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<html lang="en"><head><meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8"><link rel="stylesheet" href="../ui/default.css" type="text/css"><title>Re: [DNG] Which is Free, Which is Open Source,
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href="mailto:%22dng%22%20<dng@lists.dyne.org>?Subject=Re:%20%5BDNG%5D%20Which%20is%20Free,%20Which%20is%20Open%20Source,%0A%20is%20there%20any%20difference?&amp;References=20180112122319.6d2b447c@mydesk.domain.cxm&amp;In-Reply-To=20180112122319.6d2b447c@mydesk.domain.cxm&amp;Body=On%202018-01-12%2017:23,%20Steve%20Litt%20wrote:%0A>%20On%20Thu,%2011%20Jan%202018%2014:35:58%20-0500%0A>%20Hendrik%20Boom%20<hendrik@???>%20wrote:%0A>%20%0A>%20>%20On%20Wed,%20Apr%2026,%202017%20at%2007:57:54AM%20+0100,%20KatolaZ%20wrote:%0A>%20>%20>%20%0A>%20>%20>%20Technical%20motivations%20have%20always%20been%20too%20feeble%20to%20cause%0A>%20>%20>%20revolutions.%20We%20are%20not%20here%20just%20because%20systemd%20is%20technically%0A>%20>%20>%20flawed%20(as%20we%20think%20it%20is).%20We%20are%20here%20because%20we%20feel%20that%20the%20way%0A>%20>%20>%20in%20which%20sytemd%20has%20been%20forced%20down%20out%20throats%20is%20a%20violence%0A>%20>%20>%20against%20the%20entire%20community.%20And%20the%20community%20side%20cannot%20be%20put%0A>%20>%20>%20in%20a%20whitepaper%20;)%20%20%0A>%20>%20%0A>%20>%20It's%20the%20way%20that%20it%20has%20been%20forced%20down%20out%20throats%20that%20lets%20it%20be%20%0A>%20>%20viable%20even%20though%20technically%20flawed.%0A>%20%0A>%20Which%20comes%20around%20to%20the%20original%20question%20about%20free%20software:%20Is%0A>%20SystemD%20really%20free%20software?%0A>%20%0A>%20Obviously,%20by%20the%20FSF%20definition%20of%20free%20software%20and%20the%20current%0A>%20definition%20of%20open%20source,%20yes%20it%20is.%20By%20the%20letter%20of%20the%20law,%20yes%20it%0A>%20is.%20Spirit%20of%20the%20law?%20I'm%20not%20so%20sure.%0A>%20%0A>%20But%20these%20definitions%20were%20made%20in%20the%2080's%20(free%20software)%20and%2090's%0A>%20(open%20source),%20long%20before%20the%20application%20of%20huge%20amounts%20of%20money%20to%0A>%20write%20free%20software,%20and%20longer%20before%20anyone%20understood%20the%20results%20of%0A>%20huge%20money%20contributions%20to%20free%20software.%0A>%20%0A>%20I%20don't%20think%20the%20definitions%20of%20free%20software%20and%20open%20source%0A>%20anticipated%20a%20form%20of%20obfuscation%20so%20powerful%20that%20a%20simple%20computer%0A>%20program%20couldn't%20de-obfuscate%20it.%20Probably%20because%20they%20didn't%0A>%20anticipate%20success%20to%20the%20point%20where%20a%20commercial%20company%20would%20devote%0A>%20five%20or%20ten%20top%20notch%20programmer%20salaries%20to%20creating%20and%20maintaining%0A>%20the%20obfuscation%20method.%5B1%5D%0A>%20%0A>%20My%20point%20in%20the%20preceding%20paragraph%20is%20easy%20to%20argue%20against.%20Is%20X%20any%0A>%20less%20complex%20and%20obfuscated%20than%20SystemD?%20Less%20complex,%20probably%20not.%0A>%20But%20I%20get%20the%20feeling%20that%20the%20complexity%20of%20X%20is%20the%20result%20of%20it%0A>%20reflecting%20the%20MUCH%20more%20complex%20problem%20domain%20than%20that%20of%20an%20init%0A>%20system%20(even%20one%20with%20a%20%22toolkit%22),%20and%20also%20the%20fact%20that%20X%20is%20decades%0A>%20old%20and%20seriously%20in%20need%20of%20a%20total%20refactoring%20(but%20a%20refactoring%0A>%20without%20any%20systemd%20dependency).%20SystemD's%20obfuscation%20is%20deliberate.%0A>%20%0A>%20One%20could%20also%20bring%20up%20the%20fact%20that%20a%20determined%20group%20of%20programmers%0A>%20could%20tame/refactor%20systemd.%20Well%20yeah,%20but%20would%20they%20go%20through%20all%0A>%20that%20work%20just%20to%20end%20up%20with%20something%20much%20less%20useful%20than%20the%20s6%0A>%20init%20system?%0A>%20%0A>%20GPL3%20recently%20broadened%20the%20definition%20of%20(its%20take%20on)%20free%20software%0A>%20by%20declaring%20software%20patents%20to%20be%20nonfree%20unless%20given%20to%20the%0A>%20community%20(do%20I%20have%20that%20right?).%20Perhaps%20some%20day,%20a%20license%20will%0A>%20address%20the%20issue%20of%20deliberate%20obfuscation,%20although%20this%20is%20much%20more%0A>%20iffy%20and%20the%20line%20is%20fuzzy.%0A>%20%0A>%20Just%20speaking%20for%20myself,%20because%20of%20its%20deliberate%20obfuscations%20making%0A>%20integration%20extremely%20difficult,%20I%20don't%20consider%20SystemD%20to%20be%20free%0A>%20software.%0A>%20%0A>%20%0A>%20%0A>%20SteveT%0A>%20%0A>%20Steve%20Litt%0A>%20January%202018%20featured%20book:%20Troubleshooting:%20Why%20Bother?%0A>%20http://www.troubleshooters.com/twb%0A>%20"><img src="../imgs/reply.png" alt="Reply to this message" title="Reply to this message"></a></td></tr></tbody></table></div><div><b>Author:&nbsp;</b>Steve Litt<br><b>Date:&nbsp;</b><script type="text/javascript"><!--
