Nobody Shares The Way RMS Wants Them To



  • [Jeff'd from SSDS discussion - bz]

    @dse said in Nobody shares knowledge better than this:

    @ScholRLEA said in Nobody shares knowledge better than this:

    Richard Stallman are/were all (arguably) 'great programmers' known for their careful coding habits.

    Last one is a (great) asshole lawyer, I suggest substituting that with a (great) asshole programmer: "Ulrich Drepper"?

    :facepalm:

    People didn't listen to RMS in 1983 when he started farting off about free software and the 'evils of copyright' just out of the blue. They listened to him because they respected his coding chops. He was one of the top programmers at the MIT AI Lab in the 1970s and early 1980s, which means he probably was among the 25 best programmers in the world at the time. He was famous for pulling off feats of programming no one else could have, and for his tireless work ethic as a developer, a teacher, and a system administrator.

    I don't know when the last time he wrote a line of code was, but he was most definitely a great programmer once upon a time. I may think his ideas about politics and economics are crazy, and that he's trying to relive his past glories by turning the entire Internet into a copy of the AI Lab in its heyday, but I can't dismiss his technical abilities.



  • @ScholRLEA said in Nobody shares knowledge better than this:

    He was famous for pulling off feats of programming no one else could have

    You mean this incredible feat?

    As a hacker in MIT's AI laboratory, Stallman worked on software projects such as TECO, Emacs for ITS, and the Lisp machine operating system (the CONS of 1974–1976 and the CADR of 1977–1979

    Some crappy editor, something related to crappy editors, and some code for the Lisp machine.
    Lets check the last one:

    Symbolics still had the major advantage that while 3 or 4 of the AI Lab hackers had gone to work for Greenblatt, a solid 14 other hackers had signed onto Symbolics. There were two AI Lab people who did not get hired by either: Richard Stallman and Marvin Minsky. Stallman, however, blamed Symbolics for the decline of the hacker community that had centered around the AI lab. For two years, from 1982 to the end of 1983, Stallman worked by himself to clone the output of the Symbolics programmers, with the aim of preventing them from gaining a monopoly on the lab's computers.

    Venerable motivation. Work hard to not let them make moneyzzz
    No lasting legacy as a programmer, and nothing out of the ordinary.



  • @dse said in Nobody shares knowledge better than this:

    No lasting legacy as a programmer

    Come on, really?

    Stallman was responsible for contributing many necessary tools, including a text editor (Emacs), compiler (GCC), debugger (GNU Debugger), and a build automator (GNU make).

    Those are all still in use 30 years later, particularly gcc. There isn't much software that lasts as long as that.



  • @clatter I sense an emacs/vim/any-other-text-editor holy war imminent.



  • @The_Quiet_One Woohoo! Just hold on a minute while I go grab some jelly and my wrestling mankini.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @The_Quiet_One Everyone uses ed here, right?? Or Word?



  • @pydsigner I do all my coding using EDIT.COM in DOSBox.



  • @pydsigner Luddite. I use Google Docs.


    Filed under: and Times New Roman



  • @clatter Why not Discourse?



  • @mott555 said in Nobody shares knowledge better than this:

    @clatter Why not Discourse?

    That's a bug tracker, not an editor. Duh.



  • @mott555 Time to abandon thread, I can't beat that one. :(



  • @dcon said in Nobody shares knowledge better than this:

    @mott555 said in Nobody shares knowledge better than this:

    @clatter Why not Discourse?

    That's a bug tracker, not an editor. Duh.

    If it could do both, it could replace Visual Studio and TFS!



  • @mott555 said in Nobody shares knowledge better than this:

    @dcon said in Nobody shares knowledge better than this:

    @mott555 said in Nobody shares knowledge better than this:

    @clatter Why not Discourse?

    That's a bug tracker, not an editor. Duh.

    If it could do both, it could replace Visual Studio and TFS!

    Mind. Blown. :nuke_from_above:


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @mott555 said in Nobody shares knowledge better than this:

    @dcon said in Nobody shares knowledge better than this:

    @mott555 said in Nobody shares knowledge better than this:

    @clatter Why not Discourse?

    That's a bug tracker, not an editor. Duh.

    If it could do both, it could replace Visual Studio and TFS!

    Just gotta extend markdown a little bit amirite? Of course I am, I'm adding a FEATURE to Discourse!


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election


    Oh I forgot that that only applies to true discodevs, every other PR or feature request is just bike shedding.



  • @clatter said in Nobody shares knowledge better than this:

    @dse said in Nobody shares knowledge better than this:

    No lasting legacy as a programmer

    Come on, really?

    Stallman was responsible for contributing many necessary tools, including a text editor (Emacs), compiler (GCC), debugger (GNU Debugger), and a build automator (GNU make).

