Friday, July 24, 2009

The Free Open Source Software Evangelist

We humans are socials creatures that tend to flock together in groups, bound by a common set of ideas, believes and values. Sometimes there are tensions between groups, just because their ideas, believes or values differ. As long as they are able to settle their differences in a civilized way, nothing much happens, apart from the exchange of a few insults and the flinging of a few stones and sticks.

But as soon as someone starts to claim that he is the real thing and the others in the group are just phonies and wannabes, you're bound to have trouble. History is full of these examples. Catholics called them "heretics", Hitler called them "Untermenschen", Stalin called them "Trotskists" and McCarthy called them "communists". Being one of these unfortunates was enough reason to be burned, gassed, shot, exiled or imprisoned. Sometimes people could save their necks by denouncing the very thing they believed in.

And now it has happened here. Nobody is safe, not even Richard Stallman. Evidence has been found in his very home that he is a sexist and thus not worthy to lead the Free Software World. New leaders have emerged and we're all about to be excommunicated unless we repent our sins and start installing Mono. Because let's get real, that's what it's all about. It's not because we all wear tin foil hats or that we're harmful to the community and should be expelled. It's because we don't like Mono. And we don't like Mono, because we don't trust Microsoft. And we don't trust Microsoft, because.. Well, do I really have to repeat the whole story again? TomTom, is that good enough reason? Viral licenses? DoJ? Billion dollar fines? Hundreds of patent violations? OOXML? Years of FUD? Being paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

The last months we've seen that Mono is still a controversial development environment, despite its technical merits. The main problem is not its license, because Mono is licensed under the GPL. The main problem is that it is still unclear whether Microsoft is able (or willing) to destroy the FOSS ecosystem by pulling the plug out of Mono. If substantial parts of the FOSS ecosystem depended on Mono, it would be a devastating blow. Mono proponents went out of their heads to show us the various benefits of Mono, how beautiful a world would be if it were build with Mono and - to a lesser extent - how unlikely it was that Microsoft would nuke us with their patent portfolio. And then - oh heavenly bliss! - Microsoft promised that it would not sue you if you fully implemented ECMA standards 334 and 335. Rejoice! Miguel praised the gods on Mount Redmond for their gift. We are delivered!

Well, always beware of Microsofties bearing gifts. Only a tiny part of Mono was covered by this promise and the controversy remained. That was the end of it. It was time for a new tactic. If you can't kill the message, maybe you can kill the messenger.

Victim one: Richard Stallman
Richard gave a speech of over an hour and dared to pull in the Virgin Emacs for ten seconds. If he had been excommunicated by the Catholic Church I wouldn't have blinked an eye, but I was quite surprised when I heard he was attacked for being sexist, simply because he had used the word "women". That should have been "persons". Most women start up Emacs first thing in the morning, that's why women make up a staggering 1.5% in FOSS software.

Poor Richard should know that women have been brainwashed since their early youth and are now completely unable to make responsible, mature decisions concerning their life, unless carefully guided by enlightened people and protected from horrible persons like RMS that scare them away for life from a future in software development with one single, well aimed, ten second soundbite. Sexism by any objective standards? Since when are there any objective standards in ethics?

I'm Dutch, I can do that. The only things here that are hotter than political correctness are MC Hammer's trousers.

Victim two: Roy Schestowitz
Roy is being accused of spreading FUD, calling certain Microsoft employees "zealots for hire" and should consequently be sued. And the guy knows what he's talking about, because his daddy is a lawyer.

If you're Microsoft and spend a lot of money on phony research reports for the sole reason of spreading FUD, that's alright because that are normal business practices. If you're Microsoft and you're crying for developers because nobody has any fun developing software for that pile of digital junk they call an Operating System, so you're forced to hire your own community, that's alright because that are normal business practices. If you're Microsoft and wait for the right time to fire your legal equivalent of nuclear missiles - aka patents - that's alright because that are normal business practices.

The problem is when you start doing the very same thing and you're neither a company nor a hired gun. Then you are a zealot, harmful to the community and should be hanged or - even better - lynched by the "real" FOSS mob. You're a backseat driver anyway, so that's no big loss! Praise the lord, the great purge has begun. I love show trials, Volksgerichte, Committees for Unamerican Activities and public executions on Friday!

Well, what other notorious Mono opponents can you think of? Who will be next? Fallen by the hands of people who have no problem at all to publish private emails in order to reach their goal. That have curious allies with questionable job descriptions. If these are the moral standards of real FOSS proponents I prefer not to be one at all. I prefer to stand under the shower until that label comes off.

I'll be a Free Open Source Software Evangelist, a man who may freely exercise his right on free speech, which is protected by any civilized constitution in the free world. Yes, that's what I'll be: a FREE Open Source Software Evangelist. By conviction – and unpaid. And I'll be proud of it.

Update: Mono proponents are now frantically quoting Torvalds to prove their point. Well, Torvalds uttered that statement in response to a question on the recent Microsoft contribution to the kernel, not on Mono and not on Microsoft critics in general. This is the quote in its entire context.

"We put this question to Linus, asking whether this patch was something he would be happy to include, even though it’s from Microsoft. He replied:
Oh, I'm a big believer in "technology over politics". I don't care who it comes from, as long as there are solid reasons for the code, and as long as we don't have to worry about licensing, etc. issues.

In fact, to some degree, I’d be more likely to include it because it's from a new member of the community rather than less (again, I’d like to point out that drivers are special. They don't impact other things, so they get merged much more easily than some core changes).

I may make jokes about Microsoft at times, but at the same time, I think the Microsoft hatred is a disease. I believe in open development, and that very much involves not just making the source open, but also not shutting other people and companies out.

There are 'extremists' in the free software world, but that’s one major reason why I don't call what I do 'free software' any more. I don’t want to be associated with the people for whom it’s about exclusion and hatred.

So it’s highly likely that this code will be merged into the mainline kernel and that’s a good thing. Who knows, Microsoft might even see the light! Linus is dead right. We shouldn’t deny contributions from anyone based on who they are. It should be the quality of the contribution that matters."