textdate(1515777799);//--></script>2018-01-12&nbsp;17:23<noscript>2018-01-12 17:23</noscript>&nbsp;<script type="text/javascript"><!--
timezone(1515777799);//--></script>-000<noscript>UTC</noscript><br><b>To:&nbsp;</b>dng<br><b>Subject:&nbsp;</b>Re: [DNG] Which is Free, Which is Open Source,
 is there any difference?<br></div><div class="messageBody">On Thu, 11 Jan 2018 14:35:58 -0500
<br>Hendrik Boom &lt;hendrik@???&gt; wrote:
<br><i class="quote">
<br>&gt; On Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 07:57:54AM +0100, KatolaZ wrote:
<br>&gt; &gt; 
<br>&gt; &gt; Technical motivations have always been too feeble to cause
<br>&gt; &gt; revolutions. We are not here just because systemd is technically
<br>&gt; &gt; flawed (as we think it is). We are here because we feel that the way
<br>&gt; &gt; in which sytemd has been forced down out throats is a violence
<br>&gt; &gt; against the entire community. And the community side cannot be put
<br>&gt; &gt; in a whitepaper ;)  
<br>&gt; 
<br>&gt; It's the way that it has been forced down out throats that lets it be 
<br>&gt; viable even though technically flawed.</i>
<br>
<br>Which comes around to the original question about free software: Is
<br>SystemD really free software?
<br>
<br>Obviously, by the FSF definition of free software and the current
<br>definition of open source, yes it is. By the letter of the law, yes it
<br>is. Spirit of the law? I'm not so sure.
<br>
<br>But these definitions were made in the 80's (free software) and 90's
<br>(open source), long before the application of huge amounts of money to
<br>write free software, and longer before anyone understood the results of
<br>huge money contributions to free software.
<br>
<br>I don't think the definitions of free software and open source
<br>anticipated a form of obfuscation so powerful that a simple computer
<br>program couldn't de-obfuscate it. Probably because they didn't
<br>anticipate success to the point where a commercial company would devote
<br>five or ten top notch programmer salaries to creating and maintaining
<br>the obfuscation method.[1]
<br>
<br>My point in the preceding paragraph is easy to argue against. Is X any
<br>less complex and obfuscated than SystemD? Less complex, probably not.
<br>But I get the feeling that the complexity of X is the result of it
<br>reflecting the MUCH more complex problem domain than that of an init
<br>system (even one with a "toolkit"), and also the fact that X is decades
<br>old and seriously in need of a total refactoring (but a refactoring
<br>without any systemd dependency). SystemD's obfuscation is deliberate.
<br>
<br>One could also bring up the fact that a determined group of programmers
<br>could tame/refactor systemd. Well yeah, but would they go through all
<br>that work just to end up with something much less useful than the s6
<br>init system?
<br>
<br>GPL3 recently broadened the definition of (its take on) free software
<br>by declaring software patents to be nonfree unless given to the
<br>community (do I have that right?). Perhaps some day, a license will
<br>address the issue of deliberate obfuscation, although this is much more
<br>iffy and the line is fuzzy.
<br>
<br>Just speaking for myself, because of its deliberate obfuscations making
<br>integration extremely difficult, I don't consider SystemD to be free
<br>software.
<br>
<br><br><pre class="art">[1]: This point is credible only if one believes the primary motivation
     for maintaining systemd is the obfuscation of Linux to make money
     with Linux training and consultation. I have that belief.</pre>
<br>
<br>SteveT
<br>
<br>Steve Litt
<br>January 2018 featured book: Troubleshooting: Why Bother?
<br><a class="url" href="http://www.troubleshooters.com/twb">http://www.troubleshooters.com/twb</a>
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