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You Don’t Get It, Do You?

You Don’t Get It, Do You?

I hate it when people shouting their voice out loud like they knew anything about it. Not that I don’t like differences, I do love people with different view. I’ve live in a country that taught me so. But, I don’t like people who think they do know everything like they were there from the very beginning. Then again, I’ll blog it so that we can understand each other.

1 There is a point why it should be called GNU/Linux.

Linux was a kernel written by Linus Torvalds in 90s. It became popular because Linus made it compiled with GCC (GNU C Collection). Since then, it grew into something cool and that just it. It still needs GNU framework to continue. It needs the GNU toolchain and so on to properly reboot. So, at this point some would say: “Oh, it’s just a compiler” or “Damn, right, it should be called GNU system”.

No, that’s not the point.

What we would see is there was two different viewpoint on that OS stack. It’s about the idealistic and the pragmatic one. Stallman is the guy who believes in promoting freedom in every aspect of software. You are free to modify, get source, and even sell it to another guy whom also share the same freedom as you. While Torvalds is the kind of guy who would see the world as it is and trying to coop with it with reasonable balance.

These two viewpoints are distant from each other and the freeloader tend to select the pragmatic. I think that’s probably okay. But, there is a catch that we need to ensure, that is that to let everyone knows that there is an idealistic part too. The “GNU” part is the thing to mark their idea.

The idealistic is trying to sound their words about free software and freedom. They believe in anything freedom and in society which people could gain and contribute back. This is sounds like socialism and many thinks that socialism is a bad thing like commie. But, it isn’t! This is like socialism but they encourage individual also.

Well, take a look around and see how capitalism had failed the economy. The swollen countries like US and Greece are examples of how capitalism got them. See how China grow a lot in these recent years. See how even US now have their hand on medical bill. Even now, people are not shy away from open standards.

This is what free software want to achieve:

To have open standard that everyone can do everything that she wants to.

2 That’s the reason of why Mozilla won’t support H.264

I’m always thinking, why don’t Ubuntu ship their distro with US and non-US version? I mean, why can’t I play the DVD that I bought? Why can’t I play the song that I rip from MY own CD? Why can’t I have my smooth font?

Then again, I think: so, what is this socialism about?

This is to remind people that there are some that don’t have the privilege as you do. There are things that bad that made you illegal to do something with your ways. Of course, some of us cheap bastards that bittorrenting things won’t get it. But, what about those who really want to do things legal?

Is it false to do something right? Why would we be punished when we doing virtue?

That’s because the industry had select the closed technology where you can’t have the content you bought withouth special players. Which sadly to say, that’s exclusivism. There will be people who won’t be able to participate because of the content which they afford to have is not playable using the method they have.

H.264 is a close standard which right now is going on trial version. In months to come, we would be charged to have this as our content format. Which means, there would be people that will be banned from experiencing the whole Internet. Which of course, a backslash to the idea of the Internet itself which to promote openness.

3 That’s what makes Apple move is a cute one

The way now Apple is on HTML5 thing is a way to prove that open standard is not for a hobbyist anymore. It has plausible strength which can withstand people doubt. With many people encouraging the idea of it, it could fill the thing that the proprietary can do. Plus, it can be optimized into another idea. Who knows.

I mean, look at the RIA hype. People wouldn’t even consider to move their business processes via web technology. But, thanks to the Eclipse technology (another yet open source technology) we can have a wonderful things. Thanks to the web services that open to everyone to study, we can have many wonderful technologies, including the OpenID, Amazon EC2, etc.

4 That’s why we need people to promote freedom.

Share and contribute. May the source be with you.

Stallman @ UI

Stallman @ UI

This day is one of my favorite day, because Richard Matthew Stallman pay a visit today to Universitas Indonesia. Yes, the RMS himself blessed us with his appearance talking about Free Software. I don’t know, but his 2 hours of speech wasn’t boring at all. Instead, all of us was fascinated by how he convinced us about free software, not the open source software.

As for your information, my class was dismissed because almost all of the students went to see RMS. We asked for permission from our lecturer and he was okay with it. Yes, his class is interesting, but to see the founder of true freedom in software society is like a dream once in a life time. Glad that we took the time.

He talked about free software and how people misinterpret it with open source, which not all of them is a free software. He also talked about how people unfairly credited the complete operating system by naming it only the kernel, which isn’t a free software completely and backfired to the free software people by hindering the philosophy behind free software.

Did you know that the word “Linux” that we used were the word referring to a GNU operating system that on the kernel stack be happened to use Linux kernel? The C compiler, C library, toolchains, editors, and many others was made on GNU stack? The kernel itself is a little part of that stack.

That’s why, it’s unfair to credit only a kernel for all of the operating system. The GNU project also have their part and it’s huge. It doesn’t mean also not credit the kernel is also appropriate. Both need to be credited equally, that’s why the whole operating system should be called GNU/Linux [read: “GNU slash Linux”].

Why GNU must be mentioned? Because Torvalds and Stallman have different idea. By saying Linux only, then the kernel guy, which a pragmatic person, is often be heard. The GNU project, which was to advocate freedom on software usage will never be heard. The point is, there is a message that GNU project wants to advocate, your freedom, and it won’t be reached because of the crippling of the name.

And many more.

Gosh, I’m tired but I’m happy because I have his autograph on my t-shirt. He is one of my hero.

A typical screen shot: Stallman autograph

On Memoriam of Geocities

On Memoriam of Geocities

Today XKCD redesigned their website to commemorate Geocities, the once popular free site hosting.

XKCD geocities skin

Wow, the counter, the blink-blink, the marquee, and the tables resembled so much back in the days. I admit, it was cool to have that look back then. The visitor page/guest book was the common cool feature! It’s the only way that visitors may leaved messages to the site author. Oh, btw, my page was in area51.

There were Lycos, Angelfire, etc. but back then only Geocities provided its service without putting excessive ad. It only had a Geocities bar that can be retracted. Unfortunately, I stopped using Geocities when the first attack wave to Yahoo! and its services surfaced years ago. Someone pissed me so much with defacing my site. It’s not a big deal if the person able to do so, twas common bug that script kiddies could do, but the words that the person put on my old site did struck my heart.

Now, we have modern blog and social media sites everywhere. Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) rocked our world with many fine quality products that made every implementation could be achieved in decent cost. Still, Geocities left a great value to our Internet community. It showed us that a free service can be provided and maintained. Plus, the power of community enhanced the content. The only problem of it, it was lack of evolution. So, just like Friendster, it has its day and we all thankful for that.