Does anybody dare to ask Torvalds if he would allow Mono code in his kernel? Just to settle this matter once and for all?

Update: It seems I'm not the only one connecting the dots here. Note the numerous trolling comments at the end of the article by someone called "Lefty", repeating over and over his favorite quote from Torvalds. It seems we may have victim number three: Sam Varghese.
These are a couple of reasons why the activities of the online terrorists--and I use that term with all due consideration and care--are totally destructive of the real community they pretend to be a part of, but in reality only wish to bend to their will.

Enough is enough. You've demonstrated yourself to be part of the problem here, Sam: you're aligned with the bad guys, not with the folks in the real community who are actually doing the heavy lifting on the software you claim to support so strongly. I'd like to see you seriously think about that as well.

So what, Lefty. Is systematically defaming people no online terrorism or is it the real online terrorism? All three names are conveniently combined in a single quote from "Lefty":
When I talk about the "faux FLOSS community", I'm talking about the folks voicing the most strident complaints over my actions--people like Sam here, people like Roy Schestowitz over on Boycott Novell, all the folks who all but insist that Mono is the Antichrist and Steve Ballmer actually has horns and a tail; folks who, if you disagree with them, seem decide you're demonically possessed in some way, nothing but a "Microsoft shill".

The people who apparently think that Mr. Stallman is completely above any criticism. As I've said, I'm starting to really believe they view what I've done as a sort of heresy. People who will take the low road to try to take care of the folks who run afoul of them--as Sam here has done--in their zealotry for their "cause".

Update: A few posts related to this subject. As usual, Glyn Moody hits the spot and states that the "ad hominem/ad feminam attacks are not just irrelevant, they are harmful". Note his obvious sarcasm by applying over-the-top "political correctness". As far as I know there were no female parties involved.

Update: The plot thickens. Note how "Lefty" lines up with a confessed Microsoft Technical Evangelist. BTW, -1 for Roy for disabling comments on the follow up. "Lefty" also confesses, that Roy's Mono opinion is a major reason for bashing the site and its most active blogger. Matthew Garrett, who recently posted on this blog, is also involved in the defamation of Sam Varghese, who is accused of being a racist after discrediting a known Mono proponent. Note that the post of the Mono proponent Sam criticized was so harmful to the Mono cause that even the guys from "Mono-nono" felt obliged to erase it.

Update: "Boycott Novell" proudly posts that there is one site that comes to its defense. Roy, you may be mistaking. If there is any evidence that you were involved in any of the accusations that were posed against you, you may find me on the other side of the fence. I certainly don't like it when you disable comments.

Update: "Lefty" suggests on his website that Chani published the following text on her blog:
..talking about relieving women of their virginity casts women in a submissive role, with men in a dominant role, and brings up thoughts of oppression and (indirectly) rape. (Yes, thinking about a roomful of guys thinking about taking womens' virginity does eventually lead me to wondering how many of them would take it by force.) It becomes less about the non-sexual meaning of "virgin" and more about all the crazy ideas societies have had about virgin women. And thinking about that stuff would make any woman uncomfortable.

That really looks like something a hysterical feminist could have written, which is certainly not the impression Chani makes. So I decided to dig a little deeper. A week before. A month before. Still could find that darn R-word. Finally, I tried Chani's search feature. Still nothing. That leaves three possiblities:
  1. Chani did write it, but removed the post afterwards.
  2. Chani did write it, but not on her blog, but in e.g. a private email.
  3. Chani never wrote it.
Still, what Chani does say on her blog on July 14th is:
I didn’t comment on this little incident, even though I knew I should. I mean, it’s RMS, I don’t really expect him to change. And it's easier to just ignore it and pretend it didn't happen. Thankfully, Lefty tackled the issue for us. Ok, publishing private mail is rude, but I'm glad he did.

I would be obliged if Chani would clear this up. I promise to add her comments to this blog.

Update: Well, Chani did obviously write it, but in her comments. I suggest "Lefty" to update the link so it points to the right place. Still Chani, isn't it a bit over the top? Obviously, not every woman shares your viewpoint. Thanks to an anonymous reader for clearing this up.

Update: Although he comes from "a family of lawyers", "Lefty" admits breaking the law by publishing Richard Stallman's emails. In short, his daddy might have some pro deo work on his hands in the near future if RMS decides to sue him. Go get 'em, Dick!

Update: I've researched some of the comments on "Lefty" and since I have not found substantial proof for the things he was accused of, I've taken the comments offline. I also found a pretty well documented timeline article on the "Lefty-BN" controversy for those wanting to make up their own mind.

Update: Boycott Novell posted a rectification on behalf of "Lefty".


Marx said...

I really could care less about this whole debate...but are you trying to say just because you're a FOSS advocate you should be free from criticism? The anti-mono side sure does a lot of it, so they should be able to man up and take it when it comes back to them. The FOSS community has always had some sort of infighting amongst them. Personally I started using Linux because I was free to choose what was best for me. Other people may not agree but it's my choice. This is why I find this whole argument silly. If you don't like mono it's your choice to uninstall it or support a distribution that doesn't include it and better matches your ideals. But why fight over who's right? Both sides have the freedom to choose what they want. Each side should feel free to voice their opinion, but shouldn't take the attitude of my way or no way at all.

Jacob said...

First of all I find it a bit odd that "a Linux company" concentrate it's efforts on attacking another Linux company rather than a true technological competitor.

It's like going after the crumbs under it's nose when there is a huge bread covering the entire horizon.

Secondly, the Mono developers portrait themselves as victims whenever and wherever they can. I find that rather insulting as they portrait themselves as superior geniuses and anyone else as ignorant borderline stupid.

Novell blogs are more about Mono and Microsoft than it is about Linux, and that's how it's been since Novell went on the road with SLES/SLED 11.

There's no doubt that Novell is dependent on the cash flowing from Microsoft. Gnome in return depends heavily upon Novell. Perfect for a dent into Ubuntu by Banshee and so on.

IF Novell and Mono stands firmly in the Linux/OpenSource camp they must belive that they are able to outsmart Microsoft tactically and strategicly.

