on your door while looking for a place to sleep, resulting in your A/C suddenly running a free firmware locking it to 22 degrees centigrade and your cat being traumatized for life.[/quote]
If he did that, at least you'd know you'd be able to change it to work how you like after he'd gone. ;)
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[quote name='ApochPiQ' timestamp='1319824237' post='4877922']
I'd have to re-read the doc to cherry-pick the examples that struck me as strange, and frankly I don't feel like giving the guy that much of a hard time - but I do remember one in particular, which is his thing about pulling out his laptop during conversation that doesn't interest/directly concern him.

Maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but if someone came to my place to crash with a laundry list of requirements and then started hacking in the middle of dinner, it'd strike me as unusual at the very least. Not to say I don't understand it; he's a busy guy and has plenty of stuff to do, and frankly it's what we'd all wish we could do when dinner conversation gets boring ;-)[/quote]I wondered if you'd meant that.

Yes, I agree. Though part of me notes that in a way, he was just a decade or two ahead of his time. The thing is, these days, loads of people do do this - not with their laptop, but their phone, whether it's texting someone, or start reading/posting to Facebook.

I agree it's unsociable and annoying - though I note we sadly can't really pass it off as rare, strange or unusual behaviour anymore, and should criticise all who do this, not just Stallman.
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[quote name='mdwh' timestamp='1320065395' post='4878873']
Yes, I agree. Though part of me notes that in a way, he was just a decade or two ahead of his time. The thing is, these days, loads of people do do this - not with their laptop, but their phone, whether it's texting someone, or start reading/posting to Facebook.

I agree it's unsociable and annoying - though I note we sadly can't really pass it off as rare, strange or unusual behaviour anymore, and should criticise all who do this, not just Stallman.
[/quote]
I think it's odd how when I go out to eat I somehow justify to myself that it's ok to text/email at the table, but when having dinner at home/someone elses home I rarely even notice my phone. Interesting double standard.

That said, I found his explanations for his requirements more interesting than the actual requirements. The parrot bit was pretty funny in general though.
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[quote name='Hodgman' timestamp='1319763466' post='4877738']
I was emailed this link for teh lulz:[url="https://secure.mysociety.org/admin/lists/pipermail/developers-public/2011-October/007647.html"]https://secure.mysoc...ber/007647.html[/url]

Is this for real? Is this a parody of RMS, or is he really this crazy ([i]no offense to intended to people with aspergers or OCD[/i])?
[/quote]


You'd be sending similar info out ahead of you too if you did talks all over the world.

In any case I don't see why people say he's crazy. Free software represents a big chunk of his life, it's no surprise he doesn't want to be associated with non-free technology. And no doubt he is a busy man...
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[quote name='The Fat Controller' timestamp='1320181584' post='4879384']
Free software represents a big chunk of his life, it's no surprise he doesn't want to be associated with non-free technology.[/quote]
I think that might be understating it a little: free software [b]is his life's work[/b]. He's an idealist, and something of an evangelist - for that to come across a little crazy is to be expected.
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