Essays Of Richard Stallman

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However, one thing I do agree with the author on: a lot of the leading lights of FOSS are completely. By comparison, Linus Torvalds is merely snarky and tactless (but at least baseline sane), and I've yet to hear anyone say much of anything bad about, say, Larry Wall or Guido Van Rossum.

Truth is, utopians in general are shit-stirrers who frequently have trouble agreeing on anything, and utopians with pretensions of Randroidism are worse than most because they're convinced that the rules of the world don't apply to them.

Nautilus, the file manager, is a thing of beauty that's about as close as it can come to being a clone of the Mac Finder, and that's no accident because one of Nautilus' original designers was one of the Mac's creators, Andy Hertzfeld.

However, as you work your way through the rest of GNOME (and its close relative, Unity) you get the feel of something that tries but doesn't quite succeed in copying the Mac because for the most part, it was created by people who don't understand the Mac.

The main alternative is the more Windows-like KDE, which tends to make more sense, but at the cost of frequently exposing too much of the underlying functionality when the user doesn't need to see it.

And, of course, there's the lesser competition like XFCE and LXDE...

The constructed language community is infested with them for example; one conlanger wrote a 1997 essay essentially throwing in the towel on Esperanto-like auxiliary languages because the supply far outstrips demand and because the auxlang community simply can't agree on anything when it comes to language design; on the other hand, the artlang community, consisting as it does of fans of languages like Klingon, Quenya, and Na'vi, has no need for such debates because their languages are works of art, not solutions to problems already solved.

The FOSS community certainly leans more towards the auxlangers in that regard; the one thing that makes it work in spite of the chaos is that there's usually someone interested in something no matter how obscure, so if there's an unfilled sector of the market, someone will probably (and I stress probably) fill it at some point.

This also explains the staggering misogyny of the geek community and the way many gravitate towards groups like the seduction community and transhumanism; once someone's convinced themselves that they're infallible, anything that doesn't go their way is taken as both a slight and a problem to be solved, and those held responsible are treated as enemies. Finding people willing to help fix the interface and standardization issues in open source software shouldn't be difficult; the problem is that once they get an idea of what the community is like, they won't stick around.

(Artists have egos too.) Decentralized movements have their ups and their downs; the Occupy movement, for example, has a long-standing problem with tinfoil hatters and right-wing extremists, and Anonymous is a big sloppy mess of people, many of whom share nothing but the typically blunt and occasionally alien morality of the *chans.


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