Otherwise they are all in for them selves and don't care squat about Linux and OpenSource. It's a tool that's disposeable. That's what I believe.

Mono sceptics like myself doesn't have to prove anything at all. I don't have to change my mind, and won't do so until I receive sufficient information justifying a change of opinion.

IF Novell, Mono and Microsoft really want to gain acceptance for Mono it's in their hands. Trouble is, that they are not able or willing to.

Status is that the Mono advocates still are into the victimized mode and they simply do not provide the information silly me need to change my opinion.

That's not my problem. It's theirs.

twitter said...

That's a nice overview of this little drama, thanks. I would not call distrust of M$, "paranoid." I'd call it a rational projection of decades worth of court documented behavior and patent extortion the company has yelled with all the force of their billion dollar a month advertising budget.

The Linus quote is really oddball. Does he really think that "free software" is all about hatred and exclusion rather than software freedom, or is he just shooting his mouth off without thinking? As he says himself, Linus does code not leadership so people should not quote him when it comes to politics.

Anonymous said...

Great article, It sum's up the situation perfectly.

The tactics used by Mono supporters are disgusting and dishonest.

It looks like the tactics come from Microsoft's play book, and not from open source community at all.

Mono supporters like Jo Shields show that they are closely aligned with other bad Microsoft technology like OpenXML etc. You would think they would just stick with Windows as they love the technology that much.

The more and more Mono people push, the more and more it looks like Microsoft is behind it? I for one will have nothing to do with it. We have plenty of replacement applications. Mono is just to much RISK.


Anonymous said...

Shouldn't the primary concern be to disarm those legal nuclear missiles, to go along with the metaphor? I mean, if software patents are the problem: abolish them!

Of course there are more problems with mono than the patents. For example, it's a copycat implementation of a Microsoft technology, meaning it's chasing a moving target. And what use is it supposed to be? We already have platform-independent programming languages, many of them object-oriented. I really can't understand why we need Mono. And why is everybody so eager to use it for their projects? .NET is not that great, is it?

About RMS virgin jokes, I'd say they were borderline sexist, and definitely ill-chosen. However, it doesn't mean RMS is a bad person, just that he has a bad taste in humour. And to the best of my knowledge, this is his first mistake of this kind, so I'd say we can allow ourselves to be forgiving. I mean, he's still got a long way to go before he's even near ESR!

Anonymous said...

Divide and Conquer

The only thing that surprises me is why it took so long to find a sound-bite to attack RMS with.

It seems all to be based on the USA political strategy of attacking words, not deeds. Anyone ever seen or heard of Richard doing ANYthing to dissuade a woman to enter technology?

I read the quote and all I can see is a comical routine on Catholic church theology. Such a parody MUST involve the/a virgin. Try to find catholic treatises NOT mentioning the/a virgin.

The same with Linus' quotes. Linus will work with ANYone, however mad or deranged. He just wants to get the best code and halfway sane responses. And if no workable relation can be established, he will look for a mediator who can handle the person.

That Linus will not associate with people who collaborate only on a basis of Moral Rightness is a natural result of his principles. What he will not accept is exclusion for anything but technical quality.

Linus did not name anyone, but personally I think he was referring to those who object to Novel and Mono on moral grounds.

Note that the FSF/RMS never excluded Mono for moral reasons. They maintained that the underlying patent-promise from MS was too narrow to allow for the full 4 freedoms. They had the same problems with Java until Sun amended their licenses.

None of the published "interpretations" of Linus' words can be aligned with his history. Linus will accept code from the FSF, RMS, Miguel, or Bill Gates, if the license, patents, and quality are right.

In short, these are attacks that try to use the Silverlight/Mono controversy to split the community. It really is: "DO NOT LOOK AT WHAT THEY DO AND SAY, ONLY AT THIS SOUND-BITE"


Don il said...

I read the cited posts with more anger than interest as they show the bloggers disrespect for people that is ethically beyond and above them. I would have wanted to refute them, but I think it would have been a real waste of time, mainly because they are being paid to act the way they do. Accepting money to betray honest people only reveals their unscrupulous nature. Nothing to do for them.

On second though, I suspect they have just lost their jobs and they had to accept whatever came along in order to take bread to their table. Being in such a miserable state of mind they don't mind blogging all day long defamating honorable people who deserve respect and consideration, and inviting readers to a kind of jihad against them.

Poor guys.

Lefty said...

Does anybody dare to ask Torvalds if he would allow Mono code in his kernel? Just to settle this matter once and for all?

This is a question, which demonstrates a complete failure of understanding around what Mono and the kernel are, so totally devoid of any sort of sensible meaning that I'm reminded of Wolfgang Pauli's comment on a paper submitted by a colleague: "This isn't right; this isn't even wrong."

That pretty much applies to the entire column.

The Beez' said...

Don't even try to insult my intelligence by implying that I don't know what Mono is.

I know that no other languages but C are suitable for the kernel - not even C++ comes in. I wouldn't phrase the question in that way.

But let's say - for arguments sake - that it would be possible to include Mono code into the kernel, would Linus allow it, given the possible patent problems it could pose?

Because that is the $64,000 question! As long as you guys - or Microsoft - haven't sorted that out. The controversy will remain, whatever dirty tactics you apply. And now that Fedora doesn't include Mono by default, there is an alternative.

But in the end, the community - faux or not - will decide.

Matthew Garrett said...

I'm pretty sure I didn't claim that he wasn't worthy to lead the Free Software World. What I suggested was that, in the absence of an apology or any evidence that they're unlikely to do it again, it might not be a good idea to invite a keynote speaker who's potentially going to offend a chunk of the audience. I continue to respect Richard's work on free software, even if I don't agree with him on every point.

woods said...

A great article indeed!

It is a relief to start seeing articles like these.

Like Penguin Pete, I can now point here and say, "Yeah, what he said!" :-)

The Beez' said...

@Matthew Garrett
How many people walked out after Richard said that? How many people filed complaints?

