From the very beginning, computer programmers have been sharing code with one another without profit motive. Ada Lovelace herself, popularly considered the first programmer, was also the first “open source” programmer, publicly sharing her notes without licensing restrictions or profit models. Historically speaking, open source software is the rule and proprietary software is the exception, with the earliest mainframes including the freely hackable source code.
Licensed software as a product for sale didn’t meaningfully emerge until the mid-seventies, co-existing alongside the thriving ecosystem of open source software, freeware, and shareware. Some software was truly “open,” meaning that other programmers were free to modify or copy parts of the code at their leisure. “Freeware” is software which is free, but “closed” so that programmers can’t read or edit the code. Finally, “shareware” is free software which is both “closed” and limited in some way that encourages users to purchase a license for a more powerful version.
The terminology gets confusing, but things are more simple now than they used to be. Freeware and shareware are pretty much dead, and the vast majority of software floating around today is either completely open source or completely closed source. Within the open source community, they take pains to clarify that open source software is free as in “freedom,” not merely free as in “free beer.” It’s not only free of charge, but you’re free to do (almost) anything you want with it.
In the beginning, there was nothing political about open source software. There’s nothing political, radical, or subversive about little old ladies sharing baking recipes, after all. The hobbyists and tinkerers were going to continue tinkering away, and dodging licensing fees when they thought they could get away with it, because they wanted to create things, to do things, and to keep up with the nifty projects their friends were doing.
Richard Stallman changed all that back in the mid-eighties, re-envisioning the sharing of source code as some sort of organic expression of radical Marxist ideology. It was his vision and lobbying which transformed the open source community into a leftist Jewish political campaign.
Over his lifetime, Stallman’s been responsible for three major things; one good, one arguable, and one bad. His work developing the GCC compiler can’t really be impugned. Before he came along, a critical component of the total open source operating system stack was missing, and he played a pivotal role in solving that problem. I think Emacs is crap, but I’ll respectfully concede that issue to the three elderly men with Carpal-Tunnel Syndrome who have yet to upgrade to Vim.
The contribution he’s most famous for, and which has become his life’s passion since concocting it, is the GNU Public License, or GPL. This is a legal document he designed with the express purpose of politicizing open source software and antagonizing software corporations. The idea behind the GPL was to transform the non-capitalist open source community into an anti-capitalist political movement.
He’s had more success than failure with this strategy, convincing the community to polarize and politicize hobby coding so that corporations can’t readily integrate GPL’d code into their proprietary products. You’re either with us or against us. Of course, the actual impact of this is that hobby coders had obstacles placed in the way of profiting from their own work while corporations retained the resources and means to refactor and compile the open source code.
The GPL is a minor speed bump for the corporations it was designed to antagonize and a major impediment to coders who want to make the world a slightly better place by solving some problems in it.
Stallman’s megalomaniacal ambition is to personally take credit for the entirety of the open source community’s work. To quote one of his heroes, “You didn’t build that.” Despite the fact that most of the open source core utilities in his GNU stack were developed well before he even dreamed up his legal shenanigans, he insists that the entire open source stack be called “GNU.” Much to his chagrin, the name “Linux” has taken hold, despite the fact that the popular open source kernel is itself only one aspect of the total open source operating system experience.
Technically, calling it either “Linux,” “GNU,” or Stallman’s attempt at a compromise, “GNU/Linux” all miss the point. What people want is open source that they can adapt and review for free. Most users don’t care, many don’t even know, and many can’t even tell which low-level kernel their open source operating systems rely on. I’ve personally encountered multiple people who’ve bragged that MacOS is built atop Linux.
I didn’t correct them (it’s the Darwin variant of the open source BSD kernel). They were technically incorrect but what they meant was that it’s built on an open source POSIX-compliant variant of Unix. Apple went with BSD because, unlike Linux, BSD’s license is devoid of anti-corporate copyright trolling. Linux is great, and I still fondly remember installing Slackware on my 486 back in the day, but Linus’s fateful decision to go with the flow and license it with the GPL has sharply impeded its mainstream adoption.
Google decided to go with the Linux kernel on its Android platform. As such, they have had to deal with and will continue to have to deal with politicized legal hassles from Stallman’s Marxist copyright trolls for having made that mistake. True to his tribe’s modus operandi, Stallman has promised a Utopian vision of fairness and equality while delivering a smorgasbord for attorneys and others who live off of talmudic hair-splitting.
To his credit, Linus has brushed off concerns that Google’s usage of Linux might not be in compliance with the GPL…
“If it’s some desperate cry for attention by somebody, I just wish those people would release their own sex tapes or something, rather than drag the Linux kernel into their sordid world.”
In some ways, Stallman, like Bernie Sanders, belongs to a dying breed of Jewish leftists who are being swept aside by a new breed of “Social Justice Warriors” who’ve moved on from Marxist class-warfare and anti-capitalist attempts to subvert their host culture to more identity-oriented attacks specifically directed at straight White males. The rabid fixation on attacking the host culture remains unchanged, but the means to that end vary from generation to generation.
While Stallman and Bernie (and Stallman’s Feelin’ the Bern, of course!) generally perceive corporations and government institutions as threats to attack from the outside, the next generation attacks the host culture from within the corporations. Stallman’s life’s work is to defeat Microsoft (an aim I share with him!), while the SJW crowd has blackmailed and cajoled Microsoft and pals into partnering with their anti-white, anti-male, anti-traditional agenda.
Things have pretty much flipped since the eighties and nineties. The open source community has become a refuge for conservative and libertarian White males from all of the diversity static, feminism, and Leftism of the corporate software development world. Stallman’s revolution crested years ago, precisely because Jewish money can’t easily subvert a community which works for free and mostly hides behind gender-neutral and race-neutral pseudonyms.
Stallman’s own Jewish Dream of sticking it to the (white) man is in shambles, but the dream lives on in a new generation of reformed radicals who are achieving his prerogatives from within the system.
The GPL is losing ground to an array of alternative licensing schemes while a growing body of established case law has castrated much of the copyright trolling intention of the GPL license. As a coder, Stallman deserves credit where it’s due in his contributions to the coding community. As an ideologue, his legacy is one of distracting and detracting from the whole purpose of a community which existed well before he came along and will live on long after he’s dead.
And when he’s dead, I’ll be both glad he’s dead and glad he’s gone.