Excellent Post About Free Software Purists

Edit: Almost forgot to mention: I heard about this blog post from flameeyes.

There was a really, really good blog post that actually clarified to me what was for so long a nuisance in discussions with Free Software purists (and I couldn’t reason out why at the time). Read this quote:

A long time ago, Larry Wall gave a “State of the Onion” speech. Larry is the guy behind Perl, the programming language, and every year he gave a talk about what he believes Perl is all about and where it’ll be going over the following twelve months. Larry’s not really a programmer; he’s a linguist who does a lot of programming. So his view on what a computer language should be is uniquely interesting, and should be read. Anyway, he spoke of freedom, and characterised the ends of the spectrum on the subject as “Bill” and “Richard”, those two being Bill Gates (at the time head of Microsoft) and Richard Stallman (head of the Free Software Foundation): the idea here was that those two represented the ultimate expressions of their philosophies. Richard Stallman was at the far extreme of belief in free software; Bill Gates was at the other far end, decrying the very concept of freedom. It was a throwaway joke, at the time; a caricature for the purpose of a laugh in a presentation.

I encourage everyone to read the original post, since it really brings some light out on the unreasonableness and extreme nature of the Free Software purist position.

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