Strangely enough, I find enough evidence on the web that the "Emacs Virgin" has appeared in similar wording before. Strangely enough, that never was a problem.

So tell me, why is it a problem now RMS had said something against Mono? I don't know if you're one of the "faux" ones, but if you're not I would let myself be used for the questionable causes of others.

Gee, "faux", "foo", it's kinda of a good name! Dutch resistance fighters called themselves "beggars" once.

saulgoode said...

Richard Stallman consistently employs the feminine gender, both pronouns and direct references, when speaking of software and computer users. His fictional essays and anecdotal narratives often feature women technologists as main characters. This is such a common trait of Mr Stallman's publications and lectures that I won't bother to cite specific examples (it would not surprise me to find that the GCDS keynote provided precisely that).

Mr Schlesinger himself stated that had not Mr Stallman portrayed the Emacs user as a women, he should not have been offended to the degree he was. While I can understand this response, it is imprudent to attribute Mr Stallman's portrayal of his hypothetical Emacs user as female to any "sexism" inherent to his character.

I submit that the persona of the Emacs user was not portrayed as a woman because of any sexist notions on Mr Stallman's part, but that he was merely doing what he typically (almost invariably) does: i.e., depicting women as welcome participants in technological settings.

If the skit shouldn't be construed "sexist" were the fictional Emacs user male, or even androgenous -- and the feminine persona was owing to a predisposition by the speaker to actually promote the idea of women in technology -- then indeed Mr Stallman has been wronged by the accusations of sexism that have been levied against him.

Matthew Garrett said...

It's shockingly difficult to offend people enough that they'll actually walk out of a presentation, especially when the person giving it is a community leader. But yes, complaints were made to the GNOME foundation and many people voiced their unhappiness throughout the rest of the conference.

Why is it a problem now? I suspect because we're finally paying attention to the issues that are discouraging people from being involved in technology communities - see the fuss about the couchdb talk at the SF Rails conference, or Hoss Gifford's presentation at Flashbelt. People's behaviour isn't getting worse, but there's significantly more willingness to speak up about it.

(For the record:

[mjg59@2530p ~]$ rpm -qa | grep mono
[mjg59@2530p ~]$

The Beez' said...

@Matthew Garrett

Considering the circumstances, don't you think it isn't wise to silence someone like RMS? He is an intelligent guy. I think you could work things out.

Don't you think that harassing Mono opponents is not becoming for someone on the Gnome Advisory Board, given the Code of Conduct:

"Be respectful and considerate: Disagreement is no excuse for poor behaviour or personal attacks. Remember that a community where people feel uncomfortable is not a productive one."

Is there a way people can formally complain about this behavior?

Anonymous said...

Great article, Beez.

I find specially interesting the phrase:

> I'd like to see you seriously think about that...

Is the "or else..." part missing?

Well, then, I guess I can be counted on the Foes, erm, Faux list.

Maybe I get a t-shirt with the word "Faux!" to show my allegiance.

I just don't want Mono by deFAUXlt... 8-D

Matthew Garrett said...

If community leaders refuse to exhibit the behaviour that we expect in the rest of the community then, regardless of what they have contributed before, we shouldn't voluntarily put them in positions where they can offend people with that behaviour. Of course it's better if the situation can be resolved by changing their behaviour instead, but I don't hold out hopes of that happening in this case.

As for the Advisory Board, I presume you're talking about Lefty? I don't think he's attacked anyone more than he's been attacked, and I think it's pretty clear that he's acting in a personal role there rather than on behalf of any company (the Gnome Advisory Board, as the name implies, advises the Gnome foundation - it doesn't represent or speak for the foundation or the rest of the project in any way). But if there's a real feeling that he's gone too far then yes, absolutely, I think he should be asked to tone it down in future. And if he refused to do so then he should be condemned for that.

Anonymous said...

Good article.
Demonisation of ones opponents is always necessary to justify ones own barbaric actions hence its ok for you to be a war criminal and break score of international laws and have your military leaders claim that you will make life a living hell for the enemy;s civilians as long as you drum into people that the other side is worse.

And shoot the messenger instead of the message is really something that is done everywhere on the planet. We shouldnt be surprised that character assasination is in FLOSS too.

As for Lefty, I presume he is the same tedious troll that hangs around Boycottnovell comments.

Anonymous said...

As for Linus comments, I blame him a bit for the attitude in the community.
We applaud him for his frankness and we laugh when he insults people who disagree with him but why is it ok for him to call developers he disagrees with masturbating monkeys but not when others do it?

He sets a tone for discourse and he is miles away from people like Shuttleworth and Seigo and so on who can disagree with you in a civilize and professional manner.

Anonymous said...

Take one week, and read every story posted by Schestowitz on Boycott Novell. For each story, check his sources--and when his source is an earlier article on BN, check that. Do this recursively until you get to an actual original source. Concentrate particularly on stories that cover topics you are familiar with, as that will save you some time.

If you do that, one week and one day from now you'll be posting a correction. Schestowitz gets accused of posting FUD because he *does* post FUD.

woods said...

@Mr. Garrett

Thank you for one of the more level-headed posts about this whole debacle.

Also a relief to read your comment on Gnome-organisation (I was coming close to ripping Gnome out of my Fedora, alas...)

Anonymous said...

The problem is when you start doing the very same thing and you're neither a company nor a hired gun ...

So to fight an evil monopolist, you have to adopt the same tactics as the evil monopolist. In other words, become everything you hate.

So that is the standard of your logic and ethics. But considering your opinion of BoycottNovell that is not surprising.

The Beez' said...

If you want to know where I stand read this post.
No, I don't like fighting with my hands tied behind my back. That doesn't mean you have to fight dirty.

Anonymous said...

Here's a perfect example of how Schestowitz spreads FUD. Do you really want to be defending someone who writes articles like this?

Note how he talks about signs C# is not catching on, and cites data from O'Reilly on book sales showing C# sales declined over the year. That's fine, but what he doesn't talk about is that right in that cited article it says that C# remains the most popular language for book sales.