    Those are all still in use 30 years later, particularly gcc. There isn't much software that lasts as long as that.

    And where does it mention he wrote a single line of code for gcc?

    Stallman was responsible for contributing many necessary tools, including a text editor (Emacs), compiler (GCC), debugger (GNU Debugger), and a build automator (GNU make).

    His contribution is perhaps the long-winded GPLv3, and the subsequent halt on Apple's contribution (and shipment) of gcc after gcc 4.2 (last one under GPLv2). That lead to Apple investing in LLVM, and thanks to Stallman now we have a superior compiler! He also single handedly stopped any effort to add plugins to gcc, even if it meant his beloved Emacs would not have a sane code completion! As if his fanatical narrow-minded politics should derive the technology instead of engineering requirements and users needs.
    Now gcc is behind in technology, unless you want to compile for some obscure architecture that lives in Qemu or museums. Sorry, but gcc is doomed because an engineer was not in charge of the technology, a lawyer/politician was.



  • @dse said in Nobody shares knowledge better than this:

    And where does it mention he wrote a single line of code for gcc?

    One click further than the link you provided.

    @dse said in Nobody shares knowledge better than this:

    Now gcc is behind in technology, unless you want to compile for some obscure architecture that lives in Qemu or museums. Sorry, but gcc is doomed because an engineer was not in charge of the technology, a lawyer/politician was.

    I agree, gcc is no longer the best compiler in the land. However, it was for a very long time, and is still the most widespread C compiler in the wild. Even if it suddenly vanished tomorrow, 30 years is a notable software legacy.



  • @clatter said in Nobody shares knowledge better than this:

    One click further than the link you provided.

    Lets see!

    Due to historical reasons there are no commits but it is not difficult to deduce what those feats of programming have been:

    Apparently one clean up commit has changed multiple files:

    Adapted to ANSI C, Richard Stallman, Jan 1987

    May 1993, add conditional to prevent multiple inclusion.

    config.sub: Accept -lites* as op sys.

    the %semantic_parser declaration is not specified in the grammar.
    It was written by Richard Stallman by simplifying the hairy parser
    used when %semantic_parser is specified. */

    There are readme, and document files of course, but it totals 2 pages of results. Searching for rms is even less hopeful because root mean square is more important.



  • @dse said in Nobody shares knowledge better than this:

    Lets see!

    You're trying to assess Stallman's code contributions by the number of times he wrote his name in the comments? That's absurd.

    @dse said in Nobody shares knowledge better than this:

    Adapted to ANSI C, Richard Stallman, Jan 1987

    What you've discovered is that he wrote his name in the comments in files where he didn't own the copyright. Any original code will just say "Copyright 1987 Free Software Foundation".

    I don't have any personal history in gcc's development, so all I know is what Google is telling me. Everything I can find says that Stallman is the primary author of gcc. Is there some back story I don't know where his contemporaries claim he's a talentless hack?

    (Also, @mods, could we jeff post 3174 onwards to a separate thread, except for xaade's last post?)



  • @The_Quiet_One said in Nobody Shares The Way RMS Wants Them To:

    @clatter I sense an emacs/vim/any-other-text-editor holy war imminent.

    VIM won the war decades ago, no sane people use emacs


  • area_deu

    @groo said in Nobody Shares The Way RMS Wants Them To:

    VIM won

    Maybe in stupid hipster OSS land.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @aliceif hipster OSS land uses Atom these days, tyvm. :sunglasses:



  • @groo said in Nobody Shares The Way RMS Wants Them To:

    no sane people use emacs

    Well no, but sane people aren't the target market.


  • Impossible Mission - B

    @groo said in Nobody Shares The Way RMS Wants Them To:

    @The_Quiet_One said in Nobody Shares The Way RMS Wants Them To:

    @clatter I sense an emacs/vim/any-other-text-editor holy war imminent.

    VIM won the war decades ago, no sane people use emacs

    ISTM most sane people these days use Notepad or Notepad++ :trolleybus:


  • Impossible Mission - B

    @clatter said in Nobody Shares The Way RMS Wants Them To:

    I agree, gcc is no longer the best compiler in the land. However, it was for a very long time, and is still the most widespread C compiler in the wild.

    You say that like it's a good thing.

    Dennis Ritchie's true legacy to the world was the buffer overflow
    -- Francisco Lopez-Alvarez



  • @clatter said in Nobody Shares The Way RMS Wants Them To:

    What you've discovered is that he wrote his name in the comments in files where he didn't own the copyright. Any original code will just say "Copyright 1987 Free Software Foundation".

    Changelogs and comments used to be the version control, plus patches posted to mailing lists.

    @clatter said in Nobody Shares The Way RMS Wants Them To:

    Is there some back story I don't know where his contemporaries claim he's a talentless hack?

