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Re: [Richard Stallman <rms@gnu.org>] Re: Debian & BSD concerns

On Sat, Feb 20, 1999 at 07:54:13PM -0500, Ben Collins wrote:
> > I do believe it is dangerous to become dependant on even the GPL'd Linux
> > kernel now considering the dangerous steps being taken to weaken it from
> > within.  Binary drivers are the beginning of the problem, but not the end
> > of it.  While adding BSD kernel does not protect us from this, it does
> > reduce our dependency on one particular kernel.  It also offers our users
> > more of a choice.
> I fail to see how supporting FreeBSD is helpful in the least. If you
> feel that Linux's "weakening" is a reason to move on to something else,
> what are we going to do when the same happens to FreeBSD? I think we
> need to concentrate on protecting our current assests instead of
> spreading our efforts too thin.

I think you're not understanding.  I'm not sure you're really trying to
either.  I'm talking about attracting people who would otherwise not be
interested in Debian for one---that's hardly spreading ourselves thin.

For another, offering choices everywhere BUT the kernel makes us
Linux-centric.  And if one more person says "But we support hurd" I'm
going to have to hurt someone, I've been watching hurd and hurd isn't
exactly useful to end users yet.  Face it, not every end user is a coder
and they want something that works.  We offer Linux, Linux, and Linux. 
If free software is about choice, the Linux community (YES I said Linux
and not free software) is very much in opposition to choice with regard
to kernels.

It seems a lot of people who have commented on this thread share this
"Linux or else" attitude.  Rather than trying to normalize relations with
a project whose goals are similar to our own, we're going to neglect some
very useful free software which we could learn a lot from?  Both the
Debian and FreeBSD projects would benefit from Debian porting our
GNU-based operating system to their kernel, why not do it then?

The only real argument I've heard that actually explains why we shouldn't
do it is from a few vocal developers boiling down to "I don't want to."
To these I say don't work on it if you don't wish to.  But why stop the
rest of us from doing it?

> NOTE: I completely disagree with your opinion tha Linux is being
> weakened. Mainly because not even Linux can be free of FUD and bad
> press, it comes with the territory we are finally entrering known as
> the "big time". I believe we need to stick with Linux, because if we can't
> overcome your percieved problems with Linux, and the emninent criticism
> it will recieve simply because it is reaching the highest ranks, then we
> are destined to fail. Don't turn your back on what most would consider
> the core of the free software community.

Once again (how many times must I say this?) I do not propose abandoning
Linux at all.  If anything, I propose being prepared to lose some of our
corporate ties, a campaign to educate new users about Free Software, and
possibly to show a few corporates really interested the benefits of Free

Beyond that all we can do is dig in for a very long night and wait out
this siege.  We can hold out a very long time, longer if we work hard now
to show people that Free Software isn't just about Linux or about cheap
CDs or even about having a copy of the source code to look at.  Free
Software is about Free Software.  I know that, many of us do.  Still,
there is a world out there who hasn't any idea.

"There are 3 things to remember about being a Starship Captain: 
 Keep your shirt tucked in, go down with the ship, and never, 
 ever abandon a member of your crew."
                        -- Kathryn Janeway, Star Trek: Voyager

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