And look at the second half of his article, where he cites an article from about a patent covenant case. Read the article--something Roy clearly didn't do, since the case supports the argument that Microsoft's covenant is safe to rely on, which is opposite of the point Roy is trying to cite the case for.

This is why many of us long-time Linux users dislike Schestowitz so much. We feel that Linux should be advocated by sticking to the facts, not spreading FUD and writing articles that cite as references things that we haven't even read.

Anonymous said...

No, I don't like fighting with my hands tied behind my back. That doesn't mean you have to fight dirty.

Oh, but that's what you do. The main argument of both the posts seems to be "the other guy is fighting dirty doing unbeleivably evil things, now let me do the same to him".

What is the difference between a policeman and a thug, or a soldier and a terrorist, or a judicial execution and murder? One has rules, which always limits what one can do; you always have to fight with restrictions. That is what differentiates good from bad. Once you start bending the rules because the other side is doing so, there is no difference between both sides.

What you would have us do is to replace one tyranny with another, in the name of freedom no less, but tyranny all the same.

The Beez' said...

Many of us long-time Linux users do actually have a name that we're not afraid to use. We don't pretend to be a large group, but we only write those things we mean ourselves. We feel that Linux should be advocated by sticking to the facts, not by backstabbing them. As a matter of fact, the frequent use of "we" when we are only one may point to a serious psychological disorder (MPD).

The Beez' said...

@Anonymous II
I can't remember when I've been rigging numbers in order to "prove" my product was better (Get the facts). I can't remember when I've bought or bribed research bureaus, journalists, bloggers or other individuals in order to make the impression that I was right (numerous posts at this site).

And what about publishing private emails and defaming individuals (did MS even ever do that?).

What was your name again?

Anonymous said...

What was your name again?

Why, can you not judge an argument that is not backed by a name? (There are at least two anonymous posters; I would be anonymous II :))

And what about publishing private emails and defaming individuals (did MS even ever do that?).

Interesting that RMS has not complained about that. The publication of emails is a separate issue from the sexism allegation which is different from the mono controversy. Each needs to be judged independently. RMS is very likely to be right on the emails, may be right on mono, but that does not make him right on his "emacs virgin" comments. You would expect an intelligent man like him to grow out of the juvenile jokes of the 70s. As others have pointed out the world has move on; he hasn't.

Anonymous said...

I can't remember when I've been rigging numbers in order to "prove" my product was better (Get the facts). I can't remember when I've bought or bribed research bureaus, journalists, bloggers or other individuals in order to make the impression that I was right (numerous posts at this site).

No, you haven't. But BN who you seem to condone seem to engage in equally reprehensible activities (eg. complaining to employers, trying to get people fired, hijacking forum threads, misrepresenting facts as the other anonymous poster has pointed out). Suppose they had a strong financial backing ... (the mind boggles)

Publishing private emails (that are clearly in public interest) is a far more minor offence in that context.

Even worse, you seem to be equating RMS with Roy (as victims) which is far more derogatory to RMS than anything that has been said about him on this issue.


The Beez' said...

You still seem to miss the point: after *all* the people listed here have spoken against Mono, they try to get defamed. Sam Varghese was accused of racism (kind of hard to maintain since is remark was against an Indian programmer and he was Indian himself), RMS of sexism and Roy of general subversive activities. Coincidence? I DON'T BUY IT!!

There you come, nameless and add a few accusations yourself: without any links or proof. You have to do better.

Bruce Byfield was attacked by Roy in the past and posted this article on BN last year. If he would have hard proof, he would have posted it, believe me.

Anonymous said...


You seem to miss the point too. You need to judge each act individually. Take Sam Varghese for instance. I do not think he was racist, and the whole affair was overblown. This is not because Sam is an Indian (and Indians are capable of racism as much as any other country; I am an Indian; ask Sam about caste system in India, or the north-south divide or the people in the east; or a recent controversy in a cricket match), but because the conversation around the incident is proof of the fact.

Suppose say a politician made the same statements as RMS ("it is our duty to relieve them of their virginity") what do you think the reaction would be. RMS is right about a few things; but that incident is not one of them. How someone can think that statement is not sexist is beyond me? Would a sane man would make that statement to his sister or daughter?

Groklaw makes arguments and reasoned cases. The difference from BN is self evident.

If he would have hard proof, he would have posted it, believe me.
I do not understand this statement. Does "he" refer to Bruce or Roy?

I prefer to remain anonymous; it is my choice. If you have an issue with my argument; make your point. If you have an issue with anonymous comments, either say so (and I will stop) or block anonymous postings in your blog.


The Beez' said...

@Anon 2
"Interesting that RMS has not complained about that [publishing emails]."

And that makes it alright?! So when your daughter or sister is raped and doesn't file a complaint for whatever reason, she obviously must have liked it?

Likewise, since no one has sued Roy, they must feel it's alright. Is someone tries to get me fired, I'll file a complaint and sue the guy.

And no, I won't let anything divert my attention off the Mono case. That may be European, I don't know. Many Europeans didn't get it why Clinton had to be impeached. They just felt he must have made many powerful enemies. And they wondered whether he did smoke that cigar.

Especially in Holland the "political correctness" wave has passed by, which has made many discussions much clearer in certain respects. Labeling persons as racists or sexists doesn't stop the discussion anymore, fortunately.

IMHO all the "scandals" that have been raised are just a little bit too convenient right now. Let's settle the Mono question first and discuss the rest later. First the message, then the messenger.

Anonymous said...

I'd just like to comment on how these abominable slugs profit from every little thing to create a confusion.

The discussion is about _Politics_; whether Mono, .NET, C# are good or not, C# books sell well (!) or not, Linus wants to stay out of this discussion or not, RMS is or isn't sexist or any other possible subject -- none of this is of interest.

The discussion is about Politics, strategy, possible future lawsuits; live with that!

If one wants to use Mono, because it's good or even if it's bad, I don't care -- more power to him/her. But don't force this on everyone with a default install. That's what M$ does and that's why many don't like that corporation.

Don't tell me about RMS' bad taste in clothes or whether he's sexist or what kind of sport he favours: this has no place in this discussion.

