[clug] Kernels are easy, ls is the hard part!

David Tulloh david at tulloh.id.au
Sat Sep 15 01:44:09 GMT 2007

Sam Couter wrote:
> steve jenkin <sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au> wrote:
>>     RMS actively promotes himself and seeks disciples and accolades. He
>> pretends it's about the code...
> He claims it's about freedom, and has never pretended otherwise.
> Of all the criticisms that can legitimately be leveled at RMS,
> pretending and inconsistency are not valid.
If you read his bio, http://www.stallman.org/#serious you will notice 
that he talks extensively about the code.  He talks about when he 
developed Emacs, he talks about an AI technique he developed and he 
talks about various other software projects he has been involved in.  
The GPL is not directly mentioned at all, the evolution of the GPL and 
the new version of it are completely absent.  RMS likes portraying 
himself as a coder, his contributions have been outstanding but he won't 
be remembered for his code.  If you ever get the chance to hear RMS 
speak I suggest that you jump at it, I found it an eye opening experience.

Following on from the pretending point, he's not above fluffing 
himself.  In the aforelinked biography he has seven paragraphs, an 
entire paragraph is devoted to GCC where he states, "Richard Stallman is 
the principal author of the GNU Compiler Collection 
<http://www.gnu.org/software/gcc/gcc.html>, a portable optimizing 
compiler which was designed to support diverse architectures and 
multiple languages. The compiler now supports over 30 different 
architectures and 7 programming languages."

This is an interesting thing to say, particularly if you know some of 
the GCC history.  Stallman wrote GCC 1.0.  I understand that Michael 
Tiemann wrote GCC++ and became the primary maintainer of GCC 2.0.  GCC 
was forked in 1997 due to frustrations with how it was being managed, 
EGCS was founded.  Developers steadily shifted across to EGCS and it 
became the standard compiler of choice.  In 1999 the FSF abandoned their 
GCC and EGCS was renamed GCC and brought notionally under the FSF 
banner.  GCC is now lead by a steering committee, of which Stallman is 
not a member and while they acknowledge RMS for founding GCC in their 
credits page he's not noted as an ongoing contributor.


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