    I do not know any back story and I do not think he is a talentless hack.
    I cannot believe a truely great programmer suddenly decided to abandon technology and become a lawyer. All I can find in the Internet is people saying he did some coding, but no actual diff.
    As I said, I think he is a great lawyer (fanatical and destructive) but never a great programmer.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @dse said in Nobody Shares The Way RMS Wants Them To:

    I cannot believe a truely great programmer suddenly decided to abandon technology and become a lawyer. All I can find in the Internet is people saying he did some coding, but no actual diff.

    He was the person in charge of emacs and gcc for a long time; it was him that the diffs were sent to.



  • @dse said in Nobody Shares The Way RMS Wants Them To:

    I cannot believe a truely great programmer suddenly decided to abandon technology and become a lawyer. All I can find in the Internet is people saying he did some coding, but no actual diff.
    As I said, I think he is a great lawyer (fanatical and destructive) but never a great programmer.

    First off, I don't know where you get the idea he's a lawyer from. He isn't, not by profession or by training, and he seems to know jack shit about laws because his main goal is to make an end run around them.

    One could argue with some justification that he's a politician, and certainly he spends much of his time politicking on his causes. But he definitely still sees himself as a programmer, because he sees everyone as a programmer, and every problem as a programming problem.

    You seem to think his engineering positions are driven by his political views, but the reverse is actually the case. His whole position regarding FOSS, his view that plugins are a bad thing, and many other aspects of his erratic behavior are all driven by his purist view that Everyone Should Be An Engineer/Software Programmer, and his idiosyncratic ideas of what 'efficiency' means. His hate-on for proprietary software comes entirely out his conviction that it interferes with the efficient flow of correct information and cripples the ability for outside programmers (which he feels should be anyone) to fix problems. He literally thinks that the correct solution for a billing error, for example, is to let the customers fuck around with the billing records to 'correct' them (and anyone who suggests that there might be someone so misguided as to think to change a bill in their favor with less than honorable intentions is a meany who hates efficiency, because money isn't important and only greed-heads think it matters if the electric company suddenly finds itself remitting $1M refunds).

    His whole view of 'free as in beer' is bound up in the Heinlein-esque assumption that money is of no interest in and of itself, but is purely a form of IOU people use to keep tabs on promises made to others during exchanges (the fact that he's well to do himself has nothing to do with this view, of course). Not only does he view it this way, he thinks every other sane person does, too - not just should, but does. Thus, he feels perfectly fine sneering at the idea that a lack of monetary cost has anything to do with the idea of 'freedom', because he doesn't think money itself really matters. Does that sound like lawyer - good, bad, or indifferent - to you?


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @(Whomever it was that chose the jeffage title)

    Here, have an upboat

  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @ScholRLEA said in Nobody Shares The Way RMS Wants Them To:

    He literally thinks that the correct solution for a billing error, for example, is to let the customers fuck around with the billing records to 'correct' them (and anyone who suggests that there might be someone so misguided as to think to change a bill in their favor with less than honorable intentions is a meany who hates efficiency, because money isn't important and only greed-heads think it matters if the electric company suddenly finds itself remitting $1M refunds).

    I've read some of his stupid idealisms but this one takes the cake. Do you have a source on that?



  • @pydsigner Off-hand, no. IIRC, the sentiment was mentioned in Hackers as one shared by several MIT hackers in the period he was there, and I was thinking it was in regards to RMS's role as 'the last true hacker' at the end of the book, but now that I think of it, it probably was something in an earlier section. I need to go check.

    Yeah, I probably fucked up there. Still, it was something several of his colleagues believed, and not out of character for him, either.


  • Impossible Mission - B

    @ScholRLEA said in Nobody Shares The Way RMS Wants Them To:

    @pydsigner Off-hand, no. IIRC, the sentiment was mentioned in Hackers as one shared by several MIT hackers in the period he was there

    I don't remember that. Of course, I really don't remember anything from that movie except young!Angelina Jolie and "everyone use your best viruses!"



  • @masonwheeler Damn, I walked right into that one.



  • @ScholRLEA Looking again the Wicked-pedo page about that book, the mention of Capt'n Crunch reminded me of something my friend 'Commander COSMAC' once told me: that Draper was bi, and had some minor police troubles for being a bit too fond of teenagers of both sexes. Also, he was fond of giving bear hugs to strangers, until his back problems made it too painful. No idea if that's true or not, but...



  • @ScholRLEA said in Nobody Shares The Way RMS Wants Them To:

    Does that sound like lawyer

    He is the president of FSF

    @ScholRLEA said in Nobody Shares The Way RMS Wants Them To:

    Does that sound like lawyer - good, bad, or indifferent - to you?

    Good of course! you need the crazy people to have a balanced scale for sanity.


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