Also, if you want to discuss tech aspects, fine, do it in another forum (btw, we should have technical and political separate fora exactly for this reason).

Don't start any -- I repeat any -- ad hominem attack on RMS, Linus, Varghese, Roy, Beez, the Pope, Jobs or any other... because we won't be fooled. This is not your simpleton weekend buyer subject to being hammered slogans until being brainwashed.

We grok why Unix rocks and why M$ software sucks. And its strategies and tactics. All this blabber about random issues (like what does RMS cooks?) just makes me angrier and, if anything, more convinced Mono people have nothing to deliver.

In my eyes you start to look like M$: boring talk without any innovation -- just copycats.

I wonder if other Linux users are like me...

The Beez' said...

I sympathize with your for the reasons you state. However, I find myself in the strange position that I have to enter this discussion in order to stop these ad hominem attacks.

I think it is unworthy for FOSS supporters to do these kind of attacks - especially when targeted against their own. I think it is unworthy for FOSS supporters to declare publicly that there are *false* FOSS supporters. I think that's unworthy for FOSS supporters to try to spli the community.

If you have any sympathy for these viewpoints, you will understand why I stand here - alone as far as I'm concerned.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure which of us anonymouses you are accusing of making accusations without links, but I gave a link to an example of Schestowitz FUD over the sale of C# books from O'Reilly.

Your response (if I haven't gotten my anonymouses mixed up) seems to be that this is OK because Microsoft has done worse.

OK, I'll give you that. My point is that the attacks on Schestowitz for spreading FUD are not something made up by his opponents, as you seemed to be arguing, but are happening because he DOES spread FUD, in large amounts, and he has done this for a long time.

The Beez' said...

Wow. A guy publishes an article WITH THE PROPER LINK to a site that makes his argument questionable. I'm impressed. [Yawn] That really proves he does all the things (including trying to get people fired).

That's thin. That's very thin. At best it proves he doesn't know how to write some REAL GOOD FUD - at least not all the time. You have to do a lot better than that.

Note I did quite some more research on his site and not all the stories he wrote were that bad. I object to the fact he doesn't allow comments anywhere, that's true. But I found a lot more damning evidence to the other side.

Anonymous said...

Just keep watching BN, Beez. You'll see in the upcoming weeks and months, he will find occasion to make the same claim that is refuted by his own source, but on those occasions, he won't cite the original source--he will cite his own earlier article. Than later, he'll cite his second article that cites the first that cites the original.

A year from now, when he makes the erroneous claim in new articles, very few people will follow the chain of self-cites all the way back to the end to get to the original cite.

The Beez' said...

Again, writing bad FUD is not proof that he did all the things he was accused of. Sure, I've seen him citing his own sources every now and then. From time to time he exposes something that happened years ago, not recently as he sometimes suggests.

But bad FUD is not a crime IMHO. It is what it is: bad FUD. If you feel he is completely beside the point, write an article on it, attacking the guys ramblings and not his person.

Note that the regular press does worse from time to time and they have a special responsibility because it is their job.

Anonymous said...

But BN who you seem to condone seem to engage in equally reprehensible activities (eg. complaining to employers, trying to get people fired)

Any evidence for that? I think Lefty has been spreading this claim, and the actual evidence is, basically, non-existent. He uses one e-mail, given to him out of context, from Roy to an anti-Mono poster called Mark on the Ubuntu mailing lists, to suggest Roy is the secret mastermind behind Mark. (Roy it's a response to an e-mail to Mark complaining about his attitude and use of language, as I recall. That fits better.)

Then he claims that, since when he mentioned the e-mails to his employee on the lists Mark said he deserved it, Mark was responsible. The flame war between the two would be suggestive, but Lefty seems to be an old flame warrior with lots of enemies.

FelixTheCat said...

@Anon regarding all the peripheral junk...agreed!!

I would dare say RMS' routine is out of place. Just because he's always done it doesn't make him right (think Flat Earth Society). I would also dare say it was coincidental that Lefty brought up the issue, perhaps naively thinking the timing really had little to do with RMS' opposition to Mono.

However, it is entirely peripheral to include all this junk in the current heated debate. Anon has the right thought, "The discussion is about _Politics_; whether Mono, .NET, C# are good or not, C# books sell well (!) or not, Linus wants to stay out of this discussion or not, RMS is or isn't sexist or any other possible subject -- none of this is of interest. The discussion is about Politics, strategy, possible future lawsuits; live with that!"

I would also add that simply stating other pieces of software might be infringing on patents is also peripheral. It doesn't answer the thesis that parts of Mono is using known patented MS stuff (man, I almost typed "IP", ugh!).

The closest answer that almost brought me peace was one of the Mono supporters stating, if infringement is found, the community will do what it's always done, change it!

OK, can MS directly file suit over the patented bits without first giving some notice that Mono is infringing? If so, this is really risky to add into distros by default. You are placing companies that have not yet made a significant profit (if any) at risk of declaring bankruptcy or having to settle for "IP protection" like others have done. If MS cannot jump directly into filing suit, at best this places some very heavy pressure on developers to swap code.

Honestly, developing Mono outside the cover of the Promise, that is adding features not in the ECMA specs, can induce a legal technicality that is either going to make MS shrug indifferently or is going to make MS salivate over the exact Trojan Horse that Mono detractors have been wringing their hands over all the while.

As it stands, Mono as a whole is not covered entirely by the Promise, correct? So, aren't we therefore back to square one?

Anonymous said...

On purely technical grounds, I refute Mono; I, for one, do not like half my system memory taken up by a note app, a music app and a photo app.

"Women". Oh dear, I'm a sexist now. I said the "W" word. Cry me a river for christsake. I would of called RMS a sexist if he had said 'bimbo' or 'slut'.

Do I think Roy is right? No, I think he goes over the top at times (not ALL the time, but most of it)

If Mono had been given the green light by MS, I would of been happy. As it happens, it hasnt got the green light, only parts of it. Therefore I have just as much interest in running it as I do activating a virus on purpose. YES, it's an interesing technology, NO I do not feel this is something we should say "oh well, everything is safe".


Anonymous said...

I don't think Schestowitz is guilty of all the things he is accused of. All I'm saying is that many of us who slam him as a FUDster are doing so because he does spread a lot of FUD, apparently on purpose. It's not because we don't like his stand on Mono, or Microsoft, or other issues.

Consider this article he posted today, where he says "Microsoft very well understands that RAND terms are incompatible with Free software, but in its latest overture with the European Commission Microsoft offers exactly that.".

This meets my two criteria for purposeful FUD. First, it is factually wrong. RAND terms are not incompatible with free software. In fact, for software to be free, it MUST be offered under RAND terms. The relationship between RAND and free software is that RAND is a subset of the terms required for free software. GPL, for example, is a RAND license.

Second, Schestowitz had made this mistake several times. People have informed him of the mistake. Yet he continues to say RAND in incompatible with free software.

In that same BN article, look down to where he quotes Glyn Moody. Go read Glyn Moody's article, and you'll see that parts that Roy chopped out show that what Glyn is saying is opposite of what Roy is citing him for.

If this kind of thing only happened occasionally, it would be forgivable, but it is a rare week were it doesn't happen daily, making it hard to avoid concluding that it is a deliberate attempt to mislead the typical reader, who won't check references.

I can't speak for others, but that's why I come down hard on Roy. I also come down equally hard on people who make mistakes when promoting things I agree with.

Anonymous said...

The comment made by Chani was on her blog, part of the discussion conserning her RMS-posting:

woods said...


Well, IANAL for starters but according to Groklaw as well, RAND licenses don't mix well with GPL, so I feel Roy has a point:

I guess it's a contentious matter.

The Beez' said...

Ok, I'll tell it one more time and after that I'll take a step I really don't want to take: if someone else is coming along saying "Roy writes bad FUD", I'll remove it. I get tired of writing the very same thing over and over again.

If Roy writes bad FUD, too bad, he's just making himself an easy target. Read the article again: where do I object to FOSS FUD?

I would object if Roy utilized personal, sneaky attacks to get his point across, like getting people fired, astroturfing, etc.

So far, people have provided only a few links to some badly documented opinion pieces of Roy, that's all. I consider that proven, but again: that is not the point.

IMHO people can be silenced much easier by slashing their articles, tit for tat. It requires some dedication, but hey, are we a community or not?

Even if you kill every single of Roy's articles with well written, well documented counter articles, you won't hear me. So stop abusing my blog and start writing your own.

Unknown said...

I have a great deal of information on the long, sordid history of David "Lefty" Schlesinger aka "stonemirror" ie his sexist articles on
'encyclopediadramatica' and also his many calculated campaigns of harassment and stalking. This is all backed up with impeccable evidence including the who-is registration of harassment sites with Schlesinger's own civil name and contact information. "Lefty" has a long, long history on the internet of making threats of violence, lawsuits and extortion demands - in one case he demanded $5,000 for every menacing email he sent that was published. I also have several recent threatening emails Schlesinger sent me, with headers proving their origins. I can post it here, but I won't do that w/o the blog owner's permission. Anyone can have this evidence who wishes to ask for it, email . RMS has seen this material, and he endorsed it as a complaint to the Gnome Foundation. Stormy Peters of the Gnome Foundation refused to take any action on the matter, and she or someone at the GF shared the complaint with Schlesinger who immediately responded to it with extremely ugly threats, and also gloating that the headers of that email gave him new contact information to pursue his threats with. David "Lefty" Schlesinger is a dangerous lunatic.

Unknown said...

Sandy Laphon says:
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
July 18, 2009 at 3:55 pm

It is quite telling here that Lefty is deleting comments that expose his dark side, and banning anonymity to cover his history of vile behavior online. For it is a fact that Lefty is also called ’stonemirror’ on the internet. And while “Lefty” is now presenting himself as a self appointed White Knight of Feminism and defender of the undeprivileged, in fact “Lefty” has spent hundreds even thousands of hours online persecuting, goading and even stalking a mentally ill man who requires medication to function and who gets an SSDI disability check. Here is the article Lefty/Stonemirror wrote as only one of literally thousands of hateful, troll comments that Lefty has scattered all over the web in his strange hobby of harassing the mentally ill and disabled.

where Lefty penned this rancid line of sexism:

“Vitki claims to be an “impath”, (implicate empath, that is), to be ‘enlightened’, to have Asperger’s Syndrome, to be a misunderstood ‘genius’, and to be regularly on the verge of committing suicide over his inability to find even a fat girl who would let him have sex with her. ”

a search of stonemirror + troll on google will verify all of this wildly ugly behavior on Lefty’s part, and if Lefty again deletes this comment, it will be brought to the attention of RMS and the larger open source community in another forum. If you delete this again, Lefty/Stonemirror you are proving that you are afraid of these facts, this vicious history of relentless cruelty you have displayed online over many years to disabled persons, and women.

Lefty has been signing email signatures with both Stonemirror and Lefty since his days at Apple computer in the early 90’s. Use google, you can find nearly infinite amounts of proof that David Lefty Schlesinger has been using the username ’stonemirror’ all over the web for over 15 years. Note also the references to Buddhism and the Bokken staff weapon which Lefty often carries with him. He even brought it to the funeral of Robert Anton Wilson.

stonemirror’s Profile

About stonemirror
Member: Lefty ID: stonemirror
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Member Since: May 25 ‘00

Favorite Websites:

Activity Summary
Reviews Written: 20
Member Visits: 401
Total Visits: 9,323

stonemirror – Profile
Basic Info:
User Name: stonemirror
Real Name: David Schlesinger
Member Since: 8/22/2001
Member ID#: 2951
Posts: 1 (0 posts per day)
Profile Views: 134
Avatar: No Avatar on file.

Additional Info:
Main PDA: Palm Tungsten T3
Occupation: Director of Engineering
City, State: Santa Cruz, CA
Country: USA

Unknown said...

the Bokken weapon is mentioned in the ‘Vitki’ article, the primary evidence that Lefty aka Stonemirror is the author of that sexist and harassing article. This photo was taken at the Robert Anton Wilson Memorial, and Lefty under the name ’stonemirror’ blogged his presence, and mentioned the Bokken and custom yellow shoes. And the who-is of links him to other ED articles, also abusive and sexist. Note too the mention of Palm/Access on the same page as a link to another ED article Lefty penned, also vile and sexist. third crowd scene photo

David “Lefty” Schlesinger aka ‘Stonemirror’ has a long, long history of other people unrelated to me in any way who have accused him of threats of violence and extortion, in those exact verbatim terms. This is all archived in the mid 90’s waldorf critics email archive. In particular, Lefty so terrorized a woman named Kathy Sutphen with his threats and demands of $5,000 legal damages for every one of his menacing emails that she published - that Kathy was in fear for her physical safety and suffered adverse mental and physical effects.

This is archived here, and in other places in the Waldorf/Anthroposophist critics archive:

and quoted verbatim :

““I’d save the ASCII totem for an occasion just prior to your court
)) )date, in the event that ever actually comes to pass: you’ll need all
)) )the good luck you can scrape together.
)) )
)) )–
)) )Lefty Redux [gYon-Pa] (lefty, (dns
)) )C:.M:.C:., D:.O:.D:.
)) I was utterly shocked by the vicious animosity of these messages. In all
)) honesty, I have find them to be quite intimidating. They have affected my
)) sleep and my appetite. I do not know to what lengths this man will go to
)) for retaliation. I hope that his anger is limited to email and I have not
)) exhibited foolish bravado in posting these. However, I will not participate
)) in his abuse by continuing to allow him to send me these types of messages
)) privately with the thought that his threats of extortion will keep me from
)) sharing. Every abuser needs to be drug into a public forum posthaste. It is
)) only in a public arena that this type of behavior can be halted.
)) I hope that others of you that have been subjected to this type of abuse
)) will ignore his threats and make his behavior public.
)) Kathy Sutphen”

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

You misunderstood Richard Stallman. He was not being sexist, he was making fun of religion. I wish people would stop calling him sexists. Its detracting from real sexism that exists out there, yes, even in the technology world

Lefty said...

Although he comes from "a family of lawyers", "Lefty" admits breaking the law by publishing Richard Stallman's emails. In short, his daddy might have some pro deo work on his hands in the near future if RMS decides to sue him. Go get 'em, Dick!

First off, I'm pretty sure that no onecalls Mr. Stallman "Dick".

Second, you haven't got even a slight clue what you're talking about. Right off the bat, Stallman has stated that he considers email exchanges to be "public record", so it would appear that he's very unlikely to share your umbrage on his behalf.

While the only possible complaint that Mr. Stallman could have—and this is what I "admit"—is violation of his copyright on his own words in the email responses, which consist of a public figure's statements on public comments regarding a public speech. There's also the aspect of Fair Use (on my part) to consider, since I clearly posted those as both being "newsworthy" and as the basis for further commentary.

Moreover, correspondence is a special case in the law: while the author retains the copyright on the words, those words are freely provided to the recipient and remain in the possession on the recipient. The correspondence itself is the recipient's property, which affords considerable latitude in how it may be used. There's considerable case law to support this.

So, you've ignorantly misrepresented what I said, and leapt off into unwarranted hysterics, "Beez".

(By the way, nice way to run afoul of "Godwin's Law" not even two full paragraphs in!)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
saulgoode said...

Lefty stated,
Right off the bat, Stallman has stated that he considers email exchanges to be "public record", ...

Could you cite the source of this assertion?

Anonymous said...

I don't really know what is going on. All that is clear is the argument has moved from the factual existing legal risk of Mono to personal attacks on people particularly those who are against Mono for a real demonstrable reason.

It's funny to pick on RMS on a personal ground and suggest that even if he is sexist (from past things I've read I'd probably be inclined to believe he is more a bit of a lech, but in bigger circles think so what Bill Clinton, etc...) what does it have to do with his careful and correct argument against becoming dependent on Mono, RMS doesn't even take aim against Mono just becoming dependent on it.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

and here we have David "Lefty" Schlesinger aka Stonemirror - open source gadfly and part time dildo salesman ...

fantasizing about giving a journalist a gang style beat down!

Stone Mirror posted :

Posted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 11:03 am Post subject: Re: CentOS will continue [Login to view extended thread Info.]
Archived from groups: per prev. post (more info?)


(If it's Miguel that Roy's worried about, I certainly wouldn't _blame_
Miguel for wanting to take a swing at Roy; in fact, if Miguel were to
ask me to--which he wouldn't--I'd be willing to seriously consider
holding Roy down while Miguel worked him over. That said, I have to
say that Miguel, who is more of a gentleman than I'll be in two
lifetimes, would never do such a thing: I've broken up an _actual
about-to-turn-into-a-fight_ with Miguel. Peacefully. He's a peaceful
guy. Me, I'm as peaceful as I _can_ be.)


The Beez' said...

I can confirm that your quote is true - for the record if it is taken offline. What disturbed me even more is that RonB (a CentOS user) is called a "freeloader" just because he is a FOSS user.

So that is where the world is coming to: if you're a "non-faux" FOSS proponent it is OK to call your clients "freeloaders" just because they don't pay for your services. Duh?

Boy, am I happy I've my own FOSS projects and participated in several other ones. It reminds me of the "Startroopers" world, where there are Citizens and Civilians. The latter have no democratic rights at all, simply because they didn't serve. Welcome to the brave new FOSS world. Want to know more..?

The Beez' said...

Another insult, as if I wouldn't know about Godwin's law. Note I make comparisons to a wide range of methods used by totalitarian regimes in with various different political standpoints, various countries and various epochs. I do not use the word as an insult as Godwin law requires.

By pulling out the Godwin word without any context you're exactly using the methods I described a few years ago when discussing the relation between communism and FOSS.

I, on the other hand, describe methods and characteristics and just use the regimes mentioned as examples. I discuss, you just pull out labels. I find no intellectual challenge in discussing these issues with you. You obviously lack the required skills.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.